Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recently Screened

Sidebar updated -- comment here if you feel like it:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I'm kind of astonished -- and way impressed -- that Warner Brothers would throw a couple hundred million (let's say) at David Yates to make what amounts to a 2.5 hour movie about a pair of teenage romances. Don't get me wrong, because I love the movie that resulted, and in the grand scope of things, and of what's time come in the last two movies, it was wonderful to see a movie that basically lingered on Harry and his friends and showed us what's at stake in the coming battles. I still think certain things could have been lingered on a bit longer (the explanation of the horcruxes went by so fast, I'm not sure if I totally understood it, and I've read the books and know how it all turns out). B+

The Hurt Locker
Really tightly-paced action and inventive storytelling wrapped around an occasionally soggy script, but boosted by some of the strongest performances of the year. Especially Anthony Mackie, but especially especially Jeremy Renner, who I'm not sure will be topped by any actor this year. Kathryn Bigelow really gets at the day-to-day toll that life on the brink takes. A-

For a movie about prophecies about future disasters, the fact that it's so predictable is either sneakily artistic or else just a gift to snarky reviewers. Either way, Rose Byrne delivers 3/4 of a competently inoffensive performance before kind of embarassing herself when it came time to start screaming and sobbing. The ending manages to be heartless AND New Agily queer at the same. Time. All that said ... it had a moment or two. C

Waltz with Bashir
I'm not sure why I was expecting this to be boring, but I found it particularly engaging and beautiful. Which means, in terms of exceeding expectations, this one rated above WALL-E. That Animated Feature Oscar was a farce! B


Midgard Dragon said...

Waltz was pretty boring. WALL-E easily beat it and deserved the animated Oscar (and as many suggested Best Picture Oscar) by a long shot.

jessica said...

I agree with you about HBP. It was very touching and moving as a film, much moreso than any of the others, but they definitely could have, and perhaps should have, spent more time explaining the critical logistics of the horcruxes and the quest to come. I have similar beefs about certain aspects of the other films as well, most notably Azkaban, where they just sort of skipped over the whole realization that Remus, Peter, Sirius and James were Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs and how they came to be such. Maybe not critical, but it's a piece of that installment's puzzle and one of my favorite parts in the series.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

The thing that surprised me about it was how vivid and awesome Helena Bonham-Carter was with about as many lines as you could count on your fingers. This sold it for me:

Joe Reid said...

HBC brought it home, for sure. That scene of her skipping through the tall weeds, singsonging "I killed Sirius Black" was a highlight for me.

Vance said...

boy you really didn't like WallE. sorry but Waltz had some nice touches and the animation was beautiful but it was so boring and egotistical (why don't I understand my dream? Let's find out in an overlong longwinded way... zzzzz)

Joe Reid said...

Wow. I love you all, seriously, but you know the quickest way to rile up a WALL-E fan? Suggest, however lightly, that any other animated film might possibly have been better. Folks, I liked WALL-E. Tell the fan club to call off the dogs!