August 12th, 2009

Movies

In Theaters: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Finally caught the new Harry Potter flick in theaters. Pretty pleased, actually. They've maintained the dark atmosphere, while bringing in the new elements, and again, making the tone more adult. But, man, it really felt like the Cliff's Notes version of the book. Yes, I understand they had to cut some points out just to get it to fit on the screen (and I totally don't miss Dobby.) But I can't imagine actually trying to follow the movie without having known the story ahead of time. They did focus on some nice character moments here and there, but as the movie series continues, I kind of wish it was an HBO series instead. Anyways. Good stuff, dark and pretty.

OK, one more: the cast continues to impress. Draco really owned this one, doing a lot with a little. Luna steals every scene she's in, which is a woefully small number. Him and Helena Bonham Carter really made me want to have a Slytherin movie instead.

New trailers:
* A Christmas Carol - Remember how no one liked the animation style in Polar Express a couple years back? How about if it had more Jim Carrey? Whuf.
* The Time Traveler's Wife - I'm beginning to fear that what I liked about the book is what I'll hate about the movie. On the other hand, we don't have enough sci-fi romances out there.
* Sherlock Holmes - Hmm. I'm not sure a Holmes movie needs big Hollywood explosions, but it does look like fun. And good casting.
* 2012 - They should have called this one "Disaster Porn: the Movie" because, wow. Bonus: Oliver Platt.
* Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - Woefully long title, based on yet another popular kids' book series. So, uh, maybe? Amusing cast, at least.
* Fame - When this came on, I joked about it being a new Fame movie. Whoops! Bonus: Megan Mullally

News

Tasers, climate change, and the Walking Dead

MANY GOOD READS:
* American torture: police are increasingly likely to use tasers in nonthreatening situations, despite the dangers. Grim read.
* Oh HEY. Turns out Rove and Miers were totally involved in the firings of the U.S. attorneys.
* Good read: treating climate change as a national security threat.
* "A 'radical rethink' of how the UK produces and consumes its food is needed."
* Economic fallout: budget cuts put new textbook purchases on hold for public schools.
* So, why didn't conservatives support Prof. Gates?
* "There are at least four scenarios under which health care reform could still pass this year."
* Hugo award wins for Foglio, Gaiman, and more.
* Trying not to get my hopes up, but... AMC has signed on for a Walking Dead TV series.

News

tonight's top read

"Amrit Singh, an ACLU lawyer handling the case, answered that for me yesterday. 'The argument the government has put forward is unacceptable because it would afford the greatest protection from disclosure to records that depict the worst kind of government misconduct. That is fundamentally inconsistent with FOIA. And it's fundamentally inconsistent with democracy.'

"It's a good point. Though I want to protect our troops as much as anybody, it turns out the law wasn't drafted to protect Americans from retaliation that might result because their country did something illegal, or even just really embarrassing. If it were, then evidence of any illegal or upsetting U.S. government conduct would be exempt from disclosure. And that would defeat the entire purpose of the Freedom of Information law.

"According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the purpose of FOIA is 'to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed.' So you can see how that would be seriously compromised by the government's interpretation of the law here."