Movies in Theaters on July 15, 2011
A world without another Harry Potter movie to look forward to? This may take some getting used to. A chapter in cinematic history comes to a close this weekend as Deathly Hallows - Part 2 casts its final spell on moviegoers -- if you're a muggle and have no interest in the ways of wizards, you might want to reconsider converting, as the pickings look rather slim otherwise (even though Pierce Brosnan probably gives one hell of a sermon)...
Well, here we go, the end of a sometimes bumpy but almost always compelling cinematic journey. The time for larks is over (the wide-eyed and whimsical days of Chris Columbus' first two installments are long gone); Deathly Hallows Part 2 looks like all business -- loud and tragic business, at that (if Voldemort screams "Yeeee-aaaauuggghhh!" in the damn trailer no less than three times, how many times will he do it in the actual film?). Sure, it would've really been a capper if the Boy Who Lived had become the Boy Who Died in this final installment, though if J.K. Rowling had tried to incorporate such a turn of events, the very Earth may have cracked in two... and the door would've been forever closed to any future Potter adventures which, come on, you know are coming -- billion-dollar franchises just don't come to a dead stop. Anyway, we predict HP7.2 will be a somewhat rushed but ultimately extremely satisfying conclusion to a much-beloved tale.
While organized religion is always going to be one of the easiest targets for satire (and often lazy satire, at that), the "church" doesn't always get as heavenly a congregation as the one in Salvation Boulevard. Pierce Brosnan plays the rollicking pastor of a "mega-church" whose feverish followers target a former Deadhead turned born-again Christian (Greg Kinnear) after he's accused of "assisting" in the supposed attempted suicide of a professor (Ed Harris); plenty of, shall we say, "satirical" antics ensue. Salvation Boulevard doesn't look like anything special, but it isn't every day you get to see a perpetually stoned sad sack like Jennifer Connelly do comedy (complete with a temper tantrum directed at Marisa Tomei) -- and really, no one can do put-upon quite like Greg Kinnear. The movie's shining star, though, will be Brosnan, who's always been funnier than anyone's ever realized and is rarely given a chance to demonstrate.
It doesn't look like it's going to be a very good summer for either Hanks, Sr. or Hanks, Jr. Tom's Larry Crowne got smashed under Megatron's mighty robot foot, a not-so-subtle sign that maybe audiences just don't care about "movie stars" as much as they used to (or at least "older" movie stars, sigh), and now Colin is probably headed further into obscurity after starring in this confusing-looking would-be dark comedy as a novice serial killer who wins the lottery and goes after his dream girl. Huh? There are about two or three different plots there, and at least one too many -- and really, asinine pitches like "a serial killer wins the lottery" need to stay in the dive bar from which they were probably conjured. Even though he hasn't made one memorable film (though Orange County has its moments), it's interesting that Colin Hanks isn't a bigger star, just by default -- that's how Hollywood works, isn't it?