Who dares challenge the mighty Harry Potter? Only Gwyneth Paltrow! Studios must have figured the audiences for the first part of the final Harry Potter installment, and those anxiously waiting to see Paltrow belt out country tunes, were mutually exclusive. Regardless, the best pick of the week is the only other release: Claire Denis’ White Material, a powerful film about racial strife in modern Africa.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – Average Tier 6.29
Voldemort’s power is growing stronger. He now has control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore’s work and find the rest of the Horcruxes to defeat the Dark Lord. But little hope remains for the Trio, and the rest of the Wizarding World, so everything they do must go as planned. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 @ Amazon
Denis revisits Africa, this time exploring a place rife with civil and racial conflict. A white French family outlawed in its home and attempting to save its coffee plantation connects with a black hero also embroiled in the tumult. All try to survive as their world rapidly crumbles around them. White Material @ Amazon
Country Strong – Average Tier 4.93
While out on tour to revive her stalled career, once-popular country singer Kelly (Gwyneth Paltrow) falls for emerging newcomer Beau (Garrett Hedlund) and tries desperately to hide their burgeoning romance from her ever-present husband and manager, Ed (Tim McGraw). Written and directed by Shana Feste, this musical drama co-stars Leighton Meester as a former beauty queen trying to break out as a songstress. Country Strong @ Amazon