Harry Potter – Fourth Instalment – Quidditch World Cup

Evil strikes when the Quidditch World Cup begins!

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the most exhilarating adventure film. The story starts with the finals of the Quidditch World Cup, with the Irish playing against the Bulgarians.

At the end of the game there is a Death Eater attack which is the first time Harry sees them and it marks the start of something dark and dangerous which lies ahead.

Then comes another year at Hogwarts where they are holding the Triwizard Tournament – a competition between three schools: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, who compete against each other in executing three extremely dangerous tasks. There is an age limit of 17 but somehow Harry is entered into the competition and has to compete against three other advanced wizard and witches. Will Harry survive the competition?

The Triwizard Tournament is an amazing test of strength and ability in magic and of staying focused on the prize which is eternal glory and fame. 

For me the highlight of this film is the Quidditch World Cup and I am not alone it seems: all the kids around the world LOVE the idea of Quidditch as a sport and it rightly earned its place on the 50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments; it was placed at 40. That might seem low but there are so many fantastic moments in the films, that in fact, limiting it 50 was quite difficult!

The Quidditch stadium looks like an actual stadium where Arsenal would be playing Chelsea, who are two of the most amazing football teams, as are Ireland and Bulgaria in Quidditch. They do a fantastic job of relating it to our daily sport experiences, for example, the stadium itself, the fan merchandise and the enormity of the crowd. 

A crucial moment not only in the film but also in the whole series is the rebirth of Voldemort which had so much expectation from the fans who had read the book because of the shear horror of his return. The director Mike Newell did a fantastic job of living up to the fans’ expectations.

It was not only director but also the special effects technicians who did an amazing job of creating the intense fear when the naked body of a monster is transformed into a man-like monster. The use of blood and fire really enhanced that fear because they are a part of nature that we have neither been able to control nor cope with.

Cedric Diggory’s death is terrifying and reminds us of how death affects us all. His part is played by Robert Pattinson who does a wonderful job of acting dead for most of that scene, which is sad because you rarely see Robert playing an innocent character; usually he plays the heroic character in films. 

The scene where Cedric dies shows us that this is not a children’s fairy tale any more; it’s a serious adult story which builds up into a war of good against  evil. Daniel Radcliffe’s acting in the part when he thinks he is going to die is amazing, because his face conveys fear, courage and realisation all at the same time, without him even saying a word. 

This film is probably one of my favourites out of the Harry Potter films because it shows the actors at their full potential and the impressiveness of the World of Harry Potter. 

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Books – Deadly Secrets by Robert Tenison

 

What will happen to Mike Cameron when he enters into what looks like a dodgy property deal in southern Spain?

Deadly Secrets starts with Mike entering into a business deal, code-named Project Pulpo, which involves the reclassification of some rustic land in Los Cipreses, Spain. He tells his old friend and future business partner, Andy Montalvo, about the deal but Mike gives him very little information. Soon after, but before Andy was due to join Mike’s business, Mike dies in a mysterious accident.

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Andy decides to do some digging around to see if his death was really an accident or if it was murder? In the meantime, Mike’s ex-wife, Ann, has a suspicious young boyfriend who is demanding money from her to buy a bar and is asking questions about Mike’s wills. The people involved in Project Pulpo are up to some shady deals behind the scenes as well.

This book naturally appealed to me because I am a huge fan of crime and thriller novels. It was not only title and the alluring front cover but also the interesting blurb, which immediately grabbed my attention. I think these are essential but often underrated parts of a book, which are even more important for a first-time novelist, such as Robert Tenison.

I really like the author’s style of writing because he is extremely descriptive of his characters and his settings; he gives you a very clear picture of the surroundings and of what the characters are like. He uses this to his advantage by showing us the fake side of some of the characters right until almost the end of the book. Near the end you are certain that you know what all the characters are like, but then he unexpectedly flips the character over and makes the reader completely rethink everything they believed about that character. 

I think what makes Deadly Secrets such an entertaining and instructive book is the amount of depth he goes into about the subject of business deals, of how the police operate in Spain and the Spanish UDYCO and how they go about their investigations. He has thoroughly researched his topics to make the readers understand more about the subjects. 

I enjoyed the action scenes at the end and particularly how all people were killed off. It was very interesting that he chose to have the crimes covered up in an obvious way. It made it easier for the readers to see that people were really murdered, but I personally found it a little disappointing because I like a writer to really make me think about how and why the murder was committed.

Tenison kept my attention right to the very end of the book but he also made me wonder about what would happen to some of the characters later, which shows that he really made me interested in their lives and how they live.

Overall I would recommend Deadly Secrets to all who love to read about crime but also to businessmen, so they can make sure they are not being unknowingly led into something illegal!

 

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Films – A Comical Interlude … for some!

Have you ever thought about killing your boss? Then this film for you because you can laugh and say that is my boss. 

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Horrible Bosses is about three men who hate their bosses and one day one of them says, ‘Why don’t we kill each other’s boss?’

And this is exactly what they try to do, taking advice from Mr MF Jones (Jamie Fox).

What happens when they decide to snoop in each others’ bosses houses to get the information they need to create the perfect M-U-R-D-E-R?

The three men are hiliariously funny. There is Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) whose boss is Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey); he is the psycho-boss. Dr Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), who is a maneater, is the boos of  Dale Arbus (Charlie Day). Then there is Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) – his boss is Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell); he is the tool.

This is one of the few films where I have laughed all the way through. Having a horrible boss is a typical scenario for most people which makes it easy for everyone to relate to it. The Screenwriters, Micheal Markowitz and John Francis Daley, create three of the most common bosses that drive people crazy but in a film of course, it’s easy to find it hysterically funny. 

I would recommend it to adults and teenagers. It shows how in life you can either be lucky and have the nicest boss OR you can be unlucky and either have a psycho, a maneater or a tool for a boss!

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Harry Potter- Fifth Instalment

The story starts with a frenzy attack by two Dementors which led to a hearing in the Ministry of Magic. Harry finds out what the Order of the Phoenix is and what relevance it has to Voldemort.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix shows us how one evil person, for example Voldemort, can corrupt the Ministry of Magic or a government to the brink of madness.

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We are introduced to the most annoying lady in pink on the earth called Dolores Umbridge. Her name is of course a play on words because ‘to take umbrage’ means to be displeased or to be offended by the actions of others. This explains her famous saying ‘the one thing I will not stand for is disloyalty‘ in relevance towards the Minister (Cornelius Fudge).

Harry’s mental connection to Voldemort is revealed and we see how the Dark Lord, Vodlemort, invades and controls Harry’s mind. Dumbledore sends Harry to have Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape. These lessons help Harry to block the Dark Lord’s influence on his mind. 

This mental connection starts with the attack of Mr Weasley in the Ministry of Magic, which is executed by Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, however, Harry feels as though he is attacking Mr Weasley. 

Two of the most amazing scenes in the film are when Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Ginny and Neville go to the mysterious door in the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic. They go to save Sirius who has been captured by Voldemort and is in a room – or so they think. They go through the door into the room, where they are attacked by Death Eaters. This is very impressive because there are little glass balls falling all over the place.

The second amazing scene is the scene where Dumbledore and Vodemort fight; their wands do incredible things, for example Dumbledore takes all the water from the fountain in the Ministry of Magic entrance and sucks Voldemort into a ball of the water. Voldemort breathes out fire in the shape of a snake which is phenomenal because of the detail in the fire snake. 

This film is outstanding and it shows what can happen when people have the power to do whatever they wish.

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Harry Potter – The Sixth Instalment

In the film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Harry, Ron, Hermione and Dumbledore discover how to destroy Lord Voldemort!

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The story starts with a flashback to the last scene of the previous film, after the Death Eaters not only attacked the magical world of Diagon Alley but also the muggle world of London.

Harry is visited by Dumbledore who takes him to see an old friend of his. Dumbledore asks if the friend, Professor Slughorn, will come back and teach potions at Hogwarts. Slughorn agrees to come back to Hogwarts but makes some demands, which Dumbledore accepts. 

Harry goes to Ron’s to spend Christmas there with the Borrows family. Hermione is there too. When they go back to school, we see that Slughorn’s return is not only so that he can teach but also to reveal a memory that would change how they would destroy Voldemort. What is this memory?

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince you see the characters growing into mature adults; they start to date each other and we see some jealousy between some characters which is funny but sad.

The death of Dumbledore, which I shouldn’t have just told you about…  is one of the sadness scenes because of his loyalty and kindness to his friends, students and enemies.

There is a scene where many of the students are competing for a potion called Felix Felicis (Liquid Luck). It is comical because you see ladles melting and Seamus, as usual, has the cauldron explode in his face. On the extras of the DVD, you can see how the special effects team make these things happen.

The special features explained on the DVD are fantastic because they give you an insight into the way things are done and made, such as the creation of all the different products in Weasley shop which show the vast possibilities of art. 

There is a fabulous documentary on the DVD called ‘A Year In The Life Of J.K. Rowling’. It is interesting to see how she lives and what the story of her life has been so far. It mentions that they are building a theme park of the Harry Potter World and we get a sneak peak advert of what it would be like. 

In another ‘Extra’ the actors are asked to do one-minute drills of their characters’ lives in the last six years. The actor Tom Felton creates a little quiz for the actors about what they like and dislike, for example rugby or quidditch. There are also the usual additional scenes that were cut from the film, which I always enjoy. 

This film I believe has more humour in it than all the others but there are also some dark and dangerous secrets revealed. 

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Harry Potter – The Penultimate Film

The much-awaited journey begins with the fear of what is to come in the penultimate film of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.

The story starts with the fear of Harry, Hermione and Ron.

For the first time we see Hermione’s parents but unfortunately it is at a time when their memories of their daughter were being erased.

We see Fleur and Bill’s beautiful wedding which is interrupted by a death eater attack and then the dangerous times begin. Will they find the real Horcrux and the identity of R.A.B. and what is the tale of the deathly hallows? 

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The film is full of excitement, comedy, danger and uncertainty. Alan Rickman does a fantastic job of acting Snape because he has such a suspicious face that makes you question whose side is he on, but we will never know till the end.

 The Air Ambush was fantastically exciting and scary especially when there was the motorway battle. The amazingly complicated filming process of these scenes is explained in the special features available on the DVD release.

The fight with Nagini is intense and terrifying and most exciting part is when the transformation of the woman to the snake which is also explored in the special features.

The scene were Doby dies is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen and cried because he was such a good little elf.

The last scene with Voldemort was dramatic because of the breaking of the tomb of Dumbledore and the elder wand making the storm in the sky. It left us wandering what was going to happen next? 

There is new composer working on this film its Alexandre Desplat who is one of my favourite composers for film and in the special features he talks about how he starts off with an arc of the film to build his score. The score has a great eerie effect and always follows well the events in the script.

The scene in the forest where they are running from the snatchers is really fast paced and in the special features they say they are all having a race and competing against each other and who’s the fastest. Its funny how they all brag about how fast they are but I have to say that Hermione (Emma Watson) is the fastest.

There is promotional video for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter park in Disney World in Florida. I can’t wait to visit especially Honeydukes Sweet Shop. They give us a feel of what they do in their spare time together which was a round of golf were you see Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James competing against each other which is funny. 

The scene where there had to be seven Harry’s was hilarious and broke the record for the number of takes on one scene. It was interesting to see how they filmed  the scene and how Daniel had to mould into all these different characters each with their own mannerisms. It showed what a great actor Daniel is. It gave the others a chance to not only boss Daniel around but to direct him on how to play their character.

The tale of the Deathly Hallows was done in animation it was simplistic which made it expressive and powerful to watch.

Overall this film is outstanding and full of surprises in many ways. It always draws you closer to unpicking the threads that are unknown and seeing what lies beneath them.

Film Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow – Part 1

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings

Harry Potter – the final film

After so many months of anticipation, I have just seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and in 3D! Was I disappointed? Who could be? It had everything I had hoped for and more.

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There was so much information from the story to cram into my brain that I think it’s going to explode. If it did it would explode with excitement and sadness for this is the end of the road for our almost yearly joy of seeing a new adventure of Harry Potter and wondering what extravagant thing he may do next?

This story concludes the fight to defeat Voldemort by destroying the horcruxes that made Voldemort immortal. It shows Harry Potter at his strongest, with all his friends behind him: All standing together against the evil in their world.

The last battle between Voldemort and Harry Potter is as great as the Empire magazine’s preview article (published in the July 2011 issue) made it appear. This is all I will reveal of the plot because I want you all to see it without having a clue of what the next horcrux will be or what the adventure will be on the way.

There is loads more kissing in this film which completes your curiosity about who is in love with whom.

The film was beautifully directed by David Yates who really recreates the mysterious and elusive in the story. The screenwriter Steve Kloves did a fantastic job with the script, cramming as much information as he could, to help us piece together the puzzle.

There was great use of 3D throughout the film and it made you always feel you were part of the action. The film keeps you on the edge of your seat with your eyes never leaving the screen.

The acting was powerful and made you feel so close to the characters, feeling the emotions that they were feeling. The relationship between Voldemort and Harry Potter was acted amazingly by Ralph Fiennes and Daniel Radcliffe because you saw the absolute hatred they had for each other and at the same time how their thoughts were intertwined.

The epilogue, set 19 years later, was a wonderful way to end the film because it still left you thinking of what might happen next.  This is an outstanding film which people of all ages will enjoy and take away a message from it and a love for the world of Harry Potter.

As usual feel free to comment below!

Film Review

© 2011 Emily Claire Cannings