Archive for Oscars

I take a look at the 2016 Oscar Nominees

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on January 27, 2016 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, the academy released the Oscar nominations for this year’s Academy Awards.  Again, some surprises, some not so surprising.  I usually like to take a look at the most popular categories and give you some of my thoughts on the decisions.  Looking back, I see I’ve done this recap since 2007 (for the 2006 movie year).  If you want to see those previous articles just click the Oscar’s Wild banner above to go to my Oscar’s Wild archive page.

I already posted my favorite movies of 2015 and usually by now I’ve posted my least favorite of 2015.  However I don’t think I’m going to do a least favorite this year because there was really only one, maybe two, movies that I could put on that list and I don’t think I’m strong enough against those movies to even put them on the list.  So, don’t expect a least favorite list this year.

Anyway, back to the Oscar nominees for this year.  You can find the full list of nominees at Oscars.org.  Now, let’s take a look at the “money” categories and judge how the Academy did this year.

BEST PICTURE

Fury Road

The Big Short – I really want to see this. What a great cast. I tried to explain to my wife what this was about and as soon as I got out “…the mortgage crisis…” she said, “I’m out.”

Bridge of Spies – Speilberg and Hanks. 100% the reason to see this. Otherwise, I’d probably say, “No thanks.”  But I guess I’m saying, “Yes…Hanks.”

Brooklyn – There is nothing about this movie’s synopsis that in any way makes me want to watch it.

Mad Max: Fury Road – I never thought the Academy would put this on the list.  WOW.  I think it’s no hyperbole to say that this is probably the best movie ever nominated that will NEVER win the Best Picture. I can’t conceive of a situation where the Academy would vote this movie the winner unless every other movie in this category (and a few other categories as well) immediately forfeit.

The Martian – This is on my must see list. I can’t believe I haven’t seen it yet, but I will. SOON. I would have seen it before now, but as Jeeg would say, #RealLifeProblems.

The Revenant – This has great actors, but it looks like one of those movies where it is trying to make the viewer uncomfortable for nearly 2 hours.

Room – I have no desire to watch a horrific re-enactment of a horrific real life ordeal. If I want that I can watch the news. It’s not why I see movies.

Spotlight – Another movie about child abuse?

Notable Snubs: Only eight this year? Not 10? Where’s Hateful 8? Or Creed? Or even, Heaven forbid, Star Wars The Force Awakens?

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Steve Jobs

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo – This looks pretty good. I hadn’t heard about it. It’s got a great cast besides Cranston, whom I love; John Goodman, Hellen Mirren, Diane Lane, etc, etc. I’m in. I’ll watch.

Matt Damon, The Martian – It looks like Damon crushed this one. More often than not, I’m in on Damon’s movies unless he’s doing a “message” movie like Green Zone or Promised Land. But even then I think he’s a pretty great actor.

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant – I’m a fan of Leo. I have no doubt he deserves this. But I don’t have a desire to watch the movie which looks like a punishing way to spend 2 hours.

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs – I love Fassbender and I think this movie looks great. I’m a little surprised that no one has said anything about an Irish-German actor playing such an iconic American personality. People love to argue about that on the Internet. But…nothing. Ditto goes for Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams. How is there no one on the Internet getting righteously indignant about this? Remember the sh*t storm that brewed when a the traditionally white comic book character Johnny Storm was played by a black guy? In a movie just last year?!  It was crazy.  And that character was fictional!  Regardless, I think Fassbender AND Hiddleston are going to be great.

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl – I really like Redmayne in Theory of Everything and I’m really excited to see him in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, I don’t really care about this movie. I’m sure he’s great in it, but I just don’t care.

Notable snubs: Michael B Jordan should be here for Creed. At the very least he should be in Supporting Actor, but I really think he deserves to be here.

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ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Carol

Cate Blanchett, Carol – I haven’t seen this yet but I love Cate Blanchett and I’ll see nearly everything she’s in. No, I don’t really want to see this movie, but I probably will.  I felt the same about Blue Jasmine and she’s great in that.

Brie Larson, Room – I really like Brie Larson. I mainly know her from the first 21 Jump Street movie. I bet she’s great in this but I’ll never know. I just don’t think I could stomach watching this movie.

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy – I love JLaw, I really do, but this feels like Silver Linings Playbook Part II.

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years – Wow, this is so cool. Charlotte Rampling was on the last season of Dexter as Dr Vogel. And she was pretty awesome. But she was also a big deal back in the 70s starring in Zardoz, Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories and Orca: The Killer Whale. She was quite the looker too.  I’m so glad she’s here.

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn – Oh man, I love all these actresses but I don’t want to see any of their movies. Saoirse is great. I really like her in things like Hanna, Lovely Bones and Atonement, regardless of whether I liked those movies as a whole. I think she’s a great actress.

Notable Snubs: Charlize Theron in Mad Max Fury Road? Or how about Daisy Ridley in Star Wars The Force Awakens?

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Thoughts on the 2014 Oscar Nominees

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on January 22, 2014 by Paxton

Oscars Wild

Well, the 2014 Oscar Nominees were released on Thursday. Time to do my annual commentary. This should be interesting because with 2 kids now, my current movie viewing is at an all time low. Plus, it seems, I just don’t normally watch movies that get nominated for Oscars.

Wolf of Wall Street

Best picture

“12 Years a Slave” – This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” – I love Scorcese and I love DiCaprio. Put both of them together and you get “magic”, my friends. Well, except for Shutter Island. But everything else has been “magic”.
“Captain Phillips” – I understand why this is here. Tom Hanks. Somali Pirates. Drama. Triumph of the human spirit. Blah, blah, this looks boring, blah.
“Her” – Joaquin Phoenix looks like an 80s porn star in this movie.  I don’t typically like Spike Jonze’s movies but I’ll watch a pervy Joaquin Phoenix try to have sex with a computer.  That’s the premise, right?  Joaquin dry humping a computer?
“American Hustle” – My wife saw this and loved it. Apparently the Academy does too because it’s got like a million nominations.
“Gravity” – I understand the “gravity” of the situation.  I need to see this. (see what I did there?)
“Dallas Buyers Club” – Also known as Philadelphia 2.  I’ve seen the trailer and have no plans to ever watch it.
“Nebraska” – Didn’t Alexander Payne already make this movie? It was called About Schmidt. Bruce Dern looks just like Nicholson from that movie.  Does June Squibb have a naked hot tub scene?
“Philomena” – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

American Hustle

Best director

Steve McQueen — “12 Years a Slave” – Steve McQueen?  Seriously?  Any relation to the actor? Gotta check IMDb—–wait, nevermind.
David O. Russell — “American Hustle” – This guy has made some good movies.  Nice followup to Silver Linings Playbook.
Alfonso Cuaron — “Gravity” – With all the buzz of this movie I feel pulled to watch it (again, see what I did there?)
Alexander Payne — “Nebraska” – Btw, I hated About Schmidt.
Martin Scorsese — “The Wolf of Wall Street” – YES. Go Marty. He can never have enough Oscars.

Dallas Buyers Club

Best actor

Bruce Dern — “Nebraska” –  AKA Jack Nicholson from About Schmidt.
Chiwetel Ejiofor — “12 Years a Slave” – As expected.  Seriously, though, I am a big fan of this actor.
Matthew McConaughey — “Dallas Buyers Club” – McConaughey has become quite the critic darling lately.  This movie, that other movie, Mud, and the TV show with Woody Harrelson, True Detective.  All this from the guy who gave us Wooderson (Allright, allright, allright!)
Leonardo DiCaprio — “The Wolf of Wall Street” – Dicaprio 4 Eva.
Christian Bale — “American Hustle” – Okay, I guess.  I haven’t seen this, but honestly, Bale hasn’t really compelled me in a long time.

Gravity

Best actress

Amy Adams — “American Hustle” – I love her.  She’s very good in almost everything she’s done.  Very likable and funny.
Cate Blanchett — “Blue Jasmine” – I’m not a Woody Allen fan. But I am a Cate Blanchett fan.  And Alec Baldwin.  And I was surprised how much I actually liked Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
Judi Dench — “Philomena” – Judi Dench is great.  This movie doesn’t look great.
Sandra Bullock — “Gravity” – I feel drawn to Sandra Bullock.  ( Whatever. MY PUNS ARE AWESOME.).
Meryl Streep — “August: Osage County” – Meryl will always be nominated.  Always.  Even in movies that look like they were created to be shown in clinics that specialize in insomnia (because it looks so goddam boring).

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My reactions to the 2013 Oscar Nominations

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on January 11, 2013 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

The Academy released the 2013 Oscar nominations for this year.  Being the big movie fan/Oscar dork that I am I usually like to take a look at the most popular categories and give you some of my thoughts on the decisions.  I’ve done this sort of recap since 2007 (for the 2006 movie year).  To see my previous reactions to the Oscar nominations go to the Oscars Wild archive page.

Now, let’s take a look at the “money” categories and judge how the Academy did this year.

Argo
Best Picture
Argo – This movie is excellent. I’m actually somewhat pissed at myself for not including it on my favorite movies of 2012 list, but it completely slipped my mind while I was writing.  Ben Affleck is 3-for-3 when directing movies.  And this one is the best one of the three.
Django Unchained – This, however, did make my favorite movies list.  It’s awesome and fun and 100% Tarantino.
Les Miserables – I like broadway shows.  However I have little to no desire to watch this despite the amazing cast.  The story looks depressing.
Life of Pi – Again, I have no desire to watch this.  The visuals look amazing but from the clips I’ve seen the movie looks too dreamy and weird.
Amour – There’s always one of these.  Literally never heard of this movie until today when they were making the announcements.  It’s about two married retired music teachers, one of which has a stroke and their love is tested……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Lincoln – This looks amazing.  I need to see it ASAP.
Silver Linings Playbook – This has been on my radar for a while, and the fact that it’s getting all these noms bumps it up higher on my priorities.
Zero Dark Thirty – I’m not a military/war movie guy.  I just don’t like them, but this looks pretty good.
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Now there are two of these.  Never heard of this.  No desire to see it.  Sounds like a documentary on Neo Geo.

<RANT>I’m a little pissed that Marvel’s The Avengers didn’t make it into these Best Picture nominations.  You can’t tell me that Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour aren’t a giant F**K YOU to Whedon and Marvel.  The Avengers received 1 nomination.  For Visual Effects.  Just THREE YEARS AGO f**king Avatar (special effects heavy, tent pole studio release similar to The Avengers) received NINE Oscar nominations including an appearance in Best Picture.  But the Academy has historically proven that they enjoy licking James Cameron’s hairy bean bag whenever they get a chance.</RANT>

Flight
Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook – I am a fan of “The Cooper”. And I mentioned earlier that this movie has crawled itself into my “must see” list.
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln – Day-Lewis is intense and always great. I don’t always love his movies but I nearly always love watching the man perform his characters.
Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables – Good thing Hugh got this one in because I’m thinking he won’t be here next year for The Wolverine.
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master – Not a fan of Joaquin the man, or the actor. I liked him in Walk the Line as Johnny Cash and as Commodus in Gladiator. Other than that, I pretty much dislike everything he does.
Denzel Washington in Flight – Man, I really wanted to see this movie. I’ve have been digging everything Denzel has been doing for the last 10 years or so. And this movie looks GREAT. Good to see Zemekis may have a hit on his hands.

Zero Dark Thirty
Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty – Like I said, I don’t like military/war movies but this looks good and she looks good in it.
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook – I really like Jennifer Lawrence and pairing her with Bradley Cooper is win-win. For everyone.
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour – Whatever.
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of Southern Wild – It’s impressive that at 9 years old she’s getting nominated.
Naomi Watts in The Impossible – And the “tsunami movie” gets a nom. I’m surprised it didn’t also make it into best picture. The Academy loves nominating these natural disaster movies especially if they portray real events. See United 93.

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The Cavalcade review of the 2011 Oscar Nominees

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on January 26, 2012 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, the academy released the Oscar nominations for this year’s Academy Awards.  Again, some surprises, some not so surprising.  I usually like to take a look at the most popular categories and give you some of my thoughts on the decisions.  Looking back, I see I’ve done this recap since 2007 (for the 2006 movie year).  Here are those articles:

2010
2009
2008
2007
2006

Normally, by now, I’ve posted my Movie Board articles telling you guys what my favorite/least favorite movies of the year are.  However, I’m still catching up on Oscar eligible movies, so I’ll have those up in a few weeks.  I have my preliminary list, but there are some good ones I need to see just to be sure.

Anyway, back to the Oscar nominees for this year.  You can find the full list of nominees at Oscars.org.  Now, let’s take a look at the “money” categories and judge how the Academy did this year.

Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir in “A Better Life” – What?  Who?
George Clooney in “The Descendants” – Man, Clooney no longer does the “one for you, one for me” formula.  He pretty much just does whatever the hell he wants to do.  How else do you explain The American or Men Who Stare At Goats?  I miss the Clooney from Ocean’s 11, Goodnight and Good Luck and Intolerable Cruelty.  I’m not having as much fun with the current version.
Jean Dujardin in “The Artist” – This movie actually doesn’t sound that bad, but I have yet to see it.
Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” – Looks amazing.  Really want to see this movie.  Oldman is great in pretty much everything.
Brad Pitt in “Moneyball” – Again, I really want to see this but have not yet had the opportunity.

Moneyball
Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn” – This movie doesn’t look great.
Jonah Hill in “Moneyball” – Props to Jonah for dipping his toes into the dramatic pool.
Nick Nolte in “Warrior” – I hear this movie is great, but I can’t support a Nolte nomination.  For anything.
Christopher Plummer in “Beginners” – Meh.
Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” – This movie looks amazing.  But I’m reluctant to see it because as a new dad, I feel the heavy father-son relationship at the center of this plot will completely undo the macho-man hold on my emotions and cause me to bawl like my wife at cheesy cell phone commercials.

Dragon Tattoo
Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs” – Close may be fantastic in this, but it just “feels” tailor made for the Oscars.  Like they were trying to get Close a nomination.  Julie Andrews did gender bending first in Victor/Victoria.  Close’s makeup in this just looks like posturing for an Oscar. See also Nicole Kidman’s makeup in The Hours and Charlize Theron’s in Monster.
Viola Davis in “The Help” – Better movie than I expected and Viola was great in it.
Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Really, really good movie.  Hard to watch, but very good.  Rooney Mara is also great in it.
Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady” – I imagine this is good.  I want to see it.
Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn” – Not a fan of Michelle Williams.

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The Cavalcade takes a look at the 2010 Oscar Nominations

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on February 1, 2011 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

This is what I wait all year for.  The reason I saw 50+ movies last year.  The Oscar nominations.

I’ve been doing this review of the Oscar nominations for about 5 years now. Check out my Oscar nomination reviews from 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007.  I’ve clearly shown that I know more than the Academy.  So let’s see what I think of the nominations this year.  I’m only going to look at the “money” categories because no one really cares about sound mixing unless they are actually a sound mixer.

True Grit
Best Actor
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful” (Roadside Attractions) – Dammit.  Where the f**k did this movie come from?  I saw 50+ movies last year and I’ve never heard of this.
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit” (Paramount) – Yes.  Agreed.  Well done.
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network” (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Just watched this. It deserves all the praise it’s getting.
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company) – This is one of those I know I should see and my wife will want to see, but I’m like…”I’ll pass.”
James Franco in “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight) – Apparently this movie is NOT a prequel to the 1993 Renny Harlin classic, Cliffhanger, starring Sylvester Stallone.  And Franco does NOT play a younger version of Sly’s Gabe “Mountain” Walker.  I don’t know about you, but that adjusts my expectations to somewhere below…zero.

The Town
Supporting Actor
Christian Bale in “The Fighter” (Paramount) – I didn’t like this the first time when it was called The Wrestler.
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions) – I totally thought this was porn when I first read the title.  I was like, “Go Academy!”  Nope.  It’s about a small girl who searches for her druggie dad who put the family trailer up for his bail.  Sounds all lovely and depressing.  My friend Dr Mike’s wife will love it.
Jeremy Renner in “The Town” (Warner Bros.) – Yes, I couldn’t agree more.  This movie is great and Renner is fantastic in it.
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features) – So both Hawkeye (Renner) and The Incredible Hulk (Ruffalo) from the upcoming Avengers movie are nominated for Supporting Actor awards. That’s pretty awesome. Oh, and Batman. Forgot Bale was up there too.
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company) – This movie got a lot of nominations.  I know my wife is going to want to watch it.

Black Swan
Best Actress
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features) – Lesbian couple, raising teenagers, Oscar noms, blah, blah, blah.
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole” (Lionsgate) – A couple’s son dies, they drift apart.  The Academy loves these depressing dramas.
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions) – Kid searches for trailer park druggie dad.  Not porn.  Touching.
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” (Fox Searchlight) – Lots of angry lesbian sex between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.  Of course I want to see this.  Too bad it was filmed by Darren Arnofsky who totally ruined similar sex scenes with Jennifer Connelly in Requiem for a Dream.
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine” (The Weinstein Company) – Supposedly a very sexy picture. However, I don’t think I would agree because Michelle Williams is not sexy.

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Movie Board: The worst movies I saw in 2010

Posted in movies, reviews with tags , , , , on January 13, 2011 by Paxton

Movie Board

So, on Tuesday I talked about my favorite movies of 2010. Now it’s time to take a look at the Movie Board and pick the worst movies I saw last year. Here’s a quick refresher of this year’s Movie Board:

Movie Board 2010
My Movie Board 2010

You can see previous years’ Movie Boards here.

Now let’s see what movies I felt were a waste of my valuable time in 2010.

In no particular order.

Sex and the City 2
Sex and the City 2 – Yes I saw this.  My wife loved this show.  She has the full box set of DVDs she watches nearly every summer.  I watch the show every once in a while with her.  It’s not awful.  I can’t watch too much of it at once, but I don’t hate the show.  It can be pretty amusing at times.  I even went to see the first movie with her, and enjoyed it.  So I expected at least some light humor and to be mildly entertained.  Instead, I HATE THIS F***ING MOVIE.  Hate it with all the fiery hatred in the bowels of Hell.  They should have stopped at the last movie.  The Samantha character is RIDICULOUS.  At 60, they are still trying to make her the fiery sex bomb and it doesn’t work anymore.  She looks old.  And her antics are cringe inducing.  The Carrie character, who was never my favorite anyway, is off the charts irritating in this one.  Why anyone would go out with, or stay married to her is beyond me.  This movie was worse than terrible.  It was offensive.  If there’s a part 3, I will not see it.  But judging from the box office, there won’t be a part 3.  So there is a God.

The American
The American – F**k movie studio marketing departments.  F**k. Them.  They totally played this as a European Bourne Identity.  However, it’s more like those old, slowly paced ’70s action movies everyone remembers loving but when they watch them now, realize how goddam boring they are.  I think I was more pissed at the bait and switch than this being a bad movie.  If I had known what I was in for and adjusted my expectations, I think I might have enjoyed this.  I say MIGHT.  It is a very European style movie with long boring shots, minimal dialogue and some nudity.  I just went in expecting something completely different and I totally blame the marketing departments of the movie studio.  They can suck it.

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Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2010

Posted in Academy Awards, Harry Potter, movies, reviews with tags , , , , , , on January 11, 2011 by Paxton

Movie Board

Here we are again.  It’s time for my annual encounter with The Movie Board.  We’ve been through a lot, Movie Board, and it’s time to do it again.  Let’s dance.

First off, let’s take a look at this year’s Movie Board.

Movie Board 2010
My Movie Board 2010

According to it’s all-knowing whiteness I saw 52 movies this past year.  Very close to last year in which I saw 53 movies.  I was on a tear throughout the summer, way ahead of my pace for last year, but the pace slowed to a crawl in September with the birth of my son.  However, I rallied and was able to get my movie viewing total back up over 50.  Actually, the number of movies I saw was probably closer to 60 as I also saw movies like True Grit (the original), Death Trap and Harry Brown, but they were all released before 2010.  And this list is for movies released within the calendar 2010 movie season.

Anyway, from this list I’ve culled my favorites.  And here they are in no particular order.

Inception
Inception – Mind bending.  Best way to describe this movie.  Leo is great in this.  I think I prefer this movie to Shutter Island.  I’d definitely watch Inception again before watching Shutter Island.  Sure, some of the dream mechanics are a little…ill defined.  Sure, Ellen Page’s character actually going into the dream made little to no sense.  But I enjoyed it all the same.  Fun and interesting story, action and a cliff hanger ending that usually SERIOUSLY pisses me off but didn’t here.  I love that rotating hallway fight sequence.  So awesome.

Salt
Salt – I was blown away by this movie.  It’s brutally AWESOME.  The action is intense.  I was not expecting the action and suspense in this movie to be as balls out awesome as it is.  Angelina is great and Liev Shreiber is also great (as usual).  So ridiculously good.  It’s like a female Bourne Identity.  I seriously think this is nearly as good as the first Bourne Identity (not the last one, the first one).

Harry Potter 7-1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I – I have seen every one of these movie in the theater.  And dammit if every one of these movies hasn’t gotten better and better.  Prisoner of Azkaban is phenomenal, Goblet of Fire is pretty good, but then Order of Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince are nothing short of spectacular.  And this movie just continues that awesomeness forward.  However, many people I know have been saying they were disappointed with this one.  I think it’s all expectations.  This movie is much darker than any other of the movies.  Plus, it covers the section of the book where Ron leaves and Harry and Hermione are running/searching for horcruxes alone.  Many people thought that storyline was boring in the book but I loved it.  It shows just how difficult a time they had and just how cut off from the rest of the wizarding world they really were.  Makes what happens later mean more.  I love this movie and I can’t wait to watch the next one.  Oh, yeah, since this is a Part I, it sets up a lot of the story for Part II, which may throw people off also.

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