July 17, 2009, - 2:53 pm

Weekend Box Office: Long, Boring “Harry Potter”; Cool “Merry Gentleman” Thriller Flubs the Yarmulke

By Debbie Schlussel
My weekend movie reviews: the strange but interesting arthouse thriller beats the much-hyped big box office release for kids, this time.
* “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince“: Just one word for this–boooooooooring. A giant two-and-a-half-hour YAAAWN. This movie went on and on and on and on and on.
It was beautifully shot, had cool sets and special effects, but the story was lackluster and not even resolved. In fact, if you want to see the conclusion to the story, you have to wait until next year for the sequel.

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I struggled to stay awake during this far too long flick that had everything in it but the kitchen sink. And actually, I think the sink was thrown in, too. I know the movie is aimed at kids and other Harry Potter fans, but did I really need to see endless scenes of kids with crushes making out or talking about making out or immaturely fighting about who is “snogging” who? Juvenile even for kids. And dumb. The much-maligned 1950s called and they want Harry Potter to stop making them look bad.
Not sure I can really describe the “plot” since there really isn’t one and what there is is kind of confusing and not exciting. Harry Potter is summoned back to the academy by Dumbledore, who asks him to befriend a certain professor to find out info on the evil Valdemort, who was once his student there. Harry and his friends fight over each other in the romance department. Meanwhile an evil student and professor (played by the anti-Israel Alan Rickman) are secretly plotting. Who cares? I sure didn’t. Yes, it was about good versus evil, but never have I seen that portrayed in such a dull way.
Nothing offensive or objectionable in this movie. It was just a bore and a waste of time. It completely lacked the charm, excitement, wonder, and suspense of the last Potter film, “Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix,” which I liked (read my review).
Fine for your kids, but bring a book or something to do while you wait for credits to finally roll on this endless cinema.
ONE REAGAN
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* “The Merry Gentleman“: This offbeat, arthouse thriller was directed by Michael Keaton, who also stars as a hitman. One winter night a Chicago secretary with a Scottish accent sees a man on the edge of a building. She thinks he’s about to commit suicide. But, in reality, he’s a hitman who has just assassinated someone in her building from the building across the way. Two cops are on the case, and while one is trying to date the woman, she’s already started dating the man she doesn’t know is the hitman and the one she saw atop the building.
This movie was interesting and different and, while it was slow at times, it was entertaining and suspenseful. I enjoyed it.
But there was a mistake in the movie that distracted me. It was a tiny, little, trifling detail that most wouldn’t notice and which had nothing to do with the plot. But it was glaring to me. Several scenes into the movie, we start seeing one of the cops wearing a yarmulke, a thick yarmulke made of velvet or leather, the kind you generally see on Orthodox Jews. Later, we see the two cops–the one is still wearing his yarmulke–at a burger joint. The restaurant sign says it also serves milkshakes, a sign the place isn’t kosher because Orthodox Jews keep kosher and don’t consume dairy and meat/poultry together. The guy with the yarmulke is just drinking a milkshake. But then, he orders a hot dog and cheese fries. It just didn’t jibe and distracted me during the movie. A guy wearing a yarmulke on the job isn’t going to be eating this stuff. Someone writing a script didn’t do their homework.
Another thing I found weird is how all the guys in the movie are trying to pick up the woman (Kelly McDaniel) who saw the man on the rooftop. They all keep commenting on how cute she is and how sexy her accent is. But she isn’t cute, and her accent becomes extremely annoying. Maybe that’s part of the kitsch of the movie. I suspect it is.
Still, I liked the movie anyway. And it’s enjoyable and worth seeing.
THREE REAGANS
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8 Responses

Harry Potter to set record for one day.
http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSTRE56G4E920090717?feedType=RSS&feedName=entertainmentNews&rpc=22&sp=true
What recession? Glad to see we got our priorities in order.

californiascreaming on July 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Just as a point of interest Debbie, Alan Rickman is not and has never been a Jew. (Heard it from the man himself)
[J: A NUMBER OF SOURCES IDENTIFY HIM AS BEING JEWISH, BUT SINCE YOU HEARD IT, I AM REMOVING THAT ADJECTIVE. THANKS FOR THE CORRECTION. DS]

jazzmin on July 17, 2009 at 5:50 pm

This is a rarity. I am in complete disagreement with your review of Harry Potter. While long, I found that the time went quickly. I had no problem with the “snogging” in that it portrayed that they are true 16 year olds. It was a small break in a story that in essence is about good versus evil. Oh, Well, different strokes…
[A: YES, IT IS ABOUT GOOD AND EVIL, AND I MEANT TO MENTION THAT (BUT FORGOT–WILL ADD). BUT IT WAS STILL VERY BORING, NONETHELESS. AND THE SNOGGING STUFF WAS CONSTANT. I GUESS WE’LL AGREE TO DISAGREE ON THIS ONE, BUT AGREE ON MOST OTHER THINGS. LIKE YOU SAY, DIFFERENT STROKES . . . . DS]

Allen on July 17, 2009 at 7:11 pm

I have to agree with Debbie on this one. Harry Potter was boooooring, slow, with no real plot to the story. It lacked everything that has made Potter exciting. I didn’t read this book, so I don’t know if the book was this dry and boring. Dumbledoor’s hand wasn’t explained in the movie, the only good “thrilling” parts of the film were in the trailors, once you saw those the rest of it was timeless uninteresting filler. All the hype to find out a very lackluster memory from a very lack luster character. Sorry it was a huge disappointment for me, and I am a Potter fan. Better luck next time.

wolf2012 on July 17, 2009 at 9:56 pm

A lot of guys in law enforcement are extremely inappropriate in private with comrades. Not usually outwardly to the public(unless you are in a Wayne County sub station) so conversation about women is a constant, just about. I work with a guy who will date any female with a pulse. Just about any, seriously.

samurai on July 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm

The issue about the yarmulke is not so much whether or not someone did their homework, but rather that issues of faith, even as simple as wearing a yarmulke, are unimportant unless they “enhance” the story. They don’t care about faith because for most of the writers and directors, it simply isn’t important. And G-d help me, but regarding Walter Cronkite, I find myself angry over the homage to the old traitor. So, as Edward R. Murrow might have said, Goodnight and Good Riddance!” G-d bless you, Ms. Schlussel, and stay well!

Dougie B on July 18, 2009 at 11:37 am

I’d love to see a post re: Rickman. I didn’t know he was an anti-semite.

CaptShady on July 20, 2009 at 11:04 am

The Harry Potter movie follows the book very well and cuts out a lot of bloat that filled the book. There was no true ending to the book and the movie reproduced tis faithfully.
I know great books don’t always translate into great movies but they did a great job at recreating the feel of the book in the movie. We know there is going to be two more movies and we need the suspense to draw us into them. I usually agree with you on your reviews but disagree on this one.

110407 on July 21, 2009 at 10:59 am

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