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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II is probably the strongest entry in the film series, and offers a fitting code to the saga of the famous boy wizard. Sleaker, leaner and meaner than most of its predecessors, I can actually understand – artistically – why Warners opted to split the final book into two distinct chapters. In many ways, the previous instalment (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I) felt like another year with the Hogwarts crowd, while the finale here represents an epilogue to the entire series. Threads hinted at and developed since the first film are all tied up here, and – isolated from a lot of the soap opera of early episodes – the last in the series provides some stunning closure.

The wiz kid returns...

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The Sequel Myth and the Death of Originality in Hollywood…

It seems that every other day somebody is taking the opportunity be bemoan Hollywood’s creative bankruptcy. The decision not to press ahead with Del Toro’s version of The Mountains of Madness sparked a similar debate a little while ago, and the success of films like The Fast & The Furious Five seem to be raising the topic once again as we enter summer. It’s become something of a mantra for film fans, quietly chanted and repeated, something that we can use to continually bash the studios over the heads with. And, truth be told, I’m tired of it.

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How Do Studios Decide What Movies Get Sequels?

This is a question which has bothered me for quite a while now, because it seems like there should be an obvious answer, but I can’t really make a lot of decisions fit based on that. The deciding factor, one would assume, in any industry as to whether a product gets a continuation, a re-release, or a spin-off, would be that of box office. You imagine that the studio executives include an option for sequels in the contracts of any actors they want to stick around, and then wait for the box office totals to come in before they finally decide if they want to make the investment. However, this doesn’t always seem to be the case.

Should I get on my bike?

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Is Avatar a Revisionist Take on Aliens?

I know this isn’t exactly a new idea, but it’s one I’ve been mulling over quite a bit lately – especially since my aunt picked up the Alien Anthology on blu ray for Christmas. It’s been fairly frequently remarked, on-line and in-print that James Cameron’s Avatar bears remarkable similarities to his Aliens. However, it’s not the similarities that interest me, it’s the differences which reveal quite a bit. Most fascinating – at least to me – is the idea that Avatar represents an attempt to revise Cameron’s work on Aliens.

Killer queen...

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Non-Review Review: The Two Jakes

I’m going to be completely honest here, and possibly ruin my reputation as a film boffin. Until I held the DVD of The Two Jakes in my hands about ten years ago, I didn’t even know there was a sequel to Chinatown. The belated sequel languished in development hell after real life intervened – there was no way that Polanski could direct a sequel to perhaps his most famous film (at least not in Los Angeles, where it was set) and the movie that followed became caught in a tug of war between actor Jack Nicholson and writer Robert Towne, both of whom wanted a shot at directing. Nicholson won, but one can’t help but get the feeling in watching the film that the movie might have been better served with a stronger and more impartial director.

Will the bad guy get his just deserts this time around?

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Who Exactly is the Target Market for Tron Legacy?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m brimming with excitement for the impending release of Tron Legacy – it’s one of my most anticipated films of the year, after all. And the trailers look pretty damn spiffing, if I do say so myself (and I do). However, I can’t help but wonder what the book office appeal of the film is? I mean, it looks absolutely stunning, like a huge amount of work has been done on it (the effects look pretty incredible) – but I’m wondering where Disney’s renewed fascination with the Tron franchise came about.

Will the crowd go Wild(e)?

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Who Killed The Golden Compass Franchise?

It’s like a Hollywood blockbuster murder mystery brought to life. I can see it now: Bruce Willis as a cocky private detective investigating the dispatching of a controversial emerging star. A lot of people are mumbling in their drinks, but everyone’s afraid to say what they know. That is, until a surly-voiced stranger straightens up and says what’s on everyone’s mind. Cue Sam Elliot:

The Catholic Church happened to The Golden Compass, as far as I’m concerned. It did ‘incredible’ at the box office, taking $380million. Incredible. It took $85million in the States. The Catholic Church … lambasted them, and I think it scared New Line off.

Did the Catholic kill The Golden Compass, a potentially viable fantasy franchise in the mould of Harry Potter or The Lord of The Rings (or at least as far as fans would have you believe)? Let’s investigate.

An un-bear-able crime?

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The Vulture(s) Circle Spider-Man 4…

It’s been a while since I looked at the possible villains lined up for Spider-Man 4. With the shooting date drawing dangerously close, I’ve bowed out of all the rumours we’ve been hearing about the film – mainly about whether The Lizard would be appearing or who would be playing the Black Cat. But, as far as rumours go, this one is too juicy – and too close to the deadline – to avoid discussing. Basically two Oscar-nominated actors – John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway – are playing a pair of villains. Malkovich will be playing Adrian Toomes, and Anne Hathaway will be playing Felicia Hardy – but the character apparently won’t be sharing her comic book counterpart’s secret identity (the Black Cat), instead getting an entirely new secret identity (something called ‘the Vulturess’).

Somebody finally figured out that the only way to make John Malkovich more badass was to strap wings on him...

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Lisbon 2 – The Sequel

I try not to get too political over here, seen as how this is a pop culture blog. I did happen to notice, however, that the Irish government has decided to expand the Lisbon Treaty debacle into a franchise. We’ve had economists, armchair pundits and politicians weighing in on the matter, but why don’t we ask the people who really count: the film critics? I humbly submit my thoughts on the proposed Lisbon 2.

Maybe you can go too European with the posters...

Maybe you can go too European with the posters...

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Non-Review Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Why?

That’s my only question after seeing the film: why was it necessary? It’s not entirely a bad film – indeed, without the baggage coming with the franchise it might have been a perfectly average film. Unfortunately it is a terrible Indiana Jones film that is packed to the brim with elements that just don’t work and only one that does. Harrison Ford is one hell of a fantastic performer, but even he can’t save this film.

Jonesing for some Jones?

Jonesing for some Jones?

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