Wednesday, June 30
Angel - 5.19 'Time Bomb'
I'm getting a little behind with my TV blabs. Maybe that's a good thing...
Time Bomb really let us see what Illyria really could be and no longer can be. For a God-King Big Bad type, I have started to care what happens to her/it/whatever. I was afraid that she would turn into a mopey evil that just cause annoying problems and became useful because of her powers with no reason why she would help the gang (sound familiar?). Instead we get total meltdown with possible continental damage. That is what should happen. That Illyria is breaking down because Fred's body isn't the best shell is the worst kind of irony.
Wesley's split personality was intriguing, the serious blow he delt himself last week is going to cost him way too much. Joss picks on the good characters way too much, More torment and horribleness on Angel and Spike.
The cliffhanger at the end of the second act (I think) left me speechless. Well not really, just babbling like a madman.
Time jumping can be used to great effect or to confuse and annoy. Thankfully, it was a great way to reveal to use what is happening.
The best line of the ep of course goes to Spike, "It's not murder if you say yes."
This is ep 19 of 22, it certainly doesn't feel like any other build up to the end of the year. I've mentioned before at how it seems rushed and forced. I would be very interested to see the earlier plans for the end of this year and into the next. Would Fred have been killed off as soon or would they have waited till the end of the year? They can only ever be hypotheticals, but I would still be interested to know.
If you didn't know, Amanda the pregnant woman is Jaime Bergman, David Boreanaz's wife.
After posting last night I headed to bed with my usual intention to read for a bit. This I did and was quite comfortable and content. That was until I got to the point Fool's Fate where the whole story turned and began to unravel. When this happens I know that I'm in for the long haul. Not much chance of sleeping before the sun rises. It happens only occasionally. Mostly with the last book of a series.
So at 4am I felt I had read enough to allow me to lay it to rest for the night and allow me to sleep. But I know that when I pick the book up soon I'm going to be caught in the same predicament. I have to wake early tomorrow. That's the killer.
In the same way that I miss characters in books I've not read for a long time, I find that when characters that haven't been present since the end of the last series return it is like being reunited with an old friend. No matter what turmoil is happening in the story, just having that character return is reassuring. It is a sign of fleshed out characters that I can identify with. Thankyou Robin Hobb.
Tuesday, June 29
I couldn't help it. Go and play the Eats, Shoots and Leaves Punctuation Game.
My result was 83%. Not bad.
Am still making my way through Robin Hobb's Fools Fate. I am enjoying it immensely. The down side of this is I'm not interested in reading the other books I've got on the side right now.
The books I'm trying to get through are Death Sentence by Don Watson and Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. Both are books about words. Death Sentence dissects public language and the way that business and governments are trapped by their own lingo and simplification of language. Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a book about punctuation. It's a book about endangered species, where punctuation is at greatest risk. Both are worth reading if not worth buying. Have them sit on your coffee table and you will instantly appear more intellectual. *Cough*
The Great Divide
I was chatting with a friend the other night and she mentioned that the new boy she fancied was an engineer. I was shocked. Horrified even. She is an artist, it is only natural for her to dislike engineers. I'm not saying that engineers are bad people or anything like that. Just that I've noticed, most clearly at uni, that engineering and arts don't mix. She didn't understand and the only thing I could come up with to explain it was:
Engineering and arts. A division that started when the first ape picked up a stick. One said ‘lean it here to help us climb’, another said ‘bring it here so I can gesture wildly with it.’
And ever since there's been friction.
Thankfully this new boy seems a good pick.
Monday, June 28
I discovered this while looking through Bell Shakespeare's site.
It is a competition where you create a piece of art the interprets a famous Shakespearean quote.
It's run by Bell with Optus supplying the cash I assume. The prize is good, $5000 for the winner and if the entrant is part of a school or community group, they get $10000! Good incentive for schools to get on board methinks.
Even if you don't think your artistic enough to enter, have a look at the site anyhow. It's flash animation and there is a couple of cool things it does.
Find it here.
Sunday, June 27
A Midsummer Night's Dream
This is my favourite Shakespeare play. It's mystical, comical and a lot of fun. It also has one of the funniest scenes ever written, the Mechanicals play.
Bell Shakespeare Company is based in the Sydney and, thankfully, tours north once a year. I have only seen one other Bell touring show here, The Servant of Two Masters. A riot of a show and certainly the best theatre I saw all year (Living where I do, that's not a hard task. Not a lot of plays unfortunately).
This was the shortest version of the show I've been to. Nigh on two and a half hours it flew along nicely. As with any Shakespeare, once your past the first 20 minutes you forget that you are struggling to understand what's being said. The problem was for the first 20 minutes I had three children behind me who were talking, moving about and eating something in a scrunching bag. Who knows why they were there in the first place.
Anyway, about the show. The cast were excellent. It is so important to be able to understand every word that the actors utter, and this ensemble delivered them clearly. Oberon's diction was amazing. Puck was rather acrobatic and tumbled around the action energetically. The lovers were all suitably cast, but just didn't bring out the comedy of those characters quite enough for me. They were funny, but they didn't get the same laughs as I've seen before. That of course didn't stop me laughing when no one else did.
The set was very simplistic. Something that is important for a touring production. A large ring above the stage with a curtain track underhung with double layer of white transparent material that could surround the entire ring and the stage. It worked very well and proved very versatile.
The costumes for the Athenians were simple formal wear and worked well. The disappointing part for me was the sprite costumes. All the chorus were in white tatters. While the design worked, they didn't stand out against the white background very well. Needed more colour.
A very enjoyable production. A shame they only come once a year.
On a whim I went to see this. I had planned to, but wasn't in a great hurry to do so. I felt a bit hyped out.
It's a good film. Funny, witty and heart-warming it presents most of the first film did. That is it's problem. I didn't feel like I was being taken somewhere new. Obviously there was lots of new things and places but nothing that I felt extended the first. Enough on that for now.
The character designs and animation of the worlds are still stunning. Puss and Donkey are wonderfully realised. The human characters are equally good. I find that I get distracted by the lipsyncing and mouth shapes in animation, notably in computer animation. Final Fantasy is a good example of not precise enough movement.
For a title character I found Shrek to be a little irritating. I don't know what or why. I felt dissatisfied with him, which left me dissatisfied overall at first. I think it may be that he wasn't off doing anything original. It feels awful to say that because an ogre wishing to become human to make his love happy should be a good story. So it also made Fiona more of a moping and complaining wife rather than the kick ass woman she was.
The saviour of the film was the voice casting. John Cleese brings his comic genius to the King, Julie Andrews can't go wrong as the Queen, and Rupert Everett as the spoilt Charming was dripping with greasy charm, Jennifer Saunders shines as the scheming Fairy Godmother, and Antonio Banderas is by far the funniest character in the film. It is these last two who become the true stars of the film leaving the established characters for dead.
IMDB says that there is a Shrek 3 on the way in 2006. So there's no doubt we have a franchise that will keep pumping out products.
Saturday, June 26
I'm addicted to merchandise. I love all the cool things promoters come up with to flog a product. The coolest that I've found recently is Buffy Palz. They are Buffy figurines, but they are Buffy figurines that are Lego! How cool!
This photo shows them in full. I am confused at who the blonde second from the right is. It could be Darla, but why have Darla and not Angel?
On July 14th two Cirque Du Soleil shows will be released on DVD. Journey of Man was shown in IMAX theatres a couple of years ago, and is a film rather than a production. The great part is it's only $14.95! Saltimbanco is the other. It holds a special significance for me, it was my first Cirque show.
Friday, June 25
Good Day Not G'day
I've not felt a want to write diary type posts and am unlikely to adopt that style of blog. To break that now I just felt a need to share a good day. Not outstanding or truely memorable, just a day that makes life worth living.
I'm not going into detail. I know how boring I am and don't need to share it round. I received a present today for my mid-year birthday, it was a book. I always love books. It also contained a bookmark. The next best thing to a book. While window shopping I bought the Aussie film Garage Days quite cheap. Went to Shrek 2, not bad. Topped off the day with some culture with Bell Shakespeare Company's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Excellent.
Thursday, June 24
Angel - 5.18 'Origin'
Connor. At first not someone I was too happy to see again. Of course he'd be all different with his new memories but that didn't mean I had to like him. I felt that nearly everything I felt was wrong with the show in the past season was linked to Connor.
Now to this year. Connor turned out to be much less annoying than I had expected. He was even funny in a goofy way. It was a tricky way of getting him back. Angel's shock at his return was sufficiently portrayed, and I had forgotten (nothing to do with a spell) how much Angel had the SPs wipe from people memories.
Illyria has definitely claimed the position of the outside perspective. She claimed and delivered all the best lines. I say let her have Spike as a pet. I also like how she is like a puppy in a way, she just wanders around till she finds someone to follow. Wesley being the leader type and morally ambiguous is the obvious choice for her to follow. The mind games she plays with him are so subtle and yet lead him down interesting paths.
Wesley went on a serious witch hunt this week. See what lack of sleep can drive you to. Being a fav character of mine means I see it as my right to tell him not to do stupid things. So while on his hunt for the truth I'm thinking, 'Leave it. Leave it Wes!' I felt so bad when he smashed the box and all the events flashed. It's been a tumultuous couple of years for Wesley.
The Gunn subplot was gross. Good, but gross.
After all the Connor was put through, in both lives, I was glad to see he was able to make a wise choice to stick with the stable family. A good way also to put Angel at ease that he wasn't going to go psycho anytime soon.
Marcus is far better than Eve as a liason to the SPs. 'We'll not be having sex on that couch anytime soon' was a great line. Menacing and creepy. Just like he should be.
Wednesday, June 23
A major part of life, I have discovered, is learning how to let something go. Normally this is connected with relationships, people, life, places and experiences, not books, television shows and movies. Yet it seems more common that these three things are something people are having trouble letting go of.
Do we get too attached to our fictional entertainment? I certainly think so.
Last year when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was scheduled for release I decided I wanted to read the first four then move straight into Phoenix. This was all fine and worked great having the whole story in one go. By the time I finished it had been 2 of months of immersing myself in one world. At the end of Phoenix I felt a sense of loss. I spent a few days wandering around wondering what I was going to do and how I would fill the void I felt. Of course I started another book, then another and moved on. Upon seeing the movie, this feeling has returned, and I feel the need to read the series again.
This post wasn't meant to be all about Potter. I'm moving on...
For the past three Boxing Day's I've spent 3+ hours in a dark room discovering Middle Earth. Three wonderful films that came to a fulfilling conclusion. I didn't feel any sense of loss or a need to let go. The stories were concluded in such a way that I was happy to see them end. Even if I did go and see them end multiple times. I actually felt more sorrow when the DVD came out in May. That seemed to put a finality on it. No more.
Last year my favourite TV show said farewell. Buffy was a big part of my life. Which when you think about it is weird in itself, a one hour weekly show being part of someone's life. Being a fan of it was and still is part of my identity. When it finished, I was staying at a friends and we watched the last episode. Neither of them were fans of the show, and admittedly I did feel weird about watching something rather significant to me with others who didn't appreciate it. Then it was all over. I had seen Buffy come to an end. I felt a sense of loss, but not as great as I expected it to be. Perhaps it was because it was something I'd been prepared for for a year, that I didn't have the chance to wallow because I was in indifferent company, or that I knew I wasn't really losing anything.
Even though it's been nearly a year since Chosen aired here I still don't feel that Buffy is finished. Every month a book hits store shelves, the second soundtrack was released, in a few weeks the final Watcher's Guide will be available and soon enough I'll be able to afford to buy season 7 on DVD. Even though I am well aware of the fact that all this is due to marketing so the companies can still have my money, I'm not particularly concerned about that because what they are producing is still Buffy and that's what I want.
With more news about the animated series appearing and Anthony Stewart Head mentioning that Joss is still wanting to pursue Ripper, I've not lost hope that Buffy-verse will return.
I don't want to let go. Yet.
I know I get attached, but with attachment I also find a lot of positives. So bring on more things for me to obsess about!
Here I am about to head to bed when I discover that EA Games is intent on claiming my hard earned money. I have just found a Lord of the Rings game to be released later this year.
The Lord of the Rings, The Third Age is a role playing game where you can play a range of characters and roam freely around Middle Earth. It sounds similar to a game I already own, Morrowind.
Add to my list of wants The Lord of the Rings: The Battle For Middle-earth and I certainly have a will to get addicted to these games.
Tuesday, June 22
In the spirit of my 'birthday' party, my family gave me Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (POA) the game for my Xbox. Yay! This is part of the reason I've not posted for a few days. I spent most of yesterday staring at the TV rather than my laptop screen.
I own the previous two trips into Potter gameland. The first on PC and the second for Xbox. Both are enjoyable games, but they are equally more directed at the kiddies.
I'm not saying the POA isn't a kids game. Chances are kiddies will love this one more than the others. Visually this one easily supersedes the others. The depth of detail is stunning. I advise heading out to visit Hagrid, just to walk along the bridge featured in the film, then jump up on Buckbeat (after bowing of course) and go for a fly around Hogwarts.
You get to switch between characters mostly when you will. Ron, Harry and Hermione each have their own set of skills and spells that, at times, have to be used independently to escape a room. It certainly adds another level to the game. I really like the reworking of the Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans collection. It used to be a chore, and there were little beasties that would knock them out of you which was really irritating.
The extra mini challenges are a fun sideline to the main story and getting rewarded for it is nice.
It's not all fun and games mind you. I've been stuck a few times and things are nicely challenging, but not to the point of hair grabbing. The Dementors are creepy too. Once they get hold of you, the noise and the voice of James Potter yelling 'Get Harry Out' are rather chilling.
I appreciate the ability to roam freely around the school and grounds. It feels similar in the movie in that way, being able to discover new parts of the castle and the treasures to be found.
I'm quite pleased with it all and really hope I can finish it so I can do other things with my days.
For the past 2 months there has been a plot afoot. One of a devious and calculating nature involving secret phone calls, disguised text messages and, I'm sure, a few covert emails all striving for one thing...
To keep me in the dark.
At the request of a 'friend' (I'm reassessing that word...), I spent Saturday morning wandering round shopping and in the afternoon went to see The Day After Tomorrow again. Quite relaxing and pleasant. Unfortunately we had to leave the cinema early because my 'friend' had to be somewhere and be there by a certain time after dropping me home. So off we go, phone calls are made to reassure that my 'friend' will arrive on time. Once home and out of the car I was followed upstairs and when I opened the door...
It was certainly a shock to see all these people standing in my kitchen!
Apparently nearly everyone I know was invited and knew about this party. The reason I was so clueless is it was a birthday party. My birthday is at the end of December, so it’s no surprise I wasn’t suspecting a plot in the middle of the year! I’ve never had the chance to have a gathering with friends because usually it's the time of year everyone goes away.
So I felt very loved that people would exert so much effort for me. Which is why I’ll not trust any of them ever again!
It looks like the Buffy toon is more likely. Scifi Wire in briefs a TV Guide article stating that Gellar will not voice Buffy (Surprised? Not.), leaving the space open for Giselle Loren who has done a convincing job in the two games. The Pilot episode will be shown to distributors next month. See here.
Buffy Studies are not Mickey Mouse Courses.
It’s only taken months. I was worried it would be years. Joss Whedon’s Firefly is coming to DVD in Australia. August 4th is the date to watch.
Saturday, June 19
The Day After Tomorrow Today
This is ridiculous. I live in a mostly tropical environment. Yes we have cold winters but I'm so very over it already. It's been rather cold for a couple of days now and it's time for it to warm up again. The prediction for tonight's low was 7 degrees Celsius. Well it's 1am and it's 7 degrees now!
It must seem that I'm complaining for no real reason. 7 isn't that cold. The problem is most of the houses here are designed to keep cool in the extreme heat we get in Summer. My house doesn't hold the heat!
The main reason I find this cold weather so horrible is I'm a night owl. If I can I sleep the morning away and spend most of the night awake. In Summer it works out perfectly because I can get things done while it's more comfortable. The same thing usually works for most of the winter months because it's not too bad. Except for the odd cold snap.
So my fingers feel like they are about to fall off.
Thursday, June 17
I've been on a long post blitz recently. It's a secret mission of mine to get my word count right up. Not really, I've just had lots to say. Not particularly concerned if no one wants to read it.
I've now moved on, or back maybe more appropriate, so the final book in the Tawny Man series by Robin Hobb. Fools Fate has been on my shelf patiently waiting for me to read it since last year. I finished The Golden Fool earlier this year and for a reason I can't recall decided to proceed with other books. Probably a Buffy or Angel book actually. I tend to slot them between other novels.
Hobb's first series was The Farseer Trilogy, which I class as my favourite series. I thoroughly enjoy reading them and can barely put them down. So when I discovered a second set of books about Fitz and the Fool were being written I was very much looking forward to them. The first book, Fool's Errand, was like seeing old friends again. Rediscovering a world mostly forgotten was like chocolate after a long break. It's a book, I know this, but it's something I really enjoy.
The Golden Fool was not as enjoyable, but considering the books its still a good book. Lots of conflict and Fitz getting beat up.
So far I've spent most of Fools Fate re-acquainting myself with the character from a long break, but after today's effort I'm well into the story again. I love my job sometimes. I managed to read about 100 pages tonight :-)
It's been a bit since I've mentioned my current book. So long in fact that I've moved onto a new one.
Angel The Longest Night vol 1. is the book I'm looking at.
Hyped as a 'collection of original short stories' Longest Night for me seemed to be more like Longest Read. I lost interest in reading the last few shorts that some night I didn't read at all (that's a near impossibility). I think it was the short story format. As I said previously, I like getting into characters and stories. Even though these stories are about characters we know and love, it's the brief time we spend in any singular set of circumstances that I feel a little jilted by. Perhaps a better way to enjoy this book would be to read it in segments. A couple of stories at a time.
The stories are linked, insofar as the author had the hour they were writing, and there must have been sum communication of character situations because the stories aren't horribly out of alignment.
My brief thoughts on each story...
The House Where Death Stood Still - Pierce Askegren
A good strong start. Nice concept of the baddie and the emotional struggle with children.
A Joyful Noise - Jeff Mariotte
Started off a little wonky. I don't enjoy starting off with the baddies usually, and this was no exception. Turns into a good plot with nice happy ending.
I Still Believe - Christopher Golden
A shopping trip wouldn't be right if you didn't have to fight a big ol' demon. Didn't really cut it.
It Can Happen to You - Scott and Denise Ciencin
A Wesley based story that's got the wit and whimsy to let itself be a fun ride.
Model Behaviour - Emily Oz
This story was a little too sickly sweet to start with. At this point in season three Cordy isn't as likely as she previously was to just dump her friends on what obviously is the roughest night of the year. Ends better than it starts.
Have Gunn, Will Travel - Nancy Holder
This was a tale about someone else. Holder didn't seem comfortable writing for Gunn. Felt forced and false.
Generous Presence - Yvonne Navarro
I like a bit of inside nastiness. Having Lilah send presents was a good ploy to test their resolves, especially now that they've taken even bigger gifts in taking over Wolfram and Hart. Good story.
The Anchoress - Nancy Holder
This is a story that I would have liked to read more of. Nothing like a few baddies that you can't but hate. Time traveling, crossed visions. Good Good.
Bummed Out - Doranna Durgin
Visually stimulating. Durgin has a knack for well described imagery. Good character type stuff too.
Icicle Memories - Yvonne Narvarro
This story reminded me of 'The Day After Tomorrow'. All coldness. A bit too sentimental.
Yoke of the Soul - Doranna Durgin
This is the story I got stuck in. Don't know why, it just didn't enthuse me.
The Sun Child - Christie Golden
A great finish to the book. All about Sun and Moon God myths and stuff. A good finale and nice way to end the collection.
Overall an enjoyable read, but I'll be more likely to read anthologies in installments now.
Tuesday, June 15
I promised myself that my Potter blab would be less than 1000 words. I managed 1084. The problem is I want to write more.
That is until I can't help it.
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban - In Brief
Being the third film based on the world-famous books you have a certain expectation about what the film should be like. You have two hugely successful films to base your expectation on. My advice. Don’t expect the same from this film. Don’t watch the first two right before you see this film.
Prisoner of Azkaban (POA) is my favourite of the 5 books so far, and thus I expected a lot to be delivered.
Alfonso Cuaron has taken helm of this instalment of Potter and this gave me hope that the series would get a good injection of vision and style that had been lacking. Stone and Chamber have set up the world, it’s time to explore it.
The film opens with Harry under his sheets, secretly playing with his wand. To start the film with Harry doing something clearly stated as not allowed, is not a good way to gain the trust of an audience, as it’s been stated clearly that magic can’t be done outside school. Yet Harry’s doing it anyway. Beyond that, the fact Harry is playing with his ‘wand’ secretly under the covers alludes to, or even smacks you with, the statement that this year is going to be about being thirteen.
For me, 13 was my horror year. I was a terror. Well, compared to before and now, I was pretty awful. So when watching scenes of Harry, Ron and co in the dorm being stupid and acting like, um, teenagers, I could relate easily enough.
Relationships are going to change. Harry’s got to deal with a new guy who wants to kill him; discover more about his parents; face his own fears in the form of Dementors; study; flirt with the odd girl and spend time playing with his wand! No wonder things go a little sideways.
As with all Potter films so far and to come, the script is adapted by Steve Kloves (who has lost the n from his name). To be honest, I am yet to be really impressed by any of the potter scripts. The first two films seemed to be weighed down by detail from the books and missed the mark, POA has gone in the opposite direction and relieved itself of all the superfluous detail, and lost mountains of important plot elements with it.
If I go into details of the stories skipped in the film right now, I’ll never get this post finished. I will say however I can see what the intention was, to focus solely on character and the flow of the story. They certainly succeed in not producing a movie that lagged. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, it’s unlikely to drag it’s heels.
That’s the inherent problem in adapting a book. The fine line of what to and not to keep. I think that the choices of what to lose were ill-advised. Even for someone who is unfamiliar with the novels, the gaps in the plot were hard to follow. Why did Lupin follow Harry and co to the Shrieking Shack, why did Snape follow as well? The whole scene in the Shack seemed to be more explanatory then revelatory. Why? The minor clues were excluded that would have made that whole sequence make more sense.
Read from here! If you’ve dosed off. Here are the things that are about the film...
Visually POA is vastly different to the previous. This re-imagining of Hogwarts brings the grounds into new light. Rather than being wondrous and Hollywoody, Cuaron has shown them as mysterious and much more English! I’m trying to think of a scene in the first two where it’s raining. Can’t. Well thankfully, Cuaron has discovered that it rains a lot in England.
Via a large number of single shot scenes, we move through Hogwarts with a renewed thirst to explore and discover new nooks and crannies that should be explored by more adventurous characters. I love that Hagrid’s Hut is down a hill and not just beside the castle like it was. The steps down to it seem rather treacherous and I kept waiting for Ron to fall on his butt.
As was covered in the censors' ratings change, this film is much darker: in tone and style. The Dementors are far more disturbing than either the Werewolf or Grim. There’s a particular close up shot of a Dementor during the Quidditch match that lingers long after the film is over. I agree that this is a PG film, with emphasis on the Guidance part.
Werewolf Lupin is not exactly scary, he looks like he needs a good feed and so munching on Harry and Hermione wouldn’t do him any harm. The Grim was wasted overall and didn’t present any of the menace it needed to. Hagrid’s Hippogriff Buckbeat was excellent and I’ll be calling my local pet shop to place an order for one.
It is good to see that most of the kids are back. Most are going through the stage of major hormonal change and thus becoming nearly unrecognisable. The obvious example would be Neville Longbottom. Taller, thinner, longer face, and his front teeth have grown accordingly.
Daniel Radcliffe is growing into Harry but still unable to convincingly portray a range of emotions beyond happiness and clenched teeth. Thankfully he is backed up by two solid comrades. Rupert Grint is a convincing Ron, bringing more humour to the films, which has been lost in adaptation. The real talent though, is Emma Watson. Love her or hate her, Hermione is the character who will deliver. Appearing to have learnt from her experiences, she really takes control and drags you along with her.
I didn’t love the Ron/Hermione thing. It seems forced and although it’s inevitable for those feelings to start arising, I’m not sure there’s an easy way to do it. I actually felt more chemistry between Harry and Hermione.
Fittingly, the other biggest change was the music. John Williams' tunes are world famous, but I feel that they can trample movies. POA has mostly abandoned the huge orchestral feel for a lyrical and folk style. Lots of flutes doing melodic melismas and lots of no underscore at all. The main theme hasn’t been lost and is heard in the film, although it has become a feature rather than a base structure.
I did enjoy this outing as a whole, and will no doubt be seeing it again. I just hope that it’s not too late for Goblet of Fire’s script to be reviewed.
Sunday, June 13
I'm going to see Prisoner of Azkaban on Monday again, so I'll wait till after then surmise my thoughts.
After seeing it I do feel qualified to say that it is a PG film. The session I attended on Thursday afternoon was full of primary aged kiddies with a parent, and there were no whimpers of terror. In fact rather than my usual complaint of irritating maggots I found the group I was with really enthralled in the film and not the least distracting. One child managed to make a few well placed comments which cracked me up. These kids seemed well versed in potterdom and were eagerly awaiting the events to unfold.
One child at the start when Harry is on the run voiced the exact thing I was thinking, "Where's Hedwig!" as Harry runs down the street with only his trunk. Children can be fun.
Saturday, June 12
Tru Calling 101 - The Pilot
Finally a new show that deserves our attention. Pilot episodes tend to be chunky and clunky, re: Jake 2.0, but Tru Calling was sleek and simmering.
At first it was weird seeing Eliza Dushku on screen as anyone but Faith. It takes some adjustment to watch anyone you've seen as one character for the past 5 years. Perhaps I should own more of her films than just 'Bring It On'. Anyway...
It wasn't a difficult adjustment by any means and Tru Davies is interesting enough to come into her own.
I had not read much publicity about this show, only the odd article in mags like Dreamwatch, so I had little prior knowledge of its structure or style. So when I commented half way through that it feels like 'Run Lola Run', I had no idea that that was one of the marketing blabs. It certainly bares little resemblance to '24' though.
Loved the theme song. Not all that used to themes with lyrics, but it works anyway.
The opening sequence was touching and set up the familial relationships well. So I wasn't surprised to see the big sis as a successful person with huge issues, and the younger brother wouldn't be nearly as useful to the plot if he wasn't always getting into trouble.
I really enjoyed this first ep and look forward to a series that I can sink my teeth into!
Angel - 5.17 "Underneath"
Now that we are well into recovery from the loss of Fred, it still is heartbreaking to see her again. I hope that the "Wesley has a dream of Fred" doesn't occur every week. Illyria is it now and we need to learn a little more about her/it. With only 5 episodes to go, there's not a lot of time, so revealing one fact a week isn't going to get us far.
Changes to the credits give me cause for alarm now. Lost are all the old Fred images, in are Illyria kicking Angel and Spike's butts. In this week is Mercedes McNab. Only Alexis Denisof has previously become a regular mid-season, all others joined at the start of a season. So I was concerned that this ep would result in a bloody death for Harmony. Thankfully it was not so, as she has become a source of joy and laughter.
Lindsay being stuck in a 'LA Story' kind of hell was great. It's amazing how creepy whedon-world can make the familiar and friendly. A loving wife and child, what more could a man want. Perhaps to have his heart ripped out on a daily basis!
There were many great moments in this ep. Illyria the 'Smurf'; Lorne, Harmony and Eve's scream and escape from terminator man; Angel, Spike and Gunn's trip into the hell and the attack from the inhabitants. This week was mostly what I needed, advancement of the season's arc, some character stuff, fighting and things to laugh at.
I find Eve irritating and trite. Certainly not exactly what I expected the liaison to the Senior Partners to be. Child of blah blah, whatever. She never really presented anything...Well anything! As part of the whole 'distraction' ploy she worked perfectly. But now that Marcus Hamilton is the liaison perhaps things may get a little more tense between Angel and the SPs.
I was surprised to see Gunn choose to stay behind, but more surprised to see Angel let him. This year has seen the decline in the importance of each member of the group to the group as a whole. Angel wasn't really leading, each person was off doing their own thing, losing the mission. A little similar to Buffy season 4 in a way.
The obvious question being, can they pull it back together? Fred's beyond...everything. Gunn is stuck, unless Lindsay dishes everything he has and can go back into storage. Wesley is drunk and demonsitting. Lorne is full of self doubt and pity. Only Angel and Spike want to play, but usually get in each other's way.
Can't wait for next week!
Friday, June 11
I saw it! Yay!
Don't look at me like that.
Before I dribble on about it I need sleep, so tomorrow!
Geeks - Part 1
I have now been home for 5 days straight. Doesn’t happen very often, but it’s a symptom of what I do. So to fill the time I’ve been keeping busy doing the domestic thing, reading, blogging and a lot of couch time. As is my want, I watch batches of Buffy dvd’s. I start at the beginning of a season and whenever I get the chance I watch an ep. I discovered that I hadn’t listened to any of the commentaries for the second half of season 6.
So while being rather bored by an unenthusiastic commentary with Rebecca Rand Kirshner and David Solomon for ‘Hell’s Bells’, they mentioned the word Geek, and that it came from circus sideshows. This piqued my interest. As I have been referred to and have referred to myself as a Geek.
I felt compelled to find out more, and I didn’t want it to be a futile endeavour so I publish my findings here.
Dictionary.com defines Geek as:
1a. A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy.
1b. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
2. A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.
So perhaps I’m not a Geek. Unless I combine the three and class myself as ’a person that is regarded as a clumsy fool who is a socially inept carnival performer.’
Wednesday, June 9
I've Read A Lot
While surfing for articles bout Harry, I discovered this gem.
Of course I agree with the Hon. Andrew Evans about not taking youngens to see a movie that's not suitable. I'm a firm believer in seeing something for yourself to make an informed decision. Apparently Evans disagrees.
"I'm very able to speak about that. I've read a fair bit about it and all I'm saying is..."
Tuesday, June 8
Well. Well. Well.
Now in the back of my memory banks I recall that recently a film was banned in Australia because it featured 'extended' sex scenes with minors. The reasons why it was banned and what the film was is irrelevant right now, the fact is that it remained banned even though there were protests, attempts to view it, national news coverage. No budging.
Fast forward a few months.
A children's book, the third in a series, has been made into a film. Like every film, it goes to Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC or Offlik). On Thursday last week the OFLC deemed Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban unsuitable for younger audiences (a 5/3 majority) and rated it M15+. The reasoning was that there were 'horror elements' in the film, i.e. when Ron is being attacked by a wolf and there's a fight between a werewolf and Professor Snape. (Yahoo News)
Naturally Roadshow appealed the decision.
So the board met again, and 'unanimously' decided to give it a PG rating. Only 4 members were at the appeal.
The word from OFLC is that the "new classification means that the film may contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting and may require guidance." (Yahoo News)
When your child can't sleep for week because it's had the innocence scared out of it by a 20 foot high salivating werewolf, be sure to write to OFLC and share your concern.
Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification is clearly able to determine what an adult may or may not choose to see at the cinema, but clearly can't protect our kids from a multinational beast.
Go and see the film, just leave the littlies at home.
Monday, June 7
Angel - 5.16 "Shells"
As I still hadn't quite come to grips with Fred being gone, the first time I watched this ep I felt kinda uncomforatble. Not willing to accept that Fred was gone gone. To watch each of the charaters also fight with this notion seemed to fit perfectly.
On second viewing, which for this ep felt necessary, I felt more at ease with Illyria, and started to appreciate how well Amy Acker adapted to this character. I know it's called acting, but when Cordy was all possessed it just didn't sit right, Illyria is already a complex character I'm wanting to know a little more about.
Wesley's greif throughout was totally believable and didn't cross the well trod boundary into melodrama. I had a physical reaction when he knifed Gunn in the guts. Who spent the whole episode waiting for him to shoot Knox! Wesley has always been a fav of mine, and even when he's a bit unhinged, I still think he's the best character on the show. Angel: 'Were you even listening?'
I still feel like Lorne has a reduced part now that he's a regular, back when he first started they needed a reason to have him on screen, now they're trying to find a reason to have him. Harmony has certainly found a hole to fill we didn't know needed to be this year and shines week to week.
Right now there isn't a character that I don't want to have around. Even Spike. Everyone is playing the game and is paying the price.
I think the fact that the rest of the team all helped in their own way in Fred's demise could have been explored differently, but I certainly felt Wesley's betrayal. These last two eps appear to be a 2 parter but don't have the usual impact or structure used before. Perhaps it was, because Illyria didn't turn out to be the Big Bad we assumed she would be. I believe it was about this time The WB pulled the plug on the series.
I don't care how, I still want Fred back.
Harry Growing Up?
After doing a little research, I found out that Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban will have an M15+ rating. I've not been able to find the details why, but I caught the end of the 'Making of' on Sunday and if the sequences they showed for that are any indication of the whole film, it may actually be quite scary.
Saturday, June 5
Last night Internet Explorer seemed to be having a spat at me, it wouldn't let me post here. Every time I clicked the publish button I would get a page saying that it couldn't be loaded and that I needed to shove my head in an oven. Well the first parts true.
So as I am kinda persistent, I thought perhaps Blogger was having some work thing done, therefore I'd come back and try again later.
It turns out the IE was having issues loading other pages as well, so I decide to run every virus, bug, spybot, ad program I've got to see whether I've some nasty lurking in the background.
Turns out I have a few.
Having a virus, a spybot and adware on my computer would not bother me so much except that I had to spend the time deleting all the posts that WERE posted, I just couldn't see that they had been. 35 of the same post actually. No matter how interesting something is, it's not interesting 35 times!
People who create viruses or anything of the sort should be clapped in irons, chained in a public place where the people who's lives they affect can throw rotten fruit at them.
Humans are the strangest creatures. Or maybe it's just me.
I have discovered that I have a very odd habit. When I'm online, I tend to leave Outlook open so that it automatically checks for emails. A logical thing to do. With the new version I have, when a new email is downloaded I get a little popup saying that I've got a new message and who it's from etc.
This is where I got confused. Every email I receive I click over to Outlook, and rather than click on the email, I hit Send and receive to see if there's anymore messages. Even though I know that Outlook has only just done this, as I've received a message moments before. It doesn't make sense, yet I keep doing it.
News or stuff I found interesting
Eliza Dushku's show is apparently starting here very soon. Friday June 11th at 9.30pm on channel 7 is the rumoured time and place. Chances are it won't last long there, as we've seen before Friday and Saturday nights aren't good for an series, they get interrupted way too much. See elizadushkuonline.com.
Angel - The Album
During Buffy's seven year run we had three albums released to make us happy fans. Angel has just finished it's fifth year and we are still waiting for the first album. Well that wait won't be for too much longer.
BBC Cult reports that Robert Kral, Angel composer, has released a 24 track list for an Angel Soundtrack.
I note, still not confirmed, but more possible than a 'no', the CD is likely to feature Christian Kane and Andy Hallett vocals, with heaps of score and of course the theme by Darling Violetta. Yay!
Chances are I'll have to by it elsewhere, just like Radio Buffy...
If you didn't hear, a couple of years ago when Buffy was still going strong, Joss Whedon decided he wasn't quite busy enough and opened up the box on a Buffy animated series. Jeph Loeb came on to develop the show and spent a year and a half working it. Fox never picked it up and it got shelved.
Well Jeph Loeb is back working it and Alyson Hannigan took time while in England to record some Willow vocals for it, all we need now is a release date and we'll be happy!
When Phantom met Sally?
Alyson Hannigan is playing Sally in 'When Harry met Sally' in London, when a chandelier broke free from the auditorium ceiling. Safety wires prevented it from falling but chunks of plaster came down injuring 11 people. I wonder if Michael Crawford was there that night...
Thursday, June 3
The Day After Tomorrow
I've been meaning to write about this film since I saw it last week.
This is a film of epic proportions that is worth seeing. From the same guy who made 'Independance Day' you probably are thinking, 'no brainer'. My advice, go into the film thinking that. It'll be a nice surprise.
Start with the bad...
Characters aren't all that deep. No surprise there. Denis Quaid just isn't able to find enough substance in the 'superdad' to make him human. Jake Gyllenhaal seems slightly out of place in a CGI epic but does his best to make Sam likeable. The rest of the cast are unfortunately rather forgettable.
Don't expect to see oscar winning performances, Sela Ward's reaction to the firemen who miraculously respond to an answering machine message would be best served in an episode of Passions.
The plot is a little chunky, not unexpected.
End with the good...
I can not not mention this film without blabbing about the visual effects. They are stunning.
The message was a little heavy throughout the film, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, most people today are a little beyond sublty.
It was a cool day when I watched it, but I certainly walked out of the cinema feeling unnaturally cold. It lasted all afternoon. The brain is a funny thing.
Wednesday, June 2
Having finished Abhorsen I was faced with the unending dilemma of what to read next. Thankfully it wasn't a tough decision. I have about 20 Buffy and Angel novels that are unread. This weeks choice: Angel 'The Longest Night vol. 1'.
I am not a huge fan of the short story, mostly because I enjoy delving into characters and that requires length.
This novel is kinda like the once good now crap tv show 24. It begins at 6pm on December 21st, the Winter Solstice and concludes at 6am the following morning. Every hour is a separate short story written by a different author/s. The five chapters I've read so far some are by Jeff Mariotte, Chris Golden, and Scott and Denise Ciencin. All regular novelists for Buffy and Angel. Giving each a chance to shine against the others.
My fav so far was 9 p.m. "It Can Happen To You", a Wesley based tale, surrounding 2 ghosties out for a good time.
Each story is separate and doesn't match up with the previous, the timeline is realtively smooth. Avoiding the trap of having characters off fighting battles with in minutes of each other.
I enjoy a fun quizzes quite a bit, but I find it disturbing how bizarre some of the results can be.
The most recent one I've been sent to is "What's going on inside your head?"
You are a devious imp. Never the same person twice, on the outside, but on the inside...well, just keep up with the medications, it'll all work out.
I have no idea why it said that.
It’s only 8 days away and I’m very excited about it. Yes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is coming. June 10th is the day. Tickets for it are on sale at my local cinema, although I’m unlikely to get that excited over it.
It’s only been 18 months since the last instalment but it feels like much longer. I hope that the extra wait proves beneficial in production values.
Before I was assaulted by Troy a new longer Trailer was shown. With more revealed about the look of the Hippogriffs, the Knight Bus, the trio in their Muggle gear, and how this film is going to be darker, dirtier and hopefully more visually interesting than the previous two.
I really like the first two films but I’m sure that I don’t want to sit thru another 160 minutes of over sentimental images, like the return of Hagrid at the end of Chamber.
It’s been more than 6 months since I’ve read Prisoner, but this time I think I want to head into the film a little fresher than I’ve been for the others and remember things along the way.
I was told the soundtrack was on the shelves today. Another thing to add to my list of wants!
Tuesday, June 1
I'll start with a small disclaimer. I wasn't looking forward to seeing this film at all.
With that out, I had a few hours to fill yesterday afternoon so I decided to give it a chance. How can I truthfully say that I don't like a film unless I've seen it. I was hoping to be surprised.
I am a fan of the big blockbuster type film usually. This film didn't live up to any of the loose standards of that category.
I'll start at the beginning.
Brad Pitt, big name for pulling audiences, average actor who needs to consider a vocal coach to make him not sound like Brad Pitt in all of his roles. He only barely covered his American accent.
I had the same issue with Eric Bana, an Australian who also barely covered his accent.
Orlando Bloom was fine as the womanising Paris, not a big stretch.
Brian Cox as Agamemnon couldn't have looked more out of place.
Rose Byrne shined as normal.
Peter O'Toole was the saviour of the cast. If not for him I would have left mid film.
Usually the normal practice is to make visual effects as realistic as possible so you believe what your seeing is real. I think Troy missed that memo, because the effects for the most part were blurry and very noticeable. After seeing 'The Day After Tomorrow' last week (see future post) the effects of Troy are on par with 'Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone'.
Now the potential for an intense drama was surely obvious, instead I found myself not caring about the characters and what happened to them. Nearly everything that they were put through was forced and clunky.
I couldn't help but laugh when Boromir, sorry Odysseus, suddenly had this epiphany about the Horse. Having shown no potential for genius prior to that.
Ok, Lord of the Rings is a lot to live up to. Troy isn't in the same league as Rings in big battles. The first two battles were so messily edited that I was bored. I was so unimpressed by them I considered getting out my phone and playing games.
Now after about 2 hours or so we come to the fight between Achilles and Hector. From no where comes a very good fight scene followed by a series of believable-ish emotional scenes, concluded with the acceptable destruction of Troy. If the opening sequence had had the same impact as the fight between Achilles and Hector maybe I would not have the feeling I wasted 3 hours of my life.