If you’re not wild about wizards, muggles, or you-know-who, it might be best to stay home this weekend and catch up on some reading. With the temperatures and humidity rising to actual summertime levels, theaters are sure to be packed with rabid Harry Potter fans hoping for another glimpse at their bespectacled hero. As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
What’s the story: The kids from Hogwarts return for a sixth engagement filled with spells, hormones, special effects and some disappointment. Fans and critics alike have been somewhat mixed about the quality of The Half-Blood Prince—our Rex Reed calls it “two and a half hours of paralyzing tedium”—but that hasn’t stopped the film from taking in a mind-melting $58.2 million since opening on Wednesday and over $100 million worldwide. The last event movie of the summer looks like it could wind up being the year’s biggest hit. And Harry does it all without the help of chaste vampires. Take that, Stephenie Meyer!
Who should see it: Edward Cullen.
(500) Days of Summer
What’s the story: Allow us to introduce your new favorite angst-ridden romantic comedy. (500) Days of Summer, from music video director Marc Webb, opens in only a handful of theaters around the country today, but we have a feeling it’ll be a groundswell success. Think of it as—gasp!—the Garden State of 2009. [Ed note: but better.] Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel (the respective boy/girl crushes of the moment) star as a pair of mismatched lovers in this tale of a relationship gone sour. The reviews have been uniformly strong, touting a breakout performance from Mr. Levitt and more of the same wistfulness that we’ve come to expect from Ms. Deschanel (and that’s a good thing!). Plus, the soundtrack features everything from the Smiths to Hall & Oates. By the time fall rolls around, you’ll might be saying how overrated Summer is, but take a moment to enjoy it while the weather is still nice.
Who should see it: Lloyd Dobler.