283. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 [C-]
283. The Other Guys [B-]
284. Greenberg [B ]
HARRY POTTER 7: The reviews were less than stellar for the penultimate film of the series, but I didnít pay much attention to them. Other films in the series have received less than terrific notices and been just as watchable as the third film, which will likely remain the best of the franchise at this point. Unfortunately, the film lived up to the lukewarm reviews. Iím sure I would have appreciated more having read the bookóI stopped with the books after the third volume when I was 12 and havenít looked backóbut, wow, does this film suck all the whimsy that had been present in the previous six films.
Oh, everyone makes a token appearance to collect their check, including some new faces (like Bill Nighy) and some old who havenít been around since the first film (like John Hurt), but none of them make an appearance of any significance. Alan Rickman, the most delightful adult actor in the series, must have all of three minutes of screen time before vanishing.
Also gone is Hogwarts, which might have a blink and you'll miss it appearance on screen, but is, for all intents and purposes, not in the film. And that's a shame, because the atmosphere created by those sets managed to carry the previous six films through even the most dreary of patches. Here it's gone, replaced (mostly) with the humdrum of the woods, which make the final budget of the film a little hard to understand. All the supporting cast of young actors are gone, too, save for a few brief and unimportant appearances.
Honestly, the film's worst sin is that it is boring. It's 45 minutes of a movie stretched into feature length, and it leads several patches to be plodding in a way the series has never been before. Unless the second part set to be released in July is bloated with story, it's hard to see Warner Bros.' decision to turn the book into a pair of movies as anything other than a cynical cash grab.
THE OTHER GUYS: It's less funny upon second-viewing, which doesn't surprise me, but it's still pretty entertaining, and downright hilarious in places (the Samuel L. Jackson/Dwayne Johnson cameos being the highlight of the film, but things like the bar montage are innovative and work just as well). I don't think I'll buy it, but I may end up seeing it again with friends and/or quoting some of at times ("aim for the bushes").
GREENBERG: I like Noah Bumbauch very much, but through most of his films I can't help but feel I'm watching the trials and tribulations of people that are so rich that they don't matter. Here, however, there's a little more than that, and also what is Ben Stiller's first performance that is not only tolerable, but brilliant (excepting, perhaps, his turn as himself on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM). It's no surprise that Stiller and Bumbauch want to work together again soon--his outburst about the mistakes of his past which comes near the end of the movie might be the best scene he's ever done as an actor, and a one-sided phone conversation (where, amongst other things, Greenberg re-evaluates the movie WALL STREET) is almost as good. The film also features some of the most awkward, unarousing nudity and sex you'll ever see in a movie (be warned? encouraged?).
I also wonder if, after a character has an abortion and Greenberg brings her a burger, the fact that she dismisses the food and expresses a mix of pain and sleepiness, we aren't watching Jennifer Jason Leigh (who co-wrote the story and has a role) re-write the worst moment of her role in FAST TIMES... that I noted earlier this year. That's probably just me, but these things start to pop out to you when you've seen so many movies in a year.
Hopefully I'll catch TRUE GRIT before the 1st. That's about all the plans I have. I'm trying to finish off the second season of IN TREATMENT in three days, which means I'm having a television overload right now.