Thursday, November 18, 2010

Movie Openings: Week of November 19th, 2010 - Deathly Hallows Calling

There is only one single movie that you would want to see this weekend and it's all been building up to this moment. I can't say how excited I am that the first part of the Harry Potter movie finale is finally premiering this week. And knowing what a juggernaut the Harry Potter movie franchise is, there are hardly any other noteworthy movies premiering alongside it. But we'll get to them anyway.

So, here we go!

"The End Begins," says the ominous tagline.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the final book in J.K. Rowling's saga of the boy magician is finally here in movie form. Because of the length of the book and with returning director, David Yates not wanting to compromise the integrity of the story in order to pigeonhole it into a 2+ hour movie, the studio has decided to break up this final Potter movie into two parts (this one clocks in at almost 2 ½ hours). Of course, the more sinister or conspiratorial reason for this 2-part finale is so that the studio can wring the most profits out of the moviegoing masses. I mean, this is it. Warner Bros. won't be able to milk the Potter franchise anymore. Of course, they still have the DVD/Blu-ray market but essentially, this is the end of the gravy train. No more "Harry Potter" movies after Part 2 premieres in July next year.

What else can I say about the Harry Potter movies except that they've been of tremendous entertainment value since the first movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" made its debut back in 2001 (gosh, has it been that long?). Whether or not you've read the books, the movies made it an easy entry for the audience to immerse themselves fully within Rowling's fantasy world. As the franchise progressed, so has the storylines, which has grown gradually darker with each installment. And this epic finale should be, well, epic.

You know, no matter what critics might say about the movie, there is no doubt in my mind that throngs of people are going to line up to watch "Deathly Hallows Part 1" this weekend. The Potter movie franchise is such that it practically sells itself through name recognition alone. So get ready for the stampede if you are going to the cinemas this weekend! Good luck!

Brave enough to premiere alongside the Harry Potter finale is "The Next Three Days," the single notable movie opening this weekend that has some name recognition going for it. It is also the only other movie (besides "Deathly Hallows") with a nationwide release. This thriller, helmed by Oscar winner Russel Crowe and directed by Paul Haggis ("Crash," "In the Valley of Elah") is a remake of a 2008 French film, "Pour Elle," has divided most movie critics and has resulted in an almost even split (47%) on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's the synopsis:

"Life seems perfect for John Brennan until his wife, Lara, is arrested for a murder she says she didn't commit. Three years into her sentence, John is struggling to hold his family together, raising their son and teaching at college while he pursues every means available to prove her innocence. With the rejection of their final appeal, Lara becomes suicidal and John decides there is only one possible, bearable solution: to break his wife out of prison. Refusing to be deterred by impossible odds or his own inexperience, John devises an elaborate escape plot and plunges into a dangerous and unfamiliar world, ultimately risking everything for the woman he loves."

It doesn't seem like a plausible enough story that you can hang your hat on but I'm a sucker for a good thriller any day of the week. It is most certainly not a must-see film but if a million people are jammed into the theaters for "The Deathly Hallows," this movie may be your only chance to get away from the crush this weekend. Not the most encouraging recommendation but hey, it's better than nothing, right?

Opening in limited release is "Made in Dagenham," starring Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins and Miranda Richardson. This is a well-received movie and has received a pretty good 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I figured that I won't be able to inform you about the movie any better than the synopsis. So here it is:

"Set against the backdrop of the 1960s, MADE IN DAGENHAM is based on a true story about a group of spirited women who joined forces, took a stand for what was right, and in doing so, found their own inner strength. Although far from the Swinging Sixties of Carnaby Street, life for the women of Dagenham, England is tinged with the sounds and sights of the optimistic era, heard on their radios and seen on their TV sets. Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) reflects that upbeat era, along with her friends and co-workers at the city's Ford Motor Factory -- Sandra (Jamie Winstone), Eileen (Nicola Duffett), Brenda (Andrea Riseborough), Monica (Lorraine Stanley) and Connie (Geraldine James) -- who laugh in the face of their poor conditions. Lisa (Rosamund Pike) is a fiercely intelligent Cambridge-educated woman who feels a bit trapped, tending to the home with a husband that suggests she keep her opinions to herself. She may not live in the same world as the other women, but she shares their views. No one thought the revolution would come to Dagenham, until one day, it did. Rita, who primarily sees herself as a wife and mother, is coerced into attending a meeting with shop steward Connie, sympathetic union representative Albert (Bob Hoskins) and Peter Hopkins (Rupert Graves), Ford's Head of Industrial Relations. What she expects to be simply a day out of work, complete with a free lunch, turns into much more when she and her colleagues become outraged by the lack of respect shown in the meeting to the women employees. With humor, common sense and courage Rita and the other women take on their bosses, an increasingly belligerent local community, and finally the government, as their intelligence and unpredictability proves to be a match for any of their male opponents. Daring to stand up and push boundaries, the women changed a system that no one wanted to admit was broken."

Finally, the last movie on our list this week (also opening in limited release) is a foreign film from the Indian continent titled "Guzaarish" and it stars former Miss Universe Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan. This film is essentially a romance story set against the backdrop of a paralyzed man seeking euthanasia. The following is the brief synopsis:

"On the fourteenth anniversary of an accident that left him paralyzed, magician Ethan decides to seek control over his own life. He petitions the Court to end his life and leaves his nurse and companion Sofia in an impasse that challenges their relationship and their love."

So, there you have it. The movie releases for this week. There is only one film worth watching this weekend and you already know what it is. Have a great weekend at the movies!

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