July 25, 2011 12:00 PM

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes PG-13 |

FANTASY

All seven previous films in the Harry Potter series faithfully executed the magical minutiae of J.K. Rowling’s books. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2 is the first to re-create the feeling of reading them. Grim, beautiful and unabashedly emotional, this is nearly as satisfying an end to the saga as a fan could wish for (even with some subtle deviations from the book) as Harry (Radcliffe) faces the evil Voldemort (Fiennes).

On their quest to find and destroy the Dark Lord, Harry, Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) take a thrilling detour through Gringotts’s bank vaults (the best use of otherwise needless 3-D) before finding their way back to Hogwarts. The wizarding school is a garrison, and it’s here that the mighty battle will come. Bring tissues, because Hallows 2 is largely about facing death. Beloved characters will die-including possibly Harry. When the time comes to face Harry’s fate, Radcliffe confidently, casually shows how much he’s matured as an actor. He’s a man now, and flashbacks of him, Grint and Watson as wee tots in the first film underscore one of Hallows 2’s salient metaphors, about childhood’s end. But despair not, Potterphiles. That part you’re fervently hoping to see at the end? Wish granted.

Salvation Boulevard

Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly | Unrated |

COMEDY

A black comedy that’s neither dark nor terribly funny, Salvation Boulevard wants to skewer megachurch culture but isn’t quite smart enough. Carl (Kinnear) is in mortal danger after witnessing his pastor Dan (Brosnan) sin mightily. Soon Carl gets kidnapped and Pastor Dan thinks the devil is calling … on his cell phone. Good Lord.

Winnie the Pooh

John Cleese, Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson |

ANIMATED

They’ve never heard the word “snarky” in the Hundred Acre Wood. While other kids’ films cram in sly humor and CGI effects, Winnie the Pooh is sweet, old-fashioned and unhurried-perhaps too much so, with its meager 68-minute running time feeling like a bit of a slog. Pooh stitches together some of A.A. Milne’s classic plots, with clever touches like Pooh (Cummings) and friends interacting with the narrator (Cleese). It’s all very pleasant, but hardly memorable.

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