It's Friday the 13th, but it's a lucky day for "Lord of the Rings" fans.
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," the second of three chapters of Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel, arrives with plenty of rousing action, some dramatic intrigue, and a nail-biter of a finish setting things up for the third installment. Most importantly, though, it's got a dragon a fire-breathing, gold-hording, urbane-talking (with the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) beastie who's perfectly realized on screen. It takes a while for Jackson to get to Smaug, but the monster makes it worth the weight.
The other studios are smart enough to steer clear of the dragon except for Lionsgate, which is opening Tyler Perry's latest, "A Madea Christmas" (which was not screened for critics).