Thursday, December 29, 2005

This Is Movie Week at The Kegger

We have immersed ourselves in film this week (sounds dirty, yes, but it's not. At least not yet). A few highlights:
  • Mad Hot Ballroom was on PPV. This is what good documentary film-making is all about. It follows three public elementary schools competing in ballroom dance (apparently, there is a ballroom dance program in NYC's public schools). This film has it all - great music, great dancing, sweet kids fighting against the ugliness around them, and really funny one-liners that 10 year old boys and girls say about each other. Watch it, and be ready to swing (damn, I could be Leonard Maltin!)
  • Christmas night, we paid our annual tithe at The Church of A Christmas Story. God Bless You, Ralphie! Fragile!
  • A rent of The March of the Penguins. I'm sure the big screen surpasses the small, but this remains a beautiful, impacting film. The cinematography is equaled only by Morgan Freeman's narration. The only occasional clunkers were provided by the writing. Ugh. At moments, it was like a bad National Geographic special written by Mitch Albom.
  • King Kong finished off our orgy of film. I loved it. The first hour was entirely focused on developing character and plot, and it surprised me that it worked. Peter Jackson is brilliant at creating worlds, and his 1930's New York City is a wonder to behold. Naomi Watts does a great job of drawing us into her depression-era struggles. The city shots are much more that simply gorgeous - they help to explain the motives of the main characters. The band's adventures on Skull Island cover the middle third of the film. The natives are creepy to an extreme. There are more dinosaur and giant bug attacks than anyone should be allowed to endure. Frankly, while all are brilliant in their own right, there are one or two too many. It exhausted me (or maybe I was just hung over?) The final third of the film was Kong in New York. Tragic, a predictable and well-known story is beautifully and movingly told. All the women around me were crying. Go see it. Soon. This is a film that demands a big, big screen. My only two criticisms: too long - 30-40 minutes could have easily been cut; and, way too much time for Ann and Kong to stare into each others' eyes, enjoying the sunset. I was waiting for him to pull out a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio. It got to the point of being silly. But, still, I give it a bunch of stars (out of a bunch.) See it. Escape, and enjoy.

Any other good movies out there? Let us know.

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