Today I will finally update my journal! I really do apologize for the exceedingly long delay - I know I promised to update sooner than this. Therefore, I shall inform you of the latest news and changes in my life.
December 16 was our performance of Cabaret. It was awesome. It's funny, a lot of us thought it was going to be our worst show, as we missed so many rehearsals due to the hurricane, but it ended up being spectacular. The cast, choreography, mood, audience response - everything was great. I hope the office remembers to send me the DVD. I wish I was able to do the dinner theater performances on Saturday, but I couldn't, as I had to move that morning. :(
Which brings me to the most prominent aspect of my life: moving. I am now writing to you from my new house in Asheville, North Carolina. So far I like it well enough. It's better than Florida - we really didn't like the heat, hurricanes, overpopulation, or traffic in South Florida. I'm not sorry I moved there - I got to participate in some great shows and learned a lot about myself within that year. That's one thing I like about moving - it shakes everything up. As you learn to navigate and settle into a new location, you also learn surprising new things about yourself. Much of the time, these new discoveries are small; yet ultimately the small pieces of a person are what refine them into who they truly are. Moving can be scary, frustrating, and horrid, yet with these ill forebodings comes a sense of cleansing that is hard to find. We figured that we'd give Asheville 6 months to a year, and if we don't like it, we can always move somewhere else. The concept of settling somewhere long term is a bit overrated - often people would rather choose comfort and stay in a place they don't like than to adjust to change.
Anyway, it's a very interesting area. I actually live in a small town that's right outside of Asheville. Asheville itself is an awesome city - it's small, hip, artsy, and very liberal, which I like. It has often been dubbed "San Francisco of the South" for its tolerance, acceptance, and culture. I'm right in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it's absolutely gorgeous. The air always smells so clean and pure compared to Florida and New York. The views and nature scenery are also astoundingly lovely. Also, southern cooking is delicious....I don't know how they do it, but they sure can cook, haha.
Our house is beautiful. It was built in 1925, with hardwood floors, tall windows and ceilings, and a fireplace; yet it has a new, high tech kitchen and appliances. My room is a light yellow color, and it came with a mural of a garden gate and faeries painted on the walls. I chose not to paint over them - I love faeries and gardens. :)
That's not to say moving in is ever an easy feat. We discovered that due to the house's age, there weren't any connections for phone lines and computers. Thus we had to have them put in, which was confusing and took the company awhile. It's odd how much we depend on technology to keep in touch with the world - I was going crazy without my computer. However, everything is set up now, so I am comfortable enough. I'm not sure yet how I'll like it; I've only been here two weeks. However, it seems nice here so far. I'll try to update regularly to tell how everything is working out.
Christmas was okay - it just felt very strange, since we don't have any family here and it was our first week in the new house. However, the cold weather made it feel much more like the holidays; it didn't feel like Christmas at all in Florida. I received some nice gifts, the best including an Ipod Nano (which is awesome; it's so small!) and books, money, and gift certificates.
Dad came down to visit for New Years Weekend. That was nice. I think he actually likes it here, since the climate is moderate and the golfing is abundant, haha.
Within the past few months, many movies have been released. I know this is belated, but I will enclose my thoughts on GOF and Rent.
Let's start with Goblet of Fire. I'll begin with the things I like about it.
The young cast continues to be excellent - Dan Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, and the other young actors portraying students gave outstanding performances. They are truly capturing the changes that are occuring within the characters, as young people, and within the no longer safe wizarding world. It's interesting to see their acting develop with every movie.
Alan Rickman is always amazing as Snape; his interpretation and the way he has embraced Snape are fantastic - he truly becomes Severus Snape.
Ralph Fiennes was brilliant as Lord Voldemort. As Voldemort is one of the characters that interests me most, I was extremely anxious to see how he would be portrayed. I need not have worried - Fiennes was simply wonderful. He showed Voldemort's wit, his turbulent and sudden emotional changes, his quiet calculation, his anger, and his utter appreciation for life...The way Fiennes spoke, and especially the manner in which he moved, brought Voldemort's more sensual, snake-like mannerisms to life.
The special effects were great - the dragons and merpeople looked amazing. The Dark Mark was terrifying and remarkably done. On to he music - though I miss John Williams, the new score is very good. It's quite different, and perhaps isn't as multi-layered, yet it's nice enough to go along with the film and can be very powerful at time.
Overall, the best scene was the grave yard - though it was a bit short, it was extremely well done. The acting from every one was at its peak - Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, and Daniel Radcliffe were completely in character. The emotion, apprehension, fear, determination, anger, and violence that occured in the scene was perfectly captured. It took my breath away.
Now, on to the long list of everything in the film that I disliked.
1. The changes between scenes were much too sudden, especially in the beginning. One minute, we're at the Quiddict World Cup in August, and the next, it's Halloween and Beaubatons and Durmstrang students are arriving. It feels too rushed.
2. Michael Gambon's acting continues to disappoint me. You can tell he's never read any of the books. He's much too rough and stern - him grabbing and shaking Harry was ridiculous. Dumbledore is not a character of violence - Dumbledore has always been peaceful, fair, and mort softly spoken. When he is angry, a quiet, forceful radiance emanates from him....He isn't supposed to scream and shake students. At times, Gambon seems to understand Dumbledore, but at other times he's completely off. Therefore, Gambon's main fault is inconsistency.
3. The film didn't show any classes besides Moody's first DADA class. Though this scene was powerful, I honestly think the film need a few more class room scenes. In the film, I just didn't get the feel that I was in a school at all - they could have at least shown the Blast-ended Skrewt class with Hagrid and the students receiving a drastic increase in work. They cut too much from the beginning of the book.
4. Showing Barty Crouch, Jr. right in the beginning of the film was not a particularly good idea. It took away from the suspense.
5. Cutting Winky was a huge mistake. She is a huge part of the back bone of the plot.
6. I hated the fact that the entire back story of Barty Crouch Jr. and his father was left out during the Veritaserum scene. Because of this, Crouch's murder seemed insignificant in the film. It really only would have taken a few minutes for them to show Crouch Jr and his mother being switched through Polyjuice Potion, and to show Voldemort capturing Crouch Senoir. I mean, the reason Crouch Sr was acting so strange and ill was because he was fighting Voldemort's binds on him. Hell, they wouldn't have even have to have shown any of this, they could have just had Crouch Jr. quickly explain it under the influence of Vertiserum. It was a brilliant subplot, so I sorely missed its absence in the film.
7. Though Miranda Richardson was an excellent Rita Skeeter, the character was poorly written for the film. Excluding her article on Hagrid and Hermione finding her to be an unregistered Animagus was a mistake. It was another interesting subplot, and will, of course, affect how Harry's interview is portrayed in the Order of the Phoenix film.
8. Krum and Fleur seemed too one dimentional - they weren't the same humorous characters that were in the book.
9. Everything seemed too dark and enclosed. Though GOF is dark, Harry is still supposed to feel like Hogwarts is home. He isn't supposed to feel like it's not home until OOTP; so this could affect the next film.
10. Excluding "The Parting of the Ways" annoyed me most. It is a thrilling, fascinating scene that sets the stage for the next book. It is where the major coflict between Harry and the wizarding world's view of him occurs. When Fudge denounces Voldemort's return, a lot will change for Harry. It is a powerful scene, and I would have liked to have seen it on film.
Overall, I think the problem with the Goblet of Fire film was, once again, inconsistency. I am glad Newell is not directing the next one. Some scenes were fantastic, while others were too rushed and didn't tell enough of the story. I did like it very much, though, despite my complaints. I saw it three time, haha. However, I eagerly anticipate how Order of the Pheonix will be adapted to the screen. I am most worried about the casting for Bellatrix - she is one of my favorite characters, and I don't want to see her slighted.
Anyway, moving on to Rent. The Rent film was beautiful. As a Rent fan, I couldn't have asked for a better tribute to the show. The original cast members were as wonderful as ever, Tracie Thoms was powerful as Joanne, and Rosario Dawson's great acting made her an excellent Mimi. I of course missed the second part of Goodbye Love and Halloween, and regret that they were cut. However, I look forward to seeing them on the DVD. The rest of the songs all sounded great. There couldn't have been a better director to bring this to film - Columbus did an extraordinary job. It was shot in quite an interesting way, and included all of the grittiness and hardships of that time period. His love for Rent could really be seen in the film. It didn't made any apologies, and didn't try to conform to mainstream society, which is probably why it hasn't been a box office hit. But the film stayed true to Jonathan Larson's original vision of Rent, and the concept of "No day but today." The film truly captured the love, life, tragedy, humor, joy, pain, and friendship that Rent embodies. As a Rent fan, that's all I could ever hope to ask for. I am elated that the film was such a gorgeous tribute to the show.
Now that I've bored you with these long diatribes about movies, I will move on to another topic.
I am, lately, more obsessed with Harry Potter fan fiction than ever. I just can't get enough of it, if it's interesting and well written. My favorite fic, "Ascent," by Lunalelle (The sequel to the wonderful "Abyss") has not been updated in quite some time. I am in withdrawal - it's such an intriguing, intricately layered story. The character development never ceases to fascinate me. I hope it's updated soon.
In the meantime, I've been reading "Invictus" by Chthonia. It's simply brilliant. It is very distrubing, of course, but that only adds to the excellent plot and intriguing motives of both Lucius and Hermione. It kept me up reading a whole night. Though I was exhausted the next day, it was quite worth it. I highly recomment Invictus.
Not much else is new. I've just been so busy unpacking boxes, setting things up, and getting to know new steets. I'm really enjoying the winter weather; the brisk air feels so invigorating.
Oh, I forgot to mention that there's a large, well stocked library right near my house. I am having a lot of fun perusing the books! :)
Soon I'm going to loom for a place to continue my singing and dance lessons, as well as a new horse farm. I can't wait to ride around here; the mountain views and trails must be lovely.
I'll begin school on Monday, so that should be interesting.
I will now end my entry; it's much too long already. I figured I'd write a long update, since I haven't written here in months and months. The last time I wrote here was June, though that seems like it was yesterday...time flies! From now on I'm going to try to update with shorter entries so I can write more often. That way, everything I write will be current and I won't have to recall events.
Until next time.... - Kendall