Posts Tagged ‘new in theatres


Weekend Viewing: HP6, Pulp Fiction…

Movies for July 17-20:

In Theatres:

I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Saturday.  It was really good and I think it will be a great lead-in into the two-installment finale.  HP6 left less of an impression than the more recent films did, though I think the performances were excellent by all the cast, and Yates did another solid job directing.  I didn’t think it was too long, as some have said.  I should say, HP6 is my least favorite of the books, and there are definitely some odd choices in editing/screenwriting–probably why it didn’t leave a strong impression.


On the upside, the film was really visually stunning.  I’m past the point of nitpicking on wardrobe–it’s well-done, even if not what I expect based on the books.  I have found the most recent installments (Cauron’s Prisoner of Azkaban, Newell’s Order of the Phoenix, and Yates’ direction on 5 and 6) to be sufficiently true to the story, and much closer to capturing the real “magic” of Hogwarts.  Sorry Chris, you did some good work on the first two installments, and you were working with younger actors, which may play a role.  I still enjoy those films, but mostly because of the stories they’re based on, not the direction.  I am thoroughly pleased with Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson.  They’ve grown with their characters, and have managed to hold it together in the believability department, given that they’re significantly older than their characters now.  I’ll be glad to see these roles conclude, to discover their talents in new and challenging roles elsewhere.  My call: HP6 is definitely worth watching.  If you’re not a fan of the series, check out the DVD/Blueray in six-ish months.



I also watched Rachel Getting Married, which was a strange but enjoyable film…very similar to Margot at the Wedding, I think (Hathaway and Kidman’s characters are very similar, but Hathaway’s is much more likable).  Music plays its own unique character in the story.  This is a fairly typical family drama, but I thorougly enjoyed the complicated nature of the characters, who fluxuate between being likable and bizarre to untrustworthy and even a little viscious.  At times, Kym (Hathaway) seems to be the most reliable character in the confluence, even as a recovering drug addict with almost no tact.  The cinematography truly shines at moments, and there is a harmony between the visuals and the mood that will keep you riding along on the wave.  If you’re into dramatic indies with fusion feel, rent it.


Also watched Yes Man for a second time.  I still don’t think it’s great, but it’s all right.  I do appreciate the unconventional lead female character.  Zooey Deschanel’s performance is delightfully awkward; the character is not just “spontaneous” and “has no idea what she’s doing,” but also reveals a lot in quick bursts.  You figure out without a lot of discussion, but through song and a brief, funny chat, that she’s definitely had her heart broken before, and that it’s really affected her.  At the same time, the jilted lover isn’t her sole personality trait.  She’s kooky and wild without being truly nutty.  And Ms. Deschanel plays off her costar nicely.  Carrey has managed to avoid “phoning in” his performance, but he does have a somewhat limited range to work with in this film.  Watch it if you are in the mood for funny tinged with bittersweet and a little nutty.


Finally, I have had a chance to appreciate Pulp Fiction.  It’s got some really memorable interconnected stories.  However, some of the characters are awfully two-dimensional, there are minor plot gaps, and some of the dialogue was stilted and/or predictable.  Still, that’s part of Tarantino’s charm, I think…and some of it may be intentional, given that it’s called  Pulp Fiction.  I think he was really in his element with Kill Bill, but I was reminded of the kind of performance he can pull out of his actors in the final scene of Pulp Fiction.


The performance by Samuel L. Jackon in that scene (between Jules and “Pumpkin”/Ringo during the Mexican Standoff ) was extremely reminiscent of Uma Thurman’s when the Bride faced off against Karen Kim in Vol. II.  Obviously the writing and setting were similar (what’s a good Tarantino scene without an immenent gunfight?), but it’s truly about the performances of these two actors.  They completely lived up as honest badass motherfuckers, struggling with self-doubt and major transitional moments while keeping their cool, while the gun is pointed at their heads.  I think Tarantino is at his most virtuosic in those moments.  The outlandish fight scenes and blown-out stylistic choices make his movies fun, but those little, honest moments in the midst of the haze of bullets is what gives movies like Pulp Fiction a redemptive quality, and make the stories worth watching.  So, if you haven’t managed to see this classic yet, what are you waiting for, Honey Bunny?



Sarah’s tweets

Blog Stats

  • 5,505 visits

RSS RSS — The Cinema Virus