The boy-wizard epic 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' and and the quirky indie romance '(500) Days of Summer' bring different kinds of magic to the big screen. h2 style="font-style: italic;">Movie Recommendations for July 17
'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'
The J.K. Rowling faithful may carp that they've left too much out (come on folks, the film's already 153 minutes as is...), but the dazzling 'Half-Blood Prince' is easily one of the best 'Potter' flicks yet, giving 'Azkaban' a run for its galleons. Most commendable is director David Yates' ability to balance the light and the dark, amping up the story's romantic entanglements (warning: snogging everywhere!) and comedic elements while never letting the audience forget about the ominous evil that lurks (and terrifying adults and children alike in the famous cave scene). Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have matured perfectly with their roles, and the trio of characters feel more developed here than we've seen yet on the big screen. This one's magical through and through. -- Kevin Polowy
'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' showtimes & tickets
'Harry Potter' stars answer fan questions | Daniel Radcliffe interview
'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' IMAX showtimes & tickets
'Harry Potter' character guide | 'Harry Potter' fan reactions
'Harry Potter' stars: then & now | 'Harry Potter' romances
'Harry Potter' Tamatometer review watch
'(500) Days of Summer'
The tag line -- "This is not a love story; it's a story about love" -- couldn't be more true about this utterly unique romantic dramedy. Told from the point of view of hopeless romantic Tom (a stellar Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the movie chronicles his 500-day relationship with Zooey Deschanel's free-spirited Summer (so that's where they got the title!) through a series of out-of-order moments that are sometimes hilarious, sometimes melancholic ... and somehow always hopeful. If you aren't left with a lump in your throat by film's end, you have no heart in your hollow tin chest. -- Tom DiChiara