Friday, June 18, 2004

THE NOTEBOOK




Romantic comedy

PRINCIPAL CAST MEMBERS
Rachel McAdams: Allie, rich refined city girl
Ryan Gosling: Noah, poor country boy
James Garner: Duke, resident in a home for seniors
Gena Rowlands: another resident who suffers from senile dementia
Joan Allen: Anne, Allie’s domineering class-obsessed mother
James Marsden: Air Force Captain and handsome suitor for Allie chosen by her mother

REVIEW
There are few if any romantic clich├ęs not included in this movie but what makes it different is the warm relationship between the elderly couple, showing that love is not only for the young.

CLASSIFICATION
for some sexuality.

FOR NITPICKERS ONLY
When Noah and Allie lay down in the middle of the street they are near the solid center line. When we see them with the traffic light in the foreground they have switched to the right lane but switch back to the center when the scene changes to ground level.

The movie Lil Abner was released in 1959 not in 1940.

After writing Allie for a year (starting in late summer) Noah’s thoughts turn to the war when Japan attacks Hawaii. That event took place in December, 12 months later not 16.

The movie takes place in South Carolina during the summer yet in several scenes we see the actors breath indicating the actual temperature was much colder than that.

Although it takes place in the south, other than the mother, no one speaks with a southern accent.

Allie’s hair style frequently changes between camera shots.

Friday, June 11, 2004

SPIDER-MAN 2




Comic book super hero

PRINCIPAL CAST MEMBERS
Tobey Maguire: Peter Parker, delivery boy, college student, photographer for the Daily Bugle newspaper and Spiderman
Kirsten Dunst: Mary Jane Watson, actress (aka MJ)
Alfred Molina: Dr. Otto Octavius, brillant scientist (aka Doc Ock)
James Franco: Harry Osborne, Peter’s best friend and Doc Ock’s employer
Rosemary Harris: Peter’s Aunt May
J.K. Simmons: J. Jonah Jameson, the publisher of the Daily Bugle

REVIEW
A fine sequel with more to it than the original including lots of action (more mayhem in one day than most towns have in 10 years) taken in stride by our superhero along with dealing with a developing romance. The special effects are great although a bit overdone (obvious computer generated images sometimes when Spiderman is flying through Manhattan) but others that are so clever it’s impossible to tell what’s real and what’s not.

Some great acting by several people (Peter’s aunt, Doc Ock and the newspaper publisher). A fun movie you can’t take seriously for a minute; but that’s the whole idea.

CLASSIFICATION
for stylized action violence.

FOR NITPICKERS ONLY
When the boss of the pizza parlour is talking to Peter, the clock behind him on some scenes reverts back to a earlier time.

Peter has a horseshoe shaped scar on his right cheek. In one shot we see it’s on the left cheek instead.

When the receptionist first sees Peter enter the office with the pizzas it is 2:07 but when she points out the fact he’s late the time is now 2:03.

Monday, June 7, 2004

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER




Fantasy

BACKGROUND
This is the third book in the series written by author J.K. Rowling

PRINCIPAL CAST MEMBERS
Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter
Rupert Grint: Ron Weasley, Harry’s best friend
Emma Watson: Hermione Granger, another good friend of Harry’s
Michael Gambon: Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
David Thewlis: Professor Lupin, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher
Robbie Coltrane: Professor Hagrid, the gentle giant
Emma Thompson: Professor Trelawney, Divination instructor and bit of a nut case
Alan Rickman: Professor Severus Snape, who is somewhat strange
Maggie Smith: Professor Minerva McGonagall with her witch’s hat
Gary Oldman: Sirius Black, the only person who has ever escaped from Azkaban Prison

REVIEW
If you are a dedicated fan of Harry Potter et al this movie must be wonderful. It’s very long, has a vast range of creatures (shrunken talking heads, nasty dementors, scary werewolves etc) and a story line that is so confusing it takes some real sorting out to figure out what’s going on.

On the other hand if you are a casual movie viewer who is somewhat older than the target audience the movie can be one of drudgery: the story is not that compelling that it takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to be told. And the layers of intrigue serve only to “muddy the waters”. For example Sirus Black who escaped from prison was at one time the best friend of Harry’s father and in fact is Harry’s godfather but apparently involved in the murder of Harry’s parents and now for some reason wants to kill Harry. But that’s what the fantasy world is all about so you better be prepared for it.

CLASSIFICATION
for frightening moments, creature violence and mild language.

FOR NITPICKERS ONLY
When Harry approaches Buckbeak the hippogriff (half-horse/half-eagle creature) one end of his tie is much longer than the other; while riding Buckbeak the ends are the same length.

When Buckbeak lands with Harry on his back their shadow is at right angles to the sun and only gets aligned with the other shadows after Buckbeak takes a couple of steps.

When Buckbeak gallops it sounds like a horse with four hooves; but with its two forelegs having claws not hooves it wouldn’t sound like that.

While Hagrid is skipping stones across the lake, there is a distinct long, low level cloud on the horizon. The final shot in this sequence is a wide angle view and the cloud has disappeared.

When a stone is thrown through Hagrid’s window it knocks off the front part of a jar and the seeds spill out; later when Harry and Hermione see the same scene replayed through the Time Turner the stone shatters the jar completely.

When Hermione punchs Malfoy it’s a real dandy starting by first spinning around then landing a solid shot to his face; viewing it again later through the Time Turner she smacks him straight away without any spin.