May 10, 2011

Movie week, day 4: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

[ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

This movie was entertaining, but it felt a little thin even when the overall bleakness resonated effectively. Starting with the cast fleeing Voldemort's minions then attending an interrupted wedding, the action continues through most of the film as an extended road movie for our heroic trio--echoing the opening chase. The core of the film nicely reveals, recaps, and allows the relationships to deepen (despite some scene gaffes that should have been worked out), but I was expecting to have experienced more by the end of the film. It's successful as a part one and successful in not feeling long at 2-1/2 hours.

posted by sstrader at 8:27 PM in Movie week | permalink | comments (0)

November 26, 2005

Movie roundup

Movies from the last couple of weeks:

  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes) - Clever, quick black comedy about a petty thief (Robert Downey Jr.) who gets mistaken as an indie actor and pairs up with a Hollywood private eye (Val Kilmer) to sleuth several murders. Downey veers sloppilly from wit to idiot, both equally entertaining, while Kilmer is the well-dressed Felix Unger who can barely tolerate his accidental partner. (4/5)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes) - Many good moments and not too long. Dark and violent and definitely PG-13 with much of the darkness psychological. Lisa felt, and I agree, that the ending just sort of dropped off with no well-expressed denoument; the characters simply stated their minds and the credits rolled. Unsatisfying after the previous 2-1/2 hours of conflict. (3/5)
  • Fever Pitch (IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes) - Well-cast and well-written romantic comedy. Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon are sweet and real and avoid most of the romantic comedy cliches here. Good writing from the Farrelly brothers who can often inject pathos in unlikely situations. (3/5)
  • Layer Cake (IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes) - A Guy Ritchie-styled film (no, not Castaway...) with classy drug dealer Daniel Craig always one step behind the Big Bosses but still out-smarting them, if only barely. Nice twists and nice characters but another unfortunately flawed ending. Overall edgy and entertaining. (4/5)
posted by sstrader at 12:23 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (1)

July 7, 2004

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkban (4/5)

I've now seen all three Harry Potter films--just in the past few days--and I enjoyed the ride quite a bit. I'm in fact looking forward to the next adaptation. The characters are growing up, as are the actors, but as they grow and grow older a shared history keeps them familiar--having seen Azkaban before The Chamber of Secrets, I now finally understand Ron's fear of spiders. Although Harry and Hermione and Ron hold our attention and provide a strong focus, all of the recurring secondary characters and in-jokes (who'll be the next Dark Arts professor?!?) provide a rich backdrop.

Continue reading "Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkban (4/5)"
posted by sstrader at 12:05 AM in Cinema | permalink | comments (1)

May 17, 2004

Hispanic directors

Pedro Almod�var's got a new movie coming out called La Mala educaci�n (Bad Education). Let's get our hispanic directors straight.

Spain

Almodovar and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo are from Spain. Almodovar's recent film was Hable con ella (2002) (Talk To Her) and before that was Todo sobre mi madre (1999) (All About My Mother). He's been a director for several decades. His films deal with relationships under very unusual circumstances. He handles his subjects with considerable humor and candor.

I've only seen Fresnadillo's movie Intacto (2001) (Intact). It deals with a group of people who possess and trade "luck" by competing in various games that emphasize randomness over skill. His style could be compared to the magic realism of Latin American artists. He has had a much shorter career than Almodovar.

Mexico

Alejandro Gonz�lez I��rritu and Alfonso Cuar�n are from Mexico City. I��rritu directed Amores Perros (2000) (Life's a Bitch) and most recently 21 Grams (2003). His movies tell stories of several people whose lives intersect in dramatic and sometimes ironic ways.

Cuar�n directed Y tu mam� tambi�n (2001) (And Your Mother Too) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Y tu was a very raw depiction of two teen boys "coming of age" during a road trip with an older woman.

posted by sstrader at 2:17 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)