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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Confession: the juvenilia and wizard bling of the first two Potter movies left me cold. Whatever magic author J.K. Rowling worked on the page evaporated onscreen. Things improved last year with The Prisoner of Azkaban. Alfonso Cuaron, the Mexican director of the erotic road movie Y Tu Mama Tambien, let Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) show evidence of hormones in their third term at Hogwarts. Now director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), the first Brit to direct the Brit franchise, makes further advances. Within limits, of course. Screenwriter Steve Kloves, ever faithful to Rowling, doesn’t mess with overt sex. But as Harry and his mates fret over who to take to the Yule Ball, there’s no mistaking the stirrings of puberty. Newell also does the action proud, staging an exciting Triwizard Tournament and an underwater chase involving evil spirits. Scariest of all is Ralph Fiennes doing his Red Dragon as Lord Voldemort, the fiend who killed Harry’s parents. Freud would have loved this Goblet. With the cast getting looser and the mind games kinkier, it’s hard to resist.

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