Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

30 11 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Movie Poster

Don’t worry, there aren’t any spoilers…at least I don’t think so.

For the first time, since probably the Harry Potter movies started coming out in theaters, I did NOT see the midnight showing of the first installment of the last book. However, I did have a legitimate excuse, watching Jon Stewart tape The Daily Show was pretty awesome. Regardless, I did go out on opening day later that night.

I wish I could say that I remember how the book played out but it’s been several years since I read it. So unfortunately, I cannot say yay or nay as to whether it stayed true to the book in all aspects although to my knowledge it was pretty much on point. Which leads me to this: Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows made up for what the Half-Blood Prince was missing.

One of my biggest disappointments with the Half-Blood Prince was the fact that it wasn’t as dark as it should have been and that it was missing large chunks of action and backstory that was present in the book. The 6th book could have used a two part installment and I’m surprised that they didn’t because one, it would have made Warner Brothers (and everyone involved) more money, and two, it would have given them ample time to cover more of the main events of the book (Voldemort’s backstory and so forth). But anyways, onto the Deathly Hallows Part 1…

One complaint I heard from some people while leaving the theater was that this movie was lacking in action, and that’s true. Now for those that have read the books, we all know that there’s a lot of leading up to the final showdown, so for those disappointed in the lack of action in this movie, don’t fret there will be enough in Part 2.

From a purely look-at-where-they-started-and-where-they-are-now standpoint, this installment really brings that “growing up” theme onto the table. In the beginning magic was fun and exciting, now it’s all about survival in a world of fear and uncertainty. Friendships and trust are being tested daily. Hogwarts is now out of the picture as the characters are thrown out into the “real world” where the war ensues, and sacrifices and tragedy occur.

It’s been a long 6 years (in Harry Potter world) and everything is finally coming into play. Although this movie was just one more lead-up, Part 2 should be the amazing finale that we are all hoping for (at least I am). Otherwise I’m just going to have to re-read all of the books and forget the movies ever happened.

Here is a pretty good review but beware there are spoilers here for those that haven’t seen the movie yet:
Mendelson’s Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1


Kanye West’s Runaway Film

31 10 2010

On October 23, Kanye West’s short film “Runaway” premiered on MTV at 8pm. It opens with Kanye West’s character running down a winding road in a forest, foreshadowing the outcome of the story. The scene then changes to the present with Kanye driving down this same forest road with a red sky contrasting the darkness of the forest. I have to make a comment on his car here because it’s an amazing looking car, and I love sports cars with pop-up headlights. I had to look this one up because I had never seen a car like this before, the Tatra MTX a Czechoslovakian V8 supercar. As Kanye is driving, what looks like a meteor crashes in front of his MTX. When he inspects the damage he finds a phoenix lying unconscious on the ground and brings her back to his place with an intense explosion behind him as he carries her off.

The next scene shows the phoenix waking up watching the news. This is the first scene where you really get a chance to see Selita Ebanks’ costume. This Victoria Secrets model is no stranger to wings and sports a pair of these in this video along with some strategically placed feathers on her chest and midsection as well as her arms. Her eye makeup is also incredibly intense, with white eye shadow and long white eyelashes; the makeup artists did a wonderful job.

Selita Ebanks in Ruanaway as the Phoenix

Kanye plays some music for her and begins introducing her to his life and culture. The music during the scene when the phoenix is dancing in the living room is probably one of my favorite parts of the entire film. It then leads into his song “All of the Lights’ where the most or one of the most controversial looking imagery really takes place with a huge Michael Jackson head, and red hooded figures marching with a band.

The next longest scene is in a huge dining hall, every dinner guest is wearing white, the table clothes are white, and the chairs are white. The green walls and the phoenix’s rose-colored feathers offset all of the white. Here the phoenix is now wearing a strangely beautiful headdress with chains dangling off about a foot in length. After one guest interrupts Kanye by saying “You’re girlfriend’s really beautiful, do you know she’s a bird?” he leaves the table and begins playing “Runaway” on a white piano. Once the piano starts an entire troupe of ballerinas run into the room and an 8-minute dance begins. The contrast of the green walls look amazing against the black leotards and tutus of the ballerinas as three of them perform their own solos and the rest stay behind dancing in a large group. This scene finally ends with the phoenix’s distress over the large bird intended for dinner that is placed in front of her.

Selita Ebanks as the phoenix in Runaway
Ballerinas in Kanye West Runaway Film

The next scene goes back into the backyard with the phoenix and the various animals hanging out. The phoenix and Kanye finally have a dialogue, which leads into their romantic scene. The next morning he realizes the phoenix is gone and the scene that started the film comes true with “Lost in the World” playing. He desperately runs, trying to find her again while the phoenix goes out in the same manner she came.

In my own personal opinion, this film was amazing, the colors, the imagery, everything was carefully planned out. I have watched this at least 5 or 6 times now and each instance is just as mesmerizing as the last. The only negative thing I have to say is watching this premiere on MTV really was not ideal. There were about 3-4 commercial breaks sporadically throughout the premiere which really threw off the entire feel, but it was an excuse to watch it again online. I think Kanye has really brought music to a new level by incorporating his upcoming CD’s tracks into this short film and it really shows his musical genius, as strange as some of it may be.

The Social Network

4 10 2010

The Social Network Movie Poster

The Social Network Movie Poster

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought “Wow, they are really making a movie about how Facebook started, this is going to be lame”. Then a week ago I started hearing good things. Intrigued I went to my favorite source for movie reviews: Rotten Tomatoes and was floored! A 97% rating on the Tomatometer with one review stating:

“Impeccably scripted, beautifully directed, and filled with fine performances, The Social Network is a riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest.” –Rotten Tomatoes

As my interest peaked I began researching the movie. This led me to various sites pointing out the fallacies within the movie and the book that it was based off of. Despite this prior knowledge — I mean it’s Hollywood, of course the story will change to be more “digestible” and “scandalous” — I was excited to see what all of the fuss was about.

Let me tell you, I think the fuss is well deserved. Putting aside any notions about what actually may or may not have happened during the creation of Facebook, the movie is exactly as the review I quoted above said “impeccably scripted, beautifully directed, and filled with fine performances”.

The only thing that could ruin the movie is holding steadfast to what the truth is. This movie is what you could say, one interpretation of the truth. It’s storytelling as an art which doesn’t necessarily constitute pure fact.

So keeping this in mind, The Social Network was in fact a great movie, it definitely raises many social issues and I know for myself it was a motivation pusher to take risks. That being said I would definitely recommend it.