Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
(movie review)

I don't usually review movies anywhere, but as this is the most highly anticipated movie of the season on so many levels AND it's based on the final book of a hugely popular series; it just screamed for a review.

I won't say much about this, but I do think it's definitely one of the best in the movie franchise.  It hits all the right notes when dealing with the fact that Harry, Ron, and Hermione, for the first time ever, are really, truly alone.  There are no adults as back-up here.  They have no one to help them or give advice, and the one person they trusted throughout the rest of the series is not only gone, but they are finding out that he was too human in many ways.

It's an absorbing film that drags you in.  I'm glad I had re-read the series and the final book just before I saw the movie because it really helped me to understand what was going on and what was coming.  I had thought I knew where the break would be between the first and second parts, but I was wrong.  It went much farther than I thought, which means that there will be a LOT of fighting in long sequences in the final movie.  It should be very good.

One thing to mention: this is NOT a movie for kids.  Really.  Truly.  Not.

This movie is violent, crushingly sad at time, filled with deaths, and has long sequences where the wizards are on the run and just trying to figure out what they are going to do next.  The film opens with Snape and, within the first five minutes, a witch, who has been tortured, is bleeding, and is begging for mercy, is murdered and then eaten by a giant snake.  This is IN the book, but it's so much more disturbing on screen.

The one fault I find with this is that it's cramming in characters who had been ignored in previous films.  Mundungus Fletcher, who was in both the fifth and sixth novels, but had never previously been in the movies, was suddenly in this one because he is essential to a plot point.  Bill Weasley had been ignored since the fourth book, but he was suddenly here, being introduced and his scars explained in a couple of throwaway lines.  In a franchise that had otherwise been very well planned, these sudden corrections stood out.  I remember reading that Rowling had had to work hard to keep Dobby in the second movie, because the screenwriter and director wanted to cut him for time.  If they had succeeded, this film would not have.  I wish they'd been able to do the same for other characters who just popped up all of a sudden.

In the end, though, this is a great film, and well worth watching.  I can't wait to see the finale.  It should be completely amazing and awesome, especially if they DON'T succeed in transferring it to 3D.  Those 2D to 3D transfers have never worked in the past (see: The Last Airbender and Clash of the Titans), so ruining the last episode of the franchise on bad coloring and lighting because of horrid transfers would be a shame.

Can't wait until July 15, 2011!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Busy re-reading all of the Harry Potter books in preparation for Part 1 of Deathly Hallows coming out this month.  Will be back with new books soon (currently on Book 4).

UPDATE: Halfway through the last book, so I've probably read everything in the first movie.  I haven't re-read the series since Deathly Hallows came out in 2007.  It's like finding an old friend on Facebook and remembering the good times, but also remembering why you stopped talking in the first place.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Soul to Save and My Soul to Keep

My Soul to Save
by Rachel Vincent

While attending a concert with her hotter-than-average boyfriend, Kaylee is able to sneak backstage and watch the action from the wings.  What she didn't count on was watching the teen pop star die on stage in front of everyone.  

Even more confusing is that Kaylee never felt the need to scream.  She's a banshee and her fate is to scream the souls of the dead as they cross over.  So why didn't she scream when this pop princess died?

It turns out, someone's been making deals with devils and trading their souls for fame and fortune.  Now time is running out for the next teen sensation and Kaylee must find a way to get her soul back before the week is out or another soulless pop star will die.

Rating: 4/5

My Soul to Keep
by Rachel Vincent

Kaylee knows all about addiction.  After all, she's completely addicted to her boyfriend.  Every second she spends with him has been blissful up til now.  But things change when a dangerous substance, one that's only supposed to be available in the demon Netherworld, makes it into her reality, and it becomes the hottest "fix" in town.

Now Kaylee has to stop the supply before people literally go insane trying to get ahold of this "drug", and she has to do it quick, because people she knows are becoming affected, in ways she never imagined possible.

Rating: 4/5

Final thoughts on both:  Again, these are great YA supernatural urban lit books.  They're easy to read, fast-paced, and really get the reader sucked in.  The biggest negative is having to try to patiently wait for the next one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Soul to Take

My Soul to Take 
by Rachel Vincent

Kaylee's not insane.  Really!  She isn't!  She just sometimes thinks she is.  And many of the people around her, including her aunt, uncle, and cousin, treat her like she may be.

Screaming bloody murder in the middle of a mall and not stopping until you're committed to a mental health hospital and drugged out of your mind will get you funny looks.

But she's not crazy.

What she IS is a bean sidhe, otherwise known as a banshee.  She knows when people near her are about to die and she's overcome by a fierce compulsion to scream when their time on this earth is up.  Her screams are a siren call to the souls of the dead, whether she wants them to be or not.

It's normally not a problem for her since death around a teenage girl is rare, but suddenly girls are dying all around her.  Each day she's faced with another compulsion to scream a young, pretty, teenage girl to her death.  But these girls weren't meant to die and now Kaylee, and her new, hot, understanding boyfriend, Nash, must figure out what's going on before the next victim dies, especially when that victim is someone Kaylee knows very well.

Final thoughts:  I have finally found something to tide me over until the next Chloe Neill Chicagoland Vampires novel!!  This series has been out a couple of years, but I'd never heard of it until reading about it on a fellow blogger's site (sorry I can't remember which one!!!).  Kaylee's voice is clear and fun to read.  Her relationship with Nash is sizzling, but not overly sexy.  And it's just good to finally read a supernatural YA lit book that doesn't feature vampires or werewolves (though it looks like Vincent does have a shapeshifter series that I'll have to look into, as well).  I would definitely recommend this one for teens and, if I was still  in the library, I'd buy multiple copies and pitch it like mad.

Rating: 4/5 (should be a 4.5 or 4.75)


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