Tim Burton Weekend – Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Kevin Yagher, Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay) Washington Irving (Story)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Griffiths, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee

 

Plot: Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.


Tagline – Who will it come for next?!

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Fantasy Horror

 

Story: Sleepy Hollow starts in 1799 when forward thinking constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) is set from New York City to the small farming community of Sleepy Hollow, where a series of murders have been happening by a headless horseman, who takes the heads of his victims.

Requested by Baltus Van Tassel (Gambon), Ichabod gets to use his forward-thinking ideas to investigate the crimes and learn about the town’s people with their strong male hierocracy that controls business, until he teams up with Baltus daughter Katrina (Ricci) to unlock the truth about the legend of the headless horseman.

 

Thoughts on Sleepy Hollow

 

Characters – Ichabod Crane is a constable who wants to start using the science to solve crimes instead of the torture techniques being adopted for the time. He becomes the fish out of water in the farming community trying to solve a crime that is surrounded by supernatural, he must use his skills to solve who is behind the supernatural events, using his quirky ways. Katrina is the daughter of the Van Tassel’s who is looking for husband, she takes a liking towards Ichabod and helps learn the truth. Hessian Horseman is the legend that slaughtered many before being defeated and beheaded, now he has risen from the dead to take the heads of the community. Lady Van Tassel is the wife of Baltus, she has a secret from him and for the most part enjoys the new life she is living. Baltus is the man that called for Ichabod to help solve the murders, he is one of the few that will stand up for Ichabod to get the truth. We do get plenty of different town’s people to meet that fill the gaps to help us understand the hierarchy of the community.

PerformancesJohnny Depp was truly making his name at time of this release and we knew he was capable of the quirky, this shows him balance the act perfectly in one of his more underrated roles. Christina Ricci is good, though she doesn’t seem to need to do more than be the damsel in distress. Miranda Richardson does a good job n her role showing her experience of how to handle the period piece films. Christopher Walken does give us a delightful dark character though I do know he doesn’t do a lot of the headless scenes in the film. if you look at the rest of the cast we have some of the great British actors mixed with Casper Van Dien who at the time was hot property after Starship Troopers.

StoryThe story is based on the legend of the headless horseman, which in its own right is an interesting fantasy horror. We keep to the time where science was first trying to get pushed in the crime world and still looked down upon, we also get the idea that science is meant to solve crime until the supernatural is thrown into the mix throwing everything out the window. The story does give us a serial killer to try and see stopped which can keep the detectives in the audience happy and the pace things unfold give us enough time for the twists to have effect in the story.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy side of the film comes from the horseman coming back from the dead to take the heads of the community. This does play into the horror elements of the film too because we see how the community become scared of whether they will be next, this does also give us the blood and the creepy atmosphere before his arrival. The mystery gives us the questions about who is behind the horseman and his return, this does give us twists along the way too.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to the best levels as we get to see the excellent built sets to make us feel like we are in 1799 farming community.

Special EffectsThe effects use mostly excellent practical effects with the lost heads, the CGI moments do work well too when used mostly with the re-creation of the horseman from the skeleton to human again.


Scene of the Movie –
Horseman vs Ichabod & Brom, excellent fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The science does get forgotten in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy horror that gives us an iconic killer with a crime to solve around why he has targeted the farming community.

 

Overall: Fun horror with Burton’s token quirks.

Rating

 

 

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Bill Nighy, Richard Griffiths, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, John Hurt, David Thewlis, Domhnall Gleeson

 

Plot: As Harry races against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, he uncovers the existence of three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Harry Potter and the Fellowship of the Wands

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One starts by showing the wizard council preparing for anything making the people away they are still going to be safe. To be sure Hermione (Watson) erases her memory from here mortal parents. We see Lord Voldemort (Fiennes) and his followers planning to find and kill Harry Potter (Radcliffe). To help protect Harry the defence arranges for a select through the turn into a Harry Potter to confuse the dark lord, with the real Harry heading off with Hagrid (Coltrane). Upon their escape the order is attacked having causalities including a very trusty friend of Harry’s.

Even through the dark times we have a wedding for the Weasley brother and at this wedding Harry learns more about his old friend Dumbledore. Darkness falls on the wedding leaving Harry, Ron (Grint) and Hermione escaping to London. Each step leading to a new danger the three friends most choose their steps wisely. Harry must go back into his past to find the answers to the questions which will help him defeat Voldemort.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One enters into the world that we have been into for years now. We go to the darkest levels we have had since the series started and we take away the school element of the film. Even though this film relies on yet more building and focuses on the friendship a lot more that we have had in previous years. On the negatives we do lack the amount of villain activity as we only see an opening scheming and a few attacks my goons. It might be part spoiler here but it was good to finally see the villains have the opener hand at the end of the film. This is good build and does take the film into a different direction than we have been going with the adventure the three go on. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter with everyone after him Harry has to watch his own friends sacrifice and risk their own lives so he can complete his mission and stop Lord Voldemort. Daniel gives a good performance showing the power that is needed in the character. (9/10)

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Emma Watson: Hermione long-time friend of Harry’s who joins in the quest even if it strains the relationship with Ron. Emma does a good job and finally gets a bigger role and shines in it. (8/10)

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Rupert Grint: Ron worried about all his loved ones he questions his place in the quest leaving the other two alone but he does make his return when it is most needed. Rupert gives a good performance and shows a much serious side to his character. (8/10)

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Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One has a large supporting cast but in the end they don’t come along or get involved as much as previous times.

 

Director Review: David Yates – David does a good job showing the good guys preparing for a final battle with the dark lord. (8/10)

 

Adventure: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One shows a good sense of adventure throughout for our heroes. (9/10)

Family: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One this would be harder to suggest watching with younger family members but can be enjoyed by the old children. (9/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One keeps its elements of fantasy high level which works for the whole story. (9/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One keeps us guessing on who is the ones they can trust and who they can’t. (9/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One uses new settings by not including Hogwarts also doesn’t seem missed. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One fails to use the extra special effects which works because the ones being used work well. (9/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One would be one to watch as long as you have seen the rest, this may not be one that can be picked up without seeing the rest. (Series Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The adventure between the friends comes off well.

Worst Part: Not enough of what the villains are up too.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 7 – 8 of the series

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Box Office: $960 Million

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Tagline: The Hunts Begins

 

Overall: Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings

Rating 80

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Michael Goldenberg (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Harry Melling, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Imelda Staunton

 

Plot: With their warning about Lord Voldemort’s return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Battle Is Coming

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix starts by Harry (Radcliffe) getting bullied by his cousin before getting attack by two getting attacked by two dementors. Fighting them off leads Harry to get expelled from Hogwarts while he is still dealing with the nightmares of what happened with Cedric. Harry does get rescued from his human home by Moody (Gleeson) and taken to meet up with his friends, where he learns of the Order of the Phoenix who come together to protect against Voldemort. Harry has to go to a hearing to decide whether he can return to Hogwarts. Harry does get its expulsion over turned he returns to Hogwarts with a war approaching.

Harry has to deal with the other students who question what really happened with Cedric but his friends Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) stay loyal to him. The teachers who have joined (yes more teacher changes) are selected by the Witches Council who are out to show Harry as a liar and expose Dumbledore (Gambon). The new dark arts professor Dolores Umbridge (Staunton) is out to change the school and stopping the wizards from learning to fight back against any evil that comes their way. Harry ends up trying to teach his classmates to defend themselves much against the new rules put in place at the school. With the school divided Harry learns who he can trust and who he will have to battle against.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, continues on from the last one with the consequences having an effect on the world we have got to know. We show the sides starting to be drawn up in the battle along with the personal battle between good and evil going on inside Harry. This once again returns to the building up to the bigger battle showing each side preparing and even though we have a battle in the end it is just a test to see how each side is doing with the battles. It is a solid builder to the next chapter but it would be nice to see the bad guys get the final word for once much like Star Wars did. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter after surviving his first encounter with Voldemort he has to help the students get ready for a battle against the dark lord but he has to do this in secret while learning about the dangers that may lie ahead. Daniel continues to improve in the role that is showing a higher level of maturity in his performance. (9/10)

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Emma Watson: Hermione while she helps Harry find the motivation to stand up for what he believes in she also learns more about her own powers. Emma gives a good supporting performance that seems to be getting small as each film unfolds. (7/10)

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Rupert Grint: Ron as the trusty friend of Harry he helps Harry stand up to the other students who doubt him. Much like Emma, Ron’s performance was good for a supporting role which is getting smaller. (7/10)

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Imelda Staunton: Dolores Umbridge part of the Wizard’s Council who becomes the head teacher at Hogwarts and tries to change everything that the students learn. Imelda gives a good performance as the very unlikable teacher. (9/10)

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Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix introduces yet more character that all end up helping the next chapter of the story unfold, this does have side effects because the regular characters seem to be getting less screen time.

 

Director Review: David Yates – David does a good job directing what is the build-up to what will be a bigger battle in the future. (8/10)

 

Adventure: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix continues the adventure side to the story that we have all got to know. (9/10)

Family: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is starting to sway towards the older family and losing the appeal to the younger children. (8/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix keeps us in the world on fantasy throughout. (9/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix offers up a solid level of mystery as we are not sure who is on what side. (8/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix uses the best settings it can making everything feel very authentic throughout. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix uses good special effects but sadly you can see how much CGI has gone into them. (7/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix should be watched by the fans of the series but by now it will be too late to pick up in the middle. (Watch After The Rest)

 

Best Part: Magic training.

Worst Part: CGI lets it down again.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 5 – 8 of the series

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 2 BAFTAs

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $940 Million

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

Tagline:  The Rebellion Begins

 

Overall: Battles Lines Drawn

Rating 90

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

logoDirector: Alfonso Cuaron

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Richard Griffiths, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Tom Felton, Emma Thompson

 

Plot: It’s Harry’s third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new “Defense Against the Dark Arts” teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards’ Prison and is coming after Harry.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Getting Darker

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban starts by showing Harry (Radcliffe) back at his neglectful Uncle and Aunt’s house where Harry finally snaps and walks out. Getting on the night bus Harry looks for help from some friends. Along his way he learns about Sirius Black (Oldman) having escaped from Azkaban prison. Before returning to Hogwarts Harry gets warned about the danger looking for Sirius could put him in. Harry, Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) journey get interrupted by a mysterious visitor searching for Sirius. With the third year changing for the student as it does for staffing with the third teacher in the defence of the dark arts. We have the same issues between the students with Draco (Felton) not liking Harry.

While Harry tries to put together the mystery of what happened on the train, he continues to learn more about his parents. Sirius continues to elude his captures and makes his way into Hogwarts leaving everyone on high alert. Harry learns more about Sirius Black and how he was connected with his parent’s murder. As always in the series not everything is as it seems but one thing remains clear that Harry Potter will learn more about the person who killed his parents.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban continues to fill in the blanks about Harry Potter’s parents without completely giving away everything. As a person who has never shown much interest in the Harry Potter films this one was always the one that tempted me in the past. I liked the look of the darker side to the story and I really wasn’t let-down. I feel that by taking the story to a darker level helps show where the story will be going. On the negative side I found this one kind of just ended like a large chunk went missing. This does take the series in a different direction and continues to leave things open for next time. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter our young wizard in his third year at Hogwarts now where he learns more about his parent’s death when Sirius Black breaks out of prison. Daniel gives a good performance as the growing up wizard showing more emotion than previously. (8/10)

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Emma Watson: Hermione our heroine of the three friends who has become much more involved this time around. Emma gives a good performance and with a larger involvement we see more of her in the main story. (8/10)

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Rupert Grint: Ron the clumsy friend who keeps finding himself caught out in the wrong place. Rupert gives a good performance but his clumsy antics are starting to get repetitive. (7/10)

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Gary Oldman: Sirius Black the prisoner of Azkaban himself trying to find out who framed him all while hiding from the creatures searching for him. Gary gives the film its first real villain even though he turns out to be good, it is the first time we actually know who is being targeted. (9/10)

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Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has the large supporting cast as we have come to expect but sadly this time we don’t seem to get as much as we did before from many of them.

 

Director Review: Alfonso Cuaron – Alfonso does a good job directing taking the story into a new direction which will be the tone for the rest of the series. (8/10)

 

Family: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is again one for the family to enjoy even if this is slightly darker than previous outings. (8/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban continues to keep us in the fantasy world showing us more magical creatures. (10/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban offers up more mystery about the Potter family and the battle they had with Voldermort. (9/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban continues to use the brilliant settings that make every scene look real for the audience. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has been improving its effects but that is because the Quidditch is cut right down this time. (9/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a much darker film but if you have started watching them you should watch this one as it is the beginning of the change in tone. (Harry Potter Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Overall tone of the film look darker.

Worst Part: It seems to end suddenly.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 3 – 8 of series

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for two Oscars

Box Office: $797 Million

Budget: $130 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: Have you seen this wizard? Approach with extreme caution! Do not attempt to use magic against this man!

Trivia: A clause in Alfonso Cuarón’s contract forbade the director from cursing in front of the kids on set.

 

Overall: Change in Direction, But Lower Standard

Rating 80

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

logoDirector: Chris Columbus

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, Toby Jones, Jim Norton, Jason Isaacs, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Kenneth Branagh, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith

 

Plot: Harry ignores warnings not to return to Hogwarts, only to find the school plagued by a series of mysterious attacks and a strange voice haunting him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Mystery Left Open

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets starts by showing Harry (Radcliffe) back with his Uncle and Auntie who have given him an actual room but still resent having him around. While Harry gets a warning from Dobby not to go back to Hogwarts because of a plan against him. Ron (Grint) and his brothers come to Harry rescue and help him get back to Hogwarts. While Harry continually gets block be it not make the train because of it getting blocked. While the three friends have to go through the same problems as the year before, it is a mysterious voice that Harry keeps hearing that starts to make the main story.

When a visible warning appears that is trying to frame Harry including the death of the janitors cat. The Chamber of Secrets is a myth that was created by one of the founder of Hogwarts that will only be opened when his heir starts the school which will lead to all the muggle-born (human blood) wizards being killed. With more bodies turning up petrified the fingers continue to point at Harry and with more people believing it is him he finds himself trying to uncover the truth along with Ron.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while the first one focused on the introduction, this time we learn more about the history of Hogwarts. We learn more about the mystery of the world that Harry has only just started to learn about as much as we do. We do get the continuation of the character development as well as only hearing parts about the greater evil that awaits the wizards in the future. We see the bound between the three friends grow as well as the battle against the rivals grows too. This is an improvement on the first as it shows how easily things can change for our hero. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter our young wizard who ignores the warning about returning to Hogwarts and finds himself trying to defend himself from all the clues that point in his direction when strange things start happening at Hogwarts. Daniel gives a great performance as the young wizard who has to fight against an enemy who underestimates him. (9/10)

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Rupert Grint: Ron Weasley rescuer of Harry as well as loyal friend who wants to make sure Harry gets back to Hogwarts. Ron continues along his clumsy side but always is in the right place when Harry needs back up. Rupert gives a good performance who like previous film he gets the extra laughs. (8/10)

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Emma Watson: Hermione Granger smartest of the three she learns about the potion that could unlock the truth for them, but also spends time in this film out of the picture due to the goings on. Emma gives a good performance but doesn’t get much screen time. (7/10)

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Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has a massive supporting cast and as the story telling tries to keep you guessing you have to work out who are the good, the bad and the planning ones. They all help with the story and are all portrayed very well.

 

Director Review: Chris Columbus – Chris does a great job directing, moving our characters into the next chapter of their story very well. (9/10)

 

Family: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a great family film and this one will be much more interesting for the whole family. (9/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets put you in the fantasy world from the opening moments to the final moments. (10/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets does create an interesting mystery to be solved and with plenty of different suspects it will keep you guessing. (10/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets creates authentic looking sets that have created a world that we can look at and see as natural looking. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has solid effects in the most part but the Quidditch effects again come off poor. (6/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets should be watched to continue the story and even if you haven’t seen the first one you won’t have missed much in the way of story. (Watch)

 

Best Part:  The mystery created.

Worst Part: Quidditch effects

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 2 – 8 in the series

Post Credits Scene: Yes, but not important one.

 

Awards: Nominated for 3 BAFTAs

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $879 Million

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: The Chamber of Secrets has opened.

Trivia: Daniel Radcliffe was initially only offered £125,000 (approximately US $181,500) for this film. The actors’ union, Equity, stepped in and negotiated new terms which increased his salary to roughly £2,000,000 (US $3,000,000).

 

Overall: The first mystery of the saga

Rating 89