U.K. REVIEWS: HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince had its world premiere in London Monday and received its first reviews today (Wednesday). They are, by and large, approving if not outright raves. Wendy Ide in the Times gets down to business immediately: "Does the latest Potter have what it takes to be the family film of the summer?" she asks. "Will Harry turn the Transformers into scrap metal and Ice Age into a puddle?" After answering yes to both questions, she observes that the latest film, with its "collective romantic awakening," is likely to be of greater interest to adults than the previous ones. But younger children, she noted, "squirmed with agonized embarrassment" at some of the romantic scenes at the screening she attended. Andrew Pulver in the Guardian credits director David Yates with making a "solidly constructed" film that employs "tried and tested cinematic language." Alistair Harkness in The Scotsman concludes with no particular enthusiasm that the latest Potter sequel "succeeds in being a much more immersive film than normal and comes close to capturing on film some of the texture and richness of Rowling's books." The London Independent calls on a 15-year-old to write its review, and hers is the most critical of all. Ella Thorold writes: "The Half-Blood Prince is frightening, funny, romantic and entertaining but as the end credits rolled, I still felt disappointed. I had waited all year to see my second-favorite Potter book brought to life. If I wasn't a die-hard fan, I'm sure I would have loved it. My gripe is that the film was simply too different from the book -- the writers inserted pointless scenes and took out others crucial to the narrative. It just could have been better.
NO 3D RELEASE FOR MONSTERS VS. ALIENS VIDEO
DreamWorks Animation may be leading the cheering section for theatrical 3D, but it currently has no plans to release any of its movies in the 3D format for home video -- not even its recent hit Monsters vs. Aliens which earned more on a few hundred 3D screens in the U.S. than it did on thousands of 2D screens. As reported by Home Media magazine, the problem is that television sets here are currently unable to project state-of-the-art 3D images -- only old-fashioned 3D that requires wearing glasses with one lens colored green, the other magenta. The new theatrical system employs polarized lenses. "It's a completely different process," DreamWorks Animation chief Ann Daly told Home Media magazine. Nevertheless, she added, "We've been paying a lot of attention to the development of TVs that can deliver a theater-like 3-D experience ... and we think if we hold off until we actually get an in-home experience that works, it would be much better than doing it early." Monsters vs. Aliens is due to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 29.
TOM HANKS TO REPRESENT ACTORS ON ACADEMY BOARD
Tom Hanks, who played a significant role in ending the standoff between the Screen Actors Guild and movie and TV producers this year, will once again represent actors on the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that hands out the annual Oscar awards. After a year-long absence from the board, Hanks will be joining incumbent actors-branch board members Annette Bening and Henry Winkler. Edward Zwick and Gil Cates, who sought to represent the directors' branch, wound up in a rare tie and will face a runoff election on July 29.
PORN FILMMAKERS HIT HARD BY ONLINE "VIGNETTES"
The Internet is not only wreaking untold damage on newspapers, television and movies, but it also has damaged the business of pornography, the New York Times indicated today (Tuesday). Whereas in the past, full-length pornographic features attempted to present a degree of plot and dialogue, they now often amount to, as the Times puts it, "a series of sex scenes, loosely connected by some thread -- 'vignettes' in the industry vernacular -- that can be presented separately online." Moreover, web porn has also impacted DVD sales. Paul Fishbein, president of the AVN Media Network, an industry trade publication, estimated that three years ago, pornography generated $3.62 billion in DVD sales and rentals, but has fallen to half that amount today.