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Coming Soon: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

So, have you been staying up late at night wondering where and what the remaining Horcruxes are? Have you been wondering why Dumbledore had Harry’s dad’s invisibility cloak in the first place? Maybe you’ve been pondering over your oatmeal and toast whether or not Hogwarts would even open? Well, now you can at least scratch the nagging question of when all these questions, and more, would be answered because the release date of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been announced!

Announced yesterday, the seventh and final book of the life of Harry Potter at Hogwarts will be released on July 21, 2007. No doubt there will be many late night release parties scheduled for the 20th, since this will be the last foreseeable hurrah of it’s kind until the next literary sensation starts attracting this kind of attention… if that ever happens.

Since it’s so far away from the release of the book, I thought I’d post my predictions for how the saga ends.

I believe that former Professor Snape’s true allegiance will remain a mystery for almost all of the book.

Most of the book will involve Harry, with the help of Ron and Hermione, finding and destroying most of the Horcruxes, but he will not be able to get to Voldemort’s snake, Nagini—who Professor Dumbledore suspected to be the last Horcrux.
In the climax of the story, Harry will confront Voldemort who will be accompanied by Snape and Nagini. In a moment when Harry will appear to be defeated, Snape will surprise everyone by turning and killing Nagini and will, in turn, be killed by Voldemort. This will leave him vulnerable to Harry though, and the final dual will then take place.

Will Harry survive? I believe so. This is, after all, a story of good versus evil, and I want good to prevail. Of course, self sacrifice is also a victory of sorts an Dumbledore did say that there were worse things than death, but I expect Harry to survive.

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TV Preview: Lost, Season Finale

>Wednesday’s the big night—the finale for the second season of ABC’s Lost! The promos for the finale are promising to answer many questions, which will be a relief. But I think it’s safe to say that the network isn’t planning on taking this show off the air any time soon, so I’m expecting an excruciating cliff-hanger that introduces a whole new set of questions which will hopefully be more intriguing than the current mysteries.

On the surface Lost is a castaway show about a group of people who are stranded on a tropical island after their plane crashes. But this is no ordinary island, there are strange creatures and people in the jungle, a series of hatches scattered on the island by the scientific organization the Hanso Foundation for their Dharma Initiative.

This show also has great character development. We see how everyone is different as they interact on the island, but also through flashbacks we learn what has happened to these people to make them the way they are.

This is a very unique method of story telling that really provides something for people with all kinds of tastes. If you like episodic drama, you get it in the flashbacks—they usually have a story that wraps up at the end of the episode. If you like science fiction, there are all kinds of strange things happening on the island that very much fall into the science fiction category. If you like continuing stories with great mysterious cliffhangers, this show has more than it’s fair share.

In last week’s episode, they had just buried Ana-Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez) and Libby (Cynthia Watros) when a sailboat appeared off the shore and they appeared to have hopes that finally they might be rescued.

What happens now? There are still many questions that have yet to be answered. What happens if the button isn’t pushed when the timer runs out in the Swan Hatch? What are the others going to do if Michael (Harold Perrineau) is able to bring Jack (Matthew Fox), Locke (Terry O’Quinn), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), Sawyer (Josh Holloway), and Hurley (Jorge Garcia) back with him? Does Sayid (Naveen Andrews) have a plan to protect the main five from the others?

And if all this isn’t enough, for everyone who loves gathering clues to unravel the mysteries of the island, there is the Lost Experience. This is an official effort by ABC and it is made up of a series of web sites and even a book that is all made to add depth to the experience and to provide clues about what is really going on.

The book is Bad Twin, by Gary Troup (who’s name is an anagram for purgatory). Some of the sites include,, and a few others. It’s really fun to see how much detail and back information is being put into this show.

I only hope that everyone remembers that it is just a show and we do have to get on with our own lives sometime.

One more thing. If you just can’t wait until the show airs tomorrow night, there appears to be a rather complete synopsis of the finale on Wikipedia. But be warned, if it is correct, there are significant spoilers for this episode. The link to the site is here. If you get spoiled, don’t come crying to me… ’cause I’ll be sitting here, weeping silently.

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Available on iTunes: Firefly

>Exciting news for all Browncoats out there in the ‘verse: the extremely well written, but doomed to an early cancellation TV show, Firefly, is now available for download on iTunes.

Why is this news so exciting? Because now it’s easier than ever to share this great show with those currently unfamiliar with it. After a brief run of 11 episodes in 2002, Fox television cancelled Firefly without really giving it much of a chance. Those who were familiar with it were excited when it became available on DVD and began sharing it with others. DVD sales were so good that Universal Studios gave creator Joss Whedon the “go ahead” to make the movie Serenity, which ran in theaters in the Fall of 2005 and is now on DVD.

There are many high hopes from the fan community that if the DVD sales continue at a strong pace, that there might be a studio willing to fund a sequel to Serenity, or even a network that might revive the television series. I would imagine that sales through iTunes will be another way the success of the show will be measured.

From the opening narration:

“Here’s how it is: Earth got used up, so we terraformed a whole new galaxy of Earths, some rich and flush with new technologies, some not so much. Central Planets, them was formed the Alliance, waged war to bring everyone under their rule; a few idiots tried to fight it, among them myself. I’m Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Serenity. Got a good crew: fighters, pilot, mechanic. We even picked up a preacher, and a bona fide companion. There’s a doctor, too, rescued his genius sister from some Alliance camp, so they’re keeping a low profile. You got a job, we can do it, don’t much care what it is.”

Firefly is a unique science fiction series because it combines many elements of the Wild West—not only in the visual design, but also in the dialogue. The stories and characters are cleverly written and are often very funny and quite quotable.

Wash: “Little River just gets more colorful by the moment. What’ll she do next?”

Zoe: “Either blow us all up or rub soup in our hair. It’s a toss-up.”

Wash: “I hope she does the soup thing. It’s always a hoot, and we don’t all die from it.”

One of my favorite aspects of the show is the documentary style of cinematography which has become rather common in shows like the new Battlestar Galactica, but at the time Firefly was made, it was something that I had never seen before on a Science Fiction show.

So, if you’ve never seen Firefly, download the pilot episode, also named Serenity—you won’t regret it. If you have seen it, gift an episode or two to a friend and let them experience it for themselves… you’ll then have a great show to quote when you’re hanging out (like, “I wanna go to the crappy planet where I’m a hero!” Wash, from Jaynestown) and another reason to gripe about how networks like Fox don’t know a good thing when it’s playing on their own airwaves.

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TV Review: ABC’s Invasion – Revisited

Well, I’ve stuck with ABC’s Invasion all season and now I can say that it’s starting to be worth it. I think you can tell from my previous review that I had mixed emotions about it. And while I think they could have done a better, more engaging job at unraveling the mystery, what they’ve built it up to is starting to pay off.

The series started out last fall in the aftermath of a hurricane both on the show and in real-life, so it probably suffered a bit from people being cautious of a show about a fictional hurricane ravaged community.

The tone was very quickly changed, though, to a slow paced mystery about people who are getting pulled into the water by these yellow, glowing water creatures and get changed into what they’re calling hybrids—people who believe they are the same people they used to be, but who are essentially clones who share their previous DNA with the creature that replaced them. The mystery is in finding out who has been changed and whether they are still the people they used to be.

The main character on Invasion is Russell Varon, played by Eddie Cibrian (Third Watch), who has to deal with the world once he learns that creatures from the waters are replacing people, and that his ex-wife, Mariel, played by Kari Matchett (Earth: Final Conflict), has become a hybrid as well. To complicate matters, they have kids from their previous marriage who’s step father, Sheriff Tom Underlay, played by William Fichtner (Contact, Armageddon), has been a hybrid for a number of years and may have purposely exposed his wife to them and who might also be well aware of the intensions of these creatures and could be helping them along.

It’s becoming apparent that Sheriff Underlay has been confused about the nature of the transformation that he went under, and also the intensions of the creatures in the water. At first he was serene about the change was making efforts to keep in secret. But now that he sees how ruthless the hybrids are becoming, and sees that they are ultimately building up to a war with the humans, he’s teaming up with Russell in an effort to thwart their plan.

Even though newcomers have missed all of the build-up and mystery, now is definitely a good time to start watching this show. The previews for this week’s episode promises to give us a rather exciting and it’ll be interesting to see what they’re building up to in the season finale.

My one big concern is that the season finale is destined to be a cliffhanger. As of now it’s not known whether or not this show will be renewed for a second season. If Invasion is cancelled, we may never know how it ends! Bummer. Well, I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed.

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Movie Review: The Original 1933 King Kong

Kong 101

I believe that a prerequisite to watching Peter Jackson’s new version of King Kong is to watch the original 1933 version. As is said in an interview on this recent DVD release, the ability to take any story and make it into a fantastic movie using special effects, didn’t really start with Star Wars, but with the original King Kong—I believe it too!

Sure, the movements of the beast are a bit jerky and his fur buzzes around him as if there are a dozen cyclones whirling around him at any given time, but the truth of the matter is, I thought it was still interesting and fun to watch.

The melodramatic acting is fun to watch too (almost a special effect in itself). You can see how sensibilities have dramatically changed over the years about how to act. This movie is a great specimen of acting in a way that is the polar opposite of subtle.

I bought the 2-disk special edition on a whim because Jackson’s version was soon to be at the theaters and it was packaged as a King Kong Collection with Son of Kong and the original Mighty Joe Young. Since Peter Jackson had commented repeatedly about how much inspiration he received from this movie as a child to become a filmmaker, I thought it would be a good idea to check it out. It pays off too, when you watch Jackson’s version, there are many inside joke treats that you’ll only understand if you’ve seen the old one. One quick example is (in the new version) when Carl Denham (Jack Black) is being told names of actresses that could work in his film, one of them is “Fay”, who Carl dismisses as already being busy with an RKO Picture. Well, RKO is the producer of the original Kong and Fay Wray was the original Ann Darrow.

One of the most unexpected twists to this visit to this classic picture is how much my 6 and 8-year-old daughters loved it. I think sometimes that I tend to count out older movies as options for entertainment for my kids because of the lack of ultra-realistic CGI special effects—so unfounded. My kids were tense at the suspenseful points, they thought the funny parts were funny… it was great! If you’re looking to show your young kids King Kong and are worried that Jackson’s version might be a bit too much, check out the old one, it might be just the ticket.

On the DVD, there’s also a documentary titled, “I’m Kong: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper.” Historically speaking, it was amazing to learn more about this man who was the original director of Kong and how the character of Carl Denham was almost autobiographical.

With Peter Jackson’s updated version coming out on DVD tomorrow, I thought this would be a good segue into a review of the new one, which will come later this week.

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