Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why I Love ABC Family (Warning: Contains Fangirly HP Spoilers)

I find myself suddenly overwhelmed with affection for the ABC Family network. Not because they've cut down on the America's Funniest Home Videos reruns this weekend, although that was nice; I have an unexplainable hatred for that show.

No, the reason I want to hug the heads of programming over at ABC Family is that they've been showing previews of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I & II all weekend, WHILE they play the first five movies. *takes a break from typing to hug the television* *sits down quietly to avoid further weirded-out stares from family*

So far, three segments have aired (and can be found with a quick "ABC Family Deathly Hallows Sneak Peek" YouTube search). The two-minute teasers include behind-the-scenes peeks at filming, snippets of interviews with the producers, director, and stars, and footage not seen in the recently-released trailer.

If I wasn't so filled with goodwill towards Warner Bros. and ABC Family, I would ask why they're showing us so much of the movie four months before it comes out. On the other hand, OH MY GOSH NEVILLE WITH THE SWORD O' GRYFFINDOR AT 1:38!!! AND POST-TORTURE HERMIONE AT 0:14!!! AND KNIFE-THROWING BELLATRIX AT 0:46!!! AND... 

Sorry. What was I saying...? Oh, right. I love getting to see so much of the movies that I'm looking forward to, but please, please, PLEASE, Warner Bros., don't show us the entire film. It's okay to keep a little mystery in it.

Unless someone wants to tell me where the split is going to be. That wouldn't be over the line. (Please be after The Silver Doe, please be after The Silver Doe, please be after The Silver Doe...)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Holiday (1938)

Director: George Cukor
Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn
Summary: Rich but down-to-earth Linda Seton (Hepburn) falls for her sister Julia's charming fiancee, Johnny Case (Grant).

My Take: Cary Grant's best performance, in my opinion. He pulls out some old vaudeville acrobatic tricks, which add to the appealing eccentricity of the character without being gratuitously quirky. He also handles the dramatic moments of the movie well - a slight change in his stance makes all the difference from the happy-go-lucky fiancee to the man who is watching his dreams crushed one by one. Katharine Hepburn does equally well, switching gears from silliness to melancholy with stunning ease. She gives her character emotional depth without slipping into melodrama... too often.
   Notable secondary characters include Nick and Susan Potter, friends of Case, who provide a much-needed reality check amid the splendor of the Seton mansion. For example:
              Susan: Don't tell anyone, but I've got a run in my stocking.
              Nick: Good heavens, we're ruined. [to the butler] Not a word of this to a soul.
   Although the ending of the movie seems as though it should be obvious, there are several factors that cast some refreshing doubt on the viewer's expectations.
Final Say: Holiday has the same director, leads, and writers as The Philadelphia Story, but it's much more likeable. A perfect hybrid movie for those who enjoyed the slapstick and throwaway lines of Bringing Up Baby and the dramatic impact of The Philadelphia Story. It would work well for all romantic comedy fans, even those who aren't familiar with other Grant-Hepburn movies.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Ten Favorite Glee Covers

These are in order... for the moment, anyhow.

1. Dream On (Matthew Morrison, Neil Patrick Harris)
2. Borderline/Open Your Heart (Cory Monteith, Lea Michele)
3. Jessie's Girl (Cory Monteith)
4. Fire (Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison)
5. A House Is Not a Home (Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith)
6. Beth (Led by Mark Salling)
7. Lady Is a Tramp (Mark Salling, Amber Riley)
8. Journey Medley (All teens)
9. Don't Stand So Close to Me/Young Girl (Matthew Morrison)
10. Total Eclipse of the Heart (Lea Michele, Jonathon Groff, Cory Monteith, Mark Salling)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Beetlejuice (1988)

Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Michael Keaton

Summary: The Maitlands (Baldwin and Davis), a recently deceased rural couple, try to drive out the new occupants of their home. When they are unsuccessful, they call on a rogue poltergeist (Keaton) for help.

My take: Beetlejuice the movie would have been better without Beetlejuice the character. The premise - young couple dies and learns about life after death - could have been great for a lighthearted romantic comedy, and that seems to be the aim of the movie until about one-third of the way in, when Keaton appears as Beetlejuice. Then the movie turns dark, campy, and uncomfortable. The character is perverted, bloodthirsty, and later shows himself to be an aspiring pedophile, because apparently he hadn't alienated the audience enough. Also, the Maitlands don't need another opponent - they're already trying to get the new occupants of the house to leave. His appearance takes the movie in an entirely different and very unwelcome direction.
   That said, this movie has some of the best sight gags I've ever seen. The waiting room for the recently dead waiting for counseling is absolutely brilliant, from the charred smoker who is trying to quit to the man dressed as a big-game hunter with a shrunken head. The giant Beetlejuice-snake is still creepy, even if stop-motion is outdated in 2010... sorry, what? It was outdated in 1988, too? Oh.

Final Say: The special effects are nothing compared to today's CGI and some of the acting is over-the-top, but the movie is still reasonably entertaining. If you can take the overall datedness of the movie, it's worth seeing at least once just so you can say you did. Tim Burton fans will probably love it more than people who are indifferent to his directing style.


Top 5 Scenes to Look for:
1. The dinner party when the dead Maitlands force the live guests to sing and dance to "The Banana Boat Song".
2. The Maitlands visit their counselor, Juno, who is trying to get a dead football team settled. "I'm not your coach! He survived."
3. A sandworm swallows Beetlejuice. Very satisfying.
4. The beginning credits panning over Adam Maitland's model town.
5. Lydia (Ryder) becomes a normal child who goes to school, rides a bike, and dances to "Jump the Line" in mid-air.

Monday, July 5, 2010

An Abrupt Introduction

Here I am.
I've joined the BlogVerse.

I plan to write and post mostly movie reviews, but I reserve the right to subject readers to my spontaneous wonderings. The movies will not be recent, as most of my favorite movies were not released in this century.

Sorry this is choppy, but I really don't like introducing myself. Here's what I usually say in the non-Web world: "Hi. I don't know you. I'm Tori! *shakes hands and wanders off*"

I'm a future Journalism major trying to get some experience publishing my work, even if it is on a website that allows you to blog about whatever you want for the low, low price of Free. My hobbies include writing for my school newspaper, being a Harry Potter nerd, and painting my ankles with sparkly nail polish.