21 November 2002

Harry Potterrific

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: 3.25 Stars. Another faithful rendition of Joanne Rowling's superlative series hit the silver screen last weekend and made (not surprisingly) a ton of money. And, for the the most part, it earned it. This movie, like the book, isn't really for little kids, which, I suppose, is why I enjoy the series so much. It was especially nice to see the kids aging a bit, including the supporting cast like Seamus and Neville. I wish they could keep up the pace and do one of these a year; we could really watch all of them grow up, but it appears unlikely. Overall, I really enjoyed this flick. It was exciting, well-acted, and had decent dialogue. They, by necessity, had to cut out a bunch of stuff from the book, but the movie doesn't really suffer for it. Kenneth Branagh was especially fun to watch as Gilderoy Lockheart. I'd originally envisioned him as too old for the role, but he fit it perfectly. I also really enjoyed Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. He clearly enjoyed playing malevolence personified. The only complaint I have is the sappy roundup at the end, with the cheering and the tears. I understand that the book ended similarly, but it works better in print than in melodrama. Perhaps Alfonso Cuarón (the director of the next film) will figure out a better way to depict it. Also, someone tell Rupert Grint to stop mugging for the camera or he'll have a pretty short career outside of the Harry Potter septology. Special kudos to Emma Watson, who is going to be a first-class hottie someday and will likely have the acting chops as well (à la Kate Winslet).

14 November 2002

I'm Sorry Mama

8 Mile: 2.75 Stars. Good flick, overall. Just didn't really move me emotionally. Eminem's a decent actor, especially with Mekhi Phifer picking up the slack. They went for a Rocky-like storyline of local bum makes good, but not too good. However, the climax wasn't set up well enough or executed well enough. Kudos to Kim Basinger for still having a marvelous ass.

Mr. Deeds: 1.5 Stars. Ugh. The only things worth watching in this movie were Winona Rider's luminous beauty and John Turturro's best character since Jesus in The Big Lebowski.

Road to Perdition: 3 Stars. Sam Mendes shows us that American Beauty wasn't just a fluke with this moody, dark tale of Irish mobster Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks). Unfortunately, the material doesn't rise quiet enough to the occasion...the story needed something more to get the audience emotionally involved. Paul Newman was his wonderful self, as was perennial stick-up-the-ass Dylan Baker. I doubt they could've underused Jennifer Jason Leigh more if they'd tried.