alexandral: (The Painted Veil - Kitty China Day)
I am sailing fairly quickly through "Hunger Games" trilogy, mostly because I promised myself to listen to THE WHOLE OF "Vorkosigan Saga" next and all the books are ready and I can't wait!

I feel very apologetic because I know so many of you on my friends list love the trilogy, but "Catching Fire" (the second book of the trilogy) left me not very impressed. I AM SORRY. But I must tell you the truth. :D



The first book of "Hunger Games" trilogy ("Hunger Games") had a really good idea, even though this was something that Susanne Collins can't be given the full credit for (in my opinion) because even if you take "Battle Royale" out of the equation there is also "Running Man" and "1984". This idea worked really well in the first book, but the second book (Catching Fire) feels like rehashing of the same story. Inventing the way to send Katniss and Peeta back into the Arena felt contrived and unexciting.

Plus there were a couple of points I found particular problematic: )

Overall, after two books I rate this series 7/10, mostly because the first book was really good. I am giving the series some time and may be everything will be explained in the book 3 and the love triangle will be resolved soon.

But I definitely don't understand why so many people are so in love with this series (I would really appreciate any explanations). WHY??????????

For me, the series feel like a patchwork with the best bits taken from various sources (for example, Rue's death scene brings Ophelia painting to my mind, etc.).

PS: Somehow reading "Catching Fire" made me appreciate "Harry Potter" much more. I think Harry Potter is a much better series, especially in the worldbuilding sense. You might see me eating my hat and admitting that may be I have always been a bit unfair to "Harry Potter". :D
alexandral: (Harry Potter - Sirius)
I have been recommended this video by my daughter - they showed this to them at her school, apparently. The video ( Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise ) is hilarious, but I do wonder: what are they teaching the kids at school nowdays?

Also: this is probably the catchiest video in the Universe

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alexandral: (Harry Potter - Sirius)


I have just came back from watching "Harry Potter" with my daughter. She insisted on watching it in 3D , so I had to pay 20 pounds for the tickets. ** sigh ** What would you not do for your kids. You see, I am not a huge fan of the franchise. As far as the cultural impact goes, I applaud "Harry Potter", but if anyone tried to prove any literature value of the books, I would discuss the following to my death: from the top of my mind, I can name at least 5 young adult book series that are more original and better written. A school of wizardry? I have been reading books about schools of wizardry since I was 10 and this was a long time ago. And the main character, Harry Potter, a special boy with a special destiny, cannot be killed? What can I do but to roll my eyes?

Ok, I am still grumpy after having to pay 20 pounds (I am such a pirate at heart).

As far as the film goes, this was one of the best in the series. My favourite is still Prisoner of Azkaban (filmed beautifully by Alfonso Cuarón) which I think is the only film in the series that has other value than to be a part of the series, but I liked both parts of "Deathly Hallows", mostly because both of these films didn't feel as rushed as Order of the Phoenix or Half-Blood Prince. There was more time to stop and show the character interactions, and there was more time to show spectacular special effects. The special effects were spectacular, by the way, they had made me giddy with the sensory delight.

I remembered again how much I do not care for Harry and how much I love Ron, who made me laugh during all the inappropriate moments again, with his well-placed "Blimey" and "This is unfortunate". But overall, I think my actor love goes to Ralph Fiennes for his portrayal of Voldermot (gosh, so scary, I had goosebumps!).

Also, the favourite quote from the film. Dumbledore:
Of course it's all in your head, Harry, but why should that mean it isn't real?
alexandral: (Harry Potter - Sirius)
My life seems to be in a craziest stage since the time of my long-forgotten youth: work is madly busy, Zend PHP certification exam is approaching too fast (6th of December), I need to write two assignments for the Leadership and Management course (which culminated on 19th of November in consolidation day and my team's win!) by the December 18th, on which day I am flying off to Moscow. Oh, also lately I went to few one-day conferences and as a result London is practically making me sick, especially considering that one of the conferences happened on the day of the Tube Strike. I still hold on tightly to my usual optimistic POV, but only just. If I don't go prematurely all gray, I am due for two Christmas weeks of ice sculptures, ice skating and pancakes in Moscow.

In good news, I finally nailed salchow (A move in figure skating in which the skater jumps from one skate, completes a full rotation, and lands on the other skate) and tea-pot move and completely completed my silver NISA (National Ice Skating Association) level!

I am not even watching anything!!! Well, may be "Lost Girl" and "Gloria", but this is ALL. "Gloria" is safely helping me through this crazy real life spell.



My daughter made me go and watch "Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows 1", which overall was a pleasant surprise. Of course, I am still the same old nay-sayer that is not overly excited by Harry Potter in any shape or form , plus I have a confession to make: I find grown-up Daniel Radcliffe to be somewhat on the creepy side. Where has the pretty boy gone? BUT! To be fair, "Deathly Hallows" was much much better film than the two previous ones. There was enough time given to beautiful landscape shots, there was enough time for characters to talk to each other, and there was enough time devoted to Dobby's death (more time than to Dumbledore's death, actually) and Ron's jokes. Some other excellent things included Ron himself, Hermione in a red dress and Luna's father. Oh, if there are any Hermione/Harry shippers left (although I am not one of them) : I thought "Deathly Hallows number 1" was a really shippy film.

In short, I enjoyed the film, enough to give it 6.5 out of 10 and we had a nice time afterward in Pizza Hut. It took a lot of explaining for my daughter and her friends to understand what the Horcruxes are, though. I blame it on the scrambled-up previous film.

Some more film stills )

PS: Oh where ebooks_crack has gone????????????? I am so very upset!!!
alexandral: (Harry Potter - Sirius)
Thank you so much to everyone for your support. It helped me immensely. Let the world "outside" tell me how Internet relationships are somewhat inferior to "real" ones. I know different. ** hugs **
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My sincere apologies for overreacting.

I am back to rant about the latest Harry Potter movie which I happened to see twice in a short space of the last three weeks (it just happened this way. oh what would we not do for our children!). My apologies to anyone who liked the film, these are just my own thoughts.



Before I start ranting - I must say that am not the biggest fan of Harry Potter books , although they are definitely very decent, amusing and wholesome reading and I would definitely recommend them to my daughter. I think there are better books out there but at the same time HP is a very good series. I like some of the films, especially "Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Goblet of Fire".

BUT! The movie "Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince" is a nonsensical mess. It does a huge disservice to the books. All the main arcs of the sixth book (Voldermort-related memories, Half-blood Prince mystery, etc.) were cut short and gave way to teenage romance. And even more, all the teenage romance scenes of the book (I was looking forward to some of them) have been replaced by lovey-dovey scenes of the scriptwriter's personal brewing that rival "Twilight" in their cheesiness. Why? My guess is that the film is trying to appeal to teenage audience , but does it in a strange fashion. The books are already hugely popular with teenage audience. Why did the director feel the need to change every single scene? I seriously think that the fame of "Twilight" has affected the director and scriptwriter. And as a result - good bye "Harry Potter", hello this summer's teenage supernatural romance movie.

I can rant for hours about this film, remembering it's every single shortcoming (I have watched it two times , you see). The film picks up at the end but even then , I was really looking forward to see Dumbledore swimming in a breast-stroke fashion and I didn't get it and the scene with everyone holding little lights was nausea-inducing.

My ratings: 4/10
alexandral: (Harry Potter - Ron Quidditch)
Synopsis: I have finished 5 Harry Potter movies in 3 weeks. Some of them are much better than the others.



Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone/Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Director: Chris Columbus.

Entirely in traditions of Disney and Hollywood sugary sweetness and swelling music scores, these two films are like “Home alone” set in magical world, with a bit of "Stepmom" added into the mix. Cheesy special effects abound as well as stilted acting of the lead trio. The main redeeming feature of this adaptation is Richard Harris as Dumbledore , more mysterious and subtle than Michael Gambon.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Director: Alfonso Cuarón

By far, this is the best film in the series and a very good film overall. I really enjoyed it. It has it all: wonderfully dark atmosphere, gorgeous music, beautiful new characters and great special effects. The lead trio have found their acting capabilities too. The only pity is that this was the only film of the series made by Alfonso Cuarón. Why wasn't he employed to make the rest of the films? I guess he had bigger and better things to do, like fabulous “Children of Men”.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Director: Mike Newell

Even though “Prisoner of Azkaban” is brilliant I have to applaud Mike Newell for rescuing the Britishness of the series from a tiny dark corner it had been hiding in the previous adaptations. I also have to give it to David Tennant: he makes a totally OTT Doctor Who but at the same time he makes an excellent Barty Crouch Jn. I couldn’t help but giggle every time Cedric happened to be on screen, though. On the other hand, Ralph Fiennes is most awesome, but this is nothing new.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: David Yates

I don’t have much to say about this film. I quite like everything and the special effects are nice. But this is not saying much, right? The film is probably slightly confusing to someone who haven’t read the books because some of the things happen too quickly. But this also happens in “Goblet of Fire”, for example, I think that the scene of Voldermot’s resurrection is rushed through. Update: I agree with [livejournal.com profile] thepresidentrix - Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge is fabulous beyond any words. And so is the film's costume designer , Jany Temime.

I am quite ready for “Half-blood Prince” and after all – this is the book where all the shippy stuff happens!
alexandral: (Harry Potter - Ron Quidditch)
Half-term school holidays are over!! I am back in the land of living or "less of real life, more of virtual".

My daughter and I had:
- 2 swimming pool trips,
- one shopping trip ,
- two sleepovers,
- I passed bronze level in ice-skating. I can have an ice-skating passport now! woo-hoo!
- My daughter's fishtank is set up. It looks great now! And only one fish has died (so far)!

Harry Potter
I had a week of holidays and finally I have done something I wanted to do for ages - caught up on reading Harry Porter books and watching Harry Potter films (I have only seen two of the films before and once half-heartedly attempted to start the first book). I quite like both. The books are quite pleasant and have some lovely secondary characters and details but there is nothing special or outstanding in the writing or original in the story. But I am quite sure that if I had a chance to start reading the books when I was twelve and never heard about the hype surrounding them I might have been hooked.

The films definitely get better as they go. In the first film the children-actors' acting is quite a bit on a wooden side but this improves in the later films. The special effects continue to improve too.

On the whole - the big popularity of the series is still a mystery to me.

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January 2012

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