Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There’s a special kind of challenge in ending a story. Talk to the right writer, and he or she will most likely tell you that typing the last bit of punctuation can be the hardest ink to stamp into the page because even though that’s the goal, it also means saying goodbye to characters you’ve fallen in love with. Characters you’ve fought for and alongside of. Characters that have reflected the best parts of you, shown you your weaknesses and made you all the better for it. We may use stories as escapism, but we have to return to the real world eventually. There’s a special kind of challenge in ending a story because a final chapter has to encapsulate everything that’s played out in the much larger space that’s come before it. It has to confront the audience and its characters with choices they’ve been avoiding, trials that have been kept at arm’s length, and the lessons of all of the smaller tasks has to be used sufficiently against the most dire of consequences in order to be satisfying. It’s been a long journey, but in all of those undertakings, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 succeeds with incredible resolve.

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With Comic-Con right around the corner, summer movie season in full swing and a teaser trailer allegedly just over the horizon, the marketeers at Warner Bros. want you to be thinking about one thing and one thing only: The Dark Knight Rises. So much so that you go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 seven times just so that you can watch the trailer over and over on the big screen. Also, they want what they achieved with The Dark Knight: almost a year of unending fever-pitch. A long, intricate marketing campaign with viral elements, games, events, twists, turns and engaging pieces that all led to $533 million in box office receipts. It was masterful, and like any great Hollywood institution, they’re ready to go for a sequel. It begins with a simple teaser poster. It begins with Gotham City falling down all around us…

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I spent at least half an hour yesterday in my kitchen trying to explain the smaller details of the Harry Potter movie universe to my wife, and I found myself forgetting a lot. Names, dates, why things happened the way they did, how to cure a case of the Mudbloods. Fortunately, Warners has put out this video. Will it fill in all the details? No. But it will provide a decent enough refresher by showing moments from the previous films. It’s effectively a long-form trailer for all the movies, delivered in a brisk 5 minutes, but it will probably have you slapping your forehead a few times when you remember one of the millions of details you temporarily forgot. Or, it might just be a great bit of instant nostalgia. Either way, it’s a pretty sweet video.

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Here’s the challenge for the day if you’re not a Harry Potter fan: watch this trailer and attempt not to love it. The films are a big damned phenomenon, yes, of course. It’s been obvious for years, but if the history was wiped away, this trailer would still stand tall as a testament to bold filmmaking. It gets a pass for using universally recognized characters, but even without saying much about the story, it says a lot with its visuals and action sequences. Those are punctuated by moments of one-liner dramatics that make it feel like it really is the end of the world. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 looks to have everything wrapped up tightly. So, non-fans, prove me wrong.

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It seemed only natural that John Carter of Mars would become John Carter – since most Americans hate things from Mars and need to be tricked into seeing movies – but there’s nothing natural about the teaser poster for the film. It’s a red letter attempt at building buzz, but it’s unclear exactly how it will achieve it with only the bare chest of Taylor Kitsch and enough photoshopping to turn him into Michael Shannon. A brand new property is emerging, and another is seeing its final curtain. On the other end of the poster spectrum is this bold new look at the children from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. All grown up and ready to battle. Click on the posters to make them far, far larger:

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We previously reported that The Undefeated, an emo band I used to go see in high school a documentary about Sarah Palin painting her as an underdog who fought against the system to rise to prominence in Alaska (and then, of course, to the national political stage), would be released in primary states leading up to the election. However, it looks like if you live in Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Atlanta, Orange County, Phoenix, Houston, Indianapolis or Kansas City (the good one), you’ll get your chance to see it as well. According to Politico, filmmaker Steve Bannon has signed with AMC Theaters to get the doc on the big screen in select cities July 15th. That makes it counter-programming for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Salvation Boulevard and the new Winnie The Pooh movie. Bannon told NPR that he sees people responding to the film as a Rocky style narrative. He also mentioned that his method is in the same vein as Michael Moore, calling the documentarian a “master of the craft” and saying that he was still learning it. The former Goldman Sachs employee might be newer to filmmaking, but he’s definitely chosen a compelling figure to focus on. No matter how you feel about the politician, she knows how to get a crowd gathered.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up that digs and digs and keeps on diggin’ until it finds the most interesting things from around the web. Tonight it’s pretty proud of its ability to find things that it thinks you’ll like. Do enjoy. Long after it was one of the most buzzed-about movies of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, even after packing promotional screenings at SXSW months later, Eli Craig’s horror comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil had no distributor. Whatever the reason, no one wanted to bring these two bumbling hillbillies to the dance. Well now that’s all history, as Magnolia Pictures has acquired it. According to their press release, they will release it into theaters on September 30, with a VOD release on August 26. Personally, I can’t wait to see it again.

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My family has been friends with a children’s bookstore owner for years, so when we got an advanced copy of something called “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” I read it to give my feedback. I thought it was poorly written and wouldn’t go anywhere. I was incorrect. The books became the phenomenon, and the movies have translated that worldwide shared experience into something else entirely, but all that comes to an end this summer before someone at Warners decides to reboot the whole thing. This featurette shows off the main three in their first screen test, and takes a look back at the cinematic journey that’s brought us to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as DogEatsHeart and 5Obstructions5 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair apply some sun screen and some green screen in order to forecast how the movies of Summer 2011 might shape up. Is there a secret weapon to its inevitable success? Is its success inevitable? Anything would be better than last year, right?

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Last summer was a good (not great) movie season. Granted, there were some notorious duds with Robin Hood, Jonah Hex, Avatar: The Last Whatever-It’s-Called, the one where Jake Gyllenhaal talked real funny and had his shirt off a lot, and many, many others. And, of course, there were some rather disappointing missed opportunities (*COUGH* Iron Man 2 *COUGH*). But overall, it was a solid time for both big event films and the smaller ones. There were two excellent high profile films (Toy Story 3, Inception) and a handful of great little-seen ones (Animal Kingdom, Cyrus, Solitary Man, etc.). And who could forget about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? This summer will most likely be no different. There are a few films not to get too excited about, but there are plenty of other films to get tingly about. There are two Marvel films, a new frickin’ Terrence Malick epic, a great looking new X-Men…the list goes on and on. In fact, the list goes on right now with the 15 Must See Movies of Summer 2011:

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with veteran voice actor Steve Blum and Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener. Plus, Erin McCarthy from Popular Mechanics and Will Goss from Film.com tackle the Movie News Pop Quiz and maybe, just maybe find some love along the way. By that, I mean a loving concern for summer blockbusters like Harry Potter and Transformers 3. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is going to have to be a lot of things to a lot of people. It will need to be explosive but thoughtful, dramatic but lighthearted, focused and fearless. The movie has its work cut out for it, but as for the trailer, it does every single thing right. Check it out for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all business tonight. Movie news, fascinating articles, at least 12-minutes of grown men screaming. All business, baby. Vulture has an interesting piece on how Jeremy Renner landed the Bourne franchise, essentially boiling it down to the Hurt Locker star winning Matt Damon’s sloppy seconds. All-in-all, the guy will probably make an excellent action star. He’s one hell of a last-ditch effort for director Tony Gilroy.

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Jaws didn’t mean to do it, but Summer has become the biggest business in movie-making. This summer, we’re getting a new batch of movies that the studios are hoping to be gigantic, but thankfully for us, they fit into 6 handy categories. Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius have worked tirelessly (except for five or ten naps) in order to break these movies down and present them to you. What will you be watching this summer? What excites you the most? What do you have the highest hopes for? These films all have the potential to bust blocks, but will it be your block they’re busting? Here they are, the six types of films coming out in the following months.

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Update: Warners has confirmed that this trailer is not an official trailer. It’s fan made. No word yet on whether someone will hire whomever put it together though, because it looks great. Again, to make it clear, it’s not an official trailer for the movie. And now the original video has been taken down by the host site. Original post: Darkness. Foreboding. Wand fights. Explosions. Mobs of people running through the forest. Beachfront property. Dragons. Gingers kissing. Snape peeing himself. Yes, this teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has everything except Danny Glover complaining about being too old. It just looks so damned good. If the excitement wasn’t at its peak yet, it will be soon. I have a feeling we’ll see more and more incredible stuff from the production leading up to July 15th (a day that cannot come fast enough). Check out the teaser for yourself. You might even get to see a sweet anti-smoking ad from the source site!

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This summer can’t get here fast enough. After the arthouse slow-burn of Part I, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II promises to be a force of giant wand-waving action. Fortunately, a few new images have hit the web thanks to those scamps at EW, and almost all of them show a prelude to action. It’s difficult to say whether these images spoil anything, of course. If you want to go in completely clean, don’t look at them, but if you don’t mind seeing the characters looking like they’re about to chew bubble gum and take names, then by all means… …go right ahead:

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Drinking Games

The penultimate Harry Potter film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray, which is as much cause for celebration as my proper use of the word “penultimate.” This is one of the longest Harry Potter films, and there’s still more to come after its 146 minutes are over. That would, of course, be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, due in theaters this summer. To catch up on things and ready yourself for the final movie, you can enjoy the first part with a drink in hand. Whether it be Polyjuice Potion, pumpkin juice or good a old fashioned brew, knock a few back in honor of Harry Potter.

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Most casual movie fans don’t know anything about the contentious relationship between the studios and the screens they use to display their wares. The quick and dirty version isn’t a pretty one. The studio system basically holds all of the power when it comes to how movies play, how much of the cut they get from them, and how long they’ll stay exclusively on screens. Now that studios are attempting to show new films on Video-On-Demand just a month after hitting theaters (at the premium price of $30 (which is less premium than going to the theater with a family of 2-4)), the theaters are finally fighting back. Sadly, they’re fighting back with empty threats. At least they’re going for the gusto. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) is threatening to boycott screening films involved in the VOD plan, and that includes the giant summer flicks that were on everyone’s Most Anticipated lists. The money quote from NATO chief executive John Fithian’s statement to the Financial Times: “Let’s say you’re Regal Cinemas and it’s a busy weekend with a couple of big pictures opening. If it’s 50-50 between this picture and that picture and you have a partner that respects your [business] model and another one that doesn’t, you’re going to give the screen to the partner that respects your model.” Respecting that model is a case of giving theaters enough time to make money off of doing what they do.

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This Week in Blu-ray

It’s another week of high definition hijinks here on This Week In Blu-ray. Perhaps one of the slower weeks we’ve seen this year, but certainly not one lacking in quality. Besides the big Pixar Pick that you see below, you’ll find something to love when I review the latest Harry Potter flick, one of 2010’s best and most underrated docs, and the latest Criterion release. We’ll also touch on that movie in which Gwyneth Paltrow sings country songs, but only momentarily. The Incredibles Every new release that Pixar has brought to the Blu-ray format has been of a certain quality. Plenty of extras, brilliant transfers and all the little goodies that make Disney one of the better distributors of the format. The same can be said of their back catalog releases, including Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 2. To that end, The Incredibles is perfectly matched to that standard of quality. The 2004 film, not old by any means, looks particularly brilliant in 1080p because of the colorful nature of its story. From the flashy red of the family’s suits to the lush jungle around Syndrome’s volcanic layer, this film pops with every frame. It’s the reason videophiles have been drooling over its potential HD release for some time now. Feel free to celebrate, fair ‘philes, as your day has come. The Incredibles is just as incredible as you’ve imagined it would be. For those with tastes that run behind the arts, there are brand new featurettes in which the […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome to our weekly look at this week’s DVD releases of the week! Did I mention that this is a weekly column? It’s true. The titles coming to DVD this week run the gamut from documentaries to horror, and the only common thread is that they’re releases you probably haven’t heard of before. That is, with one fairly big exception. Harry Potter, one of the biggest franchises in cinema history, is coming to an end with a two part finale. Part one was a commercial and critical success, and part two promises to be even bigger when it hits screens later this year. It will be a sad day indeed for folks who enjoy watching teenage boys playing with their wands. Editor’s Note: Click on any of the titles or cover art below to find out more about the release at Amazon.com. A Summer In Genoa A car crash takes the life of a young mother but spares her two daughters, and five months later the girls and their father (Colin Firth) head to Italy to escape their grief for a year abroad. Michael Winterbottom’s film is a raw and unavoidably sad look at guilt, loss, and the difficulty of moving on after the death of someone you love. Firth puts his eternally sad eyes to good use, but the real emotion here comes from the two daughters struggling to deal with events in their own ways. It’s a beautiful film imbued with love, sadness, and the constant feeling of […]

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