Archive for Rupert Grint

CBGB

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

CBGB follows the story of Hilly Kristal’s New York club from its conceit as a venue for Country, Bluegrass and Blues (CBGB) to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock ‘n roll and punk. When Kristal had difficulty booking country bands in his club on the Bowery he opened his doors to other kinds of rock music. Kristal had one demand of the acts he booked; they could only play original music. No top 40’s, no covers. It was the credo he lived by, support the artist at whatever the cost. Hilly Kristal ironically became known as the godfather of punk giving a chance to such bands as Blondie, Television, Ramones, Talking Heads, Dead Boys and The Police

REVIEW:

I bet you’re thinking to yourself, “What does CBGB stand for?” Well, the answer is County Blue Grass Blues. It just so happens that for about 30-40 years or so, there was a club in New York that specialized in just this sort of thing, but just because it happened doesn’t mean it makes for an interesting film, or does it?

What is this about?

Renewing the legend of one of New York’s most storied nightclubs, this raucous drama features the punk and rock legends who made CBGB famous. While the club’s owner had hoped to open CBGB as a country venue, it soon became something quite different

What did I like?

Music. For a film based about a club that served as a place for many groups to grow their name, debut, or just come and jam, music has to be a major part of this film. If you were thinking there isn’t any music in this film, then I hate to disappoint you. The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop, and even The Police, among others, are all populating the airwaves of this film, creating one of those soundtracks any music fan just has to have.

Cast.To say this is an impressive cast would be doing them a disservice. Names like Alan Rickman, Malin Akerman, Rupert Grint, Ashley Greene, and even a fairly small role for Johnny Galecki are sure to strike a chord with the fans. Rickman and Greene in particular shine above and beyond the material they are given and, in the scenes they have together, they have great chemistry.

Dream big. I keep hearing more and more about how the American dream is dead. Well, here we have a guy who was about go into his third bankruptcy, lived in a crappy apartment, and just had everything going the wrong way for him, and yet somehow he was able to pull out his dream of a club, and it turned out to be a humongous success (despite all the issues along the way).

What didn’t I like?

Back to the club. For about 30 minutes of this film, the focus is on Alan Rickman’s character trying to get the Dead Boys signed to a deal. Previous films with similar subject material have shown us that this can be done with an interesting spin, but apparently these filmmakers didn’t get the memo. First of all, this part of the story was just randomly introduced into the storyline and second, I found myself looking at my watch and patiently waiting for this phase to be over and get back to the club, which is what this film is actually about, in case they forgot.

Magazine. The film starts with these two guys in a room deciding they wanted to start a magazine. That is the last we hear about them until they randomly show up interviewing some chick for a reporter job. For me, having them in there doesn’t really make much sense, since they didn’t really have anything to do with the club, Hilly Kristal, or any of the bands. The only good thing may have been the comic book screens between scenes.

Runaway baby. Perhaps the filmmakers were trying to get across that Hilly Kristal was some sort of legend with the opening scene. Baby Hilly wakes up from his crib and just walks out the door and down the road a couple of miles. The next scene we see is grown Hilly being told he needs to stop trying to open a club. What these things have to do with each other, I have no idea, it is about as confusing as it sounds to have a random baby scene like that.

To say I was looking forward to CBGB would be a bit of a lie, but I am always up for hearing about parts of music history. Granted, parts of this film changed what actually happened, but there is still that part of it that is close to what went on back in those days. Sadly, this is not a film I can recommend. I almost want to say check it out for the music, but you can just as easily download the soundtrack and avoid it. Rickman and a few of the other cast members are trying their hardest, but in the end, this is just an incoherent mess that is an insult to the legacy of the real CBGB. Please avoid this film. It is for your own good!

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part II

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After giving Dobby a proper burial at Shell Cottage, Harry speaks with Griphook the Goblin about breaking into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts, as he believes that a Horcrux is hidden there. Griphook agrees to take Harry, Ron, and Hermione to Bellatrix’s vault if they give him the Sword of Gryffindor in return. Harry then asks Ollivander, the wandmaker, to identify the wands they took from Malfoy Manor. Ollivander says they belong to Bellatrix and Draco Malfoy, but Malfoy’s wand has changed its allegiance to Harry. Harry then reveals that he knows Lord Voldemort has stolen the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand to ever exist, from Albus Dumbledore’s tomb.

After using Polyjuice Potion to disguise herself as Bellatrix, Hermione manages to slip past the Gringotts goblins along with Ron, also disguised, and Harry and Griphook, who are under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak. Griphook safely guides them past the dragon guard and into Bellatrix’s vault where Harry discovers the next Horcrux, Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup. When Harry manages to obtain the cup, Griphook takes the sword and runs. With Gringotts security on their tail, the three heroes jump onto the back of the dragon guard and fly far away from Gringotts. During their escape, Voldemort enters Harry’s mind and discovers that they have been destroying his Horcruxes. He then begins keeping his snake, Nagini with him at all times. During the vision, Harry sees that the next Horcrux is something that belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw and is at Hogwarts.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione arrive in Hogsmeade, they unknowingly set off a Caterwauling Charm, and have to hide. They are rescued by Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus’s brother. Aberforth seems to have lost all hope, but Harry convinces him to let them into Hogwarts so they may find the Horcrux. Aberforth instructs a portrait of his younger sister, Ariana to fetch Neville Longbottom, who leads the three friends through a secret passage back to Hogwarts. Severus Snape, now headmaster of Hogwarts, has heard of Harry’s return and gathers all students and staff in the Great Hall to inform them of their punishment should they aid Harry in any way. Harry steps forward and confronts Snape, but Professor McGonagall defends Harry by firing her own spells at Snape. Snape retreats to Lord Voldemort and McGonagall gathers all beings in Hogwarts to prepare for the final battle. Luna Lovegood finds Harry and introduces him to Helena Ravenclaw, daughter of Rowena and ghost of Ravenclaw house. Helena reveals that she knows of Voldemort and the dark magic he had performed on her mother’s lost diadem. When Harry tells her that he wishes to destroy it, she tells him it is hidden in the Room of Requirement. While Harry is talking with Helena, Ron and Hermione go to the Chamber of Secrets and Hermione destroys the cup Horcrux with a Basilisk fang. After being engulfed by a torrent of water caused by the destruction of the Horcrux, the two share a brief kiss. Harry goes to the Room of Requirement where he finds Malfoy, Goyle, and one of their fellow Slytherins. Goyle attacks Harry, but Ron and Hermione arrive and defend him. Goyle casts a Fiendfyre curse in the Room of Requirement, forcing the three heroes to retreat. Before leaving, Harry saves Malfoy and his companion, but Goyle and the Room of Requirement itself are destroyed in the fire. Once outside the room, they destroy the Ravenclaw diadem with a basilisk fang and Ron quickly kicks away the destroyed Horcrux. The trio go on a search for Voldemort so that they may kill Nagini, the final Horcrux, but when they discover him, he has Nagini kill Snape to make the Elder Wand truly his. Before he dies, Snape passes Harry memories via a tear to be used in the Pensieve in Dumbledore’s office.

As Voldemort gives Hogwarts a reprieve, Harry looks into Snape’s memories and learned that he and his mother, Lily Potter, were close friends and that Snape defected from Voldemort after Lily’s death. From the memory, Harry learns that he himself is a Horcrux, as Voldemort’s soul was very fragile at the time he killed Lily and James. Due to the fragile state of his soul, a result of creating numerous Horcruxes, and his attempt to murder an innocent child, a part of Voldemort’s soul broke away, and attached itself to the only living thing in the house, this happened to be Harry. Harry then goes into the Forbidden Forest to face Voldemort, where he is hit with a Killing Curse. Harry enters a state of limbo, where he meets the spirit of Dumbledore. He then returns to the world of living and his reappearance re-ignites the fighting. As he and his friends try to kill Nagini, they lose their basilisk fangs, until Neville decapitates the snake with Gryffindor’s sword, destroying the last of the Horcruxes. Voldemort is then killed by his own Killing Curse as the Elder Wand falls into Harry’s hands. With the battle over, Ron suggests that they keep the Wand, because it would make them invincible, but Harry wordlessly snaps the Elder Wand in half, thinking it would be too much power to have.

Nineteen years later, Harry and Ginny Potter, along with Ron and Hermione Weasley, see their children off on the Hogwarts Express. But Harry’s middle child, Albus Severus, reveals his fears to Harry about the possibility of him being sorted into Slytherin house. Harry confides in his son regarding his namesake and assures him that the Sorting Hat will allow him to choose his own house. Albus gets on board the train, and both married couples watch their children leave to have their own adventures at Hogwarts.

REVIEW:

Every generation seems to have that one franchise that changes everything. For my generation, we have the Holy Trilogy (the Star Wars films for those not familiar with the terminology), the next one had the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but this current generation has literally grown up with the actors in this franchise, and have cemented Harry Potter in the echelon of great, moneymaking franchises.

The plot of  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part II picks up right where the previous film left off. I’ll discuss the separation later. Harry, Ron and Hermonie are still in search of the horcruxes so that Voldemort can be defeated. Meanwhile, at Hogwarts, Snape has been promoted to Headmaster and the school grounds are guarded by Dementors.

Before returning to Hogwarts, the trio makes a stop at Gringott’s bank to explore Bellatrix’s vault, where they find one of the Horcruxes. Of course, in there, they have to deal with this multiplicity spell and a double cross by Griphook, not to mention have to evade and escape the dragon guarding it.

After their daring escape, they apparete to Hogsmeade, but set off some type of alarm, which sets the Death Eaters on their trail. Before they can be detected, a mysterious figure pulls them aside. It is discovered that he is Dumbledore’s brother, Abeforth, and he helps them get back in the castle, with the help of the painting of his sister and Neville Longbottom.

This leads to the scenes we’ve been waiting 10 yrs for, the final battle between good and evil. Some of the character we’ve been waiting to see actually use their magic show what they can do, some characters die, and others slither away into the darkness.

The film is definitely the ultimate payoff for those of us that have been around since the beginning. Sure, when you think about it, this is kind of a sad day, but hey, it was a good run, and with the exception of the previous film, there are no real complaints.

Let’s talk about that for a bit, shall we. This film, which is based on the final book, was split into to films. If you will recall in my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I, I wasn’t necessarily giving a ringing endorsement of the split. However, as much as I complained about he previous film being nothing more than an overpriced drama, there were some parts of it that were done well because of it being a separate film. Had both of these films been merged into one, I believe there would have been lots of things left out that really deserved to be seen on film.

I was convinced to see this in 3D. I don’t really know why this was released in (and converted to) 3D. I believe it would have been just as spectacular without it. I just didn’t see anything that warranted me spending the extra $$$. I can’t believe I was coerced into supporting this gimmick.

This might very well be the most special effects laden entry in the franchise. There isn’t anything wrong with that, either. If you read the book, it plays out as if it were meant to be seen on the big screen rather than in someone’s imagination.

For the most part, the film stays true to the source material. There are some things cut here and there, as well as some additions that I believe weren’t necessary, but we can all rejoice in how this film proves you don’t have to change someone’s work in order to create a great story for the big screen.

In an interview earlier this week, I heard Daniel Radcliffe say something about how he wanted to keep some of the lensless glasses. That’s great, but if you will watch in nearly every scene, he has on a different pair of glass, some with lenses and some without.

Personally, I think a film of this high caliber should be able to film something like that. Don’t you agree?

It was good to see some of those that have been nothing but background characters, mostly, get their chance to shine here, such as Professor McGonagall , Molly Weasley, and especially Neville.

Speaking of Neville, I know that we’ve watched all of these characters grow up over the years, but think about what he was like in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and compare that to how much of a force he was in this film. It really is a shame we didn’t see more of him over the course of the series.

Speaking of characters, I do believe, with the exception of the first film, that this is the first film to feel like it is truly about Harry and not some other character or event.

I also belive this to be the shortest of all the Potter films, at 2 hrs 10 min. With the exception of the beginning and a bit of a slowdown heading into the climax, this film is right up my alley in that it is not stop action.

Make no mistake, this is not the happy-go-lucky kiddie flick that first two films were. Someone even pointed it out the other day that when the opening logo is shown, you don’t hear th whimsical “Hedwig’s Theme” anymore, but instead its som dark, sinister chord, with maybe a modulated version o it underneath.

Speaking of the darkness…and this goes back to the 3d, in a way…this film is very dark. Part of the reason for that is that it occurs mostly at night, the other has to do with wearing those 3D glasses.

The epilogue was actually very well shot, but I couldn’t help but wish they would have gone one and made the trip to Hogwarts so that we could see what changes have happened there in the 19 yrs.

Well, the Harry Potter franchise comes to an end, and boy does it go out with a bang! Two things are going to happen to films now. There will be plenty of book series that are going to be positioned to be the next Potter, but pretty much all of them will fail. Just think of  The Golden Compass, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief or Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant for examples. While Twilight may be raking in some serious bank right now, truth be told, it doesn’t appeal to both sexes, but rather tween girls and gay men.

So, should you see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part II? I have to say yes, especially if you’ve seen the other films. On top of that, think about how often a worthy franchise comes along. Do you really want to miss out on a satisfying conclusion like this one has? So, stop reading and go out and see this right now!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Wild Target

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is an expert and effective assassin living a lonely life in accordance with his family’s business. Victor follows a family line of professional assassins, and he completes his assignments quickly and without remorse. One afternoon, after killing one of his targets, he hesitates in killing the pet parrot, Roger, and instead takes him as a gift to his mother, Louisa (Eileen Atkins) a formidable woman who was, until recently, also Victor’s housemate. In celebration of his 55th birthday, she gives him a leather bound book with newspaper clippings of each of his kills from his first to his most recent, leaving pages for future hits to be included. She also expresses concern that he might be gay, wondering why he hasn’t produced a sucessor.

Rose is a not-so-average girl with a talent for thievery. Her most recent theft involves the sale of a fake Rembrandt painting (painted by her friend in the Restoration Department of the British Museum) to Ferguson (Rupert Everett), managing to swindle him out of 900,000 in British Pounds. Ferguson soon discovers the swap and hires the best hitman, Victor Maynard, to dispose of her. Victor takes the case and immediately tracks Rose down, missing several opportunities to kill her. He follows her to a balcony opposite her hotel room and tries to shoot her through the window, but is interrupted by the arrival of the front doorman. Victor sets up a microphone and headset to keep her under surveillance, but falls asleep, unable to listen to their noisy lovemaking. He wakes the following morning, just as she is leaving. He has the opportunity to shoot but hesitates.

His mother, Louisa, is upset by this missed target and suggests that Victor apologize to his employer and offer to do the hit for free. He tracks Rose down in a parking garage where he sees another hitman ready to kill her. He takes the preemptive shot, killing the other assassin. He and Rose get into her car, only to be forced out again by another assassin hiding in the back seat of her Mini. The assassin knocks Victor’s gun away and lines them up on the wall to be shot and killed, but instead is shot by Tony (Rupert Grint) who had picked up Victor’s gun. Saying it was his first time shooting, he impresses Victor enough to consider a protégé. But he sends Tony home and Victor and Rose flee. The wounded assassin starts firing at them and they nearly run over Tony on his way out of the garage, forcing him to join the ride. Rose offers Victor his price of 30,000 pounds a week for her protection, as she is under the assumption he is merely a private detective. They travel to a luxury hotel where they can lie low, but inadvertently end up on the same floor as Ferguson. Ferguson hires Dixon (Martin Freeman) to kill Rose and Maynard, as Dixon is the second most proficient assassin on the hitmans’ list (second only to Maynard himself). After several close calls, Mike (Gregor Fisher), who is also Ferguson’s bodyguard, discovers their whereabouts when he spots a pair of boots that Rose had stolen from his dead partner. Tony is attacked in the bathroom and nearly drowned in the bathtub by Mike, but he turns the tables and accidentally shoots Mike’s ear off before the three of them escape the hotel. Ferguson and Mike pursue them in a high speed chase through the streets of London until Mike loses control and crashes, sending the pair to the hospital.

They travel to Maynard’s home, a quaint farm far in the country. Maynard takes Tony on as his apprentice in “private detective” work. One night, Rose is attacked by Louisa, who had come back to the house to finish what her son had started. He eventually talks her down and after she leaves, the three of them work on becoming friends. Rose and Tony help Victor celebrate his birthday, and, after a brief period of sexual confusion between Tony and Maynard, Victor falls in love with and sleeps with Rose. Afterward, his attitude becomes more cheerful, and Victor peels off the plastic coverings on all of his furniture and opens up the house. Meanwhile, Rose snoops around Victor’s room, finding the leather book that his mother had given him and learning that she was actually his target for assassination. She also finds Victor’s father’s first gun, a Broomhandle Mauser, and takes it for self-protection. She storms out of the house after making it clear that she trusts neither Victor nor Tony, and returns to the British Museum, only to find her friend dead and Dixon and his assistant, Fabian, (Geoff Bell) waiting for her. They quickly return to Victor’s home, and Tony and Victor gain the upper hand when Louisa appears, killing Fabian. Dixon withdraws the old gun Rose had taken from Victor’s room and fires at Victor. It backfires, sending the barrel into his skull. Victor, Tony and Rose bury the pair in the back yard and return to their lives.

Three years later, Victor and Rose are married with a daughter and Tony has moved in with them. While Angel is playing in the yard one morning, Tony comes out asking where Victor’s cat had gone off to, and all three look at the child who is patting soft dirt into the yard, suggesting she killed and buried the cat.

REVIEW:

 Every now and then, I take the time to enjoy some British comedy. Of course, the fact that there was a trailer for this film on almost every DVD I’ve watched for the past month or so, might have had something to with it, as well.

Wild Target is the story of a lone assassin who is hired to take out a beautiful target, but things go awry and he ends up protecting her, picking up a protoge, and becoming a target himself. Not to mention the constant berating by his mother.

The first thing I have to say about this film is that it is the second film in the past month that I’ve seen where the star has had some sort of mother issues, the other being Give ‘Em Hell Malone. Is this going to be a theme for the year and no one bothered to tell me?

Given the fact that I’m American, I actually had a little bit of trouble keeping up with the plot of this film. The fact that I dozed off (out of tiredness, not boredom) might have had something to do with that, as well.

All that aside, the crime caper aspect of this film had me initially thinking this was going to be some weird twist on something like The Bourne Identity or at the very least, The Italian JobTurns out that I was way off base, as there wasn’t anything close to either of those films in here. All that plot point does is just set up a framework for our story.

Complimenting the action, there are terrific comedic performances, especially from Nighy and Rupert Grint.

This cast is a bit of a mishmash of British actors. Bill Nighy leads them all and is typical Nighy, though I didn’t really care for the moustache. It made him look more like a porn star than an assassin.

Emily Blunt seemed to be out of her element when I first heard she was in this, but when everything was said and done, she actually didn’t do half bad. Granted, this isn’t the kind of role we’re used to seeing her in, so it seems a bit weird. Maybe we’ll see her in some more comedy films in the future. Anything to keep from doing more crap like The Wolfman (2010).

Rupert Grint, who I thought would be great doing something outside the Harry Potter world, seemed to be doing a similar character. I’m not sure if that’s the way it was written or not, but for me, I just was looking for him to do something more, rather than be the goofy sidekick. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great comedic actor, but he could have done so much more here.

Rupert Everett doesn’t do much here except bark order at his henchmen. Martin Freeman is the perfect foil for Nighy’s character, but I kid of wished he would have explored the more comedic side of things.

Wild Target isn’t the most popular film, partially because it was only done in a limited release here in the states. I do think it is one of the underrated gems of the past year, though. I would, and will, watch this again as soon as I get the chance. I think you should give this a chance, as well!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Severus Snape arriving at the estate of Lucius Malfoy to deliver his intelligence about when Harry Potter will be moved from Privet Drive. The Death Eaters are gathered at a table, with Voldemort at the head. They argue about tactics, and Voldemort feeds a Hogwarts professor to Nagini.

After the title card, the camera reveals Hermione Granger in her room. After packing her things, she casts an “obliviate” spell on her parents to make them forget her. At Privet Drive, Harry’s foster family packs up their things and leave the house because it has become unsafe. The Order of the Phoenix arrive, and Mad-Eye Moody unveils the plan to move Harry. The team splits into groups of twos, with one member of each pair drinking Polyjuice Potion in order to look like Harry. As the decoys fly off, Harry leaves in Hagrid’s sidecar, just as he arrived at Privet Drive 17 years ago. The Death Eaters immediately attack, resulting in a mid-air battle in which Harry’s owl is killed. Voldemort attacks Harry with Lucius’ wand, but Harry shatters it. The Order rendezvous at The Burrow, the home of the Weasleys. They realize that Mundungus Fletcher is the traitor in their group, and that Mad-Eye did not survive.

During the night, Harry tries to slink off during the night, unwilling to risk anyone else’s life on his behalf. Ron stops him and explains that the Order’s work is about more than just him. The next day, Rufus Scrimgeour executes Dumbledore’s will, bequeathing a deluminator to Ron, a copy of The Tales of Beelde the Bard to Hermione, and the Snitch that Harry caught in his first Quidditch match. He also bequeaths to Harry the sword of Gryffindor, but Scrimgeour says it is not Dumbledore’s to give and also the sword is missing. Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour are married in a tent at The Burrow. Harry learns of Dumbledore’s dark past at Godric’s Hollow during the reception and meets Luna Lovegood’s father, Xenophilius, who is wearing a pendant with a mysterious symbol. The reception is attacked by Death Eaters. Harry, Ron and Hermione apparate to London, and they are attacked again in a coffee shop. They take refuge at 12, Grimmauld Place where they find Kreacher, who reluctantly helps them deduce that the locket of Salazar Slytherin, which is a horcrux, is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge.

The trio infiltrate the Ministry of Magic using Polyjuice Potion. Harry stupefies Dolores and Hermione snatches the locket from around her neck. During their escape, Ron is grievously wounded. Since Ron is too ill to apparate, the trio have to move on foot during the day. Unfortunately, Dumbledore never told Harry how to destroy a Horcrux, and all their attempts to destroy the locket fail. They take turns wearing the locket, as it makes its wearer brood on negative thoughts. As they walk through the countryside, Ron listens to the radio for the names of missing wizards, hoping not to hear the names of his family. He grows suspicious of Harry and Hermione, especially as they conference with each other. Eventually, Hermione realizes that the sword of Gryffindor will destroy the horcrux since it has been dipped in basilisk blood. Feeling useless and unwanted, Ron decides to leave. Frightened even more by his departure, Harry and Hermione listen to Ron’s radio and do a silly dance to “O Children” by Nick Cave in an effort to relieve the unbearable tension.

Harry convinces Hermione to travel to Godric’s Hollow, where they find the grave of his parents. They are followed by Bathilda Bagshot who takes them to her home. As Harry peppers her with questions, Hermione explores the house. When Bathilda finally speaks, she does so in parseltongue, just as Hermione discovers the body of the real Bathilda. The pair fight with Nagini, whose Polyjuice Potion has worn off, and barely escape. During the fight, Hermione accidentally breaks Harry’s wand.

As he keeps watch one night, Harry follows a patronus in the shape of a deer onto a frozen pond. The patronus disappears under the ice, revealing the sword of Gryffindor at the bottom of the pond. While trying to retrieve it, Harry is almost drowned by Slytherin’s locket, which takes on a life of its own, nearly strangling him. He is saved by Ron, who has returned. Harry insists that Ron destroy the locket with the sword. After Harry opens the locket, Voldemort’s voice taunts Ron about his insecurity. He creates an illusion of Harry and Hermione having sex, and a terrified Ron manages to smash the locket with the sword.

Together again, the trio decide to investigate the pendant that Xenophilius Lovegood was wearing, because the symbol keeps appearing in books Hermione is reading. At his home, Xenophilius tells them the story of the Deathly Hallows, and reveals that the elder wand will make its bearer the most powerful wizard in the world. As they try to leave, Xenophilius blocks their exit, explaining that the Death Eaters have kidnapped Luna and Harry is his only ransom. The Death Eaters descend on the house, and during the attack, the trio apparates to a forrest.

They are immediately set upon by a group of snatchers, who eventually catch them. During the chase, Hermione disfigures Harry to protect his identity. They all lie about who they really are, and the snatchers take them to Lucius’ estate, suspecting that they might actually have captured Harry Potter. At Malfoy Manor, Bellatrix imprisons Harry and Ron in the cellar, where she has also imprisoned Luna, the wandmaker Ollivander, and the goblin Griphook; meanwhile, Bellatrix tortures Hermione to try to find out how they acquired the Sword of Gryffindor, which she had believed to be safe in her bank vault.

Dobby apparates into the dungeon, and Harry formulates an escape plan. As they rescue Hermione from Bellatrix, Dobby is killed. The trio bury him on the top of a sand dune. The film closes with Voldemort opening Dumbledore’s tomb and removing the elder wand from the dead wizard’s grasp.

REVIEW:

 Continuing, or rather, concluding the Harry Potter franchise is a challenge, which is probably why the filmmakers decided to split the final book into two parts (combined with making more money). However, after watching this film this afternoon, I’m not so sure that was a good idea.

Before you all start jumping down my throat for that statement, let me explain. This is not a bad film. It is beautifully shot and very faithful, from what I recall, to the book. However, there was no real climax at the end. It just ended.

Now, there are films that are split that end on a down notes, The Empire Strikes Back, comes to mind, but the plot just doesn’t allow itself to be split into two parts this way. The whole time I was watching this film, I was hoping that something would happen to really catch my attention. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

The special effects here are on par with the rest of the franchise, which isn’t bad, but seeing as how this is part of the finale, I was kind of wishing they would up the ante. Maybe in part II, they will.

As I said, the plot is about a close as you can get to the source material. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, then you are more than aware of how much I detest those that stray too far from said material, so this was a breath of fresh air.

This is a dark film. Some of you out there are going to love this kind of thing. Personally, I prefer lighter faire, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Having said that, the darkness that each film has garnered is reflective of the books, so I won’t jump on them for making this flick so dark, however, I can still say that I miss the, for lak of a better term, magic and whimsy from the first couple of films.

Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are the focal point of this film. Occasionally we see Voldemort and a couple of other characters, but the trio is the entire film (as they pretty much have been the entire franchise). It is obvious the actors have grown, not only in terms of aging, but as actors and the chemistry between them is amazing.

Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort is just itching for a final showdown with Harry. It’s coming…just hang in there.

Helena Bonham Carter returns as the psychotic Bellatrix Lestrange, as proven with her torture of Hermoine near the film’s end.

This entry into the franchise contains more action than all the other’s combined. While I love my action, I just sort of felt like some of this was just stuck in there for the hell of it. Of course, when I was reading the book, I said that it felt like it was written with the intent of being a movie, so I guess this is the result.

I have to mention this random animated scene that explains what the deathly hallows are. While Hermoine is telling the tale, we get an animated sequence to her words. Not to take anything away from it, but the animation was show pointed that the characters reminded me of the Primes from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It didn’t work for me. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but this was just so random and they didn’t bother to put oddly animated sequences in the previous films, so why start now?

Final verdict on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I? Well, it is a pretty good film. I’m sure many will go so far as to call it great and put it on their best of and favorite lists of the year. Chances are it may make one of those lists of my own, but to be honest with you, I didn’t love it. It just felt like something was missing. It plods along and you sort of feel like they’re pushing towards something. If that something is the epic confrontation that will happen in the second film, that’s fine, but there should have been something more in this one. If you can get past leaving the theater unfulfilled, then I highly recommend this, otherwise, I suggest wait until the summer, rent it before part II comes out and watch it then.

4 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The movie opens with the Death Eaters wreaking havoc in London and sinking the Millennium Bridge. They also succeed in destroying parts of Diagon Alley and kidnapping the wandmaker Mr. Ollivander. Later, Harry is taken by Dumbledore in order to recruit Horace Slughorn, a former potions teacher, to return to Hogwarts. Slughorn is at first reluctant but then changes his mind when he realizes Harry’s fame and plans to "collect" him. Dumbledore then takes Harry to the Burrow where he reunites with his friends, Ron and Hermione. Harry also starts showing feelings for Ron’s sister Ginny.

Meanwhile, Bellatrix Lestrange and Draco Malfoy’s mother, Narcissa, go to ask Snape for help. Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow to protect Draco while he attempts to fulfill a task for Voldemort, and if Draco fails, to carry out the deed himself.

After visiting Fred and George’s new shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Harry, Ron, and Hermione start following Draco and Narcissa as they go into Borgin and Burkes, but are forced to pull back after Fenrir Greyback, a savage werewolf and Death Eater, closes the shades. On the way to Hogwarts, Harry uses his Invisibility Cloak and some Peruvian Darkness Powder from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to spy on Malfoy, but ends up getting no new information. Draco realizes Harry is there and immobilizes him, breaks his nose, and leaves him hidden under his Invisibility Cloak. Shortly after, Luna Lovegood finds Harry using her Spectrespecs and gets him off the train in time.

Professor McGonagall informs Harry that since Snape is teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, he and Ron can take N.E.W.T. Potions with Professor Slughorn. The boys use spare textbooks for the class, and Harry sees his very old copy is filled with footnotes and revisions that allow him to excel in Potions. This eventually leads to him winning a vial of the luck potion, Felix Felicis. Hermione, still envious of Harry’s success, looks to see who the book belongs to, finding only the alias of "The Half-Blood Prince".

In a private meeting in his office, Dumbledore shows Harry his memory of when he first met a young Tom Riddle. They learn from this that Voldemort likes to collect “treasures” from others. Dumbledore reveals that Slughorn has information valuable to Voldemort’s downfall and asks Harry to get to know Slughorn better.

One day in the winter the trio witness Katie Bell being cursed by a necklace she was carrying up to the school. McGonagall and Snape learn that Katie was under the influence of the Imperius Curse; She was originally told to bring the necklace to Dumbledore. Harry is convinced that Malfoy is behind it.

Ron is a bundle of nerves at breakfast before a Quidditch match against Slytherin, where he is set to play the role of Keeper. Harry passes him some pumpkin juice. Luna sees that Harry had slipped something into Ron’s cup and Hermione is incensed that Harry would use Felix Felicis when it is banned from organized sports. Gryffindor wins the game against Slytherin after Ron saves every goal, and he is a hero and the centre of attention at a party to celebrate their success. Harry explains to Hermione there that he only made it look like he slipped something into Ron’s drink. After Lavender Brown kisses Ron, Hermione runs from the room, crying and Harry goes after her. He finds her crying in a corridor and consoles her. Hermione tells Harry that she knows how he feels when he sees Ginny with Dean Thomas and admits to having feelings for Ron. Later in the Library, Hermione and Harry discuss Slughorn’s Christmas party. Hermione warns Harry to be wary of who he goes with: Romilda Vane has been trying to slip Harry a Love Potion all year because she believes that he is "The Chosen One." Harry goes to the party with Luna and Hermione goes with McLaggen, who proves to be an unwise choice. Snape comes to deliver a message to Harry from Dumbledore (he is traveling) and escorts Malfoy from the party after he "tried to crash the party." In the hallway, Snape berates Draco for not coming to him for help with his task.

At Christmas, Harry joins the Weasleys at the Burrow. He, Lupin, Tonks, and Mr. Weasley discuss what Harry overheard during Snape and Malfoy’s conversation at the party. Remus adamantly insists that Dumbledore trusts Snape implicitly. Later in the night Harry and Ginny share a brief romantic moment where they almost kiss but is interrupted by the arrival of Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback who set a fire around the Burrow. As they intended, Harry, who still holds a vendetta against Bellatrix for killing Sirius Black, breaks through the fire and chases Bellatrix. Ginny manages to get past the fire and chases after him. Both Harry and Ginny are surrounded by the ambushing Death Eaters, but Tonks, Lupin, and Mr. Weasley arrive in time to block the attack in the field. Outnumbered, the Death Eaters leave; after Bellatrix sets fire to the Burrow.

Back at Hogwarts, Harry, in another private meeting with Dumbledore, is shown another memory in the Pensieve. It is a memory from Slughorn when a teenage Tom Riddle asks him about a rare magic. The memory turns out to have been tampered with by Slughorn, who is ashamed of the answer he really gave Riddle. Dumbledore tells Harry that he is the only one who can get the true memory from Slughorn, and he must. All of Harry’s attempts to get the memory fail. Frustrated, he heads back to his dormitory. Once there, he finds that Ron is in a swoon, obsessively saying that he’s in love with Romilda Vane. Apparently he ate some chocolates on Harry’s bed, which were meant for Harry, laced with a very strong love potion. Harry brings Ron to Professor Slughorn to cure him. After Ron is cured, Slughorn offers the boys a drink of mead. Immediately Ron falls unconscious, poisoned. Harry manages to save him by shoving a bezoar down his throat. Later, in the hospital wing, it is revealed that the poisonous drink was intended to be given to Dumbledore. Lavender rushes in to be with Ron, but becomes outraged to see Hermione there. She and Hermione get into a yelling row until Ron mumbles Hermione’s name in his sleep. Distraught, Lavender leaves. Everyone else decides to leave and let Hermione to tend to Ron.

In the Great Hall, Ron has been released from the hospital wing and Hermione is thrilled that Ron’s relationship with Lavender has ended, but is crestfallen that Ron doesn’t remember any of it. Harry talks to Katie Bell, who has recovered from being cursed, but doesn’t remember anything useful for him. He notices Malfoy leaving apprehensively, and follows him into a bathroom where he finds him crying. Harry accuses him of cursing Katie Bell. They duel; Harry casts the Sectumsempracurse he found in the Half-Blood Prince’s book. Harry sees the curse caused severe slashes on Malfoy’s body. Snape sees Draco lying in a pool of blood and heals him.

Later, in the Gryffindor Common Room, Ginny suggests that Harry get rid of the book. He and Ginny go into the Room of Requirement to hide it. Ginny tells Harry to close his eyes so he can’t see her hide the book and before he opens his eyes again, Ginny kisses him.

After Ron mentions Harry’s bad luck on getting the memory from Slughorn, Harry remembers that he still has the Felix Felicis Harry takes the potion and meets Slughorn on his way to Hagrid’s hut. Slughorn decides to escort Harry down to Hagrid’s and they find him about to bury a recently deceased Aragog. They hold an impromptu funeral. After a few hours and several drinks, Slughorn again reminisces about Harry’s mother. Harry goes on to tell Slughorn about his mother’s sacrifice, that he accepts his role as The Chosen One and to not let Lily Evans’ sacrifice be wasted. Slughorn gives in and hands Harry the memory.

The memory shows Professor Slughorn telling Tom Riddle about a dark piece of magic called a Horcrux. A Horcrux is an object used to keep safe a piece of one’s soul that has been split away from the body. If one’s body is destroyed, one does not truly die, as a piece of their soul is still alive. This explains why Voldemort survived the killing curse that rebounded upon him the night he killed Harry’s parents. Dumbledore tells Harry that he believes that Voldemort split his soul and created six Horcruxes with the seventh piece being in his body. Two have already been destroyed: one being a ring that belonged to Voldemort’s mother; the other being Tom Riddle’s diary. Dumbledore reveals to Harry that he thinks he has found another Horcrux and that he cannot retrieve it alone.

Dumbledore and Harry apparate to a seaside cave to find the third Horcrux. Within an inner cavern, Dumbledore takes Harry to the middle of the lake where he thinks the Horcrux is hidden. On the island there is a basin filled with potion. In order to get the Horcrux Dumbledore drinks it. The potion causes him to experience unbearable pain. On Dumbledore’s orders, Harry administers the rest of the potion to him and retrieves the Horcrux, which tuns out to be a locket. Dumbledore says he needs water. Harry attempts to fill the now empty bowl magically with water, but in such a dark place, no container will hold water conjured by magic. Dipping the cup in the lake Harry is pulled in by an Inferius. Dumbledore saves him by conjuring rings of blazing fire, protecting them and driving off the hoard of Inferi.

The two apparate back to the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts. Dumbledore tells Harry to go find Professor Snape, but Dumbledore hears someone coming and makes Harry go below and hide. Draco ambushes Dumbledore in the tower. He tells Dumbledore that Death Eaters breached Hogwarts by using the Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement. He explains that he repaired it and that there is another in Borgin and Burkes. He goes on to say Voldemort has chosen him to kill Dumbledore, and that if he doesn’t, Voldemort will kill him. The Death Eaters arrive to the tower and goad Draco to kill Dumbledore. He manages to convince Draco that he doesn’t need to kill him and that he can keep him safe; Draco begins to lower his wand.

However, Snape appears and fulfills his vow to Narcissa by casting the Avada Kedavra on Dumbledore, killing him. The Death Eaters and Snape immediately escape Hogwarts; as they leave, Bellatrix destroys everything in the Great Hall and sets Hagrid’s hut on fire. Harry catches them up and attempts to duel Snape, but Snape easily overpowers Harry. Harry tried to use the spell "Sectumsempra" before Snape leaves and join the other fleeing death eaters, and he reveals to Harry that heis the Half-Blood Prince. Harry returns to the base of the Astronomy Tower and cries over Dumbledore’s body while Ginny consoles him, as the staff and students of Hogwarts raise their wands in respect to Dumbledore.

The next morning, Harry and Hermione discuss that the locket is a fake and there is a note inside it:

"To the Dark Lord, I know I will be dead long before you read this, but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more" signed by R.A.B.

Harry then says that he will not be returning to Hogwarts, but instead he will be looking for and destroying the rest of the Horcruxes. Hermione says that he will not be going alone, as Ron and herself will help Harry on his quest rid the world of the Dark Lord once and for all. As they finish their talk they see Fawkes flying over the school, after one final turn the phoenix flies away from Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione watching him fly in to the Sunset.

REVIEW:

Ok, let me make it clear that I’m not a Harry Potter fanboy, but I do like the books. Having said that, I believe the volume that this film comes from I’ve only read once or twice, but even those couple of times allowed to me to know that this film could have been better had certain things not been left out.

Let me start this review by saying that although the previous film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was good, I felt it was a bit too dark, but then again, I’m not fan of dark film for the most part. As I was sitting in the theater watching this, I was pleased that the director, David Yates, decided to bring back the, pardon the pun, magic that seemed to disappear after the first two films. The humor and fun is part of what has made the series of books, along with excellent writing by J.K. Rowling (she has a cameo in the film, btw).

We have watched Harry, Ron, and Hermoine grow up on screen right before our eyes. It seems like just yesterday they were wee little tykes hanging on to Hagrid’s robes causing mischief, and here they are today on the cusp of saving the wizarding world. What I find intersting is how that has the actors (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, respectively) have grown with their characters. Although, they need to hurry and get the last one..well, two films out before they end up old and gray playing teenagers.

Draco Malfoy has been more of an annoyance to Harry than anything over the years, excluding the duel they have in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Here he seems like a total different character, as in the book, and we get another Harry/Draco duel, this time no Snape or Lockhart to break it up. I do have to wonder about the state of Hogwarts’ bathrooms, though. Those things have taken so much abuse, its a miracle they are still standing!

Another thing that was missing from the last film was Quidditch. There was quite literally an outcry for it to be included in this film, and, while some may argue it does nothing to move the story along, I disagree. Not only does it set up Ron and Lavender’s relationship, it also keep the light-heartedness of the first half of the film going.

In all the previous films, Dumbledore has been nothing more than a wise figure who seemingly watches over Harry (and all of the Hogwarts students, for that matter). Here, we actually get to see him do a bit of action, though it still isn’t much. I did notice that he reminded me of Gandalf in a later scene where he isn’t wearing his hat.

Jim Broadbent was a welcome addition to the cast and, though he may not have the perfect body type for Slughorn, he captured the mannerisms of the character just as I imagined him. Just as Dolores Umbridge stole the show in the last film, Slughorn does the same here. It is a shame that they took out a good portion of his better scenes.

As I’ve mentioned, there are many scenes that were not in the film that should have been. Yeah, I know some of you are out there saying that they can’t very well put the entire book on film. This is true, but a couple of the scenes are so important, it leaves one scratching their head as to why they took them out,especially when you consider how impressive they could make them look on film. With a running time of just over 2 1/2 hours, it is a bit long, but every film in this series has been, so its just continuing the tradition. I just think they could have done a better job with the editing and deciding what parts of the book to include and which to cut out.

Teenagers are just plain horny creatures, but seriously, is it really necessary to have just about every scene with them "snogging"? Maybe I just led a sheltered life during my high school days, or I’ve become a old fuddy-duddy over time, but that just seemed a bit much. One or two here and there is fine to establish that they aren’t kids anymore and whatnot, but good grief! There is such a thing as too much.

I didn’t particularly care for the young Tom Riddles. Critics are gushing over these boys, but I just wasn’t impressed. I think they would have done better with the boy from Chamber, or they could have found better actors. I’m not sure what it is about them, but something just rubbed me the wrong way, and not in that evil, creepy way, but rather in the way that they just weren’t likable or believable.

So, what do I ultimately think fo thid film? Well, I liked it, didn’t quite love it, though, but that’s only after one viewing. Ask me again after I have the DVD and see it a few times if I love it or not. I still maintain that my favorite Potter film is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. As I said earlier, they seemed to bring back the lighter tone that the earlier films had, which really made this much more entertaining for me, and I don’t want to hear this mess about it being a dark book and whatnot. There is only so much moody, morose-ness one can take.  I’m disappointed n the ending, though, but rumor has it that they are going to have a very important key scene start off the next one. We’ll see next year (unless they postpone it in lieu of the third Twilight). So, while I always say these reviews are just my thoughts and you need to make your own decision, I can’t say it enough. Critics oft times don’t know what they’re talking about. This is a very good film, despite its deviance from the source material and you should see it , especially if you’re a fan of the series. Unlike with the other films in the series, I actually left looking forward to the next film, of course, this is the only one that leaves the viewer with a feeling of there being another film.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Harry Potter and his cousin Dudley Dursley are attacked by two Dementors, but Harry manages to drive the Dementors off with a Patronus charm. Shortly thereafter, the Ministry of Magic detect the act of underage wizardry and attempt to have Harry expelled from Hogwarts immediately, but this is modified to a trial later in the summer. After experiencing horrible nightmares depicting the evil Lord Voldemort’s return, Harry is awoken by the arrival of an advance guard of wizards who escort him to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization founded by Dumbledore. It is only now that Harry discovers that under the Ministry’s influence the newspaper The Daily Prophethas launched a smear campaign against anyone who claims that Voldemort has returned, leaving Harry feeling isolated and betrayed by the Wizarding community. Harry and the other members of the Order fly to 12 Grimmauld Place, the home of Sirius Black, where they meet with Sirius, Remus, Ron, Hermione and others. Later, Ron and Hermione express concern about Harry’s situation with the Ministry.

Harry and Arthur Weasley head to the court where Harry’s trial will take place, briefly spotting Lucius Malfoy speaking with the minister on their way. With the help of Dumbledore and Harry’s neighbour, Mrs. Figg, Harry is cleared of all charges at the Ministry and is allowed to return to Hogwarts. However, during Harry, Ron and Hermione’s fifth year at Hogwarts School, the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge appoints a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, a Senior Ministry official who refuses to teach practical magic to her students, as the Ministry fears Dumbledore will organize his own personal wizard army. One day during class, Harry is punished for claiming that Cedric Diggory was killed by Voldemort, which according to the Ministry’s official policy is a lie. In Umbridge’s office, Harry is forced to write “I must not tell lies” repeatedly as punishment. However, the sentence is magically imprinted on his hand instead, causing scarring. Meanwhile, as Umbridge’s control over the school increases, Ron and Hermione aid Harry in forming a secret defence group, calling themselves “Dumbledore’s Army” or DA for short. Harry, Ron and Hermione start teaching at Hogwarts, training students in defensive spells to become part of the Army. Draco Malfoy and other Slytherin students are then recruited by Umbridge to try to uncover the secretive group, creating the Inquisitorial Squad. Meanwhile, Harry officially begins a relationship with Cho, as they kiss one day after training. In an attempt to tighten her oppressive grip on Hogwarts, Umbridge dismisses Professor Sybill Trelawney and tries to have her banished from Hogwarts, which is only prevented after Dumbledore’s intervention.

Harry’s nightmares continue, including a dangerous attack upon Arthur Weasley in the Department of Mysteries involving Nagini, Lord Voldermort’s snake, which happens to turn true. Harry’s anger starts to get out of control, as his mental connection to Voldemort grows stronger. Fearing Voldemort will exploit his connection with Harry, Dumbledore immediately instructs Professor Snape to give Harry a crash course on Occlumency lessons in an attempt to block Harry’s mind from the Dark Lord’s influence.

Meanwhile, Bellatrix Lestrange escapes from Azkaban along with other Death Eaters after one of the prison walls is damaged by lightning flashes. At Hogwarts, Umbridge, Filch and her loyal Inquisitorial Squad, uncover Dumbledore’s Army after interrogating one of the students, Cho Chang for whom Harry had developed intense feelings. Dumbledore is questioned and makes an impressive escape as Fudge orders his arrest. With Dumbledore gone, Umbridge becomes the new Headmistress, and her sinister dominance over the school continues. Later, Hagrid introduces Harry, Ron and Hermione to his half-brother giant, Grawp. Later, Harry reverses Snape’s spell by glimpsing into Snape’s mind. It is then that Harry learns that Harry’s father used to bully Snape when they were students at Hogwarts, which appears to be the real cause behind Snape’s resentment towards Harry. Meanwhile the Weasley twins, Fred and George formulate a plan of their own.

During an O.W.L. exam, the Weasley twins execute their plan, launching a firework display in the great hall causing chaos for Umbridge, Fudge and the students of Slytherin house. As the students cheer joyously outside, Harry suffers a vision of Sirius trapped within the bowels of the Ministry being interrogated about the Order. Harry, Ron, and Hermione rush to search for Sirius, but Umbridge, soon after, catches the trio attempting to use the Floo Network, and begins interrogating Harry. She calls for Professor Snape to bring Veritaserum for use during her interrogation, as she has for all of her previous interrogations, but Snape tells her that the supply has been exhausted. Hermione then tricks Umbridge into entering the Forbidden Forest along with Harry and her in search of a faux weapon, really leading her to the hiding place of Grawp who has since freed himself from the tree he was latched to, when a herd of centaurs, who have their own issues with the Ministry, emerge and carry the Headmistress into the darkness. Hermione and Harry head back to Hogwarts to find Ron and other DA members, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, and Ginny Weasley, the group decided to fly to London by way of the Thestrals (winged horse-like magical creatures) to the Department of Mysteries of London City in an attempt to save Sirius.

The six enter the Department of Mysteries, where they uncover a prophecy involving Harry and Voldemort, but are soon ambushed by Death Eaters, including Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius’s deranged cousin. After a brief battle and a failed escape attempt, the Death Eaters, manage to take Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville, and Ginny as hostages threatening to kill them if Harry does not hand over the prophecy. Sirius appears, with the other members of the Order of the Phoenix, and attacks the Death Eaters causing Lucius to drop the prophecy, which then shatters. A battle erupts as the Death Eaters try to stop the students from escaping, resulting in Sirius’s death at Bellatrix’s hand. Back in the Atrium, Harry corners Bellatrix, where he struggles with his desire to enact the Cruciatus curse. Voldemort himself appears, ready to kill Harry when Dumbledore emerges to face his battle against Voldemort.

A brief but furious duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore takes place, in which Bellatrix escapes through the Floo Network. When Voldemort disappears, and the battle seems over, Harry suddenly finds himself possessed by Voldemort– recalling images of his past, of his family and his friends—but throws off Voldemort’s influence, stating that he is stronger than Voldermort through his friends and his ability to love. Ministry officials, including Fudge, hastily arrive via the Floo Network moments before Voldemort disappears.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Ministry is forced to end their smear campaign and Umbridge is removed from Hogwarts, awaiting a formal investigation. Dumbledore explains that he had attempted to distance himself from Harry all year, hoping it would lessen the risk of Voldemort discovering and using the connection between the two. While the students head home from Hogwarts at the end of the academic year, Harry tells his friends that they have one thing Voldemort does not: something worth fighting for.

REVIEW:

Of all the Potter movies so far, this is my least favorite. Part of the reason for that is, for my taste it’s too dark, and, as a friend of mine so eloquently put it, it’s a cliff-notes version of the cliff notes version of the book.

Umbridge is one of the creepiest villains I’ve ever seen, though. She’s ruthless, yet nice about it. Totally conflicting and freaky, not to mention her blind devotion to the Minister of Magic. Imelda Staunton does a fine job bringing her to life, and is actually the best part of the film.

The lack of Quiddich left me with an empty feeling. I’ve said in previous Potter reviews that the fun level has been steady dropping since the first movie. Part of that is because the books are that, and others have to do with different directors who more or less want Harry to be very emo. One thing is for sure, Quiddich would have brought some fun into the otherwise very dark film.

I really don’t have much to say on this one. They really took all the good stuff from the book and cut it out replacing it with stuff they felkt would be a suitable replacement. My recommendation is, don’t watch this if you’re a Potter scholar. Everyone else should be ok to watch it. Chances are you’ll enjoy it, not love it, but enjoy it.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley enter their fourth year at Hogwarts school. First, in a graveyard attached to an old country house; the gardener Frank Bryce awakes in his cottage to see a light on in the house. He investigates the light, and finds Lord Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew discussing plans with an unidentified man; Voldemort kills Bryce. Harry awakes at The Burrow before departing with the Weasley family and Hermione for the Quidditch World Cup. After the introduction to the game, there is a temporal jump to that evening, when the camp is attacked by Death Eaters, who disperse when the Dark Mark is shot into the air by an unknown man.

Harry, Ron and Hermione arrive at Hogwarts, where they find that the school will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament, a legendary event in which one wizard each from two rival schools and Hogwarts compete in three dangerous tasks. Dumbledore reveals the Goblet of Fire, a magical cup into which potential champions must drop a piece of parchment with their name on it. The goblet acts as an impartial judge to select candidates and reveals its results by shooting the relevant pieces of parchment into the air: Cedric Diggory from Hogwarts, Viktor Krum from Durmstrang and Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons. The goblet then unexpectedly announces a fourth champion, Harry, although he did not enter his name and is in any case under the age limit set by the Ministry of Magic. Harry’s entry into the Tournament incites jealousy and suspicion from his fellow students, including a breakdown of friendship with Ron, which lasts until after the first task. Dumbledore asks the new Defence against the Dark Arts professor, Alastor Moody, to keep an eye on Harry.

In the first Triwizard task, the four champions each battle a dragon to retrieve a golden egg. Harry casts a summoning charm to bring his broom into the arena, but the dragon breaks free of its chains and chases Harry through the Hogwarts grounds. Harry retrieves the egg, which is said to contain a clue about the second task, though only a horrible screeching emerges when he opens his egg. Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion, advises Harry to open the egg underwater. Harry does so in the prefects’ bathroom and hears the clue clearly; it informs him that the merpeople will take something of Harry’s and that he must retrieve it from the lake in the Hogwarts grounds.

In the second Triwizard task, each champion must find and save someone close to them who is now chained underwater. Harry swallows Gillyweed which allows him to breath underwater, then begins searching for the merpeople village. While following the mermaid, he sees Fleur attacked by Grindylows. This forces her to withdraw from the task. When Harry arrives at the merpeoples’ village, he sees Ron, Hermione, Cho Chang, and Gabrielle Delacour catatonic and chained to a rock with thousands of merpeople guarding them. Harry cuts Ron free, hesitates, and then moves to cut free Gabrielle realizing that Fleur will not be able to save her sister. When he does, the merpeople threaten him with their spears with one mermaid poking her spear into Harry’s throat. He is saved when Viktor, in the shape of a half-man/half-shark swims by to break free Hermione. This scatters the merpeople. Harry frees Gabrielle and begins swimming to the surface, pulling Ron and Gabrielle with him. On the way, Harry is viciously attacked by a herd of Grindylows. He pushes Ron and Gabrielle upwards, draws his wand and scatters the Grindylows. He then propels himself to the surface using a spell, but still finishes outside the task’s one hour time limit. Despite this, he is awarded second place in the trial because he was delayed by his decision to risk himself to free Gabrielle.

A traditional part of the Triwizard tournament is the Yule Ball; Harry is especially concerned since, as one of the champions, he is expected to open the dance. Cho turns him down, as Cedric Diggory has already asked her, and Hermione declines, though Harry does not find out until the Yule ball that it is Krum himself who has invited her. Eventually, Harry asks Parvati Patil, who accepts; her sister Padma partners Ron. Although Hermione greatly enjoys the ball, Harry and Ron do not; Ron, who is particularly jealous of Krum, accuses Hermione of “fraternising with the enemy,” leading to a serious row between the two characters.

For the third task, the Triwizard cup is placed inside a large maze whose magical hedges are capable of attacking the champions as they attempt to reach it: the first champion to touch the cup will be declared the winner. Harry and Cedric reach the cup together and decide to claim a draw, both touching the cup at the same time. The cup turns out to be a portkey which transports the two to a graveyard, where Pettigrew appears carrying Voldemort. Upon Voldemort’s command, Pettigrew kills Cedric and traps Harry against an enchanted tombstone. Pettigrew takes blood from Harry’s arm and mixes it with other ingredients to restore Voldemort. Voldemort tortures Harry as he explains the story of “The Boy Who Lived” to his assembled Death Eaters. The two duel, but Harry escapes when his wand unexpectedly caused Voldemort’s to disgorge the spirits of the people Voldemort has killed, who protect Harry as he escapes and takes Cedric’s dead body back to Hogwarts. Moody takes Harry to his office and starts interrogating Harry about what took place in the graveyard, Harry reailzes something is wrong when Moody asks, Harry never said where the cup sent them. Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall burst in the room and stun Moody; he begins to change shape as they watch and quickly transforms into Barty Crouch Junior, who has been impersonating Moody all year in order to ensure that Harry was entered into the Triwizard Tournament as part of Voldemort’s plan to regenerate himself using Harry. The school year ends as the foreign schools depart after Dumbledore exhorts them to stand together against Voldemort.

REVIEW:

Each of the Harry Potter movies has gotten progressively darker, this one is no exception, although it does seem to have a lighter tone that its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

While this is a pretty good film, its not my favorite Potter flick. It falls in the middle somewhere. This is mainly due to the amount of material that was removed in the transition from book to film. I realize that some things had to be removed, but this just seemed to be a watered down version of the book done on film.

There are plenty of good things about this picture. The cast seemed to have fully gelled and hit their strides in terms of their characters. The introduction of Raph Fienes as Lord Voldemort is inspired casting and a welcome addition. The special effects are nothing short of spectacular. If I didn’t know better, I would have said the dragons were real!

With good, comes bad, though. The movie, which is 2 1/2 hours long, seemed a bit rushed in parts, while others were well executed and though out. In other words, scenes the film is inconsistent. When Harry talks to Sirius in the fireplace, you can barely tell that’s who it is. They could have done a better a job with the puppetry or what have you to give him a better appearance.

Having said all that, this is a good film, and no Harry Potter fan should go without seeing it. If you’re not a HP fan, then go see it, just because it’s a good film.

4 out of 5 stars