Friday, August 10, 2007

Reviews and opinions

Yes, it's Friday, rather than Wednesday. I've been tied up with a bunch of home-related stuff this week, so I'm falling behind on my blogging. Didja miss me? ;-)

Last night we watched the movie 300 - the Spartan movie. I really enjoyed it. Lots of blood and guts and a few beheadings, but the movie was better than I'd expected it to be. It's filmed with a different look, and I guess I expected something cartoonish. It was definitely not. The fellow who played Xerxes looked so familiar and it wasn't until the credits rolled that I found out Xerxes had been played by Rodrigo Santoro. Is this the same guy who played the handsome, shy, hunk in Love Actually? And the same guy who was buried alive on Lost? Wow. I'm usually pretty good at placing people, but this one blew me away. My daughter saw 300 some time ago and told me she came out of the theater wanting to be a Spartan woman. After seeing this, I understand. I thought the movie was very well done.

Also this week, we rented the first season of Six Feet Under. The TV show has gotten some wonderful reviews, and I was tempted to buy it first, sight unseen. I'm glad I held off. I made it through the pilot and one and a half episodes. Granted, there are some funny moments. Lots of interesting funeral-home stuff too (the "commercials" interspersed in the pilot were hysterical!), but I found the teenage daughter to be a way-over-the-top cardboard character. She reminded me of the teenage daughter from the first season of 24. Ooh... let me be totally selfish... ooh, let me experiment with sex and drugs... Oh, and when things don't go my way, let me blame the world. Hey, casting people, guess what? Teenagers are more multi-dimensional than you give them credit for. Geez, cut the manufactured drama by half, at least. I found the Six Feet Under teenage character boring. In fact, I fast-forwarded through her scenes. The brothers are ... okay, I guess. One is uptight with his homosexual secret, the other a ne'er-do-well, who might just be finding his way now that Dad is out of the picture. I dunno. It all seemed very formulaic and, unfortunately, dull.

But the funeral home stuff was fun. I have to give it that. And the assistant (Rico?) is a gem.

Also in the review column: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Gotta admit, I loved it. I think J.K. Rowling has done the literary world a great favor by bringing us Harry Potter. The ending epilogue got a little cutesy, but I think it had to. Nicely done, J.K. And thank you. I finished reading the book the weekend it came out, but I'm about to start listening to it on CD in the car. I have one more disk left of Steve Hamilton's A Stolen Season, and then I'm popping Harry into the stereo.

Do we still call it a stereo? Oops. Dating myself here.


Amy said...

I'm so glad you mention teenage characters like this, Julie. It's a pet peeve of mine as well. While I love that the Gossip Girl series brought lots of new teens into the library to read them (and the books are kind of fun), I dread the TV series for this fall as it looks, well, sleazy.

I'll be ready at the library with a list of smart and fun girl series for suggestions of what to read when the GGs will be all checked out!

At least we have Hermione as a popular character!

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks, Amy,
I love Hermione! I think it's great for girls to have strong, smart role models. I hope other writers see that mostly unexplored opportunity, and fill it with more wonderful, complex, intelligent characters for kids to enjoy.

Thanks for writing.

Julia Buckley said...

Hi, Julie--

I loved Harry Potter, too, and I think JK ROwling is a true genius.

But the minute you say blood and beheadings, I've kind of lost interest in seeing the movie. I'm ultra squeamish. I've never watched a war movie in my life, at least not voluntarily.