SI Language resources - My Norwegian resources
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- My favorite foreign music artists
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- Common foreign words and their pronunciations
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- Michel Thomas audio language method review
Tips and travel - First impressions of Sweden
- Bjørgvin Marknad
- Roadtrip across southwest Norway
- Norway's National Day - May 17
- Fløyen and Fløibanen
- The Schengen Agreement
- Guest post: Sindre from Norway
- My 2012 in pictures
- Reverse culture shock
- Pros and cons of different countries I've been to so far
- Correcting a beginner
- Why be a beginner in multiple languages?
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Movie Reviews

Ordered by date watched, newest to oldest.


Star Wars: The Force AwakensStar Wars: The Force Awakens

Date Watched: 2015-12-17

Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi
Year: 2015
Pros
- Excellent, very all around great movie.
- Han Solo is back! R2D2! C3PO! Yay!
- I liked pretty much all of the new characters brought on, even though Domhnall Gleeson and Adam Driver seemed like odd choices at the beginning.
- Good pacing (save for Rey's abilities), and not too much lens flare. Thanks, Abrams. :P
- Ben's few emotional moments on the bridge before a climactic scene were well done. His costume is also really cool.
- The special effects and scenery were very pretty and well done.
- Lots of J. J. Abrams jokes throughout. It was pretty funny.
- I liked how a certain reunion between two characters went.

Neutral
- Harrison Ford has a bit of a cranky old man voice now, hah!

Cons
- Leia's reaction in a certain scene was very underwhelming to say the least. Perhaps it's because she's a commander now, but it still seemed weak.
- Rey gets pretty overpowered pretty fast, somehow able to hold her own in both a Force battle and with a lightsaber despite not having any of the experience to do so. Some would say "her opponent was wounded!", but it still seems too outlandish.
- Adam Driver looks too much like a teenaged nerdy stereotype for me to see him as frightening in the role of Ben. After unmasking, the only scary thing about him is his temper.
- The language used in the movie was very modernized in some conversations, especially those involving Finn. I'm not crazy about that; it can break the otherworldy feel of being in a galaxy far, far away a little too much.
- Really? The Millennium Falcon, a huge piece of metal - in a place where people are barely getting enough food to survive and have to scavenge for scrap metal all day in order to get it - was left completely unguarded and could be commandeered so easily? Sure, the owner and village were distracted, but that still seems like too much of a write off in the plot.
- Another desert planet from whence our hero comes. Yay.

Good movie; I would possibly even watch it again, which is exceedingly rare for me to say. I'm not even incredibly interested in Star Wars and I give this a 9/10. Go see it! :)

InterstellarInterstellar

Date Watched: 2014-12-17

Genre: Adventure, drama, sci-fi
Year: 2014
This movie is quite a trip. A team of explorers travel through a space wormhole to try and find a solution for the global crop blight that threatens humanity's existence. Through many twists and turns and interesting revelations, we learn a lot about what's really in store for the earth, and about the dimensionality of space. The cast is brilliant, and the way the story progresses is really entertaining; I also think older Murph (Jessica Castain) and Professor Brand (Michael Caine) had great chemistry on-screen, and the ultimate conclusion of this movie was genuinely interesting to watch with these two characters, though admittedly the plot gets wacky fast. If you're into sci-fi, this is essentially a must-see; so many people were talking about it, and even Neil deGrasse Tyson gave it a few pats on the back. I recommend it too. :)

A Madea ChristmasA Madea Christmas

Date Watched: 2014-12-14

Genre: Comedy, drama
Year: 2013
I watched this movie on a big projector in a Couchsurfing host's fancy apartment in the lovely city of Hallandale Beach, which immediately made it a little extra cool. In A Madea Christmas, Madea goes to visit her friend's daughter's boyfriend out in the country, and silliness and, of course, the revealment of stark, not-so-black-and-a-white differences ensue. Apparently from reviews on the 'net, this isn't a very popular movie. I think it's charming! Not the most so, but really like some of the deeper conversations Madea has with the characters in this movie. Sure, most Madea movies are very same-y, but I felt like I actually got pretty interested in this one. Tyler Perry's stuff is repetitive, but occasionally, there's a softly shining gem with some pebbles of really good humor.

Jingle All the WayJingle All the Way

Date Watched: 2014-12-05

Genre: Comedy, family
Year: 1996
Oh, Arnold Schwarzenegger. How I occasionally think about your rough-around-the-edges acting. In this movie, though, he's admittedly pretty adorable and charming: since Jingle All the Way is fairly old, his accent is still fairly strong, which makes scenes like his phone call to his wife's home all the more entertaining.

Gimmicky movie, but funny nonetheless.

Yes, Arnold. I will put the cookie down. Just for you.

HerHer

Date Watched: 2014-11-28

Genre: Drama, romance, sci-fi
Year: 2014
This movie is big on the feels, if you let it be. In an overly technological society, a lonely writer develops more than a fond attachment for his almost human-like operating system. The focus on how humans act when presented with too much technology to perform the most basic of activities is fantastic here, and is worth considering seriously: what would happen if society indeed became so dronelike? Absolutely recommended, even if only to see the main character's subtly intensifying emotional rollercoaster unfold.

Big Hero 6Big Hero 6

Date Watched: 2014-11-27

Genre: Action, adventure
Year: 2014
I watched Big Hero 6 with a new friend and his girlfriend in the Oviedo Mall. This is a really cute movie that, for being intended for kids, has some quite heart-wrenching moments. The main two or three characters are memorable and the sidekicks are pretty funny, and I really like the protagonist, Hiro (hah). The graphics are also really nice, and I didn't feel like the movie was too long. Pretty good job!

Dumb and Dumber ToDumb and Dumber To

Date Watched: 2014-11-26

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2014
I saw this with an interesting friend I'd been talking to for awhile but hadn't hung out with much. He wanted to see it and couldn't find anyone else who wanted to, too, so I went with him. For not having seen the first one, I enjoyed it a fair bit, especially since I got to see Jim Carrey again - it had been such a long time! I liked Jeff Daniels in the movie too, though I'm not sure he's an actor I'd enjoy in other genres of film. Maybe I'd be surprised! The humor was nothing terribly new in the movie, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless, though I can only recommend it with reservation. There was perhaps one twisty element included that was cute, but everything else was fairly standard. Not bad, not good, but decent. :)

SunshineSunshine

Date Watched: 2014-11-02

Genre: Adventure, sci-fi, thriller
Year: 2007
This movie has a bunch of interesting characters. I especially like Michelle Yeoh (an actress I love from Memoirs of a Geisha) and Hiroyuki Saneda in this film; they were probably my favorite to watch or learn about, even though I wasn't crazy about the movie in general. It's not bad at all, but I suppose sci-fi is just not really my style of movie. I watched this with friends who definitely appreciated it more than I did, and I can recommend it for sci-fi fans, but not for those not into spaceship movies.

The ExorcistThe Exorcist

Date Watched: 2014-10-29

Genre: Horror
Year: 1973
Wow. This movie was quite edgy for its time. The incredibly detailed swears and curses used in this movie must've been absolutely shocking in 1973. The premise is a woman tries to exorcise her possessed daughter with the help of as many priests as she can find. I'm not a terribly big fan of the idea, but the execution was not bad, especially for back then. While I can't recommend it for scare or enjoyment purposes, it is indeed interesting to see if you're curious about the movie in the context of decades-ago films.

All About My WifeAll About My Wife

Date Watched: 2014-08-06

Genre: Comedy, drama, romance
Year: 2012
Doo Hyun hires a professional Casanova to hit on his wife and convince her to divorce him. The premise is pretty interesting, which is why I chose to watch this movie on my way back to the US from Norway in August '14. His wife seems perfect to everyone else outwardly, but she's a terror behind the scenes with her constant complaining and moaning and groaning. So when I thought I wouldn't like her at all...I was surprised. I found myself enjoying her sheer honesty and candidness for everything she spoke about. It was a bit extreme, but if she didn't like something, she said it, and was almost never positive, especially on a radio station. She was a bit too audible about her likes and dislikes, such as when they really don't matter that much, but her open nature was fascinating. I recommend this movie for her alone, though the Casanova dynamic is funny of its own accord, too.

The Invention of LyingThe Invention of Lying

Date Watched: 2014-07-15

Genre: Comedy, fantasy, romance
Year: 2009
This film had a very interesting plot: no one has ever lied before, until one man does. I figured I'd give it a shot. First off, it has a very 90s feel all throughout, probably to save on money. I didn't mind it terribly, but it's worth noting. The movie opens up as pretty funny, but quickly devolves into a less interesting narrative when Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) starts to just whisper lies into people's ears and suddenly make them smile, but we don't hear what he actually says. This took me out of the experience and came off as very tacky. It got a little funnier again after that, but not quite as entertaining as the opening dating scene was. I give it a thumbs up for its ample religious parody, though. 6/10.

How to Train Your Dragon 2How to Train Your Dragon 2

Date Watched: 2014-07-06

Genre: Animation, action, adventure
Year: 2014
I watched this dubbed in Norwegian (as many countries dub popular kids movies into their own language), so though my understanding of it was not too hindered, it's still worth mentioning that that might have slightly affected my rating. Getting on to the nitty gritty, though, the graphics in this movie are beautiful. The colors are lush and the animations are really smooth; it truly speaks volumes to how far we've come with digital works. Ultimately, this is a cute movie, much like the first, but it most definitely falls victim to the-sequel-isn't-as-good-as-the-first syndrome. I also feel they made the dragons act too much like a cross between a puppy and a cat; while cute at the onset, I think they overused it a bit. Admittedly, the scenes with Toothless and other, smaller dragons are adorable. 6/10.

The Grand Budapest HotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel

Date Watched: 2014-07-01

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2014
I watched this during my last full day in Prague, at the Kino Lucerne which boasts a rather...interesting statue of a horse being ridden upside down. My first reaction even when I saw the trailer was that there are so many well-known actors in this movie! Ralph Fiennes (you may know him as Voldemort) is particularly brilliant in his role as Gustave H, a well-known concierge at a famous hotel. Tony Revolori, who plays his lobby boy, does a good job as well, and the two protagonists bounce off of each other incredibly well. You wouldn't expect a story about a hotel concierge and his lobby boy to be interesting, but there's something truly special about this movie. The narrative is entirely unique, the dialogue is absolutely incredible - some of the best I've heard - and my friend noticed that the colors even shift dramatically to fit every scene. This is truly a work of art, and you'll enjoy it all the more if you can understand quickly-spoken, formal yet jovial English. Definitely recommended.

The Time Traveler's WifeThe Time Traveler's Wife

Date Watched: 2014-06-06

Genre: Drama, fantasy, romance
Year: 2009
Though the premise for this movie doesn't seem the most original or creative, it did strike me as interesting, and after hearing a handful of good things about it, I figured I'd give it a watch. It seems a bit cliche at this point to put Rachel McAdams in a romcom, and I'm getting a little sick of her, if I'm honest. Eric Bana seemed lifeless the entire movie; he didn't really give his role any life. Even despite this, I don't think he was a horrible choice, just that he could have played it up a bit more and not have been so stoic. Scenes of Henry (Bana) going back to his or Clare (Rachel McAdams)'s childhood were probably some of the most interesting, but there were some good spots otherwise here and there. I must say, though, the tumultuous bit near the ending is really, really silly and unnecessary. I know it isn't supposed to be the most serious movie in the world, but it goes what feels like out of character. It was decent, but not as good as I thought it would be.

Rio 2Rio 2

Date Watched: 2014-05-19

Genre: Animation, adventure, comedy
Year: 2014
In Rio 2, Blu and Jewel are back, this time in the Amazon. Blu meets Jewel's father, and causes a whole lot of stress for the animals there when he still can't quite fit in. I really liked the first Rio; it was colorful and lively and cute. This one is too, but as many sequels do, it doesn't feel like it has as much personality as the original. The pizzazz of the supporting character birds is still there, as well as the drooling bulldog, but I couldn't get into this one as much. I ended up liking the parts with Linda the best, though I still can't put my finger on why. Regardless, I can recommend this at least a little, but if you stopped watching at the first Rio, I wouldn't blame you.

Definitely, MaybeDefinitely, Maybe

Date Watched: 2014-05-08

Genre: Comedy, drama, romance
Year: 2008
For a romcom, this story has quite an interesting premise. Political consultant Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) explains his past relationships to his 11-year-old daughter as she tries to guess which of the women is her mother. Though I'm not a fan of Ryan Reynolds, he has enough experience as a hapless, clueless guy in films that I actually think he ended up doing a good job. The little girl is cute, and though she and Reynolds don't have the best chemistry together, the movie was quite entertaining, and I actually really like the ending; it was a nice way to finish off watching movies on the plane. I also liked how I couldn't predict what happened, even though it seemed like a movie where I'd be able to. Recommended!

Snow White and the HuntsmanSnow White and the Huntsman

Date Watched: 2014-05-08

Genre: Adventure, drama, fantasy
Year: 2012
I'm not a big fan of Kristen Stewart. Despite that, I decided to put this movie on (granted, at the time I didn't remember she was the protagonist). Charlize Theron is also in this movie. I know her from The Italian Job, where her role was more interesting. Here, however, you could put anyone in the role of Ravenna, and the way her part was written was just so terrible that it couldn't be saved by any actress anyway, whether they're good or bad. Ravenna seems nothing short of pathetic the entire movie, always moping and never giving off a true air of superiority besides in the first five minutes of the movie. The story goes along decently, and Chris Hemsworth is amazing as the Huntsman, so that's good. Even so, though, I really feel Kristen Stewart was a bad choice for the role. She doesn't fit the looks nor personality of Snow White at all, and this was very conspicuous the whole film through. The second of three movies watched on the plane, Snow White and the Huntsman was overall a mildly entertaining version of Snow White. Despite its protagonist casting flaw, I'd recommend watching it once, if only for Chris Hemsworth's part as the Huntsman.

Notting HillNotting Hill

Date Watched: 2014-05-08

Genre: Comedy, drama, romance
Year: 1999
This was the first of three movies I watched on my way to Norway for this summer. I'd heard of this movie for many years before deciding to put it on myself on my way back to Scandinavia for summer. First of all, I can sum it up by saying I liked it, even though I don't like Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant as much as I used to. Spike (Rhys Ifans) was a good addition, and his date shirts are certainly memorable. :P Notting Hill is ultimately about a famous movie star Anna Scott (Roberts) waltzing into a book store that average Englishman William Thacker (Grant) owns. I wouldn't say the two work well together, but their chemistry is mediocre at best, in my eyes. Besides the obvious but acceptable surrealism of having a movie star fall for someone who is just a fan, there are some moments that quite ruin the suspension of disbelief, such as William's comments to Anna near the end of the movie. Regardless, I recommend it. :)

Back to the FutureBack to the Future

Date Watched: 2014-03-09

Genre: Adventure, comedy, sci-fi
Year: 1985
Yes, yes, I know I'm watching this movie fairly late, but I figured I might as well see it sometime. I see why it was pretty popular, though admittedly, Back to the Future came out quite a few years before I was even a thought, much less born. The premise is not too out of this world, and Michael J. Fox pulls his role off wonderfully, to say nothing of Christopher Lloyd. The two have really good chemistry, and though we're never really told just why Marty and Doc started hanging out together, their shenanigans are entertaining to watch. I can see this movie being a tiny bit objectionable when it was released because of Marty's interaction with his mother, but I found that part a bit unique for movies, so it was cool with me. Watching it on my way back from Norway for Spring Break was a good fit, as it wasn't too boisterous for my tired mind at the time. I can recommend this.

Despicable MeDespicable Me

Date Watched: 2014-03-06

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2010
I'm not sure there's rhyme or reason to why some of the characters look like they do, such as the minions, but they're cute nonetheless. Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, is an evil mastermind who uses three nearly-fearless little girls selling cookies to advance his evil plans. Margo, Edith, and Agnes are pretty cute together with Gru, and how the girls play with the minions when they're not supposed to is adorable. I see the little yellow minions everywhere on merchandise for this movie, a bit perplexing as, though they were incredibly cute, the girls essentially took the cake. Recommended.

I wonder why some of the minions are cycloptic?

FrozenFrozen

Date Watched: 2014-03-04

Genre: Animation, adventure, comedy
Year: 2013
This movie is cute. I welcome the addition of Elsa and Anna to the set of Disney Princesses, because they definitely have their own, unique personalities. Elsa has been a shut-in her whole life because of her ability to manipulate ice and snow, which is displayed at the beginning when her sister Anna is left with a white-colored stripe of hair when their playtime goes wrong, and has no memory of the event. What seems like it'll be a cliche romance in this movie turns out to be about more than just "happily ever after love4ever", which is an incredibly nice change to see, especially from a Disney movie. Kristoff is a really cool character, and his pet reindeer is fun as well. Olaf the Snowman is an entreating, cute image of pop culture, though occasionally it feels he's trying just a little too hard. Thankfully, this isn't often, and his off-the-rocker humor is truly a gem. The visuals of Frozen are lovely to behold; thankfully, there's a decent bit more to this movie than just being pretty. :)

Romeo & JulietRomeo & Juliet

Date Watched: 2014-03-01

Genre: Drama, romance
Year: 2013
This is the second movie I watched on my way over to Norway for Spring Break, and by this time, I was already half-dead on the international flight. It didn't help that I chose to watch what is already a very annoying story of two people who barely know each other spending the rest of their short lives toiling over only one another and thinking nothing of themselves. The line delivery and acting is weak from both protagonists (Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth), and combined with the already-lacking story, this movie wasn't really that entertaining. I feel the casting was weak on a couple of counts, and hardly anything was believable; I just couldn't get engaged in their world as it truly felt like I was watching just a movie the whole time. Not recommended.

About TimeAbout Time

Date Watched: 2014-03-01

Genre: Drama, fantasy, romance
Year: 2013
I watched About Time on the way over the Norway for Spring Break, right before I got into a kind of half-delirious state. It's about Tim (Domhnall Gleeson), a hapless guy who finds out on his 21st birthday that he can time travel, just like his father. The premise isn't the most interesting basis for a romcom out there, but it ends out working really well when Gleeson's acting begins to carry the movie. About Time would be a cute movie with anyone else, but is a heartfelt, endearing film with Gleeson in the title role. He goes back and forth through time a handful of times, mostly to remeet the girl of his dreams, but also to help the ones close to him when life gets rough for them. He learns how to use his power far better than his father, in my opinion. :) I recommend this for laughs, but also for a touching story of what one man can do to help others, and learn about life and himself in the process.

The Secret Life of Walter MittyThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Date Watched: 2014-01-20

Genre: Adventure, comedy, romance
Year: 2013
This movie has an interesting prospect to it, one I haven't seen a whole lot of: when Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) begins daydreaming, such as about insulting someone he dislikes with a passion, the following scenes are shown as if he actually acts out these thoughts, then the film zips back to the original scenario that spawned the daydreams. The movie starts out normal and innocuous, but quickly explodes into an actually pretty memorable series of adventures. I used to like Ben Stiller more than I do now, but his expertise in the clueless-office-worker role fits very well here. The dialogue during the meeting with a certain person was fairly disappointing after so much buildup, but there was a memorable line or two in there about enjoying life that was touching. I definitely recommend this, as it's a mixture between your average romcom and something a bit deeper.

Austin Powers: GoldmemberAustin Powers: Goldmember

Date Watched: 2013-12-29

Genre: Action, adventure, comedy
Year: 2002
By the third rendition of Austin Powers, I have to admit, their jokes are mostly used up, and the humor is pretty much exactly the same. It would be funnier if there was a reason the Dutchman's skin was peeling, for example, but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to anything that happened anymore. Scott and Mini-Me's roles have an interesting development, surely, but it really doesn't make up for the rest of the movie being just sub-par. I don't regret seeing it but I can't really recommend it, either. Maybe watch it just once to round out the Austin Powers trilogy.

The Usual SuspectsThe Usual Suspects

Date Watched: 2013-12-27

Genre: Crime, mystery, thriller
Year: 1995
This is a pretty unique crime thriller. Five guys who make a living committing crimes are blamed for yet another crime. When they come together, they begin forming a plan to make a huge sum through one more heist, and only one of them is able to explain how it all went down. Awfully close to getting an 8/10, but there seemed to be something missing somewhere. I recommend this to anyone into mysteries, or even just seeing Kevin Spacey act when he was younger.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged MeAustin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Date Watched: 2013-12-20

Genre: Action, adventure, comedy
Year: 1999
Austin Powers is funny, but this movie does suffer a bit because of how many jokes and themes from the first movie were taken. Also, the female protagonist strikes me as a bit annoying. Plot holes abound, but hey, it's Austin Powers. :P There are still plenty of humorous moments in this rendition - enough to make it worthy of at least one watch - but I definitely prefer the first for its "originality" - as much as can be had in a James Bond parody!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Date Watched: 2013-12-16

Genre: Adventure, fantasy
Year: 2013
I was never one to read Lord of the Rings when I was younger, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the movies, and especially The Hobbit. The second part of the trilogy, I believe I enjoyed this one even more than An Unexpected Journey. The effects, as always, are incredible. Martin Freeman does a brilliant job as Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage definitely has a striking enough face to work well as Thorin. I really liked this addition to the adventure. Between elves and barrels and dragons, watching the plot unfold in The Hobbit is exciting. I definitely recommend it!

It was also nice to watch the movie with Norwegian subtitles!

IdiocracyIdiocracy

Date Watched: 2013-12-15

Genre: Adventure, comedy, sci-fi
Year: 2006
Oh no! Because ignorant people reproduce more than smart people, the common people's intelligence level is plummeting, fast! Idiocracy has such a wonderfully amusing (and strikingly accurate in some ways) premise that I had to watch it when I heard about it. Bringing a normal man, and a prostitute, 500 years into the future with an incredibly dumbed-down populace is very entertaining to watch; this guy needs a time machine to get away from these idiots, and fast!

As a bonus, Luke Wilson - who plays Joe Bauers, the protagonist - is Owen Wilson's brother. Not that I'm a huge fan of Owen Wilson, but I find it interesting when multiple people in one family become the same profession.

Austin Powers: International Man of MysteryAustin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Date Watched: 2013-12-15

Genre: Comedy, crime
Year: 1997
This James Bond parody is just as silly as I remembered it, and it's just up my and my friend's alley in terms of humor. Tons of tongue-in-cheek moments and splendid puns make this movie a classic, especially with good ol' Dr. Evil. The added bit of time travel is always nice, too! In the 90s, it's fun to watch as Austin Powers feels quite legitimately out of place with his 60s attitude. Mike Myers and Elizabeth Hurley are brilliant in their roles as protagonists, and the banter between them alone is worth watching the movie for. I like the lengths to which the creators uglified Myers's teeth and chest hair specifically for this role, because he's, you know, -English-. Very recommended if you've never seen it. :D

Dead Poets SocietyDead Poets Society

Date Watched: 2013-12-14

Genre: Drama
Year: 1989
Usually I don't warm up to older movies much, but Dead Poets Society was pretty darned good. In one of his younger roles, Robin Williams plays teacher John Keating, who inspires his students to shift their paradigm often and spill poetry out of their mouths naturally. That this often unorthodox teaching goes directly against what the very conservative all-boys school stands for is what makes the story more interesting to watch unravel. Dead Poets Society has an incredible amount of dramatic buildup, is quite heartfelt, and, as a side note, it was a blast to see Williams acting again; he's probably one of my favorite actors! 7/10.

First KnightFirst Knight

Date Watched: 2013-12-13

Genre: Adventure, drama, romance
Year: 1995
I was on the plane to Norway for Christmas and figured I'd watch some movies on the Lufthansa flight. Knowing I enjoy medieval things, I decided on First Knight, and it's an interesting movie to see Richard Gere and Sean Connery in, that's for sure. It's definitely outside of the normal genres I'm used to seeing them in. The brave Lancelot (Gere) intrigues and then decides to follow beautiful Guinevere (Julia Ormond), despite her engagement to King Arthur (Connery). I liked Ormond's acting (and especially her long, brown braid) and thought she went well with Gere. I loved how I couldn't predict what would happen next (except at the beginning regarding Lancelot and Guinevere's mutual attraction). Granted, I'm not entirely familiar with the story of Lancelot.

I recommend this sweet love story to anyone who enjoys medieval times and drama/romances. I give it a 7/10.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Date Watched: 2013-11-16

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2000
This is a clever movie. Clooney leads the cast in its tongue-in-cheek humor as he, Ulysses Everett McGill, and two other convicts escape in order to go after a treasure Clooney buried before he got caught. I'm not usually a big fan of movies that have a western feel to them, but I don't mind this one so much because it has quite a bit of intelligent humor. Based off of The Odyssey - and yet completely different - O Brother, Where Art Thou? is definitely recommended for people who like Clooney, westerns, or comedy, and not the overused sex/gross-out kind of comedy that litters cinema today (but of course has its own time and place to be enjoyed).

DuplexDuplex

Date Watched: 2013-08-07

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2003
I didn't enjoy this movie pretty much at all. I appreciate the thought and the idea (an old lady terrorizing her new downstairs neighbors) a little, but either because I didn't like the actors (Ben Stiller is okay but Drew Barrymore is not) or because I was just in a dour mood from leaving Norway, I didn't like this movie. Hugely annoying and inconveniencing things to any neighbor are treated as completely normal or forgettable, which I understand is part of the "comedy" aspect, but it's more than a bit excessive throughout (I really don't think you'd be okay that quickly after having weeks' worth of work squandered on the street, Alex!), so much so that I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone.

Like Someone in LoveLike Someone in Love

Date Watched: 2013-08-07

Genre: Drama
Year: 2012
Like Someone in Love is one of the most unique movies I've ever seen, about a prostitute, Akiko (Rin Takanashi), who ends up developing a unique bond with an older client. The scenes are long and extremely focused with little to no camera movement and no explanatory dialogue. Everything gathered about this movie while watching comes from your own mind; there are very few solid clues to tell you definitively what's going on. Often, the main characters completely wander off of the screen and leave you to watch what's happening in the background for minutes at a time. Nothing seems to ever be finished in this movie; the scenes move from one to the next all the time without even having completed the former shot. The sudden ending is in stark contrast to the incredibly languorous and patient flow of the film, and the significance of it all is left completely up to interpretation.

Very creative; I might actually watch this again sometime.

Say Yes!Say Yes!

Date Watched: 2013-08-07

Genre: Comedy, romance
Year: 2013
The first of the three movies I watched on my second return from Norway was cute, but unoriginal in every way. Say Yes! is about a man, Huang Da (Huang Bo), who has been on 99 blind dates with no success before meeting Ye Xun (Lin Chi-ling), a beautiful woman he mistakes for his 100th blind date. There's a lot of cheesy symbolism littered all throughout (the 100th date, for example), and because of that, it was almost painful to watch sometimes. I'm all for cheery movies, but this was too corny for me: the guy throws everything he has into getting the girl...when he had only known for mere days before becoming so devoted to her. Ye Xun's ex-boyfriend makes an appearance and (without revealing any large details), just when things are about to be as they used to be for Ye Xun and she's about to make a huge decision, she changes her mind...and somehow, the other party is perfectly okay with that (despite having been against it beforehand). I don't really recommend this movie unless you don't mind the entirely slice-of-life kind of genre.

HodejegerneHodejegerne

Date Watched: 2013-07-10

Genre: Crime, thriller
Year: 2011
Hodejegerne, which means "The Headhunters" in English, is fairly entertaining, especially so since Nikolaj Coster-Waldau speaks Danish and it's interesting to listen to Danish next to the more understandable Norwegian! Apparently Aksel Hennie, who plays Roger Brown (the protagonist), is one of the most famous actors in Norway. Interesting. What's more interesting is that the gore and nudity in this film are seen as fairly normal in Norway, from what I can gather. It's cool seeing things be so uncensored and raw! In any case, though, the film was entertaining, but not to the point that I'd watch it again or recommend it to others. I did learn what a headhunter was, though!

Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha

Date Watched: 2013-07-08

Genre: Drama, romance
Year: 2005
I watched this a number of times when early on in high school. I fell in love with the book and the movie is absolutely fantastic. The geisha culture of the 600s until about 1944 is beautifully exemplified in Memoirs of a Geisha: During World War II, the geisha lifestyle was forced to close down and resume a year or so later, though few returned due to the geisha name having been tarnished by any powder-faced girl or even prostitute calling themselves "geisha girls" to American men. The movie follows a young girl turned geisha apprentice after many hardships including being orphaned and beaten constantly by her new "family", especially by a very jealous Hatsumomo, and is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndPirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Date Watched: 2013-07-05

Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Year: 2007
The special effects of this movie are pretty cool. I remember watching it several years ago when it first came out and thinking that the scene with Captain Jack Sparrow in the sand with his ship and white crabs was crazy and didn't make much sense...but at the time, I hadn't seen most of the second Pirates movie! Humor abounds in the third Pirates as the goddess Calypso is awakened and merciless yet funny battles take place on ships of monsters and men alike. Of course the monkey, Jack, also makes an appearance, as does the dog with the keys! At World's End is very funny and is as good as the second one, but not quite as entertaining as the first.

The Bling RingThe Bling Ring

Date Watched: 2013-06-30

Genre: Crime, drama
Year: 2013
This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and is definitely the worst movie I've seen in recent memory. There are countless elongated scenes of nothing except for some of the characters dancing awkwardly on webcam or making sexy faces in clubs. This went on for minutes at a time. The flow also makes no sense at all: the narration was all over the place, with very little at the beginning, which is of course when it was needed the most. Also, Emma Watson, though I liked her in Harry Potter, seems to be trying too hard in her role as the brainless Nicki. I have to say, after seeing this, I'm no longer of the mind she's that great an actress. Leslie Mann was the only one who seemed to fit into her role. The director really must have had no idea what she was doing.

Really there's nothing to this movie at all. Sure, it's based on real events, but it literally just shows what happened and that's it. There are no moral lessons or anything of the sort that's even kind of interesting, which is especially odd given that the crime the movie is based upon lends itself to plenty of opportunities to make such a statement. Yet nothing is done. At all. The whole movie. It's completely vapid, just like the characters in it.

3/10. Would not recommend to anyone anywhere. It's not even bad in a funny way, it's just bad.

StokerStoker

Date Watched: 2013-06-15

Genre: Drama, mystery, thriller
Year: 2013
Stoker is about a teenager, India, whose father dies in suspicious circumstances and whose unnerving uncle comes to stay with her and her mother. I'm happy that a movie like this can not only exist but get a fair number of people to watch it, too. It deals with several situations that would make most people uncomfortable, but in a way, they shouldn't. Stoker has a heavy fascination with death, murder, and grotesque ideas, and it's played out pretty well. The actors, especially Mia Wasikowska (India) and Matthew Goode (Charlie), did a good job of creating a creepy and foreboding atmosphere that carried the movie along through...interesting climaxes. Stoker is definitely not recommended for the faint-hearted, as there is a lot of death, a dose of pedophilia, and what some might call "moral decay".

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Date Watched: 2013-06-13

Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Year: 2006
A quest for Davy Jones's heart, eh? Lots of content and some cool new characters in this movie. Captain Jack Sparrow drops a few pretty good lines when speaking to Elizabeth Swann. My favorite part is everyone chasing each other on the island; that was fantastic. I think this movie was pretty well done, but it's not as good as the first, in my opinion. It seemed to drag on for a bit, but there was enough hilarity to make it still deserve a good rating!

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black PearlPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Date Watched: 2013-06-09

Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Year: 2003
I watched the first Pirates movie about a decade ago at a friend's birthday party, but I didn't pay too much attention to it because we were preoccupied with food and friends and the like. I decided to give it a second chance, and I'm glad I did: Johnny Depp is a very versatile actor, and pretty hilarious in eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow's role. I see how there could've been such a dichotomy over Johnny Depp vs. Orlando Bloom: there are a lot of good-looking actors (and actresses; looking at you, Keira Knightley) in this movie. I used to think the Black Pearl referred to a literally black pearl, but after I learned it was instead a ship, I became a lot more interested in watching the film. It's not too gory nor perverted for people to show it to their kids, but also not too childish or naive. Great balance, great use of humor, and it didn't feel dragged out, either. 8/10.

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby

Date Watched: 2013-05-29

Genre: Drama, romance
Year: 2013
I'm one of those "ridiculous" people. You know, the ones who want to give a movie a standing ovation at the end even though the director isn't there. But then again, what's so ridiculous about that? A good movie's a good movie, and The Great Gatsby is definitely one of them. Not only was the movie incredibly true to the book through and through (a rare compliment for films based off of books, for sure), but the drama was so captivating and intense that the 2-and-a-half hour length didn't seem too long at all. No, quite to the contrary, actually: it felt like nothing was rushed, nothing at all, and yet nothing was dragged on for too long, either. I was initially wary of Tobey Maguire playing Nick Carraway, but he ended up blowing my expectations out of the water, as did the entire movie - including, of course, Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor I've always found effective and versatile in many different roles. The most important lines from the book were kept in their entirety, and this made me so happy as a literature nerd. It didn't seem forced, either; the lines were worked in eloquently, beautifully, and they fit their corresponding scene so very well.

Really, there's little I can say that irked me about this movie, barring one exception: the lines, especially Jordan Baker's (and especially her facial expressions), sometimes felt a little overexaggerated. That didn't bother me enough to knock down the rating by even one full point, though. I would almost say the movie was better than the book, which is something I don't recall having said about any film before. The incredible details, such as those surrounding Gatsby's very extravagant parties, fit the themes of the book so perfectly: needless consumerism and entirely unnecessary displays of wealth. Baz Luhrman really went all out on Gatsby's estate, and I absolutely love how relevant that is to his character. There were a few quotations taken directly from the book - one in particular when reflecting on Gatsby's past - that struck me to the core far more when they were shown accompanied with DiCaprio's brilliant performance onscreen, and I know they'll stick in my head for a long time. Gatsby is the epitome of something that is quite important in life, despite his flaws, and this movie absolutely brought all of that out. The only reason The Great Gatsby, now one of my favorite movies of all time, does not get a 10 is because the atmosphere of the book was never something I found as pleasant; it's rather eerie, but in a way that mars my enjoyment of the story just a tiny bit. The one lost point in the rating has nothing to do with the movie itself, but rather the book it is based on (one that is a rather large part of the American high school reading curriculum).

Fantastic, fantastic. I would definitely watch this again.

The Cabin in the WoodsThe Cabin in the Woods

Date Watched: 2013-05-22

Genre: Horror, mystery, thriller
Year: 2011
The Cabin in the Woods is a parody of most horror films: a group of teenagers go traveling somewhere, get stuck, get taken down one by one, and usually each one conforms to some kind of high school stereotype like "the jock" or "the scholar". There are some interesting twists on the story, of course, being a parody, such as the kids must die to save humanity (as is sometimes seen in horror films)...but they're being watched. And bet on. And even when a little bit of sympathy starts to circle the ranks of those watching the teens die, it melts again at the mention of tequila. Good premise and good movie, but I don't like gory films in general; though I can watch them, I don't usually care to because I don't like sudden, loud noises. The Cabin in the Woods gets a very reluctant 7, only reluctant because of the gore content.

Napoleon DynamiteNapoleon Dynamite

Date Watched: 2013-05-21

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2004
This movie is very enjoyable for its originality. I've seen it before, but I was far more entertained this time than the last: this time around, I actually know more people like the ones in the movie, and it's fantastic. Napoleon, the listless teenager, and Pedro, the blank-staring Hispanic new kid, bounce off of each other nicely, and if you like awkward, deadpan, yet still really funny jokes and humor, you'll love this movie. It's likely aimed at middle schoolers and high schoolers, but that made it no less enjoyable for me! :P

Iron Man 3Iron Man 3

Date Watched: 2013-05-14

Genre: Action, adventure, sci-fi
Year: 2013
I don't believe I've seen Iron Man 2, but I enjoyed Iron Man and figured I'd agree when my friend wanted to bring me along to see the third. First off, the whole plot bit about the Mandarin is hilariously played out. I love who they got to be the part. Everything involving Guy Pearce in this movie was also pretty well-thought-out. I don't normally see Gwyneth Paltrow in movies, but I liked her part, too, as well as seeing Rebecca Hall for the first time. The action gets pretty entertaining around the middle of the film and only gets better from there on out. Iron Man 3 is supposedly better than the second, and definitely recommended by me even though I'm not really into superhero movies (which is one of the only things bringing IM3's rating down).

Flklypa Grand PrixFlklypa Grand Prix

Date Watched: 2013-05-11

Genre: Animation, children's, comedy
Year: 1975
This Norwegian classic film has a ton of charm. It was made way back in 1975 and has a very unique look to it, but I was surprised to find that the incredibly simple plot entertained me: an inventor's old assistant takes credit for one of his former boss's inventions and they face against each other in a Formula One Grand Prix. I watched the original Norwegian but with English subtitles, and it was fair practice in Norwegian. My favorite character is Solan the magpie, of course: he knows how to get things done! Ludvig is also cute. I can see why this is pretty popular among Norwegians; it seems like one of those movies almost everyone of its generation would have seen and liked. I wouldn't watch it again and it was of course very simple, but quite enjoyable.

Lost in ThailandLost in Thailand

Date Watched: 2013-05-09

Genre: Adventure, comedy, drama
Year: 2012
I picked this movie almost as soon as I sat aboard my Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt on my way to Norway. I am usually in the mood for comedies on planes, so I decided to pick one of the only mildly entertaining storylines I could find. I wasn't expecting anything spectacular, and surely this movie was not spectacular, but I love Baobao (Baoqiang Wang) and his sprightly attitude on pretty much everything. The plot was actually somewhat original (two rival businessmen vy to get to their boss first in the interest of furthering their own projects, but due to one of the men bugging the other through hacking, they both get lost in Thailand). Silly movie, but absolutely great, heartfelt moments coming from Baobao.

ZoolanderZoolander

Date Watched: 2013-05-04

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2001
Zoolander is one of the only movies I've seen twice, largely due to a friend giving me a choice between this and Kung Pow one night (I wasn't wholly in the mood for the latter at the time). Stiller puts on a pretty good, animated performance and is impressive as a complete dunce, though I'm not sure that's such a compliment! I like Stiller and I liked him in this role, and Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell were nice additions, too. Funny, but not knee-snappingly hilarious. 7/10.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyAnchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Date Watched: 2013-04-24

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2004
I've watched bits and pieces of this movie when younger but I'm not entirely certain I've seen the whole thing through before. I can see why people find it funny, though it doesn't mesh with my humor too-too well. It's still funny enough; this is definitely one of Will Ferrell's best films...though, admittedly, that isn't saying much. I enjoyed it, especially Steve Carell's character. He loves lamp. :)

Life of PiLife of Pi

Date Watched: 2013-04-07

Genre: Adventure, drama, fantasy
Year: 2012
This movie was wonderful and incredibly creative. I've never watched anything like it. An Indian boy who survives a tragedy involving his whole family at sea becomes friends on a lifeboat with the Bengal tiger from his family's old zoo. I definitely didn't expect that kind of plot from the title, but the guy's nickname is Pi. This movie is really terribly interesting, but it had one rather large drawback: it felt so very long to sit through. There was a lot of unnecessary time spent on the seafaring lives of the boy and the tiger...about 15 whole minutes extra on just that one part. Thus, because of its unwieldy length and despite its intricate, colorful, and elaborate scenes (and intriguing plot twist), I have to rate it as only a 6.

Evil DeadEvil Dead

Date Watched: 2013-04-04

Genre: Horror
Year: 2013
I'm not a fan of horror movies. I went to see this because my friend invited me and I hadn't seen a horror movie in awhile, so I wanted to try it on for size again. I didn't get scared, nor did I expect to too much; what gets me about horror films is sudden, loud noises, and I have a very good sense of hearing, one that does not take kindly to chronic dins, something horror movies tend to be quite fond of. Thankfully, Evil Dead only had a few seconds of film where I had to cover my ears. As far as being scary goes, I don't know. The people in the theater seemed to really enjoy it, and I liked David (Shiloh Fernandez), the male protagonist, but none of the scenes were really that frightening. I felt like each time something really frightening could have happened, the opportunity was relinquished by adding a few more unnecessary seconds of pounding ambience or something. So, my conclusion is that this movie is not scary, but if you like horror films for the creepiness factor, you may like it.

Deuce Bigalow: European GigoloDeuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

Date Watched: 2013-04-02

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2005
I've never seen the first Deuce Bigalow, so I'm not sure if it was horrible or something, but I have no idea why this movie received such terrible reviews. Admittedly, its humor is coarse, but what do you really expect from this film and its prequel? I'm not a big fan of Rob Schneider, but I think he plays Deuce, normal guy turned gigolo (again), pretty well. Perverted jokes all around, surprise surprise, but if you don't mind immature humor now and then you might like it. Eddie Griffin and Rob Schneider also bounce well off of each other, and I like Griffin's spunky personality and line delivery. The movie was enjoyable, far more so than its average rating of 4.4 on imdb would lead you to believe!

Warm BodiesWarm Bodies

Date Watched: 2013-02-09

Genre: Comedy, horror, romance
Year: 2013
This is one of the most unique movies I've ever seen. Sure, it has zombies; I was even put off by that at first. At the insistence of my friend, we watched it anyway; it's about a zombie, R, who gradually regains human emotions and tendencies, and the humor throughout is of a flavor of its own. The genre "horror" is only even slightly applicable to this film because of the zombies; the actual movie is not scary at all. Kind of an unspecial ending, but the whole movie has an irresistible humor to it that more than evens it out, and even for that alone, I recommend it.

As for my favorite character... I absolutely love the zombie at the airport with the metal detector who looks completely clueless every time somebody walks by.

One for the MoneyOne for the Money

Date Watched: 2013-01-07

Genre: Action, comedy, crime
Year: 2012
One for the Money is about an unemployed young woman who resorts to the bail-bond business due to being broke; little does she know her ex-boyfriend is one of the first people she's assigned to. I really enjoyed Katherine Heigl's performance as the protagonist Stephanie Plum; this role suits her extremely well. I found her witty and it felt like she wasn't trying too hard or desperate in this role. The action scenes were never too exciting because Heigl's character had barely ever even shot a gun before, but I was sufficiently entertained the entire duration and didn't feel like it was a waste of time. Even the bits involving Stephanie's overbearing family were funny. 7/10.

Aeon FluxAeon Flux

Date Watched: 2013-01-07

Genre: Action, sci-fi
Year: 2005
This movie is too focused on visuals. Really. Whether it be the tons of scenes focusing on the different angles of Charlize Theron in her tight black outfit or the silly action scenes, too much attention was paid to the parts of the movie that added very little to my enjoyment of it. I used to like Charlize Theron as an actress due to loving The Italian Job, but I haven't seen many movies since then with her in them that I've liked. The story behind the movie is actually fairly interesting, but the film is bad at explaining what's going on until the very end. I wish I'd had more time at the beginning to appreciate the story instead of being thrown into an immediate attempted government takedown. This wasn't terrible, but I definitely wouldn't give it another watch.

Painted Skin: The ResurrectionPainted Skin: The Resurrection

Date Watched: 2013-01-02

Genre: Fantasy, romance
Year: 2012
This is the second of two movies I watched on my international flight back to Florida. I've never seen the first one, but this seemed like yet another movie that would be worth watching on the plane. First off, Mini Yang was adorable as the bird; her voice is so high-pitched and fitting for her role. Her mouth also makes an appropriate pout face, which she does a lot in the movie. The movie itself is about a fox spirit who desires to become human after escaping an icy prison. She must sustain her warmth by tearing out the hearts of human men, but she wishes to find a man who will give her his heart willingly. There's a surprising amount of drama in this film and I quite liked that. Wei Zhao was also gorgeous as the princess, fitting because she's so beautiful outside of movie roles as well. This is a decent tale of romance, though I preferred the interaction between the fox spirit and the princess more than any of the romance scenes.

Tenchi: The Samurai AstronomerTenchi: The Samurai Astronomer

Date Watched: 2013-01-02

Genre: Drama
Year: 2012
I watched this movie on my international flight from Frankfurt to Orlando (returning from Norway). I thought it would be just an okay movie to sit and watch while waiting 10 or so hours, but I actually really liked it. For one, the female actress (Aoi Miyazaki) was cute in her role, and the whole movie was really heartfelt. Junichi Okada played Santetsu Yasui, the puzzle-loving astronomer who desired to change the official calendar Japan used in the 17th century. His playful, upbeat personality was a joy to see in a protagonist, and I wasn't impatiently waiting for this film to end at all. It was much better than I thought it'd be, so 7/10.

The IntouchablesThe Intouchables

Date Watched: 2012-12-27

Genre: Comedy, drama
Year: 2011
I watched this movie in a Norwegian theater in French with Norwegian subtitles, and thus, while I didn't understand absolutely everything, I grasped enough to come to a conclusion: this movie is enjoyable and endearing. A black man from the projects is enlisted as the caretaker for a rich French aristocrat who became disabled after a paragliding accident. Franois Cluzet (who looks a lot like Dustin Hoffman) plays Philippe the quadriplegic with Omar Sy as the caretaker; these two actors have decent chemistry on-film and Omar Sy is humorous enough as Driss to carry the show most of the time. Quick comment on the setting: Philippe's house is absolutely gorgeous, especially the room in which Driss stays. The baiting and quabbling interaction between Driss and Magalie is genuinely funny and I like the inclusion of real African roots into Driss's background. Cluzet is a bit lackluster as Philippe, I feel, but I know that some of that is intentional given his role as a once-paragliding rich quadriplegic. Slightly heartwrenching but nothing stellar in that department; as such, I give this movie a 7/10.

Love Is All You NeedLove Is All You Need

Date Watched: 2012-12-27

Genre: Comedy, romance
Year: 2012
I really like this movie. First, though, I have to say that both the title in Danish (which translates to "The Bald Hairdresser") and the Norwegian title (which translates to "Summer Wedding in Italy") are far more descriptive, memorable, and fitting for this movie than the English. The English sounds like one of those generic romcom films, and I don't think of this movie that way. For one, it weaves a beautiful masterpiece of Danish and English all throughout, complete with Pierce Brosnan (my favorite Bond) and a lovely Danish actress. I watched this in a Norwegian theater with Norwegian subtitles, and thus the only English present for me to listen to was when they actually spoke it in the film. I understood a good amount of the Danish and Norwegian, but even without the full context of the movie, it was a unique story about a woman with cancer who goes to see her daughter's wedding in Italy. The movie is much more interesting than it sounds, especially if you love languages as much as I do. Very nice, 8/10.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Date Watched: 2012-12-14

Genre: Adventure, fantasy
Year: 2012
Compared to the three LotR movies, the Hobbit is very low-key and lighthearted. Ample danger and perils still abound, but this time the focus is Bilbo Baggins and his adventures around the time he first found the One Ring. Just like the other movies, this one is very long, and I found myself being a little anxious for it to be over. It wasn't terrible, but most of my favorite characters aren't in it. It's an interesting take on the dwarves in Middle Earth, especially the beginning scene at Bilbo's house. Mostly entertaining, but couldn't capture my attention the entire time. Also, it's always eagles!

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the KingThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Date Watched: 2012-12-13

Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Year: 2003
This movie is all about fighting and heroism, deception and betrayal. It's a good addition to the series, though I wouldn't say it's as good as the previous two. The developments with Gollum are interesting and climactic, and Sam's role as Frodo's best friend really shines through. Plenty of action and loss of hope, with special focus on the characters' interaction with one another during the battles. If you really want to get to know one of the characters, this is probably the best of the series to get to do that. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the former two.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Date Watched: 2012-12-11

Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Year: 2002
Just like the first, LotR: The Two Towers impresses me. The amount of work going into each of these movies is extremely apparent, and the hordes of orcs and actors in real chain mail in this one made me look up how much it took to make ($94 million for those who are curious, though it grossed over $926 million worldwide). Stunning effects and emotions for its time and great character development are also present; I'd be very hard-pressed to name a movie nowadays that had this much work put into it. One hundred percent recommended, especially for the scenes with the trees, Gollum talking to himself, and the massive fight with thousands of orcs.

American PieAmerican Pie

Date Watched: 2012-12-03

Genre: Comedy, romance
Year: 1999
Like all the other teens-simply-wanting-to-get-laid movies, the story here is bland and there's nothing hugely special about this movie. However, since American Pie was one of the first films to use such a plot, it gets some brownie points despite me having watched it 13 years after the fact. I like how there's at least a tiny semblance of a meaning for watching this movie, though, unlike with the others that copy it. Alyson Hannigan was hilarious as Michelle, the airheaded band geek. The acting was decent for being a teen romance-comedy, and the characters worked well together. Not bad.

Killing Them SoftlyKilling Them Softly

Date Watched: 2012-11-27

Genre: Crime, drama, thriller
Year: 2012
First off, this movie has a rather large focus on death and politics and the downfall of society, so if you're not into that kind of drab setting, watching it isn't advised. Brad Pitt plays Jackie Cogan, an enforcer hired to restore order after a few dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. Pitt's performance is pretty good, as is that of Richard Jenkins, and they both fit the role of comic relief pretty well. When someone dies, this movie spends an extra few minutes showing extremely slow-motion details of the shooting, which is fascinating and extremely morbid. The whole movie is a parody of American society and politics, as political stations are always on every time anyone is in a car or bar. Obama, still a senator in this movie, speaks loudly about standing together as one and about the power of America during some of the more violent or sinister parts; the same goes for George W. Bush. Not one of my favorites, but definitely not bad.

The Dark Knight RisesThe Dark Knight Rises

Date Watched: 2012-11-17

Genre: Action, crime, drama
Year: 2012
I loved the Dark Knight. Even though I'm not much into Batman at all, I thought it was the perfect mixture of action and dark comedy and drama and considered it to be one of my favorite movies back when I saw it in theaters. However, the Dark Knight Rises didn't live up to its predecessor in my eyes. Clearly, it's a brilliant movie, but my friend and I literally had to stop the movie and watch it on two separate days in order to finish it because it just didn't capture our full interest during its 2-hour-and-45-minute duration. Anne Hathaway (who you may have heard of from various princess movies) plays Selina, and while her acting is mostly brilliant as both the cutesy, nervous act in the beginning and the go-getter thief soon afterward, she had a tendency to drawl irritatingly when her character was annoyed, and seemed like she had no idea how else to act annoyed, which was a mite distracting in such moments.

The action was fairly good and the film was a bit funny, but one definite positive I will give this movie is that the twist in the end is very intriguing, something I didn't expect at all. The drama also seemed pretty well-thought-out.

Though it was only 13 minutes longer, the Dark Knight Rises just seemed to drag on and on compared to the Dark Knight, and thus it does not garner the previous movie's rating of 9.

The Boondock SaintsThe Boondock Saints

Date Watched: 2012-11-07

Genre: Action, crime, thriller
Year: 1999
This is a pretty unique film. Two fraternal twins (played by Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) in Boston rid the city of evildoers while being tracked down by an FBI agent (Willem Dafoe). The premise may not be the most interesting, but the way the two brothers defend each other is, what with their extreme toilet-lifting and gun shenanigans. Rocco (played by David Della Rocco, funnily enough) is also a pretty cool and whacked out character, and the FBI agent's homosexuality adds an unnecessary but well-played touch. I remember Norman Reedus from Dark Harbor, another very odd yet enjoyable movie, but I didn't recognize too many of the other actors. Still a pretty good watch, especially if you like swearing and Irish humor.

SkyfallSkyfall

Date Watched: 2012-10-27

Genre: Action, adventure, crime
Year: 2012
I'm not a big fan of Daniel Craig and I figured that would take away from this movie as it has from past Bond movies, but it didn't this time. That was a good start. The action is present but not overdone and the tension is high, just like I like it in a Bond movie. Javier Bardem is swimmingly excellent as Silva, the flirty villain who has been wronged in M's past and comes back to haunt her. Not much more to say about this movie besides that it's a welcome change from Daniel Craig's past films. It contains a nice introduction to Moneypenny, too. This will also be remembered as M's last movie. :(

American History XAmerican History X

Date Watched: 2012-10-24

Genre: Crime, drama
Year: 1998
Now this is a good movie. Neo-nazi skinhead Edward Norton doesn't want his younger brother going down the same path he did and tries to prevent him from being a racist pig. Very dramatic and heartfelt, with a good cast to boot (Edward Furlong is brilliant as the confused rebel of a little brother, Danny Vinyard). I was kept interested the entire time, all the way to the well-done and climactic ending. Every scene just felt very thorough and polished, especially at the end. Definitely recommended.

Pride and GloryPride and Glory

Date Watched: 2012-10-23

Genre: Crime, drama, thriller
Year: 2008
Bah. This movie had potential, especially with the presence of Edward Norton, but things happened so quickly in the action scenes that it was hard to tell what actually went on. I do like how police honor is questioned and such, and I feel like the setup wasn't that bad, but this movie just feels incomplete. First movie I've seen Jon Voight in in awhile, though.

Shutter IslandShutter Island

Date Watched: 2012-10-20

Genre: Mystery, thriller
Year: 2010
Martin Scorsese's movies are always thrilling in their twists and turns, and Shutter Island is no exception. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a U.S. Marshal sent to investigate the disappearance of a murderess on an island. I liked the atmosphere of this movie, as it was very creepy and dark, and dreamlike in a few ways. The intentional discontinuity in some scenes was interesting, and it all seemed to be very well put together. Extremely interesting ending, with the last line being memorable and thought-provoking. Strong performance for DiCaprio.

LooperLooper

Date Watched: 2012-10-16

Genre: Action, sci-fi, thriller
Year: 2012
This was fantastic. I watched it in a Norwegian cinema and was well impressed with it, given that I wasn't expecting much walking in. Bruce Willis has always been one of my favorite actors, though I'm not entirely sure why; it's likely his part in the Fifth Element that got me to like him. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was pretty good too, and he and Willis made a nice team of protagonists. I quite like everything about Cid and the farm scenes. The ending is also just spectacular, and made me comprehend again why I love stories involving time travel. Very well done, and I might even consider watching it again.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Date Watched: 2012-10-15

Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Year: 2001
This movie is incredibly well done. The scenery and atmosphere is incredible all throughout, the characters are memorable, and the dialogue surprisingly isn't half bad. The story is pretty enticing too, and Gandalf is the man. Nothing felt rushed or haphazard, and I was really sucked into the film while watching. It's quite understandable that a lot of movies, games, and more took their inspiration from LotR. It's a rather long movie, but I didn't mind as I enjoyed it so much, and it makes me want to play D&D-related games with dwarves and rangers and wizards.

Pan's LabyrinthPan's Labyrinth

Date Watched: 2012-10-14

Genre: Drama, fantasy, war
Year: 2006
Pan's Labyrinth is based on a quite original premise. The stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer in 1944 fascist Spain escapes into a strange yet fascinating world of her own as the trials and tribulations of the real world she has come to know get worse and worse. The tasks she must complete in order to further herself in her fantasy world don't make a lot of sense, but since it's fantasy, I can give it a pass here. The acting is fairly good and the movie is entirely in Spanish. The faun, specifically, speaks very slowly and is easy to learn some Spanish from. Overall, the main feelings throughout the film are melancholy and wonderment, and it was nice to watch before bed one night. It's not one of my favorites, however.

ChronicleChronicle

Date Watched: 2012-10-13

Genre: Drama, sci-fi, thriller
Year: 2012
Another generic movie. Three teenagers get the power of telekinesis randomly through some gemstone thing underground and start using the power to gradually wreak more and more havoc upon everythingness. The main character has something very predictably change in his countenance. Nothing special about this movie; it was okay.

Project XProject X

Date Watched: 2012-10-11

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2012
This movie is very generic, just about a group of young teenagers wanting to get laid and having a huge party with thousands of people attending. There's really not much to say about this, it's just really overdone. At the end, the father's slightly amused reaction to the party is pretty memorable, but that's about it.

TedTed

Date Watched: 2012-10-09

Genre: Comedy, fantasy
Year: 2012
Seth MacFarlane is known for his work on the very satirical and pop-culture-lambasting Family Guy, and now he brings us an unrelated movie about a boy who makes a wish that his teddy bear would come to life. Later on, Ted the teddy bear is having a negative influence on the older John Bennett's 4-year relationship with his girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). Firstly, the inclusion of Mark Wahlberg as the protagonist John Bennett is already a good move, but I also surprisingly liked Mila Kunis in this. And it was funny to hear the point-blank references to Family Guy and hearing MacFarlane go through his usual repertoire of voices and impressions. The humor can be anywhere from asinine and perverted to kind of thoughtful, so I greatly enjoyed this. This is also the first movie I ever saw in a Norwegian cinema, with Norwegian subtitles.

The Butterfly EffectThe Butterfly Effect

Date Watched: 2012-10-07

Genre: Drama, sci-fi, thriller
Year: 2004
Add this one to the list of best movies I've ever seen. This movie also holds a special memory for me as it primed me for feeling all of my emotions thoroughly and confessing something special to someone special. Ashton Kutcher, for the first time that I've ever witnessed him doing so, plays a serious role as Evan, a young man who blacks out when traumatizing events happen, but begins to have fewer blackouts as he gets older. One day, he learns how to remember what happened via reading daily journals he has kept since he was 7, and through them, can supernaturally change the course of his life. A big theme explored in this movie is time and the wish to change the past. Once you edit one thing you thought wouldn't touch the other events of your life, everything changes. I especially like the events centered on Kayleigh (Amy Smart), as they tend to cut to the core of Evan (Kutcher) the most. Fantastic movie; I'd love to watch more of the same genre.

The DescendantsThe Descendants

Date Watched: 2012-10-03

Genre: Comedy, drama
Year: 2011
For some reason, I really liked George Clooney in this. The role isn't too serious, nor is it too funny, but he works it well, playing a land baron who wants to find out more about the man with whom his dying wife was cheating on him, while simultaneously trying to get closer to his two daughters after having been a clueless father for so many years. The part I consider rather special about this movie is the way the eldest daughter Alexandra and Matt (Clooney) work together to track the man down. I'd bet that this movie would be especially touching to anyone who has ever lost someone who had to be taken off life support. It deals with the anger, regret, and acceptance of death, as well as the forgiveness of the dying person's actions in life. A good movie that I watched on the flight from Orlando to Toronto before heading over to Norway.

The AvengersThe Avengers

Date Watched: 2012-09-29

Genre: Action, sci-fi
Year: 2012
I don't normally watch superhero movies unless it's with someone else who wanted to see them, and The Avengers is no exception, put on by my brother during today's family gathering. My favorite of the heroes is Iron Man, of course, followed by the Hulk, but Thor is pretty cool too. Nice action scenes and CGI, and, as is usual with superhero movies, the plot is weak, but the character interactions are pretty swell. I really don't like Chris Evans (Captain America) as an actor, and this movie is unbearable with its lines that try to appease American audiences (superior reference to Hitler, as well as some other minor things). Scarlett Johansson is as attractive as ever. Really not much more to say about it: though the dialogue was weak, I was entertained, and was able to pay attention through the eight-or-however-many people who regularly blocked the television, so I'd say that makes it deserve a good rating.

American BeautyAmerican Beauty

Date Watched: 2012-09-26

Genre: Drama
Year: 1999
Wow. The two movies I've watched in the past week (Minority Report and this) have been some of the best movies I've ever seen. Wes Bentley is quite attractive in this movie, and Kevin Spacey does a good job as the protagonist, Lester Burnham. Mena Suvari (whom I've been told I look like) has very flat line delivery, but I enjoyed seeing her for the first time after hearing about her. American Beauty covers a lot of themes at once: betrayal, comfort, denial, family, homophobia, loneliness, materialism, secrecy, self esteem, self identity, sex, wealth, and still others. There's a pretty good buildup and then events just spill over at about the 80-minute mark, quickly boosting it to one of the best films I've seen. The quote from the last minute of this movie was especially influential, and it literally jumpstarted me into being as calm and appreciative as I used to be before a moving setback occurred a while ago and threw me off balance for a period. I am glad I watched this, and I absolutely recommend it.

Minority ReportMinority Report

Date Watched: 2012-09-18

Genre: Action, mystery, sci-fi
Year: 2002
Wow. Bravo. This is one of the best movies I've ever seen, definitely in the top ten with a rating of 9/10 from me. I'm not a huge fan of Tom Cruise, but his performance was awesome, and the detail in this film is top-notch. It seemed a bit silly in the beginning with all the too-high-tech gadgets and touch screens, but it really fit the setting after I gave it a chance. I like the character Agatha, and the story is a clever whodunit that I wouldn't be entirely opposed to watching again sometime, something I rarely say about any movie. The movie was very enjoyable and filled with just the right amount of action, drama, and mystery. Definitely recommended for anyone who loves action, crime, mystery, or sci-fi films.

FargoFargo

Date Watched: 2012-09-16

Genre: Crime, drama
Year: 1996
This movie is funny for a few reasons. First, the people speak like this. Second, my extended family sounds like that. It brings back memories to hear people use such weird expressions and unnecessary wording, since I remember past family gatherings where my aunts and cousins would sound just the same as the people in this movie. The film itself is pretty good, with William H. Macy playing a very convincing weak, sheepish, greedy man, and seeing the funny Steve Buscemi was nice. There's definitely a bit of sick drama toward the end, but that's part of what makes it enjoyable. Fargo is nice and simple with some good comedic moments, and the way they talk alone kept me entertained.

The Sixth SenseThe Sixth Sense

Date Watched: 2012-09-14

Genre: Drama, mystery, thriller
Year: 1999
I am in tears right now. I don't cry during most movies, but this one got me in the last ten minutes. A boy who can see and communicate with spirits who don't know they're dead gets help from a child psychologist. Not only was it a brilliant trip down memory lane, but it played out heavy issues, allocating a good amount of time to them; nothing felt rushed or out of place. There's nothing that's necessarily incredibly creative about the plot, yet this is one of the most original movies I've ever seen. It has a way of being scary without needing to resort to blood or violence like a lot of modern films, which takes considerable talent. I love Bruce Willis, and I love the execution. Haley Joel Osment was also spectacular as the little boy, Cole. I'm glad I finally took the time to watch this gem. And for the record, my favorite scene is at the mourning for the random young girl.

Schindler's ListSchindler's List

Date Watched: 2012-09-05

Genre: Drama, war
Year: 1993
A very evocative movie and one that I liked much better than other war movies. The usage of color was quite symbolic and well thought out, and each scene was emotional in its own way. Both Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes were impressive in their roles, especially Neeson; I recognized him almost immediately and had no idea he was even in this movie before. Shows how much I keep up-to-date with Hollywood. If not for the nudity, I'd expect to see this shown in American classrooms with the other WWII films. Although this is a pretty good movie compared to the others of its same genre, I still am not a fan of the genre, and thus my bias makes the rating suffer automatically.

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games

Date Watched: 2012-09-04

Genre: Action, adventure, romance, sci-fi
Year: 2012
Ahhhh, Hollywood, why! The book was pretty awesome, but there were a few things I didn't like about it. One is that 1/3 of the book was spent on the time before the actual hunger games part. In the movie, it's a whopping half of the entire film that we have to wait before anything of note happens. They played up the romance aspect as much as they could, though, which I liked. The buildup was spectacular in the book, and while it's understandable that much had to be cut out of the movie, the fact that they changed some of Katniss's lines to make her have more of a heart than she does in the book drives me mad. In the rooftop scene, she doesn't respond positively to Peeta; instead, she says she has no idea what he's talking about. That changes everything in terms of Katniss's personality. But, with a collective sigh at that, the movie was at least tolerable, though Gale should've been darker-skinned and the female protagonist not so striking. Weak delivery of some lines by Katniss and Rue, too, but Jennifer Lawrence was an extremely fitting choice to play Katniss. The most heated part of the movie was good, but the climax directly afterward was mediocre. But hey, nice to see you again, Donald Sutherland! His voice at the end reminds me of the malevolent drawl Alan Rickman speaks in when he plays Severus Snape.

Rain ManRain Man

Date Watched: 2012-09-02

Genre: Drama
Year: 1988
Great movie, another one that I've heard of all my life but never watched until now. Dustin Hoffman's acting as Raymond was absolutely brilliant; he was truly convincing in his role as a savant. I'm no huge fan of Tom Cruise, especially nowadays, but I'm glad he was in this movie; I got a chance to see him in his earlier days. The bit of affection that was shown between the two brothers was very moving, and it made up for the ending, which I wasn't a huge fan of. I was in no rush to finish this film, which is a lot more than I can say for others!

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Date Watched: 2012-09-02

Genre: Drama
Year: 1975
I've heard about this movie since my childhood but had never watched it nor read the book. It's brilliant. Lots of tension, lots of drama, and humor both ludicrous and black. I quite like the Indian guy, "Chief" Bromden, and Jack Nicholson himself was pretty good. A twisted ending and a social commentary are two of the best things about this movie, and I'm glad I finally saw it.

Ocean's ThirteenOcean's Thirteen

Date Watched: 2012-09-01

Genre: Crime, thriller
Year: 2007
Fantastic. I definitely enjoyed Ocean's Thirteen more than Ocean's Twelve. These guys have an awesome sense of humor. The scenes in Mexico were funny as heck, and the atmosphere and feel of the scenes were nice, too. Brilliant job on the part of the actors, just as in the previous ones. This was the best of the three Oceans movies and had the longest heist set-up and execution time of them all. The best line? "Come on man, help me out...my kid just bit the lunch lady again."

Ocean's TwelveOcean's Twelve

Date Watched: 2012-09-01

Genre: Crime, thriller
Year: 2004
Almost as soon as Ocean's Twelve begins, we're transported to Amsterdam, a city I call home; that was a pretty nice start! Very creative, this whole film was. Instead of running another American heist, the boys move to Europe to capture their next target. The change of scenery was nice in some ways, and what would a heist movie be without some twists? I enjoyed the beginning and ending, but not so much the middle. Also, cameos of celebrities denying their own cameo are hilarious, and I've never seen any other movie try to do what Ocean's Twelve did in this regard. Not as good as the first one in my opinion, but still a stellar watch. And nice seeing you there, Cherry Jones and Bruce Willis!

Ocean's ElevenOcean's Eleven

Date Watched: 2012-09-01

Genre: Crime, thriller
Year: 2001
This is a movie I've heard others mention countless times but that I had never actually taken the time to watch. Wasn't a waste of my time at all; brilliant cast and wonderful execution. My former favorite film of this type was the Italian Job, and Ocean's Eleven is quite neck-and-neck with it. I actually felt a connection with the characters (particularly Matt Damon's) and a sinking in my stomach when events began to unfold, which is the mark of a great film. I'll be watching Ocean's Twelve and Thirteen in short order, and I recommend Eleven to anyone who's a fan of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, or Julia Roberts, or just feels interested in playing voyeur to a diabolical scheme of taking down haughty rich people.

Patrik, Age 1.5Patrik, Age 1.5

Date Watched: 2012-08-25

Genre: Comedy, drama, romance
Year: 2008
I really liked this movie. It's sweet and doesn't feel the need to censor itself simply because some audiences won't like the homosexual couple. It dedlves into how it feels to be an outcast, but not so much that it becomes too sappy. With a good balance of light comedy and drama, Patrik, Age 1.5 definitely entertained me, and I was in no rush for it to end.

Conan the BarbarianConan the Barbarian

Date Watched: 2012-08-20

Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Year: 1982
This movie was very well done for having been shot in 1982. Incredibly controversial with its inclusion of nudity, a black man, an Austrian man, and a good amount of gore, Conan the Barbarian jumpstarted Arnold Schwarzenegger's career, and I can see why; being cast as the protagonist fit his build and voice, and he's not a terrible actor, either. I liked the women cast in this film; they weren't weak, swooning types, which is a nice departure from the crud shown in other movies. I was interested in what would happen next as opposed to being eager for it to be over. This was nice.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Date Watched: 2012-08-07

Genre: Drama, horror, musical
Year: 2007
I normally don't like musicals, but Sweeney Todd is an exception. Grim, dramatic, and satirical. There were of course pretty unbelievable parts to the movie, but that's to be expected. I had no idea the cast of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and Sacha Baron Cohen could sing! Not my normal style of movie, but Depp carried Sweeney Todd on his shoulders through his performance. Tons of gore, though.

Edward ScissorhandsEdward Scissorhands

Date Watched: 2012-08-07

Genre: Romance, fantasy
Year: 1990
This movie is deceptively simple. There's nothing it tried to do that would make it special, which makes it one of the best and least pretentious films I've ever seen. It wouldn't be so spectacular if Johnny Depp hadn't been the lead, but he was, and he did an incredible job at that. The exaggerated simplicity of the suburban homes, each a different color and with gossip meetings at the corner of the sidewalk, was a welcome parody of people who try too hard to be normal. Growing up in a suburban neighborhood myself made that tidbit even more enjoyable. A very soft romance, Edward Scissorhands is incredibly simple, yet worth my time for its undertones of not fitting in and love.

In BrugesIn Bruges

Date Watched: 2012-08-05

Genre: Black comedy-drama
Year: 2008
Darkly humorous and simplistic, In Bruges is a wonderful black comedy about a hitman whose last job went terribly wrong, a man who is told to go to Bruges, a city he views as no less than a shithole. Brilliant and thought-provoking without causing eye-rolling, I enjoyed watching this when in a slightly melancholy mood.

PrometheusPrometheus

Date Watched: 2012-06-23

Genre: Horror, sci-fi
Year: 2012
Prometheus felt like a long movie when I was sitting in the Dutch theater; it was barely getting started with the main story when the halfway intermission point interrupted it. It doesn't seem to have much of a climax until about 3/4 of the way through. Mostly interesting characters, and a particularly memorable female lead (Noomi Rapace, not Charlize Theron, even though she was good, too). The robot, David, doing some of the malevolent things he did didn't make a whole lot of sense, being that he's a robot, but I'll let that slide. This movie was pretty good, despite avoiding answering the one question that was asked the entire film, but I can't say I didn't expect that. Perhaps it's never answered out of symbolism.

Iron SkyIron Sky

Date Watched: 2012-06-09

Genre: Action, comedy, sci-fi
Year: 2012
"The Nazis set up a secret base on the moon in 1945 where they hide out and plan to return to power in 2018."

Funny premise, being both original and unoriginal simultaneously. Someone had to have thought of this before, but here's the movie that made money off of it! I quite like the main characters in this film, including the pretty German girl. The Albert Einstein lookalike is also a funny character. Touches briefly on deeper themes like how humans can never stop warring with each other over things that are relatively unimportant. The best part? The movie Downfall is parodied (aka the Hitler Reacts meme). Especially as a language lover, this movie was entertaining. Definitely recommended for comedic value.

Dark ShadowsDark Shadows

Date Watched: 2012-06-07

Genre: Comedy, fantasy
Year: 2012
"An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection. "

Slow to start, but funny once it gets going, Dark Shadows is no blockbuster, but it's not bad, either. The obligatory sex scene wasn't like other obligatory sex scenes at all, but instead humorous and largely clothed. There are a couple of loose ends and things that don't make sense at the conclusion but I'd recommend this to anyone who likes Johnny Depp or vampires. Helena Bonham Carter of Harry Potter fame is in it, too. :)


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