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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban

The third film installment of J. K. Rowlings popular Harry Potter series Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (opening June 4 throughout San Diego) arrives with a new director at the helm, Mexicos Alfonso Cuaron.

J. K. Rowlings wildly popular Harry Potter books were initially brought to the screen by American director Chris Columbus. Columbus (best known for such pop hits as Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire ) brought the first two Harry Potter films to the screen with much gloss and slick packaging. In his hands, the films felt very much like calculated commercial products designed to cash in on the Harry Potter craze. What saved the films was the appeal of its cast, especially its trio of young stars. Now Mexicos Alfonso Cuaron takes over directing and provides the series with a welcome change. Cuaron had previously directed another screen adaptation of a popular young readers novel, A Little Princess, as well as the hugely successful Mexican rite of passage film, Y Tu Mama Tambien.