I wrote this short review in 1997. I went into seeing The Crucible with an expectation it must a meaningful film as the book the film was based on dealt meaningfully with a serious subject. Here is this piece, on the anniversary of The Crucible. The film was released on November 27, 1996, twenty-five years ago to the day.

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“Magnificent fingers”, says Cecil Parkes, as he shows adolescent David Helgoff Rachmaninov ‘s sculptured fingers, serving as inspiration for the piano-playing prodigy, in the movie Shine (Released November 22, 1996). Parkes assists Helgoff hit the right note on playing Rachmaninov No.3 while the young musical genius is on a scholarship at the Royal College in London. They say the No.3 is feared for its inherent challenges in perfecting, something Helgoff’s father Peter, a German Jewish immigrant in Australia, insists his son perfects. The pressure of life gets to Helgoff and he is taken to the psychiatric institution. His upbringing under the expectations of his father makes him need to please and, in the end, disappoints. But despite these darker moments of life, I observe that Helgoff seems to learn the “joy of living” for the first time in his life.

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Good ole bugs and co

The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie (1981). Released November 20, 1981. A lively Warner Brothers cartoon feature film featuring the famous cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Tweety Bird, and others, in various stories, one a crime story, another a western, and so on, with some sort of moral to it (self-control, temperance, and so on). Also quite ‘violent’ perhaps when Yosemite Sam goes seeking revenge. However, what should be, depending on one’s disposition, a good time. What works well is how the pop culture icons play off each other in rather clever fashion. Yet, for me there were only sporadic laughs to be had, more amusing than funny, mostly tired. However, I had worse movie experiences.

Powers of life

I took an instinctually opposing view to the seemingly prevalent Christian view on Harry Potter. Here’s my review of the first film which I think reflects a grind against the status quo. Of course I was emotionally right at the time, but whether I am or not, I located a common theme and an okay movie which some would say is positive.

The rub that Christians had against the film was it representation and depiction of ‘witchcraft’ but other Christians said the depiction of witches and wizards was sketchy and mechanical and could not be taken realistically.

However the strongest argument against Harry Potter was how children could take the magic in it. Adults may take it as sketchy, but do children have the ability to? To them, it may be fun-fantastical. But Christian were warning that witchcraft is not to be flirted with as it can lead to real life magic.

However, some children may not even be aware of the so-called magical inferences.

In sum, Christians with differing angles all came from a Christian basis. So, we had Christians with the same basis writing and speaking about the same movie from differing angles.

Here’s what I said. I took Harry Potter as fiction with all that entails and included my own Christian perspective on the theme of the film. This is different than approaching Harry Potter as film which is what those against the film did. They had a negative view of the film as a film. The view taken was obviously that magic is wrong for children and they should not engage the film.

As for me, I took the film without raising an issue of conscience for me individually. It was something to watch. I saw it as a story, as fiction, something with a theme. I didn’t take the magic in the film seriously.

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Good idea

Space Jam (1996). Released November 15, 1996. Unfortunately, this is a redundant animated fantasy in more ways than one. I expected better. When it comes to films where you expect a lot of fun, there can be a falling short of one’s expectations, though.

It’s a novel idea which attracts one to watch (but just an idea until fully executed) where outer space aliens set up a basketball match against the Looney Tunes, those famous Warner Brother cartoons. They get assistance from Michael Jordan as himself (back in the day in character mode) who comes out of retirement to face the aliens on court.

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Film Review 1982-1983, edited by F. Maurice Speed

For an annual that covers significant films released in 1981, Chariots of Fire (1981) was not reviewed in this annual, but there is an easy explanation. The film was released before the coverage period of this annual (July 1, 1981 – June 30, 1982, in Great Britain). Chariots of Fire was reviewed in the previous annual.

Otherwise, the author, in his introduction, praised the film for its artistic qualities. He also signaled it out for the fact that it was British and a major contributor to the British film resurgence in the world at the time. He saw more positive signs in British film production and gave a survey of places in the world – apart from America – where production was taking off.

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