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This week:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Filthy says:
"Too Fucking Good for the Kids.

Now is the golden age of children's entertainment. Right now, and for, say, another four or five days. This week the time today's kids will look back on as the moment when children's entertainment was actually good. Some will look back fondly, and others will just remember it as a brief interlude that gave them false hope and set them up for the millions of disappointments in adolescence, and the billions more in adulthood. Next week some new piece of pandering Scooby-Doo shit or a horrible movie based on a crummy British puppet show will come out and jade the kids so violently that they'll probably slit our throats, steal our cars, fuck our pets and piss in our flour jars. If you've never made cookies from flour that's someone's pissed on, well, a) you've chosen your roommates better than me, and b) you don't know what hell is. if you want to know, I don't recommend pissing in your own flour jar.

What I'm saying is, enjoy this week because it could be your last. Today's youth is tomorrow's murderers. And as Rick Froberg said, "I hate the kids." They have devilry in their souls, and a movie like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban does not soothe them. Rather, it gives the kids a false impression that someone gives a rat's left nut about them. When they learn the truth, holy shit, we're fucked.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is pretty damn good. A lot better than these dirty little pissers deserve. I mean, a big part of me says they should get the same shitty Shakespeare-in-high-school ripoffs and John Hughes crap we got. It toughens you, makes you bitter and teaches you to expect less than nothing and still get pissed off when you don't get it.

This movie doesn't pander to the kids. It doesn't act like their stupid little turds with wallets. It's smart enough to not fill in every damn blank; it's hell clever and maybe too complicated for its own good. Maybe this is because the source material is so well loved that Hollywood wouldn't dare fuck it up. Whatever, it mostly works.

Daniel Radcliffe plays bespectacled, average-seeming Harry Potter who is a wizard in training at Hogswart, an academy for magicians. Most people already know that he's no ordinary magician, but perhaps the most powerful one there will ever be. At the story's beginning, he discovers that Sirius Black, the man thought to have killed his parents, has escaped from the Azkaban prison and is headed to Hogswart to kill him.

Befriended by a professor/werewolf (David Thewlis), Radcliffe chooses not to hide from Black but to confront him and learn why the madman killed his parents. He enlists his two lousy-actor-child friends to help him.

There are many subplots, most relevant to the central story. Some illustrate that Potter has a dark side that he tries to bury, much like I have tried to do my entire life. Except that booze is my kryptonite and it weakens me. Porn, too. And bad television, junk food, certain prescription medications, soft beds, cold iced tea and other people's money where I can see it. But, keep me away from those and I can be a pretty good person. Other subplots are used to reveal a complete world where magic and ordinary coincide. A rat is actually a man, a horse-griffin creature is sentenced to death, and a nefarious professor is out to get Radcliffe.

It almost all works well. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has at least two large buttloads of special effects. It's about magic, after all. There are two reasons the special effects aren't annoying. First, some of them are damn clever, like the paper-eating, teeth-baring Book of Monsters and the walls full of paintings whose habitants are alive. Second, they are integral to the world where the story happens. The special effects don't replace the story and they aren't the main thrust of the movie. Lazy Hollywood asses use special effects in place of stories because, well, it's pretty damn easy. And it's actually refreshing, like hosing yourself down with a feminine wash after a long run, to see them used to bolster a strong story.

The characters and their relationships are deep. The kids ain't much when it comes to acting. Potter's red-headed friend spends the movie looking sour-mouthed, like someone just kicked him in the nuts. The adults are pretty damn great, though. Alan Rickman is as creepy as the slippery Professor Snape as the Tavern Harelip is when she's caught rubbing her pants against the pickle jar. Thewlis makes a sympathetic werewolf, and a way better looking one than the mutt in Van Helsing. Gary Oldman has brief screentime as Sirius Black, and that's probably just as well because more of it would only open the story's biggest plot hole wider.

The story is dark, but it's not really scary. That's okay because this is a kid's movie, mostly. The darkness is like the ambience at a make-out party; dim, sort of grimy and clammy. It has a lot of ookey elements, like the Grim Reaper-like Dementors that come to protect the school and who will kill anyone who crosses them. When they get hold of you, they suck your face off. I had a girlfriend like that once. She dislocated one of my eyeballs once when she was really turned on. When we had sex she liked for me to read her medical diagnoses in a sexy French voice. I liked that too.

The best thing about the movie is the way director Alfonso Cuaron, director of Y Tu Mama Tambien, follows the book, which really respects kids' intelligence, and yet isn't so blindly faithful as to make it boring. There is hardly any of that stupid Quidditch, and much of the movie's themes are revealed without much being said.

The worst thing is that the movie is too damn long. Hogswart is a great world, and there's a lot to see, but the movie takes it's damn sweet time getting started. Cut the first hour of the movie in half, and not only would you have a movie the kids don't deserve, but you have one I don't deserve.

Overall, though, it's a fine fucking flick. Don't take the kids, it'll only set them up for disappointment. Four Fingers for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

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David Denby of the New Yorker

Troy is "Exhilirating... moving."

Of course, it should be noted that his review was pretty tepid, but Warner Brothers whored him up for their ads by taking two words out of context. Fucking Warner Brothers liars.

Filthy's Reading
Diana Preston - A Pirate of Exquisite Mind

Listening to
Luna - Bewitched


American Splendor