Offering a first look at the year ahead in independent film, culture and new ideas, Sundance Institute announced the 65 films selected for the U.S. Competition, World Competition and out-of-competition NEXT category set to premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Because the books are so beloved, the movies so successful and the fans still reeling in post-Potter malaise, Warner Bros. is releasing one final (and this is really it guys, for real, I swear) look back with the real behind-the-scenes story, the true making-of, the 48-minute documentary only available on the DVD purchased at Target, WHEN HARRY LEFT HOGWARTS.
Two new trailers were released this week for TEXAS KILLING FIELDS and THE WOMAN IN BLACK, and just as last week’s trailers seemed to fit into a theme (kids and babies), so does this week’s: men. Scared men, to be exact. To be even more exact, scared men running around trying to figure out what’s scaring them. First up is TEXAS KILLING FIELDS, which was directed by a chick! And yet this is not a chick flick, so already it’s got a lot going for it. It also stars some badass chicks, like Jessica Chastain and Chloe Moretz, but like I said before this week’s theme is men, because the trailer pretty much just shows two dudes, Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who looks like the love child of Javier Bardem and Robert Downey Jr.). The only time a woman shows up it’s to help the dudes or scream her head off because some dude is trying to kill her. In fact, with all the dudes running and slamming car doors and chicks screaming for their lives and music crescendoing, all I managed to understand about this movie is that it’s got something to do with a scary field and an old, green Pontiac.
It’s been a couple of days since I saw the latest Harry Potter movie, the one with a title so long I’m even more tired of typing it than I am of trying to figure out what the hell it even means (Deathly Hallows? I know it refers to the three brothers who made wishes and got stuff, but if we’re using hallow as a noun here it means “a saint or holy person.” So how are the brothers holy, and if they are, how are they deathly holy? And what other names in the series sound good but make no sense?) Anyhow, I keep seeing the various HARRY POTTER stars pop up on TV and make unexpected appearances in trailers for movies that are not HARRY POTTER. Earlier this week a very energetic and refreshingly down-to-earth Daniel Radcliffe was on “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” promoting his current gig as the star of the Broadway show “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (in which he sings and dances and talks with an American accent). Tom Felton, who plays Harry’s nemesis, Draco Malfoy, showed up in the trailer for RISE OF PLANET OF THE APES, which ran, coincidentally, before HARRY POTTER.
After ten years of donning capes and brandishing their wands, it must feel strange to the cast of The Harry Potter series to realize that it’s really and truly over. No more sequels, no more special appearances as members of England’s most famous fictitious wizarding world. As the movie posters promise: It All Ends.
As an unabashed fan, the ending is a little bittersweet. I finished the last book years ago when it was first released, so the final events themselves came as no surprise. But if longtime Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves and director David Yates were ever to flex their creative powers and opt to leave out any major part of the book, I wish to god they had cut the final, awkwardly tacked on flash forward.
Two stills from Reiniger’s THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED
Reviews of the second to last film of the Harry Potter empire are mixed. There are the die hard fans who will eat up anything Potter & Co. churn out and then, on the other hand, are the Harry haters whose spiteful critiques of the movies take all the easy hits (too sentimental, not enough magic) and ultimately waste everyone’s time. So say what you will about Harry Potter, THE DEATHLY HALLOWS may carry the markings of a film that’s trying to be more than just transition to a finale, but its post-apocalyptic scenes of Harry, Hermione and Ron moving silently through desolate (and beautifully shot) landscapes and running low on friendly cheer are some of the film’s most captivating moments. There are plenty of super-CG chase scenes and wand-lashing, spell-throwing fights, but its the quiet, tense moments where the trio has run out of ideas and are wallowing aimlessly in a canvas tent in the middle of nowhere that give an otherwise transitional piece some heft.