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!

Series Review: Fortitude – Season 1 (2015)

I am aware that I’m kind of stretching it a bit here in terms of the Month of Spooks, but there are aspects of this show that kind of work for it. Also, I kind of cheated with “Mindhunter” last year, so I think I’m allowed this one this year.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to… “Fortitude”.

On the edge of the arctic circle lies the town of Fortitude, a frozen place with a small population. A town that has been safe for as long as it’s existed. But the peace of Fortitude is disturbed when a violent crime occurs. So now we have our cold as hell thriller. And it’s good. It has an eerie feel to it that makes it stand out from other crime-thrillers out there, and the mysteries it sets up throughout the season are quite intriguing. I was sometimes taken out of the show a bit though. While it is fairly grounded most of the time, there are occasions when it suddenly requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. Now, aside from some of those moments, this is an engaging, chilling (HA!), and overall intriguing story.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, interesting, and mostly all feel pretty realistic. I will however not go in-depth about them because the cast here is so big that we’d be here all god damn day, and none of us want that. But I can say that the cast is pretty impressive. Including people like Richard Dormer, Nicholas Pinnock, Alexandra Moen, Luke Treadaway, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofia Gråbøl, Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips, Darren Boyd, Mia Jexen, Christopher Eccleston, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Ben Frost, and I think he did a really good job with it. His music has a way of capturing the feel of this frozen and remote location. It’s eerie, it’s suspense-building, it’s emotional, it just works incredibly well for the show. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes too.

“Fortitude” was created by Simon Donald, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people, and I think what they created here is really interesting. For one, it’s a pretty unique location for a show. A remote town in one of the coldest parts of the world, perfect setting for this kind of show. And thanks to the directing and some frankly gorgeous cinematography, they really capture the feel of the location perfectly. They also build a lot of suspense with it, and even capture some imagery that is kind of horror-esque in how graphic and disturbing it is.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not perfect, “Fortitude” still serves up a nice, cold mystery. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, the score if brought down a bit by the show expecting you to really bend your suspension of disbelief. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Fortitude” season 1 is an 8,91/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely still worth watching.

My review of “Fortitude” season 1 is now completed.

It still kind of works as horror.

Movie Review: Hail, Caesar! (2016)

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The movie industry, one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world. It’s given us sooooo many hours of entertainment for such a long time that it’s kind of ridiculous. And not only is it guilty of giving us entertainment, but it’s also the thing that’s given this blog most of it’s content.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hail, Caesar!”.

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a fixer for a big Hollywood studio in the 1950s. As a fixer, his job is to keep problems with actors, directors, and such to a minimum. And soon he gets a bit of a rough time when problems pour in from every possible direction. So what we have here is an odd crime-comedy-thing with a whole bunch of plot threads going on at the same time. And while that stuff can be interesting, I feel like the way it’s handled here is a bit messy. Not saying that any of the plots going on are bad, but it’s just that it’s kind of a fucking mess. I mean, I was constantly interested and entertained, but I feel like it could have been a bit more focused.

The characters are all interesting and very entertaining. I will mention that there are a shit-ton of big name actors in this movie, and instead of spending 50 hours listing them with one comment each, I will simply say that they all did a great job and I’m just gonna list their names. Cool? Cool. *Deep breath*. Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Alden Ehrenreich (First-timer, did a fantastic job), Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill, Clancy Brown, Alison Pill, Fisher Stevens, Christopher Lambert, David Krumholtz, and more. *Exhale*. God damn, there’s a lot of people in this movie!

The score for the movie was composed by Carter Burwell and it was fun, kind of quirky, and overall well composed. It fit the movie very well. There are even a few songs (as in musical numbers) in this movie performed by the actors, and they are surprisingly good and really catchy.

This movie was directed by the Coen brothers, and I think they did a great job here. There’s energy, there are clever moments, and there’s an overall sense of fun. And the cinematography by Roger Deakins is of course great, as per usual. The humor in this movie is also pretty solid. I’m not saying that every “funny” moment hit, but when it did hit… it hit very well. There’s one scene involving Alden Ehrenreich and Ralph Fiennes in this movie that is really damn funny, it’s most definitely my favorite scene in the entire movie.

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 85% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10. The movie has also been nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best production design. 

“Hail, Caesar!” is a fun homage to old school cinema. It has some okay plots, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and some really good humor. However it is brought down by the plot being kind of messy. Time for my final score. *ACTION!*. My final score for “Hail, Caesar!” is an 8,87/10. So even if it’s messy, I ‘d still say it’s worth buying.
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My review of “Hail, Caesar!” is now completed.

Alden Ehrenreich… I trust that you’ll make a good Han Solo (please!).

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

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Guys, we are finally here… the final part in my series of reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. I have had so much fun with this series of reviews, especially since it gave me an excuse to rewatch all of the movie in this series I grew up with. And I thank anyone who has given each review a like and/or a comment, I really appreciate it. So… let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”!!! *sniffles*.

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are at the final stretch. Only a few horcruxes left to defeat Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) who now possesses the almighty elder wand. And from that we get the final chapter in this huge saga. But it’s not just a big and epic war, there is still a good amount of substance to it. The plot presented to us is very fast-paced but still manages to give us some very solid drama. We even get to learn more on the backstory on a few of the characters and it really helps to give this world we all love even more depth and emotion. So it’s a very solid plot we have here.

The character are as great as they will ever become in this movie. Harry has now fully matured and become the hero and leader needed for the battle. And Radcliffe is as amazing as ever… not much else to say there. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, they were great in their roles again. Ralph Fiennes, he was great. Alan Rickman (rest in peace you awesome man) got some more space as Snape in this movie and he was absolutely fantastic. Warwick Davis got to play double roles in this movie and he was great in both. For those wondering, he played both Griphook and Professor Flitwick. Matthew Lewis got some good screen time and further got to evolve Neville. We also saw the return of the great John Hurt as Ollivander. Firstly, good to see you again sir. What’s it been? 8 movies? Jokes aside, he was really good. I’d say that every returning actor ranged from really good to great in this movie. So let’s talk about the few new additions to the cast that this movie got. Firstly we get Ciarán Hinds as Aberforth, someone with deep ties to a certain someone in the “HP” universe. Not gonna mention who because there are people who haven’t seen this yet (grrr), so I just want them to experience it. And I just wanna mention also that I didn’t recognize Hinds as this character. I seriously had to look up who played him. But I can safely say that his performance is good. The second one I want to mention is a character played by Kelly Macdonald that shows up pretty briefly. She’s important in the end and her performance was really good. All actors were really good… MOVING ON!

The music (like in the previous part) was composed by Alexandre Desplat and it’s fucking fantastic. Some of the pieces in the score really are something special. And all hte tracks in the movie perfectly fit the scenes and really helped add something to it all. And of course it was amazing hearing some of the classic themes throughout… fucking nostalgic, I tell ya.

David Yates of course directed this movie, he had no reason not to. I mean, if he did Part 1 he had to do Part 2. But enough of the jokey stuff. Was his directing good in this movie? You can bet your ass it was! It’s just as great as in the previous movie. His directing is tense and dramatic. And the cinematography by Eduardo Serra is beautiful. And the visual effects are absolutely stunning. All of these of course make for some absolutely fantastic action scenes. Let me also say that this movie made me cry. Two and a half times. Half as in one time wasn’t a full cry, only like a single tear. But yeah, this shit made me sad. *sniffles*.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% (100% if you go by “top critics” only) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #223 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 3 Oscars in the categories of Best makeup, best visual effects, and Best art direction.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is the perfect way to end this magnificent franchise. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing, great cinematography, and amazing visual effects. Time for my final score. Shut up, I’m not crying. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is now completed.

This is it, the very end. And since it’s such a special occasion, I want to do something I never really do. I am asking you all a favor. Share this around social media. Friends, family, followers, pets… doesn’t matter. Just share it, let’s make a big fuckin’ deal out of this! Thank you.

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

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Guys, we are now at the penultimate part in my series of reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. There’s not much else to say other than… let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”!

With Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his death eaters getting more and more control over the wizarding world, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) have to go out into the world (and by world I mean the UK) and find/destroy the Dark Lord’s horcruxes. And while doing this they come across the existence of three incredibly powerful items… the Deathly Hallows (Roll credits). What the studio and filmmakers did with the story, splitting it into two movies, that shit was risky. So how did it turn out with taking the first half(ish) of a book and making it into one movie? Pretty well actually. You can tell that there is some slight stretching being done to make it into a two hour and twenty minute movie, but it still has really good pacing. The plot is interesting and there are some really great moments throughout, both of the exciting and emotional varieties.

The characters in this movie have now really gone into maturity. Daniel Radcliffe, once again being absolutely fantastic as Harry who this time has to go through some of his toughest challenges yet. There are some scenes where he have to show a lot of emotion, and he just fucking nails it. Rupert Grint, knocking it out of the park as Ron. Emma Watson is also great in her role as Hermione. Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix, great performance. Alan Rickman (rest in peace, you awesome man) was really good as Snape. Imelda Staunton returned for a bit to once again play Dolores Umbridge and she was great as that horrible person. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, fucking great. All returning actors were great… so let’s talk about any new additions. Domhnall Gleeson played Bill Weasley, Ron’s older brother that we’d never seen before and he was really good in the role. We also got Rhys Ifans as Xenophilius Lovegood, the father of the magnificently amazing Luna. And he gave a great performance. And we also got Andy Linden as the very shady and slimy Mundungus Fletcher, and he was really good in his role. Yeah, great characters, great acting.

The score for this movie was not composed by the one and only John Williams, nor Patrick Doyle, nor Nicholas Hooper. No, the score here was composed by Alexandre Desplat. And I think he did a terrific job with it. The score is well composed, fun, and exciting. It is really great.

David Yates once again took on the mantle of director and he did a terrific job. The movie is magnificently shot and the scenes are very well handled overall. And the action scenes in the movie, they are some of the best in the series. As an example: There is a very exciting and tense chase through a forest… yeah, it’s awesome. There are also some scenes that really touched me *sniffles* Shut up, I didn’t cry, you cried! Okay that was a lie… I cried. On a lighter note, the visual effects in this movie are fucking fantastic… just wanted to get that out there.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best visual effects and Best art direction.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is not perfect, but it’s still a damn good movie. It has a really good plot, great characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *ACCIO!* My final score for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is a 9,83/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is now completed.

One review left, guys… get fuckin’ hyped!

 

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

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So we are now at the sixth part in my series of reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. I’ve had so much fun doing it, partially because it gave me an excuse to revisit these movies that I grew up with. But also because I love talking about movies with you guys! Enough of that… let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”!

So Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, and things are a bit different. This time around Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) has asked Harry to try to get close to a teacher, specifically the new potions teacher Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), because he might have crucial information about a certain dark one. And this sets Harry off on a year of mystery, dark discoveries, and having to further head into maturity. And I was fully invested in the plot from start to finish. Out of all the movies it might be the least eventful, at least in terms of plot. There’s not too many things really happening, it’s more of a slow burn this time around… but I feel like that actually helped the movie. It’s really more of a slow and chilling mystery this time around… and I love that!

Since this movie has the least stuff going on plotwise in any “Harry Potter” movie, I was pleased that it at least decided to develop it’s characters even further. After everything that’s happened in the last movie, Harry is a broken man. You can tell that he still loves everything magic that he comes across, that awe has not left him yet… but he is more cold and serious, and Daniel Radcliffe once again owned the role. This was apparently the movie in the series he enjoyed doing the least, but you can still tell that he gave it his all. Ron got a little bit more development as well, and Rupert Grint was great in the role. Emma Watson as Hermione was also great again, with her character also getting some development. Dumbledore in this movie got quite a bit of screen time this time around and with that some great character development. And Michael Gambon knocked it out of the park. Draco Malfoy the last several movies has been more of a bully/comic relief, compared to the slimy asshole from the first two movies. But here he is a well developed and awful asshole. And Tom Felton gives a fantastic performance here! And also, we get some stuff with Alan Rickman (rest in peace, you awesome man!) that is really good, further developing his character showing his once again great performance. Also, I just wanna point out once again that Evanna Lynch as Luna… one of the best things to happen to this series! As for the rest of the returning cast… they’re great. So let’s talk about some of the newer additions. Like Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn. Yeah, he’s great. He might seem like a very whimsical character at first that has littel to nothing to add, but his importance in the story does eventually show itself and really, Broadbent was great. Freddie Stroma played a guy named Cormac, who was kind of a jock who seemed to have a bit of a crush on Hermione. And he was kind of a fun presence, especially any time he got a bit of a comeuppance. We also got Jessie Cave as a girl named Lavender Brown, a girl who for some unknown reason is infatuated with Ron. And she was fun. And that’s about it for actors worth mentioning… moving on!

The score was once again composed by Nicholas Hooper and I have to say that what he did with the music for this movie is an improvement over the stuff he provided for “Order of the Phoenix”. It’s often dark, gloomy, and outright chilling. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as great as the stuff the one and only John Williams provided for “Prisoner of Azkaban”, but it’s still pretty damn good. However, it seems like at least a piece or two never made it into the final movie. One such is “Wizard Wheezes”, an incredibly jazzy and awesome track that is both fun to listen to and also play on the trombone. However, I can’t remember hearing it anywhere in the movie. You’d think it would be in the scene where the characters visited the store “Wizards Wheezes”… but nope. So that’s sad. Oh well, at least the score we did hear in the movie was really good.

This movie like the previous one was directed by David Yates and he did a great job. It’s a very tightly direccted movie with plenty of good tension to it. Like I said, this movie feels more like a slowly moving mystery, and Yates’ direction is part of why it feels that way, which I love. And there really are some truly tense and amazing scenes. Like the scene in the bathroom with Harry and Draco. Or the scene with Harry, Dumbledore, and the spooky water. I’m trying to keep it vague in case anyone who hasn’t seen it (Presumably Morlocks) decides to stop by. Anyhow… the visual effects are pretty spectacular in this movie too. There’s also a scene in this movie that made me cry. Fans of the series will know what part I’m talking about. On a lighter note, have a fun fact: This is the only “Harry Potter” movie that I ever saw in theaters. I know, shame on me!

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best cinematography. 

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is a fantastic movie, definitely one of the best movies in the series… at least in my opinion. It’s actually better than I remembered it being. It has a great plot, great characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and some great visual effects. Time for my final score. *Accio!*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is now completed.

OH THE HORMONES!!!

 

 

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

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The Month of Spooks may be over, but we still have some “Harry Potter” reviews to get through! And it’s finally November, so it’s not long now until “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” comes out. For fuck’s sake, it’s in like… 12 days. Alright… let’s do this!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”.

After Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) wards off a Dementor attack and saves his terrible cousin Dudley (Harry Melling), he gets in some trouble with the Ministry of magic. So to keep an eye on both Harry and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), the ministry sends Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to become the new defense against the dark arts teacher. This all happens as the ministry is trying to quiet down the “rumor” that Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is back. And now Harry has to go through another year at Hogwarts, with the ministry breathing down his neck, while also having strange visions of awful things. And there’s a lot of shit going on here. Almost to the point of being too much… almost. Really, working with as many sub-plots as this movie does is a very delicate thing to do, which can get severely fucked in the end. But this movie handles it well, even if some things might feel a little skimmed over at times. But I get it, they got a long fucking book to adapt and don’t want to make the movie too long. I’m sut saying, I think the plot is really good and features some genuinely great moments, but it feels like it does skim over some parts.

The characters in this movie are pretty damn interesting. Harry once again gets a lot of character development, mostly because of some terrrible things happening to him throughout. And Daniel Radcliffe… I don’t think I have to say anything, the guy is amazing in the movie. Rupter Grint and Emma Watson are also great, not much to say there. Michael Gambon once again owns the role of Albus Dumbledore. Alan Rickman (Rest in peace, you awesome man) is great once again as Snape. Basically any recurring actor is great. So let’s go through the newere actors in the movie. Ralph Fiennes (yes, he was introduced in the previous one, but you should shut up) was great as Voldemort, the manipulative and intimidating villain. Imelda Staunton as Umbridge… god. Her performance was great, but the character was despicable. I really did not like her, but I guess that was the point. I’m just saying, I’d rather hang out with Negan from “The Walking Dead” than be anywhere near Umbridge. The last one I’m gonna mention is Luna Lovegood, played by Evanna Lynch… yeah, she’s fucking awesome. She’s weird, funny, odd… I just love her, she’s awesome. She’s also Irish, which is a plus in my book (the only one I prefer more is Scottish).

The original score for this movie wa not composed by the one and only John Williams, nor by Patrick Doyle. No, this time the composer chosen was Nicholas Hooper who I think did a really good job. The music is fun, exciting, and well composed. Not the most memorable of scores from any “HP” movie, but it’s still good.

This is the first of the “Harry Potter” movies to be directed by David Yates, and he did a terrific job with it. The movie is very well shot. And it shows a lot too in the fact that this movie gives us the first real look at wizarding warfare. There’s a huge battle near the end of the movie where there’s all kinds of magic flying around, and it is intense and awesome! Speaking of magic, the visual effects look great… ain’t got much to say there. Also, as a fun fact: this movie actually made me tear up… yeah. Those who have seen the movie might have an idea what caused it… because it makes sense to tear up at that point in the movie!

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is not my favorite movie in the series. It’s not a bad movie at all, it has a lot of great stuff going for it. It has a good plot, good characters, great acting, good music, great directing, and some great visual effects. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is a 9,55/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is now completed.

Just so you know, the game is also pretty good.

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

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We’re now halfway through my series of reviews leading up to the release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. So I just wanted to take a moment to thank you guys for sticking around and for giving me a bunch of likes and nice comments… I really appreciate it. Okay, done with the mushy stuff… let’s get into the review!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”!

So Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) return for their fourth year at Hogwarts. But this time it is a bit different since the school has been selected to host the Triwizard tournament. This of course is the huge magical tournament where wizards and witches from three different schools compete to show who’s the best. The wizards get selected through the Goblet of Fire (roll credits). And for some unknown reason, Harry get selected by it to compete, despite being three years too young. So now he has to compete in there, while something more sinister goes on in the background. And this gives us an intereesting plot that further develops this world we all know and love, while also playing with the theme of maturity. I mean, since this is the first PG-13 “Harry Potter” movie, so we get some more mature themes in this movie. And it’s really interesting to see these characters go through all the things they go through in this movie.

The characters in this movie are just as interesting and great as in the first three… if not even better. Since Harry gets dragged into the tournament and has to face some truly dangerous stuff, he of course has to mature a bit, which he actually does throughout the movie, and I do like seeing that type of development in him. You can really tell that he’s very different from when we first saw him in “Philosopher’s Stone”, he has really grown as a character. And Daniel Radcliffe is absolutely terrific in the role, especially since he has to show a lot of emotion throughout this movie, which can be difficult for someone so young. But he fucking nailed it! Ron and Hermione also gets some development in the movie, which is nice to see. Of course Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are great in their roles. All other returning cast members are great in their roles too. So let’s talk about some of the new additions. First off, Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory, a handsome young man from Hufflepuff. And he’s really good in this movie, compared to his performance as Edward in “Twilight”… which was shit. Then we have Brendan Gleeson as Alastor “MadEye” Moody, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He may be a bit crazy, but at least he’s great at what he does. And Brendan Gleeson is fantastic in the role. We also get Katie Leung as Cho Chang, a student at Hogwarts that Harry may or may not have a bit of a crush on. And she’s good in her role too. Basically all actors did really well.

This is the first of the “Harry Potter” movies not to be scored by the one and only John Williams. Instead the score was composed by Patrick Doyle. And while I don’t think the score is as great as maybe “Prisoner of Azkaban”, it still is damn good. It’s fun, exciting, magical, and perfectly works for the movie. It’s good.

This movie was directed by Mike Newell and I think he did a really good job with it. The shots look really good and the scenes flow very well. But where this movie really shines is with the Triwizard scenes, particularly the first and the last. The first is an exciting scene where Harry has to dodge a CGI dragon that looks absolutely terrific. The final one, which is in a maze… tense as all hell. And it’s a great scene for Harry as a character, because it’s basically just him trying to survive in there, all by himself. Speaking of things, the visual effects in this movie looks absolutely fantastic. Sure, you can tell most of the time when stuff is CGI, but at least it looks really good. There’s also a lot of comedy in the movie, I really had forgotten how funny this movie actually was. Most of the comedy has to do with the guys entering puberty and also having to deal with a Yule ball. Seriously, I laughed quite a bit thanks to this movie. And of course, Fred and George, being as awesomely funny as always… love ’em.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Art Direction.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is not as good as “Prisoner of Azkaban”, but it’s still a damn fine movie. With a really good plot, great characters, great acting, really good music, really good directing, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. Accio, envelope! My final score for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is a 9,74/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is now completed.

Halfway there… holy shit.

 

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: Open Range (2003)

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If you’ve followed my blog for some time then you are probably aware that I love westerns. It’s probably my favorite movie genre. So whenever I get the chance to watch a western, I get excited. I get even more excited when I get to talk about said westerns here on the blog.

Ladies and gents… “Open Range”.

Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) and Charley Waite (Kevin Costner) are two men who run a crew that makes sure their cattle gets to graze in the nice, open fields. But at one point they happen to get into trouble with a corrupt Sheriff (James Russo) and the local rancher (Michael Gambon) who happens to be a bit of a kingpin. So to keep this shit short and sweet, they get into trouble with these guys and have to try to stop them/take them out. Pretty standard western stuff, but I have to say that I was surprised at the depth that the plot had. It’s not just some cattle men who also happen to be gunslingers who have to take out some corrupt people, but there are so many more layers to it that I can’t get into because this review is supposed to be spoiler free. There are tons of little elements to the plot of “Open Range” that make it such an engaging watch. Yeah, it’s really good.

The characters in this movie are layered, interesting, and simply entertaining. Robert Duvall is (as we all know) a great actor, and it shows here too. He gives a terrific performance in this movie while also being pretty badass. Kevin Costner also gives a really good performance in this movie. And these two central actors have really good chemistry too, perfectly building off of each other. I’m not saying that you should expect there to be a whole bunch of really funny banter like Riggs and Murtaugh from “Lethal Weapon” or Harry and Gay Perry from “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”. I’m simply saying that they work very well together. We also get some really good performances from people like Annette Bening, Diego Luna, Abraham Benrubi, Michael Gambon, and Michael Jeter (R.I.P).

The film’s original score was composed by Michael Kamen (R.I.P) who of course made the music to movies like “Die Hard” and the previously mentioned “Lethal Weapon”. And the music he did for this movie is pretty damn good. Sure, a lot of it sounds like typical western stuff… but that isn’t a bad thing. It sounds great and it really makes the movie feel a lot bigger while also sounding great overall. Also, the song that plays during the end credits, “Holding All My Love For You” by Julianna Raye, is pretty damn good too.

This movie was directed by none other than… *drumroll* Kevin Costner! Yup, one of the stars of this movie also directed it. Not that it’s the first time that it has been done (not even the first for Costner), and it sure as hell isn’t the last either. But to call this movie well directed would be an understatement. Yes, I am saying that this movie looks fucking phenomenal and I was in awe at several shots in the movie. And while there aren’t that many shootouts in this movie, in fact there’s actually only one, really… near the end. And I honestly think that it is absolutely awesome. It goes on for some time too, which is great for me, because western shootouts are fun to witness. And since this goes on for a while and also features a good amount of dudes being gunned down, it will please those who love a good ol’ fashioned shooty-bang-bang session.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Open Range” is a movie that surprised me a pretty good amount. It has a great plot, great characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and an awesome shootout. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Open Range” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Open Range” is now done.

Duvall shotgun