Harry Potter

Madam Rosmerta’s Butterbeer

I am a great fan of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Anyone who knows me or who has followed my Twitter feed or Facebook status updates, can attest to this fact. Perhaps more so than they would like.

Ever since the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, there has always been one aspect of Harry’s universe, an aspect I always considered could be a real possibility, that, more than anything, I wish I could experience. The longing has always been there, at the distant edges of my psyche, buzzing around my stray thoughts like a hard to catch ‘Snitch’. Not magic. Not the Time-Turner. Not even a draft of Felix Felicis. Nothing but the warm and slightly intoxicating taste of Hermione Butterbeer!

Alas, I hear your cries of doubt, but fear not Millieunairs for the fabled drink of drinks does indeed exist.

For the last two weeks, I have taken to scouring the Internet in search of the perfect Butterbeer recipe. Some have certainly come delectably close, but none, that I can tell, appear to have perfected a brew like Madam Rosmerta’s. That is, I dare say, until now!

Through hours of gruelling brewing, I have managed to create, what I believe to be, the drink J.K. Rowling herself envisioned. Two variants, each unique, but both filled with delicious near butterscotch-like, tipsy house-elf inducing, goodness. Just in time too, for what better way is there to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday (31st July) then with a mug of warm tingly Butterbeer?!

“Pikachu… use FLASH”!

(As seen on Kotaku, via MaximumPC)Gloves?! Pikachu doesn't wear gloves!

“Wild Pikachu appeared!
Go Metapod!
Metapod used Harden!
Enemy Pikachu used Flash!
Metapod used String Shot!”

(Comment by Kotaku User: DJC89, 29 July 2009)

As a self-confessed Pokémon fan, I could not resist sharing the above photograph with all of you.

I may not be into costume role-playing (cosplay) but if Miss Pikachu is anything to go by, or her friends for that matter, I may very well have to re-evaluate my stance on the subject… *loses focus and drools slightly onto the keyboard*

 

 

For those who do not know; Cosplay, short for "costume role-play", is a type of performance art whereby participants outfit themselves with an elaborate costume of some kind, which is often adorned with theme specific accessories, that represents a specific character, idea or theme.

Cosplay participants ("cosplayers") form a subculture centered around wearing their costumes and re-enacting scenes or inventing likely behaviour inspired by their chosen sources. In some circles, the term cosplay has been broadened to include simply wearing a costume, without special consideration given to enacting characters in a performance context.

(Wikipedia, 2009)

So you see, having nerdish tendencies is not all bad. Admittedly a little strange, but not as bad as the stereotype would have you believe.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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The Red Carpet screens: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceThe movie was, for lack of a better word, incredible!

Like most book to movie conversions, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is, unfortunately, not a visually literal word for word transfer; but that was to be expected. If a literal conversion was what you were hoping for, then I am afraid that you may be sorely disappointed.

What people fail to remember, is that the movie is only based on the book. As a result, for better or worse, a certain degree of creative freedom was bestowed on the director and screenwriters. Consequently, the movie is rather different when compared to the original telling of The Half-Blood Prince, with several ‘what were they thinking’ moments. However, for what the movie is, an artfully driven visual gateway into the world of Harry Potter, the movie was, in my humble opinion, magnificent!

With this latest movie installment of the Harry Potter series, the visual cinematic flair is flush with the book. It is the first time that one of the Harry Potter movies has managed to effectively capture the progressively dark themes found in the books. This is, no doubt, in part due to the maturation of the target audience and the actors, who now have a broader and more refined range of acting skill. In this sense the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie is the closest, in feeling and atmosphere, to any of the books in the Harry Potter series, thus far.

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince is a dark, magical, funny and charming adventure that is both gripping and spellbinding. This is how Harry Potter should have been adapted from the beginning. David Yates takes the fantasy from the heights of a broomstick-flying romantic comedy right down to the depths of a bone-chilling adventure. The whole mix of genres is perfectly balanced, shifting from one foot to the next as the audience is introduced to a new facet of the story, each chapter as funny, exciting and scary as the previous one (Spling Movies, 2009).

View The Red Carpet Screens - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The screenplay and production values for the movie are spectacular. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will make you cringe with familiarity, jump in your seat with fear, laugh out loud with joy and cry with sorrow. The movie is splendidly well rounded and an absolutely fantastic journey from start to finish, for both the young and the old. Furthermore, the movie has spectacularly noteworthy special effects, amazing camera work and a visual flair that will make any audience member dry eyed.

Hans' Harry Potter Memorabilia

Although fans of the books may be disappointed with the overall translation from text to screen, it is important to enjoy the movie for what it is: a visual smorgasbord of Harry Potter goodness, no matter how off base the movies are to the books. That said, fans brought up on the movie renditions of the books will naturally love this movie.

I consider myself to be a true Harry Potter fan, having read all of the books multiple times, owning various pieces of memorabilia (see the above photograph) and having many intense late night discussions, with friends and family, about Harry’s inevitable fate. Even so I thoroughly, no, immensely enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well produced action and adventure movie!

The Red Carpet gives Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 8/10. The movie is a must see!

The movie was screened at the Il Grande theatre in Monte Casino, Johannesburg. On a side note, I would like to mention that the evening was a ‘magical’ success, with only one discrepancy. Toward the end of the evening, members of The Red Carpet made their way to Cafe Fego, in Monte Casino, for the after movie discussion. Upon settling the bill, with a fairly generous 10% tip, and just as the group was about to depart, our waiter turns to us and asks if everything was to our satisfaction. To which we replied that it was. He then proceeded to ask for a bigger tip indicating that what we had given was not enough. Have you ever heard of such insolence? A tip is not mandatory; it is merely a showing of good will. To have the audacity to ask for more is not only unprofessional but ungrateful. Consequently, Cafe Fego has lost several customers for the foreseeable future. What is the moral of the story? Take your change and tip well where it is appreciated, either at Seattle Coffee or Mugg & Bean.

*UPDATE*: For an almost perfect Butterbeer recipe, click here.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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‘Knowing’ that being ‘Walled In’ is not as cool as a ‘Push’ toward a third ‘Ice Age’!

Last week I watched ‘Knowing’, ‘Walled In’, ‘Push’ and ‘Ice Age 3’. The following post offers insights into my thoughts about each film as well as box office information (when available) and some ‘juicy’ local movie news.

Knowing

Knowing is Nicolas Cage’s latest foray into the action genre. One that is surprisingly good.

KnowingUnlike a majority of action oriented movies *cough, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, cough* Knowing has quite a captivating and intriguing story. The story is about an MIT lecturer who comes into possession of a numbered script, from a  time capsule that has been dug up at his son’s elementary school. The numbered script offers some chilling predictions (some that have already occurred and others that are about to) that lead him to believe that his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold

Initially, the movie plays out like a thriller. Offering several genuinely chilling and remarkably thought provoking cinematic moments. Aspects  that rarely present themselves in action oriented films. Furthermore, although not immediately determinable, Knowing leans heavily into the realm of compelling science fiction, with just a tinge of religion thrown into the mix.

If you would enjoy watching an action movie that dips into the wells of science fiction, enough to offer an eerily plausible doomsday scenario, while offering a few genuinely  creepy goose flesh inducing moments, then Knowing is worth watching.

Knowing ranked at number three on the South African box office during its opening weekend.

Verdict: 08/10.

Walled In

The movie is essentially about a demolition company representative, who is sent to supervise the ‘taking down’ of a mysterious building, a building which harbours a horrifying secret: past inhabitants were entombed within its walls by a vicious murderer.

Walled In: 04/10Two words: Razzie winner! If there is one movie to avoid this season, this may very well be it.

When I noticed that Mischa Barton was playing in Walled In, I figured that, you know, this may not be that bad, what with her starring in The OC and all (a television show I have never watched, but one that I have heard all about). However, after watching Walled In, I am thankful to have never invested the time in watching The OC.

Hands down, this movie has some of the worst acting and dialogue I have ever come across in a film. This movie is a prime example of poor penmanship, with dialogue so flat that it is no surprise the actors came off so talentless. To be fair, Mischa Barton is not the worst aspect of this movie, Cameron Bright is.

From under which rock did they excavate this kid from? I have seen more ironing boards with talent than Cameron Bright. Actually, burning myself with an iron ironing would be a more enjoyable task than watching this talentless hack on screen. I would rather watch Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s son) destroy a scene than this guy. At least Jaden can cry on cue.

It is a pity that the dialogue and acting are so sub par, because the stylistically spooky visuals are this movies only saving grace. Unfortunately, the visuals are simply not enough to warrant anyone watching this movie, unlike Johnny Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Just do yourself a favour and avoid watching this movie. If you really have to see it, rent it!

Verdict: 04/10.

 

Push

Push: 07/10Push is a bit of a mixed bag. It is about two young Americans, each with special abilities, who must race to find a girl in Hong Kong before a shadowy government organization known as Division does.

At a first glance, you may be fooled into believing that Push is just a regular action movie. Granted, at the movie’s core, it is, but, you would not be reprimanded if you considered the movie as a drama, or perhaps even a cinema nouveau art film. Yes, Push is just that. In my opinion, Push is an unorthodox mix of a variety of genres which would explain its poor performance at the box office and mixed reviews.

Given the script, the actors do the best they can. Even Dakota Fanning, with a literal ‘stiff lip’, from her failed attempt to hide the fact that she has braces, still manages to show her prowess as an actress. Although the dialogue may be lacking at times, this hindrance is forgiven thanks to the strong and captivating science fiction and fantasy driven story. The story, coupled with the art style and visual effects, are enough to draw viewers into the world of  Push. However, like other action movies but unlike nouveau films, Push has a rich story, that viewers are only given a taste of, while never completely being explained properly. Odd given the artsy camera work and visual style.

To conclude, I enjoyed Push and would describe the film as a mix of something between X-Men and partial bits of Pan’s Labyrinth.

Verdict: 07/10

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaur (3D)

Ice Age 3: 07/10Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was a good movie. It was slightly better, courtesy of Scratay, than the first two iterations of the Ice Age franchise, and, thankfully, no worse.

Consequently, if you enjoyed Ice Age or Ice Age 2: Arctic Meltdown, or any animated movie for that matter, you will enjoy Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

However, if you do watch this movie, do yourself a favour and watch it in a 3D capable cinema. Watching a movie in 3D makes a world of difference, especially for the kids!

Interestingly, Ice Age 3 (none 3D) pushed Transformers 2 out of the top spot for the South African box office, reigning in at number one. The 3D version of Ice Age 3 ranked at a respectable number four, considering the 3D version
has a limited release.

Verdict: 07/10.

 

In other movie news, The Red Carpet will be screening Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (the sixth movie in the saga) next week Wednesday, 15th July 2009, at the Il Grande in Monte Casino. I am looking forward to the movie and I just hope that the story is preserved, not like the game tie-in that I bought yesterday, which has totally raped the story *sigh*.

I also recently found out that one of our own schlebs South African celebrities *rolls eyes*, television personality Colin Moss, will be appearing in a locally produced horror movie called Surviving Evil. Other cast members include notable actors such as Billy Zane and… well… he really is the only actor worth mentioning.

 

 

Apparently Surviving Evil is only releasing at select Sterkinekor cinemas… I wonder why! Needless to say, I am not expecting much from this film…

 

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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