Tag Archives: New Zealand

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 & 2

Wow, it’s been far too long since my last post! Been busy, but now coming back more furious than ever. (Not mad.) So first things first. Let’s start with the last of the Harry Potters. Didn’t catch the midnight showing, but watched the first part the day before and the second part only 3 days after its release (matinee in the middle of the day? Yes thanks.). I gotta say, I was semi-impressed. In totality, these movies do justice to the end of an era. But separately, it just seems as if they need to be combined. (Total of 4 hours of film in a row? It’ll just be Gods and Generals with magic.) It’s the final battle, and Harry has to take on the wizard of wizards, Voldemort. If you haven’t read the books, then I won’t spoil anything for you. But here it is.

Good old Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has to find the Horcruxes. These are items in which Voldemort

Harry, Ron, and Hermione vs...

stored his soul through the act of committing unspeakable evils (a.k.a. killing people). With one down (Dumbledore’s sacrificed hand to the “ring”) and another out there in the kid’s peripherals (a locket), the adventure is set. The Ministry of Magic,

...Voldemort & Crew

Gringott’s, the Malfoy’s house, and even Hogwarts, this movie goes everywhere. And as the books did, everything sums up and becomes clearer and connected. People have always had problems with the movies not lining up with the books, but come on, there’s no way all of the info and exact actions of the books can be portrayed, so some slack has to be given to Warner Bro.’s. But that’s besides the point.

The action is fantastic. No 3-D for me though, there’s really no point in any film being in 3-D. I would continue to rant about this, but the movie industry likes the money coming in from it and doesn’t care about the headaches and unrealistic way 3-D alters the films. Oh well. The magic duels were great

Just some of the movie magic from Part 2

and the carnage was really brought to a level not a lot of children’s books would go to in theaters, hence, the PG-13 rating. The effects, as usual for every movie, every year, are top notch. The locations are interesting and breathtaking. (I always picture any adventure film outside must be filmed in New Zealand since LOTR.) It feels almost as if every location were waiting for the characters to return to play their part.

These 3 have thankfully improved over the years.

The acting, thank God, has gotten better with every film. Daniel Radcliffe’s flighty and flinty acting has improved to an acceptable level, but I’m sure, in most fan’s mind’s eyes, Harry should’ve been different. (No offense, you did the best you could Daniel.) Ron (Rupert Grint) with his older age has improved and gone on to make other good films (two I would recommend would be Driving Lessons and Wild Target.). Hermione (Emma Watson), in addition to her beauty, has become a wonderful young actress (come on, I’m her age and I’ve grown up with her basically.) who I’m looking forward to seeing in other films now that the H.P.’s are over.

There’s still the supporting cast (in reality, senior acting class that really give the movies their class) that needs to be mentioned. Snape (Alan Rickman) gives a stirring performance in Part II that was tearful, heartfelt, and lovely. It completely redeems his misunderstood character over the years. Ralph Fiennes is as

Snape. You were the best.

fierce as ever as Voldemort, scary and unrelenting as he was meant to be. Helena Bonham Carter plays the deranged (yet sexy, well at least to me) Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort’s right hand woman and biggest fan. Jason Isaacs plays Lucius Malfoy. Although completely defeated and beaten by Voldemort and his failings, I respect Malfoy and his wife and child, Draco (Tom Felton) for their misunderstood compassion shown in the films that is taken for cowardice. Rhys Ifans plays Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna’s father, a smaller part but still important. One of my favorite characters, besides Sirius of course.

Neville Longbottom. Just as heroic as Harry.

And there’s the rest of the kids. I won’t go through all the great acting that the students of Hogwarts have given over the years, but it’s spectacular. Neville becomes the hero he always could have been, Dean has gone through some freak growth spurt, Seamus still blows shizz up, and Luna is as quirky as ever. The whole Weasley family is amazingly brilliant, the Hogwarts teaching staff has all come back for the fight and Hagrid is disappointingly left out for pretty much all of the movie.

I feel a sadness in me as the books of my childhood leave me. When I turned 11, for that birthday I went to see the first movie with my friends. From the beginning I was blown away. The books I was reading were coming to life on screen. I was growing up with Harry as a constant friend. They were all my friends I would return to read and see every year. I, like everyone else my age, wished we were wizards. (Or had crushes on Emma Watson.) We wished we had the adventures of Ron, Harry, and Hermione. And now that it’s over, now that Voldemort has been beaten for good, what is there left to do? Will J.K. Rowling write more on Harry and his children’s lives? Will she be a one trick pony? I hope not. I hope generations to come see Harry Potter and become as bewitched with it as we all did. In its entirety, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows deserves the 10 out of 10. (Separately, Part 1 – 8.8 out of 10, and Part II – 7 out of 10) This magical empire has come to an end, but its the books that will be read and movies seen that will live on forever. In all those Muggles who believe in magic.

Will it continue? What is the future of Harry Potter?

Advertisements

Centurion: “I will not yield!”

Neil Marshall has done it again! As the director of one of my favorite horror movies, The Descent, I had to check out this director’s 5th attempt at directing. After taking a peek on IMDB at Marshall’s other directing attempts, I saw another two movies I found were right up Marshall’s alley when it comes to genre and style, Doomsday and Dog Soldiers. The movie posters alone look like movies I would gladly see. (I had heard of Doomsday before, it’s shown a lot on FX, definitely going to check it out now.) This movie doesn’t disappoint and it gives one of those quick in and out glimpses into the world of the Romans during a time of war. If I had to say it, which I will (I mean come on, there are 2 actors in this movie who were major players in 300) this movie is on some sort of level with Gerard Butler and his 300.

But what I liked about it? It wasn’t Gerard Butler. Come on, you have to give it up for how creatively mind bending 300 was. I love Zack Snyder. Plain and simple. 300 brought a new meal to the table. But yeah, this movie wasn’t quite 300 at all. It was almost a 300 meets Gladiator fusion. Quite spectacular. Instead of Butler, we have one of the new and upcoming British actors, Michael Fassbender. This guy is putting in the work and getting

Michael Fassbender

great results (and I’m not talking about his abs in 300). He’s done quite a few British T.V. shows and made his big break with 300. (He was that guy that cut off the emissary’s arm and told that fool they would fight in the shade.) Inglorious Basterds (I’ll give it to you Tarantino, this one time…) and Jane Eyre, this guy has range. And most excitingly, he will be playing Magneto in this summers sure to be masterful hit, X-Men: First Class. I expect good things from this guy.

Other notable appearances in this film? Dominic West, of course. Another 300 familiar, this guy was the traitor. But still, he was great. I loved his alter ego in Meet the Spartans, Traitoro. Dominic West has done some good work

Ah, Traitoro

as well, and I feel that as a fellow British actor to Michael Fassbender, he will go great things one day. He’s done wonderful things on The Wire, and he did one of my favorite guest appearances in my favorite part of the Hannibal Lecter series, Hannibal Rising as Inspector Popil. He has quite the list (Palace Guard in Phantom Menace???) and should keep strong for years to come.

Also, what I like about movies like this? Neil Marshall can get together a rag-tag group of virtually not well known actors, and still make a badass film. Noel Clarke (one of the Doctor’s helpers on Dr. Who) plays Macros, the slave turned athlete who really just runs the entire movie. JJ Feild (recurring British T.V. period piece actor) as Thax, one of my favorite characters in this film. David Morrissey (character actor who seems to switch between

A rag-tag, cantankerous crew

American and British film) as Bothos, the slightly obese centurion who’s that one loyal friend, but not that ridiculous. I mean, the list goes on. But that’s what really appealed to me about The Descent. It brought together a handful of unknown actresses and turned out to be a really well made film.

Complaints. Okay, there are quite a few archers in this film. And you know what happens? Everyone of them can aim for someone’s head and hit them directly, no hesitation, no mercy. This is a bit ridiculous. I find it hard to believe that every archer in this film is Robin Hood. But to each his own. It still made for pretty amazing gore throughout the film that was just nonstop. One whole scene about 20 minutes in is just literally unheard of. Another thing, I have never heard the “f” word so much in a period piece film like this. It is out of place. Distasteful right there.

Everything else about this movie? Great. It had great cinematography and looked like it took cues from The Lord of the Rings in its overhead helicopter shots of men dashing across snowy mountains. (Pretty sure this was shot in New Zealand.) The locales were quite spectacular although you couldn’t really place what was going on. If I related it in plot to any movie, it would’ve definitely been a mirror image of The Descent. Actually, the more I think about it, it’s like a cookie cutter version of The Descent, just different time and characters. Wow. If Neil Marshall does this again though, I might not be so forgiving. You can’t hope to make 3 identical plot movies and think people won’t notice. But taking Centurion as its own tour de force of mayhem and devastation in the time of the legion and Rome, it really does not yield. 7.7 out of 10.


Flight of the Conchords Season 2: More of the Same

Aaaaaaaannnnnddddd here’s the review for the second season of The Flight of the Conchords, Season 2. I know you’re thinking, “Hey, this idiot just recently reviewed the other season. He must have no life to review one right after the other.” On some level, cynical version of me, you’re right. I don’t. Part of the life of a college student. But anyways, on to F.O.T.C.

I keep going back and forth between whether the first season is the funnier or if the second season beats it. Yes, a lot of the songs from the first season are funnier, but at the same time, the show hit its stride in the second season. The characters became more comfortable and the budget they got for the second season really shows. Everything looks a little sharper, a little more stylistic, definitely a step up from the first season. But that’s about as far as it goes. Yes, the second season has Sugalumps, but where would that song be without Business Time?

So the beginning of the season starts off with Bret and Jemaine down in the dumps as Murray has taken his Crazy Dogggs to the next level (Yes, 3 G’s) and has gained international fame. This is cut short of course and the guys return to the drudge of the life as a no-name two man novelty band. We get hilarious plots like Jemaine selling his body as a prositute, Bret forms a gang, Jemaine dates an Aussie, and Bret gets freaky. The show ends on a downer note. Flight of the Conchords, for some strange reason, lost its funding and most likely won’t be back. The show ends with Jemaine and Bret back in New Zealand, returning to their lives as shepherds, along with Murray on his tractor. The last episode is great, purely for the homage to Stomp!.

All I have to say about this show is it’s more of the same that comes from the first season. Great guest stars and songs. We get a hilarious Korean karaoke song, Sugalumps, the Tough Brets West Side Story song, Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor, and even Hurt Feelings (the hard and the soft version are both great). Some people may say that they’re not rappers, and that may hurt their feelings, but these guys are comedians and musicians beyond most others. They have a great humor about them and I hope they find success in their future and beyond.

Bret and Jemaine= Greatness


The Flight of the Conchords (Season 1)

I love Flight of the Conchords. They’re a great novelty band. They’re great comedians. They eek awesome. Ever since a few years ago when my friend played “The Distant Future” in the car for me, I’ve fallen in love with the entity that is Flight of the Conchords. I think it might have only been a few days after I heard that song that I went out and bought the first season of the show. And it became one of my favorite shows almost instantaneously.

So plot. Hilarity ensues. Done.

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement are Flight of the Conchords, a New Zealand folk band, trying to make in New York City, living out of a small flat. With the help of their band manager/consulate worker Murray, (Rhys Darby) the band tries to find gigs, women, and on-stage glory.

Best part of this show? Music videos hidden in the show as plot. Yes. I don’t say this often but: FTW. Every song gets better and better as the show goes on. Besides The Distant Future, there’s The Most Beautiful Lady (in the Room). Rhymnocerous vs. Hiphopapotamus, Mutha’uckas, and Business Time, one of my all time favorites. In the middle of doing something or as a scene allows, the guys will break out in song, directing their attention to the outside audience, serenading watchers with their hilarious songs. I know I’m writing this many years after the first season and the subsequent release of the second two years later, but a review of the second season will be forthcoming. (I am reviewing this season on my 4th watch.)

Besides the hilarity of Bret, Jemaine, and Murray, we have an all-star backup cast. Arj Barker is ridiculous as the Indian bad ass pawn store owner Dave, Kristen Schaal is always creepy as the Conchords’ obsessed fan, Mel, and Eugene Mirman, a sort of obese Gollum look-alike, always delivers with his occasional lines as the guys’ landlord, Eugene. Even after I just told you all this, I haven’t even given the kicker. Demetri Martin guest stars in the last episode. Okay. Now you can cry with joy.

Every episode is amazing. The Sally episode starts the series off great. There’s the Mugged episode that makes me laugh every time when Murray says “He maybe dead (did).” The Bowie episode is fantastic with a spot-on impersonation of Jemaine as Bowie, Haziz Ansari guest stars as a fruit store owner racist against Kiwis, AND the guys go on tour in airport lobbies and hotels. There’s even an episode based around the Lord of the Rings, the stigmatized view of New Zealand and its association with Tolkien. (Fun Fact: If you own Return of the King, pop that sucker in and go to scene selections. Click on the third scene: Arwen’s Vision and watch it for a while. You should find an elf with two lines, begging Arwen to keep moving. That elf? Bret.)

So what more is there to say about this show. I can’t say enough. This show is redonkulous. Seriously. 10 out of 10. Go out, buy it. Watch it throughn 100 times. You’ll always laugh.

And for your enjoyment, the best song, hands down, from the first season.