As a part of the arguably best year for film in the past decade (and followed by quite possibly the worst), this Harry Potter outing is easily one of the best (where it ranks among its fellow HP flicks on my list is yet to be seen).  Mostly banking on the fact that its predecessor was merely acceptable, this time around the gang is joined by some intriguing new characters.  The bulk of the exceptionality of this movie is from Dolores Umbridge (played with typical vigor by the under-appreciated Imelda Staunton) and Luna Lovegood (played with spacey brilliance by newcomer Evanna Lynch).  But then again, the highlight of each successive Harry Potter movie seems to be the newest Brits that have come to play newly introduced characters.  The truly unfortunate part about its being released in the brilliant 2007, though, was that Staunton’s take on Umbridge was almost completely overlooked by critics.

Standout Performance:  Could I make it more obvious?  Had this film been released in 2008, I would’ve thought Staunton had a shot at an Oscar nod.  Or at least, she certainly should have.

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