Summer recess roundup

Having recently struggled and -to some extent- succeeded in reviving my ever-floundering blog, even attracting far more traffic than ever before after writing a post with “nudity” and “Game of Thrones” in its title, it’s now time for a brief hiatus. For the next few weeks, I’m taking a break from even these self-imposed publishing pressures and I will focus on reading and relaxing. If all goes well, I will return with at least one great, endless Russian novel under my belt. But for now, in parting, I’ll give my very brief take on a few things that have been going around and about which I somehow feel required to have an opinion:

  • The final installment in the Harry Potter movie franchise was pretty much as expected: a bloated, rushed, and often indecipherable attempt to tie off all dangling plot strands, pausing only to deliver bursts of occasionally impressive visual fireworks. Alan Rickman, now commonly acknowledged as the films’ MVP, once again dazzles in his ability to bring pathos, wit and complexity to an underwritten part. But nearly all of the savage grace that gave the best of the films (The Prisoner of Azkaban, Order of the Phoenix, and Deathly Hallows Part I) a soul is woefully lacking here, its celebratory scenes undeserved and icky, and its risible “19 years later” coda easily the most tasteless moment in the entire franchise. But judging by the current proliferation of fan-made YouTube videos, most others seem to agree that the weirdest scene in this installment is that curious moment between Voldemort and Draco Malfoy (see below).

  • Teaser trailers for next year’s major superhero movies were released online earlier this week: The Amazing Spider-Man comes across as a fairly weak, only minutely “edgier” take on the ever-popular Peter Parker, its extended POV-shot a desperate attempt to improve upon the still-impressive web-swinging shots from Raimi’s film. Andrew Garfield meanwhile might have made a pretty solid Peter Parker about eight or nine years ago, but is by now clearly far too old to be playing a high-school student, thus again undercutting the reboot’s credibility. In short: this is looking even worse than most nay-sayers had been predicting.

  • The Dark Knight Rises on the other hand pushes the “final chapter” angle pretty hard, re-cycling iconic shots from the first two movies while the “Crumbling Gotham” image from the teaser poster and the bed-ridden monologue from Gordon promise an apocalyptic finale. As much of a Nolan-hater as I’ve become in recent years, the guy sure does know how to cut a trailer together…
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