Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I thought the movie began well, but started a slow descent shortly after Harry rescues his cousin. His uncle's exclamation of "Justice" upon hearing the news of Harry's expulsion from Hogwarts had me confused. If Harry is such a pain in his side, wouldn't he want to get rid of him? Once again Harry is "rescued" but this time by a cast of characters we the movie-goers don't recognize (with the exception of Moody), but Harry apparently does. These characters were obviously left in for the readers only. A proper script-writer would have cut the other characters from the scene, having only Mad-Eye come to Harry's rescue. The other characters could be at the Order's meeting where they don't need to be introduced because they would just be the glamorized extras that they are.
I did like the character of Luna and her airy, almost whimsical way of seeing the world. I have to say that the character of Delores Umbridge was more than a little bit scary. Christ, the woman was terrifying! Donald Rumsfeld with a wand! Imelda Staunton will be scaring little kids for the rest of her days after this. Was it me, or did it seem like Helena Bonham Carter was typecasted? She looked like Marla Singer (Fight Club) gone psycho.
And while the Great Wizard Battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore was cool, albeit brief, Sirius' death, seemed rather anti-climatic. Where did he go when he fell through that archway? What was that archway to? It was never explained, but probably obvious to the readers. And when Ginny's spell created the tsunami of fortunes, wouldn't it have been so like an older brother to say something like "Oh, nice going, Ginny"? Ron could have said that, taking a little tension from the moment before they fled the scene.
The longest book in the series is translated into the shortest movie of the series? Come on! Maybe that was why I felt that something was missing from this year's edition of the HP series. Grade: C+.
The Simpsons Movie
Homer was right, I'm a sucker.
Bigger, yes, but better? Debateable. It looked better, some of the jokes were pretty good, but it would have just been an impressive version of the show on television. Bart's nude-scene was pretty clever, I'll give them credit for that. C.
The Bourne Ultimatum
The biggest surprise in this movie is the fact that much of it takes place before Bourne's call to Pamela Landy at the end of the second movie. While the plot is a bit confusing, it isn't any more confusing than most Bond movies. A long chase segment through a north-African city had me on the edge of my seat and gripping the back of the one in front of me. Who knew that a hardcover book could be such a leathal weapon? Tie your shoes, boys and girls, because this movie is by far the best, most thrilling movie of the summer. A
Rush Hour 3
Of all the movies in this batch of reviews, this movie had the least story, relying mainly on gag after gag. Rumors that Jackie Chan had been using stuntmen for years didn't help either. Any long-shots of Chan's Inspector Lee doing amazing stunts immediately put the suspicion that I was seeing a stuntman in my head. The first half of the film seemed to have potential, but it never really showed up. Chris Tucker was funny, but it didn't seem like he was bringing anything new, just being the same old loud-mouth Detective Carter. (And what is an LAPD detective doing directing traffic? Shouldn't there be a story behind that? Wouldn't that mean that Carter wasn't a detective anymore?) The last three-quel of the season gets a C-.
After reading the book, I was worried that the movie would disappoint, but much to my surprise, it didn't. Given a role she could have sent over the top, Michelle Pfeiffer plays a witch in search of the heart of a star (Claire Danes) that could revitalize her youth. Pfeiffer is wicked, but doesn't over play her role like Robert DeNiro does as an air-ship gay-pirate who smuggles lightning for a living. One scene will be forever pointed to as the scene where DeNiro tossed his Best Actor of Our Time crown out the window. Otherwise, the effects are marvelous, the story is fun, and the romantic leads actually have a good degree of chemistry. It is not The Princess Bride, but if you liked that, you'd probably like this movie, too. B+.