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Two Different Vaguely Unsatisfying Movies
Under cuts in case I inadvertently spoiler someone.

The Social Network

This is not the sort of movie I normally go to see, but, hey, this got excellent reviews and there was nothing else on. All I can say is that if the real life people involved are only half as nasty as they are in this movie, I wouldn't like to know any of them, and I wish that the whole Facebook thing would collapse around their ears. (But I wish that anyway!) As for the accuracy - well, the only part with which I am even vaguely - very, very vaguely - in a position to venture an opinion was the Henley sequence, which didn't ring true at all. (Those champagne cups were totally déclassé, mes enfants.) Also I'm sure Prince Albert of Monaco has much greater social skills and far more awareness of modern culture than portrayed here - and I'm a dyed in the wool British republican! I do hope that Ivy League universities are not like that, I really do.

Beautifully written, though, with a complex twisted flashback structure, and very well acted. As to be expected from a Sorkin script, very witty in places, but a bit too long. Could have done with a script prune.

Three and a half stars - could easily have been four with some judicious cutting.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1"

Not sure what I was expecting as I haven't really enjoyed one of these movies since number 3. However, the first thing to say is that the central trio are now competent actors. Radcliffe, in particular, has matured into someone who has a future outside these movies, and conveys subtle emotions that are almost out of place here. Grint is not required to stretch, which is just as well. Watson seems bored by the whole thing, and has grown far too beautiful for Hermione. Just as well she has different careers opening on all sides. The British Character Actor contingent don't have to do a lot, but plainly enjoy themselves. There is one glaring casting problem, however, and that is the actor Domhnall Gleeson who a) was plainly never handsome even before he acquired scars that look as if he's been in (mild) pub fight and b) has an Irish accent that he cannot drop. How Bill acquired an Irish accent in the Weasley household is a problem that cannot be dismissed easily. Likewise, that Fred and George are much more attractive... and the twins are very good, and its a pity we don't see more of them.

Adapting this book was always going to be a problem, as it doesn't really get exciting until the middle. I was half expecting this film to end on the Gringott's raid, as this would have let us go out on a cliffhanging high point, with plenty of explosive action to come. As it is, the film opens very well, and, with the exceptions of the laughable Malfoy Manor and the silly Death Eater smoke trails, it is emotionally strong, fast and furious, and exciting. The wedding sequence isn't bad at all either, though there is no explanation as to how the Burrow has come to be rebuilt. Yates will never be a great action director, but he does occasionally achieve competence.

In fact, everything is going reasonably well until after the Ministry of Magic sequence, and we get into the camping trip. Now, said camping trip has been much criticised, but it occupies much less of the books than you think. However, it occupies the whole of the last third of the film, and it is just bor-in-g. This produces a sag in the pacing from which the movie never recovers. Nor do the torture sequences work, mainly because the movie is desperately trying to retain its 12A certificate. There is one moment that works beautifully - Dobby's "free elf" speech - but everything else is garbled and, astonishingly, in a movie that is overlong and only half a book, rushed. And Harry's grave digging, moving in the book, is just ridiculous here. What possessed them to use sand dunes? And to make the grave so shallow?

This movie could have been so much better. Three stars, with reluctance.

Oh, and one more thing, stop having that bloody snake dive at the camera lens just because you're hoping the cash in on the 3D craze, Mr Yates. Thank you.

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I can't help with Ivy League universities, even though I work at one. Working for the library just isn't the same as being a student. (And I haven't seen the movie.)

You might enjoy the movie, I think.

My friend Ted (with whom I went to grade school -- that weird prep school I attended) has a son, Tad, who attended school with the FB people. Tad has said the FB pack was an Ivy League enclave that thought they were a bit better than everyone else. Thus nobody knew them well -- or liked them particularly. I suspect Ivy League schools are like anywhere else, only with preppy manners and ingratiating presumptuousness. lol Gee, can you tell I don't like preppies?

I didn't notice any manners at all, even from what would have been, in England, the Upper Class Twits. There was only one sympathetic character - the girl who dumped Zuckerberg in the first scene. I think what hit me most of all was the self-centred intellectual arrogance of the whole lot.

"I haven't really enjoyed one of these movies since number 3"

My sentiment, exactly. Which is why I didn't go to see this one.

"Now, said camping trip has been much criticised, but it occupies much less of the books than you think."

But it is so incredibly boring that it feels as if it lasts half a book. Urgh... Sorry to hear it had a similar effect on the film.

With yours and Ina's reviews, I'm determined not to see this piece of... Warner's Worst. Perhaps if I can get the DVD on sale in a distant future.

Ina didn't go to sleep, and I didn't walk out. (I will walk out if pushed, and Ina went to sleep in such movies as The Hulk and The Matrix Reloaded, while I just wished I could.) We do often go against the trend... we both loathed Avatar, for instance, mainly because we are both people who relate more to script and plot than to the visuals. (I was also bored by 2001 and Ina has never suggested we add it to our (large) collection of movie DVDs.)

I am waiting with even more trepidation for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because that book is just a series of incidents, with no major plot arc. It is bound to come out bitty, unless they rewrite it from top to bottom and, judging by Prince Caspian which had different plot ussues which they did not manage to resolve, I have doubts that they have done so.

Matrix Reloaded was a disaster. Didn't care to watch the rest, except I'd like to see the Narnia films, though. The first was nice and had smexxy centaurs and nice combat scenes.

To me, it's a chore to even go to a cinema, so it better be a film before I care to pay to be in a room with a lot of noisy, annoying people. I'm such a lover of mankind.

Is Prince Caspian worth buying?

Well, we bought it, though after it had come down to a very cheap price.

This was my original review


You might also take a look at the comments, and the link to another fan's review.

If you adore Lewis and hate people messing with books, perhaps it is best avoided. I don't adore Lewis - who nowadays I find difficult to read - and believe that the best films of books are those that extract the essence of the original. Some films are too close to the originals - Watchmen is a case in point - while others (we have already mentioned The Dark is Rising) are changed so much they lose everything good about the original. Sometimes, as with LotR, The Dark Knight and Minority Report, some aspects of the film actually improve on the book.

Personally, I haven't seen any of the Harry Potter movies since number 4 (which was alright).

The review on the "That Guy With Glasses" website pointed out that the recent movies have all gone black and white, lol!

He does have a point! The colour palette is well... limited.

Apart from the little girl in a red coat who turns up occasionally. :P ;)


With all those Weasley redheads, you don't need read coats.

For some reason I can't see the titles of the movies. I worked out what they were in both cases though.

I made the error of not repeating the titles after the cut.

I've seen all the HP movies and never been particularly impressed. I quite like 3 but the rest are decidedly mediocre which just goes to show that with all the money Hollywood can raise, the cream of British Equity, visual designers at the top of their game and great source material you can still screw up royally by placing the script somewhere below the Best Boy in priority.

Partly, of course, these films were made too soon. With the series unfinished, there's no way of knowing which incidents and themes are going to be important - I know JKR helped a bit - and without knowing that, it's hard to make the necessary cuts and changes to the story.

That's the other problem - the wrong kind of respect for the source material. Very few books work well as films without severe changes of pacing and methods of story telling. One of the very few films that does work given a slavish following of a book is "The Maltese Falcon" which is so close that whole chunks of dialogue are lifted straight from the book. A far more typical result is the mediocre mess that is the HP franchise where pacing is rushed and the story unwieldy.

However I will still see the 7th (and 8th) films... just for those rare moments where they actually get it right!

As inamac points out, Yates is not very good at directing action. He is far happier with angst.

Re Harry Potter. Saw it yesterday and enjoyed it despite being a bit wary because I knew that this was going to be the movie of 'the endless camping trip' which badly bloated the last book. Yes the movie did sag at that point - as did the book and I would have liked to see it edited down to a ten minute sequence (in both the book and the movie). That said, I agree woth you that the three leads have actually learned to act in the intervening years - especially Radcliffe. Dobby wasn't half as annoying as in previous movies and the Malfoys were becoming nicely unrfavelled. However the short sequence with Snape's arrival at Voldemort's dinner party saw Alan Rickman steal the whole movie with hardly any dialogue.

I've seen all the HP movies so far and there isn't one I've hated. You either buy into the concept or you don't and though none of them shine as an example of their craft, they're fun. This one had the advantage of being largely Dumbledore-free. I'm afraid I never found whatshisname a suitable replacement for Richard Harris. They should have given the part to Tom Baker.

If they had cast Tom Baker as Dumbledore I would not have seen a single one of the movies - I loathe Baker, and think he is highly over-ratted as an actor. He is in the same league as Brian Blessed.

I also like Brian Blessed (in the right role). It largely depends on the casting as to whether actor fits the role or not. Tom Baker was excellent as Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra. Apart from the obvious, I haven't seen him in much else except... hmm, wasn't he the sea captain in one of the TV adaptations of Frankenstein? I'm more likely to recognise his voice on a commercial. Brian Blessed usually gets cast in those over-the-top panto type roles anyway where chewing the furniture is practically obligatory.

But I can appreciate not liking for its own sake. I just can't take to Michael Gambon. I haven't liked him in anything I've ever seen him in. Jack Nicholson has the same effect on me. I know they are both good actors, they just step on my shadow.

Baker's done a lot of radio work - he always just sounds like Tom Baker being actorly. I can change my mind, though. I did not like ST:TNG, and particularly disliked Patrick Stewart as Picard, which I now think had more to do with Picard's command style, which always reminded me of a Board Chairman appointed to slow things down. However, he was the best Claudius I've ever seen in Tennant's Hamlet (showed DT up, but that's hardly surprising) and was born to play Professor X.

Ah, Patrick Stewart!
I loved Patrick Stewart as Picard. The starchy command style and personality didn't really start to thaw until after the first few seasons, but I thought there was a lot running underneath them. I'd have liked to see what could have been done with TNG if it had been filmed when the longer story arcs became popular. There's only so much you can do when the character has to have the reset button pressed at the end of each episode. The Locutus of Borg episodes, and in particular the one where Picard takes home leave in the aftermath of that, were amongst my facvourites... and the one where he lives a whole lifetime in 20 minutes, having a wife, family, children and grandchildren etc. and then comes back to his (solitary) life as captain. I also liked him in the ST movie. Insurrection, which didn't get good press, but was my favourite.

I saw Patrick Stewart on stage at Leeds Playhouse about 9 years ago in Johnson over Jordan (not my favourite play, but he was good) and he also did a one man show called 'Shylock, Shakespeare's Alien', which was more of a presentation of different approaches to playing Shylock. Afterwards he chaired a 4-way discussion with various scholars of Jewish studies, about attitudes to Shylock (and Jews) in Shakespeare and how changing attitudes have affected the performance of Shakespeare's plays in the centuries since.

I absolutely agree about his Claudius to Tennant's Hamlet. Superb. (Actually, Tennant was superb too, and so was the acress who played Gertrude. Was it Penny Downey or something like that?)

I don't get to enough theatre these days. I should look up to see what's on loocally...

'Fraid Tennant remains "a gurner" in my estimation - it wasn't a bad performance, but didn't have even a touch of subtlety. I have yet to see a perfect Hamlet - though I have seen some well reviewed ones (Daniel Day Lewis at the National) and some dreadful ones (the 'curtain' Hamlet touring into the Vic, and a mind-bogglingly bad one at the Sheffield Crucible. Then there's the so-called "Naked" Hamlet, of which we have the video, bought on a whim and watched once...

My favourite TV/Film version remains the BBC's Hamlet at Elsinore with Christopher Plummer in the title role (and Michael Caine as a surprisingly good Horatio.) Would that it was available.

It's a long time ago, (1971) but Robert Powell's Hamlet (West Yorkshire Playhouse) struck me as passably good and Robert Lindsay (early 80s) was smashing, though it was a very different production (Manchester Royal Exchange).

I have to say that my worst experience of a 'known' actor in a Shakespeare play was Robert Ryan in Othello (1969, Nottingham Playhouse). We went from school because Othello was one of our ALevel English plays that year, and in short order we were all rooting for Iago (John Neville) because Othello was such a dud. It was the Texan accent that really did it!

I have to say that my worst experience of a 'known' actor in a Shakespeare play was Robert Ryan in Othello (1969, Nottingham Playhouse). We went from school because Othello was one of our ALevel English plays that year, and in short order we were all rooting for Iago (John Neville) because Othello was such a dud. It was the Texan accent that really did it!

Oh, lord, stunt casting! I hate stunt casting.

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