3:13 a.m. 6/25/26/05
Step into my brain as I watch Michael Collins. Hm. There are no opening credits. That’s kind of cool. Boy, they really jump right into the action, don’t they? There’s Liam Neeson looking so formidable in his uniform. There’s Aidan Quinn! Wait a minute, there’s Aidan Quinn dying. Wow. They killed him off early on. Isn’t he a major character? Wait, there’s Jonathan Rhys-Meyers looking impossibly gorgeous for a supposed ruffian. I didn’t know he was in the movie. Cool. Oooh, it’s Alan looking so forlorn. Now he’s weeping. Am I missing something? Wait, no, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is going to ambush Liam Neeson. Liam! How can you be so gullible? Ian Hart! How can you let him? Oh, shit! Jonathan just shot Liam!
Oh, I get it. I’m watching the wrong side. See, I had looked at both sides of the disc before starting as this is one of those discs that has two sides. One looked pretty much like the other, so I popped in the disc assuming that it didn’t matter. Oh, how it did. I flip the disc over and hey, the beginning! It actually doesn’t matter that I watched the ending first because the first thing I see on this side is Joe (Hart. By the way, how good is he that I didn’t recognize him at all as Professor Quirrell from the first Harry Potter series) telling Kitty (Julia Roberts) why Collins (Neeson) died. Once that’s done, we’re off and running.
3:02 a.m. 9/15/16/05
My mom is gone, which means I get to watch whatever movie I want again. I have duly reconfigured my queue to reflect my tastes, but I still have three movies at home that I have yet to see. These are movies that I do want to view, but not necessarily right away. However, since I have them, I decided to watch them before returning them.
First up is The End of the Affair. Now, as far as I remember, I placed this on my queue because it has Jason Isaacs in it. And Ian Hart. What I didn’t remember is that it also has the wonderful Stephen Rea in it as well. Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes round out the exemplary cast. She’s lovely to look at as well as being a more-than-competent actor while he is brilliant in certain roles. In addition, there is gorgeous orchestra music with a lush cello and picturesque period scenery. The movie takes place during World War II—sort of—and it feels authentic. Then again, as I’ve stated earlier, I know squat about period accuracy, so I’m impressed rather easily in that department.
4:45 p.m. 5/19/06
Ok. Next up—Breakfast on Pluto. I had mix feelings about seeing this movie because it got pretty trashed at the time it was released. I don’t normally pay attention to reviews when I am actually going to see a movie, but I did with this movie for some reason. Why did I want to see it? Well, Neil Jordan directs, for one. I think he’s a great, though erratic director who occasionally indulges himself too much—see End of the Affair as case in point. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see this because Cillian Murphy reminds me of that guy from Smallville, whom I don’t find attractive at all. In fact, I was convinced that Tom Welling was the actor playing Scarecrow in Batman Begins. Even though I realized it wasn’t, I thought he—Murphy—was odd looking in Batman Begins, and this is without the scary Scarecrow transformation. On the other hand, he is Irish. ‘Nough said.
9:46 p.m. 7/21/07
So. On the day the final Harry Potter book is released, I am dodging any mention of it because I want to not know any spoilers before reading it. Too late as one article in the Strib online puts a spoiler in the teaser. People, please. Do me (and others like me) a favor and put all spoilers in the link so someone has to click on the link in order to read the spoilers. Is that too much to ask?
That’s not why I’m here, though. Another fairly big event happened in the world of Harry Potter last week—the fifth movie opened. As a good friend of mine and I have a standing tradition of seeing the movies in a theatre together (she also buys the books and lends them to me so I don’t have to buy them myself), we are off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Hogwarts. The movie is Harry Potter: Fast and Furious, no, wait, it’s not, but it might as well be. Harry is in his fifth year at Hogwarts, and not so coincidentally, he hits his sullen years. The book, Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix, is the longest by far (800+ pages), and the movie is a slim two and a half hours long. Obviously, something has to go.
9:44 p.m. 4/22/06
Harry Potter fans, we have a burgeoning dilemma on our hands. It started, well, really, right from the start, but more so with the latest movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. What’s the dilemma? It is this. J.K. Rowling seems determined to write the next War and Peace, increasing each book exponentially. This a problem when it comes to the big screen because how on earth can one pare down a tome of epic proportions to a mere two and a half hours? Well, there is more than one way, but Mike Newell decides to jettison most of the emotional tenor of the story and simply focus on the action. Oh, I still haven’t gotten to the dilemma, but I’m making my way there, don’t you worry. Here it is. The movie is a satisfactory adventure flick if you haven’t read the book. However, if you haven’t read the book, you probably don’t know what the hell is going on. See how that might be a problem?
3:29 a.m. 12/7/8/04
I watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tonight, and I realized one thing. It is better to watch the Potter movies long after you’ve read the books so you don’t remember what the hell is going on. Come on, Harry Potter fans! Admit it. You know it’s true. Once you read one of those books, it’s ancient history. At least, that’s the way it is for me. You have to know that I’ve read thousands of mysteries, and I can recite the plot to eighty percent of them. While I was watching HP & the COS, however, I remembered perhaps a fourth of what was happening. I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and she could have cut that sucker by half. I enjoy her writing, though I don’t think it’s brilliant, but she needs a stern editor. Also, she needs to stop her books about ten pages sooner than she ever does, but that’s an essay for another time.
Back to HP & the COS. I liked it better than the first movie. I’m trying to decide why, and the best I can come up with is that I know the characters and vaguely remember the plot, which means I have a modicum of investment in the movie. When I saw the first movie, I had never read the books so I didn’t really get what was happening on screen. This movie confused me with its scene changes as well, but at least I knew enough of the background not to flounder too much. It’s best to watch this movie without really thinking of anything much or else you come up with questions such as the one my friend asked when the message from the heir of Slytherin showed up in blood. Whose blood is it? Even when we find out who wrote the message, we never find out from where the blood comes. As my friend asked, ‘Her menstrual blood?’ As the girl (Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley) is about nine, that’s pretty unlikely and grotesque besides.
4:55 a.m. 7/11/12/04
I just finished reading the third Harry Potter book about a week ago. To my surprise, I enjoyed it immensely. Why do I say to my surprise? Because I didn’t care for the first two books. In fact, it took me awhile to summon my courage to read book three. The only way I did manage to pick it up was because I told myself that I could quit reading it at any time. Once I did, I could hardly put it down.
This is the backdrop to the fact that I saw the movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban today. Or as I like to call it, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azerbaijan. Not because I mistake the two, but because I like the word Azerbaijan, and really, how many times do you get to say or write it? Back to the movie. Yes, I actually saw it in a theater. A medium popcorn costs five bucks! Outrageous. You can bet I took the more than half full bag home with me. It’s ok. I like stale popcorn. I should have gotten the small, but it was only seventy-five cents less for appreciably less popcorn. I digress, but I’m outraged at the prices at the concession stand. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to an actual theater—thank you, Netflix—and I almost had a heart attack. Michael Moore, if you want to do an expose on theater concession prices, I’m right there with you.
3:56 a.m. 12/31/04—1/1/05
Happy New Year, y’all. How apropos that I saw the movie, January Man, last night. I bought it sight unseen because it has, yes, you guessed it, Alan Rickman. It also has Susan Sarandon, which is an added bonus. Kevin Kline doesn’t do a thing for me, but Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio isn’t too hard on the eyes. There’s even a totally-gratuitous breast shot of her which is a nice bonus. I’m getting ahead of myself, of course, but when is that news to anyone?
First of all, the scene with Alan—Ed—and his nude model….She has the roundest tits I’ve seen in a non-porn movie. They’re nice, but a bit distracting. Her face isn’t that much to look at, however. Oh, why is she there nude? Ed is a painter—and I can totally see Alan as a painter, especially with that beard he has going. I also like the fact that he’s allowed to be British because there’s no reason to be American. Alan does his usual stand-up job, but there is not nearly enough of him in this oh-so-tedious do-it-by-the-numbers thriller—and I use the word ‘thriller’ advisedly. The only good thing about this is that it has Susan and Alan—even though neither is that prominent. Other than that, well, it’s pretty putrid.
3:13 a.m. 6/23/24/05
I just saw a movie which has no redeeming characters, where it would be kind to call the plot transparent, and that doesn’t seem to think there’s a single shred of human decency anywhere. Like a reviewer on IMDB.com, I labored under the misperception that this movie was a comedy—most likely because Hugh Grant was in it—when it’s dark drama all the way through. I don’t think I’ve seen a more depressing movie in quite some time, and there is absolutely nobody to care about in the movie as the behavior ranges from brutal—Hugh Grant as Meredith Potter—to self-absorbed—Alan Rickman as P. J. O’Hara—to callow folly—Georgina Cates as Stella. They all could have died and it wouldn’t have mattered to me. In fact, I probably would have cheered if that was the case. This movie is so damn bleak.
It’s also utterly compelling. Oh, didn’t I say that already? No, I didn’t. The movie is An Awfully Big Adventure, and it is something of a tour de force that the movie can overcome all the obstacles and be so damn engrossing. The purported heroine of the movie, Stella (Cates), is a 16-year old Liverpool girl who wants to be an actor. She is raised by Uncle Vernon (Alun Armstrong) who is actually a redeeming character albeit a stereotype and by Aunt Lily (Rita Tushingham). Her mother is supposed to be this big mystery, but it’s pretty obvious from the start. Stella interviews with Potter (Grant) and Bunny (Peter Firth) for assistant stage manager. She is hired, and she immediately falls in love with Potter who is clearly gay. She doesn’t know that, but the film doesn’t hide the fact. By the way, it’s funny to hear Alan Rickman say, ‘Potter’ given his latter role in the Harry Potter series, but that is neither here no there.
4:31 p.m. 12/28/04
Oh, God. I just got done watching Dogma—which wasn’t the movie I was going to watch, but that DVD wouldn’t play. So, instead of the fairyland of Peter Pan and that dastardly Captain Hook—yeah, of Wendy, too—I settled in to listen to The Voice of the One True God, er, watch a different movie. A friend of mind lent this DVD to me because of my well-documented growing obsession with all things Alan Rickman. I was leery because I hadn’t liked Clerks, and I don’t much care for Matt Damon or Ben Affleck. It was only when I began watching the movie that I realized I had liked the boys in Good Will Hunting, though that seemed like eons ago. Still, I didn’t think I’d care much for this flick, and was I ever pleasantly surprised.
First—the negatives. Well, the biggest negative. Jay (Jason Mewes) and his puerile mouth. I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I got tired of his constant attempt to get laid in the most inappropriate times. He is too much of a one-note character to garner much interest, and he actually detracts from the movie much of the time. The few times when he has something worthwhile to say—such as his suggestion to talk to the cardinal about shutting down the church—are far overwhelmed by the sheer inanity of his comments. I would have culled his remarks by two-thirds and given those lines to Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Yes, that was a joke.