Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince

"Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry"

  Truer words never spoken. Everyone is asking too much of the poor bastard. To say what I really want to in regards to this movie, first I need to talk about the 'fans' of the books/Harry Potter franchise. These folks tend to have a serious issue with 'movie differences' in the film adaptations of Harry Potter. I think that this is a patently foolish bent to take on any movie that is based on a book. Of course its different, it has to be no more than 3 hours long, and its an adaptation of a like 800 page book. This brings up the question: what is a good movie based on a book? I think that it should capture the theme and style of the book, while maintaining the overall plot. This is just what Half Blood Prince does. It omits things, it restructures in minor ways, but in the end, everything important happens. I don't think anything important was different, there were horcruxes, ron and lavender, then ron and hermione, harry and ginny, and snape blew dumbledore off the high freaking tower.  That being said, now i want to actually talk about the movie!

      David Yates also directed the 5th Harry Potter movie, in my opinion the only one that is a really good movie out of the first 5. Just like Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince is a movie that is composed of sharp, dramatic scenes, strung together one after the other with pretty superior pacing. The effects are stunning, the cinematography is beautiful, and the costume design is markedly improved from earlier installments. My only qualm with the whole experience was the goober who raised an actual wand in the theatre at the end of the movie. The ending was also a bit abrupt, but otherwise I thought this movie surpassed the last in every category. It's worth watching, but its good to take it for what it is. A film adaptation of a book. Not a film reenactment of a book.



"An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets."

         Ah yes Coraline, the story of an 'adventurous girl' that finds another magic world! That tagline more or less sums up the original story "Coraline" which was written by Neil Gaiman. I'm less sure it's an accurate description of the movie. From a plot perspective, I think the movie was really successful, more or less following the path of the book, it's the characterization in this movie that sort of weirds the crap out of me.  So let's talk about that:

       I read a review on a fundamentalist Christian site's review of the movie, and I found, underneath the preaching about 'a woman's place' that there were some sort of creepy vibes coming off the movie. One wonders why Coraline really needs to go to some other world where everyone worships her, because in this world, she can apparently do whatever she wants. Her dad is a huge wiener, who answers to Coraline's mother as if he is some sort of slave. Honestly, Coraline's parents seem pretty indulgent of her, making her seem like nothing more than a snooty little bitchling. Worse yet we have the insertion of a character not in the book, Coraline's 'friend' Wybie, who is also for some reason the only character in the movie who isn't as white as the driven snow. Yes, the only black character in the movie is Coraline's personal punching bag, who she doesn't treat like a person at all. To the contrary, she calls him 'why were you born' and yet for some bizarre reason he seems to enjoy her abusive treatment!  This could all be a lot of coincidence, but the movie certainly injected some things into Coraline that I didn't remember in the book.

     So in short, Coraline was a movie that entertained me with it's plot, and otherwise generally creeped the hell right out of me with its matriarchal and racist undertones.


"Two young Americans with special abilities must race to find a girl in Hong Kong before a shadowy government organization called Division does."

     I first saw this movie when it was in theatres this past winter, and recently picked it up on DVD. So for those of you who don't know, this movie is about rogue psychics trying to evade "Division" and more specifically about Nick (Evans) and Cassie (Fanning) trying to keep each other from ending up very dead. The movie takes place in Hong Kong entirely as indicated above, and involves a lot of gunslinging, psychic battles, and destruction throughout Hong Kong. The title of the movie comes from the nickname for one type of psychic, Pushers. Pushers can 'push' people they make eye contact with, altering their memories and making them believe things that aren't true. Kira, Nick's old girlfriend, is one such psychic, whereas he is a mover (telekinetic) and Cassie is a watcher (can predict the future). I won't go through the whole plot, but it's full of twists and turns and honestly does a good job of being clever (in my opinion).

    I know a lot of people who had nasty things to say about this movie, about how it was boring, or stupid, the usual fare that doesn't seem to pick at anything specific. I personally thought it was a pretty good movie, for a few big reasons.

      The first is that it was an original intellectualy property. It wasn't a remake of a tv show from the 70s, it wasn't a reimagining of some other movie or a sequel and it wasn't a freaking comic book movie. Don't get me wrong, some comic book movies are pretty damned good, but movie makers have discovered that everyone is bonkers for comic book movies so lets make nothing but those!

     Anyway I felt like there was pretty decent screen chemistry between the characters, just not the characters that I think the movie intended. Camilla Belle (Kira) and Chris Evans (Nick) have pretty much zero chemistry. They're romantic interests and the movie is clearly trying to imply that the two are soulmates or something, but you get the impression that Carver's push was the truth, and they met each other at the beginning of the damned movie. Nick and Dakota Fanning's character Cassie on the other hand have a whole lot of screen chemistry. They have a kind of little sister/big brother thing that works really well. 

     Besides that I found the idea of the movie well executed. The psychics use their powers in interesting, creative ways, and despite all the science fiction, no one does anything totally stupid in this movie to break the illusion. The same goes for the plot: it succeeds in being both original and coherent, and I honestly was surprised by the ending the first time I saw it. I can easily recommend this movie, and suggest going into it with an open mind. At any rate it's a movie with Chris Evans in it that isn't Fantastic Four, so that's pretty great all by itself.

Why Not Right?

Just a short intro post here to talk about what I'm going to use this space for. I watch a whole lot of movies, play a lot of games, and read a lot of books. In short, I make it a point to consume as much media as I can. Sometimes I have strong opinions about said media, so I'm gonna talk about it here. If someone else finds it intersting and decides to read along, then that's great. Feel free to comment, disagree, whatever. Or just watch and read. 
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