Weekend Movie Guide: Harry Potter and The Japanese Spirits

Trailers for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 promise "the motion picture event of a generation." While that honor (sadly) still belongs to Avatar, franchise fans have plenty to cheer about with the release of the penultimate Potter film. Warner Bros. unleashes The Deathly Hallows on over 4,000 screens nationwide this weekend, including IMAX screenings in Burbank, Century City, The Howard Hughes Center, Universal CityWalk and Woodland Hills.

I'm a Harry Potter centrist. I've only seen the third and fourth films, with little interest in pursuing the rest of the series or the books. That being said, I appreciate how the series has nudged countless muggles towards literacy and activism. J.K. Rowling is amongst the most influential women in the world, and her use of Potter profits for philanthropy and equality echos a call to action from her mother's generation.

In 1968, British female factory workers struck for fair pay and against sexual discrimination. The bio-drama Made in Dagenham brings this story out of the pages of history and back into the public eye with a wonderful cast led by Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Never Let Me Go), Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Mona Lisa) and Miranda Richardson (The Young Victoria, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire).

Another spirit from '68 returns with Kuroneko, a chilling ghost story playing the Nuart in a newly restored print from Janus Films. Director Kaneto Shindo's earlier film Onibaba (available on DVD and streaming video through the Criterion Collection) is an under-appreciated gem that melds Japanese theater, medieval history and atmospheric melodrama. Though I have yet to see Kuroneko, critics praise it for sharing these same qualities.

If you’d like to see something even further off the beaten path, check out our weekly Film Calendar of specialty theatres, revival houses and midnight movies. See you at the movies!

General Release

Limited Release

Featured Trailers
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

Made In Dagenham

Kuroneko

That's all for this week. Watch out for black cats and horcruxes!