Friday, July 13, 2007

Movies opening this week

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, dir. David Yates)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I am neither a big Harry Potter fan nor some sort of Potter detractor; rather, I am fairly neutral on the Potter movies, which are generally dependable but rarely great. I've always been entertained by these films, and this one was no exception, although it's not up to the standards of the last two. After peaking with Alfonso Cuaron's third installment, the series has reliably soldiered along, and I have no doubt that the final two movies will be fun to watch, if not spectacular. Wide release

Shortcut to Happiness (Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Anthony Hopkins, Kim Cattrall, dir. Alec Baldwin)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
The tortured history of this film is far more interesting than the film itself, which is being dumped in six randomly chosen markets (of which Vegas is one) on its way to anonymous DVD release. The financiers lied about having the money to make the movie, and got it seized by federal authorities; Baldwin has now been telling reporters that people should not go see the movie. I think these Hollywood sagas are fascinating, and hopefully someone will write a book or a screenplay based on this tale (some IMDb commenter claims to have done just that, actually) that will end up being much more interesting than the movie itself. Very limited release

You Kill Me (Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni, Luke Wilson, dir. John Dahl)
I saw this movie at CineVegas and found it entertaining if a little disappointing. Kingsley is sort of distant as the main character, and he and Leoni have pretty much zero chemistry (not to mention that her character is barely fleshed out). The whole mob-war storyline is undercooked, but there are many funny moments, and Bill Pullman of all people puts in a very entertaining supporting performance. Nothing special, but given the general state of summer comedies, worth a look. Opened limited June 22; in Las Vegas this week

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