Sunday, July 26, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

This past Friday my wife and I celebrated our fourth anniversary. We had the special dinner on Friday and then I thought it would be nice to take her out for dinner and a movie on Saturday. The wife wanted lobster and lobster is what she received. Thankfully she also was psyched to see Potter, as I devised that she would. The last few weeks I have tried to slip in viewings of the previous Potter flicks to get me back up to speed for the 6th film in the series. I really enjoyed the last film, The Order of the Phoenix, especially the wizard duel at the end between Voldemort and Dumbledore, and I imagine if I were able to see it as Cody did on IMAX I would have loved it even more. Where the OotP focused on the politics of Voldemort's return. This chapter explores the consequences of those actions as Voldemort and his minions are let loose on the Wizarding World and the Muggle world. Both Tamar and I agreed that this film captured the tone and pacing of the books perfectly. This is a long flick for sure but it's worth it. Especially since it allows some of the supporting cast, like Ron, to have some key scenes that he hasn't had in three or four movies.Voldemort and his little band of Death Eaters have essentially become terrorists. They wreak havoc on London killing muggles and destroying bridges. Meanwhile Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) asks Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) to help him recruit an old teacher back to Hogwarts. Apparently he retains a memory of the Dark Lord from his school days that reveals a crucial piece to discovering the key to Voldermort's power. Professor Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) is what one would loving call a Star Fucker. He attaches himself to the most famous wizards and witches in order to leech off of them once they hit the big time. While at school Ron (Rupert Grint) finds himself trapped between two girls, Hermoine (Emma Watson) and a new girl Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave). This plot thread was most fun, it was nice to see Ron get a little more screen time, the kid has great comic timing, which balances out all of the dark forboding Voldermort stuff. The cinematography was lush and pretty especially the stuff they shot at the Burrow. I wish the battle were a little more action packed, but even still it packed a punch. I also really enjoyed the Tom Riddle, Voldermort back story as Harry and Dumbledore try to piece together the evil Wizard's journey in order to defeat him. Also, little brat, Malfoy gets a beefed up role as he attempts to do bad things in the name of Voldemort. Tom Felton as Malfoy is starting to add the layers to this once one dimensional character. Personally I wish they would have done more with Snape and his history. Alan Rickman is always excellent in this role and you want to see so much more of him. For those who have not read the books, I'm afraid you may still be left in the dark for a good portion of the film. One of the key sacrifices is the explanation and backstory for the Half Blood Prince. But overall the performances were really excellent, especially Jim Broadbent, he brings a very interesting, if not always likeable, character to life. I also think Daniel Radcliffe has really begun to utilize his acting chops. He's got some very funny bits in the film. He's earning his leading man status and I look forward to see the conclusion over the next two films.Grade: 4 Buckets

Monday, July 20, 2009

Star Wars Dukes

If Star Wars went Country--this is what it would look like.

Monday, July 06, 2009

"The space-time continuum be damned!" or my review for Transformers 2

Hello All, I still haven't had a chance to see the new Transformers flick, but my good friend Ori did. So check out his review below and hopefully I'll be able to catch it this weekend and throw in my two cents. Here's Ori!!

I thought I should share this with you, If you havent seen the movie beware of spoilers!!! If Transformers can be described as an Eyegasm, Transformers 2 should be called Pr-EYE-apism!For a good orgasm you need some making out time and a good afterglow. Otherwise how would you know when you've reached the peak? In the Transformers case watching all those fast paced visuals for over two hours without any breaks or ebbs is painful and exhausting.... All that non-stop action just makes the really good scenes, the forest fight and the finale battle of super Optimus, disappear in comparison to the maelstrom of graphics. It is obvious the writers of the movie learned from their previous script that people wanted more cartoon related stuff and they managed to add some good nods to the show, be it Jetfire (with basically his whole story intact), the Matrix of leadership, Megatron/Starscream relationship and let's not forget the cartoon movie nod of Optimus' death.
On the other hand the writers totally missed the other point that people complained about before.... the lack of character to the robots. In TF we had a bunch of two dimensional robots with some cool lines and confusing designs, but you knew who they were when they were in their vehicle forms... at least THAT! In TF2 we have MORE robots, who transform once, named twice, appear for about 10 seconds, have one line, and get blown up or just jump off screen. Even the established Autobots are barely in the movie... it's mostly humans running around and Decepticons causing havok.... Yes some designs are awesome - Ravage is cool, Devastator is great, and Soundwave is a stroke of genius - but that's not enough, especially since the good guys are almost non-existent.Let me now relate to the title of this review, the space-time continuum, or the lack of it, in this case, I'm not THAT much of a stickler when it comes to geography. Well, maybe I am, it pissed me off in "Kingdom of Heaven" that Jerusalem was in the middle of a flat desert, that was too much of a stretch for me. In the first TF it didn’t bother me that much that it takes about 30 minutes to travel from the Hoover Dam to LA, or that it turns from noontime to dusk in a matter of seconds, only to go back to noon time again, but for god's sake, WTF!? in TF2 it appears as if wormholes are abundant on earth, our heroes travel from Egypt to Jordan in minutes, the two countries appear to have a land border as well, the Pyramids are on the beach, the Egyptian army has no interest in what goes on in their territory, and the sun in that part of the world has a habit of moving back and forth in the sky like a ping pong ball. Scenes turn from day to night in a matter of a jump cut! It looked to me as if lighting in that world is only there to make the scene look cooler.... UGGGH! I'm not even addressing the useless characters like the Twins, the much better but still over the top John Turturro and the terrible CGI of that chick with the tongue. Still the lack of plot and human character didn’t bother me that much, I guess I didnt expect any of it anyway.Overall, TF2 is kinda watchable. Some scenes are worth seeing, but it is only a visual fest that never lets up for a second, maybe a second viewing is needed to sort things out, but it sure as hell did NOT leave the same impression on me as the first one did... sadly...thats it.... roll out!

Grade: 3 Buckets