80. The Corpse Bride (B)
81. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (B+)
82. Beauty and the Beast (A+)
83. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (B)
84. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (B)
85. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (A+)
86. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (B+/A-)
Prelude to Potterdammerung, Part 1: Film Series Rewatch: Newell Directions
Cuaron unfortunately couldn't do this one, due to, among other things, production overlap, and after Newell things were entrusted permanently (as it turned out) to David Yates. Though I always hoped a little that he'd return, the succeeding hands were capable. The resulting film is, for a variety of reasons, not up to the standard of its immediate predecessor or its successors, but it remains a step up from the first two.
Most notably, we're firmly into the period where significant cuts have to be made to the material to make a suitable film. Newell and Kloves do a decent job, but there are concessions made here that eat up screentime better used for other things. Most notably: why is Rita Skeeter here? Miranda Richardson does a good job, and her scenes are quite funny, but they don't finish her plot (which was, frankly, a sideplot anyway) and the subsequent movies don't use her (and don't need to). That character should have been axed and the minutes redeployed elsewhere (reducing the choppiness of the opening would probably have been my main use, and perhaps a bit more wand-related exposition for those who haven't read the books).
All the same, it's on the whole very good. The writers, now by necessity, contine to innovate, introducing new stuff that fits the spirit of the books; as with Half-Blood Prince, the new character comedy bits are the most successful, and a lot of these I'd forgotten about in the years since I last saw this movie. McGonagall dragooning Ron as her dance partner, for instance - classic. They also conjure up a striking new dramatic tableau by having Harry conscious upon his return from the graveyard. The Death Eaters costumes are quite cool; I kind of miss them in the subsequent ones, though the redesign was cool too.
Ralph Fiennes joins the cast and does a good job as Lord Voldemort. Among the leads, Radcliffe continues to grow as an actor. Some of Michael Gambon's acting choices in this one have been criticized, and I do think he seems a little overly emotional, but the character is written that way in this one, so I'm not sure if he could have played it that differently. Showing Dumbledore so clearly at a loss is an interesting writing choice (in the book he was at arms length the whole way through).
Oh, and remember the days when it was "Cedric will be playing Edward" instead of "isn't that Edward as Cedric"?