Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bridesmaids Of Thor's Zookeeper's Hallows

Coming to a local cineplex near you. Best movie ever.

As you can tell from the title, I've been to a few movies lately, and I'd like to correct my negligence in reporting what's worth spending your hard-earned money on. So let's have a look.

While Hangover 2 was a strange disappointment, Bridesmaids is not. It's hilarious, really, and if you enjoy funny movies, this is a requirement. It's also tremendously profane, but profane in the way that people talk naturally, instead of just lobbbing in an f-bomb every thirty lines (again, looking at you, Hangover 2). Okay, it does get a bit sentimental in the last half hour, but that doesn't ruin anything. It's an excellent, well-written, cracking movie.

Eli 9.11 and I went to see this together, and it was one of the best superhero movies I've seen in years. Even better, while it's entirely appropriate for 9-year-olds, the humor is so clever and so broadly based that it's still tremendously entertaining for adults. It broadly pokes fun at the superhero genre while still respecting it, and if you enjoy the genre (or have a 9-year-old), go see this immediately.

This was one of the strangest movies I've seen in quite a while. There were so many individually funny lines in the film, but when the lights came up, I stood up and said to myself, "That wasn't very funny." We were walking out of the theater, and Eli 9.11 said, "Something about that just didn't hang together, did it?"

No, it didn't.

The odd thing, though, is that I can't quite put my finger on what went wrong. That's an ideal movie for Kevin James, which plenty of physical comedy, and he's entirely passable (even likable) as the lead. It just all feels forced, somehow, and while we both laughed quite a bit, I don't think either one of us really enjoyed ourselves.

Well, except for the scene with the Gorilla in TGIF. That was gold.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
We returned from San Diego on Thursday at 3, and on Friday, we headed out to see Harry Potter. Eli's read all the books (so have we), he's seen all the films (so have we, but he saw Half-Blood Prince seven times), and he is a master of the arcane lore of the series.

His reaction? "That was the best one."

Yes, it was.

Here's what I was afraid would happen: it would be impossible for the director to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis--in this case, Sentimentality and Testosterone. So the movie would either be over-sentimental, or it would be so over-fueled in the battle scenes that it would be Transformers with capes.

Fortunately, it was neither.

Instead of wringing sentimentality out of the material or exaggerating the action, the film just tells the story told by the book (with only minor changes)--an incredibly wise decision, because the material is so gripping that it doesn't need exaggeration. And unlike some of the other films, which have sometimes dragged, it's tightly paced and very disciplined. It races, really, which is just what the book does.

Here's an embarrassing admission: I have enjoyed the books so much, enjoyed even more seeing Eli come to love them as well, that I teared up in several sections of the film, the cumulative impact of affection almost overwhelming me at times. Good grief, I'm tearing up right now as I type this.

I can't say that about anything else I've ever read, and that, for me, is the overpowering charm of the Harry Potter series: in spite of being a crusty old curmudgeon, those characters became very real to me. It's not Irving or Bellows, but Rowling's writing is so human in a way that other, more skilled writers have never been.

When I read a Harry Potter book, I never felt any artifices of the craft at all. It just felt like she was reporting what happened.

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