Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review

harry-potterIt’s FINALLY here. David Yates, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Jim Broadbent, Bonnie Wright, and many more hit theaters July 15th at 12:01am. It’s already sold out hundreds of theaters across the country, but is it worth it? Absolutely. If you can wait, the experience will be even better in IMAX, but the story and the visuals hold up no matter what theater you’re in.

First and foremost, there will be no spoilers in this review, so you can all just calm down. It’s time for the good, the bad, and the plot…

The Plot:

A now, much more mature Harry Potter starts his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s never an easy task for him to make it to school and this film is no exception. With the help of a good friend he makes it back and once there discovers an old book mysteriously marked “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” in the new teacher, Horace Slughorn’s class. With the help of Dumbledore, Harry begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past. Meanwhile, everyone in the school appears to be hormone crazy and Harry, Hermoine, and Ron all deal with their own versions of love.

harry-potter-2009The Good:

  • Special Effects: Eat your heart out Michael Bay. I didn’t even see the film in IMAX and the special effects were still some of the best I’ve seen. Some of the outside shots of the castle are absolutely brilliant. Spectacular no matter what screen you see it on.
  • The Acting: Phenomenal. I could (and might) write an entire piece just on their acting. It’s amazing to see the main trio all grow up and be able to perform so well. Although there were a few stand-out performances….
  • Alan Rickman: every line he says is spot on. You never know if you can trust him and his voice sends shivers down your spine.
  • Rupert Grint: His character had the best and most relatable story line. He’s not super smart, he’s not gifted, and he’s not the best looking guy around, BUT he’s always there when you need him and he always gives his best even when others around him are doing better. He doesn’t give up, he keeps trying.
  • All Grown Up: The characters, the story, the issues, everything has matured. Part of me enjoys seeing them as young adults, but part of me wishes they were still little kids running around with wands.
  • Honest to the Book: Even when I was hoping it wouldn’t be. Although, as always, the book has more than the movie, but that has come to be expected.

The Bad:

  • Over/Under Explaining: There are a few scenes that are repetitive and other scenes which feel completely under explained. I didn’t need the plot points explained to me over and over again, we all know Tom Riddle is evil, I needed to know why certain things were happening for no apparent reason.
  • Half-Blood: I get what it means, but can someone explain why the hell that matters so much?
  • Ginny: Bonnie Wright may be a great actress but I have yet to see them give her a chance to prove it. She plays a pivotal role in this film and yet has no arch. She had very few lines and I never truly saw what was so desirable about her.
  • Stand Alone: This film doesn’t stand alone as much as some of the other ones. One film always leads to another, but this film left me a touch unfulfilled.

Overall:

The reason I enjoyed this film is that I love the characters, but it did feel a touch lack-luster. Although we have seen tragedy in the Potter films before, this film has a much more serious tone, which was balanced out with some cheesy and not always perfect moments. That being said, for all it’s fault, it’s still one of the best films to see this summer and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Movie Review: Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons is a direct sequel to The Da Vinci Code and based on the book of the same name (though Dan Brown fans will tell you Angels is actually supposed to be the prequel of The Da Vinci Code).

angels_and_demons

Angels and Demons brings back symbologist (aka glorified scavenger hunter)Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) on another yet mystery involving Catholicism. On the eve of the latest’s Pope’s death, the four cardinals vying for the Papacy have been kidnapped by a member of a secret organization known as The Illuminati. The assailant promises to kill one cardinal for every hour until midnight when he sets off an anti-matter bomb somewhere in Vatican City. Now, it is a race against time as Langdon searches for the Cardinals and tries desperately to stop the bomb before it kills thousands.

Written by David Koepp (Spider-Man) and Akiva Goldsman, Angels is a fast-paced thrill ride from beginning to end. One part National Treasure, one part Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?, the movie starts off with a murder and never gives you a chance to breathe. Even some of the more dialogue-filled scenes are quick. It is not so much that the lines are delivered quickly, but rather there is so much substance in it, viewers really need to listen to the dialogue, comprehend it, and try to figure out where Langdon will go next. Sure, moviegoers do not have to play along, but how can you resist? The whole movie is a mystery and everyone loves a good mystery.

Hanks reprises his role as Langdon and looks very comfortable in the role. He recites his dialogue quickly and with enough force to give the impression that he knows what he is talking about. Plus, this is Tom Hanks we’re talking about here. Every movie he is in he gives his best possibly performance and this movie is no exception to the rule. The supporting actors, Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgard , are both equally great in their individual roles and more than hold their own in the presence of Hanks, but this movie is really Hanks’ baby.

With a movie that is constantly driven by dialogue and fast-paced scenes, you need a director that can balance both and Ron Howard is certainly the right man for the job. He injects a ton of energy into each shot, whether it is a dialogue driven scene or an action scene. The camera is constantly moving and every shot and special effect has a purpose. There are no slow motion action sequences just for the sake of a slow motion action sequence. Every scene and frame is methodical. Howard is definitely an old school director, with shooting scenes that are simple but are visually impressive. Watch what he does with a simple pair of shoes and you can tell Howard is cut above the rest.

While visually impressive and entertaining, even the prettiest rose has its sharp thorns. Despite all the history infused into the picture, it is still at its core an action film with its share of illogical and impossible occurrences. Men jump out of planes, hitting various buildings on their way down and live to talk about it, and anti-matter bombs exists. Also, while Langdon is the hero of the picture, he hardly acts like one. At the first sight of a gun fight, our main protagonist flees and looks for place to hide. It is a small gripe, but it is odd to see a hero essentially run away from a battle. If you can overlook these small issues, they should have no problems enjoying the film.

Angels and Demons is a well written, well-directed brainy action movie. Fans of Hanks or of the Dan Brown books will be more than pleased with this adaptation of the book. Let the Angels guide you to this film and you will be happy with the result.

Movie Review- Next Day Air

Smoke weed, not crack, and use FedEx, not Next Day Air. Such are the lessons of this low-grade entertainment about a bumbling courier who mistakenly delivers a large stash of coke to two bumbling criminals, angering a bumbling drug dealer and yielding predictably dire consequences in an altogether bumbling excuse for an action-comedy. Genre fans in need of a quick fix should line up for the Summit Entertainment release in urban markets before a speedy homevid dropoff.

next_day_air

Scripted by Blair Cobbs, the blood-spattered Philadelphia story begins with pothead deliveryman Leo (Donald Faison, who co-produced) trying to calm down a roomful of gun-waving gang types. In by-now-passe Tarantino-ish fashion, the pic leaps back in time to two days earlier, when a glumly stoned Leo delivers a large package to the wrong apartment.

That would be the crash-pad of hopelessly inept bank robbers Guch (Wood Harris, who played a much more layered and compelling crook on The Wire) and Brody (Mike Epps), who think they’ve hit the jackpot when they open the box and find 10 kilos of premium cocaine inside. The two wannabe hoods make plans to sell the coke to Brody’s cousin Shavoo (Omari Hardwick) and his nameless associate (Darius McCrary), while the drugs’ intended recipient, Puerto Rican dealer Jesus (Cisco Reyes), goes on the warpath in search of his missing package.

There are only so many fresh ways to spin this scenario, and none of them are revealed in Next Day Air, which could charitably be praised as not too long (at 84 minutes) and no more painful to endure than any of the multiple homicides committed during the exceptionally gruesome finale.

The violent climax feels weirdly out of touch with the rest of the story, which, as directed by first-timer Benny Boom (a musicvideo vet), has an attention span to match Leo’s. Staggering aimlessly along as though in its own drug-induced haze, the tonally erratic pic veers between amusingly flip banter and spasmodic flashbacks to the characters’ past misdeeds. Neither vein pushes any of these lowlifes and underachievers beyond stereotype; that they’re inhabited capably enough by the actors suggests not authenticity so much as tired routine.

As could be expected, Mos Def drolly pockets the picture with his brief, amusing appearance as Leo’s fellow courier. And while women have little to do here besides strip and make out, Dominican-Colombian bombshell Yasmin Deliz leaves a sultry impression as Jesus’ mouthy moll, and Debbie Allen gets a few laughs as Leo’s mouthy mom.

Lensing looks sludgy and cheap, which suits the characters and setting; editing is punchy but not too abrasive. Soundtrack is on the slim side but includes songs performed by Robin Thicke and 50 Cent, both of whom Boom has directed in videos

Star Trek 2009 Movie Review

The most popular old sixties sci-fi television serial Star Trek with characters of Mr. Spock has been brought into big screen by director J J Abrams. However, 2009 Star Trek is nothing more than the same formula but with intense action.

star-trek-2009-movie-review

J J Abrams rewrites to take the audience back into the original star Trek’s pre-historic appeal. The new Star Trek is a film of a journey by young crew on a stunning spaceship USS Enterprise. The mission of this voyage amidst dangers and spectacular action sequence is to protect mankind from the deadly threat of Romulan Nero. The Nero is back, all set to take revenge by destroying planets.

Star Trek film has all the characters so familiar that it needed no introduction or reestablishment of their identities. Spock, Captain Kirk and Bones are all well known to the audience. The plot rests on a simple platform of a rescue mission. There is the reunion of two Spock the older in the form of Leonard Nimoy with Zachary Quinto, the new age Spock. Eric Bana as Nero makes the role suitably scary but with not much of intelligent fouls play. The big thing of the film is the time travel loop that takes it forward and its in a new timeline that the sequence of events in this film unfolds.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

As a kid one of the few comics I actually read were Spiderman and Wolverine. I will admit I never really got into the origins of Logan and although I knew the key elements about Sabretooth being his arch enemy and SilverFox being his slain love I didn’t know the story of his childhood and found it quite interesting to watch it unfold on the big screen. The movie has also fired up my urges to go pickup a couple of back issues of Wolverine and dive deep into the Weapon X comics and how they told the origins of Wolverine just to see how it compares to the film.

x-men-origins-wolverine

‘Wolverine’ is a spin-off movie broken off from the X-Men series. In this movie we can expect to find out more about Wolverine’s past, as he travels the globe in search of his lost memory.

Overall Wolverine delivered as a fun video game paced movie that had plenty of action, just enough grittiness and enough good writing to drive the story along at a very fast pace that definitely impressed the very loud theatre audience I saw the film with tonight. I felt that they did a very good job at showing Logan’s upbringing and delving into the complicated relationship between him and Sabretooth and even those in the audience who had never read a single comic would have had enough understanding to then follow the whole movie.

It was nice that they didn’t make the film to overly cliche especially when they covered the unusual relationship between Sabretooth and Wolverine. Although PG-13 they were also not afraid to push the line where it fit the story with certain characters like DeadPool and they certainly didn’t try and make a sugar coated X-Men movie.This movie although by no means as dark as Batman Begins and Dark Knight is also not light and fluffy like the X-Men movies. It could have been darker but it was considering its rating a pretty good PG-13 telling of a very violent mutant.

It was also nice to see so many different mutants in the movie including Young Cyclops, The Blob and my personal favorite Deadpool. The movie had a nice mix of elements that made the movie a great waste of 90minutes and in my view a fun comic book movie although admittedly not the best comic book movie I have seen. The movie lacked the magic of The Dark Knight but it certainly had some of the light heartedness of Iron Man and was a definite leap above the X-Men movies which for me were just to tame. I would say if you liked X-Men and are a fan of the Wolverine Character you will definitely enjoy this movie. Go and check it out and just remember its not going to wow you with any deep thinking but it will tell you the origins of Wolverine in a fast paced and fun environment.

I did notice quite a few scenes were missing from the movie including a scene with Young Storm and a beech sequence with SilverFox. So it seems the movie has a few alternate sceens for DVD and with some luck we will get an unrated extended DVD cut that offers more then the typical cliche 30seconds of extras. Clearly the Young Storm scene comes from when Weapon X is in Africa but I am not sure how the alternate Silver Fox scene would work. Here is hoping we can get more of the Africa Mission and lots more character development in the DVD Release that may have been cut out for the theatrical release to cut the time down.

Oh and for those who are wondering… Yes just like in Blade Trinity ( which totally destroyed the Blade Movie Franchise ) Ryan Reynolds stole the movie with his one liners and funny antics. Ryan Reynolds as DeadPool was fantastic and like many fan boys before me I also declare, he needs his own comic book movie franchise already!