Infrequently Asked Questions 2012

Shame Full Frontal

People of the internet find Mild Concern through a wide variety of search terms and one of the more curious ways I spend my time is keeping an eye on what people Google to end up on this humble blog. I do feel sorry for a large number of Googlers when I can see that they aren’t going to find what they searched for here.

By far the most popular unsuccessful search the film fans of the world embarked on was trying to find some images of the nudity in Shame. They wanted to see Michael Fassbender and, to a lesser extent, Carey Mulligan in the all-together and were surely disappointed to find not a single bit of genitalia on display. I apologise to you, the internet, and to make it up to you I will now answer a selection of questions people entered into Google in 2012 which led them erroneously to Mild Concern. Now if they do their search again their questions will be answered.

All of these questions are genuine, and tell you a lot about the world today…

Is The Skin I Live In in English? No, it is in Spanish and is not for the squeamish.

How old is Yoda’s actor now? Frank Oz is 68.

Is that a wig? No, my hair is all natural.

Is there nudity in 388 Arletta Avenue? No. It does contain “one scene of strong gore and horror”.

How many times is “Harry Potter” said in the movies? I counted 107 but then I did fall asleep a lot.

Is Die Hard a survival movie? I guess so… although I’d say a survival movie would be someone battling against nature or the supernatural not Alan Rickman with a dodgy accent.

Is Cool Runnings a Christmas film? It is in my family.

Why is Rupert Giles called Ripper? Giles gained the nickname Ripper in his younger days when dabbling in the dark arts with five friends. Presumably it is an allusion to Jack the Ripper.

When is Fast Girls out on DVD? It’s out! Sorry we didn’t get to this question sooner.

Where was We Built a Zoo filmed? We Bought a Zoo was filmed in California.

Heroes Season 3 what is with Claire’s hair? Hayden Panettiere cut her hair and so had to wear a terrible, terrible wig.

What is the twist in Cabin in the Woods? There isn’t one.

What episodes of Misfits have sex in them? A lot of them so I wouldn’t watch if you’re too prudish nor skip any episode for fear of a sex deficit.

What football team does Nicholas Hoult support? I don’t know. I’m really sorry.

Who is on the front of After Porn Ends? Mary Carey

Why do people like Doctor Who? It is scary, funny, and has a lot of heart. Also, Karen Gillan is hot.

Is the Life of Pi film made not in non 3D? It was made in 3D so… yes? 3D is not in non 3D.

Why don’t people like Dr Who? They find it childish, silly, and irritating? Stephen knows.

Does After Porn Ends have nudity? Yes. Not one for the family.

How big is Kevin Smith’s fan base approximately? He has over 2 million Twitter followers and one fan who thinks I am a parasite.

How violent is Sightseers? Violent in short bursts with plenty of blood and caved-in skulls. All the deaths are swift though, this is no Hostel.

What happened to Cameron Crowe? He returned! With We Bought a Zoo and Pearl Jam Twenty. I saw neither.

How accurate is Lawless movie? It doesn’t matter, the film is boring as hell.

Is Ethan Hunt married in Ghost Protocol? Yes, to Julia Meade played by Michelle Monaghan.

Is Michael Cera mean? He seems lovely.

Is NOW TV worth it? Certainly not. Though they provide lots of lovely cocktails.

What is the guy’s name from Footloose that plays on Third Rock from the Sun? John Lithgow

Where can I see the complete pilot episode of BBC Lizzie and Sarah? Nowhere legal I’m afraid. Ask your most internet savvy friend and see if they can help.

Is there a disorder consisting of rape, dismembering, necrophilia, and cannibalism? I don’t think that is a disorder. That is you doing unthinkable sexual things to someone before and after killing them and then eating the remains. GET HELP!

How violent is the film I, Anna? “In one scene of violence a man and woman fight before a heavy ornament is used to strike a blow to the head. In another scene the victim of a violent death is found lying on a heavily bloodstained carpet with a bloodied face.”

What is pyjamas party? Attractive young women spend the night together gossiping, playing games, and fighting with pillows in slow motion and skimpy pyjamas. That or you stay up all night watching films at the Prince Charles cinema.

What’s the film about couple gets handcuffed together at a music festival? You Instead

I hope that clears things up. (If you want to see Fassbender’s penis Google will show it to you. The thing terrifies me.)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – DVD review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 DVD

This isn’t the end. Pop the film disc for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 into your DVD player and once past the obligatory copyright notice, first you will see an advert for the Lego games for years five to seven, and then the introductory video for Pottermore. So every time you’re reminded of tiny Harry, all wide eyes in Philosopher’s Stone, and start welling up a little at the idea that it’s finishing, you can always book your studio tour during a break in watching your Elder Wand DVD boxset and know that this franchise isn’t going anywhere.

But even while I am cynically half-expecting a reboot to be announced within a year, I was hard-pressed to stay completely dry-eyed while watching this two-disc package. We’ve reviewed the film itself pretty extensively so this post will focus on the special features. Like Part 1, the one difference between the Blu-ray and DVD is the Blu-ray version has Maximum Movie Mode, which interrupts your film-watching with extra behind-the-scenes information. It’s a shame there isn’t a more conventional commentary, which would be informative without being overly intrusive.

The Special Features disc is more satisfying, if not exactly overflowing with extras, and there are adverts scattered all throughout as if someone watching might actually be surprised that it was possible to get the other seven films on DVD and Blu-ray too. The Focus Points section contains nine behind the scenes featurettes (well, eight and a soppy farewell sequence) which provide interesting extra details on different aspects of the film, such as the Room of Requirement set, the Molly and Bellatrix fight and evolution of the costumes.

The most meaty feature is the 45 minute When Harry Left Hogwarts – a documentary with some behind the scenes coverage and a lot of banter and reflection on what Potter has meant to everyone. An air of melancholy colours all of their musings – Emma Thompson recommends therapy for the “kids”; Julie Walters declares the set as one of the least dysfunctional places they could have grown up on. Of Radcliffe, Grint and Watson, Emma is by far the most eloquent and thoughtful an interviewee, but all of the young adults speak about the pressure of being child stars and how it feels with the world waiting for them to screw up and what they have missed out on through not having a “normal” life – while all the time emphasising how happy they are and grateful for the opportunity. It’s also evident how much work the Harry Potter franchise has provided for people and I was left fretting about what the setbuilders and stunt people are going to do next. Stick with it through to the closing credits though, which might be my favourite part of the whole disc.

The Women of Harry Potter left me feeling similarly sad, even as Joanne Rowling speaks of being rightly proud of creating a wide range of well-rounded female characters. It’s the interviews with the dwarves in the main documentary and the additional The Goblins of Gringotts that provide a bit of relief from all the goodbyes and retrospection. This is partly down to getting to see Warwick Davis chat as himself and not as his Life’s Too Short character, but also because all of the actors playing goblins seem so good humoured and the excitement of Warwick Davis’ kids is very cute.

Apart from these features (and more adverts) there are eight deleted scenes, which are mostly small character moments that would have added a bit more emotion to the film’s existing action, including Tonks and Lupin reuniting on the Hogwarts’ battlements and a Ginny and Harry moment that I found more touching than any kiss they had in the films.

If you’re a fan, it’s hard to imagine you wouldn’t want this DVD in some form, whether it’s to join your existing seven others, or if you intend to buy all eight in one set. Although then you have to choose between a no-frills version, or a special numbered edition, or whether to hold on for a year if you believe the rumours of the “Ultimate” boxset, expected to come out at the end of 2012. (I told you the franchise wasn’t going anywhere).

And if you haven’t followed these films from Philosopher’s Stone to Deathly Hallows, I have no idea why you’re still reading this. You definitely don’t need me to tell you this isn’t the purchase for you.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is out on DVD and Blu-ray on Friday. And then gets recalled on 29th December. Then will get re-released again and again and again ad infinitum.

Harry Potter is Taking Visitors

One of the many tidbits to come out of Empire’s BIG SCREEN event was the announcement of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Opening in Spring 2012 this three-hour tour of the Harry Potter studios will be based at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden.

So far we are promised a look at costumes, animatronics, props and sets. The animatronics in the Creature Effects workshop will include Buckbeak, Aragog, Fawkes and the Basilisk, anyone not recognising these names shouldn’t be visiting a Harry Potter behind-the-scenes tour. As for the sets, visitors will be able to walk into the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room and Hagrid’s hut.

Finally we get to visit Hogwarts without travelling across the Atlantic.

This news will strike excitement in the hearts of fans of the Potter films, and complete indifference in everyone else. Obviously I relish the idea of walking round the sets of Harry Potter taking more photos than I will ever find the time to look at. Either way tickets go on sale on October 13th 2011 at, try not to forget.

The Harry Potter Retrospective – One Boy’s Journey

The last of our ultimate Harry Potter Retrospectives is the personal story of my own journey with the franchise, starting in July 1998 at the age of 10 and ending in July 2011 at the age of 23. Hopefully this will put the rest of the retrospective in context and show that I wasn’t always so quick to gush about the films.

I first heard about Harry Potter in my penultimate year in Primary School (Elementary School for any Americans). I can distinctly remember someone trying to explain the plot to me, including a detailed description of something called Quidditch. It was incredibly rare for a book to be the talk of the playground, so at the school’s next annual Book Fayre I picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone along with Michael Morpurgo’s War of Jenkins’ Ear. I was in love, I can’t remember enjoying any book so much up to that point. Harry Potter was just a year older than me and so I could really relate. The fear of Secondary School was looming and the idea of a place filled with magic and adventure was exciting. Besides, Harry Potter contained none of the references to “heavy petting” which made Adrian Mole so confusing.

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The Harry Potter Retrospective – The Adults

While the younger cast of the Harry Potter series may well have been works in progress, the adult roles were filled with pretty much every working actor in Britain with a familiar face. It was these actors who initially kept us coming back for more, without whom we may never have learnt to love the boy wizard and his chums. Below we run through our top fifteen of the adult performances across the eight films in alphabetical order. We tried to whittle it down with no success.

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
Alan Rickman as Severus SnapeWe start with an actor whose performance has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, and often in the same film. As Harry’s most consistent antagonist Snape offered up an ambiguous character, often seeming to be more evil that he was. What makes Rickman’s performance legendary are his epic pauses and dangerously slow delivery, as if trying to get as much screen time as his brief dialogue will allow. In the final film Rickman delivers both his slowest speech and his most moving performance. There are few better in this list.

David Bradley as Argus Filch
David Bradley as Argus FilchIt’s hard to believe that in the earlier films the major danger was being caught out of bed by Filch, a far cry from the fantastical battles the franchise concludes with. While often a menace to our heroes, Filch was ultimately a fun character bringing two of the biggest laughs in the finale and a warm nostalgic feeling with them.
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The Harry Potter Retrospective – The Kids (Charts Ahoy!)

Over the course of the eight Harry Potter films a group of young actors went from amateurs to movie stars, but are they any good? We’ve updated our charts to give you our opinion on who was the best actor and who should give up now.

After each of the eight films we scored Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Tom Felton out of ten for their acting ability, the results can be seen below.

As you can see film seven was the moment when each of the main three had equal acting skills, but from there they each went in a different direction in the final film.

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

Daniel Radcliffe certainly looks like the perfect Harry Potter, it’s just a shame that when the films started he was the worst actor of a weak bunch. As with the rest of the kids Radcliffe learnt on the job and gradually got better up until the fourth film where he was required to lose control of his emotions. Anger and sadness at the death of a friend and the rise of an enemy were not within Radcliffe’s range and he dropped back down. From then he slowly recovered while gaining comedy chops in Half Blood Prince and then proper dramatic muscle in Deathly Hallows Part 1.

After the impressive display in Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Part 2 was a step in the wrong direction as his performance became patchy again. When required to be sincere or earnest Radcliffe falls short, and a final showdown against evil is not a relaxed occasion. Regardless, Daniel Radcliffe has come a long way since 2001 and it will be interesting to see him play a different character. We’ll be watching him closely with Excel at the ready.
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The Harry Potter Retrospective – The Films

You may remember that last month we spent two nights at the BFI IMAX watching all seven Harry Potter films over the course of two nights. (Thanks BFI IMAX!) We finished our journey through the franchise on Monday night as we watched and scored Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. What follows is a run down of all eight films, written using the increasingly brief and incoherent notes we made at the time. Spoilers lie ahead.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
philosophers stone

In which Harry Potter learns he is a wizard, goes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and defeats a teacher harbouring the evil wizard Voldemort at the back of his head.

We start the franchise with an over-long film with terrible acting, odd prosthetics and scenes bordering on pantomime. From the initial scenes with the Dursleys playing out as a knockabout comedy to the final showdown in which a man completely disintegrates, Christopher Columbus produced a completely uneven film which relies mostly on reaction shots for laughs. Horrible acting from the kids is made up for by sheer cuteness and ultimately the film is a bit better than you remember. 6/10

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
chamber of secrets

The series continues with Harry hearing voices and writing in a diary which writes back. Turns out that pesky diary was Voldemort again.

As the kids seem to have experienced a growth spurt since the previous film they are less cute and their acting has improved slightly to compensate. Early scenes at the Burrows with the Weasley parents are great but even Julie Walters can’t make exposition work properly. Jason Isaacs and Kenneth Branagh are pretty awesome but Christopher Columbus again fails to make anything remarkable happen. With students being attacked (but surviving) the series begins its journey into becoming “dark”. 6.5/10
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – Review

For the past three hours I have actively avoided writing this review, struggling to stay objective and discuss the film as if it were any other. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 could have been just another children’s fantasy adventure, yet another sequel and an adaptation of a previous work, but subjective sentiment and a decade of fandom aside, this is one hell of a film.
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Potter! Potter! Potter! Potter! Potter! Potter! Potter! Potter!

Are you ready? 10 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone arrived in cinemas, and 14 years since the first book was published, the final film of a record-breaking and cast-retaining franchise is finally on release. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has gradually become more than just another film, it now symbolises a huge achievement in British film-making and a symbolic end to so many people’s childhoods. We grew up with the boy wizard and his last stand is a final hurrah for a childhood friend.

But enough of this sentimentality! We can save all that for next week, now is the time for excitement, just look at that header. We still need to make sure you are fully prepared for the final film, we don’t want anybody saying they didn’t like the film because they couldn’t remember what was going on. Your first port of call is our superb retrospective of the series so far (with charts!) and the two videos we offered up as vital Potter prep, explaining where we left off and exactly what a horcrux is.

For any doubters we have a glowing review from Mark Kermode (whose Radio 5 live show is not on this week due to industrial action).

And to finish one last video to get you up to speed as Daniel Radcliffe and co. explain the plot of The Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

To watch this video, you need the latest Flash-Player and active javascript in your browser. Or you need to get out of Google reader and onto the site itself!

Now we just need to watch the damn thing!

Harry Potter Premiere Live Stream

From 4pm today (right now!) the UK’s biggest ever film premiere is taking place from Trafalgar Square up to Leicester Square. In case we haven’t drilled it in enough by now, the premiere is for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and we’re very excited. Below you can watch the whole event streaming live from the safety of your desk. It certainly beats camping out in London for three nights.

We accept no blame if the boss catches you watching Potter at work. Continue reading