Archive for December, 2010




rickmania is here to stay

alan-rickman-alan-rickman-111662_500_573I joined the rest of the free world last night in finally seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  Although it was not the tour de force on par with Prisoner of Azkaban, it was certainly dynamic, funny, tense, and provided a good diversion from my miserable life for a couple hours.  (For a more thorough and well-written review, please see McBone.  To see how Harry Potter stands up to the Julianne Moore rating scale, see West Lawn Park.)

Harry’s latest magical mystery tour has him scouring the bucolic English countryside in search of Horcruxes.  If you don’t know what a Horcrux is, shame!  No, just kidding.  A Horcrux is an object in which a magical person can hide a piece of his or her soul.  Lord Voldemort, being the evil guy he is, split his soul a bunch of times and Harry has to find and destroy all the pieces before he can tango with Voldemort himself.

I’ve long liked the Potter series because it is a timeless story about a goofy redhead who falls in love with a bossy girl.  A tale which for some reason resonates with me.

A few notes to the filmmakers, which will undoubtedly be ignored because they’ve already finished Part 2.  More Alan Rickman, please!  This movie was sorely lacking in Rickman.  It barely registered on the Rickman scale.  Second, although I enjoyed the animated tale of the Deathly Hallows – it was my favorite part of the book as well – I found the animation a little too computer-y.  Too similar to all the other animated effects throughout the film.  I was hoping for something more old-fashioned, like stop-motion or, heck, regular old hand-drawn 2D.  But I’m picky about that kind of thing.

The cinematography, after the first two movies, has been exceptional, and for this film it became the identifying mark of the story.  Harry and Hermione’s road trip and the melancholy tone of the film all made cinematography hugely important.  It is a beautiful film to look at.

Even though we have to wait until next summer to see the titillating conclusion, we all know how this story ends: Harry, Ron, and Hermione play a concert on a roof.  Get back, Harry!Emma_Watson_in_Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows-_Part_I_Wallpaper_10_800



friday robots

This week’s Friday Robots are brought to you by rock painting.  Southwestern Native Americans, thousands of years ago, saw some surfaces and had some pigment and decided to tell a few stories.  These robots are based on images from the book The Rock Art of Arizona, by Ekkehart Malotki.friday-robots-12-3-10-1

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the allure of the roof

carygWhat’s on a roof?  Sometimes Cary Grant.  Usually, though, not a whole lot.  A swamp cooler.  Dead birds.  Lost footballs, baseballs, soccer balls.  Leaves.  Junk that doesn’t fit in the basement.  Why, then, are we so fascinated with roofs of all kinds?

When the Beatles decided to play their final concert, they considered many venues.  They considered legendary places befitting the biggest and best rock band of all time.  The Parthenon or the Colosseum, perhaps; structures that are indelible marks of human progress.  Or maybe a big ship, where the Beatles could literally sail off into the sunset.  These grand ideas were ultimately rejected and the Beatles simply walked upstairs to the roof of their office building to play one last show:

In a story, being on the roof is significant.  Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon on a roof.  Tom Hanks meets with Meg Ryan at the top of the Empire State Building.  The roof is not for sissies; when you’re on the roof, you mean business.

A roof is a public place and yet it is private.  Not just anyone is allowed on the roof; there is a certain privilege in being atop a building.  Helicopters land on roofs.  Pigeons hang out on roofs.  From a roof, you can look down on the city around you and get the lay of the land.  You are king on the roof.  You are a god on Mount Olympus.

I am not an architect, but if I were I’d design a building that was all roof.  That way, everyone could feel the power of living on top of it all. new7+tcatPDVD_007