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Discuss this week's Joe Loves Crappy Movies here!

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Love crappy movies but are too ashamed to admit it? Are you a big Rob Schneider fan but you're tired of being burned? Not sure if you want to waste your money on the same old movie? That's why you have Joe.

Joe Loves Crappy Movies is by Joseph Dunn. Joe willingly goes to see the very worst that Hollywood has to offer. Whenever a crappy movie comes out Joe will be there to see it, make fun of it, and actually review it. Nothing is safe, and nothing is sacred. From the big budget action disasters to the low brow fart based comedies, to anything starring Martin Lawrence? Joe will tear it apart.

With each entry you'll get not only a comic poking fun at the movie, but also a detailed review. Joe's not educated in film or cinematography or acting, he's just a guy that draws comics and likes movies. So if you're looking for the everyman perspective and a little joke in comic form... you're in the right place.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman. David Thewlis, Michael Gambon

Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron

The Prisoner of Azkaban brought on changes. And of course we all fear change. The good news is that one of those changes would help bring in a new era of Harry Potter. A necessary change as the cast grew older and the story grew darker. The finished result would be (in my opinion) the best of the Potter movies so far. (Having seen Goblet at this point I still consider Azklaban the best of the lot.)

Those big changes included the departure of Chris Columbus as director, and the unfortunate death of Richard Harris who played Dumbledore.

The news of losing Chris was not cool. He would stay on to produce Azkaban but it's never easy to switch out the man in charge, especially when he had done such a good job. Plus they were bringing in Alfonso Cuaron who was best know for 2001's international Oscar darling Y tu mam? tambi?n. It just felt like they were hiring the "it" director of the moment which just set me off. But this is why I'm not in charge of anything important. Cuaron's dark take on the Harry Potter universe was a welcomed change to Columbus's over polished almost too perfect storytelling. This was the rough a gruff Harry Potter for the new generation!

Like Chamber before it, Azkaban is stronger because of it's predecessors. Great set up equals great storytelling. They assume you know the basics so no time is wasted retelling it, and somehow the movie still feels complete. For example they don't explain the rules of Quidditch again but it doesn't hurt the movie at all.

The effects for the most part were beautiful, some so-so, and one that felt a little lazy. The ghostly Dementors and majestic Bugbeak both looked fantastic on screen. It's nice to see them not slip back into the problems of Sorcerer's Stone when it comes to the larger scale creatures. When it got big, the effects were grounded and believable. This movie introduced more complicated transformation effects as we see one character become a werewolf and another a rat. These looked ok, I looked at it and though "Well that's probably as good as that COULD look." But it still felt a little odd.

The one that bothered me was the soul sucking action of the Dementors. It looked horrible like the special effects department just selected a section of the screen and stretched it out. Every time it happen I was just reminded that they could have come up with something better, even if it was just a glowing light.

Loved the addition of Gary Oldman as Sirius Black. Maybe because he's just so awesome in everything that he does, but the news that eh was becoming part of the Harry Potter universe felt right. He belonged in there somewhere. To use him throughout the majority of the film as this hidden uncertain threat was great suspense. All brought to a head when he finally shows up and you can't tell whose good or whose bad. Then Snape shows up! We already weren't sure about him. That scene in the shack is one of my favorites because it's the point where all the questions that had been developing throughout the movie all come crashing together, and instead of answering them, the film just turns them inside out and adds to them. Then eventually answers them. Still, it was a lot of fun.

Time plays an important role in the movie. Specifically when Harry and Hermione travel back in time to help their past selves survive a very crazy night. . Because it plays such an important part, you see the theme of "time" echoed throughout the entire movie. Things like swinging pendulums and turning gears fill the backgrounds, and you even have that giant living tree announcing the seasons. The result is that Azkaban has the strongest senses of time passing, of all the Potter films. I think that's hugely important to reinforce the complexity of the story. Every movie takes place over the course of a school year, but in Azkaban you really feel that time passing. Scenery changing, time passing, things evolving. It's great.

One change that wasn't so welcomed was the recasting of Dumbledore after the unexpected loss of Richard Harris. Harris was brilliant as Dumbledore. He spoke with a soft sing-songy whisper. The sort of speech where you would shut up and listen because you could feel that he had something important to say, even if he didn't. Harris brought a lot of respect and dignity to the character that has not carried through.

I like his replacement Michael Gambon but he plays the role differently. He's great in the huge scenes where announcements are made. He has a big presence that demands attention, and it works in those moments. I like the way he deals with comedy. In Azkaban he provides hints for the kids to solve the problems but can't be involved himself. When he asks how it went and they tell him, he brushes it off in a very funny way. (Go rewatch it, it's awesome.)

So with the big stuff, he's fine. It's the smaller moments between Dumbledore and Harry where I really miss Harris. Gambon hasn't captured the quiet dignity that that aspect of the character needs. It was fine in Azkaban because his role was limited, but in Goblet, Dumbledore is all over the place. He sort of goes crazy after Harry's name comes out of the goblet. Even though I'd never read the book, and I don't have as close a connection with the character as the readers, I still thought it was odd. I feel like he needed to tone it down.

I support him though, and I wish him luck. Dumbledore's role in the story just gets bigger from here on out.

Those two big changes proved to be necessary. We needed a new Dumbledore and Gambon is someone that's grown on me (somewhat), and the addition of Cuaron took the franchise where it needed to go. Darker and creepier, sure, but also more sophisticated, more grown up, and more entertaining. We're getting to the real meat of the big story here. It's all been set up so we can enjoy these moments. And Cuaron's version of Azkaban brought a new level of style and charm to ease us all into the best part of the ride.

Movie: 8.5 out of 10

The best of the four, I think. From the map with the walking footprints to the crazy knight running through all the paints, this movie is filled with great ideas and great fun. I think what makes it so great is that it adds so much to the big picture. The introduction of Sirius Black and the conspiracy that put him in prison and got the Potter's killed, that alone is enough to make a great movie out of. But there's so much more going on worth noting. I won't waste your time, just go watch the movie again.

DVD features

Seems to be more of the same. Disk one lists the cast and crew and has the trailers for all three Potter films. Disk two has the usual games and trivia challenges as well as self-guided tours. Though I must say even though the activities are similar the quality has seriously gone up. The self-guided tours now include actual people that move and talk instead of just empty rooms you can look around in. It's the same? but better.

Stand outs

A feature called Head to Shrunken Head where Johnny Vaughn, and the shrunken head from the movie talk to virtually every speaking character in the movie as well as the cinematographer and director Alfonso Cuaron. It gets a little lame with the head, I mean, the kids will enjoy it and it's all done in good fun, but it still a little silly. Still, within that a lot of good information is presented.

I also enjoyed a section called Conjuring a scene where they go into the creating the characters from the sketches on up. Great way to present all the material in an interesting way.

What's missing?

A commentary. My right arm for a commentary?

DVD: 5 out of 10

Good stuff overall, but not enough to revisit. I do enjoy the way they set up the navigation with the footsteps from the map. And it's great to see how involved Alfonso Cuaron is in these extras. He went through at least 3 different interviews and he's all over the behind the scenes stuff. I wish we had gotten this much out of Columbus on the first two disks.

DVD Worthy:

It is for me. I was sort of on the fence and was going to rent it to rewatch for the review. I'm sort of glad Blockbuster was out because I went online and found out it was on sale for 8 bucks at Best Buy. That sealed the deal for me and I went right out to grab a copy. Worth ever penny.

Well, with this I'm done with Harry Potter. Until the next movie comes out anyway. Looking back it's been fun. I pretty much buried myself in those movies for a week and I admit I sort of got wrapped up in it all. I'm going to buy the first book and read it over the Thanksgiving weekend. Wish me luck. But just because the Harry potter strips are done doesn't mean the fun is!

Last week, we announced the "Kiss My Muggle Ass" T-shirt now on sale for 12 dollars (and free shipping!) over at the Digital Pimp Store. Pre-order lasts until the 2nd, so get in on it now. I can't say enough that this is a one time thing. We'll fill the orders, sell out any extras, and never order them again. Never NEVER ever!

Today's incentive is just another ad for the shirt. I promise, after the 2nd I'll stop being annoying about this.

Joe – The creator of the strip who has embraced giving crappy movies the chance they deserve. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.

First Appearance - The Introduction

Yeo – Yeo is Joe’s wife and often the voice of reason in the strip. Having her act rational allows the rest of the cast to embrace being in a comic strip which primarily involves randomly punching people, interacting with fictional characters and talking about boobs. Yeo is smart, beautiful and way too good for Joe. Don’t tip her off.

First Appearance - Fever Pitch

Irv – Joe’s movie-going sidekick who’s always down for watching Jason Statham crescent moon kick some thug through a plate glass window and getting some drinks before after and during a Vin Diesel movie. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.

First Appearance - Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

Agent 337 George Jones – A government Agent that took over for Joe after he was bad-mouthing President Bush in the V for Vendetta strip. George ran the show for over a month bring a much needed sense of patriotism and justice to both the strips and reviews. He eventually got too attached to his work, empathizing with Joe’s plight to give crappy movies a fair shake. In a way he came to love crappy movies as well and was pushed out of the position. He spiraled out of control and ended up in prison. His adventures will be told in the limited series JLCM Presents: 337 Locked Up which is set to début Christmas of 09.

First Appearance - V for Vendetta

Other Notable Appearances: Stay Alive, Ice age 2, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Slither, Here Comes Guest week, Let’s Go To Prison

Leonidas – The former king of Sparta who has traveled into the future and is having trouble coping with the modern times. Yelling loudly and kicking people into giant holes doesn’t really work the same way it did in the olden days. As time as gone by he’s adjusted but it’s a safe bet that he’s always one bad message away from throwing a spear through someone.

First Appearance - 300

Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Strip# 300, The Golden Compass, Rambo, Untraceable, The Ladies of Max Paybe

Palpatine – Former Senator, Emperor of the Galactic Empire, Sith Lord... He shows up in the Joe Loves Crappy movies galaxy on occasion to let people know that they’re being stupid. No one’s really sure how he shows up in this universe but chances are it breaks all kinds of copywrite laws.

First Appearance - Episode III: The Dark Side

Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Night Watch, Saw 3, Are We Done Yet

Slow Billy – Billy is a sweet kid but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. If you’re watching him for the day be prepared to explain to him the plot of the movie or how popcorn works or, not so much where babies come from, but what babies are. He’s a complete moron.

First Appearance - Four Brothers

Other Notable Appearances: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, Vantage Point, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Kyle the Movie Snob – Be careful what fun facts about movies you tell your friends at a friendly gathering or in line for the latest blockbuster, because if you’re even slightly wrong, Kyle will be more than happy to let you know. He usually gets what’s coming to him though. Poor guy has cracked three ribs since joining the JLCM cast.

First Appearance - Ultraviolet

Other Notable Appearances: 16 Blocks, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Jean-Luc Picard – Another lawsuit waiting to happen is Jean Luc Picard who, towards the end of the strip’s first year, became the go-to background character. If there was ever a seat to fill or a random person to place wandering around in the background, nine times out of ten it was Picard. While Picard has crossed paths with Irv he and Joe have never met. Perhaps they will some day but for now just can an eye on the background.

First Appearance - The Producers

Other Notable Appearances: I’m not telling you, that’s no fun. It’ like Where’s Waldo – go find him!

Ice Cream Sandwich – Delicious and… deadly? Usually when you see someone eating an Ice Cream sandwich, someone else is experiencing a substantial amount of pain. Still, how nice is an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day?

First Appearance - Saw IV

Other Notable Appearances: Bee Movie, Run Fatboy Run, Saw V

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