At 9:22 a.m. the front door phone in the apartment started ringing. I lifted my head off the pillow, squinting in the direction of the beeping. Dylan leaped out of bed to answer it.
Why would the front desk be calling us this early on a Saturday morning? What the hell could--
And then I remembered: It's Harry Potter Saturday.
Minutes later the delivery was in my hands.
Originally Josh K. and I were signed up to go to the midnight book release party at Lincoln Center, but then he had to bail because of a flight back to Minneapolis. I enlisted another friend to attend the Union Square book party, but at the last minute she wasn't able to go, either. Thus on Tuesday morning I logged onto Amazon and ordered my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I can't believe that overnight delivery was included in the already half-off price. Don't you just love Amazon sometimes? (I ordered another six books to show my gratitude. Not that I need a 12-step meeting for book buyers or anything.)
I couldn't wait to get the book in my hands. Dylan smiled obligingly from across the room as he tugged on a robe and began reading the morning news. I tore apart the package.
You know what I'll be doing today.
I wonder how many people will be sheepishly rescheduling plans today so they can have uninterrupted Harry Potter reading time.
The First Paragraph
"The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few years apart in the narrow, moonlit lane. For a second they stood quite still, wands directed at each other's chests; then, recognizing each other, they stowed their wands beneath their cloaks and started walking briskly in the same direction."
On Monday night, only moments after returning from a three-day weekend in Provincetown, I headed up to Lincoln Square with Josh to see the fifth Harry Potter movie. It was, unsurprisingly, a sold out showing. (In its first ten days the film made $368 million worldwide.)
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) have all been struck by puberty and are looking pretty grown up. There's a brief flashback to earlier Potter movies, and it's jarring to see how young they were in the first films.
Screenwriter Michael Goldenberg (Peter Pan, Contact) and director David Yates took the longest Potter novel and turned it into the shortest and tightest Potter movie. All the extraneous stuff is gone; only the best is left on screen.
Order of the Phoenix is darker than previous Potter films. Voldemort has returned, but Minister Fudge and his coterie refuse to believe it, casting Harry as a liar and possible lunatic. Delores Umbridge, a Fudge crony, is sent to take over the school with her vaguely sadomasochistic take on things, wrapped in pink outfits and strained smiles. (Imelda Staunton turns Umbridge into the series' best villain--other than Voldy himself, of course.)
It's tightly plotted, wonderfully shot (including an action movie-style opening sequence, complete with shaking camera), and the young actors (supported by an A-list of adult British actors) just keep getting better. The tone of the movie is a perfect parallel for our current times and style of governance, something which I'm surprised more reviews haven't addressed.
Can't wait for six and seven.
Last night Dylan and I saw Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth and final installment in the Bruce Willis series. I have to say that I'm surprised that it got better reviews than Transformers. The truth is that Transformers is the better movie, if only because it's truly funny, charming, and has three times as many awe-inspiring special effects. You saw all the good special effects in the Die Hard trailer; Transformers just keeps doling them out as the movie goes on. (Read the Josh & Josh review of Transformers)
There are quite a few movies coming out that Josh and I can't want to see. There will be a few that we'll make a point to skip, too.
* We can't wait to see Bourne Ultimatum. Matt Damon brings the sexy back to New York City, and (the fantastic) Joan Allen as Pamela Landy looks unnerved. (She should be.) Opens August 3.
* The new Get Smart, starring Steve Carell, looks hilarious. Opens next summer.
* This movie's campaign is brilliant. We don't know what the movie is, but we know that we kinda want to see it. Opens January 18, 2008.
* What's Nicole Kidman doing in this movie? (Nicole's a busy girl. This year she's also in Margot at the Wedding, from the director of the fantastic The Squid and the Whale, and also in the fantasy film The Golden Compass.)
* Badass Jodie Foster is back, and she's taking names. Opens September 14.
* Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Tom Cruise, all in one movie. Can't stand Cruise, but we'll definitely see it for Streep. Opens November 9.