- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tyler’s defense

Tyler Perry, whose new movie opens today, is an American original who fought his way to significance from the margins. Once homeless and nearly penniless, he’s now a pop cultural force whose movies have earned over $400 million even though critics treat them with condescension or contempt when they bother to watch them at all. He remains an outsider - not just because he’s black, conservative, deeply (often sanctimoniously) religious … but because he makes truly personal and often deeply strange films, and releases a new one every six months.

“Reviewing Perry’s first solo outing as a screenwriter-producer for New York Press, I called ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman’ ‘a jumbled wreck of a movie, alternately prosaic and loony,’ but added, ‘the source material is so rich and in-your-face sincere that it works anyway.’ Here we are half a decade on: new movie, same verdict, times 100. Most of Perry’s movies are whiplash-inducing experiences, alternately clumsy and powerful, pandering and bold, crude and beautiful. Perry’s 10th film in five years, ‘For Colored Girls’ - an adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s dramatic prose poem ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf’ - is his most problematic work. It’s also his most ambitious.”

- Matt Zoller Seitz, writing on “Tyler Perry’s misunderstood genius,” on Nov. 4 at Salon

Wes’ latest

“Wes Anderson is ready to return to the land of the flesh with ‘Moon Rise Kingdom,’ an ensemble comedy that Deadline reports is quickly filling up with a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, and, of course, Bill Murray. The film (due to start production in the spring) takes place in a New England town where two young lovers have run away together, setting various town leaders - who are convinced that theyve just disappeared - on an all-points search.

“Norton would play a scout leader who sends his troop out on the hunt. Willis would play the town sheriff whos romancing the mother of the missing girl, played by McDormand. Naturally, Murray will play her husband, because Wes Anderson enjoys seeing Bill Murray cuckolded, as do we all. Its not yet clear whom Tilda Swinton would play. Possibly the moon. The lady is pale, am I right? Anyway, ‘Moon Rise Kingdom’ is set in the 60s, so you can probably already hear the soundtrack in your head.”

- Sean O’Neal, writing on “Wes Anderson picks out his next all-star ensemble” on Nov. 10 at the AV Club

Harry’s end

“Funeral wreaths at the ready, for Harry Potter is bowing out. The record-breaking film series, adapted with a stentorian reverence from the J.K. Rowling best-sellers, totters towards the exit door at the end of a nine-year, seven-picture marathon, as its total running time nudges 20 hours and its inhabitants age before our eyes.

“It’s going, going, almost gone, and yet its long goodbye comes in two separate instalments: a prolonged death rattle that begins with tonight’s London premiere of part one, and won’t conclude until the release of part two in July 2011. Only then can the wake begin.

” ‘How can they tell?’ quipped Dorothy Parker when told of the death of Calvin Coolidge, and it’s tempting to ask a similar question about this, the boy wizard’s last hurrah. It’s not so much that ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ feels at times largely indistinguishable from the six outings preceding it, nor even that part one offers so little in the way of resolution. (Part two will surely take care of that.) It’s simply that it’s hard to mourn the demise of a franchise that was never more than half-alive to begin with.

- Xan Brooks, writing on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” on Nov. 11 at the Guardian

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