Sunday, December 12, 2010

review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 (movie)

w00t!!!!!! i was soooooooo excited for this movie! like 99.999999999% of the people who read this blog know, I am a huge Harry Potter fan (I win trivia contest with my nerdiness, folks) so you can only guess how excited i am when the new installment comes out.

This premiere found me in a not so different situation from all the other premieres - standing in line, in costume, playing "who is the nerdiest harry potter fan?". suffice it to say: i won.

so, after waiting for a few hours for them to part the velvet ropes, carrie and i were finally, along with hundreds of other hard core fans, found ourselves flowing toward center seats in the theater. there we were kept entertained by a group of fans who had prepared dance numbers to "Harry and the Potters" music. they had the whole theater up dancing, singing, and laughing. displays like this are the reason i go to midnight premiers - there's an atmosphere of excitement, usually good cheer (unless someone commits some taboo), and a sense of camaraderie.

back to the movie!!!
*beware: spoilers ahead! - i won't reveal major plot points but if you haven't read the book this is all new and it's not my fault!*
this is the second movie where if you haven't read the books you might be a bit lost. this film is much darker than the previous films, although the forth was the first movie of the 8 to be grim and dark. and by dark, i mean sinister, depressing or dealing with more adult themes - at least, compared to the fact that these movies are supposed to be books/movies for children.

the movie opens focusing on figures in the dark. Snape and another death eater walk toward a house in the fog. upon entering it, Voldermort is holding court with his followers, making plans for taking over the ministry of magic and dealing with the menace known as Harry Potter. in keeping with the depressing beginning, we then follow the golden trio as they prepare for their seventh year... or what would be their seventh year, however, the are instead going to look for the horcruxes, or pieces of Voldermort's soul, so they can be destroyed as this was Dumbledore's last mission for Harry before he was killed by Snape in the last book/movie. the most depressing part of this opening is Snape's betrayal of a fellow hogwarts' teacher and hermione wiping her parents' memories of her so that they won't be in danger or used against her as she fights in the war.

i can't describe the whole movie for you in this review but i will say that there are some amazing scenes in this movie:
- the initial flight from the dursley's is very well done - with comedy, great effects, suspense, and even despair.
- the ridiculous dancing scene in the tent between harry and hermoine which is too weird but very sweet and endearing.
- the weasley twins - enough said. but i'll elaborate - mainly george when his ear get blown off with his "holey" joke and when he walks in on harry and ginny making out in the kitchen.

there was one moment that truly bothered me. this was the death of hedwig. both the movie and the book kinda glossed it over, but especially the movie. the problem with doing this is that it is such a heart-rendering and important even because her death represents the death of harry's childhood. (i know that most people don't want to sit there and look below the surface of the book/movie but i look!) it's completely glossed over! seriously - they really don't mention it after she dies other than to say she died protecting harry.

all-in-all, this was an excellent movie, in fact the best out of the harry potter series so far. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, not five because i have to save something for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2.

Monday, December 6, 2010

review: Mumford & Sons (music)

Another new favorite band!

this is another london based band - recently, i really seem to be liking the music that comes from across the pond. to me it is reminiscent of Norman Greenbaum's spirit in the sky, a folksy, rock song. Mumford & Sons tends to have more of a country/bluegrass twang to it... and it certainly does without the jesus references.

the band takes its name from the leader singer (guitarist and drummer too) Marcus Mumford. he and his three bandmates bonded over their shared love of "rootsy" music and after playing together for a bit over a year started booking gigs. they quickly became a part of London's underground folk scene.

they appeared on radio here in the states at the end of summer. their first hit state side was "The Cave" and their first hit in the UK "Little Lion Man" is now making it's way along US airways.

my favorite part about them is their great flair for the understated dramatics. their music videos (click on the songs above) feature all the band members usually performing with something random happening. in "the cave", they give their instruments to a mexican marching band and as the marching band lip syncs, the band bikes down a country road singing. their music has wonderful dramatic tension using crescendos wonderfully to really make the music swell.

they are a delightful respite to today's pop/rap music. i give Mumford & Sons 4 out of 5 stars due to not loving (or liking) every song on their album.

p.s. i actually have stuff to review so keep your eyes peeled for more updates!!!!