Wednesday, July 18, 2007

HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, the first hit to satisfy my summer-long Harry Potter withdraw arrives, albeit a little late due to vacation issues. As I watched the movie, I was coming off an extreme Potter high. I re-read the fifth and sixth book, and have had several countdowns going for both book #7 and movie #5. I was so bladder-burstingly excited, that I will most probably watch the movie again so that I can attempt to view it objectively and not like such a geek.

First impression, however, was very good. I was very pleases with the amounts of the book they kept in the movie. As always, there were a few parts of the book I was excited about seeing set to film which left me wanting(i.e. The swamp the Weasley's create, any kind of storyline explaining Percy, more Tonks, and more Kreacher) But for the length of the film I thought David Yates did what he could translating the fairly long book.

Probably one of my favorite scenes was the opening sequence with the dementors. The guerrilla camera work and eerie feel of the setting make dementor attack that more creepy and scary. Everything that they did include in the movie looked awesome. The Department of Mysteries exceeded my imagination, and the legimens and occlumency scenes utilized the medium of film perfectly. Flashes of thoughts and memories that are hard to articulate but easy to relate visually.

The acting, overall, was an improvement. I think the kids have all gotten better with each movie, not as much over-acting as before. Even though, I can't imagine a more stiff or awkward kiss than the one between Harry and Cho Chang. It is like she is his creepy cousin who is blackmailing him by threatening to reveal where he hides his porn to his parents unless he teaches her how to kiss. Yikes.

Gary Oldman was brilliant, as usual, as was Alan Rickman, who is one of the reasons I don't know how I will wait until the sixth movie, he hasn't really had a chance to show what he is made of, and in #6 he has such a major role.

My only complaint would have to be Michael Gambon, who, while proven to be an excellent actor, ruins each movie for me. It can't be the director because there have been three different ones and he still delivers the same performance. Besides having absolutely no chemistry with any of the other actors, I doubt he has even read the books!! Dumbledore is never flustered or stressed or shouting at students. Dumbledore is calm, polite, and omniscient above all. Even if he doesn't know what to do, he never lets on. What are you huffing and puffing about Dumbledore #2? Why do you feel the need to pace and rub your forehead at every bump in the road? And why doesn't anyone say this? Am I alone? Insane? Three different directors, whom I assume have read the books, let this pass? No notes?

If this keeps up, the 6th movie is guaranteed to blow, even though David Yates is set to direct again. Hopefully, he’ll get to business.

Remember: 2 days until Deathly Hallows. I’ll try and hold out until then!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

The only calm, serene parts of this movie are when Bruce Willis thinks to himself, “Hmm…what else can I drive car into?” Don’t worry, he comes up with a lot of different ideas, including, my favorite, where he miraculously gets an SUV inside and down an elevator shaft. Explosions and action are very, very, awesome and almost non-stop.

I have to say, I really had my doubts about this movie. I am a huge Die Hard fan, so I was going to see the movie even if Bruce Willis told me himself that it was a piece of shit. I was however pleasantly surprised that it was not horrible. Now, it was no Die Hard or Die Hard with a Vengeance, but honestly not bad. There are amazing action sequences with almost every type of vehicle ever made. Bruce Willis at 157 years old is still one of the sexiest men in the movie business. Forgetting the fact that he could be my dad, Bruce’s ass-kicking in this movie has further cemented his status on my “Top 10 List of Celebrities with Whom My Boyfriend Will Allow Me One Night of Passion” (looking for a more concise title) he is now somewhere between Johnny Depp and Fry from Futurama.

A couple things I could have done without were: (1) the completely asexual kid from the mac commercials. Oh my God, has anyone in the world ever had less sex appeal than this kid? If the movie producers wanted a nerd, who makes quick jokes Bruce Vilanch would have made a more attractive alternative to Justin Long and his emaciated panda-like features.

(2) The villain. Whoever that dolt of an actor is, I want to punch him in the face. His vomit-inducing acting was not helping the fact that his character had little to no motive to do any of the scary things he did in the movie. Worst of all he was in the Hitman trailer as the main character. As if a Hitman movie isn’t bad enough, it is guaranteed that this guy and his stupid face are going to be in the public eye again. Ick.

Basically, this movie is exactly what you expect it to be, a fun, action packed film filled with physical and technical impossibilities and somewhat of a plot. If you expect any oscar-worthy performances or writing, well then you’re just dumb.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rats are cute if they are animated

In Ratatouille, Brad Bird, a rare disappointment (Iron Giant, The Incredibles), strikes again with a sweet, not-just-for-kids comedy. Of course, the movie began with a very funny short film called Lifted, which truly spoke to my inner sci-fi nerd. Cute, little aliens…I’m there. Ratatouille, the story of an artistically frustrated rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) trying to make it in the world of Parisian culinary arts, brings about a sigh of relief for moviegoers thus-far disappointed with summer blockbusters. “Finally!” you will exclaim, “A movie this summer that didn’t grossly fall short of my expectations!”

The animation was vibrant and scarily realistic, especially in the scenes with swarms of rats scurrying around kitchens. I could almost smell the delicious food cooking up on the screen. Bird has cleverly balanced making animation look real and still keep that cartoony, fantasy feel. Remy’s big eyes, cute nose, and squeaks really win you over, but just when you resolve to get that pet rat, the words TUBERCULOUSIS or BUBONIC PLAGUE sporadically flash across your mind, and that is a tribute to the very realistic animation. It would be gross, if it wasn’t so cute.

But animation is not everything. Let us not forget the hemorrhoid-twisting torture of sitting through Shark Tale. The story, like rats, is warm and fuzzy, but not overly-sentimental. It is a film about friendship, equality, and following your dreams. To not like this movie you must either have no sense of humor or a cold, cold heart. Excluding The Grinch, Senator Palpatine, or Dick Cheney, everyone will enjoy this movie.