Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Well, we survived the storm...

We survived without any damage, but this was the worst thing I've ever seen. The damage I've seen on TV from Mississippi and Louisiana is just unreal. It's almost like it didn't happen at all. The coast of MS has just been destroyed. And the people of New Orleans that are still trapped in their homes must just be feeling so desperate right now. So scary and horrible.

My biggest concern now is gas. I heard we are about to get enough fuel to last us 5 days and that there is no plan after that. The possibility scares me to death! I can't imagine how horrible it would be to not be able to buy gas for work. How do you call in for that? I may have to consider telecommuting for awhile until the gas situation changes. I hope my job allows that.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina on its way

Look at this picture. It's simply amazing. The power of this storm is truly awesome. A Category 5 hurricane in the gulf, headed for New Orleans.

I fear what will happen tonight. Not really for me, because we are out of the projected path, but for New Orleans, which is one of my favorite places to visit, a city with immeasurable charm and an infectious love for the good things in life (like good food and great music!)

Katrina is bearing down on New Orleans like a giant train heading for a brick wall, only the train will break through the wall and keep on going, I'm afraid. My heart and my prayers go out to the people of New Orleans. Know your friends in Alabama are thinking of you today and tomorrow.

Right now, an outer band is over my house. There is thunder and lightning. It's raining pretty hard, but the wind isn't too bad. I don't expect much wind here at my house. The problems in Alabama will be in the immediate coastal areas and the rivers. I'm far enough inland and high enough to be safe from that. I will spend this night monitoring the weather for any change in path and praying for the people in New Orleans. Maybe the storm will weaken before it hits them.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Short Story...

Since I can't work on my novel right now because of the laptop still being held hostage by the computer repair guy, I thought I'd post a short story I wrote a couple of years ago. It's a piece that I'm really proud of. I hope you enjoy it.

While He Was Gone

Elisabeth sat in the rocking chair hugging her knees close to her chest, rocking... rocking... rocking back and forth, wishing the rhythm could drown out her sobs. Her mother had rocked her to sleep in the very same chair when she was a baby, but it offered Elisabeth no comfort now. Her precious son softly moaned his protest to mommy's pain as he crawled around his playpen.
She could hear Daniel in the bedroom getting dressed and hurling things around in his anger. Heavy footsteps told her that he was coming back into the room, hopefully to leave the house for awhile. Painfully, she rose from the chair and stood in front of the playpen, between father and son. As a mother lion protects her cubs from harm, Elisabeth vowed that she would never allow anyone to hurt Jonathan again. Daniel glared at her with eyes of steel, gripping his 9 iron with both hands, ready to use it on her again. She stood there, terrified but determined. He finally turned his back on her and hurled the 9 iron against the wall. On his way out he slammed the door, ripping it off the hinges.
Elisabeth held her breath as he stormed to his Mustang. Elisabeth shuddered at the sound of the car peeling out of the driveway. The angry tires screamed their protest as he took his frustration on on them. Elisabeth exhaled for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, relieved that he would be gone for several hours, out with the guys or his girlfriend.
The time was now. Elisabeth knew what she had to do. She surveyed the living room as she walked through, seeing the evidence of his anger. Earlier that evening she had confronted him about a bruise she had found on Jonathan's soft, fragile tummy and he had once again lost control. His rage at the accusation had swept through the house like a tornado, leaving only destruction in its wake. Glasses were shattered on the floor. The crystal candy dish they had unwrapped on their wedding day was in a thousand pieces.
"Just like my life," Elisabeth said bitterly as she saw the remains of the once beautiful gift. "Just like my marriage." She gently picked Jonathan up and held him close, whispering in his tiny year, "I tolerated the pain he caused me. I tolerated the girlfriend. But, my angel, he will never hurt you again."
The tears began to come again, but Elisabeth caught sight of the 9 iron against the wall. The blood on the head of the club was enough to spring her into action. She knew that if he came home during her "project," he was sure to use that weapon again. Rubbing the back of her head where his last blow struck, Elisabeth fully believed that the next blow would be fatal. She picked up the 9 iron with shaking hands and slid it back into the golf bag next to the door. She carried Jonathan to her bedroom and sat him on the bed. She gave him an Oreo cookie, his favorite, and started to pack. Pulling out one tattered dress after another, she asked her son what she should take, trying to keep him in a good mood.
"How about this one, Johnny?" she asked, holding up a sundress that was several years old. "Mommy needs some new clothes, doesn't she?" She lookde at her sweet baby, now with chocolate cookie from head to toe. "Johnny, am I doing the right thing? You should have a daddy, but I can't let him hurt you the way he hurts me. What else can I do?"
Jonathan's fat fingers wiggled their approval of her choices, oblivious to the choice that had actually been made. She pulled out another suitcase and filled it with her personal things: jewelry, photo albums, and some books. She paused at a wedding picture on the wall of their bedroom and a memory washed over her, bringing more tears.
It was a whirlwind romance from the beginning. He was her high school sweetheart who pursued her with a relentless energy that she found exhausting, and she finally succumbed to his charms. Every day he had something different to win her heart. He brought her flowers, candy, took her anywhere she wanted to go, and sat out on a quilt with her at night to look at the stars. His proposal was a love song. He wrote and performed it for her at a romantic cafe on her 18th birthday. Of course she accepted him and wholeheartedly committed herself to the relationship. She gave up going to college so she could work and pay for his education, forgetting about her own dreams to sing on Broadway. She turned in a scholarship to NYU for an apron and diapers, but was willing and happy to do that for the man she loved.
The wedding day was beautiful. They both wore blinding white and there were roses everywhere. She was a 19-year-old child bride who was convinced that her story would end with "happily ever after." The problem with fairy tales is that everyone believes in them, but they never come true. Now, three years later, after fights, abuse, and a child that Daniel never wanted, Elisabeth felt her life slipping away.
The abuse started small with a slap in the face (for burning dinner or ironight his shirt the wrong way) but he quickly traded his hand for his fist, then his fist for a baseball bat. The golf clubs were his new weapon of choice and he swung the 9 iron as if his ball had gotten trapped in the sand. She wondered what he would use on her next time if she stayed.
Elisabeth was holding the wedding picture so tightly that her fingers turned white and the frame cracked. She dropped it on the floor in horror at the sound of a car door slamming. Frozen in fear, she waited a few minutes for the door to open. Five minutes passed. Ten minutes passed. She could hear the clock ticking louder than thunder. The rhythm was in sync with her heartbeat.
A sweet coo from her baby broke her trance enough to look out the window. The only car in the driveway was her 13-year-old Metro. It had to be the neighbors coming home. That was too close, though. Elisabeth knew that she needed to hurry. She had to be gone before he came home. She quickly carried Jonathan and all the suitcases into the living room, setting the bags by the door, next to Daniel's golf bag. She folded Jonathan's playpen and added it to the sad pile of a 22-year-old girl's worldly possessions.
Her tiny blue Metro had been a constant companion for the past 7 years. It had carried school books, prom dresses, friends, wedding gifts, a wedding gown, and now the fragments of her shattered marriage. She gently placed Jonathan in his car seat, avoiding the bruise on his tummy. It was getting late and she could see the sun peaking over the horizon. It was morning. A new day for a new beginning.
After making sure Jonathan was secured in the car, Elisabeth walked back up the stairs and into the house. There was one thing left to do. She slowly slid her engagement ring off her finger and dropped them into the shards of glass on the floor. The diamonds seemed to blend with the sharp crystal teardrops in the deep red carpet. She took a deep breath and walked out the door, only to be greeted by the headlights from a Mustang. She took one step back into the house and reached inside the golf bag. She found what she was looking for.
Elisabeth walked out of the house with determination, gripping the 9 iron.

The Brothers Grimm a twisted fairy tale

First off, I want to say this: DO NOT TAKE YOUNG CHILDREN TO THIS MOVIE!!!!!

It will scare them to death! Heck, I'm not a kid and some parts of this movie grossed me out and/or scared me a bit. But other than those bits, it was an interesting, entertaining and very strange movie. My best friend summed it up perfectly when she said, "It was good to see once, but I don't ever need to see it again."

It was definately that kind of movie. The Brothers Grimm starts with two young boys, their mother and their sister, who is very ill. One of the boys comes home and the mother asks if he sold the cow to get money to take their sister to the doctor. He said that he sold the cow and opened his hand. In the hand lay some beans. Magic beans, he said. One can only assume the sister died because they couldn't pay the doctor in magic beans.

Fifteen years later, we meet the brothers again, only this time they are the lovely Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. And can I just bask in the glory of those two adorable men playing brothers and having all that screen time together. (I think I need a boyfriend, lol) Anyway, they are traveling swindlers who prey upon the legends and superstitions of villagers by making their stories come to life using actors and lots of neat tricks, and then ridding the town of the menace. All for a heafty sum, of course. This seems to be a grand way to make money until someone sort of messes up their plans. I won't go any further just in case you want to see the film unspoiled. I will say this. The brothers get themselves in some pretty grim situations before the movie's end. It's positively hair-raising at times. (ugh, there are puns flying all over the place)

One thing that makes this film fun is the "can you spot the fairy tale reference" game that I personally played in my own mind throughout the movie. There are so many and it is really quite interesting to see how many you can spot. The story isn't just a rehashed fairy tale, though. It is more of a mixture of many stories, but told the Grimm way, not the Disney way.

Have you ever actually read a Grimm fairy tale? My best friend has a book of them and, let's just say that the stepmother in Cinderella doesn't shove the stepsisters' feet in the slippers, she actually removes toes with a shiny kitchen knife. That's gonna leave a mark!

Anyway, the end is fun and the movie is definately worth seeing once. See if you can name all the fairy tales. It really is quite fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Session 416

So there is this new thing floating around the Internet. It is probably a viral marketing campaign for Serenity, which will be released on September 30.

Anyway, this campaign consists of some movie clips that are being released at different times on the Internet. These clips seem to include River Tam and her story before the movie (or actually even before the show Firefly) started. It goes into the history of River and how she ended up the way she is in Firefly and Serenity.

What an interesting way to conduct an underground marketing campaign! For more info about these video clips, see or click the Browncoats link at the bottom of my page to see discussion about it.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Unexpected delays

Well, I've had to stop writing for the time being. My laptop is currently at the Laptop Hospital, having surgery. It fell off the table where I keep it and something bad happened to the place where the power cord goes into the computer. I'm so hard on things. I need to be more careful. So anyway, I'm losing about a week in my writing, so obviously I won't be finished by the end of August. I'm considering extending my self-made deadline to September to give me enough time to finish. That'll give me October to edit before November's new challenge begins. So anyway, that's my progress (or lack of) on the book. Sometimes I wonder if it'll ever get finished. But it will. I'm going to make sure of that! So as soon as I get my laptop back I'll be starting again. Chapter six is almost finished, and my outline is so detailed that it shouldn't take too long to fill in the blanks and finish the book. And then comes the easy part... getting published. *that was sarcasm, by the way!*

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a magical book!

Okay, I've been stalling on this one for quite awhile now. I didn't really want to do it, because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do it justice. But here goes.

That. Was. Awesome.

There, that's my review. Just kidding.

When we last left our heroes, they were saying goodbye to each other at the train platform after a terrible battle at the Ministry of Magic with Lord Voldemort himself. See, I'm not afraid to say his name. Anyway, this book begins with quite a bit of preamble involving certain characters that we have not yet met, and other characters that we thought we knew. After this somewhat different beginning, we see Harry, waiting for Dumbledore to come and get him for a mysterious mission. The mission, we find out later, is to help Dumbledore recruit a new teacher. Not exactly the stuff of legends, but Harry Potter can do anything, right? This book proves that, certainly.

Anyway, the book continues on and reveals some long-awaited answers to questions fans have had since the beginning of the series. However, it also raised some new questions and a mystery that will surely take more than one more book to solve. Unless J.K. Rowling is some kind of witch. (a good witch, of course!)

Some of the high points: *****Spoilers Ahead*****

Ron and Hermione... Yay!
Harry and Ginny..... Yay!
Lupin and Tonks.... Where did that come from... but still... Yay!!

Horcruxes - so many, so little time. How is Harry going to find four more of them by the end of Book 7? And he's not going back to Hogwarts? How strange is that going to be. However, I do look forward to seeing Ron and Hermione at the Dursleys house at the beginning of the next book.

Personally, I thought everything was very well done. It was truly a magical book, from the plot points to the relationships, everything was perfect. And the death, it made me cry. Lots. But I feel it had to be done. As a writer myself, who is actually contemplating killing off a particular character for the good of the story, I understand what a struggle Rowling must have had in doing it. I feel for her and applaud her decision. It was a beautifully written and appropriate death, and it caused many more questions to be answered in the next book.

I personally think she should give us at least two more, but that's just me.

The Skeleton Key

To avoid the silly cliche "Skeleton Key unlocks..." headline, I'm not doing a headline at all. I couldn't do it justice anyway, so I won't even try. This movie was surprising. I had read some not-so-flattering reviews of this movie, but decided to go see it anyway. I had forgotten that my usual movie partner has an issue with Kate Hudson when I suggested it, but she went anyway, and we both ended up enjoying the film immensely.

The creepiness starts when Kate's character, Caroline, takes a job as a hospice nurse for an old man in the Louisiana bayou. He had a stroke while in the attic one day, and his wife is having trouble taking care of him, though she won't admit it. So they live in this huge, old plantation home with a long driveway that has a canopy of massive trees with swinging moss. Actually, it looks a lot like the house in Forrest Gump. My friend and I spent a few seconds amusing ourselves by whispering classic Forrest Gump quotes when the house was first introduced. But then the action really started, so we stopped whispering and paid more attention to the movie. And what a movie it was!

I have been waiting for a truly creepy movie, and this one fit all my requirements. It uses all the elements of a classic creepy movie, such as the rattling door and the key that unlocks every room but one (which also is the one that rattles, by the way) and the strange people who live in the huge house. Add in the Louisiana bayou and all the superstitions that surround it, and you've got yourself one heck of a creep-fest. The story surrounds the practice of hoodoo, which is like voodoo but, as they say in the movie, "voodoo is a religion, but hoodoo has nothing to do with God."

One very interesting and intriguing element of this story is the fact that hoodoo seems to not work until you believe in it, which inspires a lot of conversation afterward, if you're into that sort of deep, exestential, religious conversation, that is. My friend and I had a good time talking about things that don't work unless you believe in them and came to a consensus that there are such things out there, and that we don't believe in any of them!

It's been a good long while since I've seen a movie that had a twist I couldn't figure out before it actually happened. Movies just don't surprise me like they used to. But this one did. The ending is one twist after another, which leaves you sort of wondering...

Overall, great flick, good suspense, awesome scares, and a fun time at the movies.

Red Eye a cautionary tale of air travel dangers

Actually, it's more of a cautionary tale of bad marketing. The first teaser trailer suggested that the scary guy was the devil or something, not an assassain/terrorist. The second trailer showed a little more, and really made me sad. The story was still quite good, but not nearly as interesting as it would have been if it had been the story I thought it was. Did that make any sense? Anyway, it was a good movie nonetheless, and I really got wrapped up in the story.

The terror was well played, you could really feel the main character, Lisa's fear and grief at the decision she was being forced to make. And the way she behaves throughout the movie is the way you hope you will behave if you ever find yourself in such a situation. She was smart and resourceful, even to the very end.

Overall, a very interesting premise. As usual, I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that I will look much more carefully at the people who sit beside me on airplanes from now on, because you never really know who is sitting next to you. Of course, I don't know anything that would make me a target, but then, she didn't think she did either. I guess you never know.

Anyway, very actiony and interesting flick, definately a good way to spend an afternoon. A couple of very painful moments near the end. You'll never look at pens the same way again, I promise!

Must Love Dogs a cheesy tale

Yeah, it's cheesy. I love a good chick flick as much as the next gal, but sometimes they're just a little too cheesy. For a really good story about Internet love, see "You've Got Mail," not "Must Love Dogs."

The only really bright spot in the movie is the adorable John Cusack, who really makes the film worthwhile. His character is endearing and wonderful, just the kind of man you hope to meet one day.

So the story goes: divorced girl's sister puts her profile up on, divorced guy reads it, divorced girl and guy meet and don't really like each other, they meet again and do like each other, divorced girl has other guys interested in her, divorced guy finds out, saddness, then they get together in the end.

A modern love story, right?

It's cute, but often overly. It's funny, which is very enjoyable. So I guess overall, it's worth a matinee or a rental. Or guys might score some points by taking a girl to it if she likes cheesy chick flicks.

Dark Water

Let's just get this out of the way to begin with. I love scary movies. I love really scary movies. You know, the ones that keep you up all night for weeks, make you see shapes in the dark corners of your bedroom just as you're falling asleep, and burn terrifying images into your brain that you see whenever you close your eyes.

To clarify... Dark Water is not one of those movies. It had some effective cheap thrills, but the movie was just not that scary. And the worst thing is, within the first few minutes of the film, my friend and I both figured out the "big mystery" and it was all down hilll from there. One redeeming quality is that it had a creepy child. Movies are always better when there's a creepy child. So anyway, the movie is about a mother and child who move to an apartment building that looks scary all by itself. Let me tell you, even if I was extremely poor and couldn't find any place to live, I'd go to a homeless shelter before I'd rent an apartment that looked like this one. The halls and floors were dirty, the rooms had refuse left over from previous tenants, and the ceiling leaked some nasty "dark water." Which is where the mystery begins. What is all this nasty water and where is it coming from? Of course, you spend the rest of the movie knowing exactly what's going on because of a certain shot early on, but you have to watch the characters figure things out for themselves. It borders on annoying, actually.

Anyway, I won't go any further because I'd hate to ruin the surprise for those who don't figure it out right away. If you must, go see a matinee or wait for the DVD. Turn the lights off, turn the water on, and have a ball. But don't pay full price at the theater. You'll wish you hadn't. I do.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Serenity Poster!

What can I say? Just look at it! It's absolutely beautiful. And with less than 50 days left until the big opening day, it couldn't have come at a better time. I can't wait to visit my local theaters and see if they have this poster displayed in a prominent location. I haven't been this excited about a movie since Return of the King.

So I'll say it again... GO SEE SERENITY on Sept. 30! You won't regret it. For a review, check out my archives.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Another Serenity Review

Not one of mine, but I thought I'd keep you guys updated on what other people are thinking about what I think will be the best movie of 2005.

Another Serenity Review

Remember to join the Browncoats!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Serenity site gets makeover

For over a year now, I've been visiting the Serenity movie Web site and enjoying the company of my fellow Browncoats. And for over a year now, the Browncoats have complained that the site wasn't as flashy as other movie sites. Well, very recently, Universal decided to change that by giving the official site a fresh looking front page and some new, fun features for people who opt to join the Browncoats. If you would like to join up, see the link at the bottom of my blog. Tell 'em MrsReynolds sent ya. (I get points for each person I recruit and can buy cool stuff with the points when I have enough. It's sort of like sky miles... but not. lol)

Anyway, the front page is much more interesting now, and it includes the newest US trailer, which I think is even better than the first.

So if you haven't visited the site yet, click below.

Serenity: The Official Movie Website

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

F4 a fast, fun ride

I went into the movies expecting a mindless bit of fluff, a typical comic book movie, and hopefully a decent introduction to characters I knew nothing about. You see, although I enjoy comic book movies, I've actually never opened a comic book in my life. Except for the one Superman comic that my 9 year old nephew left in my car one time. And I only really glanced at it. Really. ;)

Anyway, I felt it was a good introduction and a lot of fun. And I also found it was a little deeper than I expected, especially in relation to the character "The Thing." I enjoyed his struggles with the change in his apperance and what its implications were to his life, and especially his relationships. Not that a movie always has to carry some universal message, but it helps when there is some kind of wisdom to impart, such as accepting who you are as well as accepting change when it happens to you.

Basically, the film begins with a set up on how they became "fantastic." There was an accident in space, of course, and instead of killing them, it allowed them to develop unique and interesting abilities. The rest of the movie involves four of the five learning to use (and in one case, really enjoy) their new talents and banding together to foil the evil plans of the fifth member of their crew, who changed into something less "fantastic" than the others.

In the end, everything works out well and good conquers evil, which is a given, and they set things up perfectly for a sequel.

My perceptions? It really was a fun movie. I enjoyed it. Oddly, though the female members of the audience were supposed to be attracted to The Human Torch, I found myself thinking Mr Fantastic was just adorable. Torchie was cute too, though. lol

Anyway, my nephew loved it and I thought it was pretty cool. It was a great popcorn movie and if you haven't seen it, you should check it out when the DVD comes out.

Quick Word Count Update....

Words: 15,381
Words to go: 54,619
Days to go: 21
Words per day: 2600 (yikes!)

I feel great about the progress of the book. The hero and heroine have met and are entering into the first roadblock of their relationship. Things are going really well and I am enjoying writing it. These characters are really starting to become real people to me and they are taking on a life of their own, which every writer wants! So even though I have the somewhat daunting task of writing almost 3,000 words a day for the next 21 days, I feel pretty good about it. How strange is that??!!

For details about the next whirlwind writing opportunity, the National Novel Writing Month Web site, linked here and join me in November as I start yet another novel, while waiting anxiously to see if this one will be published! And yes, I'm insane...

I (heart) Chicago

Notice a trend? I (heart) everywhere that's not Alabama. ;) Especially considering the hurricane season we've had so far! But anyway, I'm in Chicago right now for work. It's my second visit to the Windy City and I really love it. It's such an interesting place, and the buildings are beautiful! Here's the view from my hotel room.

Another view shows the coolest building I've ever seen. It reflects several buildings just across from it, including my hotel. I don't know what the building is, but I think it's beautiful. Anyway, the conference hasn't started yet, so I have some time to enjoy being in a very comfortable room. Right now I'm watching ER and writing this blog. I'ts 10:30 in the morning and I've just finished breakfast. It was really good, too! Later today, the conference begins and there will be little leisure time after that, but I'm actually looking forward to the sessions. They are always so interesting and fun, and they always give me new ideas and teach me more about my job, so it's cool.

The only bad thing about this trip is that I tried to get tickets for Wicked here in Chicago and they were already sold out. :( I really wanted to see it again. Oh well, maybe when it comes to Atlanta I can take a little road trip and see it then. Seriously, this show is so good that I want to see it many, many times! I will eventually post a review of the show on my review site.

Anyway, I'm going to end this here, but will probably do another post with some more pictures and news from my trip to Chicago. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I (heart) LA!

Yeah, I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything. I guess I've just been busy. The big news is, my vacation to LA was awesome! I really had a great time. This first pic is of me with Roger Ebert's star on the walk of fame. Since I fancy myself a movie critic, I thought it was appropriate to pose with "thumbs up" beside his star. Plus, he's my favorite critic.

The next picture is of me and Rhea posing with the handprints of Frank Sinatra and Julie Andrews. She's beside Frank and I'm beside Julie. This was, of course, right in front of the Chinese Theater where all the hand and foot prints are. It was crowded that day, but we had a great time identifying the prints of our favorite celebrities.

And of course, who can go to LA without snapping a pic of the famous Hollywood sign. We actually drove around for about an hour before we were able to get a good vantage point from which to shoot this photo. I had to walk in front of the Scientology Celebrity Center to get this picture. It was creepy. Speaking of creepy Scientologists, while we were in LA, we were approached by three different Scientologists trying to get us to take their tests or inviting us to a free exhibit of L. Ron Hubbard's life. We politely declined, of course, but it was still very strange.

So overall, our trip to LA was a blast, and I would go back and do it again in a heart beat. One thing I loved about LA was the dry air. Here in the South, the humidity is so high that it's nearly impossible to breathe, but out there I could take a breath without struggling at all! So I liked California a lot and wouldn't hesitate to go back anytime.

The Island not a tropical paradise

Well, duh. The trailers for this film did the thing trailers are not supposed to do. It gave almost the entire film away. By the time I walked into the theater, I knew that Ewan McGregor played a clone, that he found out who he really was, and that "going to the island" meant the clones were killed for their organs. I guess it's okay to know all this because, even being aware of it, I enjoyed the film and the premise. This could, of course, be because I adore Ewan McGregor and just enjoy watching him on the big screen. But I'm sure it was also the action, the romance, the humor, and the fact that, at one point, there were actually two Ewans on the screen at the same time!

So anyway, the basic premise involves two clones who enjoy spending time with each other, until one of them "wins the lottery" to go to The Island. Ewan's character (Lincoln Six Echo) sneaks around and finds out that there is no island and that his "girlfriend" is about to be killed. They escape from the facility where they are being held, which looks like a missle silo or something, and run out into a desert. I won't go into what happens next because it's actually an interesting ride. So if you have a discount theater in your town and you're bored one night, you should see this film. It's not playing at first run theaters anymore, but some of the discount ones may still be playing it. It's a fun night at the movies.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a tasty treat

I never thought I’d say this, but the original movie version of Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket remains my favorite. Now, I’m a very big Johnny Depp fan and I had great expectations for this film, with him as Willy Wonka, but unfortunately, his portrayal of the famous “candy man” was a little too strange and creepy for me. But overall, the film was great entertainment and a lot of fun.

Of course, everyone knows the story of the ominous chocolate factory that no one ever goes in or out of, but it still manages to churn out millions of bars of chocolate. One day, Willy Wonka decides to open his chocolate factory to five children for a tour and some treats. He devises a contest to find these five children. Golden tickets are hidden in the wrapping of five chocolate bars and the five children who find them will be able to go into the factory. Honestly, I think Wonka must have been experiencing a sales slump and saw this as a great marketing device, as Coca-Cola and Pepsi do every summer with their various “under the cap” prizes. I’m still bitter that I didn’t win the Dr Pepper Mini Cooper this summer.

Everyone knows about the four horrible children who won the tickets by devious means and eventually get themselves into trouble at the factory. Everyone also knows about the very poor and innocent child who is kind, humble, and gentle. It is this child, Charlie Bucket, who is truly deserving of his Golden Ticket. It is this child who doesn’t get himself into any trouble and who eventually wins the contest within the contest, simply because he’s the only one left at the end of the day.

I won’t belabor the plot because, as I said, everyone knows what happens in the story. I will, however, talk about the differences between the original movie and this one. One addition I truly enjoyed was the back story about Wonka himself. Obviously this man is so screwed up because he has what we like to call “daddy issues.” Daddy is played brilliantly by Christopher Lee, who is as menacing as a dentist in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as he was as Saruman, the evil wizard in Lord of the Rings.

Another amazing part about this movie would have to be the special effects and sets. I don’t know how much of the sets were CGI, but they were amazing! I particularly enjoyed “The Chocolate Room” with the chocolate river and the trees and grass and everything made of some type of candy. This was one of my favorite parts of the original, and I was thrilled that they didn’t alter it too much. The kids and their stories were pretty much the same, which was good. Casting was excellent, especially Charlie. This little actor will be doing movies for a good long while, especially since he has apparently made friends with Johnny Depp during the filming of Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has a lot of talent for such a young boy and he’s just precious!

Another difference is the music. The kids don’t sing at all, and the Oompa Loompa songs are of various styles with tunes that aren’t really catchy or memorable. It was cool that they incorporated so many different styles, but I really missed the old versions of the songs, which were extremely catchy and fun.

Basically, I will say that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory may become a classic for this generation of kids, but those of us who knew and loved Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder will always remember it more fondly than this new film. And that’s okay.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Coming Soon...

It's been awhile, I know. But just a quick update. Coming soon on this site, you will see reviews of: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Island, Dark Water, Must Love Dogs, and the newest Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Look for these updates soon. Sometime this week, I hope! Until then, enjoy your trips to the movies!