Get ready to fall under its spell.

The sixth film in the series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” enchants, thrills and entertains.

Wizard-in-training Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) returns for his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry along with close friends and schoolmates Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) in yet another absorbing cinematic mix of adventure, fantasy and mystery sprinkled with bits of humor and teen romance, plus a spectacular Quidditch match.

With Harry in tow, Professor Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) travels at light speed to visit recluse Horace Slughorn (Oscar winner Jim Broadbent), who is masquerading as an overstuffed chair. The headmaster manages to convince Slughorn to return to Hogwarts as the new Potions professor.

Harry’s potion book formerly belonged to the mysterious “Half-Blood Prince,” who could be his nemesis Lord Voldemort, “the most dangerous dark wizard of all time.” Meanwhile, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), at the urging of harpies Narcissa Malfoy (Helen McCrory) and Bellatrix Lestrange (Helen Bonham Carter), appears to be channeling the evil Voldemort.

Cast members include Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagell, David Thewlis as Remis Lupin, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Bonny Wright as Ginny Weasley and Jessie Cave as lovesick Lavender Brown.

The lengthy, but well-made CGI-filled feature is directed by Peter Yates (“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”), who will also direct the final two movies. The film is written for the screen by Steve Kloves based on the novel by J.K. Rowling.

Rated PG 3 and 1/2 Stars


At first it might seem like your standard boy-meets-girl romantic comedy, but this engaging tale is raised to new heights of originality by its unusual nonlinear presentation. “500 Days of Summer” veers all over the place as it follows Tom’s involvement with love-of-his-life Summer. The film goes from day eight to day 145 to day 374 and then back to day 22, etc., in an erratic offbeat scenario.

Incurable romantic Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls hard for the lovely Summer Finn (Zooey Deshanel) at the greeting card company where they both work. After he finally catches her attention, Tom remains ecstatic until he discovers that Summer does not believe in true love.

Gordon-Levitt and Deshanel are perfectly cast as the on-again, off-again lovers. Other cast members include Chloe Moretz as Tom’s wise-beyond-her-years little sister Rachel, and Geoffrey Arend and Matthew Gray Gubler are Tom’s buddies McKenzie and Paul.

Directed by former video director Marc Webb, the quirky, funny screenplay was written by Scott Neustadler and Michael H. Weber. Film editor Alan Edward Bell deserves recognition for this marvel of editing and challenging continuity.

The architecture of Los Angeles plays an important role in this fun-to-watch romance. Besides being out of sequence, the flick has a fantasy song and dance sequence, flashbacks to Tom and Summer’s childhoods and occasionally a documentary-sounding voiceover.

Rated PG-13 3 Stars