Friday, July 13, 2007

Even a Muggle Would Like It

Tonight I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Now, it's been about three years since I read the book, so I was a little sketchy on the details. And that might actually be a good thing.

I was blown away by this movie. I laughed. I cried. It moved me, Bob.

Have you read the book? Have you seen the movie? If you said no to either of those questions, then be forewarned: spoilers abound.

Now that we've done away with the obligatory warning, I can actually talk about the movie. We open up with Harry during his summer holidays. He's depressed, as can be expected. I mean, for one thing, he's still living with his Muggle aunt and uncle and good-for-nothing cousin. Plus there's that little problem of You-Know-Who returning from oblivion and killing a fellow student before his eyes. Oh yeah, and no one believes Harry when he makes wild claims about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Turns out Harry and Dumbledore are being made to look the fool by the Ministry of Magic. Harry is also set up to use magic outside of school, which apparently is illegal. It seems that this was a ploy by the ministry to have him kicked out of school. You know, so he couldn't continue spreading lies about You-Know... you know what, screw it... Voldemort.

That ploy fails. Harry goes back to school and starts a rebellion against the ministry, which continues to change the rules as they go along. More laws, turning the school into a dictatorship, ultimately relieving Dumbledore of his position as Headmaster. Harry's little army eventually takes the battle to the Ministry of Magic, where Voldemort's forces lie in wait.

A battle erupts, Sirius (Harry's godfather) is killed, and Harry's emotional turmoil intensifies. You have to feel sorry for the kid. Once again, Harry faces down Voldemort and resists him. And since all this happened at the ministry, Harry and Dumbledore are granted a retraction on page 6 of the Daily Prophet. Good to know their names are cleared.

All in all, good times. Go see it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

We All Scream

Since sometime in May, I started noticing a daily event in my mom's neighborhood. Around 5:30pm, as I'm sitting in my bedroom reading or watching a DVD or checking out (trans: stalking) people on MySpace, I hear a sound.

The first time I heard this sound I was immediately transported to a more innocent time. A time when I was young. A time when you could chase a truck down the street with a quarter and come away with a Dreamsicle. That time is past. I realize this because the sound has gotten a little creepier.

The ice cream truck should make a noise that sounds melodious and inviting. The ice cream truck in this neighborhood makes the same sorts of sounds, but they're about as anti-melodious as you can get. To me, it sounds more like a bunch of empty bottles and cans randomly hitting each other swaying in a breeze. The sound should have been enough to keep me away, but I was intrigued. An ice cream truck? Here? I haven't gotten ice cream from a truck in years!

So I took off. Down the hall, into the living room, to the front door where I finally caught sight of this wonder on wheels. And I froze. No sooner had I opened the door, did I close it again and pray to God that the driver didn't see me.

If the clanging of empty bottles and cans wasn't enough to send up a red flag, the sight of the truck itself certainly was. It's old. Not like vintage, or antique. It's just old. And rusty. And looking at it just sent chills down my spine. If I'm someday able to snap a picture of the thing, I'll gladly post it on here to show you what I mean. And the man driving? Just as creepy. Not your father's Good Humor man.

I ran back to my room and hid under my bed, as if the boogeyman that drives the ice cream truck is gonna come after me. He didn't. And I'm sure he won't. I'm sure he's just a harmless guy trying to eke out a living.

Even so, if I had kids, there's no way they'd be getting ice cream from the rustmobile. I'm 27 years old and the thing just gives me the willies. The only thing missing is a giant clown head on top of the truck. Like a giant bobble-head. Sorry... cold chill again...

Monday, July 09, 2007

More Than Meets The Eye

A little over a year ago, I heard news that a Transformers live action film was in the works. I scoffed. A Transformers movie? Didn't they do that once? I liked Transformers growing up. I had a few. I even had Bumblebee. Transformers worked as a cartoon. But live action? I think was having scary flashbacks to Robot Jox.

Then I started seeing the previews. My fears started going out the window. And then I watched the actual movie. I can sum it all up in one word. AWESOME!

This Transformers movie is pure, unadulterated awesome. How could an epic struggle between good and evil giant robots not be cool?

Aside from the giant robots, the movie stars that guy from Las Vegas and the Even Stevens kid. What's up with him now? He's like everywhere (see previous post for Disturbia). He'll be Indiana Jones' kid in a certain Indiana Jones movie next summer. His leading lady, wicked hot. But for me, the hacker chick was the one who did it for me. Why? 'Cause of the Australian accent. I'd throw another shrimp on the barbie with her any day of the week.

Back to maturity... The movie was pretty freakin' sweet. Go see it. It's definitely worth your $8.25.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Brand New Information

This evening I went to my cousin's 3rd birthday party. And I learned a few things.

First, I learned that my sister is dating someone. Not only did I learn that she's dating someone, I learned that she's been dating him for a month. How was I not aware of this? Could it be a complete breakdown of communication in my family? Well, I would site one of the reasons for my parents' divorce as a lack of communication. Sadly, this appears to be a familial trait.

So I went 3rd degree on April. Who is this guy? What does he do for a living? How old is he? Pretty much anything I could think of on the spot. I figure, since Dad isn't here to ask these questions, someone should.

What else did I learn tonight? I learned that watching small children open a plethora of birthday gifts is not as fun as one may think. In fact, it was kind of boring. You know how you typically try to tear off wrapping paper as quickly as possible? Well, my cousin likes to tear off little bits at a time. Just a little here and there. And about 83% of her gifts were also shrink-wrapped. Upon discovering this she wanted to immediately unshrink-wrap them all. Leaving the other 20 gifts untouched. I guess this is just sign number 153 that I am not ready to have children of my own: Too impatient to outlast a birthday celebration.

Seriously though, how could I go a month and not find out that my sister has a boyfriend?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Nineteen Seventy Something

I’ve been house-sitting for family this week. This has given me the opportunity to watch television, as opposed to strictly the DVDs I have access to in my bedroom at Mom’s place.

Today I watched some good ol’ Game Show Network, or GSN as they like to call themselves now. Like that’s a big difference. Anyway, if you’ve watched more than a half an hour on this network, you’ve noticed that they like to show programs that were taped in the mid to late ‘70s. And what a window into the American past this is.

Seeing what the average contestant wore in those days, is that actually what passed as attractive? A man on Card Sharks came out in a red leisure suit. Lookin’ sharp John! Also, he bragged about being an athlete. Nothing huge. Just a little thing called Roller Derby. If only I could Quantum Leap back in time and take his place for a few days.

All of the female contestants I’ve seen on these shows wore glasses. And not just eyeglasses as we know them in the 21st Century. We’re talkin’ full-on bay windows formed to fit the human head. Now, are smaller frames something that have been developed at some point in the last 20 years? Could people not have had their lenses cut a little smaller back in the day? If I remember correctly, even the spectacles worn by colonial patriots such as Benjamin Franklin were smaller than these. This tells me it must have been a fashion thing. But really? They could use those things as windows on the space shuttle.

What an exciting time the ‘70s must have been. I never really watched That ‘70s Show, only a few episodes here and there. Did they cover these issues? It seems they would be easily made fun of. Maybe it’s just me. I’ll have to ask my mom, she made it through the ‘70s.

Live Free or Die Hard

Wednesday I saw Live Free or Die Hard. The movie itself was pretty good. I’m not always a huge fan of the action flick, but a Die Hard movie is always good to me. I mean, I know there are action movies all over the place out there. Jackie Chan, Steven Seagal, etc, just don’t do it for me. Die Hard is like the end all and be all of action movies. So paying to see a new one was a no-brainer. When you think about it, John McClaine was Jack Bauer before there was Jack Bauer.

But I don’t want to focus on the movie. I want to focus on the theater in which I saw the movie.

The film was scheduled to start at 1pm at Carmike Cinemas 10, found behind Tanglewood Mall. I arrive at 12:57, just in time, right? Wrong. I was actually about 10 minutes early. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I start complaining, I want to explain why I chose to visit this cinema.

You see, the Carmike Cinemas 10 has gone through some serious upgrades. They show all their movies on digital projectors. It’s like watching a movie in HD. No more film. No more changing reels. It’s all very 21st Century. That’s one reason. The only other reason for me is because it’s slightly cheaper than the more popular 16 theater multiplex at Valley View.

Back to the complaints. The movie started late. I could understand this if it happened occasionally. But I also watched the new Pirates movie there a few weeks back. It started about 20 minutes late. Maybe these were the only two times this tardiness has occurred, but it seems to be a strange coincidence that both happened when I was there.

My next disappointment came immediately after the show started. What do you expect once the lights go down? Opening credits? NO! You expect to see previews. Well, Wednesday, there were none. There weren’t even commercials or public service announcements telling you where the exits were in case of fire. No dancing popcorn telling you to go to the lobby to get a little fatter.

I realize that the admission price isn’t meant to cover previews, it’s meant to pay for the movie itself. But you know what, I like to know what’s coming soon. I want to know where my next $8.00 is going. It just makes sense to show previews. Show the folks what’s coming in the future so you can keep them coming back for more.

Next is the big one. About halfway through the picture, the picture went black. At first I thought this was a clever ploy by the filmmakers. But for 5 minutes all we saw was a blank screen. But, oddly enough, we still heard people yelling and things exploding. Finally, everything shut off all together. Then the lights came back on. Then we, the movie patrons, began complaining to management.

Some lady came in and apologized saying they were working on the problem (apparently caused by a storm). After waiting in a nearly deserted matinee for 15 minutes, the movie finally started back up. I’m still not sure what really happened during that 5 minutes of only sound. All I know is suddenly, everyone but John and the kid were dead, and the building was demolished. That always seems to happen.

Now, I should probably make the wild claim that I’ll never go back there again. I’ve done it with other places. But those hi-def movies are pretty freakin’ sweet. But if I had Wednesday to do all over again, I’d probably complain a little more. Just enough to get a free pass to my next movie.