Synopsis: Though HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN director Alfonso Cuaron still holds the crown for best film in the series, David Yates is making an attempt at a coup with HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. Dark, gleefully funny, and beautifully shot, this adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s novel should please fans despite numerous changes to the 650-page source material. In this sixth film in the series, Harry’s (Daniel Radcliffe) inevitable confrontation with the dark wizard Voldemort grows closer, and Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) wants the young student to be prepared. He guides Harry through a memory of a young Voldemort, but an important moment is missing. Harry must extract this memory from the new Hogwarts teacher, Horace Slughorn (a perfectly slimy Jim Broadbent), who is as eager for fame as he is reluctant to revisit this painful moment. Meanwhile, romance rules the school of witches and wizards, with Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) refusing to admit their feelings for each other. Harry also harbors a secret love of his own: Ron’s younger sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright). But despite his crush, Harry keeps an eye on Snape (Alan Rickman) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who may be responsible for attacks on the school. HALF-BLOOD PRINCE deftly balances the humor of Hogwarts heartbreak and the thrills of dark villains attacking the school. The cast is as talented as ever, and the youngest members–Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson–have developed their talent well. However, this film is most remarkable for its fine cinematography from AMELIE director of photography Bruno Delbonnel. Using a muted palette, Delbonnel makes Hogwarts look hauntingly beautiful in a way that fans have never seen. There’s always plenty of fun and adventure in the series, but this entry boasts impressive visuals as well.
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, David Bradley, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Cave, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Frank Dillane, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Natalia Tena, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Bonnie Wright; Directed by: David Yates
Julie and Julia
Synopsis: Meryl Streep is Julia Child and Amy Adams is Julie Powell in writer-director Nora Ephron’s adaptation of two bestselling memoirs: Powell’s Julie & Julia and My Life in France, by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme.
Based on two true stories, Julie & Julia intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends…until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.
Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond; Directed By: Nora Ephron
Synopsis: Johnny Depp and Christian Bale emerge from two of the biggest blockbuster series of all time (Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman, respectively) to star in this crime drama from HEAT director Michael Mann. Depp stars as charismatic 1930s gangster John Dillinger, whose notorious bank robberies have turned him into a celebrity during the Depression era. The rise in crime has J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) desperate to have his newly created FBI take down gangsters such as Dillinger, “Pretty Boy” Floyd (Channing Tatum), and “Baby Face” Nelson (Stephen Graham). Enter Agent Melvin Purvis (Bale), an ambitious crimefighter sent to Chicago to capture Dillinger and his gang. The criminal has evaded the law before, but he is drawn to the Second City by the beautiful Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard). Though PUBLIC ENEMIES boasts big names, it feels more like an arthouse offering than a typical gangster picture. With its intimately shot violence and 1930s setting, the film is more BONNIE AND CLYDE than GOODFELLAS. Mann and director of photography Dante Spinotti alternate between hand-held, high-quality digital cameras and more traditional film stock, giving this crime drama a carefully composed, thoroughly modern look. But the casting of the leads is vintage Hollywood: Depp could be the modern incarnation of silent star Rudolph Valentino, and Cotillard’s wide-eyed beauty–and talent–would fit right in with the starlets of the golden age. Everyone else, including Bale, fades into the background, but it’s hard to complain when Depp and Cotillard give such magnetic performances.
Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Jason Clarke, Rory Cochran, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Lang, John Ortiz, Giovanni Ribisi, David Wenham, John Michael Bolger, Bill Camp, Matt Craven, Emilie De Ravin, Don Frye, Spencer Garrett, Shawn Hatosy, Peter Gerety, Stephen Graham, John Hoogenakker, Branka Katic, Domenick Lombardozzi, David Warshofsky; Directed By: Michael Mann
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arrive in theaters, July 15 and you can read the review below.
There are two faces to the story of Harry Potter. The first is that of a young boy forced into the wondrous and oftentimes dark world of wizardry in order to destroy the evil Lord Voldevort who had long-ago murdered his parents. This is the face that bears the saga’s many adventures – magical tournaments and enchanted creatures, harrowing broomstick battles and spells exchanged like gunfire. It is also the face of mystery and intrigue – of secret sects both light and dark, of ministries of magic and old vendettas made new. Then there is the second face – the one of a boy growing slowly and awkwardly into manhood with friends who will prove to be the greatest of his life. It is the face of a boy becoming aware of his abilities and weaknesses, developing a passion for Potions or sports, discovering confidence and virtue, romance and responsibility. It is a face we’ve all worn, and while those of us who’ve followed Harry Potter on his seven-story adventure might never know the joys of conjuring a Patronus or casting some spectacular spell, we’ve all known the joyous — and occasionally painful — experience of growing up.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince knows this, too…
The sixth film in the franchise, Half-Blood Prince finds Harry thrust into a world that has finally, and stubbornly, accepted the return of Voldemort, a world in which Voldemort himself has doubled the efforts of his minions to rid Hogwarts of his many enemies there. The danger, as it does from book to book and film to film, has increased exponentially, and the secret to defeating this constant threat may just exist in a forgotten memory. Tasked by Dumbledore, Harry must befriend the newest addition to the Hogwarts staff, Professor Slughorn, and retrieve this long-lost recollection about a pivotal moment shared with a young Tom Riddle, then a student at the school. A recollection which will, believes Dumbledore, offer the key to the Dark Lord’s ultimate plan. Meanwhile, Snape’s suspicious activities, Draco’s scheming and frequent attacks by Bellatrix and her fellow Death Eaters all point to the inevitable final confrontation which many of you, no doubt, have experienced in the seventh and final book.
But if Half-Blood Prince is really about anything, it’s about that singular turning point into adulthood. It’s about the year in which Harry, Ron and Hermione discover romance as something to be embraced rather than embarrassed by…It’s the year in which each character finally seems to come into their own, and after two films heavy in plot and effects-laden action, we’re offered a portion of the story devoted to the development of the characters we’ve truly grown to love. It’s a testament to the brilliant balance of tones struck by director David Yates that the movie is able to shift between dark, somber moments in which characters must ultimately decide their loyalties and lighthearted, carefree exchanges between boys who are, much to their own chagrin, desperately in love with girls.
Yates is aided substantially by a set of actors whose performances continue to get better with each film, as well as a script that brings some of the more supporting characters to the forefront for a refreshing change of dynamics. The re-emergence of Draco and Ginny Weasley underscores both sides of the Harry Potter coin, forwarding the plot while demanding that Harry develop further as a character, never growing stagnant, both confronting enemies and admitting his growing affections. Ron’s interplay with Hermione in the film is also quite moving, allowing for equal instances of comedy and drama. And lastly, Jim Broadbent’s turn as the absent-minded, socialite Professor Slughorn is perhaps the best of the cameos we’ve seen to date – creating an immensely likeable and sympathetic character out of material that might easily have been more disagreeable in less capable hands.
The film’s only real weakness is one inherent to the series itself – that in trying to fill a school-year’s worth of time, most of what occurs in the movie simply feels like filler for the final few minutes. The “Thing That Happens at the End” – an event which we surely won’t spoil for you here – is, in a real sense, the only thing that actually happens, at least in as much as it relates to the continuing story of Harry’s battle against Voldemort. The events of Order of the Phoenix feel almost inconsequential here – just as the tournament in Goblet of Fire felt like something to puff up the page-count before Voldemort could re-appear in the final sequence. Thankfully, the character work is so finely developed in this outing that each of those concerns is quite easily forgiven amidst all the first-rate performances and overall impressive filmmaking. Readers should note, however, that the film cuts down substantially on the Voldemort flashbacks and never does explain the significance of the “Half-Blood Prince” — an odd omission, considering the title — but this is never to the detriment of the film itself.
That said, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a refreshing change of pace from the dynamic set pieces and wizarding intrigue of the last two films, offering up a heartfelt and surprisingly character-driven chapter in the epic saga of Harry vs. Voldemort. It is without a doubt among the very best in the cinematic series thusfar, second perhaps only to Azkaban, which to this critic offered the most skillful and well-executed balance of narrative and character, of momentum and pause, with never a beat of action too far from some honest and human exchange. Half-Blood Prince is a shockingly intimate film, propelled forward by its engaging characters into a few scattered moments of magical mayhem, yet never bores and never slows despite its insistence on following our heroes into their rapidly-approaching adulthood. It is, in a sense, the breath before the battle, setting up viewers for the epic confrontation to come – a battle so dark and so expansive that it’ll take two films to tell the entire story – and if the finale is conjured with all the drama and heart of this chapter, surely any reason to linger at Hogwarts a little longer will leave audiences shouting, “Abracadabra.”
It’s summer blockbuster time so, read this article and plan your summer movie outings.
It’s summer blockbuster time at the movie theatres with Wolverine, the X-Man most in need of a manicure, throwing out the first computer-generated eviscerations. Summer blockbuster time is a mixed blessing: remakes and sequels make up most of the menu, and a lot of the movies seem to have spent more of the budget on dynamite than on screenwriting. But there are always some promising newcomers, some of them even without mall cops. Here are a dozen megahits on the horizon, starting with the five best bets (highlighted by an asterisk):
* Terminator Salvation: No. 4 in the series — and apparently the start of a new trilogy from director McG — introduces Christian Bale as John Connor, the man who dodged all those assassin robots sent from the future to the past to kill him before he could change the future that they were in, or something. Bale is already familiar from his X-rated meltdown on the set of this film, so we’ll be able to see just what was so f—- distracting. Oh yeah, the plot: Connor leads survivors after a nuclear apocalypse. (May 21).
* Up: This animated film is from Pixar, which has a track record for movies that combine cleverness with heart. It’s about a 78-year-old man who sets off for adventure by attaching helium balloons to his house, only to discover he has a nine-year-old stowaway on his front porch. Hmmm. For what it’s worth — and it’s often not much — the film is also the opening gala at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. (May 29)
* The Taking of Pelham 123: The 1974 original — about a gang that hijacks a New York City subway car and demands money for hostages — was a classic heist film that influenced Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (the bad guys are named Mr. Blue, Mr. Grey, Mr. Green and Mr. Brown.) Tony Scott’s remake has more star power, with John Travolta as the head villain and Denzel Washington as the dispatcher who has to negotiate with him, and the paranoia of disaster has also stepped up in the intervening 34 years. (June 12).
* Public Enemies: A 1930s gangster movie, directed by Michael Mann, with Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, the leading hoodlum of his day, and Christian Bale — nicely recovered from Terminator: Salvation — as Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent hunting him down. Also of interest: Billy Crudup, mostly recently seen as a naked fluorescent superhero in Watchmen, plays J. Edgar Hoover, America’s No. 1 G-man (and secret cross-dresser, although the movie may leave that part out.) This one looks like a throwback to the great old rat-a-tat mob films: Bonnie and Clyde without the irony. (July 1)
* Inglourious Basterds: A remake of a 1978 Italian film (whose American release had the title spelled correctly) that was an homage to The Dirty Dozen, speaking of the devil. This Quentin Tarantino war movie stars Brad Pitt as the head of a group of soldiers in the Second World War who are sent out to scalp and kill as many Nazis as possible (ÒI want my scalps!Ó). Among the movie’s oddities are the fact that Mike Myers plays an American general. (Aug. 21)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine: The buzz is hot on this one, partly because an unfinished print was leaked on the Internet and people liked it, even minus the special effects. (What’s left? Emotionally vulnerability? Stop kvetching, X-Persons: at least you have a job.) It tells the story of Wolverine’s violent and romantic past, his relationship with Victor Creed (who will later become Sabretooth) and the mutant Weapons X program. I hope that means something to someone. Oscar host and song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman stars. (May 1)
Star Trek: The sci-fi classic undergoes a reinvention by J.J. Abrams, whose bona fides (Lost, Alias) may make him the ideal director for this kind of cult melodrama. Chris Pine stars as young Capt. James T. Kirk, piloting the USS Enterprise into danger, adventure and large portions of inter-terrestrial mishigas. The cast features the return of Leonard Nimoy, playing Old Spock. Good news: they’re already planning a sequel. Bad news: they’re already planning a sequel. (May 8)
Angels & Demons: If you loved The Da Vinci Code, with its fast-moving, historical-revelation-a-minute uncovering of a Catholic plot to subjugate women — or if you were driven to fury by the implications — he’s another chance to be thrilled (or apoplectic.) This prequel, from Da Vinci director Ron Howard, has been refigured as a sequel (go refigure) and again stars Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, the world’s most dangerous symbolist. This time he’s looking for an assassin from the secretive Illuminati who is killing cardinals. (May 15)
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: In this, the year of the security guard movie, Ben Stiller returns as Larry Daley, the man with the flashlight, in the third episode of the hit comedy franchise. Various historic figures are played by Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Eugene Levy and, well, various other historical figures. (May 22)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Giant robots fight for world supremacy in this sequel to the loud, explosive and lucrative adventure from loud-explosive-lucrative director Michael Bay. Decepticon returns to capture Sam (Shia LaBeouf), leaving Optimus Prime as mankind’s best hope to save the day, preferably by knocking down lots of buildings. (June 24)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Daniel Radcliffe — who may be married and bringing his own children to the theatre by the time this series ends — returns with the rest of the gang for his sixth year at Hogwarts. He learns new spells, finds a new girlfriend, and learns new secrets about Voldemort. The film was delayed from last November, an event that caused much protest and Internet chatter, but look: now you have something nice to do in July. (July 15)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Channing Tatum, whom you will have already enjoyed as Pretty Boy Floyd in Public Enemies, returns as a fighting man on the trail of an arms dealer. The action figure that became a comic book and then an animated TV show has gone through a lot of incarnations — at one point he was battling for the environment — but here he is a gun-toting, terrorist-killing soldier, although without the Kung-fu grip. (Aug. 7)
Clck on the link below to read the entire article:
Release date: Friday July 17, 2009 Genre: Fantasy/Action/Adventure Director: David Yates Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Screenplay: Steve Kloves Producer(s): David Barron, David Heyman Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, David Bradley, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Cave, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Frank Dillane, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Matthew Lewis, Pierre Vernier, Helen McCrory, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Natalia Tena, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Bonnie Wright Official Site:harrypotter.com Rating:PG scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality Available film art:Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince movie posters
Synopsis Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemort’s defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague, the well-connected and unsuspecting bon vivant Professor Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Harry finds himself more and more drawn to Ginny, but so is Dean Thomas. And Lavender Brown has decided that Ron is the one for her, only she hadn’t counted on Romilda Vane’s chocolates! And then there’s Hermione, simpering with jealously but determined not to show her feelings. As romance blossoms, one student remains aloof. He is determined to make his mark, albeit a dark one. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.
For those “Harry Potter” fans, who can’t wait for the movie to arrive in theaters next year – here is an idepth preview of what to expect. Beware spoiler warning.
The Harry Potter movies have become a perennial summer and holiday movie mainstay since the 2001 release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. With each film, we’ve watched the actors, their characters, and the storytelling mature. And even though J.K. Rowling’s literary series has drawn to a close, there are still three films to go in the big-screen series.
Next year, the beloved boy wizard returns in the much-anticipated sixth installment of the Warner Bros. film franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The yarn, set in Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts, explores the past of the evil Lord Voldemort and deals with the increasingly complex relationships between Harry and his friends as they prepare for the final battle.
But you don’t have to wait until July 17, 2009 to find out what’s in store for the next movie in the magical series. We’ve gazed into our crystal ball and have assembled this enchanted guide.
Here’s what you can expect in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince…
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Lord Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final confrontation with an evil that he knows is fast approaching.
Together, Harry and Dumbledore work to find the key to unlock Voldemort’s defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague — the well-connected and unsuspecting Professor Horace Slughorn — whom he believes holds crucial information.
Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage. Harry finds himself more and more drawn to Ginny, but so is Dean Thomas. And Lavender Brown has decided that Ron is the one for her, only she hadn’t counted on Romilda Vane’s chocolates that are spiked with a love potion. And then there’s Hermione, simmering with jealously but determined not to show her feelings.
There’s lots more. Just click on the link below to get the scoop: