Listen to Severus Snape: It Gets Better

Spot-on accent, intonation, and pacing. Hilarious Harry Potter commentary (wizard’s cancer!). Attention to detail (“Thursday next”). Cross-over message of hope and tolerance for wizards, witches, and the LGBT population. “The hero that you are.” Gold.

Nice job, Gavin Crawford.

It Ends Today: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

When I first read the Harry Potter books, I was studying abroad in England. I bought the Bloomsbury version of the books with blackandwhite cover photos designed for the adult audience. Classy.

With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, it’s the end of an era. I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces from past films (Sybill Trelawney, Cho Chang). And I eagerly anticipate the “Look. . .at. . .me” moment and “19 Years Later.”



Into the Pensieve: Favorite Film Scenes

– Little Hermione’s magical confidence (“It’s Wing-gar-dium Levi-oh-SAA!”)

– The opening of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Lumos maxima! Sure, underage magic outside of Hogwarts is not allowed. But it’s a thrilling scene and introduces the audience to the mesmerizing vision of director Alfonso Cuaron.

– Harry takes flight on Buckbeak in Hagrid’s verdant classroom setting

– The second Expecto Patronum

– The Yule Ball: the date-arranging, especially Harry nervously asking Cho Chang (she’s Scottish!) in the Owlery; the dance itself with Cho and Cedric Diggory looking fine, Hermione looking beautiful, and Pulp and Radiohead members cameo-ing as the Weird Sisters.

– The first appearance of Voldemort and the Death Eaters: the terrifying reveal of  Voldemort in the graveyard, the crazed laughter of Bellatrix Lestrange as she escapes from Azkaban

– The battle at the Ministry with Dumbledore’s Army, the Order of the Phoenix, and the Death Eaters

– Harry’s first kiss (with Cho), Ron’s first kiss (with Lavender Brown), Hermione’s first kisses: Victor Krum kisses her hand, she kisses Harry in the Horcrux locket hallucination, and she will finally kiss Ron in the last film

– The horrifying sight of Katie Bell suspended in the air after touching the cursed necklace

– With Ron’s blood on her hands, Hermione casts charms to protect their location after escaping from the Ministry

– Harry’s enthusiastic and awkward dancing with Hermione in the tent

– In fact, anything Team Harmony—Hermione hugging Harry, Hermione smacking Harry, “I’m sure that Harry’s kissing was more than satisfactory” 

– The sinuous delivery of Alan Rickman as Snape

– The proud and protective gestures of Hedwig, whose death was the once of the most devastating parts of the series for me (and for many others)

View 23 memorable Harry Potter props on Entertainment Weekly’s website here

Fast-Acting Armitage Effect and Two Upcoming BBC “Great Expectations” Projects

My favorite episode of Robin Hood Season 3 is “A Dangerous Deal” (YT link) where Guy encounters a young woman named Meg in the dungeon.

Once her disdain gives way to sympathy due to some fast-acting Armitage effect, Meg falls in love with Guy and rescues him from imprisonment and death. In turn, she reminds him of what he thought Marian once was: the one person who cared whether he lived or died.

Mortally wounded in the chaos of their escape, Meg dies in Guy’s arms on a misty riverside bank. Before she dies, he acquiesces to her last request and gives her a chaste kiss. What a way to go.

The actress who plays Meg, Holliday Grainger, had played Armitage’s stepdaughter in Sparkhouse.

Grainger has recently been cast as Estella in the upcoming BBC Films adaptation of Great Expectations, which Mike Newell will direct. Relatively unknown actor Jeremy Irvine will be PipRalph Fiennes will be Magwitch, and Helena Bonham-Carter will continue her witchy ways as Miss Havisham.

Today, Variety announced that, oddly enough, there will also be a BBC television production of Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham. PBS has scheduled this Masterpiece release for April 2012 for U.S. audiences. No word yet on Estella or Pip casting.

I am fond of the gorgeously green Alfonso Cuaron adaptation from the ’90s, despite the unconvincingly contemporization of the story and overwrought acting. I love the look of the film. Cuaron attired the actors in various shades of green and used the lush environment of Florida to create an otherworldly setting for the story. It’s no wonder that Cuaron directed the most “magical” Harry Potter film in the series—Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Coincidentally, Newell directed the next Harry Potter film in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.)

In Cuaron’s version of Great Expectations, Finn (aka Pip) is a blue-collar fisherman and amateur artist who comes to New York due to the patronage of a mysterious benefactor. For Finn’s work, Italian painter Francesco Clemente created original art for the film. His striking portraits of the characters are the centerpiece of Finn’s art show.

The film soundtrack features the enchanting song “Life in Mono” by Mono, “Siren,” an original track by Tori Amos, and a beautiful score by Patrick Doyle.

The “Kissing in the Rain” scene is the highlight of the film, particularly because of Doyle’s music (the track shows up in many YT kissing fanvideos). I can’t find it on YT in English, but all you need to know is that Estella leaves a black-tie gala event and Finn chases after her and interrupts her dinner date by asking her to dance.

Note the green elements: the carpet at the gala venue, the columns, the tea lights in the restaurant, the attire of the other customers.

Feeling Like An Outlaw: Season 3 Robin Hood Thoughts

Started Season 3 of Robin Hood—where did Guy go?

Boucher from North and South and the maid from Downton Abbey have shown up, and Mr. Rochester (Toby Stephens, Professor McGonagall’s son!) is on his way.

The costumes are quite embroidered this season. And some of the colors are much too bright for medieval times.

Archery today! Makes me think of the song “Outlaw” by Olive, which is actually about discovering that your boyfriend is gay.

Harry Potter and the Ken-Emma-Helena Triangle

Forget the Harry-Hermione-Ron love triangle.

Throughout its ten years and eight films, many high-caliber British actors joined the Harry Potter franchise, including these three actors:

Kenneth Branagh – Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Emma Thompson – Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Helena Bonham-Carter – Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHarry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2

Emma and Helena portrayed sisters in the devastating Howard’s End.

Ken and Emma were married from 1989 to 1995. They appeared in many films together, several of which Ken directed.

Emma is so cutting in Much Ado About Nothing (see clips here) and so adorable as the French princess in Henry V.

Then Ken and Helena starred in Frankenstein (Ken directed) in 1994 and Ken divorced Emma.

Frankenstein - caught in a bad romance

Ken and Helena were in a relationship for several years and starred in The Theory of Flight together. But Ken ended up marrying Lindsay Brunnock, whom he met through Helena.

Emma married her Sense and Sensibility co-star Greg Wise (Mr. Willoughby! well done Emma!). That’s right—this guy:

(there are tons of pictures where Greg is hugging Emma and making sure she is the star of the photo—what a gentleman!)

S&S also featured Alan Rickman, who portrays the fascinating Severus Snape in Harry Potter.

Meanwhile Helena found an excellent match with Planet of the Apes director Tim Burton.

Helena and Tim (photographed by Vivienne Westwood)

She has had the most interesting film career: one of my favorite films ever is the Venice-tastic The Wings of the Dove, for which she deserved the Oscar (Helen Hunt? REALLY?). In that film, Michael Gambon (who portrays Albus Dumbledore post-Richard Harris in Harry Potter) plays her father.

And the closing theme in the trailer? From Henry V.

Maggie Smith, who portrays Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter, was Helena’s disapproving cousin in the Florence-tastic A Room With A View, a film I consider to be Merchant-Ivory’s best.

So far Emma and Helena have avoided being in the same scenes in Harry Potter. Will Trelawney and Bellatrix show up in the same frame at the climactic battle of Hogwarts? Hm.