Archive for Movies

Movie Review: The Hobbit

I wrote a different review of this movie for the As You Like It blog  — click here if you’d like to read it.  Both reviews are positive but they approach the movie from two different perspectives.  The first review, written for AYLI, was written before I re-read the book.  Since writing that review, I’ve re-read the book and seen the movie a second time.  I am even more impressed with Jackson’s interpretation — I won’t be certain until all three films are made, but this may be one of the rare times I prefer the movie to the book.

What???  Books are always better than the movie!  Most of the time, that is my sentiment.  What makes The Hobbit an exception?  As enjoyable as Tolkien’s story is, it’s a fairly simple tale: dwarves want to reclaim their mountain from Smaug the dragon, Gandalf the wizard decides to help them out periodically, and Gandalf decides that Bilbo is necessary for the quest to succeed.  While Tolkien creates a variety of interesting characters, he focuses most of the development on Bilbo  — and this is where Jackson steps in.  Using Tolkien’s notes and his own imagination, Jackson fleshes out a few more of the characters.  Thorin is a far more interesting character in the movie and we’re likely to feel upcoming events more strongly because of it.  This is a good thing.

Jackson also builds the drama — he makes us feel the dwarves’ loss of their home, their pining for a place to call their own.  Jackson makes the quest feel vital.  Tolkien’s focus is on the changes the quest generates in Bilbo  — well, the book is titled The Hobbit, after all.  My point is, Jackson accomplishes more.   In addition, Jackson gives us a more immediate sense of the constant struggle between good and evil.  In the book, the danger is distant  — Smaug hasn’t been seen for years.  The dwarves choose to risk a battle with him in the hopes of regaining their wealth — every danger they encounter along the way is due to that choice.  In the movie, evil is already seeking them out in the form of the giant orc Azog and his allies.

Finally, Jackson uses The Hobbit to hint at events to come in Lord of the Rings, connecting the movies even more closely than the books were connected.  We knew that dwarves and elves had an uneasy relationship in LOtR — Jackson gives us insight into reasons for that hostility.  He foreshadows key events by offering us glimpses of a smug, controlling Saruman, and by playing up the mystery surrounding the necromancer and dark happenings in Middle Earth.  And as a treat to established fans, he works in guest appearances by such favorites as Frodo, Galadriel, and rumor has it, Legolas later on, even though they did not appear in the book at all.

Loved it!  I may have to see it a third time . . .

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Breaking Dawn Part 2

It’s been over a week since Erin, Melissa and I went to the theater for our final Twilight experience.  Overall, I liked it – if only they’d been bold enough to change Reneesme’s name!  Poor kid.  Even though the book was broken into two movies, it still had to skim over some parts – necessarily, I think, but I still felt the loss, particularly of Charley.  He’s in the movie but minimally – his acceptance of Bella’s “change” and Reneesme’s rapid growth are glossed over.  That said, the scene between him and Jacob was hilarious.  I love Billy Burke – not enough to continue watching Revolution but that’s a post for another day.

What I didn’t like about the movie can mostly be traced back to the story itself – Jacob’s feelings for Bella were too easily resolved.  What bothered me most about this in the movie was the scene after Bella finds out why Jacob’s suddenly okay with her and Edward – he’s imprinted on her daughter.  I’m still angry about that and I’m not the fictional mother of the child so I understand the rage.  What I don’t understand is everyone standing around gawking while she throws Jake around – shouldn’t someone have been concerned that she would really hurt him?  And Edward, really?  I know you’re still upset about the fact that Jacob spent the better part of the last two movies flaunting his muscles and trying to steal your girl but laughing while she tosses him about like a ragdoll is lame.

And then there’s “the scene” – you’ll know it when you see it.  It was effective but I won’t deny it ticked me off.  I usually like twists but this one annoyed me, probably because it hit my emotions HARD.  My outbursts were as follows:  Nooo (with a sad voice), What the hell? (with an angry voice) and, No Freakin’ Way (in an “I’m Outta Here” voice).  Now that I’ve had sufficient time to recover, I’ll acknowledge that the twist did add some necessary action to the end of the story.  Maybe I’ll be able to appreciate it the next time I watch it.

Have you been to see the movie?  If so, what did you think?

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TGIF: Star Wars Call Me Maybe

Many thanks to Dawne for calling my attention to this fun clip!

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What have I been doing?

My last post was on June 28th – I haven’t been blogging so what have I been doing?

  • Hanging out with Erin and Melissa
  • Reading
  • Negotiating rent with my apartment complex (I’m currently paying $10 a month above the market rate and they want to raise my rent an additional $25 a month.  I think that’s unfair.)
  • Trying to keep my patio garden alive despite record temperatures
  • Talking on the phone with April
  • Maintaining my workout routine even though it’s way too hot to be fun
  • Going to the theater with Melissa to see Magic Mike.  I’m still laughing.
  • Playing with Sadie-Cat
  • Relaxing

My nice little staycation is over now so it’s back to blogging!

Melissa, Erin and me. Not our most current pic but one of our best!

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Fright Night: Original Versus Remake

I loved the original Fright Night so maybe I shouldn’t have been so eager to see the remake.  I was eager though:  as hot as I thought Chris Sarandon was then, I was looking forward to seeing Colin Farrell as the vampire now.  If ever there was a vampire who could lure me into letting them get close, it would be Colin Farrell.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration as we all know that I would also fall victim to Ian Somerhalder and Aidan Turner in a heartbeat, but my point is that I think Farrell could have been one of the steamiest vampires ever.  Imagine my disappointment when they chose to have him play the vampire as an in-your-face psychopath rather than a hey-baby-I-just-want-love-you-and-maybe-nibble-on-your-neck roué.

Farrell was convincing as a psychopath; I just didn’t care for taking Jerry the Vampire in that direction.  I also didn’t feel that the remake flowed as well.  In the original, we see Charlie catch a glimpse of his neighbor’s nighttime activities; in the remake, Ed aka Evil tells us what he has seen.  In the original, there’s more suspense as Charlie tries to protect his disbelieving friends/family from Jerry; in the remake, Jerry shows his fangs fairly quickly.

I will say that I loved the moment in which Charlie pulls the beer back from the doorway, just a bit, to see if Jerry can reach in to get it—the rest of that scene was deliberately awkward but this segment was awesome.  Jerry also had some classic lines like “Catch you later”, “You have your mother’s eyes–and your father’s aim.”  I also liked the way Jerry played with catching himself on fire.  I just wish they could have kept the best of his menace and added some smolder to round things out.  I’m not talking about Edward or Stefenesque-angst, I’m talking about knowing that you really shouldn’t let a vampire nuzzle your neck but you can’t resist the temptation to surrender to him.

All that said, I did like the revamping of Peter Vincent’s character and I also liked the new backstory of Charlie and Evil.  Even though I’m a *Twilight fan, I’m something of a self-loathing Twilight fan, so I did laugh at the line “Dude, I’m so mad that you think I read Twilight!”

Have you seen both Fright Nights?  If so, what did you think?  Are there any remakes out there that you think are as good as or better than the original?

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*Bella’s relationship with Edward is warped—no argument there.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


I loved this movie!!!  I also loved the experience of attending the Opening Night midnight showing.  It was incredible to see so many people excited about this film.  Differences were set aside for the evening; even the Slytherins and Gryffindors in the crowd were laughing and getting along.  Speaking of Slytherins and Gryffindors, I was thrilled to see how many people arrived in costume.  Ranked from most numerous to least, sightings included:

  • students representing all houses
  • Harry Potter
  • several House Elves
  • several Death Eaters
  • various wizards
  • Bellatrix
  • Voldemort
  • Hedwig
  • Lupin in his werewolf state.
  • a golden snitch (well it was more orange than golden, but we eventually figured it out)
  • Hagrid
  • Headless Nick
  • Professor Quirrell with Voldemart sprouting from his back (2 people sharing one costume–that’s commitment!)
  • The Lady in the Portrait (frame and all)
  • Darth Vader.  Yep, he’s apparently a fan.

The energy of the crowd was phenomenal.  We all showed up hours early, both to have a chance at getting a decent seat and to be a part of something so . . . magical.  How else can you describe a scene in which people are standing in long lines for lengthy periods of time and simply enjoying the evening?

A friend and I went back to see the movie again later that day–you know, Friday at 10 pm.  What a difference a day makes!  The crowd was still enthusiastic but it was considerably smaller and there wasn’t a costume to be seen, much less a showdown between Darth Vader and a gang of Death Eaters.  I wish I had Hermione’s time-turner so that I could go back in time and attend the Opening Night midnight showings for all of the films—actually, now that I think about it, a time-turner would come in handy for a number of things . .  . .  Oh Harry Potter, what will we do without your movie premieres to look forward to???

Have you been to see the last Harry Potter film?  If so, what did you think?  Do you have any fond memories/funny stories to share?

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Just watched ‘The Colour of Magic’ and ‘The Light Fantastic’

The 2008 film adaptation of Pratchett’s first two Discworld titles is okay.  The casting is excellent:   I loved Sean Astin (Twoflower) and Tim Curry (Trymon).  The script followed the books reasonably well; like any adaptation however, the movie can’t capture every favorite scene from the book.  *I wanted to see Twoflower showing the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse how to play Bridge.  Sigh.

Worth a viewing but the books are much funnier.

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