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Pat Morita Waxes Off
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Pat Morita, who starred in the “Karate Kid” movies and in such TV shows as “Happy Days,” died Thursday of natural causes in Las Vegas. He was 73.

He rose to fame as diner owner Arnold on “Happy Days” during the 1975-76 season. But he’s probably best remembered as the wise Karate teacher Mr. Miyagi in four “Karate Kid” movies, dispensing such immortal advice as “wax on, wax off.” He earned an Oscar nomination for the first “Karate Kid” movie in 1984.

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Book Spotlight: The Lonely Tombstone
Empress Eve   |  @   |  

The Lonely Tombstone"The Lonely Tombstone" is a new 32-page illustrated picture book from Image Comics. Horror writer Steve Niles ("30 Days of Night") is joined by his wife Nikki Niles and artist Ben Roman ("I Luv Halloween") to craft the tale of Darla, an outcast little girl who befriends — of all things — a tombstone! A creepy children’s story in the vain of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton that’s sure to become a beloved classic.

— Empress Eve
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Geek Wars at the Movies
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Apparently Freddy Krueger is such a badass that Jason needs backup. And who could possibly have the hockey-masked killer’s back — Michael Myers, of course.

In a possible sequel to “Freddy Vs. Jason,” in which Krueger got the best of Jason, it might be two against one.

Robert Englund, who plays Freddy Krueger, tells Fangoria magazine that “New Line Cinema has commissioned two scripts: one is Freddy Vs. Jason and Michael Myers, or Freddy Vs. Michael Myers — I’m not quite sure how that works… The other one is a prequel; apparently it’s not that prequel script that’s been floating around for several years — it’s something new. They will select one of those two [projects].”

We’d rather see The Highlander Vs. Flash Gordon — and we want half the royalties.

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‘Harry Potter 4’: The Book Vs. The Movie
Empress Eve   |  @   |  

There were talks initially of making “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” into two movies since the book is more than 700 pages, but the filmmakers opted instead to cut some of the background stories, subplots, and minor characters — and cut away they did.

Here’s a synopsis of the movie:

Harry Potter is once again unwillingly thrust into the spotlight after the Goblet of Fire unexpectedly chooses his name, forcing the underage wizard to represent Hogwarts in the international Triwizard Tournament, where he must risk his life competing against three older students while mastering three extremely dangerous tasks. As Harry prepares for his upcoming challenges and copes with anger and jealousy from his fellow students, his evil nemesis, Lord Voldemort, continues to regain strength after summoning his most loyal followers, the Death Eaters, to plot the dark lord’s ultimate rise to power and the final destruction of Harry Potter!

Now, here’s a look at what you didn’t see in “Goblet of Fire”:


— When we first see Harry in the film, he’s waking up at the Weasley household near the end of the summer. Cut is Harry’s struggle to leave the Dursleys, his reluctant Muggle relatives with whom he’s forced to spend each summer. Cut is the struggle with cousin Dudley’s strict dieting and lack of food for Harry.

— The Quidditch World Cup: The spectators must dress and appear to camp out like Muggles, because the World Cup is held on Muggle grounds. There are NO scenes of the actual game (which is the final match of the series between Ireland and Bulgaria, with Britain hosting for the first time in 30 years). Also, after the game, when the Dark Mark (Lord Voldemort’s sign) is sent up in the sky, we see who did it. In the book, Winky the house elf is a prime suspect, since she is later found at the scene; the real culprit was hidden under an invisibility cloak the entire time and was NOT revealed until the end of the book.

— Absent are ALL the house elves (including Winky) and Hermione’s fight for their rights. While the house elves can be quite annoying characters, their existence provided a major storyline for Hermione, who created the organization for elfish rights known as S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare).

— Rita Skeeter, the nosy Enquirer-like reporter, has only one major scene, in which she interviews Harry right before the first Triwizard task, otherwise her constant libelous news articles are gone. Throughout the book, Rita’s news stories contained secret information, yet how she was obtaining such information was unknown. It’s later revealed that Rita is an illegal animagus (a wizard capable of shape shifting into an animal; “illegal” because she is not registered) and was eavesdropping on private conversations while disguised as a beetle!

— The relationship between Hagrid and Beauxbatons Academy headmistress Madame Maxime is downplayed and there’s no controversy over her suspected Giant heritage, which was revealed in one of Rita Skeeter’s new stories. Madame Maxine is described in the book as a large woman the size of Hagrid (who we now find out is half Giant), but in the movie she is much taller than him. Also in the film, the two share hardly any dialogue and are seen together only a few times.

— The movie explains only how Harry was able retrieve the golden egg from his dragon in the first task, without mentioning the others’ strategies. In the book, we find out from Ron that Cedric transfigured a rock into a dog, which lured the dragon away; Fleur put her dragon into a trance-like sleep; and Krum blasted his dragon in the eye with the Conjunctivitus Curse (Krum got points off because his injured dragon accidentally trampled some of the real eggs.)

— There’s no mention of the Marauder’s Map, which Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody “borrows” from Harry after catching him eavesdropping. Harry also uses the map to cautiously roam the halls of Hogwarts and into the Prefect’s bathroom to solve the golden-egg clue. (The movies never really went into detail about the origins of the “invisible” map, which allows the user to view the location of every occupant at Hogwarts. The map was created by Remus “Moony” Lupin, Sirius “Padfoot” Black, James “Prongs” Potter, and Peter “Wormtail” Pettigrew, who were best friends while at Hogwarts and were known as The Marauders.)

— In the last task, the opponents had to navigate through a maze to get to the Triwizard Cup to win the tournament. This is shown quickly in the movie and the only consistent danger appears to be the collapsing of the walls, yet in the book Harry is forced to use his wit and knowledge of spells to plot his course and face a dementor, a boggart, Blast-Ended Skrewt (like a giant Scorpion), a gigantic spider, and a sphinx.

— When Harry is captured in the graveyard after the last task, Voldemort calls upon his Death Eaters to reaffirm their loyalties. When they arrive, hooded and masked, Voldemort quickly shouts their last names, but the only one truly revealed is Lucius Malfoy. (In the official credits, only Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius, is credited by character name; the other actors are listed simply as “Death Eater.”) Without much explanation, Voldemort forgives them and moves on with his plans to kill Harry. In the book, he tortures some of his own followers as punishment for abandoning him. We find out what bidding each Death Eater did for Voldemort (who they killed or tortured). It’s also clearly described WHO these people are, which is important since Harry attends Hogwarts with many of the Death Eaters’ children. (These Death Eaters are the ones who somehow escaped imprisonment at Azkaban, mainly because they denounced their loyalty to Voldemort and/or confessed to the Ministry the names of other Death Eaters.) These are the DEATH EATERS who appear at the graveyard: Malfoy, Crabbe, Doyle, Avery, MacNair, Nott, Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail).

— When Lord Voldemort calls his servants back to him in the graveyard, all appear except for those imprisoned at Azkaban (for their allegiance to him). But there are two others who do not answer their master’s call: Professor Snape (who switched his loyalty to Dumbledore years ago) and Igor Karkaroff, the headmaster for Durmstrang Institute, who years before betrayed his fellow Death Eaters by revealing their names to the authorities in exchange for his own acquittal. When this event happens in the book, we find out that when Karkaroff (who was suspected of teaching Dark Arts — not just Defense Against the Dark Arts — at his school) feels the burning of his master’s call, he flees in fear, leaving his students to return home without him.

— Left out of the film is the entire dialogue by Voldemort as he awaits the arrival of his Death Eaters. In the book, this is the time where he explains his family history to Harry as they stand upon the grave of Voldemort’s Muggle father, Thomas Riddle. (The Riddle house is up on the hill from the graveyard. This is the house we see in the opening of the movie where Voldemort kills the caretaker Frank Bryce.) Voldemort says his mother fell in love with Riddle, who then abandoned her after finding out she was a witch. (His father “didn’t like magic.”) His mother then died in childbirth and Voldemort was sent to live in a Muggle orphanage. He later vowed revenged on his father.

— During the final duel between Harry and Voldemort, their wands connect by a beam of light and the ghost-like echoes of Voldemort’s last kills appear (Harry’s parents, caretaker Frank Bryce, Cedric Diggory; in the book, Bertha Jorkins also appears). In the book, Dumbledore explains that Harry and Voldemort’s wands share a core, each containing a feather from the same phoenix (in this case, Dumbledore’s pet phoenix Fawkes). When “brother” wands meet in battle, the Reverse Spell takes effect (Priori Incantatem) and the initial spells will not work properly.

— Sirius has hardly any role in the events of the film. Sirius (played by Gary Oldman) appears once to Harry in the Gryffindor Common Room fireplace and sends one message to Harry via Owl. In the book, there are many Owl posts between the two, where Sirius tries to counsel Harry and, at one point, Harry starts receiving daily messages from Sirius. In the end, Sirius arrives at Hogwarts as the black dog Padfoot (the animal Sirius can transform into) to watch over Harry as he recovers; Sirius also takes human form at that time as well, in order to hear Harry explain what happened after the last task.

— Weasley twins George and Fred get a lot of screen time, but their joke creations and gambling are left out, as is the fact that Harry gives them his one thousand Galleon winnings so they can start up their own joke shop on the condition that they use some of the money to buy Ron some new dress robes. (In the book Ron’s mom buys him a second-hand dress robe that looks, much to Ron’s mortification, like a moldy maroon dress with lace frill collar and cuffs. In the movie we see Ron reluctantly wearing the robe to the Yule Ball.)

— At the end of the movie, we find that Barty Crouch Jr. (a convicted Death Eater, who we see sending up the Dark Mark at the beginning of the film) has been using polyjuice potion the entire year to disguise himself as the former Auror and current Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Mad-Eye Moody. Once Crouch Jr. is captured, he’s given a truth serum (Veritaserum) and reveals where he’s concealed the real Moody. After a short speech by Dumbledore about the death of Cedric, the movie ends rather quickly with a generic lament from Hermione about how things will never be the same from now on. In the book, Crouch Jr. gives a lengthier confession before the authorities from the Ministry arrive. Before he can give official testimony that Voldemort has returned and is responsible for many unsolved crimes, Dementors are summoned (on the orders of Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge) and take Crouch Jr.’s soul, rendering him incapacitated.

Here are some characters (some reoccurring) who did not make it onto the big screen…

— The aforementioned house elves, who play a large role in the book by being accessories to various crimes (not really their fault, since they are bound by law to their masters).

— The mischievous ghosts that roam the halls of Hogwarts, like Peeves the Poltergeist and Gryffindor ghost Nearly Headless Nick (played by John Cleese in the previous movies). Bathroom-haunting ghost Moaning Myrtle DOES appear in the film and plays a significant role in helping Harry figure out the clue for the second task.

— The Sorting Hat. Each new school year, incoming freshmen take turns donning the Sorting Hat, which tells them which house they’ll belong to (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw). In movie, the customary sorting is not shown.

— Several former and current Hogwarts professors. Trelawney, the Divination teacher who constantly predicts Harry’s death (played by Emma Thompson in the last movie); Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank, the substitute Care of Magical Creatures teacher, who takes over for Hagrid after his part-Giant heritage is revealed. There are several teachers shown during the Triwizard Games and in the Hogwarts dining hall, but none are given dialogue or mentioned by name. (Hogwarts professors given official credits listing are Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Moody, Hagrid, and Flitwick — played by Warwick Davis).

— Not a character, but a location: Hogsmeade, a special place that the students of Hogwarts visit each year to shop and drink “butterbeers” at the local pub Three Broomsticks. In the book, the students spend the day in the village of Hogsmeade (in Scotland) shopping at Gladrags Wizardware, but more importantly, Harry secretly meets here with Sirius, who is disguised as Padfoot the dog and is accompanied by Hagrid’s beloved friend Buckbeak the hippogriff. We also find out that Sirius and Buckbeak (both escaped prisoners) have been hiding in a cave in the mountains of the village for most of the year (Buckbeak does not appear in the film.)

— Members of the Weasley family: Mom Mrs. Molly Weasley (who helps nurse Harry back to health at the end of the book); third eldest son Percy the upstanding former Head Boy who now works for Barty Crouch Sr. at the Ministry (in the book, Percy takes on some of Crouch’s work responsibilities, like chaperoning the Yule Ball at Hogwarts, after Crouch “falls ill”); second eldest son Charlie, who works with dragons in Romania, is supposed to be one of the Dragon keepers shown in the film, but he gets no on-screen face time or dialogue and is not credited; and eldest son Bill appears in the book along with his family at the Quidditch World Cup and at other large events, but isn’t even mentioned in the film.

— Lugo Bagman, former Quidditch star and now the head of Magic Games and Sports. His serious compulsive gambling problem caused him to go bankrupt. He’s wanted by many for paying off his debts with Leprechaun gold, and by goblins creditors after losing his bet on the winner of the Triwizard Tournament. Throughout the book, Lugo did a lot to help Harry win his challenges, even though he was a judge for the tournament.

An entire subplot is missing in the film. Here’s what was omitted…

Barty Crouch Jr., a convicted Death Eater, was imprisoned at Azkaban. His dying mother switched places with her son (by use of Polyjuice Potion), and persuaded her husband, Barty Crouch Sr. (who was the Minister of Magic at the time of his son’s arrest), to protect him. Crouch Sr. then kept his son confined at home to prevent him from returning to Lord Voldemort’s service. Bertha Jorkins, a witch who worked at the Ministry, accidentally discovered this secret. To keep her quiet, Crouch Sr. performed a Memory Charm on her. Bertha was later abducted and killed by Lord Voldemort after he extracted information from her by means of torture. Voldemort then finds Crouch Jr. and they plot to have Crouch Jr. pose as Moody and arrange for Harry to win the Triwizard Cup. (Before the task, Crouch Jr., disguised as Moody, would convert the Cup into a Portkey that would send Harry straight into Voldemort’s trap. This part is revealed in the movie during Crouch Jr.’s forced confession.) Voldemort also put Crouch Sr. under the Imperius Curse (one of the three Unforgivable Curses, in which the victim is under the control of the person who cast the spell). This is why, in the book, Crouch Sr. is seen acting very strangely on the grounds at Hogwarts, and later is absent from much of the events due to his “illness.” Crouch Sr. eventually went mad from the curse and was killed by his son after attempting to warn Dumbledore of Voldemort’s return.

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