This week at the movies, we’ve got Hogwarts horrors (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson) and a prison break (The Next Three Days, starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks). What do the critics have to say?
Pottermaniacs, the wait is finally over — sort of. The first installment of the series’ two part finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is here, and the critics say that despite occasional lags in pacing and a (perhaps necessarily) abrupt conclusion, the movie mostly delivers, thanks largely to the now-full-grown trio of lead actors. This time out, Harry (Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) must find the magical Horcruxes in order to defeat the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Like every Potter movie before it, Deathly Hallows is Certified Fresh, and although the pundits say this is a more workmanlike, foreboding entry, it benefits greatly from typically dazzling production design and excellent performances from Radcliffe, Grint, and especially Watson. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Fiennes’s best-reviewed movies.)
Thrillers needn’t have airtight plotting to succeed, but gaping story holes don’t necessarily help. Critics say The Next Three Days benefits from strong work from Russell Crowe, but sags under the weight of its general unbelievability. Crowe stars as a man whose wife (Elizabeth Banks) has been imprisoned for a murder; convinced of her innocence, he launches a desperate plot to spring her from the joint. The pundits say Crowe’s gritty performance keeps things grounded in reality, but implausible events and drags in the action keep The Next Three Days from being anything more than a competent thriller.
Also opening this week in limited release:
Finally, props to dudemeister for coming the closest to guessing Skyline‘s 15 percent Tomatometer.