The summer (not-so-)blockbuster Palin doc

Sara Palin

There’s a new documentary out about Sarah Palin. Who knew?

Well, apparently, some folks knew about the film — called The Undefeated — because the film’s distributor, ARC Entertainment, told CNN that the documentary averaged $5,000 per screen on Friday and Saturday nights of its opening weekend (July 15-16), and that screenings at several locations were sold out. ARC also suggested that the film will go into wider release sometime later this month.

(It opened in 10 cities last weekend. Perhaps if that hadn’t also been opening weekend for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, more people would have gone to see the Palin doc. Maybe, but I doubt it. I don’t think the audiences for the two films have much overlap.)

The Hollywood Reporter says the film earned $60,000 to $75,000 in its opening weekend. Just in comparison Harry Potter raked in $168.5 million in its opening weekend.

—  admin

Trevor Project honors Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe, left, with costars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in a scene from ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1′

I readily admit that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I love the books. I love the movies. And I love the young actors that portray the characters in the movies — especially Daniel Radcliffe.

Radcliffe makes my list of favorites not just because he plays the heroic Harry Potter, but also because of his dedication, as a straight ally, to making life better for LGBT teens.

Obviously, I am not Radcliffe’s only fan. The Associated Press reports today that Radcliffe has been honored by The Trevor Project with the Hero Award for his work with the organization. Since first learning about the Trevor Project in 2008, he has worked to support the organization through public service announcements and other public statements. Radcliffe has also been very vocal and public in his support for LGBT equality.

Radcliffe told AP  he considers it “an honor” to have the chance to support the Trevor Project, and that he believes, “The people that are doing the heroic things are the people answering phones 24 hours a day in the Trevor call centers.” He said that supporting the Trevor Project is “absolutely one of the most important, if not the most important, thing that I’m associated with.”

Previous winners of the Trevor Project Hero Award are Nathan Lane, Dustin Lance Black and Vanessa Williams.

The final installment of the “Harry Potter” movie series — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 — will be released in July, and Radcliffe is now starring in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

—  admin

‘Harry Potter’ and the deathly bore

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Now playing in wide release.
One star

I have struggled for the better part of a decade to make sense of the appeal of the Harry Potter books and movies. Now, as the film series nears its conclusion with the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2 comes out in July), I’m more befuddled than ever. As it somersaults uncontrollably toward a necessary resolution, the series must contend with its greatest burden: 4,000 pages of characters and intricately plotted (but nonsensical) events — collectively, it all requires a scorecard to keep track.

Sadly, Part 1 comes with no such primer, and the director, David Yates (this is his third Potter film), has made no effort to remind us of who these people are. He should, as couching motives in shadow seems like the raison d’etre of the series. The first half-hour, in fact, feels more like the star credits that used to open The Love Boat: from forgotten Weasleys to Dobby the House Elf (who, to my knowledge, hasn’t been seen since the second film), the parade of former denizens of the Potterverse is mind-numbing.

But not nearly as numbing as the plot itself. Know what a horcrux is, or how it’s make — or, for that matter, how to find and destroy it? You’d better before entering this film. (I’ve seen the other movies and read the mythology and still feel flummoxed.) Like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, the Harry Potter films have given over to infernal navelgazing. They are not interested in winning new converts, but catering to the obsessions of their core. It’s the GOP strategy writ in celluloid.

Of course, there are those who have a rabid enthusiasm for the series and who will flock to it, as well as some just caught up in the pop culture excitement of a Thanksgiving blockbuster. But I can’t worry about those. I’m just trying to make heads or tails of the story and the storytelling, and here, it’s nonexistent. (I’d tell you the plot, but have no idea what it was.)

There are long, boring parts in the middle where nothing much happens that fill in the short, boring parts that begin and end it, though seeing a cross-dressing Daniel Radcliffe as Harry in the opening scene is pretty funny. What’s not funny is Harry’s sincere

selflessness: He’s always saying, “I don’t want anyone to suffer just because of me.” You, you mean the only person who can kill the Dark Lord Voldemorte? You, who all of creation has put its faith in to rescue them from eternal darkness? You really think they want you to be in harm’s way? Harry seems not so much noble as indulgent. Accept your lot, and live with it.

Part 1 is among the shortest of the Potter films, but feels longer, even though the ball doesn’t move very far down the field. Or the snitch across the Quiddich court. Or something. Frankly, I’ve given up caring. Apparently, the filmmakers have, too.

…………………………

The Next Three Days

Now playing in wide release.
One and a half stars

I’m old enough to remember when Russell Crowe was actually a movie star. Remember his muscled torso in a short Roman chiton in Gladiator? Or sailing the seas with bravado in Master and Commander? The volatile cop in L.A. Confidential? Heck, even his mentalyl ill professor in A Beautiful Mind has the glam of Old Hollywood “Issue Picture” all over it. So when did he become the guy whose movie all sound like dull preposition phrases? State of Play. Body of Lies. Proof of Life.

The Next Three Days is more dangling clause than preposition phrase, though that doesn’t make it any better. It’s still a dark muddle about an ordinary guy who tries extraordinary things faced with unusual circumstances. When you think about it, that’s the plot of his last film, Robin Hood, too. … another day but moodless and sincere drama.

Here, Crowe is a milquetoast husband whose wife (Elizabeth Banks) has been falsely convicted of murder. He obsesses about getting  her out, but when his last appeal (and last dollar) is lost, he decides to break her out.

Writer-director Paul Haggis veers too often into action-movie parody without the sense of fun that silly actioners can possess. Want to be earnest and deep? Then do that and leave the cheesy coincidences in the first draft. The Next Three Days isn’t a horrible film, it’s just one with so little personality, it’s hard to like.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

See the new Harry Potter movie early, support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

OK, how many Harry Potter fans do we have out there? And how many of you are chomping at the bit to see the new movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″?

It comes out at midnight on Thursday, Nov. 18, but here in the Metroplex, you have a chance to see the movie four hours early and at the same time contribute to a good cause: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I think it is a fitting fundraiser, considering the commitment that the film’s star, Daniel Radcliffe, has made to The Trevor Project and the many times Radcliffe has spoken out for LGBT rights.

The screening will be held at the Rave Theatre in Northeast Mall in Hurst. Tickets are $16 each and are available online at MugglesForLife.webs.com.

—  admin