Notes from the Back Row 

Harry Potter casts a spell

Wizards rule. Sure, they're a bit nerdy - their power comes from remembering books and thinking hard about spells - and they usually aren't strong enough to single-chop off an Orc's head, nor dashing enough to nail an Elf princess, but wizards are cool nonetheless. They dress for comfort with big floppy hats, robes and killer beards, and wizards don't give a shit what other people think.  They'll turn you into a newt if you get in their face.

Harry Potter, however, is really not that cool. In fact, he appears to be wearing a bomber jacket on the poster for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II , which opens this week at both the Village 8 and Squamish's Garibaldi 5. A bomber jacket is utterly un-wizardly. It's trying way too hard to look tough and we all know it's pretty much impossible to look tough when you're carrying a wand.  "Ooooohhhhh watch out! Here comes Harry Potter and his wand!" Ask any seven-year-old with a loose tooth and they'll tell you that wands are for fairies.

Don't get me wrong, the Harry Potter books are great for kids but cinematically I'm tired of that guy. This is the eighth Potter flick... EIGHTH! You know the best thing about Friday the 13 th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan ? You didn't need to recall every detail of the other seven to make sense of what you were watching. That's not the case with Potter's films, the first of which came out a decade ago - who can remember all that back story? Kids maybe, and middle-aged weirdos.

Anyhow, in this, the final installment, Potter fights the evil Voldemort and it's an balls-out wizard war chock full of real action and battle scenes, mashed together with profound messages about life, death, love, loyalty and all that other good stuff. Deathly Hallows Part 2 is actually one of the best Potter films and also the shortest at just over two hours (many fans will call it too short.)

From giant spiders to dragons to wizards casting balls of magic at each other, Deathly Hallows 2 packs a hefty punch (and a few kisses) but unfortunately the spectacle again overpowers the storytelling - and unless you already know what's going on it's hard to tell what is actually going on. Or why you should care.

But if you like Harry Potter you'll like this movie. If you love Harry Potter you're gonna go apeshit. The tale of the Boy-wizard finally concludes and it's a helluva ride.

For more adult tastes, especially adults who menstruate, the Village 8 is bringing back Bridesmaids , the Kristen Wiig tour-de-force about a down-on-her-luck baker who competes with a rich, well-put-together bitch (Rose Byrne) to host the ultimate bridal experience for a friend (Maya Rudolph.)

Bridesmaids is entertaining (I chuckled) but certainly women are gonna dig this way more than dudes. Writers Wiig and Annie Mumolo use their feminine touch and produce a flick that's unique and totally relatable for the fairer sex. Compare this to something like the male-written (male-fantasy) Cameron Diaz vehicle Bad Teacher and it's easy to see why Bridesmaids has pulled in $158 million domestically and has become the most successful chick-targeted R-Rated comedy ever (beating out Sex and the Shitty.)

Hopefully the film execs are paying attention to Bridesmaids' success and will start bankrolling more female-driven projects. Judging by the crapheap of films Hollywood's pinched out onto us this summer they really have nothing to lose.

The Download of the Week is an overly gory, hyper-violent and super stylized '80s exploitation homage that's even cooler than Wizards with a laser guns. Hobo with a Shotgun is Canadian-made and it's definitely not for the Potter crowd.




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