Friday, December 31, 2010

True Grit (No spoilers)

The remake of True Grit is one of the better movies I've seen this year (and the best I've seen this fall). I do like the original -- and I like John Wayne in the original -- but Jeff Bridges gives a good performance here. With Wayne you're always aware that it's the Duke playing Rooster Cogburn. Jeff Bridges disappears into the character.

What we're listening to today

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Big guy. Nice voice.

Potter and Tron (No spoilers)

Not a great holiday movie season, at least for family films. Meg and I hope to hit a couple of the grownup films, but haven't yet.

Harry Potter: I don't have much to add to my comments from the sixth film here. Further, I thought the pacing of the first half of the seventh book, Deathly Gallows, too slow and plodding. The movie managed to keep to the spirit of the book in that regard.

Yeah I'll finish the series when the eighth movie comes out. But at this point I'm just going through the motions. The movies are just not that good.

Now don't get me wrong, despite all the quibbles I have with the novels, I enjoyed the book series. But my enjoyment almost entirely come from the background tapastry in the books - the faculty at Hogwarts, the Weasley twins, the "Scooby gang" around Harry, etc. But the Big Story wasn't all that interesting - centering Voldemort's agenda around blood purity evinced, in my opinion, a significant lapse of imagination on Rowling's part. And Harry wasn't as interesting as the characters around him.

Tron: Meh. A decent holiday film. I think the movie would improve in 3-D. (We saw it in 2-D because the 3-D time didn't work for us on the day we wanted to see it.) I thought it was better than the original Tron, which I thought was a bit of a bore, the cinematic advances of the film notwithstanding.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why Boys Really like Acolyting

Jack, my eleven-year old, started acolyting a few months ago.

I stayed back with him the first time he was to go forward. While we were waiting, he looked at me and said that he was excited to be acolyting.

I figured that he was excited to be participating more overtly in the worship service, or that he got to wear a robe, or that he sits next to the pastor during the service, etc.

But no. The cause of his excitement?

"I get to carry fire!"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Voyage of the Dawn Treader (No Spoilers)

This movie is better than Prince Caspian, but then that wouldn't be hard. The screenplay is only very loosely based on C.S. Lewis's book -- so it makes it a bit of a tough slog for me, since Voyage is my favorite of the Narnia series. That said, I thought the screenplay worked for the most part. It nicely trusses up the relationship between Eustice and Reepicheep more than the book. And they did keep the ending (an absolute must).

Still, as with the Potter series, much of the charm of the book lies in the secondary and tertiary relationships and settings. Stripping down the screenplay to the basics of the plot (which is a stretch in this movie), in my opinion, means that much of what makes the books engaging is lost.