REVIEW: THE NAKED GUN 2 1/2: THE SMELL OF FEAR

CAST

Leslie Nielsen (Airplane)
Priscilla Presley (Dallas)
George Kennedy (The Dirty Dozen)
O.J. Simpson (C.I.A)
Robet Goulet (Two Guys and a Girl)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
Jacqueline Brookes (The Good Son)
Anthony James (The Teacher)
Lloyd Bochner (Drums of Africa)
Tim O’Connor(Wheels)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th – Part VIII)
Weird Al Yankovic (Halloween II)
Vitamin C (Get Over it)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (60s Batman)

maxresdefaultFrank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) is honored at the White House, where President George H. W. Bush (John Roarke) announces that he will base his recommendation for the country’s energy program on Dr. Albert Meinheimer’s (Richard Griffiths) advice at the National Press Club dinner the following week. The heads of the coal and oil (fossil fuel) and nuclear industries are apparently distressed by this fact, as Dr. Meinheimer is an advocate for renewable energy. Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley), now working for Dr. Meinheimer, is working late at his research institute, crying about Frank, when she spots a man leaving in a red van. A maintenance worker, emptying out garbage cans, discovers a clock with dynamite attached and takes it to the security guards, accidentally triggering it.
600full-the-naked-gun -from-the-files-of-police-squad!-screenshotThe next morning, Frank reacquaints himself with Jane as he interviews her about the explosion. He is shown around the institute and meets Jane’s boyfriend, Hexagon Oil executive Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet), of whom he becomes exceedingly jealous. Frank’s boss, Ed Hocken (George Kennedy), finds him and Jane at a lonely blues bar, where Frank promptly blows another chance to make up with her. Meanwhile, at a meeting of the “energy” industry leaders, Hapsburg reveals that he has kidnapped Dr. Meinheimer and found an exact double for him, Earl Hacker, who will give their recommendation to the President endorsing fossil and nuclear fuels.
600full-the-naked-gun -from-the-files-of-police-squad!-screenshot6Police Squad tracks down the driver of the van, Hector Savage, and find him connected to a sex toy shop. Once he discovers the cops are onto him, Hector holes up in a house, demanding money. Frank then takes it upon himself to drive a SWAT tank into and through the house, allowing Hector to escape and causing more damage when he loses control of the tank and crashes into the city zoo, causing all of the animals to escape. Later that evening, at a party Frank makes matters worse when he attempts to push the wheelchair-bound doctor up to the front of the room. However, in the encounter he notices that Dr. Meinheimer did not remember him upon sight. Since Jane told him he had a photographic memory, Frank confronts her with that at her home following the party. She refuses to believe him and dismisses him. Moments later, Hector enters the house trying to kill Jane, who spots and alerts Frank. After a tussle where Frank causes Hector’s body to burst by sticking a fire hose in his mouth and turning it on full blast, Frank confronts Jane again and she realizes that he was right. They then rekindle their romance.
32323232The next day Police Squad stakes out Hexagon Oil’s headquarters where Dr. Meinheimer is being held. Frank tries to go undercover into the building, but instead is discovered and tied up by Quentin’s henchmen. The rest of Police Squad is able to return after a snafu and free both Frank and Dr. Meinheimer, and head to the Press Club Dinner to try and intercept Earl. Finding their only way in locked, Frank, Ed, Nordberg (O.J. Simpson), and Dr. Meinheimer commandeer a mariachi band’s costumes and head in, stopping briefly to perform for the gathered crowd. After heading backstage, Frank encounters Earl, who attacks him. Several members of the Chicago Bears see this and begin attacking Frank, not knowing he is not attacking a defenseless man. The confusion ends when Ed and Meinheimer take out Earl so the doctor can begin his speech.
a4a636377f325d1ebc01de3d025a1045However, due to the confusion Frank does not know that Earl has been eliminated and goes into the gathering assuming Dr. Meinheimer is the fake one. After embarrassing himself for a few seconds, Ed comes in to inform the audience that Quentin is the mastermind of the whole scam. However, he has already left the room with Jane, and after a shootout on the roof of the building Quentin informs Frank that he has one more trick up his sleeve; he has rigged the building with a small nuclear device which will kill everyone in there except for him and render Dr. Meinheimer’s speech useless. As Frank gains the upper hand and is about to get the disarming code, Ed enters and throws Quentin out a window. On his way down Quentin hits an awning and is able to come to the sidewalk unscathed, but is immediately met by a lion and devoured. Frank frees Jane from being handcuffed to the bomb, and they attempt to disarm it while Ed and Nordberg go back into the ballroom to evacuate it. After several failed attempts, Frank finally manages to disarm the bomb at the last second by tripping over the power cord, unplugging it. He is commended by the President, who offers him a special post as head of the Federal Bureau of Police Squad. He declines, instead asking Jane to marry him, which she accepts. They go out to a balcony, where they accept commendations from the crowd. Frank spins around and accidentally knocks Barbara Bush (Margery Ross) off onto the edge. She manages to hold on, although in an attempt to help her, Frank pulls off her dress.
960I thought this film was hilarious! It was funny from the first shot to the last. Leslie Nielson was perfect for his role

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REVIEW: HUGO

CAST

Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Ben Kinglsey (Iron Man 3)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Ray Winston (Elfie Hopkins)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Helen McCrory (The Woman In Black 2)
Jude Law (Spy)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Men In Black 3)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Frances de la Tour (The Lady In The Van)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
Michael Pitt (Murder By Numbers)

In 1931, 12-year-old Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in Paris with his father (Jude Law), a widowed, but kind clockmaker who also works at a museum. One day his father finds a broken automaton, a mechanical man designed to write with a pen, at the museum, and he and Hugo try to repair it, his father documenting the automaton in a notebook. When his father is killed by a fire at the museum, Hugo is forced to live with his resentful, alcoholic uncle Claude (Ray Winstone), and made to learn how to maintain the clocks at the railway station of Gare Montparnasse. When Claude goes missing for several days, Hugo continues to maintain the clocks, fearing that he would be sent away as an orphan by the vindictive Station Inspector Gustave (Sacha Baron Cohen) if Claude’s absence is discovered. Hugo attempts to repair the automaton with stolen parts, believing it contains a message from his father, but the machine still requires a heart-shaped key that his father could not find.Hugo is caught when stealing from the toy store owner Georges (Ben Kingsley), who looks through his father’s notebook and threatens to destroy it. Hugo encounters Georges’ goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) who offers to help get the notebook back. Hugo learns Georges has forbidden Isabelle from going to the cinema, and introduces the medium to her as his father had done for him. As their friendship grows, he shows her the automaton, and is surprised when Isabelle inadvertently reveals she wears the key as a necklace given to her by Georges. When started, the machine draws out a scene that Hugo recognizes from his father’s description of the film A Trip to the Moon. Isabelle identifies the signature, that of a “Georges Méliès”, as her godfather. She sneaks Hugo into her home, where they find a hidden cache of more imaginative drawings of Méliès, but are caught by Georges, who banishes Hugo from his home.Hugo and Isabelle go to the Film Academy Library and find a book about the history of cinema that praises Méliès’ contributions. They meet the book’s author, René Tabard (Michael Stuhlbarg), a film expert who is surprised to hear that Méliès may still be alive, as he had disappeared after World War I along with nearly all copies of his films. Excited at the chance to meet him, René agrees to meet Isabelle and Hugo at Georges’ home to show his copy of A Trip to the Moon, hoping it will invigorate Georges. On the scheduled night, Georges’ wife Jeanne (Helen McCrory) tries to turn them away, but René compliments Jeanne as Jeanne d’Alcy, an actress in many of Méliès’ films, and she allows them to continue. As the film plays, Georges wakes up at the sight, and Jeanne finally convinces him to cherish his accomplishments rather than regret his lost dream. Georges recounts that as a stage magician, he had been fascinated by motion pictures and used the medium to create imaginative works through his Star Film Company, but was forced into bankruptcy following the War, closing his studio and selling his films to be turned into raw materials. He laments that even an automaton he made that he donated to a museum was lost. Hugo recognizes this is the same automaton he has, and races to the station to retrieve it. He is caught by Gustave, who has learned that Claude’s body was found some time ago, and threatens to take Hugo to the orphanage. Georges arrives and tells Gustave that he will now see to Hugo, adopting him as his son.Some time later, Georges is named a professor at the Film Academy, and is paid tribute through a showcase of his films recovered by René. Hugo joins in with his new family as they celebrate, while Isabelle starts to write down Hugo’s story.Martin Scorcese’s Hugo is one of the best cinematic experience, I’ve had in years.  The visual effects, cinematography, art direction, just technically superb. Finally a smart, awe-aspiring family film, which are really rare nowadays. A definite surprise coming from legendary director, Martin Scorcese, who’s known for movies with a lot of swears, violence, drugs and other adult-themed subjects.

REVIEW: BEDTIME STORIES

CAST

Adam sandler (Jack &Jill)
Keri Russell (Waitress)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Russell Brand (Get Him to The Greek)
Richard Griffiths (Harry potter)
Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Courteney Cox (Scream)
Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones)
Aisha Tyler (The Babymakers)
Allen Covert (The Weding Singer)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Nick Swardson (Bolt)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Sarah Buxton (Spread)

Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler) is a hotel handyman who was promised by his father, Marty Bronson (Jonathan Pryce), to be the manager of the family hotel. A mysophobe named Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths) agreed to keep that promise when the Bronson family sold their hotel to him—then built a new hotel instead. Thirty years later, when the story begins, Skeeter is the hotel’s handyman while management is held by Kendall (Guy Pearce). Barry’s new hotel, the Sunny Vista Nottingham Hotel, is a hit, but he’s got plans to build an even more elaborate hotel, one designed around a theme that he’s keeping secret. Skeeter’s sister and principal of Webster Elementary School, Wendy (Courteney Cox), asks Skeeter to watch her kids, Bobbi (Laura Ann Kesling) and Patrick (Jonathan Morgan Heit), while she goes out of town. Skeeter does not know his niece and nephew very well, but agrees. Helping him during the day is Wendy’s friend, Jill Hastings (Keri Russell), a teacher who works at the same school as Wendy. That night, putting Bobbi and Patrick to bed, Skeeter tells them a story, one inspired by his own life as an “underappreciated” handyman: a downtrodden squire “Sir Fixalot” rivals the pompous “Sir Buttikiss” in competition for a new job. The kids add their own details such as the king giving Sir Fixalot a chance to prove himself, a mermaid based on Jill, and a downpour of gumballs when Fixalot prevails.

The following day, while fixing Barry’s television, Skeeter learns that the new hotel’s surprise theme will be rock and roll. He shocks Barry by telling him of the Hard Rock Hotel. Barry offers Skeeter a chance to compete with Kendall for a better theme. While driving, Skeeter is suddenly greeted with a shower of gumballs caused by a crashed candy delivery truck he doesn’t see, so he concludes that the story had come true and quickly develops a plan. His next story, a Western in which he is given a horse named “Ferrari” by a Native American horse trader (Rob Schneider). The children have him save a damsel in distress and, deserving a reward kiss, gets kicked by a dwarf instead. That night, out in search of his Ferrari, he meets a man (also played by Rob Schneider), who steals his wallet. He rescues Barry’s daughter, Violet Nottingham (Teresa Palmer), from the paparazzi, and, just as he is about to kiss her, he is kicked by a dwarf. At this point, with no Ferrari to be found, he determines that only the children’s story changes come true.

The following night’s story is about a Greek gladiator, Skeeticus, who, after impressing the emperor and a stadium of onlookers, attracts the attention of the most beautiful maiden. After a meal in which all the girls who used to pick on him in high school were so impressed by the beautiful maiden he is with, they start randomly singing the “Hokey Pokey.” After Skeeticus saves a man’s life, a rainstorm sends him and the maiden into a magical cave which has Abraham Lincoln in it. Skeeter loses his patience with the story and upsets the children, telling them that their stories have nothing to do with real life. Unable to get them to continue, the story ends. The next day, Skeeter learns Violet will not be meeting with him per the story design, but unexpectedly runs into Jill at the beach who invites him to lunch. Recognizing girls at the restaurant from his high school days, Skeeter asks Jill to pretend to be his girlfriend. The girls are plainly impressed and then inexplicably break into the “Hokey Pokey.” Walking on the beach with Jill, Skeeter casually saves the life of a man before a sudden rainstorm sends them under the dock. Skeeter realizes that the girl in the stories is Jill, not Violet, and that he is falling in love with her. As they are about to kiss, Skeeter remembers that Abe Lincoln is supposed to appear and moves away. Instead, an American penny (with Lincoln’s face on it) falls from through the cracks of the dock, completing the story.

For Skeeter and the kids’ final night together, a space-themed story begins with Skeeter’s character who battles Kendall’s character in anti-gravity. Skeeter’s character, who speaks in alien gibberish, wins and Skeeter quickly ends the story. Patrick interjects that the story is too predictable and—remembering Skeeter’s argument against whimsically happy endings—pointless. Instead, Skeeter’s character is incinerated by a fireball and there ends the story.

Panicking, Skeeter sees/hears signs of fire everywhere. At Barry’s luau-themed birthday party, while dodging many fiery hazards, Skeeter’s tongue is stung by a bee, making him as hard to understand as his character was in the last of the stories. Luckily, Skeeter’s best friend, Mickey (Russell Brand), can still understand him and offers to translate for him. Kendall’s idea is for a hotel with a theme celebrating Broadway musicals—an idea that impresses no one. Barry much prefers Skeeter’s approach—simply reminding them of how much fun children have when staying at a classy hotel. After winning the competition, Skeeter thinks he’s found his happy ending. Instead, Kendall reveals to Skeeter that the new hotel is replacing Jill, Patrick and Bobbi’s school, which is to be demolished the next day. Stunned at that, Skeeter then panics when he sees Barry’s oversized birthday cake. Skeeter douses the candle and Barry with a fire extinguisher. Barry immediately tells Skeeter that he’s fired.

Afterwards, Jill, Patrick, and Bobbi discover that the school where they all work and attend is to be knocked down to make way for the new hotel, and they are all upset with Skeeter, refusing to believe that he didn’t know about the location. Wendy believes him, but is upset because he taught her children not to believe in happy endings. She confesses that she had always been jealous of his and their father’s ability to believe in made up stories and have fun the way she never did and had secretly hoped that, by leaving her children with him, his fun loving nature would rub off on them. When they attend the demolition to protest, Skeeter is inspired to prevent the school from being demolished—Donna Hynde (Aisha Tyler), one of the girls from his high school days, is a zoning commissioner, and helps find Barry Nottingham an alternative location on the beach in Santa Monica. Skeeter takes Jill on a wild motorcycle ride (during which Skeeter steals back his wallet from the thief (Rob Schneider) who stole it) which ends at the school and manages to stop the countdown of the demolition. As a reward, Skeeter asks Jill for a kiss and she gladly complies.

Sometime later, Skeeter opens Marty’s Motel (named after his late father) while Kendall and his scheming partner, Aspen (Lucy Lawless), are demoted to Skeeter’s motel wait staff. In the film’s conclusion, Marty Bronson narrates that Barry Nottingham overcame his fear of germs to the degree that he left the hotel business to become a school nurse at Webster Elementary School. His daughter, Violet Nottingham, became the new owner of her father’s hotel business and married Mickey, while Skeeter and Jill got married as well and live happily ever after.The idea of the film is hilarious, and Disney have managed to pull it off very well.Overall a great family sci-fi / comedy for children and adults.

REVIEW: GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES

CAST

Christopher Lambert (Highlander)
Ralph Richardson (Time Bandits)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
James Fox (Shadow Run)
Andie MacDowell (Groundhog Day)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Cheryl Campbell (The Shooting Party)
Ian Charleson (The Sun Also Rises)
Nigel Davenport (Bram Stoker’s Dracula)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
David Suchet (Poirot)

Image result for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the ApesJohn, Lord Clayton (Paul Geoffrey), the heir to the 6th Earl of Greystoke, and his pregnant wife Alice (Cheryl Campbell) are shipwrecked on the African coast. John builds a home in the trees, and Alice gives birth to a son. Alice later grows ill from malaria and dies. While John is grieving her, the tree house is visited by curious great apes, and he is killed by one of the apes. One female of the group, Kala, who is carrying her dead infant, hears the cries of the infant human in his crib. She adopts the boy and raises him as a member of the Mangani.Image result for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the ApesAt age five, the boy (Danny Potts) is still trying to fit in with his ape family. When a black panther attacks, he learns how to swim to evade it while another ape is killed.At age 12, the boy (Eric Langlois) discovers the tree-house in which he lived as a baby with his mother and father. He finds a wooden block, with pictures of both a boy and a chimpanzee painted on it. He sees himself in a mirror and recognizes the physical differences between himself and the rest of his ape family. He also discovers his father’s hunting knife and how it works. The objects fascinate the boy, and he takes them with him. One day his mother is killed by a native hunting party, and he kills one of their number in revenge.Image result for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the ApesYears later, Belgian explorer Philippe d’Arnot (Ian Holm) is traveling with a band of British adventurers along the river. He is disgusted by their boorish nature and love of ‘blood and sport’. A band of natives attack the party, killing everyone except Philippe, who is injured and conceals himself in the trees. The young man (Christopher Lambert) finds Philippe and nurses him back to health. D’Arnot discovers that the man is a natural mimic and teaches him to speak rudimentary English. D’Arnot deduces that this man is the son of the late Lord John and Lady Alice of Greystoke and calls the man “Jean” (the French version of John). Jean agrees to return to England with his benefactor and reunite with his human family.Image result for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the ApesOn arrival at Greystoke, the family’s country estate in the Lowlands of Scotland, John is welcomed by his grandfather, the 6th Earl of Greystoke (Sir Ralph Richardson), and his ward, a young American woman called Jane (played by Andie MacDowell and voiced by Glenn Close). The Earl still grieves the loss of his son and daughter-in-law years earlier but is very happy to have his grandson home. He displays eccentric behaviour and often confuses John with John’s father.John is treated as a novelty by the local social set, and some of his behaviour is seen as threatening and savage. He befriends a young mentally disabled worker on the estate and in his company relaxes into his natural ape-like behavior. Jane meanwhile teaches John more English, French, and social skills. They become very close and one evening have sex secretly.Image result for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the ApesLord Greystoke enjoys renewed vigour at the return of his grandson and, reminiscing about his childhood game of using a silver tray as a toboggan on a flight of stairs in the grand house, decides to relive the old pastime. He crashes at the foot of the stairs and slowly dies, apparently from a head injury, in the arms of his grandson. At his passing, John displays similar emotion and lack of understanding about death as he did in Africa following the death of Kala.John inherits the title Earl of Greystoke. Jane helps John through his grief, and they become engaged. He is also cheered when his mentor, Philippe, returns. One day he visits the Natural History Museum in London with Jane. During their visit, John is disturbed by the displays of stuffed animals. He discovers many live, caged apes from Africa, including his adoptive father, Kerchak. They recognise each other, and John releases Kerchak and other caged animals. They are pursued by police and museum officials. They reach a woodland park, where Kerchak is fatally shot. John, devastated, yells to the crowd, “He was my father!”Image result for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the ApesUnable to assimilate to the human society that he views as cruel, John decides to return to Africa and reunite with his ape family. Philippe and Jane escort him back to the jungle where Philippe and John first met. John returns to the world he understands. Jane does not join him, but Philippe expresses his hope that perhaps they may someday be reunited.Image result for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the ApesThe performances of the various actors are  superb. Christopher Lambert was perfectly cast as the taciturn, sad eyed Tarzan. He brings gentle steel to the role and he virtual “unknown-ness” at this point in his career was a boon. Ian Holm is likewise excellent as the explorer who finds Tarzan, Phillippe D’Arnot. Ralph Richardson quite possibly steals the show with such a tenderhearted performance as the Earl of Greystoke and fully deserved his posthumous nomination for an Oscar. One final plaudit for the film is the superb costumes and actions of the apes. Obviously if the film were remade today these whole sequences would be film with CGI brilliance, but never the less the most incredible life like suits and the brilliant mimicking of primate actions has stood the test of time fantastically well.

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 1

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
Brendan Gleeson (The Smurfs 2)
Richard Griffiths (Superman II)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Fiona Shaw (Fracture)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
David Thewlis (Kingdom of Heaven)
Julie Walters (Brooklyn)
Helen McCrory (The Woman In Black 2)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones)
Frances de la Tour (Hugo)
Bonnie Wright (Before I Sleep)
Evanna Lynch (G.B.F.)
Katie Leung (One Child)
Matthew Lewis (Happy Valley)
Scarlett Byrne (The Vampire Diaries)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Rade Serbedzija (Stigmata)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Toby Regbo (Reign)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Camelot)
Domhnall Gleeson (Dredd)

The Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, addresses the wizarding media, stating that the Ministry will remain strong even as Lord Voldemort gains strength. Harry, Ron and Hermione prepare for a journey to find and destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes, with Harry watching the Dursleys depart and Hermione wiping her parents’ memories of her.

Severus Snape arrives at Malfoy Manor to inform Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters of Harry’s impending departure from No. 4 Privet Drive. Voldemort commandeers Lucius Malfoy’s wand, as Voldemort’s own wand cannot be used to kill Harry, because the wands are “twins.”

Meanwhile, the Order of the Phoenix gather at Privet Drive and escort Harry to safety, using Polyjuice Potion to create six decoy Harrys out of everyone else. During their flight to the Weasley family home at the Burrow, all are ambushed by Death Eaters. They kill Mad-Eye Moody and Harry’s owl, Hedwig, injure George Weasley, and knock out Hagrid. This forces Harry to take over and drive his flying motorbike while fighting Voldemort. In the process, destroying some power lines that causes a blackout to the city. After arriving at the Burrow, Harry has a vision of the wand-maker Ollivander being tormented by Voldemort, who claims that Ollivander had lied to him. Ollivander claimed that the only way Voldemort could kill Harry was by using another person’s wand.

Scrimgeour arrives at the Burrow with Albus Dumbledore’s Will and distributes three items to Ron, Hermione, and Harry. Ron receives Dumbledore’s Deluminator, Hermione a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Harry the first Golden Snitch that he ever caught in a Quidditch match. Scrimgeour reveals that Harry was also bequeathed the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. The minister states, though, that the sword was not Dumbledore’s to pass on and, in any case, is missing.

Next, the Death Eaters assassinate Scrimgeour and replace him with their puppet Pius Thicknesse. Thicknesse, under the influence of the Imperius curse, begins persecuting Muggle-born witches and wizards. Then the Minister disrupts the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour, by sending a patronus charm to tell everyone what they did and attack them. Harry, Hermione, and Ron Disapparate to London and find sanctuary at No. 12 Grimmauld Place. There they discover that the “R.A.B.” from the false Horcrux locket is Regulus Arcturus Black, the younger brother of Sirius Black. Kreacher, the Black’s house-elf, tells them that Mundungus Fletcher stole the real locket. Kreacher and Dobby apprehend Fletcher, who reveals that the locket is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge. Under the disguise of Polyjuice Potion, the trio infiltrate the Ministry. In the courtroom, Umbridge is interrogating a Muggle-born witch and threatens her, which enrages Harry, who says to her “You’re lying, Dolores. And one mustn’t tell lies.” He then stuns her and Hermione successfully retrieves the locket. The trio escape from the Dementors by fleeing into the wilderness after accidentally revealing the location of No. 12 Grimmauld Place to Yaxley, a Death Eater.

Unable to destroy the Horcrux, they take turns wearing it to dilute its malignant power. Harry sees a vision of Voldemort interrogating Gregorovitch, a renowned wand-maker, who claims that a teenage boy had once stolen the legendary Elder Wand from his shop. While Ron wears the locket, he is overcome by his negative feelings and after arguing with Harry, he leaves, upsetting Hermione. Harry and Hermione decide to go to Godric’s Hollow, where they visit Harry’s parents’ graves and the house where they were killed. Next Harry and Hermoine visit Bathilda Bagshot, who they believe has the Sword of Gryffindor, which they deduce can destroy Horcruxes. They are surprised by Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, who has been possessing her corpse. Hermione accidentally breaks Harry’s wand as they escape into the Forest of Dean. Hermione is able to identify the mysterious thief seen in Harry’s vision as Gellert Grindelwald.

When evening falls, Harry sees a Patronus in the form of a doe which leads him to a frozen pond. Gryffindor’s sword lies beneath the pond’s ice. Harry breaks the ice and jumps in to reach the sword. The locket around his neck attempts to strangle him, but Ron arrives to rescue Harry. Despite the soul inside the locket attacking both of them, Ron manages to destroy it with the Sword of Gryffindor. Hermione is angry with Ron at first but then reconciles with him.

The trio then visit Xenophilius Lovegood to learn about a symbol seen several times on their journey. He tells them that the symbol represents the Deathly Hallows: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility. Lovegood betrays them to the Death Eaters in an effort to have his kidnapped daughter returned.

The trio escape into the wilderness once more, but Snatchers appear and chase them. Harry has a vision of Voldemort learning from Grindelwald that the Elder Wand lies with Dumbledore in his grave. They are then captured and taken to Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix Lestrange imprisons Harry and Ron in a cellar, in which they discover Luna, Ollivander, and Griphook the goblin. Bellatrix tortures Hermione for information on how they got the sword of Gryffindor. After Dobby apparates in the cellar to save them, and incapacitates Peter Pettigrew, a short battle ensues; Harry duels and disarms Draco Malfoy. Narcissa Malfoy’s wand is taken by Dobby who says “Dobby has no master. Dobby is a free elf. And Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends.” Dobby is killed by Bellatrix right after he helps Harry and the other captives escape. Meanwhile, Voldemort breaks into Dumbledore’s tomb and takes the Elder Wand.You know that this will end in a cliffhanger, and what a cliffhanger it is, whetting your appetite to devour Part 2 , just so to witness how the film franchise of our generation will fittingly conclude.

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

 

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
Ralph Fiennes (In Burges)
Brendan Gleeson (The Smurfs 2)
Richard Griffiths (Superman II)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Gary Oldman (Red Riding Hood)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Fiona Shaw (Jane Eyre)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
David Thewlis (Kingdom of Heaven)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
David Bradley (Game of Thrones)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones)
Julie Walters (Brooklyn)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
Bonnie Wright (Before I Sleep)
Katie Leung (One Child)
Matthew Lewis (Happy Valley)
Evanna Lynch (G.B.F.)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)

The Order of the Phoenix, a secret organisation founded by Albus Dumbledore, informs Harry Potter that the Ministry of Magic in denial of Lord Voldemort’s return. While at the Order’s headquarters, Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black, mentions that Voldemort is after an object he did not have during his previous attack.Upon arrival at Hogwarts, Harry learns that Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge has appointed a new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor: Dolores Umbridge. She and Harry immediately clash, and she punishes Harry for his “lies” by forcing him to write a message with a magic quill, scarring his hand. When Ron and Hermione notice Harry’s scars, they are outraged but he refuses to go to Dumbledore, who has distanced himself from Harry since the summer. As Umbridge’s control over the school increases, Ron and Hermione aid Harry in forming a secret group to train students in defensive spells in the Room of Requirement, calling themselves “Dumbledore’s Army”. The Slytherin students are recruited by Umbridge to expose the group. Meanwhile, Harry and Cho Chang develop romantic feelings for each other.Harry has a vision involving an attack upon Arthur Weasley, from the point of view of Arthur’s attacker. Concerned that Voldemort will exploit this connection to Harry, Dumbledore instructs Severus Snape to give Harry Occlumency lessons to defend his mind from Voldemort’s influence. The connection between Harry and Voldemort leads Harry to further isolate himself from his friends. Meanwhile, Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius’ deranged cousin, escapes from Azkaban along with nine other Death Eaters. At Hogwarts, Umbridge and her Inquisitorial Squad expose Dumbledore’s Army. Dumbledore escapes as Fudge orders his arrest. Umbridge becomes the new Headmistress. Harry’s relationship with Cho falls apart, as he believes she betrayed Dumbledore’s Army to Umbridge, unaware that Cho was under the effects of Veritaserum potion. Harry discovers through Snape’s memories why Snape hated Harry’s father James, who often ridiculed him.Harry has another vision, this one of Sirius being tortured by Voldemort. Harry, Ron and Hermione rush to Umbridge’s fireplace to alert the Order via the Floo Network, since hers is the only fireplace not being monitored, but Umbridge stops them before they can do so. As Umbridge tortures Harry, Hermione tricks Umbridge into entering the Forbidden Forest in search of Dumbledore’s “secret weapon”. She and Harry lead her to the hiding place of Hagrid’s giant half-brother, Grawp, only to be confronted by centaurs who kidnap Umbridge after she attacks and insults them. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna Lovegood, Neville and Ginny fly to the Ministry of Magic on Thestrals in an attempt to save Sirius.The six enter the Department of Mysteries where they uncover a bottled prophecy, the object Voldemort was after. However, they are ambushed by Death Eaters including Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix. Lucius reveals that Harry only saw a vision of Sirius being tortured; it was simply a ruse to lure Harry into their grasp. Harry refuses to give Lucius the prophecy, and a fight between Dumbledore’s Army and the Death Eaters ensues. The Death Eaters take everyone (except Harry) as hostages, threatening to kill them unless he surrenders the prophecy.Harry obliges just as Sirius and Remus Lupin arrive with Order members Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Mad-Eye Moody. As they attack the Death Eaters, the prophecy drop and breaks. Just as Sirius overpowers Lucius, Bellatrix kills Sirius. Voldemort appears, but Dumbledore arrives through the Floo Network moments before Voldemort can kill Harry.A duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore ensues, destroying much of the Atrium, while Bellatrix escapes. After the two prove evenly matched, Voldemort possesses Harry to have Dumbledore sacrifice Harry, but the bond Harry feels for his friends and Sirius makes it impossible for Voldemort to remain in his body. Ministry officials arrive before Voldemort disapparates; Fudge is forced to admit that Voldemort has returned and resigns as Minister in disgrace. Umbridge is removed from Hogwarts and Dumbledore returns as headmaster. Dumbledore explains he distanced himself from Harry throughout the year hoping it would lessen the risk of Voldemort using their connection. Harry comes to terms with the prophecy; “Neither can live while the other survives.”What really made the movie for me was the talent of the actors. As expected, the older cast members deliver some of the best acting England has to offer.  I was especially impressed with how much Daniel, Emma, and Rupert have improved their acting since the last movie. Another great sequel.

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
Richard Griffiths (Superman II)
Gary Oldman (Red Riding Hood)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Fiona Shaw (Jane Eyre)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)
David Thewlis (Kingdom of Heaven)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
Bonnie Wright (Before I Sleep)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
David Bradley (Game of Thrones)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Dawn French (Coraline)
Julie Christie (Don’t Look Now)
Matthew Lewis (Happy Valley)

Harry Potter, now aged 13, has been spending another dissatisfying summer at Privet Drive. When Uncle Vernon’s sister, Marge, insults Harry’s parents, he becomes angry and accidentally causes her to inflate and float away. Harry flees with his luggage, fed up with his life with the Dursleys. The Knight Bus delivers Harry to the Leaky Cauldron, where he is forgiven by Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge for using magic outside of Hogwarts. After reuniting with his best friends Ron and Hermione, Harry learns that Sirius Black, a convicted supporter of the dark wizard Voldemort, who murdered Harry’s parents, has escaped Azkaban prison, intending to kill Harry.

The trio are returning to Hogwarts for the school year on the Hogwarts Express when dementors suddenly board the train, searching for Sirius. One enters the trio’s compartment, causing Harry to pass out. New Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Lupin repels the dementor with a Patronus Charm. At Hogwarts, headmaster Albus Dumbledore announces that dementors will be guarding the school while Sirius is at large. Hogwarts groundskeeper Hagrid is announced as the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher; his first class goes awry when Draco Malfoy deliberately provokes a hippogriff, Buckbeak, who attacks him. Draco’s father Lucius Malfoy later has Buckbeak sentenced to death.

The Fat Lady’s portrait, which guards the Gryffindor quarters, is found ruined and empty. Terrified and hiding in another painting, the Fat Lady tells Dumbledore that Sirius Black has entered the castle. During a stormy Quidditch match, dementors attack Harry, causing him to fall off his broomstick, which is then destroyed by the Whomping Willow. Lupin privately teaches Harry to defend himself against dementors, using the Patronus Charm. At Hogsmeade, Harry is shocked to learn that not only had Sirius Black been his parents’ best friend and betrayed them to Voldemort, but that Sirius is also his godfather.

After Harry, Ron and Hermione witness Buckbeak’s execution, Ron’s pet rat Scabbers bites him and escapes. When Ron gives chase, a large dog appears and drags both Ron and Scabbers into a hole at the Whomping Willow’s base, which is actually an underground passage to the Shrieking Shack. The trio discovers that the dog is actually Sirius, who is an Animagus. Lupin arrives and embraces Sirius as an old friend. He admits to being a werewolf, and explains that Sirius is innocent. Sirius was falsely accused of betraying James and Lily to Voldemort, and murdering their mutual friend Peter Pettigrew. It is revealed that Scabbers is actually Pettigrew, an Animagus who committed the crime for which Sirius was convicted. After forcing him back into a human, Lupin and Sirius prepare to kill him, but Harry convinces them to turn Pettigrew over to the dementors.

As the group departs, the full moon rises; Lupin transforms into a werewolf, and Sirius transforms into his dog form to fight him off. In the chaos, Pettigrew escapes in his rat form. Sirius and Harry are attacked by dementors and Harry sees a figure in the distance save them by casting a powerful Patronus spell. He believes the mysterious figure is his dead father, and passes out. He awakens to discover that Sirius has been captured and sentenced to the Dementor’s Kiss. Acting on Dumbledore’s advice, Harry and Hermione travel back in time with Hermione’s Time Turner, and watch themselves and Ron repeat the night’s events. They save Buckbeak from execution and witness the Dementors overpower Sirius and Harry. The present Harry realises that it was actually him who conjured the Patronus, and does so again. Harry and Hermione then rescue Sirius, who escapes on Buckbeak. Lupin resigns to preempt an uproar from parents over a werewolf teaching their children. Sirius sends Harry a Firebolt broom, the fastest broom in the world, and Harry happily takes it for a ride.Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are back as Harry, Ron and Hermoine, with Hermoine in particular getting to do a lot more. There are less Quidditch matches, and more menace, in keeping with the improved complexity of Rowling’s third novel. Hogwarts is not safe, Draco Malfoy is no longer a menace, but just a pain in the ass. And the new CGI-scripted character Buckbeak the Hippogriff (half eagle, half horse) looks fantastic and has personality. Great performances from Emma Thompson hamming it up as the ditsy professor of foretelling, Prof Trelawny, Michael Gambon as the new Professor Dumbledore (not as magical but good), David Thewliss as Prof Lupin, and Gary Oldman as the Prisoner of Azkhaban.Thrilling, complex, menacing, a great follow-up.