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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,’ ‘St. Trinian’s,’ ‘No Impact Man,’ ‘Lorna’s Silence’

My plan for tonight: 1) Chinese food at Ollie’s Noodle Shop. 2) See Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (opens in the U.S. and the U.K. on July 15) at a screening scheduled to start at 8:30pm. 3) Get out of the theater by 11:15, 11:30 at the latest, hopefully, given that the film is two and a half hours long and that the movie is unlikely to actually start before 8:40, 8:45 at the earliest. 4) Long subway ride home (including one change of trains plus either longish walk home or longish wait for a bus). 5) Sit down by 1am to write and post review, if I can keep my eyes open. 6) Geek out in preparation for my second viewing on Saturday afternoon with my geek gang — already got my ticket.

Gots me a DVD screener of St. Trinian’s (already on DVD in the U.K.; opens in the U.S. on August 28), a girls-school comedy that is apparently saucy. Nice cast: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Lena Heady, and others. Oo, and David Tennant’s gonna be in the sequel, and he’s playing the villain — yum — so I need to bone up on this anyway.

No Impact Man (opens in the U.S. on September 4; no U.K. release date has been announced) is a documentary about a man who decides to reduce his impact on the environment as part of the research for his book, No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process (which you can preorder now: it releases on September 1 in the U.S. and October 1 in the U.K.). It works just fine, apparently, until his “espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife” is dragged into the green fray. Doh! Author/documentary subject Colin Beavan has a blog about the same topic — I hope the film is as interesting…

Lorna’s Silence (already on DVD in the U.K.; opens in the U.S. on July 31) is a pan-European production about Albanians in Belgium, mobsters and sham marriages for citizenship purposes. (Sounds like something Stephen Frears would come up with.) It won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes in 2008.



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  • JT

    There have been so many reviews of HP6 on RT already. I’m just wondering how some critics get to see it before others. Is it just luck?

  • jakob1978

    St Trinian’s is an average film, but the original films (with the wonderful Alistair Sim as the headmistress) are a lot better.

  • MaSch

    I’m really quite interested in what you will have to say about St Trinian’s. It was one of the best sneak previews I ever was in.

    I was in many a bad sneak preview, on the other hand …

  • Diane

    Just got back from HP6. My friend won 2 tickets from Newsday and was nice enough to take me. We saw it at the Tanger Mall in Deer Park.

    It was like all the other HP movies-they take the main points from the book, add some other stuff in that makes no sense (what they did to the Burrows for example), and in the end I was left somewhat disapointed. It was very funny though. Rupert Grint fans (like me) will be happy with his screen time.

    I’m just hoping that they will do Deathly Hollows justice with the last two movies.

  • Diane

    Sorry-the Burrow, not Burrows. It’s past my bedtime.

  • Dr Rocketscience

    Oi, every release of a Harry Potter movie seems to be occasioned by appearances from the “I Don’t Know How or Why Book-to-Film Adaptations Work” Brigade. ;-)
    But this is a new one on me: I hear lots and lots about all the stuff that gets cut or condensed, but never about “add[ing] some other stuff in that makes no sense”. I’m fairly familer with the first 5 stories, in both book and fim form. What got added, to any of them?
    (Please, no HP6 spoilers, just from movies 1 – 5).

  • Gee

    The new St. Trinian’s didn’t make much of an impact on me. The originals with Alistair Sim, and George Cole’s Flash Harry, on the other hand, were entertaining, anarchic, sometimes inspired and very much of their time, although the train robbery with Frankie Howerd was not as good as the previous ones.

    In fact, I’m now going to order the 4 Disc DVD set. :-)

  • Grinebiter

    I am bemused by the whole notion of a St. Trinian’s movie in 2009. IIRC they began as cartoons, or books, or was it books with drawings, and were then filmed with Alastair Sim as Jakob says; but “that was in another country, and beside, the zeitgeist is dead”. Back then, when I was a kid myself, the notion that uniformed schoolgirls could be anything but wholesome, demure and obedient (think Picnic at Hanging Rock, since when things had not changed very much) was outlandish, and so the St. Trinian’s gang, who created shock and awe with their hockey-sticks, were wildly transgressive and therefore hilarious. But now?

  • Diane

    I stand corrected re HP movies 1-5. However, movie 6 did have people saying “Huh?” to each other more than once.

    Maybe I’m still disapointed by movie 5. It’s my favorite book of the series and I feel the movie did it a disservice.

    Yes, people compare the books to the movies. I didn’t realize that wasn’t allowed.

  • Mathias

    So MaryAnn, how was Half-Blood Prince?

  • Dr Rocketscience

    Of course discussion is allowed. In fact, since these books and movies are so widely read/seen, they present a great learning opportunity about the craft of adaptation.
    Thing is, to members of the Brigade, the discussion always looks like this: “Scene X was missing, sub-plot Y was missing, line of dialog Z was missing. Now it sucks.” It’s seldom a discussion of the merits of what was included, or the relative value of what was excised.
    I’m always amazed at how good the adaptations of the HP movies are. The essential plot and story are always intact, chapter-long scenes are often deftly encapsulated into a few lines of dialog, the actors are given chances to act rather than simply recite from the Gospel of St. Joanne.
    It’s always important to remind everyone: if you are extremely generous, you have to figure that about every 2 pages of text will require 1 minute of screen time. (The ratio is usually stated as 1:1). Order of the Phoenix, the longest of the books (and my favorite), is over 800 pages. I think we can all agree that a 7 hour movie is right out. Splitting the books in to multiple parts is a poor solution if for no other reason than, even maintaining the current 18 month production schedule, Dan Radcliffe would be pushing 30 by the end of filming Deathly Hallows. So my question to the Brigade is always “What would you cut out?”

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