Nathaniel Rogers would live inside a movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is the biggie this weekend. It's already breaking records since its midnight opening. Six movies into the franchise you can already guess how you'll feel about this new edition and whether or not you want a ticket. The new film is the richest looking Potter film since The Prisoner of Azkaban but it's a bit of a mess story-telling wise, unable to keep all its plot threads involving searches for Voldemort's soul, mysteriously adjusted memories, Ministry of Magic disappearances, teen romances and attacks on Muggles neatly intertwined and coherent. Those who've read the book will mentally fill in the details and wonder why anyone else complains about the plotting.
Though the primary trio of teen wizards are still not exactly exciting actors, the supporting cast is as lively as ever. It's wonderful to see gay Dumbledore taking more of a central role as he prepares Harry for darker times to come. The new additions to the cast are also engaging: Freddie Stroma (previously seen in his skivvies here on Towleroad ) makes a dashing Cormac McLaggen (whether proudly straddling his broomstick or eyeing Hermione), Jessie Cave is quite funny as lovestruck Lavender Brown (she's got a thing for Ron) and Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge!), one of the best actors in the world, is as wonderful as always as Slughorn, a professor who likes to "collect" the brightest and best among students to augment his own reputation. You can guess who he wants to collect.
Half-Blood Prince is, despite its flaws quite enjoyable and if you're into the franchise you'll undoubtedly have a lot to discuss afterwards about what they subtracted, what they added and what the last two movies will be like.
Potter is fun but the best movie arriving this weekend is… AFTER THE JUMP
(500) DAYS OF SUMMERstarring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The marketingtagline "this is not a love story. this is a story about love." isaccurate for once. It's a romantic comedy but it's not so romantic. Boy meets girl but things don't go so well. The movie is so fresh, inventive, energetic andwell scripted that you'll fall in love with it… or at least in deep like. Deschanel may have played the quirky fantasy girlfriend one too many times now but she knows how to withhold enough to make her character Summer both aggravating and enchanting which is exactly what the movie needs her to be. Gordon-Levitt, who has been building up a reputation as one of the best young actors in the business, proves his worth again here. He's so different from film to film (it's hard to imagine that this is the same actor that carried Mysterious Skin) and he nails this movie's tricky bipolar tone. Plus, he's adorable whether happy and dancing or mopey and heartbroken.
Quite a few gays and gay favorites got EMMY nominations this year as NewNowNext notes. I normally think it's tacky when hosts of awards shows are up for a competitive prize the same night they're hosting but I can't say that it wouldn't be sweet to see host Neil Patrick Harris win for his funny womanizer performance on How I Met Your Mother. Now that Jeremy Piven's award-hogging Entourage role was snubbed (Piven took the last three trophies), maybe he can. Before that potentially happy day arrives, a moment of silence for The Snubbed.
Asian heartthrob and longtime movie star Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, the star of the gay romance Happy Together (1997) and Ang Lee's erotic spy thriller Lust Caution (2006), among many other fine films, has broken his arm. His trainer kicked it while they rehearsed for a new picture about Bruce Lee's martial arts mentor. Oh, to be the cast upon that arm!
Yet more new Alice in Wonderland pics. They're releasing so many you'll be able to combine them all to make your own two hours flip book movie in no time. This time the cast members are holding wee animals. Helena Bonham-Carter gets a pig. She seems confused by it. Remember when Tori Amos suckled one for promotional photos for "Boys For Pele"? Good times.
Alexander Skarsgård, True Blood's sexy blond vampire, nearly won the coveted Thor role in one of the next superhero franchises. He lost it to Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek) so up next instead: co-starring with James Marsden in a remake of Straw Dogs. This pairing is bound to set off impure thoughts.
Speaking of losing superhero roles… Is Henry Cavill the most overlooked man in Hollywood? It's a good question since he keeps losing high profile roles. The Tudor's co-star seems to have it all: talent, incredible looks, a decent resume thus far. Why isn't Hollywood taking the next step with him? It's yet another reminder that the entertainment industry is a complicated place. The variables in play on every film and career are legion.
Which is one of the reasons why… and I'll have to wrap up with this since I'll lose my cool… I'm still madhot angry about that casting director who advised the closet for actors. Screen, television and stage careers for actors are complicated enough as is: a combination of luck, talent, beauty and sex appeal, age, temperament, location, workplace compatibility, what type of genres are in vogue, what the competition is like…you name it. So many things are out of their control. How they present themselves to the industry is one of the only things they can control. Why complicate that already tough job by building up a persona based on lies? If you ask me The Closet is too easy and lazy a scapegoat for why some actors don't succeed in the way people think they might. Fact: most actors don't succeed, gay or straight. (Though success, it should be noted, is relative and if actors are working at all regularly, they are a success even if people don't know their faces and names)
I'm as perplexed as anyone as to why, say, Cheyenne Jackson who is talented, hot, by all accounts professional and in exactly the right age range for the good male roles, hasn't had any real big screen parts since his fine work in United 93. But if we don't have the brave Cheyenne Jacksons we will never get to the awesome ____________ . You know him, that actor everyone loves in 2015 who was always out of the closet and became a huge star anyway. Everyone will look at him and wonder why anyone in 2009 was still thinking that the closet was a good idea.