Posted at 12:08 PM on July 15, 2009
by Euan Kerr
Filed under: Film
From the first breakneck race through London to the final creepy credit, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is a winner.
While it'll be no surprise that the legions of Potter fans will swamp theaters this week and beyond, what is pleasing about this phenomenon is movie fans will be treated to a fine piece of cinema.
Director David Yates and Director of Photography Bruno Delbonnel have taken Steve Kloves' screenplay of J.K. Rowling's book and created a nigh-perfect blend of drama, horror and humor which stimulates, satisfies, and entertains.
It's the actors who make the Potter films, of course. The three young wizards Harry (Daniel Radcliffe,) Hermione (Emma Watson,) and Ron (Rupert Grint) have grown into their roles and impart not only the trials and tribulations of adolescence and young love, but inject a clearer understanding that with all the fun and games of what they are learning at Hogwarts School, there is a deeply disturbing undercurrent to magic which threatens to overwhelm them, the school, and humanity.
As Harry, Daniel Radcliffe begins to explore the responsibilities of being 'the Chosen One" who will battle the evil Voldemort, and see the similarities between his own life and that of the young man who was to become the Dark Lord. He handles it well.
The central three are backed up by the cream of British theater, and it's truly wonderful to watch the likes of Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, and David Thewlis slip in and out of the action, giving an effortless power to the whole production. Indeed there are moments where the film becomes for a Gambon film as Dumbledore sets out to take on the gathering powers of darkness. And the introduction of Jim Broadbent as potions professor Horace Slughorn is simply a delight.
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is the shortest two and a half hours that I have spent in the movie theater in some time. With Oscar now offering the new extended list of best film nominees, it will be interesting to see if this film makes the cut.
That's today's question on MPRnewsQ, in light of the fact that the St. Paul City Council is considering whether to dedicate funds to the creation and maintenance of public art.
The debate around public art funding has been simmering of late, with Governor Pawlenty criticizing Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak for spending half a million dollars on public art drinking fountains. Rybak's office responded the amount of money is a wise investment given the revenue the arts generate for the city.
Time and time again public art has been shown to play a key role in the quality of life of a community.
So what's the right answer? Today's question has already provoked some interesting responses.
Melinda Childs writes:
Art and culture is always an easy target in times of economic hardship but many would argue that it is these times when we need art and culture the most as a way to give ourselves perspective and to create dialog and a sense of community.
Kevin Watters counters:
This question hits at the root of "what is government for?" and "How big should government be?" I think government should not be in the business of spending YOUR discretionary income.
Non-controversial art is entertainment. People support what they enjoy being entertained with by paying to see it. We do not have the 'right' to 'free', government sponsored entertainment.
Aaron Perleberg falls inbetween the two camps:
This is a classic debate of cost vs benefit; which I am sure will produce some strong differing opinions. When the people vote on the matter, as they did in the 2008 constitutional amendment, it is the perfect example of when public art is a good use. The people had the opportunity to voice their opinion about how much money & what it would go towards. When the people have a chance to speak, I think it's great use of public art. When appointed bureaucrats in appointed positions start dictating when & where - then I don't think it is a good use of public dollars.
Where do you fall? When would you want your taxpayer dollars spent on public art?(4 Comments)