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The Prisoner of Azkaban

Is now, in addition to being my favorite of the books, my favorite of the movies. WOW, what a terrific film! And it clocks in well under 3 hours without losing any of the charm and wonder of the story.

I'm mighty impressed. Initially, I wasn't happy with the casting of Sirius and Remus, but both actors pulled off the roles to my utter satisfaction, and although David Thewlis still doesn't LOOK like Professor Lupin, he played the part so well by the end of the film he was just right for me. And Gary Oldman was, well, fantastic. The script was very tightly written and my only complaint was one tiny detail that was left out that, I assume, would confuse anyone who hasn't read the books. Because I have read them, I understood; but I think it was an extremely important, if minor, detail, and wouldn't have added any significant time to the piece. Professor Lupin never explains how he knows what the Marauders Map is, what it does, and how to operate it. There is no explanation of Mooney, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. That relationship is, I believe, crucial to the entire story about James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Besides, it seems very odd that Lupin knew instantly what the map was and Professor Snape did not without that explanation.

The CG is amazing -- Buckbeak is the coolest animation coupled with live action I've ever seen.

On the whole, color me happy. I love it when my favorite books are translated well to the screen, and my favorite characters come off well.

On the barbeque front, there is a nice pork butt (ha ha) marinading in brine right now, and will go on a slow cooker sometime early tomorrow, for pulled pork sandwiches.

I WILL get some writing done this weekend, dang it! I haven't been able to sit down and just write for ages -- mostly due to reviews, family gatherings, holidays, errands, etc.

I also had to review a bunch more discs, including one I think is amazing ( www.mattlindahl.com ); he was a contestant on this year's "Nashville Star," and I'm still in shock that someone so thoroughly original managed to make it to the finals (he was second runner-up). He never let them take his red ball cap or his washboard, and he sings quirky, weird, fresh country music. I figure him getting so many votes should tell Nashville that, hey, there's an audience out here for that kind of stuff. But it won't, of course. In the meantime, check him out if you like country music and funny stuff. The boy has obviously listened to a lot of Firesign Theatre.

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