I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Monday, July 27, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) offers a job to Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) to be the new Potions professor. But Dumbledore has an ulterior motive; he wants Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) to retrieve a memory from Slughorn. Years ago, Slughorn had Tom Riddle (Hero Finnes-Tiffin and Frank Dillane) as a student. Riddle was brillant, but used his powers for evil and became Lord Voldemort. Slughorn's memory will help in the battle to defeat Voldemort, who continues to gather his army.

Mean bully Draco (Tom Felton) is tipping around town and the campus, hanging with the Death Eaters, who are faithful to Voldemort. It is revealed that Voldemort has ordered Draco to do something horrible -- and Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) has promised to protect him as he carries out the deed. Crazy and dangerous Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter) is also involved, so things don't look good.

On top of this, Harry and friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) deal with navigating the world of love and romance. This is a good entry in the popular movie series, but not everything in the novel made it into the film. That fact does not detract or weaken the storyline. The end of the film is a perfect lead-in for the next two films which will end the series.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Gospel (2005)

David (Boris Kodjoe) is a successful R&B singer who is drawn back home after his father Fred (Clifton Powell), a bishop of a church, takes ill. David has been estranged from his dad since the death of his mom 15 years before. David had accused Fred of not being there for him or his mother due to Fred's devotion to the church. David's return is not met with gladness by everyone, in particular his boyhood friend Charles (Idris Elba), and a choir member named Rain (Tamyra Gray). Rain has doubts about David's relationship with the Lord.

Charles (Idris Elba), is elevated to head pastor, but all is not well. The church needs money to continue operating. Charles and his wife Charlene (Nona Gaye), are having martial problems revolving around a health issue that she has. Minister Hunter (Donnie McClurkin) was expecting to be named the head pastor, and he's resentful of Charles. It also seems that the feeding of Charles' ego is more important that preaching the gospel.

This story is basically the prodigal son story from the Bible, updated to modern times. If you are familiar with that story, you already know the end of the movie. The beginning scenes play like several music videos. I understand the selling point of the movie was the music (and it is great by Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Martha Munizzi, Fred Hammond and others), but I would have liked to get into the story much faster. The progression of David back to his church roots wasn't made very clear.

Donnie McClurkin is a best selling contemporary Gospel artist, and he doesn't do a bad acting job here. Boris Kodjoe appeared in Madea's Family Reunion (2006). Idris Elba was a rival gangster to Denzel Washington in American Gangster (2007). He is British, but does a good American accent. Omar Gooding, who appears here as the manager of Kodjoe's character, is the brother of Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. Nona Gaye's dad was the late, great Marvin Gaye. Tamyra Gray was a contestant on "American Idol". Radio personalities Myra J, Tom Joyner and Miss Dupree have cameos.

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