IN&OUTTONIGHT 30 Thursday, 16 July 2009 London Lite T HEbookof HarryPotter And The Half-Blood Prince is not a particu- larly good read. Its not even a very good read by Harry Potter book standards. Its rushed and hole- speckled and too pleased with the knowledge that it would be bought and read even if it was written in the Wingdings font. And it has penultimate book in series metaphorically engraved on to every page. Its a stepping stone. Where magic and mayhem and mystery dance across the pages of JK Rowlings first five HP novels, her sixth is jam-packed with awkward teenybopper romance -- giggling girls, moaning boys and uncomfy hand-holding. For the paltry airtime this elusive Half-Blood Prince actually gets, compared with vast swathes of narrative dedicated to lusty hor- mones coursing through Hogwarts, it ought to have been called Harry Potter And The Barely Discernible Trouser Twitch. For, alas, Rowlings idea of schoolyard romance makes Stephenie Meyers Twilight series read like top-shelf pornog- raphy. It makes vampire Edward Cullens mojo resemble Brnos. Where sexual tension between Bella and Edward in Meyers novels leaves you mopping moisture from your brow, Rowlings kids tiptoe around the peripheries of love, trip- ping over consonants and sobbing, alone, into pillows. Their emotions are about as earnest and everlasting as a Peaches Geldof marriage certificate. As one astute colleague puts it: You properly fall in love with Edward b u t w i t h Harry its a b i t m o r e , Yuck, pull yourself together.. This instalment opens in the imme- diate aftermath of t he mu rde r o f Harrys godfather, Sirius Black (who e s c a p e d f r o m A z k a b a n a n d REVIEWSCINEMA Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince Cert 12A, 153 mins REVIEW BY MARTHA DE LACEY Starring role: Sam Rockwell is outstanding as Moons lead BowieJnrssuperspaceoddity Moon Cert15,97mins Alsoshowing... RAY EDDY is in a pickle. Her husbands hit the road with the Christmas cash and her clapboard house cant hold her growing sons. Local Mohawk girl Lila Littlewolf acquaints her with the seedy world of immigrant smuggling and Ray decrees that carting Chinese people across frozen water is the niftiest way to put presents under the tree. Probably isnt though, is it? Icy indie thriller with a rugged turn from Melissa Leo as Ray. Frozen River Cert 15, 97 mins Burma VJ Cert 12A, 89 mins Kisses Cert 15, 75 mins THIS captivating film features two Irish kids who escape their abusive homes on a Dublin estate and ride a barge into the city centre for a night of adventure. The two tweeners, played by Kelly ONeill and Shane Curry, find that Dublins swaggering centre is no less perilous than the environment from which they escaped, but the film is suffused with warmth. PC AS JOURNALISM goes theres not much braver than undercover reporting from a regime that punishes it by death. This documentary -- captured by Burmas renegade video journalists on handycams footage smuggled to Danish director Anders Ostergaard -- tracks the 2007 protests of Rangoons monks which began peacefully and spiralled into bloodshed. Drugsand sexareso, sotedious OH DEAR. Based on Brett Easton Elliss short story collection, this strives to be a new take on Robert Altmans brilliant Short Cuts (inspired by Raymond Carvers fiction, it was also set in LA) but ends up more an adult O.C. for the Eighties. The young cast appear an unholy mix of Duran Duran and Bros tribute acts, while Eighties icons Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder and Kim Basinger look suitably chastened at the periphery of this soulless, stunted morality tale. Graham loves drugs and s**gging both girlfriend Christie and best pal Martin. Film-producer dad Billy Bob Thornton wants another chance with his wife (Basinger), but still keeps up his affair with a newscaster (Ryder). The Informers is, says Easton Ellis, all about his twenties in LA. Crikey, how could people with so much money have so much sex and booze and be so unhappy? Ah, but thats the point: too much sex, drugs and alcohol wont make you happy. Its a blinding revelation, eh? PAUL CONNOLLY Icon: Thornton with Kim Basinger The Informers Cert 15, 98 mins IN&OUTTONIGHT joined the Order Of T he Phoenix), at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Voldemorts fiercest Death Eaters and Draco Malfoys aunt, right in front of Harrys little damp face within the Ministry Of Magics Death Chamber. Phew. As you probably gather, entering the Hazza P story here will leave you as lost as a muggle in Diagon Alley. Go away, read the books, watch the first five films and then set foot into a movie which is by no means a stand-alone story but wholly filler. The plot, as wafer-thin as wispy Luna Lovegood, goes something l i k e t h i s : H a r r y Po t t e r fancies Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), the sister of his best mate Ron Weasley who is snogging teenage sex pest Lavender Brown but is lusted after by his best girl pal Hermione Granger. Harry doesnt speak to Ginny because she already has a boyfriend and whenever Hermione sees Ron she cries. Meanwhile, Harry acquires a second-hand potion textbook with hints scribbled all over the margins by a helpful chap named The Half-Blood Prince. He gets top grades, his arch enemy Draco Malfoy is super-cross and starts offing birds (feathered variety) FED up with the whizz- bang-pow rash of recent sci-fi movies? Quite frankly, you can take your infantile Transformers sequel and story-free Terminator Salvation and stick them in the nearest black hole because David Bowies son, Duncan Jones (christened Zowie Bowie), has reinvigorated the hard sci-fi genre which enjoyed its zenith in the Seventies. It focused on believability and narrative rather than CGI orgies and robots that turn into starfighters. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Silent Running and Alien are prime examples. Moon doesnt do anything fancy -- indeed at first the story seems quite mundane. It is 2026 and Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is on the dark side of the moon, mining helium-3, now the primary source of energy for Earth. His three-year contract expires in two weeks and he cant wait to get home to his wife and daughter. This is no surprise as hes been alone all that time, with no company except for a robot named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey). However, Sam has an accident in his lunar buggy and wakes up to find that the situation on the station is more than a little baffling. To reveal any more would be to spoil an intriguing twist -- suffice to say that Sam is not quite as alone as he thought he was. Moon works because Jones pays attention to the detail, whether thats the story (which only has a couple of holes), the set (suitably battered and dirty) and the special effects (which cost about 50p but look admirably authentic). But whats most notable is Rockwell, in a career-defining performance as a slowly unravelling working Joe who starts to question his real role in the fabric of life. PC 30 Thursday, 16 July 2009 London Lite IN&OUTTONIGHT Harrys magic wears a bit thin Always wear protection: Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html