Toombs Reviews

Toomb’s New Blu Rays (and DVDs) Harry Potter Edition

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Let’s talk Harry Potter. When author Joanne Rowling was walking to the corner cafe in Edinburgh, carrying her baby daughter in one arm and an old typewriter in the other, she had absolutely no idea the book she was writing (that she’d thought up on a delayed train ride) would one day make her a billionaire. In fact, did you know that Joanne (JK) Rowling is the only person to ever become a billionaire from writing? Her books have set sales records worldwide and her characters are household names, yet she was on government assistance when she started it all.

I have never read the books, however I’ve seen the movies. Harry Potter is Daniel Radcliffe, and unfortunately for Daniel Radcliffe, he will always be Harry Potter. I can think of worse things to be known as for the rest of my life- there’s got to be a royalty clause in his contract somewhere. As long as he doesn’t pick up a nasty heroin habit, I’m sure everything will work out for young Daniel. I’ve literally watched this boy grow up before my eyes, and despite having a unique hatred for the first few movies (ok the first 4, who am I kidding?), The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince, and The Deathly Hallows have all been amazing movies… I know that they would not be as great if there wouldn’t have been four before them. I now appreciate the foundation all of the mythology, back story, and character development have provided. I’ve watched all of these kids grow up, and go through the most astounding things- in the most wonderful world a kid could dream of…. and that’s what it’s all about… even though Rowling has been aiming her books toward an adult audience since about Goblet of Fire (4).

This Tuesday marks the Blu Ray (I’m really not going to cut you DVDers any more slack, it’s 2011 already, adopt!) [haha] release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt1. This is the first part of the series’ finale that started 7 books and 6 movies ago, and as such, is the beginning of the end of an era. HP will go down in history and be remembered forever, possibly even remade one day, it’s that good… if you can get past all the godawful names. Seriously, when Harry Potter is the most normal name in an entire series, you’ve got to re-examine a few things. At certain points it just seems like JK Rowling is just messing with us with all of the “Humble-tee Bumble-tee, Bibbity-Spiffity.” There’s nothing more heroic than watching kids yell “Stupify!” whilst flicking wooden sticks toward each other.

In HP7, Harry, Ron, and Hermione must find the remaining Horcruxes in order to stop evil Lord Voldemort from subjugating the “muggles” as slaves and ruling the world… and before you ask- muggles are us, the non-magical humans. From the beginning of the film, which is quite terrifying as Lord Voldemort is a rather nasty snake (played superbly by Ralph Fiennes), the action never really stops. The race is on as Harry and Co. “apparate” (instantaneous travel) across the beautiful English countryside unraveling the mystery of the Deathly Hallows. This movie rocks. It’s a deeply personal movie for the characters, as friendships are tested and love is found… but isn’t that the core of the series? The importance of love in the face of evil? After all Harry Potter’s parents gave their lives to defeat Voldemort and save Harry when he was a baby… and those of us who can predict the ending know that ultimate sacrifice and that love is the key to defeating evil.

H arry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt1 is simply gorgeous in High Definition. The movie is as dark as can be (literally and figuratively), and wh ile often thought of as kids movies, they have not been in quite some time. The last one ended with the nice-guy wizard getting tossed off the tower for pity’s sake! The transfer on Blu Ray is immaculate and the sound mix is amazing. Do yourself a favor and pick this movie up and I’ll see you at the theater in July when the last one drops.

New Releases for Friday 4/8

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Welcome to the weekend Eugeneans! Can you feel the excitement of the Spring Movie Season? It’s anybody’s game at the box office this weekend with sleeper-hit-movie possibilities abound. With 5 (count ’em 5!) new movies premiering in local theaters today, what will be this year’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid? Maybe the sequel?

First up we’ve got the remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore classic, Arthur. This time around the insanely funny Russell Brand (on his way up to super-stardom I see? Not enough that you’re married to Katy Perry is it pal?) plays Arthur- a billionaire lush with a penchant for tomfoolery. This time around, with an updated script, Arthur’s drinking gets more of the spotlight. The scene with Russell Brand (as Arthur) is sitting in an AA meeting with a huge fake beard, and introduces himself as Gandalf… funny stuff. Arthur seems to be quite a bit more laugh-out-loud than the original, at the sacrifice of the quality of the movie as a whole. Arthur is rated PG-13 for alcohol use throughout, sexual content, language and some drug references.

Also we’ve got the IMAX-Exclusive Born to be Wild 3D playing at Valley River’s IMAX theater. Born to be Wild 3D is a documentary that follows various apes, elephants, and other African wildlife. My daughter is absolutely dying to see this movie, and as much as IMAX costs, it looks like it might be worth it. Born to be Wild 3D is rated G for everyone.

Next up is the inspiring true story of Bethany Hamilton, a world-class surfer who at 13 lost her arm at the shoulder to a Tiger Shark. Her experience, struggle, and victory are chronicled in the new movie Soul Surfer starring Anna Sophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, and Helen Hunt. Bethany Hamilton overcame incredible odds to learn how to live and how to surf all over again… and proves the might of the human spirit. Soul Surfer is rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material.

What could shape up to be the sleeper-hit of the season is a movie getting more buzz than a bee hiveHanna. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Cate Blanchett, Hanna is the tale of a 16-year-old assassin who is sent on a complicated mission across Europe to take out a notorious intelligence operative. Raised at home and taught by her father, Hanna is what would happen if Jason Bourne had a daughter. Played without fear by Saoirse (pronounced say-or-say I believe), who starred in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lovely Bones, this thriller looks like a must-see. Hanna is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language.

Last but certainly not least is Your Highness, by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride. The team behind HBO’s Eastbound and Down and the brilliant Pineapple Express, brings us a stoner-comedy set in a fantasy-Dungeons-n-Dragons-movie. If that’s not enough to get you to go then we need to have a serious talk about what’s funny and what is not. Danny McBride, James Franco, and Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman quest to rescue the fair maiden, and plow through more weed than a tanker full of RoundUp. Your Highness looks hilarious, and is rated R for strong crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity, violence and some drug use.

That’s it for Toomb’s New Releases this week, stay tuned for more and have a great weekend Eugene!