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Review: Into The Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

ITWYN (1)As ICM announced back in August, the main character in Julie Halpern’s new book “Into the wild nerd yonder” would be a huge Rupert Grint fan.
Julie Halpern herself had left a message in our comments: “Thanks so much for mentioning my book, INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER, on your page! I’m a big Rupert fan, and the main character of the book has pictures of him hanging around her bedroom”.
So, of course we made sure to check out the book, which has only been released on 29th September 2009.
I tried to keep the spoilers out so you can all enjoy the book yourselves, and therefore this review turned out to be pretty short. 😉

The plot itself is simple:
Jessie Sloan has just started her sophomore year. Her two best friends, Bizza and Char, decide to become punks, and one of them goes after Jessie’s long-term crush Van. Jessie’s brother Barrett, in his final High School year, gives up his life as punk because of his budding romance with the homecoming queen. Which leaves Jessie to figure out who she is, who her friends are, and: What makes someone a nerd?ITWNY (2)
With Jessie as the narrator, the story is told in a funny, witty and somewhat sarcastic tone and describes typical teenage situations everyone can relate to: your best friends seem to be way cooler than yourself, the girl sitting next to you in class is just weird, and unlike you, even the nerds manage to find a boyfriend.
Instead of the “typical” teenage books, Jessie is not the school’s beauty queen, nor is she the outsider who will turn into the beautiful swan who gets the most handsome bloke ever. She’s a normal girl with normal problems. And with a crush on Rupert Grint.

So, what about Rupert? First off, Rupert Grint only gets mentioned four times. Beware, though, as these are moments where most of us will almost cringe because the situations are very well-known to every proper “Roupie Groupie”. 😉
website16However, the entire book is peppered with little descriptions that will make you think of our gorgeous red-head or his film characters : A bloke called “Van” (we all know Rupert’s most famous vehicle), another guy with too-short jeans and far-to-white sneakers. The main character sharing the names with a co-star from HP and the stills photographer from Cherrybomb. The cool big brother (coincidence that his punk hair is orange?), funky t-shirts and a guy whose fringe keeps covering his eyes; and jealousy over a BJ…

So, yay or nay?
Definitely a big YAY! 🙂 The book is easy to read, and I needed only one day to finish it. It is very funny and witty, and it is easy to feel with Jessie, who is a normal teen instead of the classical “teen-novel character”. Not to mention that Rupert (or what might be interpreted as hints to Rupert) keeps popping up in the most unexpected moments.
How much Rupert is there really? The more you know about Rupert and his films, the more you can pick up, laugh about, cringe at and agree to. If you only know his name and link him to Harry Potter, it’s not that much. If you know characteristics of the characters he has played, his co-stars, Rupert’s behaviour and interests, it’s quite a lot.
But maybe I only found that much Rupert because I’m a nerd.
And nerds can be pretty cool, too…

You can order Into the wild nerd yonder here!

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True Blood – From Books To The Small Screen

33416445Anyone who truly knows me knows one thing: I love to read. Obviously I have read the Harry Potter series, considering my love for Ron Weasley and subsequently Rupert Grint. However, I love a great many books in a variety of genres, and one set of stories I love in particular are vampire tales. Thanks to my mother I became a fan of the 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows which featured vampires, witches, werewolves and the like. Then came Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin off series, Angel. And then I got into the books: Dracula, Twilight and True Blood, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse Novels or Southern Vampire Tales written by Charlaine Harris. There are currently nine books in the series, and HBO is currently airing season 2 of the eponymous TV show. In other news, I am about to read The Vampire Diaries which is also set to come to the small screen on The CW Network in the US.

But let’s focus on True Blood which this article is about. The books are adult – and I mean, if you captured True Blood on HBO first assuming that was just their way of making it sexier, don’t be fooled. The novels are just as sexually explored as the show is. Obviously, the show will create some sexual scenes that you won’t find in the books, as they did with Sookie’s brother Jason. In the books Jason is only described as a sexual being, a ladies man, etc. On the TV show they had to be visual with this, so you can see Jason’s exploits. Of course, this is important because… SPOILER ALERT!!! … everyone Jason has sex with ends up dying! Naturally, this leads to him being suspected in every death that occurs.

257885831Before I go into characters, let me tell you a little bit about the series and the books. The premise is basically that vampires have, as they put it, “come out of the coffin” a few years ago. Then one day a vampire walks into the bar that Sookie is working at. Sookie is a telepathic waitress but she cannot read vampires’ minds. I know what you’re thinking — “Wow, isn’t this the plot to Twilight?” As much as I love Twilight for its simplicity, it could well be said that the Twilight books are a rip off of these novels, because The Sookie Stackhouse books were published long before Twilight.

So, Sookie is telepathic and when she meets this new vampire, Bill, she is over the moon because she cannot hear his thoughts. As you can imagine, struggling to keep out of other people’s thoughts is constant work, so when she can be around Bill and hear — excuse the term — dead silence, it’s amazing to her; it attracts her even further to the vampire. Meanwhile, young girls are dying all over town. These girls have one thing in common: they’ve been around or slept with vampires! Sadly, this problem hits real close to Sookie when her grandmother, Adele, is found dead. (Plot point/spoiler alert: Sookie and Jason were raised by her grandmother when their parents were killed in a flash flood.) As Sookie races to find out why her grandmother was killed and why all these women are being knocked off, and to prove her brother’s innocence, she finds herself in danger from the killer.

true-blood-2As for the TV show, Sookie herself is pretty much on the mark. Anna Paquin has been criticized for not being the perfect Sookie, but I think she embodies the character well enough. In fact, I enjoy her take on Sookie more than how the character is written in the book. To me, Anna’s Sookie is more determined and human. On the other hand, Sookie of the novels is quite funny, whereas the writing for Anna’s Sookie tends to leave that side out. Her chemistry with Stephen Moyer‘s Bill is off the charts and that’s the only thing you can ask for. In the novels, Bill and Sookie are together for three books (this is a span of maybe a year and a half however).

Continuing on with main character is Bill. Looks wise Bill is a bit off, however written wise the character seems to be pretty spot on. However, book Bill always seems to be a little more deadpan to me, while TV Bill seems to be more interactive and interesting. Bill is a tough character to get your head around and the TV show does a good job of, forgive the term, humanizing him. When reading the novels you often wonder just how great his love for Sookie truly is — and this gets questioned further inside the series, as secrets are revealed about Bill’s intentions of walking into Merlott’s Bar in Bon Temps. It needs to be said that both in the books and in the TV series, Sookie and Bill end up into bed together quite early on, as the death of Sookie’s grandmother brings them closer. In the TV series, after her death, Sookie goes running to Bill and the consumate their love for one another, while in the books it’s a few days after.

true-blood-anna-paquin-stephen-moyerBoth in the TV show and the books, Sookie is beaten up badly by a couple who sell vampire blood for money — the so-called “drainers”. Sookie had saved Bill’s life from this couple, and for revenge they beat her up and try to kill her. Bill comes to her rescue killing this couple and has Sookie drink from him — it heels her completely. All the injuries she suffers are instantly fixed. The other effects of vampire blood? Her sex drive is increased, her senses are more in-tuned, and Bill can feel her when she’s in danger.

Speaking of Merlott’s, the bar is much how I imagined it; however, the owner, not so much. In the books Sam Marlott has red hair (probably lighter than Rupert’s), but TV Sam has light brown hair going slightly gray — though his build and height seem right. In the book, Sam doesn’t have much of a back story but the TV series gives him an interesting one. What I mean is (SPOILER ALERT!!!) in the books Sam comes from pure breed shape shifters. Both his mother and father can shape shift and thus, as Sam was first born, he can too. Both in the books and in the TV show Sam prefers shifting into a border collie. We learn in later books that Sam’s mother married someone else who was not a shape shifter and they are from Texas. In the TV show, we hear a reference to Texas, though it seems to be mostly made up. Sam doesn’t “exist” until he arrives in Bon Temps. We learn that he was adopted and that his adoptive parents left when they saw him shift into a dog one night. This makes for an interesting background, and continues a story that is presently playing out in season 2.

Then there are lesser known characters. In the books Sookie’s best friend, Tara Thorton, tends to be someone who just pops up every once in a while. From the description you tend to believe that she is well adjusted and doesn’t hold a grudge from her childhood. In the TV show however they decided to be a bit more inventive. Tara is a fast talking, hard nosed woman who takes her family situation to heart. Her mother is an alcoholic (in the books — SPOILER ALERT — Tara’s parents are dead) and would beat her and Sookie’s grandmother always took her in, fed her, clothed her. In the series Tara has a huge crush on Jason.

Tara’s cousin Layfette Reynolds is a character in the books but like Tara his part had changed drastically. While in both mediums he is a gay short order cook at Merlott’s, in the books he is barely visible. However, Layfette in the show sells V (vampire blood) and other assorted drugs, he is a male prostitute, and one of Jason’s best friends.

Some characters who take a back seat in Season 1 were more prominent in the books. For instance, Eric Northman, the owner of Vampire Bar “Fangtasia” (the bar is for humans to gawk at vampires who dress the way they are perceived, though not necessarily accurately). Like in the books, he is a tall blond viking vampire. His personality seems to be pretty much intact leaving out one detail: his attraction to Sookie. While it somewhat exists, in the books Eric makes no bones about it, including scenes that did not appear in the show such as Sookie ending up in the hospital after her encounter with the murderer (more on this later) and Eric floating outside the window and sending her flowers, flirting with her, calling her his future lover.

Then there is Pam. Eric sired her long ago and she now works for him in Fangtasia. Pam in the books becomes Sookie’s friend and is much more interesting. She’s funny and witty. They make sure in the show to show off how different her persona in the bar is from her true self outside. In the TV show, she’s more modern and button down. However that does not take away from her wit, sarcasm, and interestingly enough her good nature. Of course, this doesn’t mean she’ll throw back a bottle of True Blood!

Of course, there is Rene too. While I describe him, you must know that there will be spoilers abound. So if you do not wish to know the basic plot to the first novel and season 1 of the TV show, please stop reading now! Rene in the books and TV show are definitely different as well as their fates by the end. On the TV show, Rene has a Cajun accent: this is to help Sookie realize there isn’t something “quite right” about him, because when she hears his thoughts, he speaks in his regular, American accent. Rene is engaged to Sookie’s friend and co-worker Arleen and tries to settle down in the city of Bon Temps. In the books we learn that Rene’s sister has died; however in the TV series we know nothing about his family or his life. We do get a “weird moment” from him in the beginning of the show where Rene stands up for Sookie at the bar and tells her, “You remind me of my sister…” But nothing else is made of it.


Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer

As the series continues and young girls die, Sookie is becoming more endangered. Both series of course have Sookie’s grandmother dying and both series have her cat being killed and strung up. But in the TV show we learn the second to the last episode who the killer is. I’m sure you guessed by now that Rene is the killer. He does so because his sister has had sex with a vampire and it sets him off in his brain. So now he goes around killing any young girl who has sex with vampires. In the books Sookie hurts Rene as she tries to get away from him, but she never kills him. In the show though, when she finally figures it out, having heard his thoughts while in her home, she runs away through the cemetery to Bill’s house. Earlier I told you about the bond made when Sookie drank Bill’s blood; so now Bill can sense when Sookie is in trouble. This does not happen in the books, but in the show Bill senses Sookie is in danger and runs out in the sun to try and save her. Fortunately while she is being beaten by Rene, Sam is to the rescue as the dog! He sniffed out Rene’s scent (he picked this up from one of the crime scenes) and tracked them. However, Rene begins to beat on Sam. This gives Sookie plenty of time to pick up a shovel and kill Rene with it.

By the end, all is well in Bon Temps until one of the detectives who was assigned to the case and believed Jason was the murderer, gets stinking drunk in Merlott’s. Sookie and Tara lead him out to his car only to find another dead body! In the books it’s Layfette who’s discovered in the car; but in the series, due to the immense popularity of the character, someone else, a lesser known character who does not have anything to do with Tara’s background story, meets this fate instead.

true-blood-hboSeason 2 has just started so it’s hard to comment on any similarities or differences. There are some, but I’d have to watch the entire season to give it a run down. Perhaps soon enough.

All in all, both the TV show and the books are worth your time and I highly recommend them. The show does the books justice and even sometimes turns out better than the books. Of course, the books have some parts better than the TV show. As mentioned, Eric’s role in the first season is sadly missed and there is also a great vampire character in the books that does not appear in the series. His name is Bubba and he technically is The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll himself; Elvis! He’s a great, funny character who isn’t “quite right in the head” because of all the drugs he had in his system when he was found dead.

To keep this Rupert related, I often read books trying to find a character Rupert Grint could play. Honestly, nothing pops up in the True Blood books, but because the TV show goes its own course, clearly one could be written for him. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Rupert as a bad ass vampire? I think so. His hair slicked back like in Blag and a smirk on his face…

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Cherrybomb Screening in London: Fan Reviews!

On 2 July 2009 Rupert Grint‘s film Cherrybomb was shown in London, as a part of an event which took place at NFT 2, Southbank Centre. The screening was mostly attended by the representatives of the movie distribution companies, as well as several journalists. Thanks to Clay Epstein and Rajal Pitroda with The Little Film Company, Ice Cream Man was given the opportunity to invite twenty-ish die-hard Rupert fans to see Cherrybomb. Prior to the screening, Jo and me had spent several weeks discussing with Rajal how to best organise the entire thing and how to make sure that the most dedicated and reliable fans are invited to see the film. Understandably, TLFC people did not want us to advertise the screening too loudly, and especially not on the main news page, because it was not an open event and the organisers wanted to prevent the overcrowding of the venue. On the other hand, they did not want to risk inviting unknown people who would fail to show up. Therefore, in the end, we agreed that ICM should handpick up to twenty fans (either our forum members or representatives of our partner sites and forums), and Rajal would also invite a few other fans via Cherrybomb official Facebook page. We also agreed that Karo and me should attend the screening on behalf of ICM and help distribute the tickets to the fans who were on our list of invitees.

Hereby me and Karo want to thank all the fans who attended the screening — and especially to those who sent their reviews and feedback — and also to The Little Film Company, who presented us with this wonderful opportunity as a token of appreciation for all the work we had done in helping promote Cherrybomb and campaigning to secure a distribution deal for it.

ICM staffer Karo with fans and representatives of other fansites who attended the London screening of Cherrybomb.

ICM staffer Karo with fans and representatives of other fansites who attended the London screening of Cherrybomb.

So, what did the fans think of the film? Read their reviews below… 🙂

Cherrybomb Review 1
by Kylie

Any movie with Rupert Grint in it I automatically love. But I do believe that audiences who are not familiar with Rupert and his work in the Harry Potter series will enjoy Cherrybomb. I think that with this film, its appeal largely depends on the demographic. Younger audiences will be attracted to Cherrybomb because of its “sex, drugs and rock & roll” subject matter, and because the three leads are very attractive and quite engaging in terms of their performances, as well as their already established popularity: Kimberley Nixon for her roles in several recent teen movies, Robert Sheehan for his TV work, and Rupert… well, obviously everyone knows him and loves him as Ron Weasley.

I also think that the soundtrack was AMAZING, and it’s so great that they used many local bands from Belfast and other lesser-knows music acts. The music really did play a crucial part in the film, both in the story as well as setting the tone and mood of each scene.

I definitely believe that Cherrybomb’s best quality, as a film, was the incredible cinematography and overall visual aesthetic. The colours, sets, camera angles, everything was just so visually dynamic and gorgeous. Right from the begining, all the way to the end I was engaged by what I was SEEING on the screen. If the movie had no plot or sound at all, I think I still could enjoy Cherrybomb just watching the beautiful imagery.

That being said, I think that Cherrybomb’s weakest feature was a relatively weak plot and minimal dialogue. The movie was a series of trouble making by a couple of teenagers. Luke’s family problems constituted the meatiest parts of the plot, but not enough to carry through the whole film, because this subplot didn’t really relate to the trio’s relationship (which, I think, was meant to be the main focus of the film). The quick pace of the film combined with the minimal dialogue didn’t give me enough to engage with, in terms of the characters and their relationship with each other. If Luke’s and Malachy’s friendship was more believable and intense, the dramatic parts of the film would have had a MUCH greater impact on me.

The three leads were cast incredibly well and that they all did an amazing job, especially with their unaccostomed accents. Robert Sheehan was clearly the least experienced actor, Kimberley Nixon did well although had a few iffy moments, and Rupert, well, I’m being biased but I think he was the best. To compare Rupert’s performance to his other roles, I’d say that he is definitely branching out and I always see him growing as an actor. In all seriousness, I think he is THE most natural and flexible young actor working today. I really can’t compare him to anyone else, I just think he is amazing.

Although I’m Canadian, I didn’t find it difficult to understand the accents, actually I found they weren’t as thick as I thought they would be! Very good job by the cast, if I didn’t know any better I would have never thought that they weren’t Irish!

I would recommend this movie to anyone. I know that some people will enjoy it much more than others, but I do think that it’s a beautiful film and that everyone should be able to appreciate at least some elements of it. As for me, I would definitely see Cherrybomb again! I really do hope that it gets picked up by some great distributors, because the public deserves to see it. However, I think 14 might be a bit young to see this movie. Of course, people have various maturity levels but in general I think that Cherrybomb is best suited for an older teen audience, or young adults.

Cherrybomb Review 2
by Vicky

Firstly, I definitely enjoyed the film! I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised, it exceeded my expectations. I felt that Rupert Grint and Robert Sheehan played their roles really well, and they were naturals in the roles. Rupert brought a nice spin on a character with some swagger and both actors had really good comic timing.

I was not as sure about Kimberley Nixon’s performance. It may just be the role, but I never felt that connected to her and I couldn’t see why she was causing such disruption in Luke’s and Malachy’s friendship that had obviously gone through some difficult times before this. I couldn’t decide if her affection for Malachy was real or just something to pass the time. I still enjoyed her performance to an extent, but I just felt the character could have been a bit more fleshed out.

I enjoyed the “artsyness” of the film, some slick ideas on show which really worked in the film’s favour. The soundtrack was well chosen as well and added to the atmosphere.

I enjoyed Cherrybomb immensely and I would definitely go to the cinema to see this movie again. However, I was a bit confused as to who the movie would be aimed at. Obviously, Rupert Grint is the most famous name in it, and a majority of Harry Potter fans would be interested to see it. But it doesn’t seem to be a film for teenagers, despite it being about teenagers. Personally I would recommend it to older teens and young adults, as I think it has something for everyone.

To sum up, I think Cherrybomb was an excellent movie that was totally engaging and uniquely realistic. Not your typical teen movie, and that’s why people should go see it!

Cherrybomb Review 3
by Princess and Crystal

Cherrybomb is an extremely gripping film about relationships, the importance of friendship, drugs and parties. It will appeal more so to the youth as they could possible relate to it. The first thing we noticed and immediately liked was the artistic feel the film had taken. It gave the whole film a sense of excitement and interest. We also liked the fact that each individual character’s sense of style in clothing portrayed their own personalities extremely well. For example, Luke (Robert Sheehan) wore clothes of clashing colours and interesting patterns, which gave him an overall eccentric look. It all corresponds well with the character whose father is an alcoholic and who deals drugs. Malachy (Rupert Grint) on the other hand dresses smart and neat, which reflects his character as someone with manners, respect for other people and also that he is easy to get along with.

Even though Malachy and Luke are almost complete opposites, they are best friends. You can see that underneath the fact that they don’t get along sometimes, they have a very strong bond. Michelle (Kimberly Nixon) comes into town to stay with her father because she has caused too much trouble for her mother to take care of her. Her style is very quirky which reflects the fact that she is a girl who likes to have her fun. Her arrival causes immediate rivalry between Malachy and Luke. The relationship between the three of them is not a smooth one. At first you see that she is maybe drawn more towards Luke than Malachy. Maybe it is because the thing they have in common is that they are both thrill seekers. Michelle is always looking for a bit of excitement and Luke is always willing to entertain, even if it will affect other people in the process.

As the film unrolls, you slowly start to see her turn to Malachy. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Malachy is controlled, loving and a little romantic and she really wants control in her life and someone to genuinely care about her. The story starts with the boys fighting after Michelle, but then things twist and it becomes Luke fighting for his friendship with Malachy. As things only seem to be getting worse for Luke, he suddenly realises that Malachy is the only thing he has left, even though you see that their friendship is falling apart. In the end, he takes desperate measures to save his friend and their friendship.

Cherrybomb was a great film, the acting was very good and the chemistry between the three leads was immense. We really enjoyed it.

Cherrybomb Review 4
by Natalie

I loved Cherrybomb. The film had a very entertaining storyline and the characters were very realistic. The film’s edgy and the nail-biting storyline is something that a lot of people would enjoy. I know my friends would definitely love it! Not all of them are crazy about Rupert like I am, but this film would really appeal to all people around my age (18+) and older.

I can’t really fault this film because I thoroughly enjoyed all of it! The storyline had me hooked and I thought it was action-packed and thrilling! The thing I wasn’t sure about in the film was the text from the text messages they sent. It was very good, I liked the idea, but a lot of the slang was a bit confusing for me, I didn’t really understand what some of it meant.

The actors’ performances were brilliant. Robert Sheehan, who plays Luke, gave a spectacular performance! I was very impressed with him in this film, and having not seen him in anything other than Cherrybomb, I’d very much like for him to do things in the future. Kimberly Nixon was also good. I wasn’t too crazy about how she portayed the accent, but otherwise, very good.

And Rupert Grint – he was fantastic! Cannot fault his performance at all! His performance in Cherrybomb was very different to his role as Ron in Harry Potter and Ben in Driving Lessons. It was nice to see him play a role that’s more grown up and adventurous. He stuck to his accent — his very good Northern Irish accent — at all times, and the emotion he gave out when acting was amazing! He really showed us how it’s done in some very powerful and emotional scenes.

In short, Rupert did a marvelous job, and I personally think he’ll do great — after Harry Potter is over — in other roles, as this film really did show us that he’ll cope without the Hogwarts robes.

Cherrybomb Review 5
by Dexy

Let me start by saying that I have never written a movie review in my life, so don’t expect much! I should also note that I’m a 39-year-old male, and I don’t really belong to Cherrybomb’s possible target audience. I’m not into indie flicks; I happen to love science fiction and action blockbusters, and I would probably never have heard of Cherrybomb if it weren’t for my wife, who is a huge Rupert Grint fan. It was her who persuaded me to see the film, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Overall, I liked the film very much. It’s a simple and straightforward story, possibly inspired by some real-life events. The best thing about Cherrybomb are the actors’ performances, which are all very good, natural and convincing. The actors were completely unfamiliar to me — except Rupert Grint whom I had seen in Harry Potter movies and a comedy called Thunderpants — thus I didn’t know what to expect; but they really carried the movie. Since I’m not a native English speaker, I cannot judge how authentic their accents were, but they did seem pretty convincing to me.

I would recommend this film to audiences aged 15 and older. The film deals with the challenges of growing up, including the drug abuse, heavy drinking and such, and it has a pretty strong message: the irresponsible indulging in crime and substance abuse can easily lead into tragedy. Although the kids will always find good excuses for their behaviour (such as parents’ neglect, unreturned love, etc.), they need to stop seeking instant relief and accept responsibilities for their actions.

Rupert Grint and Kimberley Nixon in Cherrybomb. Photo by Helen Sloan

Rupert Grint and Kimberley Nixon in Cherrybomb. Photo by Helen Sloan

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Harry, Ron and the Full-Blood Bromance

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from a Haron/Danpert point of view

As expected, the latest installment of the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a hugely successful movie: it has already beaten several box office records and received excellent reviews. It’s been hailed as “the best Potter movie so far,” and I can’t help but think it is mostly due to the two stars, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe and their portrayals of best mates Ron Weasley and Harry Potter.

haron2Ron and Harry have been best friends practically since they met. Throughout the series they have been through the worst of times and best of times together. They have laughed, fought, cried, and saved the Wizarding World together. In my opinion, their friendship is the strongest relationship in the entire book series. There is something about the connection between Harry and Ron that is so intense that nothing matters but being there for each other.

However, their relationship is not just about drama and bravery. They also make a dynamic and hilarious duo. They are two very cheeky blokes and it is great to read their conversations and interactions. Their friendship is one that everyone can identify with to some degree with their own mates.

Unfortunately, in the movies, their friendship has taken a back seat to the drama and recently romance. Yes, it is clear that Ron and Harry are best friends and care about each other, but we have not seen many moments of them just being blokes, moments that would really show their range as friends. Rupert and Dan, up until this point, had their best moments together in Potter movies one and two. From Prisoner of Azkaban on, their relationship has hit a dry spell. It is maddening really, because they have magic together: Rupert is so incredible, Dan feeds off it, and the two of them steal the show together every time.

haron5Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has finally opened the door to Ron and Harry’s friendship and, even more fitting — bromance. People can finally see a bit of the everyday Ron and Harry and how they are when death isn’t right at their doorstep. Ron is not just the one-lining sidekick and Harry is not all doom and gloom.

Ron’s very first line, “I think I would know if my best friend was in my room,” made me sit up straighter in my chair. It was funny and Rupert delivered it brilliantly, but more importantly, it was nice to hear Ron address Harry as his best friend. (The only other time this has happened is in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when they were arguing in the boys’ dorm.)

The ensuing hug between Ron and Harry almost brought tears to my eyes. It was not a second or two of awkward patting, no, they embraced each other and held tightly. Harry had the biggest smile on his face when Ron walked up to him and hugged him. For once, I was happy something new was added. In the books, they always shook hands but this was a real hug. It was a simple, innocent gesture; but for someone like me who is a Best Mate shipper at heart, it was magical. For the first time I felt like Harry and Ron were happy to be friends and relieved to see each other. Not to mention, Rupert and Dan just looked yummy hugging each other. It was a delicious teaser for the upcoming Silver Doe scene in Deathly Hallows.

The movie really paid attention to detail, and not only do we see Ron and Harry as best friends, but more of their character was allowed to shine through. A great example of this is a scene when Harry was late to the Great Hall. He asked Ron what he had missed and Ron informed him that the Sorting Hat told them all to be brave and strong. Ron added, “Easy for it to say, it’s a hat, innit?” Harry made this agreeing gesture with his hand and nodded. Details like this may seem small, but Harry and Ron are known for agreeing and understanding each other easily.

However, it doesn’t always have to be verbal. Like with the hug, an excellent moment was when Ron and Harry were standing against the wall laughing while other students rushed off to class. They stood above everyone else and looked as if they were really enjoying themselves. I am sure it wasn’t hard for Rupert and Dan to pull this off — on and off set they burst into laughter and affect each other with the corpsing all the time!

Perhaps one of the most fantastic moments is right after they arrive to the potions class. Ron tried to explain how he was rubbish in potions and turned around to walk out. Harry grabbed his arm and pulled him back in. I couldn’t stop laughing. Ron would only stay in that class for Harry. I could just hear Harry saying in his head, “You’re not getting out of this if I can’t.” Rupert and Dan pulled that off smoothly.

The wrestling over the book bit was beyond amazing. Ron and Harry gave each other a serious look before going at it. This scene produced one the biggest laughs. Rupert and Dan looked great wrestling each other and I thought it was hilarious how poor, little Dan tried his hardest to take on tall and burly Rupert. It was even more better when Ron had the look of triumph and Harry hit his book in defeat. It was a great moment of them being friends. They weren’t fighting Death Eaters or talking about the war, but they were just being playful. So far we’ve never seen Ron and Harry playful in the movies, and it was refreshing to see it in the film. Besides, there was so much chemistry between Rupert and Dan. It was obvious they had a great time with it, and it was beautiful to see them commanding a scene without having to speak.

Throughout the movies, we have seen moments where Ron is always there for Harry. While it is true to the book, there are great moments of Harry being there and wanting to look out for Ron. It was touching when Ron tried out for keeper and Harry breathed, “Come on Ron.” It is exactly what he did in the book and I liked seeing it on the screen. Harry really wanted Ron on the team and it showed. He cares for his best mate and wants him to be happy.

In the books, it is obvious sometimes Ron and Harry get a bit tired of Hermione blabbing on and they tend to read each others’ minds and finish each others’ sentences. On their way to the Three Broomsticks, Hermione complains about not knowing anything about the Half-Blood Prince and she said she went to the library to research more on the matter. Ron and Harry said “library” at the same time to finish her sentence for her. It was perfect. It only got better when Hermione said Harry slept with the potion book and Harry answered that he didn’t. Ron was like: “Yeah you do. I like a nice chat before I go to bed but you’re always reading that book.” I think the drool was down my neck before I finally wiped it off.

Next is when Harry says he’d be honoured to attend Slughorn’s party and Ron asks him, “What are you playing at?” He has a very serious look on his face as if a bit peeved. Harry explains to him that he is just doing it for Dumbledore and Ron nods in understanding. I think it was very important for Harry to explain to Ron why he was doing it, knowing how Slughorn treated Ron. It’s a testament to their friendship and commitment to each other.

The entire talk about girls’ skin was amazing. It was the first time we see them talking alone and about something real and normal. I loved how Rupert and Dan fed off each other and made the scene very realistic. It was so authentic that it was almost as if David Yates simply told them to talk to each other the way they thought their characters would.


The game scene was fantastic. Rupert looked amazing in his quidditch gear and he displayed Ron’s nervousness so perfectly. Also I really liked how, after Ron thought he took the luck potion, he and Harry did this bromancy handshake. There is a lot of physical contact between Harry and Ron in Half-Blood Prince that we haven’t seen before. It was just as great after their win, when Harry just watches Ron with the biggest grin on his face; and when Lavender kisses him, Harry gives this amazing expression of shock and excitement for his best mate.

On the train back to the Burrow, they talk about the unbreakable vow in the compartment. Once again, they were alone together and talked face to face. It’s rare in the Potter movies to see them without Hermione or without them going on about Voldemort or something. I loved Harry playing with the seat table as Lavender ogled Ron. That was very Harry. Whenever Ron had girl issues, rather it with Lavender or Hermione, Harry always tried to blend in with the scenery. It was hilarious when Ron explained how all Lavender wanted to do was snog him. He said, “My lips are getting chapped, look.” Ron puckered up and leaned into Harry as if to kiss him. Harry rushed back with, “I’ll take your word for it.” This part got a huge laugh in the cinema.

The poisoning scene was the best Haron/Danpert moment in the film. It was sweet how Ron talked about the moon being beautiful. The close up of Rupert was stunning. You could see his lush lips and golden eyelashes up close. His bed wear was nice at displaying his assets as well. 😉

It only got better when Harry teased him about the chocolate and Ron told him he could not stop thinking about her and climbed into bed with him. The actors just went for it: Rupert held the comedy so close to him — he had no problem just leaning right into Dan’s bubble — and Dan fed off his work and came back with his own comedy. The “who are you talking about?” exchange between them was not only extremely Ron and Harry, but Rupert and Dan’s personalities came out as well. The chemistry was impeccable.

haron1I also loved how Ron threw the box at Harry and explained how his feelings were not a joke. Rupert made the perfect pout and confessed his love. It was great how Harry took his hand and led him to Slughorn. Rupert is so much bigger than Dan and it was interesting seeing Dan take command and pull him to the office.

Rupert completely became the love-sick Ron. When he held on to Slughorn, called him darling, and asked if he wanted a drink everyone in the cinema lost it. I was so proud of Rupert. He’s a genius with comedy. There were a lot of physical interactions between Ron and Harry in this scene as well. Another example of it is when Harry led Ron to the couch and shoved a pillow in his lap. While this scene was funny, the actual poisoning was quite scary. Up until this point it was all fun but when Ron collapsed the audience quieted. Watching Ron foam at the mouth was breathtaking and chilling. Rupert did such an amazing job. It was touching how Harry panicked and searched for the bezoar after Ron fell. He just shoved it in his mouth and begged him to come on. I held my breath just as I did when reading the book. It gave me goose bumps and it was supposed to. I am so happy Rupert and Dan were able to work together, deliver the scene, and make it powerful like it should have been.

A simple but great moment was when Harry thanked Madame Pomfrey for taking care of Ron. He was happy that not only were Hermione and Ron going to be friends again but also his best mate was going to make a full recovery.

Regrettably, there was not much after that, at least, until the very end. There is a lot of controversy over the last scene. While it did cut Ron off, it foreshadowed what was to come of the duo in Deathly Hallows. As Hermione is talking about the locket and Harry explains how it is a fake, he looks over at Ron in a longing sort of way. I think he already could feel something was different about his best mate and I loved how Ron just rather gave him a dull stare. It built up a lot of tension, as it showed how something had changed between them. Throughout the entire movie they were at each others’ side, they talked and helped each other, but now they were far apart and did not carry conversation. It created the much-needed uncertainty about what was to come in the next film.

haron4Overall, the Best Mates were the best part of the film and really gave it authenticity. I am so happy with how Rupert and Dan worked together. They had the best chemistry in the film. They were real teenage boys and I believed them. They handled situations and treated each other as real friends would and, more importantly, how Ron and Harry would. Rupert was able to show that Ron was more than just the one-liner and Dan displayed a bit of his playful side. And while Half-Blood Prince brought the laughs, it also highlighted what they would go through in Deathly Hallows. I can’t wait! I love Haron and Danpert and Half-Blood Prince gave me what I had hoped for. So, check your shoes for spiders before slipping them on and go see it! Red hair and black rimmed glass is canon this time around!

All images courtesy of Warner Bros. via Oclumencia

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The Love Triangle: Ron, Hermione and Lavender

Book to Movie Comparison

Let me start by saying that I am a HUGE Ron/Hermione shipper and I have loved the idea of them as a couple since Philosopher’s Stone! I do not think there is any other woman for Ron Weasley and there certainly is not any other man for Hermione Granger. It has always been obvious to me that they want and love each other. However, I think the most important thing to happen to their relationship and a major reason why they got so close by the beginning of Deathly Hallows is Lavender Brown.

Lavender Brown was not only Ron’s girlfriend. She was a catalyst for Hermione to admit her feelings. Lavender finally made Hermione realise that Ron could easily be taken away from her and that if she didn’t change her ways a bit and act on her feelings he would leave. Lavender brought out Hermione’s deepest and truest feelings for Ron.

Similarly, Lavender also made Ron figure out what he wanted in a woman. He has always wanted Hermione but he never knew what she thought of him; in his eyes, Hermione wanted a bloke more like Harry. Therefore, when he noticed that Lavender was interested, he took her as a comfort. However, he quickly learned that he needed more than a girl who would simply worship him and snog him. He needed substance and someone who could push him. Lavender finally made Ron realise that Hermione was the only woman who really made him want to be a better man and care for himself.

In short, Lavender is a very important character in the sixth Harry Potter book, not only for the Ron/Hermione relationship, but also just the comedy in general. So, when I went to the cinemas to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince I was optimistic for the Ron/Lavander/Hermione triangle. All the promotion, teaser trailers, and interviews with the cast and crew focused on the infamous love triangle and it was built up to be golden.

However, the R/L/Hr concept was lost in the movie and was lacklustre. It all started with the toothpaste scene. It was buffed to be a great new addition for the R/Hr storyline, however, Ron simply pointing and telling Hermione she had a spot of toothpaste on her chin and Hermione laughing a bit hysterically didn’t do much. He never touched her. They did not even share eye contact. It was an overhyped scene.

Strangers in a shop, exchanging glances... :)

Strangers in a shop, exchanging glances... 🙂

A bright side was Ron’s first encounter with Lavender at the joke shop. The simple look she gave him after a quiet “Hi Ron,” was a great teaser. I assumed great things were to come.

I was sadly mistaken. The entire R/Hr storyline, which was supposed to include awkward yet cute moments between them, was reduced to just a few scenes of them before Ron got a girlfriend. The first one was Hermione slapping his arm with a book. While it did show her frustration on his cool demeanour and provided a funny moment when Ron called her a lunatic, it didn’t really prove anything other than Hermione being annoyed that Ron ate when he should have cared for Harry’s safety.

Next, the scene when Ron comes to potions class didn’t really enforce anything R/Hr. Although Hermione did say that one of the smells she was attracted to was Spearmint toothpaste, it was said so fast and the actual toothpaste scene was so stale that hardly anyone who didn’t know about R/Hr love before would have got it. However, it did show a great deal of Lavender’s lust for Ron. When he stood by her, she stared at him and wavered a bit. It was perfect! It was obvious that she wanted him.

So, by the time Ron tried out for quidditch, it was established in the film that Lavender had a thing for Ron and that maybe Hermione had feelings for Ron too. Ron on the other hand was not seen to liking either of them. It was another nice dose of Lavender when she came to their table and offered Ron luck. She practically oozed with admiration. It was a pleasant moment for both Hermione and Lavender showing their feelings for Ron. Hermione gently waving at Ron as he looked up at her was very awe-worthy. Her jinxing Cormac so Ron would get the keeper position was nice as well: it was the first real action to show what she was willing to do to help Ron and it showed that she cared a great deal for him. The actual act itself is something Hermione would frown upon in any other situation. However, in the battle for Ron’s affection, Lavender was brilliant! Anytime Ron made a save, she bounced and squealed. She clapped and clutched her tissue. She was so keen on Ron and it was obvious. It was extremely canon!

Ron's fanclub

Ron's fanclub

Yet, for Ron it didn’t establish much. Yes, when Cormac asked him to help him with Hermione he looked to her and frowned but that was about it. Afterwards didn’t help us learn how Ron felt for Hermione either. He was completely calm when telling Hermione that Cormac liked her. Book!Ron would have never been so casual about it and he probably would have hounded her about it. However, it was another great Ron/Lavender moment. The small wave and smile she gave him when he looked over at her was very cute.

The next scene for the triangle was the Three Broomsticks. Another let down. The “splash of ginger” did not mean anything. Hermione said it in barely a whisper and we didn’t even get to see Ron’s or Hermione’s faces when she said it. There was a good moment when Hermione asked Ron what he would do if Ginny saw them snogging. It was great how Hermione said it so matter-of-factly and how Ron was so confused by her statement. It showed a bit more on Hermione’s part of her liking Ron but all it did in Ron’s case was show us how confused he was by her words. Except for the, “Did you hear what she said about her and I snogging, as if,” comment he gave to Harry on their way back to Hogwarts. It rather gave the impression that he couldn’t get it out of his mind since she said it.

The first and perfect moment for Ron showing his feelings for Hermione was during his chat with Harry, when he said Hermione had nice skin. It was terribly needed. In the book Half Blood Prince, it was plain obvious Ron fancied Hermione – there were so many moments which proved his feelings. But in the movie, up to this moment, he never really showed emotion towards her. So, the skin comment was a breath of fresh air.

When the game day finally came, I was ready for some good triangle action! However, it was ruined when Ron and Hermione talked about the Christmas party. In the book, this is such an intense and crucial moment for them. Ron is angry and extremely jealous about the situation. He hassles Hermione about the Slug Club and accuses her of bringing Cormac so she could hook up with him. Hermione is upset with his accusations and blurts that she wanted to bring him. Embarrassment takes over for both of them and Ron is taken aback. He softly asks, “You were going to ask me?” Hermione follows it with “Yes! But if you’d rather I hooked up with McLaggen…” when Ron says, “No, I wouldn’t,” very quietly. They stare at each other until Harry interrupts.

This moment is one of the best moments in Half-Blood Prince for R/Hr because Harry tells us that he knew they would get together eventually and that he always knew they liked each other. It really established there was real magic between them. However, in the movie it was reduced to Ron saying causally, “I assume you’ll be taking McLaggen,” and Hermione rushes, “Actually I was going to ask you.” They do not look at each other. They just go back to reading and eating. It was a disappointment.

The actual game was brilliant at showing how different Hermione and Lavender were. Lavender was bouncy and cheery while Hermione smirked and clapped. It made us curious as to how Ron would choose between them.

The kiss after the win was perfect! I loved how Lavender pulled Ron to her and snogged his face off. I also loved how surprised Hermione looked after seeing it. The entire moment with Harry and the birds was lovely. Hermione crying and asking Harry what it’s like seeing Ginny with Dean really showed us for the first time that her feelings for Ron were real. It was her turn in a sense to feel the pain like Ron had to in Goblet of Fire when she was with Krum. I loved watching her cry and shake. Hermione loves Ron and it really hurt her when he ended up with Lavender. I was absolutely gobsmacked.

Ron and Lavender storming in made me tense up. I loved how giggly Lavender was and how she did not care for Hermione. Ron, on the other hand, took it like how Book!Ron would have. All his excitement vanished and he seemed so scared but tried to cover it up with, “What’s with the birds?” I’m sure he was not only confused about seeing Hermione crying but also seeing her close with Harry. I loved how he snatched his arm back when Lavender tried to pull him away. It was a good gesture in showing us that he cared more about her than having fun with Lavender.

I think the best R/Hr moment in the film happened when Hermione set the birds on him and he ducked out of the way. Before he left, Ron gave Hermione this terribly moving expression of confusion and a bit of guilt and rejection. Hermione’s eyes were full of tears but she stared him down. It told him that he had hurt her and I think it really sank in for Ron. It was so beautiful. It was the most canon Ron and Hermione in the movie thus far.

Everything after that was bland. Lavender in the book is less of a stalker and more of just a girl in love/lust over Ron. She really brought completion to Hermione. She was a real character and a real girl. I really did feel sorry for her and I enjoyed her character. But Lavender in the movie was hard to feel for. Her fogging the window and writing R+L was good for showing her crazy side but that’s it. Showing Lavender as a creeper does not help the R/Hr ship. It has to be shown why Hermione was so scared and worried. Also, Ron explaining that what he and Lav had was chemical and then “will it last, how knows?” and “There’s no stopping it,” – it’s so not Ron. In the book, he was not that casual and cool with his new girlfriend. Sure, he wanted to move on but he was not at all confident and comfortable with it. In the film, this scene didn’t help the R/L/Hr triangle or R/Hr ship, or build angst. It just made Ron look like a jerk.

There was a nice scene though when Hermione passed by their compartment and Ron looked after her longingly. However, the scene with the necklace was underdone and Hermione shouting how she did not care if Ron snogged Lavender in the library was less impressive that it should have been. While it was nice that she tried to be strong and act like she didn’t care, there should have been more sorrow in her voice and not anger. The “I have to go vomit,” line was a bad choice as well. It made for good comedy but it wasn’t great for Hermione’s character. It showed more annoyance of Lavender and less her being upset that Ron was with someone else.

So, it all led up to the important poisoning scene. Lavender was great when she rushed at Ron’s side and fussed over him. Her face and body language was incredibly canon. Hermione, on the other hand, was a disappointment. In the book she is quiet and pale and terribly upset. In the movie, she simply looked at him. It did not show her deep emotion for him or how she was scared that after weeks without speaking to him, she might never get a chance to speak to him again.

The argument between Lavender and Hermione was great. I loved how Hermione called her a daft dimbo and Lavender said now she found Ron interesting. When Ron stirred and moaned Hermione’s name three times I almost cried. It was spectacular. I loved Hermione face when she recognized what he had said and how Lavender ran off crying. I gushed when she took his hand and he moved. Hermione could not stop smiling and I couldn’t either. It was a great moment and was the only book moment that didn’t disappoint me. The additional, “It’s about time, isn’t it?” from Ginny was a pleasant surprise and I think it demolished some of the H/Hr love when Harry smiled at her and Hermione whispered, “Oh shut up,” after taking Ron’s hand. Dumbledore adding, “Mr. Weasley is in good care,” was a total shot out to Hermione. I squeed at that!


The most important Ron/Hermione scene in Half-Blood Prince

However, the break up with Lavender scene was terrible. I don’t like how Ron had nothing to do with it. It gives the impression that he would not have left her if Lavender hadn’t heard him say Hermione’s name. Even though he said, “I’m glad to get rid of her” it would have had more of an impact on how he felt nothing for Lavender if they had broken up as they did in the book. The “Ron you’re making it snow” line might as well have been cut out. It is one of my favourite moments in the book. Hermione takes Ron’s hand and guides his wand down and then he brushes snow off her shoulder. Lavender bursts into tears afterwards. It’s very good for displaying the sexual tension between Ron and Hermione. However, in the movie it was five seconds of Hermione making the statement, touching Ron’s wrist, and Harry brushing snow off the table. It is as if Ron and Hermione aren’t allowed to touch each other at all. I don’t like how Lavender was glaring at them and digging her fork into the table. She was supposed to be crying. Movie!Lavender is a stocker, but I wish her character were more sensitive and human. It would have complicated and added more drama to the triangle.


One of the R/Hr moments that didn't make the final cut

Well, that was the last of the R/L/Hr triangle. After that, it was as if nothing happened. Ron and Hermione went back to never really talking or giving each other eye contact and Lavender was never seen again.

As a whole, the entire R/L/Hr triangle and the building of Ron and Hermione’s love for each other was a bust. While there were a few cute moments, it was too hyped up and did not deliver. There wasn’t enough Lavender for one. Her character was completely butchered. There wasn’t a lot of indication that Ron wanted Hermione, there was not enough of him with Lavender, and there wasn’t any real dialogue of Ron expressing his frustration and annoyance with Lavender like there was in the book. Hermione wasn’t nearly as upset over things and didn’t show her anger as she did in the book. The book Half-Blood Prince really focused on Ron’s and Hermione’s mutual feelings, but in the movie it was sped through and watered down.

Of course, the stars behind the characters of Ron, Lavender, and Hermione had magic or lack thereof of their own.

Rupert Grint and Jessie Cave made an excellent team. Jessie showed Lavender’s passion, lust, excitement, and cattiness perfectly! She and Rupert on screen together were gold! The scene where she kisses him on the staircase was extremely sexy and I loved the spark between them right before she kissed him after the win. Though both actors said it was a bit scary, they nailed the scane and it is obvious they were comfortable with each other.

Won-Won and Lav-Lav

Won-Won and Lav-Lav

Another great moment was one that I’m not sure was actually meant to be. After they come back from Christmas break Lavender gives Ron the necklace and jumps on his back. Jessie and Rupert both laughed as he tightened his grip on her and helped her push higher on his back. I don’t know if they – or at least Rupert – was supposed to laugh at that, but it showed how much fun they had working together. Jessie has said herself that she is very keen on Rupert; and he has said nothing but good things about her as well. He has called her a good kisser, a great actress, and sweet and funny person. It showed on screen. My only complaint is that they did not get more screen time together! I was expecting Jessie to be in the majority of the movie but her screen time was terribly short. It is a shame, because she and Rupert are so funny and have natural chemistry. They presented their characters and their relationship well. I could not get enough of them!

Rupert and Emma Watson usually have great chemistry on screen, but in Half-Blood Prince, it was lost. Their usual spark and fire was absent. First, they hardly had any screen time together talking. Surprisingly, both Ron AND Hermione were not in Half-Blood Prince as much as I thought they would be. They took a back seat to Dumbledore and Draco. Besides, anytime they were together and they were talking, Ron was looking at Harry. He seemed to talk to Harry and then had Hermione looking at him. Rupert and Emma did not have a single moment where I was blown away. They usually share beautiful looks like in Order of the Phoenix or have great bickering like in Prisoner of Azkaban, but none of it was present in Half-Blood Prince. I think the biggest reason is that Rupert and Dan stole the show. Ron and Harry’s friendship was amplified ten times the normal. They were blokes and worked so well together.

I should add that Rupert was amazing overall. He did everything he could do melt the ice between him and Emma and he was fantastic as Ron.

To conclude, the love triangle was not what it could have been, and we should have seen more of Rupert’s interactions with his two female co-stars. While the entire teenage angst plot line made for good comedy and even some serious moments, when it comes to delivering the best from the book Half-Blood Prince, the movie failed. Steve Kloves should have wiped off his glasses and re-read the book before embarking on writing a script.

All images courtesy of Warner Bros. via Oclumencia

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Movie Review: Cible émouvante!

It was August 2008 when we first heard the rumor about Rupert Grint being involved with a new movie called Wild Target. It wasn’t long until it was confirmed that indeed Rupert would be filming a remake of the 1993 French movie called Cible émouvante. I can still remember how happy and excited we all were – can you?

I was way beyond happy when I realized that Pierre Salvadori was the writer of the original version because I had just recently watched this other movie scripted by him, called Hors de Prix with Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh. This French romantic comedy fascinated me; so I realised that something pretty good must be coming our way.

I am lucky to have these great friends who are forced to listen to me talking about Rupert and his projects all the time. A couple of days after I told them about Wild Target, one of my best mates delivered the original movie Cible émouvante right to my door! What a surprise! Alas: no subtitles. “Duh!” I thought. It was time to put in practice the three courses of French I had taken.

I’m going to try not to spoil the movie too much for you, although I will mention some important plot details. Besides, the movie is in French and it made me realize that, even if you did take those French classes in the past, you have to keep practicing the language, otherwise you forget a lot. Yeah, I didn’t understand most of the dialogue. Pity.

As soon as Cible émouvante started, I had a feeling that it would be a very cool movie. The first one to appear was Victor Meynard (played by Jean Rochefort), who was practicing his English while “working” (i.e. killing people). Then, some minutes later, there he was… Antoine (Guillaume Depardieu) — in the English version it will be Rupert’s character “Tony”. Due to some circumstances you’ll get to see, Antoine a.k.a. Tony becomes Victor’s apprentice and they continue their journey together.

My thoughts after the first couple of minutes: will Rupert’s character use a gun too, like Victor does? Will he be chasing the bad guys? Will he be injured?

A strange family: Antoine, Renee and Victor

A strange family: Antoine, Renee and Victor

As you might have read, Victor got an assignment to get rid of Renée (Marie Trintignant), a beautiful eccentric woman who double-crossed a very dangerous man and now he wants revenge. But Victor fails to murder her, and as the movie progresses, the main trio get together to escape from the bad guys hired now to get rid of them all. Thus “the trio” head up to Victor’s mom’s house and things start to get crazy. Just wait and see!

Try to picture Rupert handling a gun, running his ass off, taking hot tub baths, smoking, etc… If the English version stays true to the French original, maybe we’ll get a chance to see a scene between Tony (Rupert Grint) and Rose (Emily Blunt) where she is trying to seduce him. Interesting! In a recent exclusive interview with ICM Rupert has said that Wild Target is quite similar to the French original, so… let’s hope for the best!

One of my favorite scenes is when Antoine and Reneé throw a party for Victor’s birthday (I think it’s his birthday). We don’t get to see the party itself, but only the aftermath, a day later: all the empty bottles of the wine they drank, polaroids of them having fun dropped the floor, food leftovers, balloons, etc. – it seems to have been a helluva party for the three of them!

It was exciting to see the character that Rupert will play in Wild Target: I can easily imagine him doing it. Antoine is kind of a quiet character, he talks with his face and we all know that’s something that Rupert works perfectly. Not that Antoine doesn’t talk, because he does and he is also a very funny guy! I would love to see a more talkative Tony though, because I’d love Rupert to be allowed to use his great verbal talent – but then again, how many people are able to say everything with their face alone? Either way, Rupert will do it perfectly.

"The Trio" in a car chase scene

"The Trio" in a car chase scene

I really enjoyed other characters as well. Victor is this serious assassin with some beautiful feelings ready to explode inside him; Renée is a pretty woman, but don’t let her beauty fool you, she’s a bit dangerous too, but it’s all for a good purpose.

Rupert will share credit with great actors such as Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Everett, Eileen Atkins and Martin Freeman; most of these actors have made the names for themselves playing comedic characters; and we mustn’t forget that Wild Target was directed by another comedy great, a BAFTA winning writer, actor and director Jonathan Lynn.

I had a brilliant time watching Cible émouvante; I’ve seen it three times already, and even though I can’t understand all of the dialogue, it makes me laugh a lot. Thus I may assure you that the English version will be a very entertaining film too. I’m sure you are all very excited for Wild Target and can’t wait to see it; but, until it’s released, we can only do what one of Rupert’s shirts tells us: “Keep calm and carry on”.

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What: AC/DC concert
When: Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Where: M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, UK


AC/DC rockin' it

Long live Nintendo Wii and its Guitar Hero game — if it weren’t for Guitar Hero, so many great old rock bands would have been pushed into obscurity by the recent trends. Instead, the rock dinosaurs such as Iron Maiden are touring the world and enjoying almost the same level of success as they did in their prime (which was long before 95% of you who read this were born). And, among the guitar heroes of the golden age of hard-rock, Angus Young of the AC/DC fame might be THE ultimate hero. Physically, he has always been a somewhat comical character – he’s a 5’2” skinny fella, whose trademark stage wear is a school uniform — short trousers, white socks and all (see the pic above)! But when it comes to playing his guitar, this pint-sized man knows his s**t, and his machinations have inspired legions of kids to aspire to become guitar heroes themselves.

Anyway I’ve been an AC/DC fan since, like, forever, but I’ve never seen them perform live. So, for me, to finally attend their gig was a dream come true. And I was eager to get a full AC/DC treatment: therefore, I couldn’t wait to see whether Angus would wear his school uniform (he did!), and whether he would do his ridiculous little duckwalk dance (he did!), and whether Brian Johnson would wear a vest and a flat cap (he did!) and whether the drummer would smoke on the stage (he surely did!)… I was also expecting to see some old school stage antics, like giant-sized inflatable dolls, huge bells and cannons (they were all there!) and of course Angus doing a striptease (and you bet he did it – only to reveal that he’s wearing boxers emblazoned with the AC/DC logo!) So, all boxes ticked – Ivana happy!

Certainly, all this may sound utterly silly to someone who isn’t into old-skool bluesy, greasy, blokey, sexist, flamboyant hard rock – but for the initiated, such as myself, this is the epitome of fun! But goofy stage antics aside, these people know how to cook up a good riff, and their commitment to what they do ultimately transcends the silliness of it all.

The concert was introduced by an inspired Belfast-based band called The Answer. These blokes play some cool bluesy guitar rock but with some funky elements, courtesy of their rhythm section. They’re an exciting live act – the crowd loved them!

And then “the thunder from Down Under” took over. The first song of the night, “Rock’n’Roll Train” (from their latest album Black Ice, released last year), was introduced by a cartoon film of Angus dressed up as the Devil, driving a steam train faster and faster, to the horror of female controllers, and ending up with a real engine crashing onto the stage! The set offered a retrospective of their entire career, so they delivered all the classics such as “Highway To Hell”, “Whole Lotta Rosie”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Back To Black”, as well as a few newer things. Not that anyone could tell the difference between the old and the new songs really, because thirty years later, AC/DC are still doing their own thing – basic riffs, basic rhythms, three chords per song, and lyrics about gettin’ some and having a good time. The singer Brian Johnson is 61 years old (!) and nowadays he can’t hit all the high notes, but his energy level hasn’t decreased at all. In between the songs, the crowd would scream “Angus! Angus!” hoping that the show would never end! (And we were surely very sad when it ended.)

Now, I’ve read some really bad reviews of the AC/DC‘s UK tour (which, by the way, sold out in a matter of hours). The critics accused them of being “immutable dinosaurs” and such. But hey, none of us who bought tickets for their shows would want them to change! These granddads have survived in the music business for more than three decades by remaining true to who they are; and whoever expects them to change now must be smoking something way stronger than cigs. Yeah, they might be relics from the 1970s, misogynous sexists and whatnot, but all of us who packed up the MEN Arena that Tuesday night were simply having too much fun to care.

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The Giant’s House: A Romance (MAD SPOILERS!)

In September last year Ice Cream Man broke news about a film in development titled The Giant’s House that had Rupert Grint’s name attached to it. Regrettably, Mr Marvin Acuna with “Acuna Entertainment” informed us that Rupert was involved with this project but he was not able to commit, due to his busy schedule (which was made even busier by the Half-Blood Prince delay and the Deathly Hallows split). Mr Acuna said that they were quite disappointed and really looked forward to working with Rupert. Since then, the project has been put on hold and it is unknown if/when it will be reactualised. Nevertheless, our very own AJ has read the best selling novel by author Elizabeth McCracken that the film was supposed to be based on, and reviewed it below. The review contains major spoilers, so you’ll get familiar with the plot and the relationship between two protagonists, James Sweatt (whom Rupert was supposed to portray) and Peggy Cort (Niv Campbell was attached to this role). Feel free to comment on this book-should-have-been-turned-into-movie and whether it would have been a good role for Rupert.

AJ’s review

The Giant’s House: A Romance by Elisabeth McCracken
Paperback, Harper Perennial, 1997
ISBN-10: 0380730200; ISBN-13: 978-0380730209

The characters:
– Peggy Cort: A librarian in a small tourist attraction town of Cape Cod. She’s given up on love, she’s a bit plain and lonely. The book is written from her point of view, as if she’s telling a story of her past.

– James Sweatt: A young boy/man who has giantism. He likes to read and do card tricks. He likes to paint and take photographs. He dreams of traveling to places, like New York (which he gets to do) and Boston. Although he is very tall (growing to be about 8’4″) and attracts a lot of attention for it, he’s not treated too negatively, he has friends and folks like to visit him.

– Missus (Mrs. Sweatt): James’ mother. She’s dedicated her life to caring for James. But, I think she’s always had mental health issues as well. She’s an alcoholic, but she’s not mean or violent, she’s just sad.

– Caroline and Oscar Strickland: They are James’ aunt and uncle on his father side (who is pretty much non-existent… well, until the very end.) They are good people who love their nephew and even though James’ father left his wife and child years earlier, they took it upon themselves to care for them.

– There are some other characters that come in and out of the picture, but these are the most important.

Plot: The story is told through rememberances of Peggy Cort in three parts. The first parts discusses how she got in with James and his family. In the beginning, she pretty much dislikes people. She doesn’t think of them as anything beyond library patrons. However, I think she longs to be loved, appreciated and needed. She loves how the people NEED her to help them find books, and it makes her feel special when SHE has the answer to their inquiries. One day, James comes into the library. She notices his height (he was a kid, but already taller than a grown man.) He liked getting books out about magic tricks. This went on for some time, he needed a book about a topic, she’d help him. Until, one day, he’d stop showing cause he injured himself. His mother, Missus, came in to get books for him. Peggy would inquire about him, even offering to take books to him, but the Missus would just get the books. Eventually, Peggy invited herself over and met James’ family. She decided that she liked it there, so in a way, made it a point to become closer to them. James isn’t in the first part of the book much. He’s always out with his friends. During this time Peggy gets to know his mother (who’s a bit tragic) and his aunt and uncle (who brighten up the story a bit.)

Peggy has become close to the family, and then one day Missus takes her pills with her alcohol and wanders outside, and while trying to help her back inside, they fall and she hits her head and James hurts his leg (he’s very fragile, therefore, the smallest injury means months in the hospital for him.) While James is in the hospital, Missus dies from her injuries and no one tells him the entire time he’s in the hospital. This is when Peggy DECIDES that she loves him and that she’s pretty much dedicated to him. She and the Stricklands decide to build him his own house in the back of their house that is scaled for him. It has all of the amenities except a working kitchen and bathroom.

By the time he’d come home, he knew that his mother had died, even though they tried to keep it from him.

So, from this point on, much of the book is about him being in his house and having visitors (his teenage friends and tourists) come to his home. Meanwhile, although 10-11 years older, Peggy is becoming drawn to him, spending much of her time either working or catering to him. He gets a minor crush on this one girl, Stella, and though it pains Peggy, she encourages him a bit. Stella likes James as a friend, but she gets engaged and then married to another man.

James can’t buy his stuff at stores, he has to get his shoes made, his clothes ordered, etc. So, in order to make some money, he goes to a meet and greet at the store that makes his shoes. However, when they wanted to measure him for another pair of shoes, they discovered that his feet were infected (he can’t even feel things in his feet or legs, so he didn’t know.) The shoe store WAS going to send him to New York to a trade show to represent them, but after that, they didn’t want him and they didn’t have the heart to tell him (he’d been looking forward to it.)

James had been given offers by circus shows like Barnum and Bailey to join them, but he didn’t want to. But, finally, he did a small engagement with Barnum, so he could visit New York. He had a nice time (and took Peggy with him.) Met his circus partner, a really small lady, who told him that he should get married, thus causing him to haphazardly ask Peggy to marry him. There’s also this drunk guy in a restaurant (who becomes important later.)

When he gets home (back to being a tourist attraction in his house), he decides that he wants to go to Boston. He and Peggy have one moment together one night. (They’d been told by a Doctor who studied Giantism, that James wouldn’t be much use sexually.) Basically, they spooned and he held her hip and her breast.

That’s it, and then a week later after walking out of a store, he collapsed in the street, but refused to go to the doctor. They take him home, where he just kept getting worse and he died in his sleep. He had an infection in his leg because of the brace he wore digging in his leg (remember, he couldn’t feel things in his leg) and it led to pneumonia. After his death, they continued his house as a museum.

Part three, James’ father comes back, asking about an inheritance. (He was the drunk guy in the restaurant in New York…. but didn’t introduce himself as such). Of course, the Stricklands (his family) have no words for him. So, he bothers Peggy at work, asking questions about his son, for something like a picture of his. They meet and go to her house, where they end up having sex and she gets pregnant (of course, he leaves immediately, and she didn’t expect anything less.) So, she passes off the baby as… James’ baby. The End.

AJ’s Evaluation:

Okay, I have to think of it in its three parts. Part one, it started slow. It was mainly about Peggy and to me, her need to belong, even when she said she didn’t WANT to belong. It helped to establish a relationship with the family. You got to know about James’ mother, who as I said before, seemed a bit tragic. I think she held guilt over her son being so tall and knowing that even though she’d probably take all of the pain away if she could, couldn’t really do much for him. She was a bit overprotective, but wasn’t depressive over him. The Stricklands were a lovely, lively couple who loved their nephew and the two children they ended up having. I really didn’t get a feeling for James in this first part.

Part Two, after James’ mother died, Peggy spends more time around him. One thing that I liked, was that it wasn’t like Beauty and the Beast. For the most part, James was a nice guy. He had school friends, the town’s people liked him. Sure, he was considered an oddity, but he was engaging enough that people would sit down and talk to him. And he often corresponded with some tourist long after they’d gone (like Patty Flood.) The only sad part about him was that he kept growing, so his body was giving out on him. When he was younger, he was tall, but could play baseball, but as he got older, he needed a brace and a cane, couldn’t dance with a pretty girl if he wanted to. He’d become too big for things like cars (Peggy bought a car and had a seat removed so he could sit in it.) He had trouble doing simple things like walking and he couldn’t feel his lower limbs, so he didn’t even know when there were infections.

Regarding his relationship with Peggy, the story was told from her point of view, so we really didn’t know what HE thought about her romantically. He had had a brief crush on Stella, (even asking Peggy to help him with it…), but when she got married and he went to her wedding, he decided to let it go (nothing worst than unrequited love.)

Peggy always talked about how much she loved him (to herself that is.) But, I don’t even know if that was romantic. I personally think (and it becomes clearer to me in the third part) that it was NEED. Personally, I think she NEEDED to have purpose. She needed to take care of him. And when he died, she felt as if she had no purpose.

While at the hotel in New York (they shared adjoining rooms), he asked her if she wanted to get married? But, not in a way, like he was asking her hand, but more of, you’re a girl, do you want something like that, cause that’s what girls want. (However, he was only 20 and he KNEW his days were numbered.) She was thinking yes, but she didn’t want to say it, cause she didn’t want him to think he should marry her, because that’s what girls do.

But, I still don’t know if the love was romantic (in terms of the way, we would think of it), or just a sad kind of romantic way. Cause, he was going to die and he hadn’t had some experiences in life, like a true love. She even kissed him, because he had never been kissed. But, a week later he died.

Part Three: OK, this part FLOORED me. I was all like, this book isn’t too bad, I rather liked it, and then I read part three. Guess who comes walsing back into town two months after his son dies? Mr. Sweatt…. wanting something from his son.

I said before what happened between Peggy and him, but the two of them having sex totally invalidated everything that had happened in the book for me. Oh sure, she felt stupid about it. But, this leaves me thinking, ok, she’s just crazy and lonely.

I go back and think about everything that’s happened. Peggy manipulates her way into their lives. She purposely stops giving Mrs. Sweatt books James would find interesting and then looks up his address so she can worm her way over there. He wasn’t even 18 yet when in her mind she was in love with him. (She wasn’t thinking too much about him in naughty ways, but she wasn’t getting none, so it had crossed her mind a bit.)

Two months after James dies, she slept with his father (who had pretty much abandoned his family), she even though for a moment that she LOVED him (just for one day.)

She immediately tells another library employee (who loves to gossip), that it’s James’ baby, so that the rumor can spread. Even though the baby came out 10 months later (he died 2 months before she got pregnant), no one questioned it (cause it wasn’t supposed to be possible.)

In the end, Peggy is happy, because in her mind, she still has a piece of James; as far as she’s concerned, it’s James’ genes, so it’s James’ baby. And all lived happily ever after, the end. Anyway, she wasn’t an evil mean manipulative character, but in the end, I think she was mental and lonely and she never suffered any consequences (even internally) for her actions. Everything throughout the book just sort of happened, and let’s move on. Mother dies, okay, moving right along; even James’ death felt that way.

I think Peggy did love James. She did practically give her self to him as far as being his companion and doing things for him. That’s why the ending just ruined the rest of the book up for me — somehow it invalidated the entire book.

To be honest, much of the problem is with the author. She put stuff out there, and even though she’s writing from Peggy’s point of view, she never let Peggy go over too much the motivations of her actions. So, to be fair to Peggy, I’ll try to interpret her motivations (even though her actions were wrong.)

Before James died, Peggy invested everything in him. She even said before, that it was easy to fall in love with James because she knew he was dying. She could pour everything she had into him, because she knew that she was a selfish person, and that in a normal relationship, after years of marriage, she’d get bored (or something to that extent.)

However, when he died, her purpose was gone. She was empty again. (James even told her, the night that they “slept” together, that she lived vicariously through him.)

I was disappointed that she even agreed to talk with Mr. Sweatt cause his own sister wanted nothing to do with him. Peggy intended to be rude to him, but he was putting on the charm and I don’t think initially she knew THAT was going to happen. I think Peggy was an empty vessel without James around. And here was his father (oh sure, he’d abandoned him, but a physical link to James), and also, here’s a man in her apartment (and she ain’t had none in ages), and he’s touching her hand and stuff that she isn’t used to. And one thing led to another…..

The next morning, she regretted it and cried about it. She was depressed about it, guilty. But, when she found out she was pregnant, she just claimed it as James’ baby. (She couldn’t say that she slept with his father, now could she…) I think in her mind, she was maintaining a piece of James (James himself from what the doctors said, wouldn’t have been able to impregnate her.) In her mind, she was married to James (the first posthumous marriage, as she called it) and that was their child.

Because the story is told from Peggy’s perspective, we don’t know that much of what goes on in James’ mind. He is very smart, straightforward and aware. He knew his mother was dead well before they told him and was upset that they didn’t just come out with it. He knew that he was going to die young without having had many of the experiences that others his age would have and he resigned himself to it.

I think he loved Peggy (she was always there for him, definitely his best friend). I don’t know if he was in love with her, because he just wasn’t, or he just came to terms that he’d never be able to do anything for someone he was in love with. Even Peggy said that her love for James wasn’t sexual. It was a lot more to her.

So, Peggy is definitely not a bad person, but the author made it okay for her to think that she could do what she did. And we will never know what James would have thought. I think he wouldn’t have gotten too upset with her being with another man (he couldn’t give her anything in that respect), but I don’t think he’d be okay if it was his father. (We don’t even get into how he felt about his father, because James told Peggy not to ask.)

So, don’t hate Peggy, pity her maybe.

What I think about Rupert’s potential for this role?

The question shouldn’t be whether Rupert could play this role, (based solely on the character’s personality and ignoring the Giantism), but whether him playing this role would enable him to exercise his acting skills? Would we have seen something new that would stretch him as a performer?

Before I answer that, the one thing I liked about Peggy and James is their conversations. Though short, they were interesting back and forths. And one thing I’d really like to see Rupert do is to have a conversation in a film. Harry Potter has never really allowed for that.

Now to answer the question, I think personality wise, Rupert could play this character. However, that is not what I think he needs right now. Not saying that every role he plays should be stressful and overly challenging, but I think we can leave James in the Ben Marshall file to an extent (although James is not shy and repressed like Ben.)

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