Two Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Deputies killed in the line of duty honored

Screening Room: “The Hobbit 2,” “The Armstrong Lie,” “A Madea Christmas”

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KANSAS CITY, Mo---

1) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (PG-13)

Warner Brothers

RUSS: Sometimes more of the same isn’t such a bad thing. Such is the case with Peter Jackson’s second installment in his prolonged expansion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy adventure, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." To call the story ‘padded’ would be an understatement, but Jackson pads the story with plenty of action, mayhem and top-drawer eye candy. Bottom line? If you liked the first installment, then "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is the adventure for you. It’s a lively follow-up that should desolate the box office.

SHAWN SAYS: The first was a visually stunning masterpiece and this installment is no less impressive. Yes, it's padded. But it's loaded with so much you never feel cheated as the filmmakers take you on one heck of a cinematic journey.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

2) The Armstrong Lie (R)

Sony Pictures Classics

RUSS: "This is not a story about doping, this is a story about power." So says a biking expert about the tragic flaw of disgraced champion Lance Armstrong in the unsettling documentary "The Armstrong Lie."

The film defines Armstrong as one of the ringleaders of a conspiracy that defrauded millions of sports fans and competitors. But perhaps the most disturbing part of the whole affair was Armstrong’s choice to throw longtime friends under the bus. It's a sad commentary on our times.

SHAWN SAYS: Yes, he lied but can we get more detail. A story this tragic deserves more facts and less spin.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

3) Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas (PG-13)

Lionsgate

SHAWN SAYS: Tyler Perry as Madea is a scream. And watching her or him go toe to toe with Larry the Cable Guy isn't great cinema but hilarious improv full of cultural gags, good natured racial jabs and plenty of fish out of water jokes.

RUSS: Didn't screen

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

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