Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nightmares In Red, White And Blue

How often do you see a "Based On The Book By" credit in a documentary? That just amuses me.
It was indeed, though, based on a book of the same name. This is a documentary about the history of American horror films. And it is delicious.
Pretty much every interviewee in the movie is someone I respect and admire and, honestly, I just eat this stuff up. I love studying the horror genre almost more than I enjoy the horror genre itself. It's one of the few subjects that can hold my attention for an indefinite amount of time.
And I've always been really interested to hear scholarly interpretations of horror films. I've never been good at reading subtext, even overt subtext (I don't think I caught the consumerism commentary in Dawn Of The Dead the first time I saw it) so part of what really fascinates me about books and documentaries about the genre is the insight into deeper meanings I missed, or to hear other people's interpretations on various horror works (I disagree with a lot of people about American Psycho; if what I've read is true, I even think Bret Easton Ellis doesn't get it).
What was really cool about this movie is it not only made me want to see some movies I had no interest in before, but it made me want to rewatch some movies I wasn't terribly fond of the first time around. Maybe they'd be better the second time. It's a powerful documentary that makes me think "I should rewatch Se7en." (Yes, it's true, I wasn't really a fan of Se7en. Judge me all you want, it didn't make the impact on me that it apparently made on everybody else.)
What frustrated me were two or three montages in the movie, quick cuts of all of the good (read: gory) bits of movies, but there was no way to tell what movies the clips were from (unless, of course, I recognized the clip because I'd already seen the movie). If there was a split second of something I found intrigueing (there were several) I don't know how I'm supposed to figure out what movie that split second was from in order to track it down. Grrrr.
Oh well, minor complaint.
A less minor complaint: they kinda glossed over the nineties. The early years of cinema were given a good chunk of time, the 1950s and '60s were given a decent amount of focus, the 1970s and 1980s each were looked at rather in depthly. "Oh, yeah, and the '90s happened." And then the movie ends with quite a few minutes about horror movies in the 2000s and a brief discussion on foreign horror (which ordinarily I'd have no problem with, but this is a movie specificially about American horror films, so that kinda bugged me).
If it were up to me, someone would make a PBS weeklong style horror film documentary miniseries, with at least two hours dedicated to each decade, encompassing all subgenres and foreign markets of horror. Yeah. I would watch the hell out of that. Who do I talk to about making that happen?
On the whole, Nightmares In Red, White And Blue was an interesting and entertaining documentary for those of us who like watching this sort of thing.

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Creepshow is one of those movies I saw bits and pieces of when I was younger. My brother watched it a lot and tried repeatedly to get me to watch it, too, but this was back in the day when I insisted I was never going to watch scary movies. (I did, however, absorb everything my brother said about every scary movie he watched. Loved hearing about 'em, too scaredy cat to watch 'em.)
You'd think in the ten years since I became a horror fan, I'd've gotten around to watching Creepshow before now. What can I say? I'm lazy. Thanks to Movie Lottery 3-D, though, it was inescapable.
Creepshow was written by Stephen King, directed by George Romero and based on the EC Comics' Tales From The Crypt template: bad people get comeuppances 'cause they did something bad. The movie often feels like watching a live action comic book and between each of the stories we see animated shots of ads for things like voodoo dolls, x-ray specs and being strong so tough guys at the beach won't kick sand at you in front of pretty girls (they sell that?). Mmm ... gimmicky. I love that sort of thing.
Now, because it's the easiest way to do this, I shall review each story individually:
Wraparound Story Part One: A father who thinks horror comic books are crap (he says so about fifty times in the span of two minutes) throws his son's copy of Creepshow in the garbage. His meek, probably abused wife tries to defend the kid, to which he replies by saying "crap" about fifty more times. Meanwhile the kid is upstairs smiling at a floating skeleton outside his window. Looks like dad's going to pay for what he's done, perhaps? No time to find out now, though. Instead, we shall watch the awesome opening credits sequence and move on to...
Father's Day: Seven years ago Aunt Bedelia killed her dad when he wouldn't shut up about his damn Father's Day cake. Now every year she and her rich, snooty family get together for a celebratory dinner on the murder's anniversary (or, at least, on Father's Day every year; it can't really be the anniversary since Father's Day is perpetually changing). This year, though, things go a little differently. Turns out dad still wants that cake.
Okay, I've seen a lot of horror movies and usually jump scares don't get me. This one got me. A skeletal hand pops out of the ground at one point, which I knew about in advance, and I still jumped. I applaud any movie that gets me with a jump scare.
The only thing about this story that really bugs me is Ed Harris's death. Sure, he's had it coming since I saw State Of Grace fifteen years ago (long story) but seriously, in this one he's just being an idiot.
"Hey, an abandoned bottle of booze on the dirty cemetery ground. Sure, I'll drink some without regard to whose it is, how it got there or the fact that it's on the dirty cemetery ground. Oops! I fell in a hole because tilting my head back to take a sip makes me lose all sense of balance. Hey, that headstone above me keeps moving like it's about to fall on my head. I think, rather than get the fuck out of here as fast as humanly possible, I'll lie here and make bug eyed scaredy faces for five minutes. Oh, whoops, nevermind, no time for that. I'm dead 'cause that stone fell on me, just like it looked like it was going to. Maybe I should've moved instead of making stupid faces. Jeez, I'm dumb."
In spite of (because of?) that scene, Father's Day was one of my favorite stories in the movie. It was short but it was entertaining, and it reminded me a lot of old horror comics (probably helped by the fact that this story used more comic book panels and page turns and whatnot more than any of the others. I think). It's a fun story and a good way to start a movie.
The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrill: Jordy is a slow on the uptake farmer who finds a meteor on his land, which oozes meteor shit on him and slowly turns him into a moss monster.
Okay, I'd actually seen this story in its entirity before. It was the one part of the movie I could be convinced to watch, and back in the day I liked it a lot. Now I think it's my least favorite story (, wait, maybe not) just because it's so sad. Jordy isn't a rich snob, a murderer, a loudmouth or a racist. He's just kinda dumb and apparently has perpetual bad luck and you just want to give the poor guy a hug. I used to think it was funny, but this time it just made me sad.
Still, though, good for Stephen King, who plays Jordy, for making me care that much.
Something To Tide You Over: Leslie Nielsen doesn't take too kindly when his wife cheats on him with Ted Danson. Luckily he owns an entire beach and has a very creative evil mind. Unfortunately, he's in a George Romero movie and George Romero loves him some zombies.
I love affably evil villains, and Leslie Nielsen plays a damn good one, chatting cheerfully with Ted Danson, who he's buried up to his neck on the beach in order to drown him when the tide comes in. His wife is experiencing the same fate further down the beach. Still, Leslie Nielsen could not be chipperer. That is always entertaining to me.
And when Ted Danson and ladyfriend come back as sloshy, waterlogged zombies (that aren't even affected by bullets to the head) my stomach hit the damn floor. For a second I stood by my younger self's conviction that this movie is too scary for me.
The Crate: Poor Hal Holbrook really hates his obnoxious, loudmouth, drunken, bossy wife and often has daydreams of killing her. Meanwhile, a colleague of his finds a crate with a people-eating monster inside. A monster who is very hungry, thanks to being locked away under a staircase for almost two hundred years.
I liked The Crate but, honestly, it was too long. I stopped caring way before it was over. I do think, however, it would have made a pretty good feature if they'd decided to expand it. So I guess it was simultaneously too long and too short.
The first daydream scene was my favorite part of the story. The wife is being her usual obnoxious self at a party, obliviously making everybody visibly uncomfortable, and her husband calls out to her. She turns and starts to tell him off and he shoots her in the head. Everybody golf claps and tells him what a good shot it was. Cracked me up.
Also, the thing in the crate was pretty cool looking. Very furry, a lot of fangs. It actually reminded me of the yeti in the Matterhorn at Disneyland (a yeti which, frankly, scares me. I keep my eyes closed on that ride).
They're Creeping Up On You: A racist, germophobic business man who cares about nothing but money and cleanliness is trying to celebrate the suicide of a rival business man, but can't because his apartment is overrun by cockroaches.
I'm terrified of bugs. I don't understand how they work and that creeps me out. I don't even like butterflies (I mean, they're fine as long as they stay the hell away from me) which apparently makes me not a girl in some cultures. Anyway, I was looking forward to this story, assuming it would give me the jibblies more than any other story in Creepshow.
Boy, was I underwhelmed. I forgot that I'm not afraid of moving pictures of bugs on screens, where I know they can't come near me.
They're Creeping Up On You is the most famous story in Creepshow and I can see why: that's a heroic amount of cockroaches. But, other than the part where they're in his food (that made me gag; one of my biggest fears is finding bugs in my food, thanks in part to the fact that I actually have on more than one occasion), they didn't bother me. I would have been freaking the damn hell out if I'd been on that set, but the whole sequence wasn't nearly as unsettling as I'd been expecting and, thanks to it being a bit of a letdown (and kinda boring, actually; guy says some mean stuff, guy fights bugs, repeat repeatedly) it might have been my least favorite story in the movie.
They're Creeping... versus ...Jordy Verrill. Underwhelming versus sad. Who will win the title of Sally's Least Favorite Creepshow Story?
I don't know. Is it really that important?
Wraparound Story Part Two: The next morning, dad has finally stopped saying "crap" but is instead complaining of a sore neck, which turns into choking. Meanwhile, son is upstairs stabbing a voodoo doll draped in part of one of dad's shirts, saying "Take away my comic book, will you?"
Way to overreact, kid. Just buy another one and hide it better next time.
Also, one of the garbage collectors is Tom Savini.

End of line.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Movie Lottery 3-D was delayed a bit while my computer had a bout of laryngitis. Or cancer or hypothermia or something. It was sick. Now it's better. But while it was sick I could not access Netflix.
So, of course, when my computer was well again and I leapt back into Movie Lottery territory, out of the bucket came a movie I had on VHS and could have easily watched without the computer. Joke's on me?
A special effects artist is approached by a couple of men who work for the Witness Protection Program. They have a mobster in custody. He's going to testify for the FBI but, in order to make sure his enemies don't kill him first, they want to stage a very public assassination of said mobster. And they want the special effects guy to be the one to "kill" him.
Yeah, that sounds like a safe and trustworthy situation that couldn't possibly go wrong at all.
Once I managed to let go of the "Who would be dumb enough to take that job?" angle, I really enjoyed F/X. After the initial assassination it switches gears to people trying to kill the effects man and honest cops doing honest cop work (figuring out what the hell is going on, also trying to catch the effects man).
It was like a really long episode of a pretty good cop drama. And that was the only real problem I had with the movie. It goes on longer than I really thought it needed to (come on, extended car chase, were you really necessary? I have the attention span of ... someone who's attention span is somewhat limited) but it was entertaining almost the entire time. And the cast is chock full of familiar faces:
- that Australian guy who looks like if Michael Caine and Ryan Stiles had a baby
- Brian Dennehy
- Jerry Orbach
- Gordon from Sesame Street
- Joe Grifasi (whose name I had to look up, because I mostly just knew him as "That Guy!")
Playing "figure out why that guy looks familiar" is always a fun pastime when the movie is going on a bit too long. And where else are you going to hear Gordon call somebody an asshole? They don't allow that kind of language on Sesame Street.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Classic Dating Tips

Okay, this is a tape of three featurettes by the United States Navy: How To Succeed With Brunettes, Blondes Prefer Gentlemen and Dating Dos And Don'ts. I think I'll take a look at them one at a time.
How To Succeed With Brunettes: Here's a situation. Here's how you could handle it: be a total dick. It's good for a laugh. Here's another way to handle it: be a gentleman. Then she'll like you.
Blondes Prefer Gentlemen: Here are two Navy guys. They each went on a date with a blonde girl. One of them was a dick. The other one was a gentleman. The blonde girl liked the gentlemanyly guy better. You should be like him.
Dating Dos And Don'ts: This one doesn't seem to be made by the Navy; this one's about a teenager who's going to a teen carnival. He has to figure out how to choose a date (pick the girl who's fun), how to ask a girl out (be polite) and how to say goodnight to the girl at the end of the date (be polite).
My favorite part is the narrator of the first two little movies. He's fantastically snarky and sarcastic toward the bad dates. He's that voice who narrated everything in the fifties and sixties, and he sounds like he's having a good time narrating these. I think he knew how ridiculous they were.
Overall, though, they're kinda boring and repetitive. The moral of the story is: don't be a dick. And also, it's the 1950s so we can refer to women by their hair color rather than as people.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Cecil B. Demented

All right! Kicking off Movie Lottery 3-D with a bang!
"I am Cecil B. Demented and this is a fucking kidnapping!"
Whiny movie starlet Honey Whitlock is attending some sort of movie premiere hospital benefit gala in Maryland when she is kidnapped onstage by a crew of renegade filmmakers, who force her to star in their movie. The filmmakers are as chaotically pretentious as Honey is vapidly self centered but in the end they all learn to work together.
And by "work together" I mean run from the cops, threaten movie executives and hijack the filming of Forrest Gump Two: Gump Again.
If I were a smarter person or a deeper thinker, I could probably talk on and on about what message (or whatever) John Waters was trying to get across with this film and, if I was even smarter than that (or at least snootier) I could point out plot holes and hypocracies with wild abandon.
Luckily I am all about surface area and I really liked Cecil B. Demented. (Guns! Cool costumes! Hideous makeup I wish to emulate! Pretentious ranting by a Jack Black-esque Stephen Dorff! A bunch of cast members who look really familiar that I just can't place! Hooray!)
The opening credits have a lot of shots of movie marquees, some with real movie names on them, some with fake names, some with none at all. One marquee featured Lake Placid 2 (which has since been made), Vertigo The Remake (which I think is just Brian DePalma's Body Double) and Scream 4 (due out later this year). Aww, and they were supposed to be joking. Oops.
Cecil B. Demented came out when I was in high school and I really wanted to see it back then. I didn't get to of course; all my friends went without thinking to invite me (they invited a friend who they all claimed they didn't like as much as they liked me but, as usual, nobody thought "hey, we should give Sally a call." Apparently I'm forgettable or a better time is always had without me. ... I hated high school. I don't know why I brought it up. ... Oh yeah, I remember), and then later they all told me it wasn't a very good movie.
But these were all fans of John Waters's early movies. The impossible to watch nausea fuel movies that, honestly, Cecil's movie within a movie looks like it would be a lot like. I wouldn't want to watch his end product, but the story of how he got there is right up my alley. The making of documentary is more interesting than the movie itself.
Or something.
The point is, of course they didn't like this movie: It's not like John Waters's earlier movies. The only links it has to that past are Mink Stole and a general air of chaos and unpleasantness. It's just that this is a form of unpleasantness I'm attracted to, unlike his early movies which are like the cinematic version of Yellow Triaminic.
I feel like I'm getting a little existential and leaving myself in the dust.
Cecil B. Demented is fun, somewhat cartoony and a movie I would have watched a million times over had I seen it when it first came out. (I've noticed I no longer watch movies a million times over anymore. It's depressing, really. I miss doing that.)
It was also a good, solid start to what is guaranteed to be a long and arduous Movie Lottery 3-D. I've got more than seventy movies in the hat this time, thanks to Lauren's generous sharing of her Netflix account. I have access to anything they have on "watch it now." I may never finish this third edition of Movie Lottery, but I'm damn well going to try. (Funnily enough, Cecil B. Demented wasn't a Netflix addition; it's one of the fifteen or so movies I have on VHS that I acquired between now and the last Movie Lottery.)
Here's hoping it's full of more winners than clunkers.
"Power to the people who punish bad cinema!"

End of line.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Boogeyman 2

After the traumatic events of The Boogeyman, Lacey goes to Hollywood to visit her friend Bonnie, where she tells Bonnie, her husband and their friends extensive flashbacks to the first movie.
Bonnie and her friends (but not Bonnie's husband) decide Lacey's story would be perfect for a slasher movie and try to convince Lacey to sell them the rights. Meanwhile, Bonnie's butler becomes possessed by the one little shard of evil mirror that apparently didn't burst into flame when soaked with water in the first movie, and is going around killing off all of Bonnie's Hollywood friends.
Okay, so not only do we have some of the more interesting implements of death in this movie (toothbrush, exhaust pipe, 'Lectric Shave), but we have some anti-Hollywood soapboxing. All of Bonnie's friends are sleazy creeps and vapid airheads who are interested more in money and fame than artistry or letting poor Lacey cope with her ordeal.
Boogeyman 2 was a little long in some parts (which is sad when a movie's only seventy nine minutes) and the flashbacks to the first movie were a bit tedious (although they wouldn't have been if I hadn't just watched the first one) but that's okay. It was fun, it was entertaining and any movie that has a death by toothbrush is worth my money.
I think the most effective part of the movie, though, is the scene where Lacey is meeting Bonnie's party guests. They're all lit like someone's holding a flashlight under their faces and each of them says something uniquely patronizing or stupid, and not only can you tell that these people see her as a novelty ("Oh, isn't that cute, she's from Maryland") but you can freakin' taste how uncomfortable Lacey is. And you feel just as uncomfortable. These people are smarmy.
My brother JustinCase wrote a review of Boogeyman 2 a couple of months ago, and he far more eloquently worded pretty much everything I had to say about it. If you'd like to read that, it's here:

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Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip

I don't like Aaron Sorkin. I doubt I'll ever be a fan of his. I the few episodes I saw of Sports Night and I didn't even bother with The West Wing because Aaron Sorkin (whose work I tend to hate) + politics (which always goes over my head) = recipe for suckitude.
So I had no interest in Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. 'Cause you know what I dislike just about as much as Aaron Sorkin shows? American sketch comedy. (Kelsey Grammar Presents The Sketch Show was good, but that was based on a British series so it doesn't really count as American.)
Anyway, Lauren convinced me to watch Studio 60 with a two pronged attack:
1) She kept quoting the "Let's get rid of Demented Santa" scene
2) She reminded me how she was right about Arrested Development
What she failed to mention, however, was that Studio 60 was a drama and the Demented Santa scene is the funniest thing that happens in all of the show's twenty two episodes (except for maybe some of John Goodman's scenes in Nevada Day and the line "He wrote and recorded a treason jingle?").
Ultimately, she was right; I did like Studio 60, but unlike Arrested Development, I'm not going to run out and buy it.
Anyway, this is a review. I guess I should get to reviewin'. There's too much plot to write a real synopsis, but basically two former writers of a sketch show (who left on bad terms the first time around) are hired as executive producers (and, in one guy's case, head writer) of the same sketch show, which has sucked ever since they left. There's all kinds of personal relationship drama and people talking while walking.
First of all, it took me almost five episodes to get over the Aaron Sorkininess of the show enough to actually enjoy it. I'm not a fan of drama and I'm not a fan of realism in my entertainment, so in most cases I really have to work to enjoy a realistic drama. That being said, this one was mostly worth the struggle.
Except the uber-religious character never stopped bugging me, mainly because her Christianity was pretty much the only character trait she had. I've known some uber-religious people and, honestly, it never comes up that much. Nobody's only personality trait is "I'm a Christian." And if there are people like that, I've never met them and I hope I never do. They sound boring. (I found out from IMDB that the uber-religious character was based on Kristin Chenowith, which inspired a "no wonder I didn't like her" moment for me. Kristin Chenowith sets my teeth on edge.)
There's a lot of drama between her and Matthew Perry's character because the two of them used to date but are still in love with each other but they've had several breakups but she's a devout Christian and he's an atheistic Jew and blah blah blah, who fucking cares?
Anyway, other than that (which, now that I think about it, took up most of the show), I really liked Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Most of the characters apart from Little Miss Bland Pants were likeable or, at least, interesting. I even ended up liking Steven Weber's character, who starts out the show as an uptight businessy asshole, but develops more layers than probably any of the other characters.
Matthew Perry really impressed me as Matt Albie because I'd only ever seen him on Friends and (this is going to sound horrible of me) I wasn't aware he could act. The guy's really good and I'd like to see him in more stuff that uses some of his talent, not just things like The Whole Nine Yards. (My apologies to any fans of The Whole Nine Yards who may be reading this.) Even though I wouldn't necessarily like the guy if I met him, I cared about him because Matthew Perry made me like him on screen. It's always impressive when an actor can do that.
The other people who really stood out to me were:
- Timothy Busfield as director Cal Shanley (strangely, the closest thing to comic relief in a show about a sketch comedy show is the director and not any of the comedians)
- Nathan Corddry as Tom Jeter, one of the actors (who is given one of the major plot threads of the last five episodes (which are basically just one long episode) and he carries it better than I think a lot of other actors would have; I'm not a fan of his brother Rob but Nate Corddry is one of my new favorite people)
- Bradley Whitford as executive producer Danny Tripp (probably my favorite character, the guy who really carries both the show and the show within the show)
Sadly, I didn't bother to write this review until after I'd read its IMDB trivia pages and its TV Tropes page (I actually wasn't going to write a review at all, but I was bored), which told me more about the show's connection to Aaron Sorkin's real life and opinions than I cared to know and, as a result, I like Studio 60 a little less. But that isn't to say it's not worth watching. It's just more worth watching if you don't know (or don't care) about what bits of it were pulled from real life.
And I can't end this review without mentioning the sketches. There's a lot of talk on the show about how great the show within a show is now that Matt and Danny have taken over and "oh, Matt's a brilliant writer, blah blah." However the sketches they actually show (most of which seem to be Simon Helberg as Nicolas Cage) are mediocre at best (Simon Helberg actually does a pretty good Nicolas Cage impression but that doesn't make the sketches funny). So a lot of people complain that the sketches are pretty awful so how are we supposed to buy that the show's brilliant now?
I have two things to say to that:
1) The sketches aren't any worse than anything on Saturday Night Live or Mad TV (by the way, did I mention I hate almost all American sketch comedy?), so if nothing else Studio 60 is on par with those shows.
2) The characters don't say the sketches are brilliant so much as they say the show has improved since Matt took over writing. I contend that the show was just so abysmal before anything we're shown that what we're seeing now is gold compared to whatever it was that we weren't shown.
In fact, the series begins with the guy in charge of Studio 60 interrupting a live broadcast lambasting all of television because the one sketch he liked got cut. If the man in charge thinks the show is so bad that he has to interrupt the broadcast to tell people that the show is so awful that they should turn it off, and that television is terrible and turning everyone into idiots, I'd say he's in charge of a pretty lousy show.
That being said, it was a pretty awesome speech and a good way to begin a television series. It gets you hooked right away.
Too bad they had to add all that relationship nonsense between Matt and Harriet. It was almost a brilliant show.

End of line.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Boogeyman

Ahh, 1980. Back when everybody smoked indoors and wore 1970s pants.
Twenty years ago, Lacey and Willie's mom's boyfriend tied Willie to his bed for spying (Lacey was spying too but she got away with a stern warning, for some reason). Lacey, wanting to free her brother, got the hugest knife in the kitchen and cut the ropes. Willie decided to use his freedom to stab his mom's boyfriend to death with the giant knife and then stop talking forever.
Yesterday Lacey and Willie got a letter from their mom (who they hadn't seen since the murder) asking them to come visit her 'cause she's dying. They decide "the hell with that" but the letter makes Lacey have nightmares about the murder and makes Willie paint mirrors black and try to kill Lacey's friend who's trying to flirt with him.
So today Lacey and her husband go visit the house where the murder happened, where Lacey freaks out a breaks a mirror which was holding the soul of the murder, and now a heavily breathing invisible man is going around brutally killing people who get near shards of the broken mirror (or have light from a shard reflected on them, as the teenagers who had nothing to do with the main characters found out, only not really because they never found out what happened 'cause they were too busy being dead).
If you're into horror movies that can't decide if they're ghost stories or slasher flicks, then I'd say The Booogeyman's a pretty good choice. I liked it all right; there were some boring stretches and I'm not really sure if I understood everything that happened (water makes evil mirrors catch fire?), but I suppose I could blame that second problem on not really being able to hear quite a bit of the dialogue.
It was an entertaining eighty two minutes, if not the best I've ever seen. It's a solid "okay."

End of line.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part One

Welcome to 2011, everybody!
Why not start the year by going to see a movie I thought I'd cleverly avoided seeing back in November or whenever it was it came out?
Okay, see, here's the thing:
I hate the Harry Potter movies. I like the books quite a lot, even if I'm not always terribly fond of the character Harry Potter (seriously? This is our hero?) but the movies are like Insta-Bad Mood for me.
The kids are good enough actors, I guess, but all of the adults seem to be phoning it in. The sets are beautiful but the scripts are awful. And I want to kick the girl who plays Luna Lovegood down a flight of stairs; she plays the character one hundred percent wrong.
So the Harry Potter movies, in general, can be summed up in three words: Pretty But Shitty.
The fifth one was by far the worst, and not just because it's the worst book. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is physically painful to watch. Everything about it is horrile; they even managed to make the scene where Fred and George leave (the one scene that really makes the book worth reading) a stupid and disappointing letdown. You know it's a bad movie when I walk out of the theater saying "Wow, even Gary Oldman sucked." That's not a sentence I should have ever had to say.
So who knows, maybe after that piece of garbage there was nowhere to go but up. Maybe I just lowered my expectations so much that the movies couldn't affect me anymore. Maybe my not caring at all anymore works in the movies' favor.
Because I had no opinion on the sixth Harry Potter movie one way or the other. And I actually kinda liked this one.
It was too long, but I'm pretty sure it covered more than half of the book which is, itself, quite long.
They chose to excise Dudley's awesome moment from near the beginning of the book, which really bugged me. If you're going to make an extremely long movie anyway, why not leave in a formerly horrible character's redeeming moment?
The girl who plays Luna still doesn't fucking get it and neither does Helena Bonham Carter (who at least looks cool); I will never back down on my stance that neither of them play their characters as they should be played and both of them are painfully miscast. At least neither of them were in this movie very much.
Voldemort still looks completely hilarious and not at all threatening or scary. Seriously, if Captain No Nose actually tried to start some sort of evil revolution, nobody would listen to him. We'd all just laugh. 'Cause he looks silly.
In spite of all that, I'm feeling pretty good about the movie.
I don't know, maybe I'm just feeling lenient today. Looking back, there were a lot of points where it seemed like nothing was happening. But at least it was being faithful to the book, unlike all the other Harry Potter movies. Most of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows is a whole lot of nothing.
Maybe I didn't like the movie as a whole, but it had moments I really liked.
I loved the part where Hermione reads the fairy tale that explains what the Deathly Hallows are, which was shown in a creepy animated sequence that Tim Burton wishes he came up with (but never could have because it was too cool. Bazinga!). George gets a funny moment near the beginning of the movie when he walks in on Harry and Ginny kissing in the kitchen. (Ginny, by the way, looks exactly like the woman who played Sally on Coupling, but smaller. Are they related?)
For all my talk of the movie being faithful to the book, though, my two favorite moments in the movie aren't actually in the book.
The first is when the Snatchers stop the Hogwarts Express looking for Harry. Some kid tells them "My father will hear about this!" which is a stupid and hilarious threat. But then Neville Longbottom stands up, insults the Snatchers to their faces and tells them "He's not here," and basically tells them to piss off. Neville Longbottom is my hero (and I'd actually rather read the story of his seventh year at Hogwarts more than I'd like to read the seventh Harry Potter book again).
The second moment was sweet and endearing, and ripe for mockery but I just can't bring myself to do it. There's a part (SPOILER, for those of you who haven't read the book or seen the movie) where Ron gets mad and ditches Harry and Hermione in the middle of the woods because it's boring and they don't know what they're doing. Harry and Hermione keep on keepin' on but are understandably upset and saddened by their best friend's departure. There's a scene where Hermione is sitting in the tent, staring at the floor and listening to a sad song on the radio, and Harry goes over to her and they dance. It's not in any way a romantic moment; it's just two friends cheering each other up during a hard time. And it was by far the best scene in the movie. It could have been narmy or schmaltzy and it wasn't.
It was, as far as I'm concerned, the only honest or genuine moment in the entire Harry Potter movie series.

End of line.