Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
Final Potter film, 'Deathly Hallows 2,' emotional and fulfilling
ith series veterans David Yates (directing his fourth Potter film) and Steve Kloves (screenwriter on all but one) at the helm, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 does its damnedest to honor all the complex subtexts of J. K. Rowling's books. And they fare surprisingly well, serving up one of the most thrilling, yet elegiac films in the series. It's not a complete success, but the conscientious mix of action, humor, and emotional backstory will leave most Potter fans fulfilled.
Wayne Wang crafts a heartfelt and respectful adaptation of the Lisa See novel, “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” giving us an absorbing glimpse into Chinese culture of 200 years ago, especially the oppression of women in society, and the intensity of female friendships. But the movie never resonates in the one place that counts—in the heart. While often slow-moving onscreen, the breathlessness with which Wang orchestrates his busy narrative (marriages, births, deaths, a Typhoid epidemic, political uprising) never gives the characters or the viewer time to stop and feel anything about them. (And dialogue like, "The rebellion is coming!" doesn't help much, either.)
'Buck' advocates empathy in animal-training and life
How is training horses like life? In just about every way possible, according to the Tao of Buck Brannaman, the self-effacing hero and subject of Buck, an engaging and evocative documentary from filmmaker Cindy Meehl. A modern-day cowboy on the road nine months out of every year conducting four-day horse-training clinics all across the American west, Buck doesn't dispense folksy wisdom, nor indulge in any New Agey, touchy-feely palaver, so much as he talks plain common sense to troublesome horses and their owners. "I don't help people with horse problems," Buck reflects. "I help horses with people problems."
Is it just me, or has this been an especially lame summer at the movies? Hollywood is dishing up its usual junk-food of robots, super heroes, kiddie (or frat) comedies, and sequels, but even the alternative films have been lackluster. Sure, there have been bright spots, but how many times can a person go back to see Midnight In Paris? And surprise indie charmers like Beginners are few and far between.
Where are all the good movies? As we head into midsummer, let's scan the horizon and find a few upcoming films to dream about.
Sly teen angst comedy 'Submarine' runs out of air
Teen angst is nothing new at the movies, and every micro-generation gets its own version. The latest entry in the why-must-I-be-a-teenager-in-love sweepstakes is Submarine, an often slyly deadpan teen comedy from the chilly seacoast of Swansea, Wales. Laced with wit and sarcasm, it takes its 15-year-old, lovestruck protagonist almost as seriously as he takes himself, although served up with a slice of wry. But while the film gets off to a smart start, it never really gets anywhere, so blinkered by the character's self-absorption that the whole narrative begins to feel claustrophobic.
The film is adapted from the 2008 Joe Dunthorne novel by writer-director Richard Ayoade, a stand-up comedian who has a facility for rapid-fire repartee. Rising young Welsh actor Craig Roberts stars as Oliver Tate.