Tuesday, July 21, 2009

At the Movies

I went and saw Harry Potter today. I thought it was very good. I had meant to jog my memory before I went and read the Spark Notes or something, but I didn't get to it. I know the movie diverged from the book to some degree, but I couldn't tell you for sure how at this point, it's been far too long since I've read it. It did make me want to re-read the Deathly Hallows before the final two movies come out for that.

I have to say, I was perturbed that there were so many commercials on before the movie previews. The first ten minutes was commercials for cars, video games, lemonade, and more. At least it used to be just ads on the screen that you could ignore. (I know...I know....the point is to get you not ignoring them anymore...I get it.) Then the previews finally started. By the time the actual Movie got underway, it was twenty-five minutes past the starting time. And I just think that stinks to add a half hour on to your movie experience. If the movie time says it starts at 10 a.m., I don't begrudge five...even ten...minutes to to watch some previews, but twenty-five minutes is sincerely pushing it. (O.k. End of that rant.)

What I really wanted to talk about are the previews that I saw. Bearing in mind that I was at a movie that was based on a book, I'd like you to examine this list:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Where the Wild Things Are
Sherlock Holmes
The Frog Prince
Percy Jackson - The Lightning Thief
G.I. Joe
Despicable Me

*Cue Sesame Street Music* One of these things is not like the others....

Only one preview that I saw today was NOT a book or t.v. show first. That was Despicable Me, and I have to tell you, I wasn't that thrilled by that preview. So I couldn't decide whether to jump up and down that so many good books seem to be made into good movies, or be sad that some kids won't have a unique and original experience with these books, or be disappointed in the general lack of creativity that apparently has hit Hollywood writers, or be suspicious that there is some audience manipulation going on in an advertising sense. What do you think? (Hmmm...they're at a movie about a book, let's show mostly book related previews....)

On the definite plus side, several of these look very, very good. Where the Wild Things Are is a big stand out. It looks like it will have adventure, heart, and all the right sentiments on top of amazing CGI integrated with real actors. I was relieved to see Percy Jackson as a live action film, instead of the cartoon I expected after receiving the cartoon trading cards as a promo. Sherlock Holmes looks like it might just be pretty darn good...of course, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law help that cause a little. The Frog Prince introduces Disney's first African-American princess and I'm sure will become a smash hit like Disney movies usually are. GI Joe and Fame are what they are. Didn't really get my interest piqued too much, but I did get a few giggles out of the GI Joe preview.

In the end, we'll see how they stand up against their original versions. As we all know, the movie is never as good as the book!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sheep by Valerie Hobbs

It's been a month since I last posted and I'd love to say that I read more, but unless you count college assignments, a couple hundred page program for a national conference, and my Facebook updates, I've only read one thing. I think I'm on a bit of a downward swing now. Still have some big assignments coming to grade, but I don't have board meetings and national conferences to go to now either!

"Sheep" by Valerie Hobbs is another state children's choice award nominee. It was a quick and easy read and I enjoyed it for some not too heavy, not too light kind of reading. In many ways, it reminds me of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (by the way, I met Kate DiCamillo and got her autograph on several items). Our main character, however, starts off as a much nicer creature than Edward. After being separated from his family, our collie travels the open road experiencing some of the joy and pain that is life. The question for the reader is, will he finally find both love and a home in the end? A perfect book to put in the hands of kids who love dogs, and especially reluctant readers who love dogs, I'm willing to bet that "Sheep" will be at the top of the voting results in May.

I've started reading "How to Steal a Dog" and still have a couple other children's choice nominees to plug through before I get to read the fun stuff I brought home from the new arrivals at school. Hopefully, I'll also get Overdrive to cooperate with me and I'll be able to listen to one on my iPod in the car. Say a quick prayer to the technology gods for me. =)