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my life in ruins

Review: My Life in Ruins, Stone of Destiny and Drag Me to Hell

By Cinema, Reviews

While the Film Festival con­tin­ues to deliv­er untold pleas­ures to Wellington cinephiles, the com­mer­cial dis­trib­ut­ors dump (shall we say) less-heralded product at our cur­rently very quiet mul­ti­plexes and arthouses.

My Life in Ruins posterMy Life in Ruins is a belated follow-up to the inter­na­tion­al smash hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. That film was pro­duced by Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson as a favour to their friend Nia Vardalos and, to the sur­prise of every­one, it went on to make squil­lions at the box office and prom­ised to make comedi­enne Vardalos a romantic com­edy star. Things did­n’t quite work out like that and it’s taken sev­en years for a follow-up to hit the screens, also sup­por­ted by Hanks and Wilson.

Sadly, My Life in Ruins is likely to dis­ap­point those that remem­ber MBFGW fondly – the warmth and good humour of that film has been replaced by cheap laughs at the expense of inter­na­tion­al ste­reo­types and there’s a flat­ness to the exe­cu­tion that Vardalos’ mug­ging can­’t hide.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Birdsong

By Cinema, Reviews

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince posterWhat is there left to say about Harry Potter films? It seems like only yes­ter­day that I wrote of The Order of the Phoenix: “this Harry Potter is not a hugely enjoy­able exper­i­ence. The young act­ors, des­pite lots of prac­tice by now, haven’t got any bet­ter (poor Rupert Grint as Harry gets found out every time they point the cam­era at him). Daniel Radcliffe as Harry doesn’t seem to be able to carry the weight of the emo­tion or the action and Harry him­self still seems like a bit of a wimp.” And noth­ing much has changed this time around.

In the latest film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry is under pres­sure from head­mas­ter Dumbledore (Michael Gambon)to find out the truth about return­ing potions pro­fess­or Slughorne (Jim Broadbent) who knows the secret of Dark Lord Valdemort’s where­abouts. But Dumbledore’s motiv­a­tions are murky and the loy­alty of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) is called in to ques­tion. There is also a humour­less and tedi­ous diver­sion into the romantic lives of our her­oes that does noth­ing but con­firm the absence of act­ing tal­ent on offer.

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