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Movies in 2009: Well What About Them?

Well another year is slowly coming to an end.  The reality around us was riddled with an economic crisis, celebrity domestic violence, and an unfortunate untimely demise of some of the best stars we have been privileged to watch perform in our generation.  But while all this was going on in our reality, what was up with movies.  Were they good? Were they absolutely horrible?  Personally I think I can sum up the year with just one expression: meh….

I mean it wasn’t horrible.  It was good to see Ryan Reynolds in so numerous roles this year as he erupted back on the spotlight for 2009 (although we could had done without Adventureland really).  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, although story wise it fell a little flat, the eye candy aspect was stellar.  And GI.Joe was one of the blockbuster surprises of the year.  But were any of these movies, classics like The “Dark Knight”, or darmichael-jackson-this-is-it-movie-postere I say “Iron Man”?  have any of the indies piqued your curiosity for “films” like the hilarious and smart “Juno”?  All this is debatable, but on the off chance your answers are no, I bet you’re like me waiting for the what’s left in the movie column in 2009…no? …well I’ll run through a selection of movies I’m expecting to do big things anyway, in no particular order.  Maybe something will tickle  your fancy.

This Is It: So if I have to explain this one to you, you must have been in a deep hibernating sleep/coma for the last four months. This should be considered the “really final this time…trust us” farewell to Michael Jackson as they document his last days preparing for what was to be his last tour for his career in London. I’m half expecting this to break some sort of record in box offices.  Maybe something that pertains to documentaries?  Sorry Michael Moore.

saw6Saw VI: is it just me or have we found the franchise that will never end?  As long as there’s a Halloween to celebrate and a blood and gore to glorify, Saw will ever be in existence.  I just think the shock value for this movie will never die.

Astro Boy: Let nostalgia kick in to high gear for all those 80’s cartoon fanatics as the astro-boy-movie-posterwonderful trend that is turning and 80’s cartoon into a modern day movie continues.  Now all we need is the Thundercats’s movie and all will be good in movie world.  But seriously expect this to be great for kids today and decent for the older generation who simply wants to reminisce.

twilight_movie_image_group_shot

Twilight: The New Eye Candy…I Mean Moon…;-):  Basically this new franchise is everything that lame movie The Covenant was supposed to be with plenty of beautiful people in it for boys and especially girls alike.

2012: I gotta admit, when I first saw the trailer to this, my initial reaction was…wow!  I mean I read abou2012_movie_poster2at the premise before seeing he preview and I thought “Oh man, I thought we were done with the ‘end of the world’ type movies in the late 90’s! Is there going to be a resurgence?”  But I guess deep down I was ready for more when I saw that preview.  Gotta say I am personally looking forward to this one more so than many of the others.

a-christmas-carol-posterA Christmas Carol: I’ve never been a big fan of Jim Carrey’s over the top comedic act.  It was always just so annoying.  Until he dialed it down ever so slightly with Yes Man.  One of my favourite comedies in 2008.  That being said, while I have found new hope for him in his personal acting career, I’ve always  thought his voice to be ideal for animation.

sherlockholmesSherlock Holmes: The resurrection of Robert Downey Junior’s career continues here as he stars alongside Rachel McAdams and Jude Law for a live action adventure of the famous detective. I gotta say, when I first heard they had acquired RDJ for this role, I was elated.  They’re taking a different angle to this movie and It looks so much fun.

its_complicated_merylstreep_alecbaldwin1-500x261It’s Complicated: Alec Baldwin on the big screen is only good news and a great way to end off a less than stellar 2009.

So there you have.  Just some of the movies I am expecting to make some waves for the remainder of 2009.  Here’s hoping this finishes off the year on much more upbeat note, than the lackluster year we have had thus far.

-Lu Galasso

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October 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso – The Week We’ve Been Waiting For

Lu Galasso here,

Well keeping with the theme of pop culture, I obviously have to talk about one of the biggest and most anticipated pop culture phenomenons – Harry Potter. The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived and Harry Potter and The Half-Blooded Prince is being released this week. It was originally set to be released sometime last year but complications arose and it got pushed. For those of you who are like myself and are avid Harry Potter fans, this book is where the story starts to turn. What once started out as a light hearted book about a boy becoming a wizard, having adventures and making new friends, has turned into a dark, twisty and mysterious plot. Harry Potter is no longer a boy, he is becoming a man. This film deals with relationships, death and more. It is no longer a story aimed at children, or at least in my opinion anyways. I started reading Harry Potter as a kid, when it was first released and kept up right until the end. Although the films are unable to fully capture everything that J.K Rowling writes in her books, I would have to say they do a pretty damn good job for what they have to work with.

In this book, as well as in the final novel, there were parts that even as a twenty year old, terrified me. In this final books I laughed, I cringed, I was nervous and I even cried. Why did Rowling make them so dark? Perhaps it was because she was aware that as she was writing these novels, the majority of her fan base was growing up with them. The first film came out in 2001 – making me about 13. The books came out even before that. I’m 21 now and the final book was released two summers ago. Meaning that Harry Potter and friends have grown up with me.

Rowling, as well as the film producers were smart, in that I believe they foresaw the popularity of twilight. Although, like Harry Potter, Twilight is popular across all age groups, its essentially the new Harry Potter, and its younger fan base will be more familiar with Twilight than our friend HP. Therefore, if Rowling had made her most recent books fairly childish, than she would likely loose some of her most loyal fans, the now older generation, leaving the new youngsters, who have likely not read her first novels, to have their own series.

Anyways, enough talk from me. I found a great article on the thestar.com that talks about the upcoming HP release. I have copy and pasted it below.

Hormones race, but the magic mainly idles in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a stage-setting film in which boyish fascinations give way to manly concerns.

The sixth Harry Potter movie and the last to exactly track J.K. Rowling’s book series (the seventh and final novel will be split into two films) is at once more realistic and less wondrous.

Gone are many of the whimsical fantasy elements that have made the series such a delight. The boys and girls have grown into young men and women, leading to serious romantic entanglements and attendant jealousies.

There is still magic, but it all has dramatic purpose – and much of it points to the final two films, in which youthful wizard Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his nemesis Voldemort, the Dark Lord, will engage in decisive battle.

Emboldened by his impending return, Voldemort’s airborne henchthingies, the Death Eaters, have stepped up their attacks, including muggles (humans) amongst their prey. An early scene resembling a terrorist attack sees pedestrians on London’s Millennium Bridge sprinting for safety as the Death Eaters ravage the structure.

Not even such heavenly preserves as Diagon Alley and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are safe from Voldemort’s minions, who now include a fully engaged Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who considers himself the Dark Lord’s opposite to Harry’s status as the “Chosen One” among wizards.

The annual train journey to Hogwarts, in which Harry and pals Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) head for the start of their sixth year, takes a violent turn as well-meaning subterfuge leads to a brutal beating. The students arrive at Hogwarts to discover they must now pass through a metal detector, since repeated Death Eater attacks against the school have forced the need for greater security.

Storm clouds real and metaphorical hover over the proceedings, which returning director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have fashioned as more of a mystery than previous instalments, and with many more plot threads. Film Review Harry Potter

The picture begins as an adult detective story, as Hogwarts patriarch Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) whisks Harry from a sexy muggle encounter (what a trip that would have been!) back into the fantasy realm to investigate what appears to be a savage Death Eater attack.

“Wands out, Harry!” Dumbledore warns. But it’s a set-up to meet an important new character in the franchise: Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent, perfectly cast), a former professor of potions at Hogwarts who taught Tom Riddle (played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffen and Frank Dillane at different ages), the troubled student who became Lord Voldemort.

Dumbledore convinces Slughorn to return to Hogwarts, hoping that Harry – whom Slughorn is star-struck by – can cajole or con him into giving up important information about Riddle that could lead to Voldermort’s undoing.

Harry is now Dumbledore’s adult sidekick rather than his boyish protégé, an important development in the saga. But it’s frustrating to see Radcliffe still playing more boy than man when the time comes for Harry to whip out his wand. You’d think that five years of training would have made him less of a fumbler.

There are many more developments in the tale, including further elucidation into the puzzling motives of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), now promoted to teacher of defence against the dark arts. He’s obviously being primed for greater revelations to come, as is Voldemort’s female consort Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), whose violent urges take a fiery turn this time.

Also firming up are relations between Ron and his secret admirer, Hermione, amusingly complicated by male and female interlopers, and between Harry and his own covert devotee, Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright). Could one of Slughorn’s concoctions be Love Potion No. 9?

Yates and Kloves have done a commendable job of distilling the essence of Rowling’s mammoth text and maintaining control over plot complications (including the identity of the titular Half-Blood Prince) that could befuddle anyone not fully versed in Potter lore.

Quality remains high in every regard and the cast is almost entirely intact, rare feats for a franchise this far into its run.

Rowling and her dutiful film deputies have kept pace with their core audience, most of whom are now into their late teens and 20s, and who are facing some of the same life issues as Harry and his career, albeit more of the earthbound variety. The same Potterphiles who went with their parents to see the film series’ debut in 2001 are now old enough to attend tonight’s midnight screenings on their own or with their pals.

Yet despite the many pluses of The Half-Blood Prince, it’s unlikely to become a series favourite for many people, at least in the celluloid format. Harry’s development as a wizard and as a hero remains gallingly slow – he often gapes rather than reacts – and the story’s one major development is bizarrely treated almost as an after-thought.

Think of the film as a stepping-stone to greater drama to come, much like The Two Towers in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and heed Slughorn’s words of caution: “These are mad times we live in, mad!”

— Lu Galasso

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment