Day 241: Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (2002)

Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets_movieI was so impressed with the first film in the Harry Potter franchise that I watched yesterday that I decided to watch another. That is right, I chose Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets for today’s film. Everyone’s favorite young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is back at home with his dreadful Aunt and Uncle once again, but a house elf named Dobby (Toby Jones) tries to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts Academy. Despite what Dobby said, Harry returns back to Hogwarts only to find that students are being petrified by something. Harry discovers that there is a place in the school called the Chamber of Secrets that was created by the founder Slytherin. Harry finds out that the chamber houses a monster who will kill mudbloods (impure wizards) and that it will be opened by the heir of Slytherin, but who is it? The film also stars Rupert Grint (CBGB) as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson (The Colony) as Hermione Granger, Tom Felton (Risen) as Draco Malfoy, Jason Isaacs (The Tuxedo) as Lucius Malfoy, Robbie Coltrane (From Hell) as Hagrid, Kenneth Branagh (Henry V) as Professor Lockhart, Alan Rickman (Galaxy Quest) as Professor Snape, Richard Harris (Gladiator) as Professor Dumbledore, Maggie Smith (Gosford Park) as Professor McGonagall, Shirley Henderson (Trainspotting) as Moaning Myrtle, Christian Coulson (The Hours) as Tom Marvolo Riddle, Bonnie Wright (The Sea) as Ginny Weasley, and the film was directed by Chris Columbus (The Goonies).

Harry-Potter-and-the-chamber-of-secrets-still2When you do a sequel to a film or when you do a sequel to a film that you know is a part of a bigger picture your only hope is that it’s better than the first film. That was definitely the case with Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets which I enjoyed more than the last before it. The thing that I enjoyed the most about this film is that they added a little bit of suspense to the film where you’re trying to figure out who the heir is. You’re trying to figure out who the monster is and who will he attack? That is honestly what I really loved about this film since I love thrillers. The special effects for this film were turned up a notch for this film and who doesn’t love Dobby? Dobby was honestly the comedic relief the film needed and I am glad that he was a part of the story. He has so many funny moments in the film with Harry and there is one scene that you will absolutely love. The sets were amazing as usual, but my favorite is when he entered the chamber of secrets. There is this one room where he meets the giant monster and the cool looking set which you can see in the picture in this paragraph. There is so much classic cinematography and lighting tricks in this film that are absolutely cool. One scene I noticed was the scene with Dracoy’s father Lucius who when the camera was on him, only his eyes were lit like a true villain while Harry’s who face was illuminated as e was the hero. I had a lot of fun watching this one which is why I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 240: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

hqdefault (1)I know what you are thinking and I have to be perfectly honest with all of you in saying that I have never seen any of the films in the Harry Potter series. I figured what better time than now to see one and therefore I watched Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone for today’s film. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has always been somewhat gifted of a child, but he doesn’t understand why. He lives a life of neglect with his awful Aunt and Uncle until a wizard from the Hogwarth’s Academy named Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) comes calling for him. It is there that Harry will understand his abilities and live out his full potential. Although while all of this is happening, he stumbles upon an evil scheme to kidnap a stone that could bring back an evil being. The film also stars Maggie Smith (Gosford Park) as Professor McGonagall, Richard Harris (Gladiator) as Professor Dumbledore, Ian Hart (Finding Neverland) as Professor Quirrell, Warwick Davis (Leprechaun) as Goblin Bank Teller, Rupert Grint (CBGB) as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson (The Colony) as Hermione Granger, Tom Felton (Risen) as Draco Malfoy, Alan Rickman (Galaxy Quest) as Professor Snape, Matthew Lewis (Me Before You) as Neville Longbottom, John Cleese (Monty Python and the Holy Grail) as Nearly Headless Nick, and the film was directed by Chris Columbus (The Goonies).

fhd001HPO_Emma_Watson_001I do have to say that after watching this film, I am super excited to continue on and see the rest of the films. The idea and topic of wizards and witches may be corny to some, but this was actually a well written story that I believe that anyone with an imagination can get into. The elements of the film that make these amazing and very interesting is what you don’t see watching the film. It’s seeing the camera work and the different perspectives and how they messed with depth perception to make Hagrid look like a giant compared to other characters just by messing with the angles. The other cool element of the film is of course the special effects and all of the things they made come to life. One of my favorite scenes in the film is with the owls who are basically the postal service. Harry’s evil Uncle has been keeping him from seeing any of the letters and the amount of Owls that show up and what they do was super cool. Not to mention, fluffy the three headed dog and the little dragon were cool as well. The other scene that I loved was the big chess match that happens at the end of the film, a very cool scene indeed. A very well acted film, a well written story, and some amazing cinematography made this a very enjoyable film to watch. I will definitely be checking out some more films in the series for sure. I am going to give this one an A- for a final grade.

Day 135: Robin Hood (2010)

hqdefaultI am about to go on a Oscar Isaac binge and for good reason I might add. He is an incredible actor who is slowly becoming one of my favs after roles as Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Nathan in Ex Machina, Blue in Sucker Punch, and he is about to be Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse. In today’s film, Robin Hood, he plays King John in this origin story about Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe). King Richard (Danny Huston) was killed in battle and it’s up to his most trusted friend to return the crown. The only problem is that he is killed in an ambush and Robin agrees to bring his sword back to his father. Once Robin returns the sword to Sir Walter Loxley (Max Von Sydow), he is asked to pretend to be his son while England boils away in turmoil due to a traitor to the crown. The film also stars stars Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Godfrey, Cate Blanchett (The Monuments Men) as Marion Loxley, William Hurt (The Incredible Hulk) as William Marshal, Mark Addy (The Full Monty) as Friar Tuck, Matthew Macfadyen (Frost/Nixon) as Sheriff Of Nottingham, Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Little John, Scott Grimes (American Dad!) as Will Scarlet, Alan Doyle (State Of Play) as Allan A’Dayle, and the film was directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator).

MV5BMTM1MjE4Mjk5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDE1MTgzMw@@._V1_SY747_SX1024_AL_You should know going into a film like this that you can guarantee that it’s going to be well made when it’s Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe. A team that looked to repeat the success of Gladiator some ten years or so before it. As I said above, this is the origin story so it’s pre-steal from the rich and give to the poor Robin Hood. It explains how he became who he would eventually become in the story we loved as children. One of my favorite things about period pieces like this (because it is after all) are the sets, costumes, and the cinematography. You know that the costumes are going be done very well leading you to believe that you are in the 14th century or whenever this takes place. The sets are going to be showing you a time you were like where are the streets, Chipotle, and the shopping malls? Oh yeah because this takes place in the medieval times so those didn’t exist yet and not for a heck of a long time. The cinematography was absolutely amazing showing you the lush green of England and some of the shots of the ocean when the French are coming. Oh yeah, then there’s that thing called acting and it’s pretty phenomenal in this film especially Oscar Isaac as the mad and immature King John. The film may not be as amazing as Gladiator, but it’s hard to repeat the exact magic of a film and so there is no point in fretting over it and just watch the film. I am going to give Robin Hood, an A for a final grade.

Day 91: Mystic River (2003)

Mystic-RiverOut of all the films that have been filmed in and round the city of Boston, Mystic River was one of those films that I had never seen before. I figured what better place then here and what better time than now to review the film with an amazing cast and director. Mystic River stars Sean Penn (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) as Jimmy Markum, Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) as Dave Boyle, and Kevin Bacon (Footloose) as Sean Devine, three childhood friends who drifted apart after a tragic event in their childhood. Unfortunately, all three men will be reunited after it’s discovered that Jimmy’s daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) was brutally murdered. The film also stars Laurence Fishburne (Boyz N The Hood) as Det. Whitey Powers, Marcia Gay Harden (The Mist) as Celeste Boyle, Laura Linney (The Exorcism Of Emily Rose) as Annabeth Markum, Kevin Chapman (Blow) as Val Savage, Tom Guiry (The Sandlot) as Brendan Harris, Spencer Treat Clark (Gladiator) as Silent Ray Harris, Robert Wahlberg (The Departed) as Kevin Savage, Jenny O’Hara (The King Of Queens) as Esther Harris, Adam Nelson (The Abyss) as Nick Savage, Ari Graynor (For A Good Time, Call…) as Eve Pigeon, and the film was directed by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby).

mr2This was an amazing film from Clint Eastwood, who seems to have never directed a bad one in his career. This is one of those films that will leave you speechless when you find out who the killer is because it’s one of those I should have seen that coming. The whole time, you are ready to throw one of the characters up sh** creek because you think for sure that he/she is guilty and then they throw a curve ball at you. That is truly what I love about movies like this, I don’t want it to be predictable. I want to think that I have the person and then be shocked when it’s revealed. As far as the acting is concerned, you have Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Tim Robbins all in one film. That alone should speak for itself as far as quality is concerned and then you throw in Laurence Fishburne and that is the cherry on top. If I had o pick an MVP of the film, It would be a toss up between Penn and Robbins, but there is one performance no one talks about. I think Marcia Gay Harden does a great job playing the wife who is all torn up inside as to what she should do regarding what she thinks she knows. That was a powerful performance as well from her in the film. The cinematography is in the film is great as it comes complete with some great shots of the city of Boston. It was a great movie overall and you can’t go wrong by picking this one up. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade. It was definitely a great film to close the month of March.

Day 59: Cinderella Man (2005)

Cinderella-Man-600x333I am a sucker for sports movies if you couldn’t tell from yesterdays post, but I am also a sucker for true stories. In early to mid-2000’s, Russell Crowe (Gladiator) was the hottest thing going in Hollywood and in 2005 he  would starred in Cinderella Man. Cinderella Man tells the story of the original underdog in boxing in former world heavyweight champion James J. Braddock. In the 1930’s, things were bad in America as the country was still in a depression. For James J. Braddock and his family, things were just as bad. His boxing career was going nowhere and he could barely afford to feed his family. That is until his manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) gets Braddock a second chance at redemption. All he has to do is beat a couple of guys and he gets the shot of a lifetime against heavyweight champ Max Baer (Craig Bierko). The film also stars Renée Zellweger (Empire Records) as Mae Braddock, Paddy Considine (The World’s End) as Mike Wilson, Bruce McGill (Law Abiding Citizen) as Jimmy Johnston, Matthew G. Taylor (Pacific Rim) as Primo Carnera, Rance Howard (Chinatown) as Announcer Al Fazin, Troy Amos-Ross (Resurrecting The Champ) as John Henry Lewis, and the film was directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13).

cinderella_manBesides being a fan of sports movies and/or true stories, I am also a huge fan of Boxing films and this is up there with a lot of them. Boxing has always been one of those sports where an underdog can surprise people (and inspire) and be champion. Cinderella Man is definitely that underdog story and Russell Crowe’s performance in the film is amazing. Of course, he’s not the only one who did an amazing job as Zellweger and Giamatti deserve some kudos as well. The writers did an amazing job making sure you saw how desperate the times were back in the early 1930’s and how resourceful people had to be back then.We haven’t seen a depression like that since then and I hope that we never get to ever. The action in the ring is amazing and a strong point as you see every punch and every bit of blood that is splattered. I love some of the camera shots where it looks as if you are the boxer entering the ring and sometimes it looks as if you are taking the punches and getting dazed. The costume department and hair/makeup deserve some kudos as well making us feel like we are being transported to those times. I love the look and feel of the prohibition/great depression era s far as hairstyles and clothing are concerned. Ron Howard is a true master of cinema and he has proven it to us over the years with the plethora of work. There are so many great boxing films out there, but try this one. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.