Movie Synopsis: At Hogwarts for his fifth schooling year, and fresh from an encounter with Voldemort who is now back, Harry finds strange problems with the Ministry of Magic, who are denying Voldemort’s return.  Harry is also having trouble with seeing visions that are troubling him, and he and the other students have to deal with a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Dolores Umbridge, who is also the eyes and ears of the Ministry of Magic, and trying to stop anyone from speaking out about the truth.  As Harry works through all these challenges and tries to find some answers from a strangely evasive Dumbledore, he knows that things are coming to a head, and that a showdown with Voldemort and his Death Eaters is only a question of when, not if.

Movie Review: This fifth movie in the series is the first by British Director David Yates, who ends up directing all movies from this point forward.  Yates’ camera work and overall style is markedly different from the previous movie, and works extremely well in this movie.  The film explores the themes of power, politics and control which are present in the book very nicely.  Yates and screenwriter Michael Goldenberg (this is the only film that screenwriter Steve Kloves is not present for) have done a great job taking the very large novel and breaking down its key elements and plot points, so that the key pieces are clearly before the camera.  Scenes like the Umbridge/Potter punishment scene are as weirdly disturbing as one imagines from the written scene in the novel.  Another strong scene is the final action sequence, which is truly an intense, exciting, visually stunning feast.  The overall direction of Yates has led to a success with this film.  Acting from all the cast is extremely strong, and Daniel Radcliffe really is starting to shine as the title character with a strong performance throughout.  Overall, this is a great film, with lots of action, plot and character development, and rich storylines that continue to bring Rowling’s vast imagination to life on the screen.  Well done!

Overall Review: 5 stars out of 5