Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cool HP Movie News--No HP7 Spoilers!

The voluntary HP7 lockdown continues here at Chez Evil until everyone here has finished the book. That does NOT mean I'm not a-brining in HP news like a cucumber in dill! The latest fun info I have from here is casting for HP6:The Movie.

Naomi Watts is Narcissa Malfoy.

I love Naomi Watts--her performance in Mulholland Drive was absofrigginlutely amazing. From "bad actress" to "inspired actress" to "Nancy Drew in Hollywood" she took us on a surreal roller coaster ride through the subconscious. While she has a kind face, with a sort of ineffable approachability, her work with David Lynch promises she can pull off anything she tries. Narcissa's role in the last two Potter books is more of a worried mother than arrogant aristocrat, so perhaps she was intentionally cast to make the Malfoys more understandable.

Additional casting info is that Joseph Fiennes and Stewart Townsend have also been cast. As Joseph Fiennes is Ralph's brother, but a kinder and gentler Fiennes, my guess is that he will play Voldemort's Muggle father, he nearly tragic Tom Riddle, Senior. Meanwhile, Steart Townsend has all that dark, bad boy, charismatic glamor that just screams "pre-horcrux Tom Riddle Jr."

Anyone want to make a bet on that?

Friday, July 13, 2007

PotterMania 2009!

Well, hell--I'll just buy my plane tickets now and plan to be in Orlando for every long weekend of the year after this opens.

That's right--Universal and Warner Brothers are opening a Harry Potter theme park.

And you know what? I don't care if there are rides, or authentic merchandise in the stores or anything. I just love the idea of getting to walk through the places I have imagined (and seen in the movies) my very own self.

Back in the olden days, when we only had the HP books and no movies, the local department store turned Sorcerer's Stone into a holiday display. We saw half sized vignettes of Harry's bedroom under the stairs, envelopes flooding the Dursley's house, and even Hagrid on Sirious's motorcycle. But the moment that literally took my breath away was walking around a corner and seeing Diagon Alley laid out before me. The stores lined either side of the pathway, and you walked down the street in a way that simply had not been possible before. Over to the right was Gringott's Bank, and here was Madame Malkin's, across from Ollivander's Wands. It was the most magical thing I could imagine.

Now--well, not now, but in 2009, we will have the chance to walk through Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, and I can hardly stand it, that just thrills me. Yup, it makes my dried up and cynical heart of evil actually soften a bit.

Don't tell anyone about that though.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

HP5 Movie: A Review

Pottermania is here, and we saw the movie Thursday night. Spoilers ahead.

The things that stood out:
  1. Believable relationship between Harry and Sirius. They seemed to spend more time together in the movie than in the book, and they truly seemed to have a real relationship. Plus, the movie Sirius was less of a whiny hothead than in the book, and so his death felt more momentous.
  2. Nymphadora Tonks--perfectly cast, criminally underused.
  3. Luna Lovegood--perfect. Absolutely perfect.
  4. Ginny Weasley--still in the background, and few (possibly no) lines. But we get to see her being an amazingly talented witch.
  5. Bellatrix Lestrange--again, perfectly cast, but a bit more 'eye-rolling' crazy than the woman we saw in Book 6.
  6. Occlumency lessons. Incredibly shortened, but very effectively done: we see all the stuff we need to see, plus Snape gets to be the one to end the lessons.
  7. James Potter looks like Harry, in the Mirror of Erised, even more in the photo of the original Order of the Phoenix, and especially as a Hogwarts student. Wonderful casting.
  8. Grawp was beautifully done, huge, scary, but somehow loveable. Fitting for Hagrid's half-brother.
  9. The betrayal of the DA was altered, but did all the work it needed to in a cleverly compact way. Harry's crush, Cho Chang, is the one who informs Umbridge, but only because of Veritaserum. Still, that ends the crush and clears her out of the way for Harry to find his true girlfriend in number 6.
  10. Umbridge. Umbridge, Umbridge, Umbridge. She was even more insidious than in the book, because she kept the patronizing faux charm going until the very end.
This was a dark movie, the tone reinforced by the cinematography. Grimmauld Place was dark and grim and horrible. The Department of Mysteries was all black shiny ceramic tile and eerie gray light. The thestrals were suitably creepy looking and bony and leathery, yet somehow the thestral foal was still cute.

Sadly, the Ron/Hermione chemistry is just not there. Hermione and Harry have a visible and believable connection that is just missing between Ron and Hermione. Just as Harry hasn't said two words to Ginny, or even really noticed her--the pairings are just not gelling as they should. I don't miss the extended Quidditch scenes, but it was as teammates that Harry and Ginny had something in common, and we just aren't getting to see it.

This was a very efficient movie, and packed a whole lot of plot into two and a quarter hours. I'm already trying to decide when to see it again.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cooking Lessons

So, tonight we had individual mini-pizzas for dinner tonight. Gramma Sweetie (Mr. Sweetie's mom) is here for a few days, and we had the good stuff: crab meat, portobello mushrooms and fresh spinach.

Kidlets had pepperoni and sausage.

Making Italian sausage for pizza here at Chez Evil means buying Jennie-O turkey sausages and browning them. But, of course, for pizza, you need crumbled sausage. So that means taking the refrigerated sausages and removing the casings. So, you have these long, curved tubes of meat, contained inside a thin, organic sheath, and you squeeze. . .

It just feels so. . .you know. . .porny.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Today, I am driving Mr. Sweetie's car. It's a sleek and compact little number, with a leather interior and ergonomic seating. It's a great car to ride in. To drive? Not so much. Mostly because everything is just a little bit different than my Venerable Honda, and because Mr. Sweetie is so much taller than I am, so I have to adjust everything before I can even reach the pedals.

Today, I noticed all the stuff that is high tech in this car--higher tech than in the Venerable Van. The stereo comes on automatically when you turn on the ignition, but at a subsonic volume. Fortunately! there is a stereo control right on the steering wheel, so you don't even have to take your hands off the wheel to adjust volume, station, or CD.

It gives you the outdoor temperature digitally. Not to any fractions of degrees, although that is probably an available option. So, when it's hot outside, you know EXACTLY how hot it is. It's even worse in the winter to know EXACTLY how cold it is.

You get a gas mileage readout. Today it showed me how far I could go on the amount of gas in the gas tank: 360 miles. Sometimes it shows how many miles per gallon you can get at the particular speed you are driving: always a laugh at stop lights.

It has the time AND THE DATE. Which is digitally updated, so you can see when exactly July 4th becomes July 5th. Whether or not that is meaningful in a car.

It's a bit of a noodge too--a nagging nanny. Low on wiper fluid? Ding ding ding ding periodically until you refill the dang reservoir. Low on gas? Nanny Noodge to the rescue. Seatbelt not on? Hair not combed? Okay, not that last one.

The headlights and wipers come on automatically when the sensors detect dim light or rain. I mean, really! The sensitivity of these sensors is amazing--I went into the garage this bright sunny morning, and before I was all the way in, the headlights were on. Nobody spat on the windshield, though, so I can't report on the wipers.

Start the car, put it into gear, and before you have fully pulled away from your parking spot, the doors have automatically locked. Odometer and trip odometer are separate, so you can track a particular length of trip at your choice.

But speed?

Oh yeah, speed.

Well, contrary to all the technical and digital LCD displays, speed is on an old fashioned analog dial. One with approximations of the speed. The actual mph are only picked out in twenty mile an hour increments, so you can really only know that you are going, say, somewhere between 40 and 60 mph. There are some intervening lines, that signal something approaching 30 or 35 miles an hour, but exact speeds, unlike exact temperatures or dates, are not available.

I would say something scathing at this point, but it seems the car can read my mind. Because as I was contemplating this fact, tooling down the highway at something like 15 mph over the speed limit, and getting passed by everybody, I heard the car respond. Not a real voice, but a voice in my head.

It spoke with a heavy Arnold Schwartzenegger accent.

"Don't be a girlie mon. Zis ees a Gzherman car. Eet goes fast!"

Monday, July 02, 2007

There Is No Panacea

This is sad news. There should be a panacea. For everything. A pan-panacea, if you will.

The keep-me-breathing-while-I-sleep machine is not a panacea. There were a couple of days when it looked like it might be. I was sleeping for 6 hours, and waking up! Refreshed! Even my sinuses were clear! And I thought, maybe this could be it. Sure, I look like a Doughboy up against mustard gas in WWI when I go to sleep, but maybe it's worth it.

Because, if I could sleep well and only need six hours a night--why, that would free up so much time! I could wake up, and have enough energy to go to the gym! I could finally lose the weight I gained after my kids were born! I wouldn't have to stay up so late out of a desperate need for a few consecutive minutes of mental clarity! The price of gas would go down! The Shia and Sunni would go to dinner at the Kurds, and Iraq would be as Eden! I could think of something to have for dinner! Caffeine free Diet Pepsi(TM) would run from the water taps!

Alas, it was not to be. I started having a reaction to the material that touches my face. I'd call it a "latex allergy" but I have been informed (and rather snottily, I might add) that there IS no latex in the damn thing. Okay, so tell that to the spots on my face that are raw and painful!

Maybe I had the mask on too tightly? Okay, so I loosened the straps. And spent that night feeling like I had a 50 pound elephant's trunk strapped to my face. The sucker had its own momentum whenever I rolled over, and tried to take my face with it.

So, boil some water, pour it over the mask and let the water cool. Some help, and the raw spot disappeared, but there is still some unpleasant reaction between that mask and my face.

Then, I find I'm still not getting enough sleep. I wake up after seven hours of sleep, and I'm still tired. I still need another 2-4 hours of sleep--which maybe isn't fair, since then I don't use The Machine, but still eats into a lot of my time. And I'm yawning through the day. Again.

I have an appointment in three weeks to check the data The Machine is gathering. And I think I need to get another mask fitting appointment, as I spend about 15minutes trying to get the thing onto my face so it doesn't weigh so heavily on my upper lip.

Yup. It's official. I'm a whiner.