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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

  1. The Waldo Ultimatum

    March 8, 2008 by dafyd

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    Heh – in America, they call Wally Waldo. Who knew?


  2. Enchanted

    July 15, 2007 by dafyd

    They showed a trailer for Disney’s big Christmas film, Enchanted, before Harry Potter yesterday. I’m actually rather looking forward to this…

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    Incidentally, the cinema here in Sainte-Adèle shows three trailers before its films, and no adverts. Which is a refreshing change.


  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

    July 15, 2007 by dafyd

    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix poster

    Here begins seven days of Potter madness.

    It was always going to be difficult to adapt Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The longest Potter book, it contains a remarkable amount of waffle and prevaricating, and a not inconsiderable heaping of emoting for most of the main characters. There are also some fairly big ideas – state censorship, torture, and, of course, the battle of good versus evil.

    And this is director David Yates’ first proper film. He was the chappy responsible for the awesome State of Play BBC mini-series a couple of years ago, and he directed Richard Curtis’ G8 policy directive The Girl in the Café in 2005. So he can certainly do character pieces. But what about this massive, effects laden, $200 million juggernaut?

    I’d say he succeeded. Yates and new screenwriter Michael Goldenberg (regular screenwriter Steve Kloves is busy doing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) seem to have cut most of the cruft from Rowling’s 750-page novel, without really leaving out any of the plot. Sure, certain devices have been amalgamated, changed or reduced in importance, but the essence – and much of the fact – of the book is still present.

    There are some fantastic scenes that really do show Yates’ devotion to the characters’ development – the Weasley family has some terribly nice moments together, and the main trio have some charming little encounters. Yates has, apparently, been called an “actor’s director”, in that he plays very much to the strengths of his cast and coaxes performances of a very high standard out of them. This is certainly true of Daniel Radcliffe: his acting reaches a new high, here. He was terrific in Equus in London in the spring, and I daresay that much of his performance there came from his development on this Potter film.

    Imelda Staunton joins the franchise as Dolores Umbridge, the thoroughly nasty Under-Minister who becomes Hogwarts High Inquisitor. She perfectly depicts the autocratic evil of the character, and her pink clothes, cat plates and tea add to the strange shift between her exterior English aunt appearance and her interior malignancy.

    David Bradley (Filch) gets his most screentime yet, acting, perfectly, almost as a comic foil to Umbridge. Robert Hardy and Jason Isaacs have been criminally underused in the previous films and really do get to show off their talents here. Alan Rickman’s Snape is so on-the-nose that it’s scary (his “Evidently”, in this film, is probably the definitive Snape moment, and comes close to Rickman’s previous best). Michael Gambon seems to draw on all his Pinter experience for his Dumbledore, with much moody silence. And Maggie Smith’s McGonagall is still a magical Miss Jean Brodie, but this time with more anger.

    Both Emma Watson and Rupert Grint do fantastic work in their supporting roles. Grint, especially, seems to have made the transition from comedy sidekick to trusted best friend very well.

    Yates is, apparently, set to direct film six (the Half-Blood Prince) and he’s added a fair amount to this film to build on next time. Ginny Weasley’s relationship with Harry, for example, is just a few quick looks here, but next film will become much more important.

    I do have a few complaints, mainly to do with the way the film was put together. It seemed very, very choppy – some cuts coming almost in the middle of a scene – . Also, whose idea was it to change the dementors? When they appeared in Prisoner of Azkaban, they were damn scary. In this film, they looked too much like reanimated, flying mummies (the Egyptian kind).

    This is certainly a fine adaptation of the novel, and also an interesting reinvention of the previous films in the series. We see new elements from the new director, screenwriter and composer (Nicholas Hooper’s score, incidentally, is fantastic. He takes just enough of John Williams and Patrick Doyle’s works, and fleshes them out into his whole new work. Terrific.) added to the world and characters we already know. The result is fairly spectacular.

    Now roll on next Saturday morning. I want to know how it all ends…


  4. 12 days of Potter

    July 9, 2007 by dafyd

    So, there are just over twelve days (or just under, depending on where you are in the world) to go before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is released worldwide.

    I reserved my copy yesterday at Chapters in Montreal. While UK booksellers are battling it out over who can make the biggest loss selling Potter (Amazon and Waterstone’s are both selling it for £8.99 – less than half price – as I assume are WHS and Borders), I had to pay C$34.34 for my Canadian reservation. That’s just under £17. Pfah. That’s still C$11 off the publisher’s price, but still… I notice the Chapters website lists it for C$23.04, so maybe I’ll get money back when I buy it, or something.

    Now, Chapters in Montreal will be open at midnight on the 21st, and I’ll be hanging around in Montreal waiting for a flight to Washington D. C., so I may very well be tempted to pick mine up then. I’m still mildly gutted that I’m not working at Waterstone’s for the release, since we had such a blast the last time, so this might make up for it a bit. Anyway, we’ll see.

    While waiting for Book 7, of course, we can pass the time with Film 5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is released here (and most other places) on Wednesday. No doubt the cinema in town will be showing it. I’m trying to hunt down the nearest IMAX (there must be one in Montreal), as, apparently, the last half hour or so is being shown in IMAX 3D, which, knowing how the scene reads, ought to be pretty spectacular.

    So, Harry Potter fortnight is finally upon us. A quick warning for those of you in the UK who’ll get hold of Book 7 a full five hours before I do (because, David, that’s how time zones work)… Don’t You Dare Spoil It For Me.


  5. Yippee Ki Yay

    July 1, 2007 by dafyd

    Live Free or Die Hard (…or Die Hard 4.0, if you’re in the UK)

    Live Free or Die Hard poster

    I didn’t have high hopes for this fourth instalment in the Die Hard series. It’s been almost 20 years since John McClane first took on Alan Rickman in a Los Angeles skyscraper, and 12 years since his last screen appearance in Die Hard: With a Vengeance. And it’s fair to say that while the first film was, not to put too fine a point on it, awesome, the series started to go downhill with the first sequel, which saw McClane, in Willis’ own words, “trapped in a plot”. Willis himself must be about 150 by now, and his recent action films (Hostage, 16 Blocks) haven’t exactly been fantastic.

    But in a sense those lowered expectations helped make this film so much better than it could have been. There is a knowing sense of fun that runs through it, just as there was in the original trilogy, and Willis is not afraid to play up the fact that he’s getting past it. The plot – a cyber-terrorist “switches off” the United States to steal bank details, because he was slighted by the government in the wake of 9-11 – is, largely, irrelevant. We’re only here for the big bangs. And we get them. There are some spectacular set-piece stunts (one involving a car and a helicopter is particularly fun) and a few really good fight sequences, and to see how analogue McClane fares in a digital world.

    Surprisingly, he copes pretty well. There are, naturally, plenty of jokes about him getting too old for it, his lack of hair, and so on. But, unlike Harrison Ford in Firewall, Willis is still in very good shape, and has no problem putting on the sweat-soaked vest once again.

    Willis has a sidekick – a hacker who may or may not be related to the computer problems sweeping the country – who basically serves the same role as Samuel L. Jackson in Die Hard: With a Vengeance: reluctantly dragged around by McClane, he ends up saving the day. Entertainingly (for me, anyway), he’s played by the “I’m a Mac” guy from the US Apple ads. McClane also has a daughter, who, annoyingly, gets kidnapped by the bad guys. Nothing like a good cliché. But, of course, Willis is on screen practically all the time, and to tell the truth, the film is slower when he’s not there.

    The main bad guy, Thomas Gabriel, isn’t bad enough. When you consider quite how fantastically evil Alan Rickman was, this chap is a little disappointing. I don’t know who played him (and can’t be bothered to look it up – OK, Timothy Olyphant, I looked), but he’s not terribly old, and doesn’t have enough stature or menace about him. I understand what the director was trying to do in casting him – this is the “new” terrorist, more brain than brawn – but I’m not sure it works. His henchperson is Maggie Q (last seen as Tom Cruise’s sidekick in MI3) who is rather a dab hand at kung fu (or karate, or some other martial art). She’s entertaining enough, but the relationship between her and and Gabriel (and McClane) is far too similar to that of Jeremy Irons and Sam Phillips in Die Hard: With a Vengeance for my liking. Kevin Smith, bizarrely, puts in an appearance as a Star Wars-obsessed, cop fearing, über-hacker – again, he’s entertaining emough, but somewhat wasted in so small a role. I’d have loved to have seen Smith as the real bad guy – that would have been good fun.

    Stunts, explosions, fights, humour – all present and gloriously correct. This is a great popcorn movie for the summer. Just count the number of times I’ve used “fun” or “entertaining” in this review. Seriously, if you feel in need of some explosions this summer, you could do a lot worse than watching Live Free or Die Hard (or Die Hard: 4.0).

    Ratatouille next, I think, if I can find somewhere showing it in English.


  6. Top 100

    May 21, 2007 by dafyd

    Everyone loves “Top 100″ lists. So here’s the Top 100 Movie Numbers:

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    I’d have chosen something else for 42 (any guesses?), and I’m convinced The Matrix would be better for The One. But hey. Here’s a list of the hundred numbers and their films.


  7. Jack’s Back

    May 19, 2007 by dafyd

    Because, let’s face it, I’ve got nothing else to do at the moment, I’ve been catching up on my podcast listening and vodcast (I hate that word – let’s just call it a video podcast) viewing. Including the Pirates of the Caribbean 3 podcast (vodcast). It looks absolutely stunning. And it’s out on Thursday. Hee.


  8. Bourne’s back

    April 5, 2007 by dafyd

    More lazy blogging. Teaser trailer for the Bourne Ultimatum.

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    Also, I have a real blog post coming soon. Promise.


  9. Les vacances de Monsieur … Bean

    February 19, 2007 by dafyd

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    Ah! He’s back. In France. Awesome.


  10. Scary Mary

    January 6, 2007 by dafyd

    It’s been around for a couple of months now, I know, but I’ve not…

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    It’s the line “Someone’s up your chimney / And it isn’t Santa Claus” that scares me, in the stage musical at least…!