Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Rated 5.0 The sun barely cracks through the gray clouds in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a surprising stylistic departure for the steadily improving film franchise. While the series got a bit darker with its second installment (Chamber of Secrets), Azkaban could qualify as the year’s best horror movie to date. Full of flying creatures resembling the grim reaper, a psycho Gary Oldman and a werewolf far creepier than those oversized jokes in Van Helsing, this is scary stuff. From the onset, it’s obvious that Azkaban intends to take the series over to the dark side. Producers took a big gamble on this one, hiring Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá También) to take over their cash cow. It’s impressive to see how much artistic license they’ve allowed Cuarón. He opts for a washed-out, appropriately dark look more suitable to art-house offerings rather than summer blockbusters. This is the best in the series so far. (CPL, CR, CS, ER, NM)