Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint | PG |
Welcome back, kids. Most series run out of juice a few films in (think Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End?) but not the Harry Potter movies. The continuing appeal—Half-Blood is the sixth Potter film, once again based on a J.K. Rowling novel—is watching boy wizard Harry (Radcliffe) and pals Hermione (Watson) and Ron (Grint) grow up in front of us. The more their characters mature and face emotionally complex problems, the more they engage us. This then allows the movies to rely less on magical special effects such as airborne Quidditch games and flying creatures, though plenty of that remains (and it's still plenty grand).
Here the trio deals with hopping hormones and malevolent forces threatening Harry. While clearly transitional, serving to set up the final two films (of the seventh book) yet to come, Half-Blood is a sustaining visit with beloved old (if not in age) friends.
Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard, Alycia Delmore | R |
A pair of longtime buds (Duplass and Leonard), after too much alcohol and weed at a party, decide to make a sex film in which they'll get it on with each other—even though both are straight. As the shooting deadline approaches (they plan to submit their short to a film festival), their anxieties, ahem, mount. Are they all talk, no action? Shot on a shoestring budget, Humpday is a funny, often insightful comedy about men behaving dumbly and their fumbling attempts to understand why they do.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel | PG-13 |
Here's the hipster romance for the summer. (500) Days breezily chronicles the beginning, middle and end of the love affair between a twentysomething greeting-card writer (Gordon-Levitt, wonderfully soulful) and a secretary (Deschanel, beguiling as always) for whom he falls hard. The movie warns us up front that boy will eventually lose girl, so the real suspense is in how that will happen and whether he will cope. As Days whisks back and forth in time, checking in on the duo's romance at various stages, this playful film manages to be both charming and clever, though occasionally it strains a mite hard in its attempts to be fresh and with it.
>The actress, 49, kisses John Krasinski onscreen while working 9 to 5 on Broadway.
ON SMOOCHING KRASINSKI He had to pretend to be disgusted by it, but secretly, I'm sure he was thrilled.
ON FILMING AWAY IN ARIZONA HEAT When you breathed, your nose stung. We used umbrellas for shade. I felt sorry for the dogs on-set!
ON DOING 9 TO 5 It's exhausting. When I'm doing it, I'm energized ... but afterwards I have to go to bed.
>• Meet three young supporting stars who step into key roles in the halls of Hogwarts
MOST GROWN UP BONNIE WRIGHT (GINNY WEASLEY) Just 9 when she was cast as Ron's little sister, London-born Wright, 18, captures Harry's heart in the new movie—and has her first onscreen kiss with Daniel Radcliffe. "I made sure I brushed my teeth immediately before," she says. "Dan is a perfect kisser. I can't complain!"
BADDEST BULLY TOM FELTON (DRACO MALFOY) "I get boos from kids around the world, but I take it as a compliment," says Felton, 21, who's grown from a troublemaker to a serious villain. Tougher is staying platinum blond: he gets his brown roots colored every 10 days. "I've become oddly attached to it," he says of the look.
SCARIEST NEWCOMER HERO FIENNES-TIFFIN (TOM RIDDLE) The 11-year-old nephew of actor Ralph Fiennes stars as a haunting younger version of Fiennes' Voldemort. "He had the uncanny ability to still the room," says director David Yates. "Hero's very charming, but when he read the lines, we all went, 'Wow, he's scary!'"
>CORALINE This captivating animated film, directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) and now on DVD and Blu-Ray, speaks to every child's not-so-secret wish for kinder, more attentive parents. But as the film makes creepily clear, be careful what you wish for.
>He has traveled light years from 3rd Rock from the Sun. Few child actors grow up to boast as impressive a career as Gordon-Levitt, 28, is building after his run on the sitcom (1996-2001). He's already a critics' favorite (count me in) for memorable starring roles in quality indie films such as Mysterious Skin (2004), Brick ('05) and The Lookout ('07). Among actors in his age group, the only match for range, sensitivity and a knowing glint in the eye is Ryan Gosling
. That's good company to keep.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE