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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 127 Hours & Tangled

by Howard McQuitter II

HowardMcQuitterii@yahoo.com

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
****1/2
Warner Brothers
Fantasy/Drama/Thriller
Lagoon
Running Time: 146 minutes
Rated: PG-13
Director: David Yates

The trio: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are grown up now. We”'ve watched these lovely children grow up through seven (2 parts) Harry Potter films and four directors. In the seventh Harry Potter film, the principal cast (and lesser cast too) are away from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They”'re on the run, with Harry Potter being sought after as the principal enemy. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) are entrusted with a most dangerous quest: seek and destroy Lord Voldemort”'s secret to immortality ”“ the Horcruxes.

The sense of playfulness with Harry, Hermione, and Ron in previous movies is all but gone in “Deadly Hallows”. Their lives are in danger, fearing their nemesis Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) will appear at any time. An awkward if not fairly predictable love triangle surfaces in very subtle ways. The trickles of love, however present, do not in any way overshadow the plot. The magic continues as Harry, Hermione, and Ron fight off ambushes and confrontations.

In the beginning of “Deadly Hallows” Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) rescues Harry from a well-organized Death Eaters assault. That scene is the most action packed in “Deadly Hallows”. For the most part the film seeks much calmer moments.

Helena Bonham Carter is the perfect villain as Bellatrix LeStrange. We do not see enough of her in “Deadly Hallows”. Quiet as it is kept, “Deadly Hallows” has a number of flickers of humor. Even in the midst of dread (including the front page on the newspaper prints about the death of Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), David Yates manages to provide a lighter moment or two. I am happy to say kudos to Part 1 of 7 – “Deadly Hallows”.

127 Hours

127 Hours
*****
Fox Searchlight
Lagoon
Director: Danny Boyle
Rated: R
Running Time: 94 minutes

James Franco, in “127 Hours” can be compared to Kevin MacDonald”'s “Touching the Void” (2003), Robert Zemenkis”' Cast Away” (2000), Sean Penn”'s “Into the Wild” (2007), all survivalist films, each man either overcomes or succumbs to the odds.

The film is based on a true story in Aron Ralston”'s book Between a Rock and a Hard Place, which tells of Ralston”'s solo mountain climbing outing when he slips in a canyon wall causing a boulder to land on his right forearm. Foolishly he doesn”'t tell anybody where he”'s going. James Franco plays Aron Ralston, in a marvelous one man performance that deserves an Oscar nomination. He is left in no-man”'s land, stranded in a crevice, facing dehydration and then death. Before his near fatal mishap, Franco comes across two female hikers, Megan and Sonja, played by Amber Tamblyn and Lizzy Caplan, respectively. He points them to a hidden lake and in turn the women invite him to a party later that night and Franco walks on.

Trapped in a crevice, his survivalist instincts begin. Tools include his multi-purpose knife, his water bottle, and his video camera with which he records his dilemma. He rewinds his camera for previous memorable events. As the hours pass no rescuer is in sight ”“ only a raven flies by the same time each day. He begins to hallucinate about past events ”“ growing up as a boy, a teenager, his “first” girlfriend, his parents, etc. All the good years seem to pass before his eyes.

I am now putting the movie on hold: no spoiler in sight. I will say James Franco has been a versatile character actor, such diverse roles as from “Spider Man” to “Howl,” from “Milk” to “Pineapple Express,” from “In the Valley of Elah,” to “Annapolis,” and from “Deuces Wild” to “The Company” to “Flyboys”. Hats off to director Danny Boyle “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008, “28 Days Later in 2002, “Trainspotting” in 1996. He sticks to his subject without wavering even though we are stuck being claustrophobic for nearly all of Boyle”'s 94 minutes.

Tangled

Tangled
****
Disney Presents
Animation/Musical/Adventure
Block E AMC Theatres
Directors: Nathan Greno and Byron Howard
Rated: PG
Running Time: 100 minutes

The story of Rapunzel is an old one I remember as a boy over 50 years ago. Nathan Greno and Byron Howard”'s animation/musical works by Disney (not Pixar) productions, is clearly a family-friendly affair that is quite cleverly done. Add the talents of composer Alan Menken who wrote “The Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin”, “A Whole New World”, “Under the Sea”, as a co-writer of the tunes in “Tangled.” Take your children, it is worth it.

“Tangled is in 3-D but I saw it in 2-D and that”'s fine with me. The 3-D craze is overkill and often unnecessary, especially with animation. When directors get off that bandwagon we”'ll be better off for the most part.

Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) steals Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) as a baby from her parents, the king and queen. Gothel and Rapunzel hide away in a secluded tower with the latter being completely imprisoned. Rapunzel and 70 feet of magical golden hair drop from the tower to the ground to let Gothel down to pick up food in the forests. Rapunzel believes Gothel is her real mother.

Along comes handsome Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) fleeing from the king”'s men and stumbles upon the tower. He”'s the key to exposing Rapunzel to the wider world. Gothel has conditioned her that the outside world is frightening, forbidding and dangerous. At first, Rapunzel treats Flynn as an intruder, but later finds the young man”'s encouragement convincing.

“Tangled” undoubtedly will be included for a slot in the best animation category in the Golden Globe and Academy Awards, along with other excellent animated pictures: “Despicable Me”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “The Illusionist” and “Toy Story 3”.

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