Thursday, August 03, 2006

Helena Bonham Carter and Harry Potter

Is there any distinguished British actor or actress that hasn't made an appearance in one of the "Harry Potter" movies? Seriously, I think it's some kind of birthright.

Now, Helena Bonham Carter has been cast as Bellatrix Black Lestrange in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which David Yates is directing for release in July.

If memory serves me right, Lestrange is Sirius Black's cousin and a Death Eater. Lord Voldemort, who simply calls her Bella, considers her one of his top lieutenants.

It should be wicked fun to watch Helena play a character so purely evil. Other previously announced newcomers to the series are George Harris as Kingsley Shacklebolt, Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks, Kathryn Hunter as Mrs. Arabella Figg, and 14-year-old Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. Imelda Staunton is playing Dolores Umbridge.

As they continue to change directors, the "Harry Potter" movies seem to get better with each installment, in my opinion. Yates, who made the sublime romantic comedy "The Girl in the Cafe," has never taken on anything of this magnitude before, so it should be fascinating, whether he succeeds or fails.

"Die Hard" again in June

After coming up with one of the worst movie titles of all time for a previous sequel ("Die Harder"), 20th Century Fox has now come up with a great one for the fourth installment in this franchise.

Coming June 29 will be "Live Free or Die Hard," with Bruce Willis returning once again for a mission that borrows more than a little from "24."

The story centers on an attack on the U.S.' computer infrastructure that begins to shut the country down. Our hero John McClane will surely have something to say about that. Len Wiseman ("Underworld") is directing

"Our villain is high tech, but the way McClane deals with him is low-tech," Wiseman told USA TODAY. "A fistfight still solves a lot of problems." He added that the fourth outing "will be a more epic movie. It's on a much grander scale. The threat is nationwide."

None of this sounds terribly promising, but the first "Die Hard," at least, was a great action movie, so I'll definitely be there.

Bruce will be facing some stiff competition, however: coming on that same date is the next pixar offering, "Ratatouille," which is being directed by "Incredibles" helmer Brad Bird. Coming five days later, on the Fourth of July, will be the live-action "Transformers" movie (man, it sure is so much more fun to think about movies that won't be out for almost a year rather than all the work I have to do today!)

Bring it on.

Rob Schneider, humanitarian?

This morning, for the first time since his bit part in "The Waterboy," Rob Scheider actually made me laugh. It seems there may a bright silver lining to Mel Gibson's hateful meltdown after all.

On the Variety Web site this morning was the following ad (seriously, I can't make up stuff this good):


I, Rob Schneider, a 1/2 Jew, pledge from this day to never work with Mel Gibson-actor-director-producer-and-anti-Semite.

Wow. What a stand. Even if it means we won't get to see Mel Gibson direct that long-awaited sequel to "The Animal," Hollywood needs more principled pioneers like you.

In case anyone missed it, that was more sarcasm than I can usually muster this early in the morning.

What an idiot. Now, if only every director in Hollywood could get drunk and do something to offend Monsieur Schneider, maybe he'd never get to work again. Hey, one can dream, right?


Sameer Vasta said...

Harry Potter series better with each film? Really?

The first two were okay, the third one was phenomenal, but the fourth made me want to gouge my eyes out. But I guess that's just personal opinion.

Reel Fanatic said...

I thought the third one was great, too, Vasta, but the fourth was even better ... I wasn't expecting much from Mike Newell, so maybe me lowering the bar going into it just made me like it more

amy said...

About Die Hard- I just read yesterday that it was meant to be called "Die Hard 4.0" because it was going to have "something to do with computers".

I think the title is a play on the New Hampshire state motto: "Live Free or Die". I hate most things about New Hampsire but they do have a ballsy motto.

I wonder if the movie takes place in NH?

Reel Fanatic said...

From what I've read, Amy, the title was going to be "Die Hard 4.0," but they just changed it ... and I believe it's set mostly in D.C.

Des said...

Oh Rob Schneider. I can't quit you...

Plus he was great in Jaws!

Unknown said...

I love the new Die Hard title so much more than the early one that was kicking around the net.

As for Rob Schneider, this is a brilliant, yet pathetic, ploy at getting some media attention.

Reel Fanatic said...

I suppose you're right, Marina .. and I suppose I've given him a tiny little slice of the attention he so desperately needs

BigRedHammer said...

Perhaps New Hampshire will fall into the ocean in Die Hard if our good hero McClane doesn't stop the virus from killing uh.. NH's digital roots.

Well, I was never a Die Hard fan.

Carter though, she'll make a great addition to the HP franchise. She has great potential in an evil role.


Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

I, a half-Jew, swear to never see a Rob Schneider movie again.

Which shouldn't be too difficult an oath to uphold, given that I have never seen one yet.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ah, Elizabeth, now there is an honorable vow, even if it is easy to uphold

Terence Towles Canote said...

I swear that by the time the Harry Potter series of movies is over, every single well known British actor will have appeared in it! I'm just waiting for Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg to put in appearances in some role or another....

Aparna said...

About Harry Potter, from someone who dotes on the books, I found first 2 were good, but the third one missed out vital facts, and had only special effects. I am actually impressed by the fourth becuase it was a pretty big book,and I had my misgivings,but he managed to condense it, without missing out important parts.

Divinity said...

Re: the Harry Potter films.
I'd say (and have in the past, repeatedly) that the fourth was the best adaptation since the first two, while being true to the action of the books, somehow missed out on the spirit of the story. The third is my favourite book and remains my favourite film but, as has been mentioned in a previous statement, missed out on some major plot points. Also, Dementors don't fly.

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