12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 5)

Well hello there! Thanks for coming. Sit down and relax while I jabber on about today’s film.

Earlier today I was thinking, “What should I do today?”, as I wanted to be slightly more creative with today’s pick. Then I thought “I should do a Harry Potter movie!”, as most of those flicks have a part set around the holiday. Then it came down to which one I would do. And in the end I decided to pick my favorite out of the bunch, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. It’s time for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) to do his third year at Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry. But of course he can’t just have a “normal” school year for once, as he has to look out for Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), a killer who has escaped from Azkaban prison. And you know the usual shenanigans that happen, Harry questions things, Snape (Alan Rickman) looks angry, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is secretly a dick, and Harry and his friends end up in some dangerous situations. But they put some nice twists on these things here with the inclusion of certain revelations regarding the past of Harry’s parents, as well as the looming horror of the Dementors. It stands out thanks to one of the more engaging plots in the series, combined with the confident and stunning direction of Alfonso Cuarón. And while this movie doesn’t go “Happy Christmas” as blatantly as some of the other ones, it does have a bit set in a very snowy Hogsmeade, and it all just gives me a very christmas-y vibe. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” works both for christmas-y and casual viewing.

On the fifth day of christmas, Markus brings to you, an actual good film, woohoo!

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

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So now we’re moving forward in my series of reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. So let’s stop with this intro and just get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”!

After having blown his horrible uncle’s horrible sister into a human balloon, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) goes back to Hogwarts. But everyone in the wizarding world is a bit on edge at the moment, because convicted killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has somehow escaped from Azkaban prison and is presumably out and about to find Harry and do somethign terrible. And this of course also brings out the Dementors, the guardians of Azkaban. And from that we get a plot that further develops this world that’s been built up over the previous two movies, and gives us even more knowledge on the pasts of everyone. There are some truly interesting developments going on here that truly adds layers of the already established world, while also giving us a compelling stand-alone mystery. And I absolutely loved it. It was invested the whole way through thanks to those great developments and the overall great pacing of the movie.

The characters in the movie are just as great as in the previous movies, if maybe even better. With all the revelations happening we see Harry developing even more as a character, as he no longer takes any shit from anyone. And Daniel Radcliffe’s performance in the movie is truly great, with him having to show a lot of different emotions throughout the story. Rupert Grint is great, Emma Watson’s great, Alan Rickman (R.I.P) is great. Basically, any returning cast member is great. So let’s talk about some new additions, such as Michael Gambon now playing Dumbledore instead of Richard Harris (R.I.P). And I honestly think he does a really good job here, probably even surpassing Harris. Then we also have David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. And he does a great job too. Gary Oldman as Sirius… fantastic, but there could never be any doubt about that. It’s Gary fucking Oldman. Every actor in this movie does a great job!

The one and only John WIlliams once again provided the score, and it might the best so far. Some of the tracks create the same level of inspiring awe that could be gathered from the scores of the previous two movies, but then we also have some tracks that are outright chilling and haunting. Don’t believe me? Listen to the track “Apparition on the Train” and tell that it’s not a chilling piece of music. Yeah, the music in this one is fucking fantastic.

This is the first “Harry Potter” movie not directed by Chris Columbus (still not trying to rediscover America), instead the reins were handed over to Alfonso Cuarón. And while I thought Columbus did a really good job, Cuarón knocked it out of the god damn park! This is a magnificently directed movie, giving us some real eye candy. For example: Throughout the movie we get some of Cuarón’s signature single-take shots, which look great. Combining his direction with the editing of hte movie also makes it really suspenseful, and even a bit scary. Not only are the designs of the Dementors scary, but the way that some scenes play out/are directed actually kind of scared me. The imagery presented combined with editing, sound effects, and music made for a tense and kind of scary watch. So this can technically be put in the Month of Spooks. Two birds, one stone. And of course, the visual effects in the movie are absolutely terrific, perfectly holding up 12 years later… holy shit, this movie is 12 years old!

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects. 

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is one of those rare cases where the third movie in a series happens to be better than the first two. It has a fantastic story, great characters, great acting, fantastic music, fantastic directing, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *EXPECTO PATRONUM!*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is now completed.

It’s a shame Cuarón didn’t diect any more HP movies…

Movie Review: Children of Men (2006)

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With the world being what it is I suspect it won’t take long until it all goes down the crapper. I guess you could say that it already has with every terrible thing that’s happened within the past 15 – 20 years, but i mean totally gone to shit. Not just losing faith in humanity, but the world also being terrible in general. And that is why i think some of these post-apocalyptic(ish) movies are a good warning because a lot of them might actually become a reality.

Men and women… “Chidlren of Men”.

The world has gone to shit. Humans have become infertile and can therefore not make any more babies. And if they can’t make any more babies, there will be no new humans, and if there are no new humans then the human race is fucked! But miraculously there turns out to exist one pregnant woman (Clare-Hope Ashitey). So it is up to a former activist (Clive Owen) to get her to safety because he was lured in by his ex-wife Julian (Julianne Moore) to help out. And out of all post-apocalyptic stories i have seen/read, this might be the most realistic one. Like I said in the beginning, these post-apocalyptic worlds might actually become a reality. I mean, as much as the human race tampers with chemicals and all that crazy shit I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow managed to make us all infertile t some point in time. And if we count away those scary thoughts for a second, this story is fantastic. The realistic, dark and grim world this movie portrays was infinitely interesting and led to a lot of thinking from my side. The story also works because it feels like it’s made up of three parts. First you have the chase thriller that gets your heart pumping, second we have a cautionary tale of how our world might become (hence the realism I mentioned), then we have the third part which is a human drama and how societies struggle to survive. All of these combined makes for an excellent story.

The characters in this movie all feel like real people stuck in this terrible situation. Clive Owen gives an excellent performance as our main character Theo who wants to help out. Julianne Moore is also really good and so is Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Caine. Clare-Hope Ashitey is an actress I had never even heard of before, but she was pretty damn great too. Everybody was great, in fact. They were also very well written.

The score for the movie was done by John Tavener and it was really good. It was used in a way where it didn’t feel overused, but also not underused. I don’t really know what to say, I guess… it was a pretty powerful score that was really good.

This movie is incredibly well shot! It was directed by Alfonso Cuarón and he really showed here that he is a master class director. Still, I didn’t know what to expect considering the only thing I have seen from him is “Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban” (Sidenote: My favorite “Harry Potter” movie.). Yes, I have not seen “Gravity” so I couldn’t go by those merits when expecting things for this movie. Anyway, he directed this and did an amazing job. I especially love how he at many points used continuous shots, it really made the movie more real than if they had cut at every opportunity, and for that I respect this movie a lot. Also, don’t expect this movie to be heavy on the visual effects because it really isn’t. And the effects it uses are mostly practical which is another reason why I respect this movie so much when it comes to how it was made.

This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie was also nominated for 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Adapted Screenplay, Best cinematography and Best FIlm Editing. 

“Children of Men” is a dark, grim and realistic look at a possible near future with an excellent story, terrific performances, great music, excellent direction and great writing. Time for my final score. *Cleasrs throat*. My final score for “Children of Men” is a 9,90/10. It definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Children of Men” is now reviewed.

This might fucking happen, so start doing something to prevent it!