Saturday, November 20, 2010

Seen DEATHLY HALLOWS? Good, Let’s Talk!



I saw HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 at midnight at Loews Lincoln Square in all its 80’ x 100’ IMAX glory and it was one of the greatest, most electric and bizarre movie theatre experiences I’ve ever had. The crowd was a wild mix of costumed Potter fanatics, wizard rockers and geeks of all kinds. It was a madhouse as we waited impatiently for this most-anticipated penultimate Potter film to begin, but once the lights went down, a reverent hush fell over the crowd and we were enraptured into the wee hours of the night.

To say that the movie is a unquestionable triumph of epic awesomeness would be an understatement.  To say that it’s the best Potter film yet would be overly simplistic.  In many ways, it is a miracle of a film -- finally, after ten years and six films, all the stars have fallen into perfect alignment, and they figured out how to make a perfect Harry Potter film. All of the techniques & ideas that they’ve been tweaking and experimenting with for the first six films finally fell into place. Tremendous acting, direction & writing.  Truly epic in scope and tonally perfect. The perfect balance of near-slavish devotion to the book and thinking outside the box. Easily the best musical score since John Williams left the series after AZKABAN. Gorgeous cinematography that I have to imagine will garner another Oscar nomination. More brilliant casting decisions. Fixing continuity issues. Etc., etc., etc.

harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-running-poster_427x626I have no idea if Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will ever be able to shake free of these roles that they have lived & breathed for the past decade-plus. Who knows if they will follow the path of, say, Harrison Ford or that of Mark Hamill. But regardless, they have come into their own as actors far beyond what anyone could ever have expected.  I mean, it was a casting coup when they found these three to play Harry, Ron and Hermione because they just LOOKED perfect. But who could have guessed that they (1) would continue to look perfect as they got older, and (2) would actually become really good actors?  Some tremendous performances on display in this film that really boggle the mind. The supporting cast, too, continues to be as good as any that has ever been assembled. Aside from looking as if they were literally sprinkled from the pages of the books, it is a veritable who’s who of some of the best actors Britain has to offer. From the evil creepiness of Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort and the complexities of Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape, to the protective mom-ness of Julie Walters’ Molly Weasley and the kids they found to play Fred, George, Ginny, Luna, Neville, etc.… everyone just continues to be jaw-droppingly perfect. New additions such as Rhys Ifans as Xenophilius Lovegood and Bill Nighy as Scrimgeour keep the streak of impeccable casting decisions alive. My biggest dream is that in Part 2, they hire every other British actor & actress who hasn’t yet appeared in the series to cameo as warring wizards during the Battle of Hogwarts -- that would rule.

DEATHLY HALLOWS is also a very different Potter film (and story) because it is no longer restricted to the confines of Hogwarts and the usual pattern, i.e., Harry leaves Dursleys, goes to school, gets into trouble, saves the day. Now, suddenly, the Dursleys are fleeing town, Hermione erases her parents’ minds for their own safety, the Weasleys are in hiding, and Harry’s own protective charm is about to wear off -- yeah, shit has officially gotten real. The fact that we now see these characters out there in the world, wielding magic at will (no longer restricted by underage magic laws) and going up against unspeakable evil with possible death at every turn -- it’s both thrilling and scary as hell. The story is so much more epic and the movie does a ridiculously good job of dialing everything up a few notches.

It’s also two and a half hours of almost unrelenting darkness, horror, misery and pain. It is a harsh film in every sense.

Now, let’s take a look at some specific scenes & moments that I loved about this movie:

Hermione’s Parents -- In the book, it was mentioned that Hermione obliviated her parents in order to protect them.  But actually seeing this in the movie -- in the opening scene, no less -- is powerful stuff.  Perfect example of how thinking outside the confines of the written word isn’t always a bad thing, when it’s done right.

voldemortVoldemort and his Minions -- Really friggin’ creepy stuff. I’ve seen Harry Potter detractors condemn the books & movies because the #1 bad guy is so rarely seen and hasn’t personally killed many people and so on. But that’s the whole thing! It’s the very THOUGHT of Voldemort and his rise to power that scares people. So on the rare occasion that we actually see him, whether it’s him sitting at the head of a table of Death Eaters and torturing a Hogwarts teacher, or glimpses of him searching for the Elder Wand, it’s all the more terrifying. The payoff in Part 2, when Voldemort comes front & center to wage war against Harry and Hogwarts… it’s gonna be huge.

Escape from the Dursleys -- Kick-ass action scene here. Love seeing the Order of the Phoenix in action. Love Hagrid and his motorcycle. Heartbreaking when Hedwig sacrifices herself to save Harry from the death curse. Scary when Voldemort appears. Good stuff.

harry-ginnyHarry and Ginny -- Yowza! Ginny asking Harry to zip her dress, showing off her bare back, and then the two of them going at it right there in the kitchen? That was something. (Hilarious when George catches them in the act, too). Ginny is cute but not in a traditional way. She’s kind of aggressive and sassy and athletic. And, apparently, a saucy little minx. Go Harry!

The Diner Attack -- Harry, Ron & Hermione square off against some Death Eaters in the middle of a Muggle diner! Great little battle scene that shows just how much danger they’re in.

Ja wohl, mein Umbridge! -- The Ministry break-in and escape was cool (though I am glad that’s the last we’ll see of the overused Polyjuice Potion)… but best of all was the return of Dolores Umbridge. God, she is so evil… and as umbridgedepicted in this movie, she’s not only evil, but she really is a goddamn Nazi! From the giant sculpture of Muggles carrying wizards on their shoulders, to all the anti-Muggle propaganda, to the folder containing profiles of Harry & his allies, to the McCarthy-esque Muggle-born registration hearings, they really went all-out with the imagery here, and it was incredible. When Harry finally lost it and stupefied her ass, it was an exultant moment!

Camping -- Like many people, I wasn’t a huge fan of 200+ pages of LOTR-style camping and hiking through the woods in the book. Wondered how they would handle that in the movie, and I think it worked exceptionally well. The cinematography was a big part of that -- it somehow felt sweeping & epic, yet appropriately isolated at the same time. There was also plenty of action to break things up… which, I suppose, was also the case in the book… so really, let’s all just shut up and stop complaining about the camping already. It’s not so bad.

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM IS GOING TO KICK SO MCH ASS IN PART 2 -- He was only in one scene in part one, mouthing off to the Death Eaters on the Hogwarts Express, and it elicited cheers from the crowd. When his heroic character arc is fulfilled in part 2… sweet jeebus, it’s going to rule.

potter-poster-harry-hermioneHarry & Hermione’s Dance -- What a brilliant addition this was.  Harry and Hermione have always been close friends, and this scene added more depth to their relationship than the books ever did. Their friendship has always been somewhat physical -- holding hands when scared, hugging when sad, etc.  But this dance was something so much more intimate and personal and the fact that it very nearly resulted in a kiss -- well, let’s face it, they’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, very possibly on the brink of death without ever seeing their friends (or anyone) again -- why wouldn’t they consider, even for the briefest of seconds, taking things to another level? But it didn’t happen and the true power of their friendship was clear. Plus the dance was just plain fun. Meanwhile, on the other hand, there’s…

Ron & Hermione -- Tension between them is palpable at this point. Their big moment in Part 2 is going to raise the goddamn roof. But I digress.

Godric’s Hollow -- What a gamut of emotions I experienced here.  First I was tearing up as Harry stood over his parents’ grave. Then it turned into a goddamn horror movie when Bathilda Bagshot appeared. Holy shit, that was creepy. And when Nagini revealed himself and all hell broke loose, I nearly shat myself.

Ron’s Horcrux Vision -- In the book, when Voldemort’s soul tried to corrupt Ron’s mind in a last-ditch effort to save itself, it was f’d up. But in the movie, actually seeing these demonic visions, complete with naked Harry & Hermione snogging and groping each other, it was just… wow. This scene alone added more depth to Ron’s character than the previous six films combined.

dobbyThe Return of Dobby -- Dobby was kind of annoying in CHAMBER OF SECRETS (still the weakest installment, both in book & movie form), but he is a key character and it was odd that they chose not to bring him back in later films. Had to bring him back for HP7, though, and they did it very well, having him join forces with Kreacher to apprehend Mundungus (which I don’t think happened in the book…?).  Then of course his heroic, fateful rescue of Harry & Co. in Malfoy Manor. I admit it, I shed a tear for Dobby, a free elf who only cared about helping his friends!  (That being said, I’m still glad they left out the S.P.E.W. / house elf stuff in GOBLET OF FIRE.)

The Tale of the Three Brothers -- I’ve been wielding the words “perfect” and “brilliant” throughout this review like they’re going out of style, but they are just so fitting… and here’s another example. If Chris Columbus had directed this film, they probably would have simply showed Hermione sitting there reading the story -- instead, we got this breathtaking animated sequence. David Yates, you are the man.

Malfoy Manor -- One of the my favorite scenes in any of the books, and it was supremely awesome on screen. Bellatrix torturing Hermione is intense… Draco’s uncertainty… the overall sense of “holy shit, how the fuck are they going to get out of this??” even though we are well aware of how they get out of it. Tremendous climax to the first half of this story!

Heh, I guess that pretty much covers everything, doesn’t it? Honestly, I can’t even really think of anything specific that DIDN’T work. Kinda would’ve liked to have seen “Kreacher’s Tale,” in which he told the story of how he was forced to help Regulus find the locket Horcrux. Also, I really liked the scene in the book where, as the Dursleys are leaving, Dudley finally shows Harry some respect. Those are the only two omissions from the book that stick out in my mind (not counting the Dumbledore family/Grindelwald backstory, which I believe they will cover in the Part 2.)

Oh, I also kind of wish that they would have given a better send-off to Mad-Eye.  I realize that in the book, he died “off screen.”  But this is a MOVIE.  Easily could’ve thrown in a shot of him going down in a blaze of glory.  I hope they keep this in mind during the big Battle of Hogwarts (where even more major deaths happened off-screen in the book) -- we’ve grown to know, love AND hate these characters over the past decade in action, and if they must fall, we’re going to want to SEE it happen. But again, these are minor quibbles.

In fact, if I had to pick the two worst things about HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1, they’d be: (1) As much as I love the existing GOBLET OF FIRE, ORDER OF THE PHOENIX and HALF-BLOOD PRINCE films, now I kinda wish they could go back and redo them as two-parters, and (2) We have to wait eight long months for the epic conclusion! I want to watch it noooowww!

But until then, let’s talk about what we’ve got. What are some of your favorites parts? Thoughts on what we’ve seen and what’s to come? Random, incoherent gushing over this epic slice of awesomeness? Please share!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random POTTER Thoughts: Films 4 thru 6

Harry Potter Madness continues! I have practically been living and breathing these films all week long (I’ve even dreamed about the films at least once). As much as I’ve loved these films over the past decade, I love them even more now after watching them in succession like this. Collectively, it’s really one of the great cinematic achievements of all time. Now, here are some random observations that I jotted down while watching films 4, 5 and 6:

• That Fleur Delacoeur is one piece of ayshe. I know from experience, dudes.

• Mad-Eye teaching the kids the Unforgiveable Curses is such a tremendous scene. The look on Neville's face as he watches Moody perform the Cruciatus Curse is wrenching cinema. (Granted, it's not really Moody... but still.)

• Cho Chang is a hussy!

• "Why do they have to travel in packs? And how are you supposed to get one on their own to ask them?" I feel Ron's pain -- I failed to ask out a girl in college for this very reason. Damn her ever-present gaggle of girlfriends! (Of course, Ron was only 14 years old when he made this observation, and I was 21... but still... it never gets easier!)

• Hermione's arrival at the ball was more potent in the book, where she had never been cute and was suddenly hot. In the movies, she's always been cute!

• Moaning Myrtle is a saucy little minx!

• That tongue-flicking thing that Barty Crouch, Jr. does is really damn creepy.

• Cedric Diggory would kick Edward Cullen’s sparkly ass.

• The graveyard scene with Voldemort is just as disturbing and jaw-dropping on the screen as it was in the book. Brilliant stuff.

• ORDER OF THE PHOENIX is the Potter film I saw the most times on the big screen (3, including twice in IMAX). Could be my favorite of the series depending upon the time of day.

• PHOENIX probably has my favorite opening sequence, too. Love the starkness of that weird playground where more-cruel-than-usual Dudley taunts Harry. And then of course the dementors... *shudder*

• Most grossly underused character in the films: Tonks. Not even a single “Wotcher, Harry”… such a waste. She’s like the Darth Maul of this series!



• “I must not tell lies”… God, Umbridge is so friggin’ evil.

• Love when McGonagall and Umbridge exchange choice words. What a confrontation of acting titans that is.

• Love the subtle shots of Ginny looking at Harry whenever he's paying attention to Cho. Happens a couple of times... so good.

• Dumbledore laying waste to the Ministry agents who come to arrest him rules. “You seem to be under the impression that I will go quietly.” So awesome. But again... Gambon's Dumbledore has always been a loose cannon so you could kind of see this coming with him. Gotta wonder how Richard Harris' soft-spoken Dumbledore would have been in this scene -- would have been such a great reveal, akin to the first time Yoda whipped out his lightsaber in ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

• Fred and George striking back against Umbridge is the best! Love all the decrees falling to the floor and the giant victorious “W” in the sky. Go Weasleys!

• The entire sequence in the Department of Mysteries and the ensuing battle is brilliant, ominous, f'd up, crazy. Love Bellatrix taunting Neville. Harry fighting alongside Sirius, and Sirius reflexively calling him "James." Mad-Eye kicking ass. And of course, Dumbledore vs. Voldemort smackdown!

• I could totally watch HP5 again right now. Really, really tough to pick a favorite between PHOENIX and AZKABAN. Both equally perfect, clearly superior to the other installments (so far).

• I like the idea of Harry hanging out in train stations to take his mind off things (as per the beginning of HALF-BLOOD PRINCE), but where and when exactly was he hoping to take out that Muggle waitress? C’mon, Potter!

• Harry and Ginny sittin’ in a tree… can’t wait to see some S-N-O-G-G-I-N-G! Y’know… the chick who plays Ginny is not a very good actress, but she IS cute… in an odd sort of way… and cool. I’d probably be into her, too, if I was Harry.

• Greyback is one scary motherfucker.

• Kudos to the filmmakers for bringing back the old joke of Seamus always blowing stuff up in his face! That’s good continuity.

• Li’l Voldemort? Also scary.

• “But I AM the chosen one”… that’s funny. I’ve heard people condemn this movie for all the lovey-dovey-dating stuff, but I think it’s great.

• Frankly, I like the scene of the Death Eaters attacking the Burrow. I know, blasphemy, because it wasn’t in the book… but this is a MOVIE. Can’t just have two hours of flashbacks and budding romances… you need a LITTLE action to break things up!  So I understand and agree with the decision.

• Harry vs. Draco! Sectum Sempra! Craziness!

• When young Tom Riddle first mentions Horcuxes… so intense.

• Dumbledore wielding the fire against the Inferi… f’ing awesome. That whole sequence is one of the best in the entire series.

• Snape kills Dumbledore! Death Eaters wrecking shit! “Fight back, you coward!” “I’m the Half-Blood Prince!” The Dark Mark over Hogwarts! God this movie is harsh. And for the record, the mini-Battle of Hogwarts in the book? Completely unnecessary and takes away from the power of the big battle still to come, so it makes sense that they cut it.

• In the end, I think that all the haters can kiss my arse because HP6 is outstanding and a tremendous lead-in to the grand finale…

…and on that note, off I go to Loews Lincoln Square to fight the crowds and get in line for the 12:01 a.m. show of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 in glorious IMAX! YES!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random POTTER Thoughts: Films 1 thru 3

Revisiting the first six films in preparation for the midnight screening of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 later this week, and here are a few miscellaneous thoughts that have been popping into my head as I make my way through the epicness:

• SORCERER'S STONE remains an excellent, albeit imperfect, intro to the films. All of the first appearances of major (and minor) characters, locations, items and events are appropriately awe-inspiring and geek-out-worthy.

• Would have been cool to actually SHOW what the Sorting Hat saw when it made its decisions about where to place each student. As it stands, it’s a prime example of the filmmakers being way too literal and slavish towards the books. (No coincidence that the movies started to REALLY get good when they started thinking outside the box a bit!)

• Saw on IMDB that John Hurt, who played Ollivander in #1, is reprising the role for #7. That is some good continuity.

• CHAMBER OF SECRETS is still the weakest of the series, but it’s actually much better now that we know what we know.

• While I am a fan of Michael Gambon's Dumbledore, I can't help but think about how awesome Richard Harris would have been in the later films.

• Remember when gaining & losing house points was important? Seems like such small potatoes compared to, y’know, battling evil and saving the world. (Quidditch, too, kinda got old pretty fast.)

• Of all the impeccable (and fortunate) casting decisions throughout the series, how lucky were they that the kid who played Dudley stayed big & fat all these years? Gotta wonder if he was contractually obligated to NOT work out and lose weight… or if he made the decision himself to ensure he kept the role!

• Love the shot in AZKABAN of the bird flittering around the Hogwarts before fatefully flying right into the Whomping Willow. Little random bits of whimsy like that are what make take the third film to a whole other level of awesomeness.

• AZKABAN probably has the best musical score of the series -- tremendous stuff from John Williams.  Ever since he left the series, the scores have been decidedly unremarkable… which is why I was excited to learn that Alexandre Desplat is scoring HALLOWS PART 1.  Should be good, but I’d still love to see Williams come back for Part 2, though.

• How great is the scene in the Shrieking Shack, where Lupin, Sirius and Pettigrew’s history is revealed? Though, gotta wonder why the heck Lupin & Sirius couldn’t just immediately let Harry, Ron & Hermione that they were good guys, rather than acting so vague and ominous.

• Sirius rules.  And Werewolf Lupin would kick Taylor Lautner’s candy ass.

• Basically everything about AZKABAN is superior to the first two films in every conceivable way. So good!!!

God, I love these movies.  Be back soon (perhaps) with thoughts on 4, 5 and 6!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Milestones for Disney and Me

In June 2000, I moved out of my parents’ house in NJ and into an apartment in New York City. I had always loved going to the movies, but now, living in a city with a movie theatre on every other block, showing everything from current blockbusters to indie darlings to old-time classics… well, it unleashed the beast inside me. I started going to the movies voraciously (abetted by my girlfriend at the time, who was equally into it), and by the end of the year, I saw ninety-something movies and it was awesome. Then in 2001 (a remarkable year for movies, I might add, led by AMELIE, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, MOULIN ROUGE and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, all of which made my top 25 of the '00s), I went even crazier and saw over 100 movies for the first time and ended the year with an astonishing 120 big screen experiences. I’ve seen over 100 movies every year since, but never really came close to breaking that record...

That is, until this year. And yesterday, Wednesday, November 10 at 7 p.m. at the Loews Orpheum Theatre on 3rd Avenue between 86th & 87th, I saw my 121st movie of 2010, breaking my long-standing big-screen record. I know... kind of insane that I’ve already seen that many movies and there’s still over a month and a half left in the year. Not really sure why this year has been so substantially more prolific than any other year (though you can bet I’ll try to figure it out when all is said and done), but there it is. The old record has finally fallen and a new one will now be set with every movie I see between now and December 31st. Who knows where the final total will end up! I am a madman… a madman who likes movies!

tangled-posterSo, what was the record-breaking movie, you ask? Well, in a way, it’s poetic. On top of being a movie-lover, you may also be aware that I am a die-hard Disney aficionado -- so I was thrilled to receive an invite to an advance screening of TANGLED, which happens to be Walt Disney’s 50th Animated Classic! Based on the story of Rapunzel, it feels more like a classic Disney fairy tale than anything we’ve seen in many years. Much as I enjoyed THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, it was a more modern tale -- but TANGLED is a good old-fashioned Disney princess story in every sense, and it is a wonderful triumph in pretty much every possible way.

Whatever John Lasseter has been doing since taking the reigns at Disney, it’s working wonders. He’s only credited as the Executive Producer, but from a storytelling standpoint, Pixar’s influence is all over this movie -- not just creatively, but fundamentally. From the plot to the situations and action sequences to the characters, dialogue and voicework, it really feels like Disney has experienced a rebirth under this new regime. Going back to their roots is a big part of it. TANGLED has all the elements that made films like SNOW WHITE, CINDERELLA, SLEEPING BEAUTY, THE LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST great: There's a magic kingdom (complete with a palace that invokes Disney castles of yore), a captured princess, a wicked stepmother (of sorts), wacky supporting characters (drunken bar thugs!) and of course, some animal friends (a sword-fighting horse!). Fantastic score & original songs by the great Alan Menken, too, which is key to any true Disney classic. The heartfelt “When Will My Life Begin,” creepy “Mother Knows Best” and hilarious “I’ve Got a Dream” are all catchy, memorable and worthy of the Disney songbook.

The whole 3D kick has been getting real old, real fast, but this one was definitely done right. Tremendous use of depth -- the dam break and lantern festival are two particularly noteworthy sequences. Definitely worth the extra few bucks (though that’s easy for me to say since I saw it for free). As for the animation itself, I admit, it's a shame that it’s not hand-drawn… but it’s solid CGI that was painstakingly made to LOOK like traditional Disney animation, and it looks good indeed. As is the case with pretty much any Disney film, there’s never any doubt that you are, in fact, watching a Disney film. Whether it’s CINDERELLA or THE LITTLE MERMAID or even a stinker like HOME ON THE RANGE, a Disney movie is a Disney movie and there’s something magical about that.

TANGLED is funny, poignant, a little dark at times and loaded with great moments (glad they kept in the iconic line, "Rapunzel, let down your hair!" -- I remember hearing that they were thinking of not including that, which would have been ridiculous). It contains zero pretense or tongue-in-cheekiness -- which, as a vintage Disney fan, makes me very happy. (There's even some old-fashioned Disney political incorrectness: I was a little surprised that they went the evil witch/stepmother route, because I can envision a slew of mother-figure support groups calling to boycott Disney products -- but kudos to them for doing it because Gothel is a tremendous villain.) The film will open on November 24th with my highest recommendation for kids, adults and kids-at-heart. It is a joyous movie-watching experience, which, at my screening, was punctuated by scores of little kids literally dancing in the aisles during the closing credits. Gives me hope that that the world hasn’t yet become too damn cynical to appreciate such goodness. We need more pure Disney fairy tales -- and this one is worthy of being a milestone for both the Walt Disney Co. and me!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harrison Ford is a Crotchety Old Bastard

Once upon a blog (I’m talkin’, back in the MySpace days), after suffering through yet another dismal performance and feeling physical pain at the thought of another nail being driven into his coffin, I wrote an open letter to Harrison Ford asking him to please to do us all a favor and retire so as not to further sully his legendary career.

Need a moment to read that letter?  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  All caught up?  Excellent.

harrison-fordNow, obviously, Mr. Ford did not listen to my plea, and he has gone on making movies for the past four years.  And, well, I probably don’t need to remind you that the results have not been so good.  As far as I’m concerned, FIREWALL was the rock bottom of his career -- the absolute worst piece of crap he has ever made, and indeed, my #1 worst movie of 2006 (not to mention one of the worst of the decade on my list). Then came INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL -- but once you got past the initial thrill of seeing Indy on screen again, the movie was a misfire beyond what anyone could have feared and clearly a mistake for all involved. After that came CROSSING OVER, a little-known, dull, and not-very-good drama about immigration issues that came and went very quickly. Next up was EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES, a gigantic flop in which Ford tried… well, I’m not exactly sure what… seems like maybe he tried to recapture the quirkiness he displayed in such films as THE MOSQUITO COAST, but in such a horrendous film, it just didn’t work. And so, things continued to look bleak for the former Han Solo, and I cringed as more nails were pounded into that coffin.

morninggloryBut then a funny thing happened. Tonight I saw an advance screening of MORNING GLORY, an upcoming comedy about a hotshot workaholic TV producer who tries to resurrect an dying morning news show. The movie is decent enough, with a few good chuckles here and there, and solid work from Rachel McAdams (at her most adorable, I might add), Jeff Goldblum and Patrick Wilson (not so much Diane Keaton, but that’s a whole other can of worms), but that’s not important right now. The important thing is that it also stars Harrison Ford as Michael Pomeroy, an award-winning, Rather-esque newsman in the twilight of his career who is forced to join the morning show against his will. Ford’s Pomeroy is a crotchety old bastard. He’s mean, pompous, self-centered, well aware that the morning show is far beneath a journalist of his stature… and, frankly, he’s pretty awesome. The former Jack Ryan sneers, snarls and grumbles his way through the movie and it is some of the best, most engaging and entertaining work I’ve seen from him in a long, long time.

I mean, sure, it’s no BLADE RUNNER or WITNESS or even AIR FORCE ONE –- but at this stage of Harrison Ford’s career, playing the crotchety old bastard may be his best bet.  Hell, I think he probably IS kind of a crotchety old bastard in real life, so why not go with it? From now on, when a movie calls for a crotchety old bastard, the former Dr. Richard Kimble should be Hollywood’s go-to guy. I’d almost forgotten that the world is a much better, brighter place when you can watch Harrison Ford on screen and not be overcome by sadness. I’m not saying we should remove the nails from his coffin just yet… but for the first time in years, we didn’t have to add any new ones, and that, my friends, is a step in the right direction.