Monthly Archives: September 2012

“Be brave, Professor. Be brave like my mother…otherwise, you disgrace her. Otherwise, she died for nothing. Otherwise, the bowl will remain empty…forever.”

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When Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts begins, both the wizarding and muggles worlds are being tormented by Lord Voldemort and his followers. Many families won’t even allow their child to attend Hogwarts anymore because of the ever increasing danger. In the first few days of school, Harry comes across an old book marked mysteriously with, “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince.” Hidden among the many pages are secrets to making the correct potions and even spells that Harry has never heard of. This year is also a new year for the Hogwarts Quidditch team, with Ron becoming the new Keeper. The morning before one of their games, Harry secretly gives Ron some “Liquid Luck”, which Ron believes will actually bring him good luck. When Ron helps the team win the game, he instantly becomes a sports hero. Because of this, Ron begins a romantic relationship with Lavender Brown, leaving Hermione feeling alone. As the days drag on, Professor Dumbledore calls Harry into his office. He wants Harry to talk to the new Potions Professor, Horace Slughorn. Dumbledore believes he is holding crucial information about Voldemort’s past. In doing this, they learn that Voldemort wanted to create seven Horcruxes. A Horcrux safeguards a portion of the creator’s soul, granting him immortality unless the Horcrux is destroyed. Two of Voldemort’s Horcruxes have been destroyed: Tom Riddle’s diary and Marvolo Gaunt’s ring. When they discover the location of another Horcrux, Dumbledore suggests that Harry come with him to destroy it. They travel to a far-away cave where Harry is faced with a very difficult task. Harry has to force Dumbledore to drink a mind-altering potion that is hiding the Horcrux, a locket. A weak and delirious Dumbledore defends them from a mob of Inferi and then apparates himself and Harry back to the Astromony Tower at Hogwarts. Meanwhile, Death Eaters have entered the castle with Draco’s help. When Dumbledore and Harry arrive, Dumbledore instructs Harry to go and fetch Professor Snape. As footsteps approach he orders Harry to hide so no one will find him. As Draco arrives at the tower he reveals that he has been instructed to kill Dumbledore, but he is unable to follow through. Snape arrives and kills Dumbledore. The Death Eaters then go through the castle destroying as much as they can. Harry chases after Snape yelling, “He trusted you!” As Snape overpowers him, he reveals that he is the Half-Blood Prince before escaping. In the courtyard, the students and teachers surround Dumbledore’s body and light the sky with their wands. Harry later reveals to Hermione that the locket was a fake. In the locket was a message from an R.A.B. to Voldemort stating that he has stolen the real Horcrux with the intent of destroying it. As the end of the year nears, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide that the only thing they can do is go and finish what Dumbledore started.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is not my favorite movie by far. I honestly found the book to be a little boring, that is of course until the last few chapters. To me, it kind of starts off slow and it takes awhile to get things going. Towards the end of the book and the movie is when I really became interested. Probably my favorite part of the movie and the most effective visually is when Dumbledore dies. That probably sounds like a bad thing but it really isn’t. The emotion the directors put into it really helps the audience feel like they are there. When all the students raise their wands to the sky you get the feeling that evil has not yet overtaken good. You have the sense that there is still hope and light ahead in the future.

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“You’re the weak one. And you’ll never know love, or friendship. And I feel sorry for you.”

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With the return of Lord Voldemort, life in the wizarding world has become very different.  The Ministry of Magic is doing everything they can to keep the wizarding world from knowing the truth.  This includes appointing Ministry official Dolores Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts.  When Harry returns to Hogwarts he becomes frustrated when few students and parents believe him or Dumbledore about Voldemort’s return.  To make matters worse, the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher turns out to be one of the nastiest people Harry, Ron and Hermione have ever met.  When Umbridge refuses to teach practical defense magic, Ron and Hermione convince Harry to secretly train a selected group of students for the wizarding world that lies ahead.  The group soon becomes known as Dumbledore’s Army or DA for short.  There is one problem though…Umbridge is on the hunt for the secret army and she wants to end it as soon as she can.  With Voldemort on the rise Harry knows he has to do everything he can to continue to teach Dumbledore’s Army.  His godfather, Sirius Black, tells him that Voldemort is after something that he didn’t have last time.  When Harry has a vision of Arthur Wesley getting attacked, Dumbledore tells Professor Snape that it is time to give Harry lessons on how to block his mind from Voldemort.  The connection to Voldemort causes Harry to begin to push his friends away in a time when he really needs them.  When Harry has a vision of Sirius being harmed because of Voldemort he knows he has to go and help.  He and his friends go to the Ministry of Magic and enter the Department of Mysteries only to find that Sirius isn’t there, but someone is waiting for them.  As Voldemort’s Death Eaters begin to attack, one of them named Lucius Malfoy tells Harry what Voldemort has come for, and Harry is holding it.  The object that Voldemort wants is a prophecy that will explain why Harry survived that fateful night.  Harry refuses and the fight continues between them.  The Death Eaters take everyone hostage except Harry and threaten to kill them unless he gives up the prophecy.  Just in time the Order of the Phoenix arrives, among them are Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.  They attack the Death Eaters and Lucius drops the prophecy which destroys it.  Just as Harry and Sirius defeat Lucius, Bellatrix attacks them and kills Sirius.  As Harry chases her, Voldemort appears and battles against Dumbledore.  Just when they think it is over, Voldemort takes over Harry’s mind and there is nothing anyone can do but watch.  The love Harry feels for his friends and Sirius makes it impossible for Voldemort to remain in Harry’s body.  The war has officially begun between the good and the evil…but there is something that Voldemort doesn’t have, something worth fighting for.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is my favorite Harry Potter book and movie…well maybe it’s tied with the last one.  What I love about this movie is the fact that things really begin to happen.  Voldemort starts to rise again and you see Harry begin to mature along with his friends.  Another thing I really like about this movie is the fact that Sirius Black finally shows up again.  This movie really keeps you on your toes as challenges arrive around every corner.  The book may be the longest one of the series.  You are probably going to pick it up and be like, “This is going to take me forever to read!” Who cares?  Read it anyway and I promise you that you will not regret it.  I know I say this about every movie that I have seen…but you honestly should watch this movie.  All you have to do is get a big bowl of popcorn, pop this movie in, and sit down and enjoy!  Trust me…it’s worth it.

“I didn’t put my name in that cup! I don’t want eternal glory.”

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Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts is going to test him more than he ever believed it would.  Before school starts, Harry and his friends get tickets to go to The Quidditch World Cup Final.  When the match is over, people dressed like Voldemort’s ‘Death Eaters’ set fire to all of the visitors’ tents.  Along with that, the appearance of Voldemort’s ‘Dark Mark’ in the sky causes unrest within the magical community.  As Harry and his friends are trying to escape the chaos, Harry ends up falling behind.  When he wakes up he can hear someone calling his name.  He looks around and notices Hermione running toward him.  As the school year begins everyone learns that Hogwarts will be hosting ‘The Triwizard Tournament’.  The tournament is between 3 different schools and you are only allowed to participate if you are 17 years old.  On the night of selection you are chosen by the Goblet of Fire.  However, something goes wrong when the names are chosen.  Instead of the usual 3 names, the Goblet spits out 4 names.  Of those 4 names, Harry Potter’s is one of them.  His name being drawn draws a line between Harry and Ron.  Ron believes that Harry purposely put his name into the Goblet when Harry knows he had nothing to do with it.  Not only does Harry have to try to get his friend back, he has to battle dangerous dragons, sneaky mermaids and a maze that continues to change.  He learns that this is the least of his worries.  Inside the maze the goal is to get to the Portkey first.  As Harry and Cedric battle to get there first they turn to each other and decide to grab it together.  The Portkey transports the 2 champions to a graveyard where they find evil waiting for them.  When Harry realizes who and what is around them he tells Cedric to grab the Portkey and head back.  Before Cedric can reach the Portkey Wormtail kills him.  He then traps Harry and performs a ritual that rejuvenates Voldemort, who then summons his Death Eaters.  Voldemort makes Harry duel him because he has waited 13 years to kill him.  As they fight, a connection between their wands causes Voldemort’s to eject the spirits of the people he has recently murdered.  Among them are Harry’s parents and Cedric.  His parents tell him they will help him escape, all he has to do is run.  Right before he leaves Cedric asks him to bring his body back to his father.  At his return Harry is able to get one sentence out as the crowd runs toward him, “He’s back!  He’s back!  Voldemort’s back!”  Mad-Eye Moody leads a devastated Harry away to his office where he discovers that it isn’t really his professor.  As the year draws to a close Harry realizes that his friends are the things that are going to keep him going, and that the dark side of the world is only just beginning to appear.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the movie where things really begin to take a turn.  The first 3 movies are nothing compared to this one.  I’m going to admit that this one is not my favorite book and it’s not my favorite movie, but I did enjoy them.  In a way it is kind of creepy the way that Voldemort comes back to his original self.  I wouldn’t recommend letting a younger sibling watch it unless you’re sure they are ok with disturbing things.  The directors of this movie really proved themselves with the effects of the battle seen and even the dragon seen.  It was like you were there watching the event take place.  I felt like I could reach my hand through the screen and stroke the dragon on the nose, not that I would do that because it would probably bite my hand off.  The point is that this movie has awesome special effects.  So go and watch it!!  One line during the movie is very touching.  It is something Harry’s parents say to him as he is battling Voldemort.  It is one of my favorite lines, “Let go.  Sweetheart, you’re ready.  Let go.”

“Have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?”

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“There is a place.  Like no place on Earth.  A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger.  Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter.”

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to another place?  I don’t mean another city, state, or country.  I mean another world.  A place where things not seen happen and where a new adventure lies around every corner.  In the movie Alice In Wonderland, Alice returns to the strange world she visited as a child.  When she gets there she learns that in order to discover her true identity she must embark on a journey she never thought was possible.  As Alice enters this magical world called “Underland” she begins to realize that this strange place reminds her of the nightmares she used to have as a child.  She encounters her old friends who she doesn’t quite remember, but they remember her.  The infamous Red Queen is taking over “Underland” and beheading anyone who gets in her way.  When she learns that Alice has returned she immediately sends soldiers out to find her.  Alice learns that her true destiny is to defeat the Jabberwocky and restore the rightful queen to her throne.  With the help of the Mad Hatter and the White Queen, Alice embarks on the journey she never thought she would go on.  As Frabjous Day arrives both the Red Queen and the White Queen bring their armies to a chessboard-like battlefield.  Both queens send forth their chosen champions, Alice and the Jabberwocky.  As the battle rages on Alice defeats the deadly Jabberwocky by beheading him.  The White Queen is now able to regain the crown that she lost years ago.  Alice knows that this is the end of her adventure.  She knows she must return home to her family and leave the enchanted world she has grown to love.

I have to admit that this movie is a little weird and wacky, but that’s what makes it fun.  The characters that so many people have grown up loving come to life richer and more colorful than ever.  Johnny Depp does a great job of portraying the Mad Hatter.  He really helps the character come to life and sometimes I actually wonder if he is like that in real life.  I love the details the directors and the producers put into this movie.  They did a great job of making it look like you are really there.  The details in the surrounds and the characters truly look real.  If you haven’t seen this movie, watch it!  Yes, I know it is a little strange but it is still worth it.  You never know, Wonderland is only a rabbit hole away.

“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.”

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In 2003 the world was introduced to 3 crazy fish named Marlin, Dory, and Nemo.  In the 9 years that have passed, this movie has become a beloved classic to kids everywhere (and teens like myself).  When a young clownfish named Nemo is unexpectedly carried away far from his home, his overprotective father named Marlin decides he must go after him.  Along his way he runs into a friendly but forgetful regal blue tang fish named Dory.  They head out on an epic journey through the wildest part of the ocean.  They encounter gnarly surfer turtles, hypnotic jellyfish, hungry seagulls, and even vegetarian sharks whose moto is, “Fish are friends, not food.”  What Marlin doesn’t realize is the fact that his son is locked up in a fishtank in a dentist’s office near Sydney Harbor.  Nemo knows he has to escape somehow.  He and his new friends plot a plan to escape to Sydney Harbor to live their lives free again.

I don’t care how old you are, everyone has most likely seen Finding Nemo.  Who doesn’t love an animated movie about fish?  This movie is the reason you hear people singing, “Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.  What do we do?  We swim, swim, swim.”  I even hear people singing it in the hallways at my school….I have to admit that sometimes I am one of them.  This movie takes you on an adventure into the deepest part of the ocean and to the wildest coral reefs.  Anyone who hasn’t seen this movie really does need to watch it.  I know that it isn’t an action movie or a horror movie, but it really is worth seeing.  It has a great story line and it grabs your attention right from the beginning.

Where Will You Be The Day After Tomorrow?

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A Paleoclimatologist named Jack Hall is doing research in Antarctica when he discovers that a huge ice sheet has broken off from the ice shelf. What he doesn’t realize is that this broken off ice sheet will cause a major change in Earth’s climate and affect the world’s population. His son Sam decides to travel to New York with a group of friends for a school event. As a few days pass the weather begins to change. One day there are tornadoes in Los Angles that combine to make one large twister. It rips through the center of the city nearly wiping it out. In New York, Sam and his friends discover that it has been raining for 3 days straight. As the power goes out one day, they decide they need to head for another building. They soon discover that a huge tidal wave is heading right for New York City. As thousands of people run for their lives the wall of water rushes through the city, leaving the streets and many buildings completely covered. Sam knows he must contact his parents and let them know he is ok. There is one problem, the only phone is in a place that has been almost consumed by the water. When he reaches his parents his dad tells him that he must stay inside. The storm is only going to get worse and pretty soon the temperatures will begin to plummet. If anyone is outside when the temperatures go down they will freeze to death. When Sam goes back into the main part of the library to tell people that they can’t leave, no one listens. Only a few decide to stay behind with Sam, the rest head out onto the frozen water to try to get to safety. The United States government is evacuating as many people as they can to Mexico. Sadly, they realize that for people in the North it is too late. As the storm begins to worsen Jack realizes that he has to try to rescue his son. Him and 2 of his friends decide to travel to New York. When they no longer can take a car they know they have to hike the rest of the way. As they near New York City the eye of the storm hits. Inside the eye the temperatures drop to a degree that no human can survive. Jack rushes to get to shelter as the eye hits. The same goes for his son in New York. The only thing they know they can do is stay inside and keep warm. When Jack looks out the tent for the first time all he sees is an expanse ocean of white. In every direction there is ice and snow as far as the eye can see. One thing stands out among the white, the Statue of Liberty is like a beacon in the dark. She stands almost halfway covered with ice and snow. Jack finally realizes that they have made it to New York City. He just hopes he made it in time to save Sam.

Many people think The Day After Tomorrow is a really stupid movie. When I compare it to 2012 I think it is way better. Yea maybe this could never happen or they didn’t do it “correctly”. That’s not the point of the movie though. The point of this movie and any movie is to take you on an adventure. We see the struggle for survival and the determination that comes over a person when someone they love is in danger. I know that maybe the directors of this movie didn’t make it according to scientific fact, but as I said before, that is not the point of this movie. When I first saw it I couldn’t wait to see it again. Every time I watch it I always imagine what I would do if I were in that situation. The answer I usually come up with is try and survive as long as I possibly could.

“The numbers are the key to everything.”

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Time is slowly running out for life on Earth and only one man knows about it.

In the fall of 1959, students draw pictures of what they think life will be like in 50 years for a time capsule.  An odd child who hears voices named Lucinda begins to frantically write numbers down on a piece of paper.  In 2009, the capsule is opened for the first time.  A student named Caleb Koestler receives Lucinda’s “drawing”.  When he brings it home from school his father John (Nicolas Cage) takes a look at it.  At first all he sees is numbers, numbers upon numbers written on a sheet of ordinary white paper.  As he continues to stare at it, he begins to wonder if the numbers mean something.  He matches the numbers to the dates of every major global disaster in the last 50 years in perfect sequence.  From earthquakes, fires, tsunamis the next number on the chain predicts that the next day somewhere on the planet 81 people are going to die in a tragedy.  John searches for Lucinda and ends up finding her daughter and granddaughter.  He begins to fear for his son when he starts hearing voices just like Lucinda did and when he is visited by a silent stranger who shows him a vision of fire and destruction.  With only 2 numbers left on the paper, the question is what happens when the numbers run out?  John knows times is running out.  When the last number on the paper draws near, John knows the only thing he can do is run and hide.  He gathers his son and Lucinda’s family and heads to the only spot the paper says is safe…Lucinda’s home.  As the ultimate disaster begins to unfold, John is faced with a decision that he never believed he would have to make.

As the movie says, “Knowing is everything.”  When I first saw Knowing I have to be honest I had no idea what I was going to go see.  My dad told me we were all going to see a movie that involved numbers.  I walked into the theater thinking to myself that it was going to be some stupid film that no would end up caring about 5 years down the road.  It was far and I mean far from stupid.  It’s actually one of my favorite movies.  Of course, I say this for a lot of movies.  I do think the movie is a little creepy, especially with the silent strangers.  Overall though it is an awesome movie.  Of course it helps that they hired a good cast.  Nicolas Cage plays the part very well and he happens to be one of my favorite actors.  The movie definitely keeps you on your feet the whole time.  There isn’t really ever a dull moment…and if there is you will be smacked across the face with suspense soon enough.  I believe that Knowing really sends a message to the viewer.  It shows that we are never going to know what will happen tomorrow.  The only thing we do know is everyday the clock is ticking away our lives.  So yes, I guess knowing is everything.