Saturday, August 13, 2011

Catching Up: "Super 8," "Deathly Hallows"

I’m so far behind on writing about movies that anything interesting I had to say has probably seeped out of my brain by now. But that’s never stopped me before, so…

Over the July 4 weekend, we saw J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8,” and I can’t disagree with the critical conventional wisdom that labeled it the kind of movie Steven Spielberg (a producer of Abrams’ film) used to make, back in the mid-1970s when he was on his way to becoming a legend. Ultimately it’s a monster movie, but it has the good sense to keep its monster a mystery for most the proceedings, which allows its characters (most of whom are kids making their own movie – a zombie flick – on the “Super 8” film of the title) to be fleshed out, and its story to be developed. In the reviews I read, most of the focus was on the father/son relationship between Jackson and Joe Lamb (Kyle Chandler and Joel Courtney, respectively), but I found the relationship between Joe and the pretty, somewhat mysterious Alice Dainard (a terrific Elle Fanning) to be more emotionally effective. You’ve also got some vintage 70s-era military paranoia creeping throughout the proceedings, as well as one of the best train wreck scenes you’re ever going to see in a movie. All in all, it’s everything that you would expect to find in a summer flick.

And then, of course, there was “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.” As I am sure is the case with thousands of families through the country and the world, the Potter books and movies will always be a part of our family history. When the first books came out, our kids were barely old enough to read. With the release of the final movie, the youngest is about to begin his senior year in high school.

If you’ve stayed with the series this far, there’s no doubt about it – you’ll love “Part 2.” It is the culmination of one of the most notable film series of all time, made all the more special by the fact that nearly of all the series’ main actors were kept intact for all 8 films. Everyone gets the finale that they deserve, none more so than the three principal characters who have driven the story since the very beginning – Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint). It may be a cliché to say it, but they’ve grown up before our very eyes, and it’s been fun to watch, every step of the way.

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