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'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' (Dec. 21)

Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis Director: Peter Jackson Why we're excited: America can only live on "Lord of the Rings" Blu-ray re-releases for only so long. Jackson's first film in this planned trilogy focuses on Bilbo Baggins (Freeman, so good in BBC's "Sherlock" series) journeying (unexpectedly) to reclaim a treasure stolen by the dragon Smaug. Expect the return of former "Rings" cast members (McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, et al.) and enough inspiration to work up the courage to ask for tickets to 2013's badly named follow-up, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." Warner Bros.
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