Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012) Review

Hey, did you know that Hammer Studios (or whatever...Hammer...whatever) made another horror film? Why did I even ask that? It seems that when this film came out, everyone but me wanted to see it. For some reason, people like films that use jump scares in the trailers because we all know that jump scares are an amazing creation (just for the record, I'm joking...they're terrible) but I finally got a look at it. So how was it? Let's find out.

Lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) mourns the death of his beloved wife Stella (Sophie Stuckey). His employer gives him a chance to keep his job by investigating a deserted house known as Eel Marsh House (probably because it's surrounded by marsh...) which was owned by Mrs. Drablow (Alisa Khazanova) who has recently died. Arthur recieves many warnings to return to London from the villagers due to the stories of the house and, after some horrible circumstances occur, he learns of a vengeful spirit who takes the form of a woman who wears all black. Now Arthur must learn how to rid the house of the ghost and keep himself alive in the process.

Let's be honest, you only watched this film because of Daniel Radcliffe. Most of you probably didn't realise this was a Hammer film (that actually blew my mind, I very much enjoyed their other films like Dracula: Prince of Darkness). Now, with that in mind, I was expecting proper horror. You know, psychological horror that play with your mind that takes it's time. While there is a bit of that, a far bit of it comes down to jump scares. Jump scares = the lowest form of horror known to man. STOP IT!......STOP IT!

Really, that's my only gripe. The lack of proper horror (doesn't mean it's not scary) doesn't dampen the rest of the film. Daniel Radcliffe is pretty good but still can't escape from the whole 'OH MY GOD IT'S HARRY POTTER' thing. The best bit about the film is the Woman in Black. She is the most unforgiving, horrible thing...and that's fantastic. One of the most chilling characters I've ever seen in a film. They did a very good job with that.

The Woman In Black is a pretty good attempt at trying to bring in PROPER horror (well...more so than most 'horror' films). Don't watch films like Paranormal Activity, watch this instead. The acting is really good, the characters have depth and there are more sincere scares rather than just pure jump scares. There's actual story in this film. Sure it's not perfect but it's better than most horror films you get nowadays. Not the best but no where near the worst.

A pretty good horror film that focuses more on story and character rather than getting a few shocks.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Les Miserables (Tom Hooper, 2012) Review

Call me ignorant or whatnot but I have never seen any adaptation of this classic story. Yeah, I'm an idiot but I though it was finally time to see what this story is all about due to the HUUUUGE hype around this film, the successful box office count, the Oscar nominations, the best selling soundtrack...I could go on. Well then, you've probably heard about his film so I guess it's time to take a look. Is this truly all it's set up to be or is it just another dissapointment (another referring to Prometheus)? Let's find out!

A prisoner named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released from prison however he breaks his parole in order to create a new life for himself. Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) is hot on his trail and will stop at nothing to take him back into custody. Eight years from his release, Jean is now a well renowned factory owner whose run in with Javert gets one of his workers, Fantine (Anne Hathaway), out onto the streets. Jean vows to help protect Fatine's daughter, Cosette (Isabelle Allen) as well as stay on the run from Javert.

I guess the first thing to talk about is the soundtrack. It's amazing. The actors had to sing the songs live for the camera as opposed to the usual dubbing and it truly makes it more awe-inspiring and sincere (especially Anne Hathaway's songs). It's truly beautiful and if I had to pick my favourite, it would be One Day More. Say what you want but I thought that Russell Crowe was amazing as well as the Oscar nominated Hugh Jackman. It's not so much a musical as it is an opera seeing as almost everything is sung (almost...there's about 20 lines of dialogue). Yeah, I'm gonna buy the soundtrack.

This film just looks incredible. The scenes during the revolution look amazing and clearly had a lot of work put into it. In fact, the effort that it must have taken to make this film is just tiring to think about. The fact that the actors had to sing their songs to the camera and also do it multiple times in order to get the variety of shots. The sets and costumes are also well done (the sets especially). In fact, EVERYTHING that went into the film is amazing. Yes, amazing is the word of this film.

Les Miserables is, honestly, the first ever film I have ever cried at. Not just because it's, well, miserable (well, surprisingly not...that was a pun...I'm done) but just because of how beautiful of a film it was. That finale was just incredible. Les Miserables is easily one of the best films of the year and you would be a fool to miss it. What film do I think should get the Oscar for Best Picture...well...this (the only reason I brought it up).

A beautiful film with an amazing soundtrack, tremendous acting, a clever story and all leads up to an amazingly satisfying film.

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (Peter Lord, 2012) Review

Still on the run up towards my top 10 films of the year list...which is probably going to be up in the first half of Februrary (around the 10th) so I'm watching as many films from 2012 I can. I this is one of those films. I haven't really talked about Aardman yet so all I can say is...their stop frame is amazing and I was curious how they would tackle a film with a large scale. Their previous works have been in very small locations so let's look at a huuuuge terms of whatever.

In 1837, pirates take part in a Pirate of the Year competition based on how much 'booty' the pirate has. The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) and his crew end up boarding the ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant) when looking for booty but Darwin notices that the Pirate Captian's parrot isn't a parrot at's the last living Dodo. Darwin manages to convince the Pirate Captain to visit London to present the dodo, Polly to Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) and win the Scientist of the Year award and use the prize to win the Pirate of the Year award as well.

Likeability is the key to this film. The characters are well written and the casting works surprisingly well. I really couldn't see Hugh Grant voice The Pirate Captain however, despite not putting on a pirate voice, he works really well. Same goes for David Tennant as Charles Darwin. Martin Freeman is being...Martin Freeman but that's fine by me! May I also say, this film looks incredible. The stop frame is flawless, the sets and backgrounds are awe-inspiring and the action is really well done. I sure this took longer to take than any other Aardman project and I can safely that it was worth it.

Why does it say 'U' on my DVD. How the hell did this get a 'U' rating? I've never watched an animated film that was I thought was aimed at kids (not FOR kids but just aimed at them) use words such as "arse" and "crap". It was pretty shocking actually. Hell, most of the humour comes from adult humour. If anything, this was made for adults. That's Aardman for you...and I love it.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! was a very nice surprise and I am so glad I didn't miss this film. Honestly, if it kept the same cast, I would gladly want to see more from the Pirates rather than Wallace and Gromit. To me, they're more enjoyable. Aardman is back in the game I and welcome them back with open arms. Also, watch this film several times. You will keep seeing things you didn't notice before. Genius film, really.

A hilarious, likeable, well made animated film. This film looks REALLY good and that mixed with the great cast and writers makes for one of Aardman's best. was given the wrong age rating...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Room (Tommy Wiseau, 2003) Review

I noticed that I haven't done a bad film in a while...THERE'S A REASON FOR THAT! It's just painful to sit through some films like the previously reviewed Birdemic: Shock and Terror which make me question if people actually go out of their way to make bad films. With what I just said in mind, you can guess how I feel about this film that was directed by Tommy Wisaeu...and produced...and written...and stars. Can Wisaeu do all this and make a good film? Probably not but let's find out anyway!

Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is a happy-go-lucky banker who loves his friends and family and wouldn't have his life any other way. That is until his wife-to-be Lisa (Juliette Danielle) begins to cheat on Johnny with his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). Slowly, Johnny's life gets worse and worse as the truth behind his friends begins to show itself and trust is broken. Rumours begin to fly around as Johnny tries to get his girlfriend back and set things right.

Can someone please tell where the hell Tommy Wiseau is from. Either his accent stops him from being a good actor or he is the crappiest actor of all time. His 'acting style' is almost iconic and leads to some quotable lines ("YOU'RE TEARING ME APART, LISA!") but from a processional point of view...he's pretty damn terrible. It's truly something to behold. I find it hilarious that he's still around with an online show called 'The Tommy Wi-show'...oh dear God...

Yeah, we all know Tommy Wisaeu's majestic acting but what about the actual film? Oh, it's crap. Very very crap. All the actors are so, so wooden and the dialogue is cringe-worthy. I will admit that the ending is satisfying  but considering how bad everything is, I'm not sure if that's saying much...I'll give it half a point for that. The editing is also atrocious, especially in the flower shop scene. There's also one moment where the film sort of stops for a bit to take a break from a scene. Don't know why.

The Room is, as you'd expect, a terrible film. The acting is horrendously bad, the narrative is boring and un-inventive (although the ending is satisfying) and it's very hard to take this film seriously. It's strange, but Tommy Wiseau's acting is great to watch and is the best thing about the film. Is that a good or a bad thing? I guess that's based on perspective. Normally I wouldn't recommend a bad film but this is an exception. You have to witness least witness Wiseau's acting.

I have no idea what to say. This is a the same sense that a cow sliced in half is considered art.

Here's a nice compliation of Tommy Wiseau's....'acting' (contains you could care any less).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Life of Pi (Ang Lee, 2012) Review

See! I told you that this was The Amazing Spider-Man. It features Irrfan Khan and has a character called Richard Parker. Or it could just be a major coicidence. That seems much more likely. As you may have guessed (...probably) this is one of the films that is up for several Oscars. Frankly I think the Oscars are a this year so it is no guarranty of quality (Prometheus gets a nomination yet The Dark Knight Rises and Looper don't?) so does that make this a good or a bad film? Let's find out!

Piscine 'Pi' Patel (Suraj Sharma) is a young boy whose family owns a zoo in India. When the family decide to move to Canada in order to expand on their business. When travelling my boat, a strong storm causes Pi to fall overboard on a lifeboat with only a few animals to keep him company. He is stranded out in the vast, empty ocean with only their tiger, Richard Parker, to keep him company, and by that, I mean not try to rip his face off. Now Pi must survive against Richard Parker and find a way to get back to civilisation.

When I asked my friends why they wanted to see this film, they said that they loved the look of the mystical things and how good it would be in 3D. HA! No...I wanted to see it because of the idea. Imagine being stranded on a boat with only a tiger to keep you company. It builds loads of suspence and the best moments of the film were the quiet moments between Pi and Richard Parker...although the funny moments are pretty good too (I never expected any humour in this film but I guess this film is full of surprises).

I will admit there was one scene that really angered me. It featured flying fish coming at the camera and flying over the boat. Not a problem, except that the screen changed size so that the fish could go out of the frame! WHAT?! You can't change the aspect ratio of a film just to suit the 3D viewing! I didn't see this in 2D sadly but I hope that didn't happen then. 3D shouldn't be the focus of a film. STOP IT! Really, that's my only gripe and apparently I'm the only person that noticed. Aw well, maybe I got caught up in the madness of the film.

Life of 3.1415 is a clever film and will probably claim a couple of Oscars for itself. If so, I congratulate it. If not, what the hell is wrong with the Academy (other than the major snubs). HOW DID AVENGERS ASSEMBLE NOT BE NOMINATED FOR BEST MUSICAL SCORE?! *Ahem* forget my freakout. Anyway, join me next time where we look at a very weird weird that I'm not even sure how to score it.

A clever film with a great new star and an interesting concept to keep it suspenceful.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (David Yates, 2011) Review

It's finally time for the grand finale. We've been through every Harry Potter film and we've had our ups and downs but we can finally put this film series to rest. It's only been 8 films but it felt like forever...geez. Well after the disapointly dull first half of the story, we can now finish off this franchise and never see it again...EVER (it's not they're going to remake it or anything!). So, does the second part make up for the first? Let's find out.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) still follow their quest to destroy the Horcruxes and find themselves back in Hogwarts in order to take part in the final battle against Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) army. Harry must use his link with Voldemort in order to defeat him once and for all with the help of everyone at Hogwarts and, having learnt the secret of the Deathly Hallows, one or another this will be the final battle.

Ok, this film is awesome. I mean it. All your favourite Harry Potter characters (well...the ones that are still alive anyway) are in this epic battle which, like Avengers Assemble, takes up the third act. There are some excellent twists and turns throughout the course of the film and characters I have my gripes with are only glanced over which leaves the better characters at the front...well, saying that, there are some characters like Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) and Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) but it was nice that Madame Sprout (Miriam Margolyes) gets a cameo having been absent throughout most of the series.

If I had one problem, it would be Voldemort. My God, what happened?! This guy is supposed to be the most threatening bad guy there is. He comes off as camp and laughs like an idiot (EHHEHEH!). He started off pretty good in Goblet of Fire. It's hard to take him seriously. Is this really a bad thing? Not really but...heh? It may not be the old Harry Potter which I so adore but it's one hell of a finale. I can't let a...weird villain ruin it (I don't hate the character fact I like him BECAUSE of his weird campiness).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a great way to finish of a huuuge franchise. It's everything I wanted to be and has one of the best endings to any film series. There are no enigma codes left so anyone can be satisfied by it. WE'RE DONE! WE'RE FINALLY DONE! Right then *claps hands together* how about we review The Amazing Spider-Man? What do you mean I've already reviewed? It says on my schedule that I'm looking at a film featuring Irrfan Khan and features a character called Richard Parker. That's The Amazing Spider-Man right?.........right?

A fantastic way to end the series. Features everything you'd want in a finale with only a few faults that stop it from being the best in the series.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (David Yates, 2010) Review

We're almost there! We have just this story left and, yes, I'm annoyed that it's in two parts. We could be done sooner if it was just one but I guess it is a long story...give them the benefit of the doubt I guess. So since we're coming to the end...I'm not doing anything special. it's just another film...why should I care? Anyway, how does the penultimate film in the series hold up? Let's find out!

 After the death of Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), the magic world has fallen into darkness as Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) now needs Dumbledore's Elder Wand in order to finish off his nemesis Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) must now track down Horcruxes (pieces of Voldemort's soul) and destroy them in order to weaken Voldemort and kill the dark wizard for good. The trio must learn what the ministry has planned, what the deathly hallows are and how to destroy he Horcruxes.

If I were to name 'the worst Harry Potter film', this would be it. Normally, I don't mind a slow film if it works...this does not. It's just so...dull and boring. You could easily cut about quarter of an hour out of it, ESPECIALLY the scenes with the trio travelling, just...travelling. The action has become boring and stale now (it's just them shouting made up words with flashes of lights) and this film was just an excuse to shave down the cast. It the film that keeps on pissing me off (was that my first swear?!). This film is way too long and is nothing more than a bridge between Half Blood Prince and the finale.

That's not to say this is a bad film. It's not, no Harry Potter film is. It's just a chore to watch. If it was shortened then, sure, I'll gladly watch this one, but I just won't ever watch this unless I'm having a Harry Potter marathon. There are some great moments though which mostly shows off how badass Ron can be and one ending that people are still crying over. This is used only to progress the plot.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is easily the worst in the Harry Potter film franchise. I get REALLY bored watching this one despite there being a few really good moments. Only watch this one if you are having a Potter-thon (what?) so it's not a skip just be prepared to get bored. Here we go people. One more film to go and we're done with the Harry Potter films for good! See you then.

The worst Harry Potter film but by no means a bad film. Full of dull scenes that can easily be cut and a lot of exposition...and some cool scenes too.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (David Yates, 2009) Review

I'm not really sure how I can introduce this one. I've been doing the Harry Potter films for a while now so how can I possibly introduce the penultimate (kind of) one. Everything that needed to be established has already been established by this point in the franchise and is only used to set up the finale. Well then, I guess it's time to dive in to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (yeah, I didn't say "Let's find out". Let the world end, let the waters boil, let the sky fall...GET OUTTA MY HEAD ADELE!!!)

Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) army grows stronger and has gained the loyalty of Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) due to connections with his father (Jason Issacs). Meanwhile, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) manages to convince old Hogwarts professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) to come out of retirement to teach potions as Snape (Alan Rickman) has now taken over as professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) now teams up with Dumbledore in order to try and weaken Voldermort's powers and try to stop him for good.

I love the focus on Dumbledore in this film. Before, he had been nothing more than a secondary character that didn't really impact the plot much. Now, he is a primary character who is basically the secondary hero in this film (Ron and Hermione who?). The perils that Harry and Dumbledore go through during the film are also inventive and even scary at times (expect a jump scare...I'm not saying where and when). I also enjoyed the character of Slughorn and it's a shame that he only just appeared. I wish he was in the series before so we could get to know the characters more.

On the opposite end of the scale, certain characters have been made worse. The whole Malfoy family have been made more into tragic characters who are doing things they don't want to. Why? The charm was how despicable these characters were. Don't ruin a great thing. I guess Belatrix replaces them but who really cares about her (apologies to all Bealtrix fans out there).

The build up towards the finale is great and is why Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a pretty good iteration to the franchise. The twist at the end is great and there is more humour in this film courtesy of Slughorn and Ron (Rupert Grint). It feels like an old Harry Potter film again! Two more films and we're done! WE'RE DONE FOR GOOD! I can FINALLY review new films that I missed. It feels good to be almost free again.

A great way to bring us into the finale and more focus on Dumbledore is a great thing.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (David Yates, 2007) Review

Right then, lets get back to the Harry Potter series. After The Goblet of Fire seemed to change everything in the Harry Potter film series, things get REALLY serious in this film. I previously mentioned that the Potter franchise threw all the fun out of the window but this is cranked up to 11 in this one. For a series that started off with a good balance of dark moments and humour but the last film showed that this is no longer the case. Does the much darker tone make the film better or worse? Let's find out.

After the return of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and the death of Cedric Diggory, the ministry of magic refuses to believe that the dark lord is alive again and will take down anyone willing to claim that he has returned. The ministry of magic beefs up their security and sends in Delores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to watch over Hogwarts in order to keep things in control and reassuring everyone that Voldemort has not returned. Turns out Umbridge is one of the most horrible people that Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has ever met and begins a rebellion against the ministry and Voldemort's oncoming attack.

I think I should address Umbridge. Congratulations, you have made the second most hate-able woman in film history (the first goes to the woman in Woman in Black...evil, evil woman) that you will want dead more than Voldemort himself. In terms of other characters, they jsut appear out of nowhere and aren't really necessary until the very end (which is one of the more depressing Harry Potter endings) such as Belatrix LeStrange (Helena Bonham Carter) who only really makes an impact when she does something...something unforgivable.

Honestly, I'm indifferent on this one. There are some really good things but there are other things that just make me think that this is one of the more...not-as-good ones. Also, I think I'm running out of things to talk about with Harry Potter (hence why it took longer to write this one that it did the others...sorry about that) because everything that needed to be established for the series has finally been established  This marks the point where everything came together and sorted itself out.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is, as I just said, when everything comes together in the Harry Potter franchise. All the characters that will be present in the finale are all here now and all the elements needed have began. This is where the road to the finale it worth travelling on (dude, that's deep). Whether it is or not, let's keep going with the franchise.

While there is a lot to enjoy, this is where things get real and paves the way towards the finale. The new characters seem a little unnecessary as well.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mike Newell, 2005) Reivew

Hey, it's that film no one seems to like because of the involvment of a certain actor who may or may not be the lead in a rival franchise that starts with a 'T'. Other reasons may involve the fact that this is the turning point of the film series as everything changes from this film. Normally a turning point is for the better but there are those few exceptions. Is this one of the them? Let's find out.

In his fourth year at at Hogwarts, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is invited to attend the Quiddich World Cup by Arthur Weasley (Mark Williams) and Amos Diggory (Jeff Rawle). While having fun watching the event with his friends Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ginny (Bonnie Wright), one of Voldemort's death eaters (David Tennant) causes havoc and leaves behind the mark of Voldemort. Back at Hogwarts, the school is hosting the Triwizard Tournament between three schools, Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, but the contestants have to be over 17. Amos' son Cedric (Robert Pattinson) enters for Hogwarts but when the names are called out, four names rather than three appear. The fourth name is 'Harry Potter'. Despite being underage, Harry has no choice but to compete despite not even entering.

Yeah, so Robert Pattinson is in this film. So how many of you Anti-Twilight people are rallying up against this film. As someoen who hasn't watched a Twilight film (and probably never will), this doesn't affect me much. The two new characters that did leave an impression on me, however, are the new Professor, Alister 'Mad Eye' Moody (Bernard Gleeson), and Voldemort's new accomplise played by David Tennat. Moody is easily one of the best characters in the franchise and David Tennat is just too awesome to ignore (the special word of today is "bias"). This is also the first film in which Ralph Fiennes takes the role of Voldemort (not really sure if that's a spoiler...) and is a perfect choice...just a shame about the excecution (is it me or is Voldemort really camp?).

Did you notice the freeze frame at the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Clearly it was chosen to emphasis that that was the last fun you are going to have in a Harry Potter film. Things get really dark starting from this film (The first proper death happens in this one). While the events in the tournament are enjoyable, they're pretty damn life threatening! Dragons are used for Pete's sake! This film is the turning point mainly because all the fun is thrown out the window to make room for frama. Liked the fun spells such as the ones that make things float or transform people? Too bad, they use only curses now (torture and killing, mainly). It does sour the film as it focuses to hard on the drama aspect. There are a few fun moments but they are few and far between. They didn't even film the scenes involving Dobby in the book!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire proves that a franchise should really stay to it's roots until the finale. This is way too dark for what we started with (watch this and then go watch the first one. You probably wouldn't think they were the same franchise!) and also proves that the turning point isn't nessecarily for the best. Prisoner of Azkaban is still the best in the series but we still have some left to look at. We shall continue to the finale!

A drastic change to the franchise that doesn't quite hit the height of previous films and makes me want the older Harry Potter style back. The new characters are great though and it isn't as bad as people make it out to seem.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Alfonso CuarĂ³n, 2004) Review

Well, now Harry Potter is a trilogy. I guess that's a good thing considering that, so far, the films have been doing pretty well (both getting 8.5) but now it's time to take a look at the third film in the series which is usually the better film (Toy Story 3 for example...but saying that Robocop 3 disproves that theory) so we can go into this film with high hopes, right? Well then, am I right or wrong? Let's find out.

Having finally had enough of his Aunt and Uncle, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) runs away but encounters the Knight Bus on his travels. The bus takes Harry to his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) who begin their third year at Hogwarts. The problem? A criminal named Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has broken out of Azkaban prison and is trying to find Harry and presumably kill him in order to aid Voldemort. To make matters worse, creatures known as Dementors are let loose and are causing more trouble than it's worth (while being bone-chillingly terrifying).

This iteration introduces not one, not two but three of my favourite Harry Potter (not my top 3 but...three nonetheless). Sirius Black, Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) and Wormtail (Timothy Spall) join the cast and, unlike last time, actually become recurring characters. I mentioned in the last film that the cast improved. Well, this trumps it and even the regular cast is better...but there is one cast member that sticks out. Not just because of his performance but for the character he plays. Michael Gambon joins the franchise and takes over Richard Harris' role of Dumbledore after Harris' death. While Harris embodied the character more, Gambon is a nice pick for him and makes him more compassionate...and funny.

This is when things were at it's best in terms of magic and creatures. I already mentioned the Demontors but there are know werewolves (guess who that is...the name of the character kind of gives it away), Hippogriffs and Boggarts (makes sense in context) but we also get some nifty gadgets (if you can even call them that) such as the time turner and the Maruder's Map. The series definitely got more actionised by this film and it works well. The climax is especially good and even quite clever as a result of... something I'm not going to ruin.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is easily my favourite in the series (yeah, I just spoiled which is my favourite. Go figure). This is down to the more grown up moments, the clever twists, some great action, fantastic new characters and improved acting. It may seem like the other two at first and, while there are some funny moments, it's much more serious and, you know what, that's just the way I like it

My favourite in the series. An improvement on the previous films and plenty of new things that make it just that much better.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Chris Columbus, 2002) Review

Yeah, there wasn't a review on Monday. It being 2013 now sort of does that to you. Don't worry though, it should be normal from now on (probably)! You would have thought that I would do a special review for my first review of 2013. No. Just continuing what I was doing before my day off (which...was a waste) but who cares! Is this sequel better than the first of the popular franchise or will it be left in the dust...of one film...let's find out.

During the summer holiday at his aunt and uncle's house. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is met by Dobby the House-Elf (Toby Jones) who warns Harry to not continue at Hogwarts as he will be n terrible danger. Dobby stops Harry's every attempt to get here but, with the help of his friend Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), manages to get there in time for the year to start. In his second year, Harry finds a diary written by an ex-student named Tom Riddle and Harry begins to hear voice in his head. The school is also distraught when a message written in blood is written: "The Chamber Of Secrets Has Been Opened. Enemies Of The Heir, Beware" 

So is this worse or better than the first? It's about the same. The Harry Potter franchise was still blossoming by this point so there wasn't anything that they screwed up yet nor is there anything that is really ground breaking and awe-inspiring...except the casting of Kenneth Branagh. Everything that was great in the first one is still present and is clearly a sequel (other than the whole 'same franchise' thing). The new cast such as the previously mentioned Kenneth Branagh and Jason Issacs, giving one of his best performances, are great but this is the film that contains a lot of one time characters which is a shame (well, except the odd cameo).

Magic is a big part of the Harry Potter franchise so naturally you'd expect it in every iteration...yup. Magic is just as good as it was in the first film which now features flying cars and trees bent on killing everything in site. There are also new mythical creatures for the series such as a giant spider voiced by a Bond villain (shudder) and house-elves. These things make the film's world come to life and the great effects used make them that much more real (I don't think Aragog was CGI).

Lots of people I talk to say that this is the best Harry Potter film and, you know what, I can see why. I wouldn't say that it's the BEST one but it is certainly in the better half of the Potter franchise. The acting is still great and the new actors further improve on this, the new magic elements are great to see and it's nice to get some backstory behind Hogwarts and some of its staff and students. Now if you excuse me, I have some pizza waiting (that's related because...I don't know).

A great continuation of the first film and is just as good...but not better or worse (okay, a LITTLE, TINY bit better).