Thursday, July 14, 2011

It All Ends

After nearly a decade of movies, over $2 billion in the bank (and plenty more to come), seven movies (adapted from seven books), three words are all that are needed for marketing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II: "It All Ends!"  It will come as a relief to the less devout and sorrow for the worshipful; of course distributor Warner Bros. didn't really have to say anything at all to elicit something for the opening of this film-- of course all will come it droves.  The film has already made over $25 million in pre-sales in the North American box office and it hasn't even opened yet, provoking and teasing the notion of whether this will indeed be the record-breaking weekend that 2011 has been long waiting for.  What else matters; not much but even for the slightly curious observer of the Potter movies (like myself) who appreciates the skilled texture, if not the rudimentary, stop and go subplots, this is the end of the era, and the past decade of its attack on the pop cultural lexicon is something that nothing else could ever match.  It's a series that got children (even those who would never dare pick a book) read with joyous delight, and the movies have their odd pleasures outside the material itself.  It's a fascinating four director series-- the cluttered and insecure first two volumes directed by Chris Columbus, the most triumphant and cinematic third chapter by Alfonso Cuaron (I haven't read the book, I freely admit, but that movie singed), the clunkier fourth volume by Mike Newall, and the final dark chapters by Peter Yates.  The series has in total earned 9 Oscar nominations, mostly for Stuart Craig's production design.  There's also the great curiosity of the three leads we've seen grow up before our eyes in the past decade-- Daniel Radcliffe seems more at home on Broadway these days, Emma Watson has My Week with Marilyn to test out post-Potter waters with later this year, and Rupert Grint has a few others as well-- but they will always be Harry, Hermione and Ron, and all rich beyond belief...sigh!

Also opening this week (yes other films open as well):
  • Winnie the Pooh- For those who miss hand drawn 2-D animation, this is all you have for some time...
  • Life, Above All- South Africa's submission for last years foreign language didn't make it, but is well reviewed (in limited release.)
  • Salvation Boulevard- Religious satire starring Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connolly, and Marisa Tomei (in limited release.)
  • Snow Flower & the Secret Fan- Director Wayne Wong (The Joy Luck Club) returns with a historical drama that features a singing cameo by Hugh Jackman (in limited release.)
  • Lucky- A serial killer wins the lottery...stars Colin Hanks and Ari Graynor (in limited release.)
  • Tabloid- The triumphant Errol Morris returns with his latest enticing documentary about a 1970s beauty queen who kidnapped and imprisoned a Mormon man for love, becoming a scandal celebrity in the process (in limited release.)

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