Movie Monday: “Bully” in wide release

It’s hard out there for a kid

There are more than a few raise-your-fist and stand-up-and-cheer moments in Bully; like An Inconvenient Truth, it outrages you at times, and gives you hope at others. While its through-line isn’t as focused as it could be — for an even better youth-centered documentary, check out this year’s Oscar winner, Undefeated — Bully is a must-see experience for parents and kids … and anyone else who cares about justice, and wants to understand what it means to be different today.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Read the entire review here.

DEETS: Directed by Lee Hirsch. Rated PG-13. 100 mins. Now playing in wide release.

—  Rich Lopez

Movie Monday: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Potter comes to an end

There’s a tonal shift in the final installment of the Harry Potter series, part 2 of The Deathly Hallows, that’s almost arrestingly apart from what has preceded it. Maybe it’s the sense of finality that the story is truly coming to an end, a sentimental summing up that resolves most of the plot threads, explains just why Harry is so important and how Voldemort will finally be defeated. That coda gives us a sense of closure.

That the film works so well is astonishing, considering that Part 1, which came out eight months ago, was so disastrously heavy and convoluted. This one, dark as pitch, benefits from well-conceived set pieces and a streamlined arc.

Still, this Potter is a good 20 minutes shorter than the average for the series, and includes an epilogue well after the slightly unsatisfying climax. Given how it serves as the grand capstone to a popular series,  you’d think they could have found time to, for instance, remind us what the deathly hallows of the title are. (None of the films has ever recapped important plot points, the way the Lord of the Rings series did — and that was just three films, not eight spread over 10 years.)

So, prepare to go in either expecting to have to relearn some facts: Voldemort divided his soul into several “horcruxes” which Harry, Hermione and Ron are trying to find and destroy; meanwhile, the Death Eaters are ruling Hogwarts under the iron thumb of Snape.

Read the entire review here.

—  Rich Lopez