Harry Potter Deathly Hallows / Unstoppable / Saw 3D / Morning Glory / Skyline

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows / Unstoppable / Saw 3D / Morning Glory / Skyline

Monday November 15th 2010

Today was an ugly day in Atlanta. It was raining, cold and gray outside. It was the perfect day for a Spartan Phoenix Movie Marathon. Today I headed to my favorite AMC multiplex. I love this theater cause its pretty clean and they have these awesome re-fill soda machines that have a wide variety of soft drinks to choose from.  I usually get my raspberry diet coke fill up first. My next refill is an orange diet coke; my third re-fill if any is the classic cherry diet coke. Today I targeted four brand new movies. 

The first movie I saw today was Unstoppable (2010) starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson. With an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barreling toward a city, a veteran engineer and a young conductor race against the clock to prevent a catastrophe. This movie was awesome. It was thrilling, emotional and action packed. This movie was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. This movie was directed by Tony Scott who is famous for in your face action. Mostly because his shots of actors faces are close ups to give a more dramatic scene. The chemistry between the main cast was great. Even the supporting cast was a lot of fun to watch too. I also enjoyed the scenery and backdrop of the film. The overall look of the film was impressive. This movie is worth a looksee, check it out.

The next film I saw was Saw 3D (2010) starring Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Cary Elwes and Sean Patrick Flanery. As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw’s brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror. OK, the only reason I went to see a Saw film was because this one was in 3D. I have tried to see most 3D movies released this year cause after all it is the year of “3D”. I have not seen any of the previous SAW films in their entirety. I’m not a fan of most horror films and especially torture horror which the category these Saw films fall under. I don’t really see the appeal of these films, but after seeing this recent installment of the Saw franchise its obvious there is a market for these films. There has also an ongoing continuity storyline between these films and returning characters that does add a mystery who done it aspect to it. As for the 3D aspect to this film it really didn’t add anything to the movie for me. There were a couple of in your face scenes that tried to take advantage of the 3D technology but fell flat for me. The most interesting thing about these movies is the complicated human death traps that the victims find themselves in. It always involves someone having to make a bloody self-sacrifice to stop the machine from completing its own bloody conclusion. The torture machine always wins out. When I saw these machines at work in the movie I kept thinking about the elaborate cartoon drawings of self help machines by Rube Goldberg that my mom introduced to me as a child.

Here is a link to Rube Goldberg and his comically involved complicated inventions: http://www.rubegoldberg.com/ Rube might be turning over in his grave if he knew what the Saw movies were up too. As for Saw 3D I don’t get it, but maybe you do.

Morning Glory (2010) starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum. An upstart television producer accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts. This movie was kind of cute. It reminded me of Working Girl (1988). Lead star Rachel McAdams was very charming. Like Working Girl Harrison Ford costars, but as a very different character. He plays an accomplished but very grumpy newsman not too happy to be anchoring a local New Jersey morning show. My favorite part of the film was the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton who plays the co-anchor. The movie was predictable but like I said… cute. Its not a must see but maybe a wait for home video.

Spoiler Warning!

Skyline (2010) starring Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, Brittany Daniel and David Zayas. Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth. After seeing the trailers for this alien invasion film that doesn’t star any A-list actors I didn’t have high expectations. I guess this was a good thing, cause I did find myself enjoying this movie… somewhat. I liked the concept of the movie and the design of the aliens. Being from Southern California I also enjoyed watching the destruction of Los Angeles. The effects were pretty good. I give no acting awards here, but I wasn’t expecting it and the acting wasn’t bad anyways. What I liked best about this film was the way it ended. Most alien invasion films end on hope or the defeat of the invaders. This movie does not. It seems there is no hope and they were not afraid to kill off most of the cast. I’m curious if a sequel is being planned cause they way it did end it I was wondering where they would go with the continuing story. I recommend this movie, check it out when you can.

Saturday November 20th, 2010

Today I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Ralph Fiennes. As Harry races against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, he uncovers the existence of three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows. I dropped the ball on seeing this movie sooner than I did. I was under the weather this week and didn’t plan accordingly to try to plan ahead and see a midnight showing. It was Thursday night when I was working till 10pm and a co-worker of mine had already bought their midnight tickets for the midnight show that was two hours away. I was told that all of the showings at this theater were sold out. After work I went to another theater that had multiple midnight showings. When I got there they were all sold out too. Damn. I had a wonderful date Friday night with my girlfriend so I planed to see an early evening showing on Saturday.

When I showed up at the theater, it was packed with theatergoers and many showings of the Harry Potter movie. But I had no trouble getting into the 6:40pm showing and finding a good seat. What I love about the release of big blockbuster films is the premier of new movie trailers for upcoming big movies. The two coolest trailers were of Green Lantern (2011) starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively and Cowboys & Aliens (2011) starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.

As for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 It was very dark, but I liked it. This is one of those movies that you have to treat the books and the movies as two different entities. Don’t expect the book to translate exactly into the movie. Enjoy the movie for what it is, just a movie. The same goes for movie remakes. Check out an older post I did that covers that subject on the new Karate Kid film: https://spartanphoenix.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/the-karate-kid-err-the-kung-fu-kid-how-to-enjoy-a-movie-remake/ What I like best about watching the Harry Potter films for the first time is what I’m gonna see in the film and how they may change or add scenes that are not written in the books. I was pleased with the casting of the new characters with the exception of the character Mundungus Fletcher. I liked the casting of Xenophilius Lovegood played by actor Rhys Ifans. I only wish they made him look older. The perfect casting award goes to Helena Bonham Carter for her portrayal of the evil Bellatrix Lestrange. Although she’s been in the earlier films, she shines more in this one. The scene that was very touching and was done well was the death of the character of Dobby voiced by Toby Jones. The other thing I really liked about this film was the country locations they shot a lot of the camping scenes while Harry and friends were on the run. These locations were very beautiful. But my favorite scene was the telling of the story of the Deathly Hallows through some really cool an imaginative animation while being voiced by Hermione Granger played by Emma Watson.

 I liked this film much better than the previous film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). Whether I recommend it or not, if you like the Harry potter series you will see this film. I did like it and can’t wait for the final movie.

I did want to give a high recommendation of the Harry Potter audio books even if you already read the books. The audio books are the best there is, and trust me I know. I have an extensive audio book collection cause I did a lot of traveling and love listening to audio books in the car. The audio books are read by Jim Dale http://www.jim-dale.com/ Jim is an accomplished actor and voice actor. His performance on the Harry Potter audio books is superb. He does such a great job with the different voices of all of the characters; his work is next to magical. He has won several Grammy awards for his work on the Harry Potter audio books. Listening to Jim read the books are like sitting next to a warm fire and hearing someone tell you a great story. In 2006 Jim was the first person inducted into the American Audio Publishers Hall of Fame. Do yourself a favor and check out the Harry Potter audio books. 

More to come my movie nerds stay tuned! – Spartan Phoenix

Total movies seen in the theater to date since February 1st 2010:  153

  • February           2010: Movies Seen: 12
  • March              2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • April                 2010: Movies Seen: 16
  • May                  2010: Movies Seen: 18
  • June                 2010: Movies Seen: 19
  • July                  2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • August             2010: Movies Seen: 21
  • September       2010: Movies Seen: 17
  • October           2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • November       2010: Movies Seen: 8

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