Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Gleek Critique: "Special Education" Episode

New Directions performing together at Sectionals, even though they all hate each other.  Image property of Fox.

When Ms. Pilsbury suggests to Mr. Schuester that he utilize some of the less-noticed glee club members, he decides that Rachel and Finn will not get any solos at the competition.  They will feature Brittany and Mike's dance moves, and give solos to Quinn and Sam instead.  Rachel, of course, is scandalized.

Kurt has his own troubles getting a solo with the Warblers.  Even with Rachel's help, he doesn't get it.  Blaine tells him he's trying to hard to stand out, when he needs to be fitting in.  Seems like this new school isn't as great as Kurt thought it would be.

To add to the drama, Santana decides to spill the beans about her and Finn, and now Rachel is madder than ever.  To get back at him, she makes out with Puck, and Finn breaks up with her.  No more star couple.  And the infidelity doesn't stop there.  Apparently Mike and Brittany are doing a little more than rehearsing together... leaving poor Tina and Artie heartbroken.  Or were they? And speaking of doomed relationships, Will's love for Emma will be forever unrequited.  She and Dr. Carl got married in Vegas!

The Pros:
  • Rachel walking in with tape over her mouth.  Ha ha.  What a way to protest her lack of a solo...
  • "I gotta say.  She kinda' rocked my world." 
  • I loved when Blaine and the Warblers sang Train's "Hey, Soul Sister."  So so so so good!
  • I finally like the Artie/Brittany relationship.  At first I didn't get it (and also doubted it would last more than an episode) but they were really cute together tonight.
  • I enjoyed New Directions' performance of "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"/"Valerie".  Sam, Quinn, and Santana rocked it!  And speaking of awesome solos from the supporting cast, I'm glad Tina got featured heavily in "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence and the Machine.  She hardly ever gets a solo and this one made me quite happy!
The Cons:
  • Old people singing is just... weird.  I didn't enjoy that at all.
  • Sue was absent this episode, and an episode without Sue Sylvester never really seems complete.  I need to hear her crazy rants!
  • Oh, and a three-way tie?  That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard!  So mad about that.  I guess I should be happy that New Directions is going to compete at the next level... but come on?  A three-way tie?  Does that actually happen?  Ever?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Deck the Halls

Thankful for Gingerbread Cookies

Last night we were all in a festive mood.  Christmas music was playing.  Snow was falling.  We were putting up our tree, decorating it with lights and baubles and ribbon all silver and red.  And such merriment was deserving of a holiday treat, so Brian made us all gingerbread cookies.

Brian basically followed Alex Guarnaschelli's recipe, except he added some fresh ginger as well as the ground dry ginger the recipe calls for.  Before he baked the cookies he let us have some of the dough, and it was so delicious!  Once the cookies came out of the oven we had a lot of fun frosting our cookies with orange icing and decorating them with gumdrops.  Eating them up with a mug of hot cocoa was just perfect!

So I'd like to carry on my November tradition and say that I'm thankful for gingerbread cookies!  I'm thankful for time spent with Brian and Ryan and Mesun.  The friendship, love, and camaraderie in our apartment is something I truly treasure.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Movie Review: 'Tangled' is Hair-Raising Fun!

Tangled movie poster, property of Disney.

Almost every review I had read for Tangled before seeing it had some sort of hair-related joke or two, so I couldn't resist doing the same.  I didn't find the movie to be full of "split-ends" like some people said or a "hairdo gone flat," I just found it to be entertaining and funny and often quite beautiful to look at.  In fact, those with negative opinions of this movie are in the minority.  The film is getting remarkably good reviews, which speaks highly of Disney's animated future.

Tangled is a retelling of the classic fairy tale Rapunzel, but Disney has of course made a few changes.  For example, her hair is not only long and lovely, but also full of magical healing powers.  She's also a princess, but of course she doesn't know that, seeing as she was kidnapped as a baby by the woman who she thinks is her mother.  Every year on her birthday the kingdom sends up a million floating lanterns into the night sky in hope that someday she'll return home.  From her tower, Rapunzel can see these floating lights, and longs to know more about them.  When the thief Flynn Ryder breaks into her tower in order to hide from the palace guards, Rapunzel decides that he might just be her ticket out of there...

Obviously comedy and adventure ensue.  And obviously the two fall in love.  Rapunzel is voiced well by Mandy Moore who infuses her with a lot of innocence, curiosity, and gumption.  Zachary Levi does great as the witty and charming Flynn Ryder, and also proves that he can sing as well (everybody already knows that Mandy Moore can sing).  There are plenty of musical numbers in this one, yet I found them to be less memorable than the songs from Princess and the Frog.  "Less memorable" doesn't mean to say that they were awful.  The songs by Alan Menken were just fine and dandy, just not quite amazing.  He's done better work in past Disney films.

The animation style in this movie is very pretty to look at.  The color palette mostly consists of pastel pinks and blues and greens, and the coloring is done in a way to evoke a hand-painted feel.  It doesn't by any means look hand-drawn, but there is a softness and warmth to it that sort of bridges the gap between pen-and-ink and CGI.  The scene where the glowing lanterns are released into the sky is simply breathtaking to behold.

But overall, the movie is funny.  You'll find yourself laughing at many things, including some slap-sticky frying pan hits from Rapunzel and witty banter from Flynn.  The two animals in the film, a horse and a chameleon, get the majority of the laughs I feel, and some of the ruffians they encounter are also quite amusing.  Tangled really is hair-raising fun for the whole family!

Sorry.  I just couldn't resist.

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Friday, November 26, 2010


Dear Jack,

My little
gitano!  You are free to live wherever you want.  I think you should live in Paris and study art and cooking.  Learn to speak French.  There's nothing tying you guys down.  Live on less than nothing and experience life, my little gitano...  I love you, Jack.  Tell Brian hi!

Love and blessings,
That's what my father wrote back when I wrote to him explaining our recent decision to move to Los Angeles, California.  Sure, it's no Paris (and no New York either) but it's definitely a step in the right direction.  At least Brian and I think so.

Sometime in October I think is when we first started to consider an out-of-state move.  Up until then, I was sure we would stay in Utah another year at least.  But one day while browsing online for new apartment rentals in Salt Lake City, I decided to do a search for apartments in New York.  Then Los Angeles.  I even looked into Colorado Springs where my siblings live.  I just started looking at various random cities and states as the sudden realization came over me:  we can live anywhere.

While there was a definite reason why I came to Utah, there is no reason why Brian and I should live in Utah now.  I came out here to go to Brigham Young University, and obviously that reason is now null and void.  I don't regret coming out here because this is where I met Brian.  In fact, I'm positive that he is the only reason I was meant to move to Utah at all.  We've been together two years now living in Salt Lake City (a place we moved to escape the bubble that is Provo/Orem) but there isn't a concrete reason for staying here.  We aren't attending school here, we're just working.  And the jobs we have are by no means our dream jobs.  I don't want to work in retail for the rest of my life any more than Brian wants to work at a movie theater.  If anything, staying put here in Salt Lake City is like floating when we need to be swimming.

So it was earlier this month that we made the firm decision to move to California.  With our lofty dreams of becoming movie directors and animators, it just seems the state to be in.  Brian can attend auditions for stage shows and movies and television series, and there are a ton of great animation schools I can attend once we've attained California residency.  Plus, I'll be closer to a lot of my extended family who live in the LA area, including my Tia Loca and my maternal grandparents.  It's risky just picking up and leaving, but we fear that if we don't do it now we won't do it ever.

Of course, it will be sad to leave our friends and family here in Utah.  We've been sharing the news with people little by little, and most are extremely excited for us even if they are sad to see us go.  Brian's mom, however, did not take the news so well.  We've been the most afraid to tell her, and we kept finding reasons to put it off.  We were going to tell her when they all came over for our early Thanksgiving meal on the 14th, but then decided we didn't want to spoil the celebration.  We even considered just moving and telling her once we were there, but that clearly wasn't the best idea.  So it was yesterday, on Thanksgiving, when she kept asking if we'd found a new place, that I finally told her.

You see, Brian was at work (the poor kid worked from 8 AM to 2 AM yesterday, an 18-hour shift) so I rode with Brian's sister Jenny down to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family.  I almost went to Thanksgiving with my roommate Mesun, but decided at the last minute that it would be better to spend it with the Keslers.  I'm glad I did, because at least the cat is out of the bag now.  I finally had to tell her, because she could tell something was up and she kept trying to get information out of everyone else.  We had already told his sisters.  So finally I said, yes, we are moving out of state.  She guessed California and I said yes.  And then came the waterworks.

She cried and cried and cried.  But not because she was upset with our decision, but because she was going to miss us.  Desperately.  Brian's mom admittedly has a hard time with cutting the apron strings.  She doesn't want any of her kids to move away from her... especially as far away as California.  "What about the birthdays?" she asked.  "What about the recitals and the concerts and the holidays?"  She misses us enough already, and we only live an hour away.

Poor thing.  Jenny kept assuring me that she would be all right.  I hope so.  And now that Mama Kesler knows, I figure it's safe to really make it known on my blog.  We're moving to Los Angeles at the end of this year.  We don't have every detail figured out yet, but we're moving no matter what.  I guess it's true that I'm just a gitano, a gypsy, and I have to keep moving on.  I need to add another location to my ongoing list of addresses...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chihuahua Comics: Gluttony... An American Tradition

I hope your Thanksgiving leaves you fat and happy!  (And yes, this is a ripoff of an earlier comic... I was way too full on turkey to actually draw something new)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Our view from the balcony.  Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!
Well, I feel like the holidays are officially here.  Even though the stores have had Christmas decorations for months now, blaring festive music through their speakers loud enough to make a Scrooge out of Santa even,  it still didn't feel like Christmas.  I didn't care that the cheesy Christmas movies and specials had already begun to fill up our television stations, or that advertisements were already telling us to stock up on stocking stuffers...  I was just refusing to believe that it was that jolly time of year.  But with the sudden snowfall, I'm starting to get the feeling that Christmas really is upon us.  It's official, even if we do still have Thanksgiving to go through...

Oh, snow.  I have such a love/hate relationship with snow.  On the one hand, it's so pretty and magical, evoking nostalgic holiday feelings.  I even like bundling up in my coat and scarf, and shaking it off my shoes.  But on the other hand, it's cold, wet, and makes driving almost impossible.  Luckily I don't have a car anymore, so I'm not outside like Brian having to scrape ice off the windshield.  And did I mention it's cold?

But the snowfall we got last night was hardly worth all of the panic and fear surrounding it.  All morning there was talk of the big huge monstrously scary blizzard that would hit in the afternoon.  They were issuing warnings left and right not to drive, in fact, many businesses shut down early to ensure their employees made it home safely.  Schools went ahead and sent kids home as well and canceled their Wednesday classes.  People were buying candles and firewood in preparation for the loss of power to be expected later in the night.

Well, the big huge monstrously scary blizzard didn't hit Salt Lake City until around 6:00 PM or so.  And as Brian and I drove home from the Smith's Marketplace, we couldn't help noticing that the big huge monstrously scary blizzard wasn't really that big or huge or monstrously scary...  Sure it was snowing, and it was windy, but it just felt like "snowfall" not "blizzard."  After three or four hours it was done.

I've had Dairy Queen Blizzards more dangerous than that...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Gleek Critique: "Furt" Episode

Carol Burnett guest starring as Sue's mother Doris.  Image property of Fox.
The episode starts with an exciting announcement:  Burt and Carol are getting married!  And when Sue Sylvester's only match on an online dating site is herself, she decides that the one and only person she can marry is herself.  And since everyone else is proposing, Sam decides to propose to Quinn.  But not really.  He gets down on one knee and presents her with a promise ring.

Love is in the air, it's clear, but so is fear and intimidation.  Karofsky is clearly not handling his suppressed homosexuality well at all, and he's bullying Kurt more and more.  The glee girls convince their glee boyfriends to do something about it, so Artie and Mike confront Karofsky, which leads to a fight where Sam joins in and kicks Karofsky's ass!  Things get even more heated when Kurt's dad Burt finds out and it almost leads to Karofsky's expulsion.

The Pros:
  • Carol Burnett and Jane Lynch singing "Ohio" from the musical Wonderful Town was simply amazing.  A fun tune, with great harmonies, and Carol Burnett is just such a legend!  I was so so so happy!
  • Burt and Carol's wedding was adorable, and she looked really pretty in her wedding dress!
  • The glee kids' version of Bruno Mars' "Marry You" was really fun, showcasing all of the couples.  Equally catchy and cute was "Just the Way You Are," another Bruno Mars song.
  • Finn's wedding speech dedicated to Kurt was very grown-up of him, and I'm glad that he's become a lot more accepting of Kurt, especially now that they are step-brothers.
  • Yes, Sue's wedding dress is a track-suit dress.  How awesome is that?
  • Sue, although still mean and condescending, actually sticks up for Kurt in this episode.
The Cons:
  • Karofsky didn't get expelled (just a verbal warning from the superintendent) and since Karofsky's in, Kurt is out.  At the end of the episode he decides to go to the private school where Blaine attends.
  • As Rachel points out, Kurt will be competing against them all at Sectionals.
  • I kept reading everywhere that "Rachel and Finn take a big step," but they don't really.  Rachel still has no idea that Finn slept with Santana once.  If anyone took a big step, it was Quinn and Sam.  Or Burt and Carol.  Even Finn and Kurt.  But not Rachel and Finn really...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful For... Part Three

I'm thankful that Wizard Week is over!  Ha ha.  Just kidding.  I wish every week could be Wizard Week.  Heck, I just wish I was a wizard and could shout out "Expelliarmus" every time I wanted to get the remote control away from Brian.  I can only take so much Food Network...

But as much as I loved Wizard Week, it did distract me completely from my promise of giving daily thanks.  I guess I'm just not a very grateful person.  That, or I'm just a very forgetful, easily-distracted, flighty person with the attention span of a small bird.

So what have I been thankful for these past ten days?

Thursday 11th:  Thankful for all the veterans.  Good job, guys...

Friday 12th:  Thankful for getting a birthday check in the mail from my grandpa, even though my birthday was way back in August.

Saturday 13th:  Not thankful for the unlucky number 13 and the unlucky things it brings to me.  Like being sick all day.  However, I am thankful for cherry flavored Alka-Seltzer and lots of Ibuprofen.

Sunday 14th:  Thankful for Brian's sisters Jenny, Amy, and Courtney.  I love 'em as if they were my own sisters.  I'm also thankful for Brian's mom and dad, especially his mom who isn't too grown-up to draw faces on our statues with dry-erase markers when she comes over for dinner.

Monday 15th:  Thankful for early morning shipment at work, but mostly because we listen to Radio from Hell while we process it.  They're like the voices in my head that keep me company, only these voices actually belong to real people.

Tuesday 16th:  Thankful for new episodes of Glee (7:00 PM on Fox).

Wednesday 17th:  Not thankful that Brian watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 before I did.  Definitely not.  However, I am thankful that I have a blog where I can complain about it.  I'm really thankful for my friends who understood.  And at least I got to watch Modern Family (8:00 PM on ABC).

Thursday 18th:  Thankful for the fun class at work about service-based selling.  You might think it would be boring, but when I'm surrounded by some of my favorite coworkers I can't help but have a good time.  So I'm thankful for awesome coworkers that make work fun.

Friday 19th:  Thankful for 1:00 AM tickets to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 with Brian, Ryan, and Mesun.  I'm also thankful for movie theater popcorn, candy, and Coke.  Even more thankful that I didn't have to be at work until 1:30 in the afternoon, and was the only one who got any sleep after the movie ended.  The girls had to be somewhere at 7:00 and Brian had work at 8:00.  Ha ha ha!

Saturday 20th:  Thankful for my super awesome new phone.  It's a Droid.  And it was free.

Lunch With Carr and Anderson

I guess "lunch" is sort of a loose term.  It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when we managed to all get together.  It was too early to be considered "dinner" in my opinion, and the fact that it was the first thing I'd eaten all day could even qualify it as "breakfast."  I guess I should rename this article to "Generic Meal With Carr and Anderson" but that just sounds strange.

So who are Carr and Anderson?  Old mission buddies of course!  I know, it sounds a little odd for me to be hanging out with old missionaries, but these guys are really cool.  Sam Carr (or Elder Carr as I knew him) was my companion in the Missionary Training Center before we ever departed to Chile.  He was there for me while I was struggling with Spanish...  which means he had to hear me whine and complain every other day.  He was great though, and was ever-ready to give me a boost of confidence that things would all work out in the end.

Zach Anderson (who I also knew as Elder but is really named Richard) was a missionary who was never my actual companion but was often in my district or zone.  In fact, there was a time in Talca when I had written a play called Arboleda (meaning "grove") and the whole zone participated.  Anderson played Angel Moroni if I'm not mistaken and he was spectacular.  He was all dressed in white robes and he stood on a chair that some missionaries pushed forward when it was time for him to speak from the heavens (I insisted on only the highest quality of production standards with my show).

Anderson lives here in Salt Lake City, but we only ever communicate through Facebook.  So it was nice to see him in person for a little bit.  What brought us together today was Carr who lives in California but was here with some friends for a wedding.  Anderson and I are the only missionaries he really talks to so he wanted us to get together.  We met up at Rumbi's at the Gateway and had some quick, yummy food while catching up.

I brought Brian with me, so they both got to meet him.  We talked a little about our jobs and our future plans to move to California.  Carr was able to give us some advice since he lives there, and both he and Anderson talked mostly about school wrapping up and the jobs they have lined up when they are done.  Anderson also talked about his super-intense workout program which made me feel like a lazy fatty.  Oh well.  Then we talked a little bit about post-mission life, which was interesting since none of us identify with the LDS Church anymore.

The lunch/dinner-date was cut short since Brian had to get to work, but it was still a lot of fun.  I'm glad we made time in our day to get together and catch up a little.

Oh, and do you like how I casually let slip that we're moving to California?  Yep, we are.  More about that in a future post...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Movie Review: 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1'

Deathly Hallows and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie poster, image property of Warner Bros.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 AWESOME! 
So the hour has come at last!  After a week of hearing me blabber on about Harry Potter movies, books, and celebrities you'll be happy to know that Wizard Week is over!  I won't annoy you anymore!!  Well, I'll write this one teeny little movie review, and then I promise to shut up about wizards and magic.

At least until Part 2 is released.  Then I promise nothing.

I apologize that I didn't get this review up sooner.  I watched the movie at one o'clock this morning, got home at around four, then slept until noon.  If I had gotten up earlier, I could have written it before work, but I didn't.  So I went to work and got home at about 8:00 PM.  Then I spent a couple of hours trying to convince Brian that we should go to the theater and see it again tonight, but he said no, no, no.  So here I am, wishing that I was watching the movie for a second time.  It's probably for the better, because I need to write this review.

So here goes.  This movie is amazing.  No, it's astounding.  It's breathtaking, stupendous, astonishing, extraordinary, impressive.  It's every positive word you can find in the thesaurus.  Dear God, I love this movie!

A coworker of mine said the movie was "perfect" and what he loved most about the movie was the fact that it took it's time.  I don't think he meant that it was painstakingly slow or dull, but that it wasn't overly rushed.  Although I love all of the Harry Potter movies, sometimes they move along at a frenetic pace without a moment to register what you just saw.  This one, however, had really great pacing.  It really did allow plenty of time for some of the slower, more human moments.  We were able to discover something new, soak it in, and really savor it before moving on to the next major plot point.

Quite a lot does happen though.  They fight some Death Eaters, sneak into the Ministry of Magic, fight some Death Eaters, get attacked by a snake, fight some Death Eaters, destroy a horcrux, run from some snatchers, fight more death eaters, and dig a grave.  I don't want to give too much away, but there really is plenty of action.  Plenty of scares.  Plenty of heartache. 

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) have grown into spectacular adults and their performances in this movie are really top-notch.  We see them in a whole new light in this film.  For starters, they aren't at Hogwarts.  In fact, they don't know where they are most of the time.  They are on the run, living in secret, and tempers flare, feelings are hurt, and doubt seeps into everything.  They are put under enormous stress, and we've never seen them more human.  The film has such a raw feeling at times.  We see Ron at his ugliest and Hermione at her most vulnerable.

The scene where Ron and Harry's arguing escalates to the point where Ron leaves them is acted so well.  I was really impressed with their performances here, especially Ron.  But my favorite scene would have to be the scene where Harry tries cheering Hermione up by dancing with her.  It's not from the book, so people might not like it, but it's beautiful.  It's goofy and tender and so understated.  In that one scene I was able to comprehend not only Hermione's love for Ron, but also for Harry in a way I never have before.  Harry and Hermione do love each other, but as close friends.  Almost family.  And Harry trying his hardest to reach out to her, and comfort her is very moving.  And you can see how much she needs Harry.  And how much she misses Ron.  It's just perfect.

And it's moments like this one that really elevate this movie, at least in my opinion.  Sure there's plenty of laughter, and plenty of magic, but the movie feels so much more personal than others have.  The movie is deeper and more poignant than any other Potter movie.

This movie also boasts superb direction by David Yates, exquisite cinematography by Eduardo Serra, a splendid screenplay by Steve Kloves, and Alexandre Desplat's score is the greatest since John Williams.  There really is a lot to love about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

My only complaint is that I was left wanting the conclusion to the story!  I need Part 2 now! 

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For Brian's review of this movie, click here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wizard Week: Emma Watson's "Marie Claire" Interview

Marie Claire is featuring my Emma Watson and in the interview she talks about many things including her time at Brown University.  The article tells a pretty funny little story, that highlights Emma's similarities to her character Hermione:
In one class, the professor asked students a question, and Watson raised her hand. Just like the fiercely smart, overachieving, always-right Hermione, Watson gave the correct answer.

From the back of the room, one of her classmates called out, "Score 20 points for Gryffindor!"
Even as a young 7-year-old girl reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the first time, she felt a connection to Hermione's character.
"Playing Hermione just came so naturally; I had a real affinity for her," she said. "I felt like I knew exactly who she was. Like me, she's very loyal and determined, she's very intelligent, and she has a lot of guy friends, as I do. Her eagerness to please and to have the right answer is definitely like me. I'm a perfectionist, so my bossiness definitely comes out."
 But what was it like playing Hermione all her life?
"It wasn't like I made one movie; it was working consistently for 10 years. There was no reprieve," Watson said. "But I'm glad I saw it through to the end; I played that character from the start, and I wanted to finish what I started. It felt very satisfying that I had completed Hermione's journey." 

Wizard Week: Three Characters That Never Hit the Pages

JK Rowling's official website is a treasure trove of Harry Potter trivia and information.  Seriously, there are lots of really neat things to look at on the site and you could easily waste away hours of precious time.  I know I do!  Let me warn you though, that the pretty version of the site will need you to turn off any pop-up blockers.  However, you can go to the text-only version like I do and read all the same things just with an uglier layout.

Under the "Extra Stuff" tab I found three characters that existed in earlier drafts but never made it to the final book:
  • Mafalda
    In the second book the Weasley's make a reference to a second cousin who is a stockbroker.  Mafalda was going to be the daughter of that second cousin.  In one version of the fourth book, she was sent to stay the summer with the Weasley's where they find her to be the most horrible girl ever.  Smart like Hermione, enough to make her jealous, but rude.  She was to be sorted into Slytherin house and since she is very nosy and can't keep her mouth shut, Harry would learn a lot about the Death Eaters from her character.  She was eventually cut and the character of Rita Skeeter was built up to serve the same function.
  • Mopsy
    Another cut character from the fourth book was Mopsy, a batty old dog-lover living just outside of Hogsmeade.  Originally she had taken Sirius in, thinking he was just a stray.  She was fun and eccentric, but essentially unimportant... and it became too difficult for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to ever speak with Sirius.  The story was changed to where Sirius stayed hidden in a cave, and not with Mopsy.
  • Pyrites
    There were many rewrites of the first chapter of the first book, and one involved Pyrites (meaning "Fool's Gold") who was a servant of Voldemort's.  He was a "dandy" as Rowling puts it and always wore white gloves.  In the scene he was meeting with Sirius, but that whole idea was scratched including his entire character.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wizard Week: David Yates Talks 'Deathly Hallows'

Collider posted an interview yesterday with David Yates, the director of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  It was a really interesting interview and I encourage y'all to check it out for yourselves and read the whole thing!  However, if you don't want to, I've taken it upon myself to share with you some of the highlights...

On filming on location:
Dan sat on the sand...we have to continually shoot because the tide's coming in.  He's really cold.  He's on the verge of hypothermia and I go, "Right--go again, go again." ... And he found it so exhilarating acting in those circumstances because when you put all those elements around you, as you act, it suddenly makes you connect with a truth more... so being out was very liberating for them and for us.
On Rupert Grint:
I think Rupert could be a really wonderful straight actor 'cause we always think of him as a comedian... he's so quiet and graceful.  There's a real poetry about Rupert as a human being, as an actor...  He's a funny guy, isn't he, but it was great for him to do some serious stuff.
On his approach to the films:
I've always tired to make them a bit earthier.  I've always tried to go for more emotional reality.  I've always tried to make them a bit more edgier and intense.  I know some people don't like them or get frustrated with them but there's an enormous amount of affection for what we do and the expectations are always sky high.
On the final day of filming:
There was a little party and a mariachi band, actually.  And Rupert brought his ice cream van and he made ice creams for everybody.
Sure sounds like a party to me!  And so far I've liked David Yates' approach to the films, especially with the last one, so I'm very excited to see what he's done with Deathly Hallows.  Sounds like everybody brought their "A" game to the project, both on-screen and off.

The Gleek Critique: "The Substitute" Episode

Gwyneth Paltrow as the substitute teacher Holly Holiday dancing with the rest of the cast to a mash-up of "Singin' in the Rain" and "Umbrella."  Image property of Fox.
When Mr. Schuester gets so sick with the flu that he begins hallucinating toddler versions of his students, it's time for him to get some rest and bring in a substitute teacher.  And who do they bring in to temporarily fill his shoes?  Oh, just Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow!  She plays Holly Holiday, a hip and fun substitute teacher who really knows how to connect with the kids (even a reluctant Rachel Berry).  But sometimes a teacher needs to be more than a friend...

Schue isn't the only one out sick.  Principal Figgins is gone too, and our ever-powerful Sue Sylvester has somehow managed to become acting principal.  Her first order of business?  Getting rid of all the tater tots in the school cafeteria, which just happens to be Mercedes' most favorite thing to eat.  And you should never incur the wrath of a proud black woman!  She will shove tater tots into the tailpipe of your car...

And while Mr. Schue is home sick--being cared for by his ex-wife Terri--he's watching his favorite movie Singin' in the Rain which causes him to have some groggy dreams of himself and the glee kids singing songs from the film such as "Make 'Em Laugh"   And Terri decides to take advantage of his weak and vulnerable state, pushing herself on him until he caves in...

The Pros:
  • Holly Holiday's Spanish class lesson about Lindsay Lohan's rehab.  Ha ha ha!  Hilarious.  Yet nothing compares to her fabulous first day with the glee club singing Cee Lo's "Forget You."  Paltrow sure can sing!
  • Holly saying "Hoarders and red wine I'm buzzed!!" while bonding with Sue.
  • Lots of great jokes teasing Mr. Schue's (and the show's) obsession with Journey songs.  Made me smile every time.
  • When Kurt said, "I opened my mouth and a little purse fell out," and a little pink purse actually fell out!  So funny.  Oh, and it looks like things are going well with Kurt and Blaine.  Maybe they will fall in love after all...
  • The "Singin' in the Rain/Umbrella" number made me absolutely gleeful!  I loved this mash-up, and I'm always a sucker for big flashy rain numbers!
The Cons:
  • Terri is always a huge b****, and I hate to see her show up.  She just needs to get over Will...
  • Karofsky threatened to kill Kurt if he ever spills the secret of their kiss.  He's scary.
  • As much as I like Chicago, I wasn't a fan of their production of "Nowadays."  Paltrow's dancing was a little off and the number just kind of felt unnecessary. 

Wizard Week: 11 Ways to Use Harry Potter to Annoy a Twilight Fan

As some guy named Andrew Futral once said, "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity.  Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."  I also think that Twilight is a girl's decision between necrophilia and bestiality... and neither is a good idea. 

Twilight is clearly not as cool as Harry Potter.  It's horribly written and basically lame all around.  Yet millions of people (mostly females in heat) are fans of the Twilight books and movies... and all swooning over either Jacob or Edward.

Screw sparkly vampires.  I'm TEAM HARRY!

And today I found something pretty awesome on MuggleNet written by someone named Erin:

11 Ways to Use Harry Potter to Annoy a Twilight Fan

1. Steal their copy of Twilight and replace it with one of your Harry Potter books in a Twilight dust jacket.
2. Tell them that Edward is a "hand-me-down" because the Twilight movies got him after the Harry Potter movies were finished with him.
3. List other "hand-me-downs" from the books, like the last names of Black and Clearwater...
4. State that you think Edward would be hotter if he had a lightning scar on his forehead.
5. "Accidentally" call Edward, Sanguini.
6. Explain in detail how any wizard can possess all the gifts (seeing the future, reading minds, etc.), that a vampire would only have one of.
7. Whenever they mention Jacob Black, innocently ask if they meant Stubby Boardman.
8. Say that Bella and Filch would make a cute couple.
9. Flinch whenever they say "Edward" and tell them to say "You-Know-Who."
10. Whenever they describe the vampires of the Twilight series (sparkly skin, no fangs, etc.), contradict them, and tell them what "real" vampires, out of Harry Potter, are like.
11. Explain how Twilight werewolves are really Animagi, and ask whether they've registered with the Ministry.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wizard Week: NYC World Premiere of 'Deathly Hallows'

It's another big night tonight for the stars of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, with the second World Premiere of the movie, this time in New York City.  The Trio looked amazing, as usual, with Emma Watson wearing a much simpler Calvin Klein dress than the sexy Rafael Lopez number she wore in London.

Wizard Week: JK Rowling's Favorite Scene/Book

Did you know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is JK Rowling's favorite book?  I'm sorry, that should be favourite with a 'u'.  She is a Brit you know.  But yes, the last novel of the series is her fave.  Maybe that's why they're doing two movies out of this one book!

Oh, who am I kidding?  WB wants to make more money.

But today, while doing some internet surfing, I found that her favorite scene of that book (and in fact, the whole series) is when Harry walks into the Forbidden Forest to confront Voldemort.  Here's what she said about it:
But when Harry takes his last, long walk into the heart of the Dark Forest, he is choosing to accept a burden that fell on him when still a tiny child, in spite of the fact that he never sought the role for which he has been cast, never wanted the scar with which he has been marked. As his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, has tried to make clear to Harry, he could have refused to follow the path marked out for him. In spite of the weight of opinion and expectation that singles him out as the "Chosen One", it is Harry's own will that takes him into the Forest to meet Voldemort, prepared to suffer the fate that he escaped sixteen years before.

The destinies of wizards and princes might seem more certain than those carved out for the rest of us, yet we all have to choose the manner in which we meet life: whether to live up (or down) to the expectations placed upon us; whether to act selfishly, or for the common good; whether to steer the course of our lives ourselves, or to allow ourselves to be buffeted around by chance and circumstance. Birthdays are often moments for reflection, moments when we pause, look around, and take stock of where we are; children gleefully contemplate how far they have come, whereas adults look forwards into the trees, wondering how much further they have to go. This extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is my favourite part of the seventh book; it might even be my favourite part of the entire series, and in it, Harry demonstrates his truly heroic nature, because he overcomes his own terror to protect the people he loves from death, and the whole of his society from tyranny.
Too bad this scene won't occur until Part 2... in the summer... of 2011...

Wizard Week: My 'Half-Blood Prince' Premiere Party '09

When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out last year, we threw a huge movie marathon to celebrate it!  So starting at the butt-crack of dawn we watched all  five movies on DVD (that's almost 13 hours of magical viewing!) mixed with game-playing like Harry Potter SceneIt? and feasted on delicious grub like fish 'n chips and cauldron cakes.  The last movie in our marathon ended in time for our whole group to run over to the Megaplex at the Gateway to see the midnight showing of the 6th Potter film!  It was such a geeky fun day!

Check out some of the pics...

This is at our old apartment, much smaller than this one, and we fit ten+ people in there!  Surely some magic was involved...
Some people got a little more into it than others.  My friends Jason, Mikell, and Shannon dressed as Ron, Ginny, and Hermione respectively.  Don't they look phenomenal?
Watching Harry Potter all day does some crazy things to us...  like some heterosexual snogging?  Yikes, Kelsey get off me!
We're way cooler than The Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army put together!  We're a mob of muggle misfits flocking to see the freshest flick in a fantasy film franchise!
Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's loathing or lust that exists between Harry and Draco...  And what's up with me cutting my hair every time a new Harry Potter movie comes out?
As far as this year is concerned, we don't plan on doing anything extravagant.  I decided that I'm done with party-planning... especially Potter parties.  I was really hoping that somebody else would throw a similar shindig and invite us but, alas, no one has.  Our movie tickets are bought, however, and we'll be seeing Deathly Hallows with our roommates Ryan and Mesun at 1:00 AM opening day!  Maybe we'll just have a little party for four...


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