July 17th, 2009

breaking bad

The Half Blood Prince

(No spoilers). I went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night with happytune and my daughter. I liked it a lot. It's by the same director - David Yates - who did Order of the Phoenix, which disappointed me. I am starting to wonder whether my mood or something is what determines whether I like this type of film. So, I would say this film was visually excellent, hung together pretty well as a narrative, had good performances, and had a nice subdued dark tone. Generally I thought it had a sort of coherent integrity, in that the imagery reflected the core themes.

Of the young actors, I thought they all had good moments, but Daniel and Emma also had flat moments. Rupert Grinch I think is shaping up to be the best of them, and his physical presence and energy was marked. In fact in this film I felt that the Weasleys in general had a vitality which was missing from Harry and Hermione, and that this was a deliberate theme. Harry is described by Dumbledore as 'unfailingly kind' and the downside of this - inability to dominate, difficulty in making ruthless decisions - runs right through the film. It perhaps makes the film dull for people who would prefer a more focussed and dynamic hero, but that's the story.
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breaking bad

Telegraph vs Times

The Daily Telegraph is printed daily in France, so I read it quite a bit on hols. The main non-tabloid alternative was the Times a day late. Now, The Times isn't a great newspaper, heaven knows, but it was remarkable how it showed up the Telegraph's thinness. I would read the day's news in the Telegraph, and then read the same day's news 24 hours later in The Times and it was like 'Oh, so that was what was happening'. The Telegraph left out lots of important information about front page stories like the fire in that block of flats and had literally pages and pages on the Royal Family every day.

Also it was noticeable that the Times puzzles were a lot more intellectually challenging than the Telegraph. These days I do killer sudoku, which the Guardian only does at the weekend, but to a pretty challenging standard. The Telegraph and Times offer it daily - the telegraph at a very easy level, and the Times at graded levels, getting harder through the week. I tried to do 1187 (accessible here)on the ferry, that's at the hardest level, and I simply could not do it, which I found quite hard to accept :-)

I've got no love of The Times which is owned by Murdoch, whom I loathe, but I think it exposes the Telegraph as aimed at the dumb.