1. Trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Warner Brothers moved the sixth installment of the Harry Potter series from its November 8, 2008 release date to July 17, 2009 earlier this week.
In making the announcement, Mr. Horn stated, “Our reasons for shifting ‘Half-Blood Prince’ to summer are twofold: we know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent pole release, as proven by the success of our last Harry Potter film, which is the second-highest grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment. Additionally, like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers’ strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films—changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of. We agreed the best strategy was to move ‘Half-Blood Prince’ to July, where it perfectly fills the gap for a major tent pole release for mid-summer.”- Full story at MuggleNet.com
I don't think this movie will make a difference in box-office receipts. There is a huge audience for the Harry Potter movies who will watch the film no matter what its release date is. But again, I don't think WB cares about box-office performance at the moment, considering The Dark Knight majorly owned the box-office. Warner Brothers have several other major releases this year, including Body of Lies, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Yes Man. I predict all the films will all do quite well financially.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is actually my least favorite book of J.K. Rowling's popular fantasy series. The sixth novel was a complete let-down, considering its predecessor took my breath away. Rowling forced the ridiculous teenage romances instead of revisiting the depths and complexities of plots and characters, like in her previous outing with the boy wizard. The only interesting thing about the sixth installment was the information about the villainous Voldemort's past, which brings me to how well-done and excellent the trailer is...
Instead of focusing on Rowling's own attempts at giddy fanfiction (Hermione getting jealous at Ron because he's snogging Lavender? Harry feeling the beast within him when he sees Ginny snogging someone else? Harry asking Luna to a party because he can't ask Ginny?), the trailer spotlights the Voldemort back-story in a perfectly dark, moody way. When I first watched the trailer, I just thought, "Wow, they made my least favorite book in the series into an appealing movie!"
I'm rather disappointed that they brought director David Yates back, though. I think we're stuck with Yates until the end of the film series. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is my favorite book in the series and I just didn't think Yates did the film justice. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed the fifth film and liked the executions of the more emotional scenes. The problem was, it didn't have the spark of the first two Chris Columbus films, the whims of Alfonso Cuaron's film, or the epic visual flair of Mike Newell's film; Harry Potter of the Goblet Fire is my favorite film so far in the series and it's one that is hard to beat. I don't see Yates achieving what any of his predecessors achieved with the two-part finale either. Yates is more interested than the characters than storytelling, while Rowling knows how to blend both wonderfully when she's at her best.
On a side-note, I am strongly opposed to WB's decision to make two films out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final installment of Rowling's fantasy series. If they can make one acceptable (if not perfect) film out of the 800+ pages of Order of the Phoenix, they can definitely make one good film out of Deathly Hallows. Personally, I don't like Deathly Hallows that much and I see opportunities for the filmmakers to cut out quite a bit (*cough*camping scenes*cough*).
But really, let's just say I'm still pissed that Harry and Hermione didn't end up together.
So what do you think of Harry Potter? Favorite movie? Favorite book? Favorite character? Favorite performance in the movies? Never read it? (I probably wouldn't have given a damn about the Harry Potter series if I wasn't growing up during the height of its popularity. There was no way to escape those books.)
2. Regis and Kelly: Anderson Cooper on the Lohans
I saw this video on James's blog and couldn't stop laughing.
Anderson Cooper is one of my favorite news reporters. Anderson Cooper 360 is one of my favorite news shows. I temporarily can't watch it because I don't have CNN right now, for some odd, unknown reason. (I'm insanely mad that I'm missing out the Obama-McCain debate on CNN.)
For those unfamiliar with Living Lohan, it is a reality show that "allegedly documents the daily lives of actress/singer Lindsay Lohan's family, with most of the focus on manager mother Dina, actress/singer sister Ali, brother Cody, grandmother Nana, who is Dina's mother and a former radio actress, and family friend Jeremy Greene, a music producer helping Ali with her debut album" (source: Wikipedia).
In the video, Cooper heavily criticizes the show and Dina Lohan's antics. Dina Lohan had fought back since (by contacting "OK Magazine") stating that Cooper's comments were "cruel" and "bad karma for him." Watch the video and judge for yourself. Personally, I still think it's hilarious after multiple viewings.
3. The Phantom of the Opera - Point of No Return
This film is probably camp at its best. Naturally, I loved it. I don't want to say too much about the film since I plan to write a review of it soon, but I still want to share my favorite scene.
"Point of No Return" is one of my favorite songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber's immortal stage musical. The lyrics of the songs have no punch; they're just oozing with sentiment. But telling someone that you like Webber's Phantom musical for the story and the song lyrics is kind of like stating that most of Rob Schneider's movies have a hidden philosophical meaning to them. It just doesn't make sense. The musical has always been about the aesthetics, and director Joel Schumahcer was the right guy to approach for the film version.
As for the scene, it shows that Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler don't exactly have the extraordinary voice talents of Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford from the original London cast, but at least they know how to make the scene hot. Well, except for the silly mime/circus/acrobat-like performers dancing in the background and those shots of Patrick Wilson's slightly tear-stained eyes. There are laughable aspects, yet the scene is passionate and visually fantastical. In the words of Paris Hilton, "That's hot." No, really...
4. Katharine Hepburn Online
I love well-made fan sites. For the past few years, I waited for a good Katharine Hepburn site to reach the web. Katharine Hepburn Online is a fantastic one, with a wonderful gallery a lot of good content. Finally...
I've seen my share of Hepburn movies, but I became completely enamored by her personality when I read her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life. It is a sweet memoir written by an intelligent and charming woman who has lived her life to the fullest. What I really love about the novel is how Hepburn's personality and wit crackles through the novel with her entertaining anecdotes. It was definitely not written by a ghost writer, that's for sure. The memoir is not a tell-all book on the Golden Age of Hollywood, but simply a humble story of a woman's rise to fame, followed by life's various ups and downs.
So, anyone want to share their favorite Hepburn movies? Performances? Characters?
5. Free Jenna Now!
This is probably the funniest Internet marketing for a film I've seen in a while.
This is the deal (from Jenna Fischer/Pam Bessly's MySpace blog):
My name is Rainn Wilson and I've kidnapped the lovely Jenna, put her, bound, in the trunk of my firebird and logged onto her MySpace to send out this bulletin.Wilson and Fischer are friends and both star in the NBC comedy, The Office, so it's all fun and games.
To free America's sweetheart, Pam Beesly, one half of the magic which is 'Jam', you must attend my new movie, 'The Rocker', which opens August 20th.
As soon as the film grosses 18.7 Mil, she will be released and given a peach smoothie.
It's a smart little marketing device that I found extremely amusing, but it still doesn't convince me that The Rocker is worth seeing. But good try, though.