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Monday, May 21, 2007

Movies: Happy Feet, Spider-Man 3, Man of The Year

I try to use this blog to talk about lesser-known or older movies, because new releases tend to get a lot of press elsewhere. Also, I'm a believer that some of the best movies are either from over thirty years ago or, if recent, are not necessarily given a wide, media-blitzed studio release.
However, I do see newer, popular movies from time to time, and they aren't all bad (like Ghost Rider. Ughh!)
Here are three that I saw fairly recently:

Happy Feet

Plot: A dancing penguin saves his colony. Do you really need to know more? DANCING. PENGUIN. On those two words alone you'll either skip it or immediately go out and rent it.

The animation is impressive. The music is a lot of fun. Tap-master Savion Glover's dancing translates surprisingly well into the body of an animated penguin. The premise should provoke environmental awareness in your kiddies (and you, too, you big softies) even if the resolution is a bit . . . bizarre. All in all, it's fun for kids and fun for adults, and easily worth a trip to the video kiosk.
On a side note, for some great tap-dancing and a look at a very young Savion Glover, check out one of my favorite movies, Tap (1989), featuring late dance greats Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, Jr. (The plot's a little thin, but the dance sequences make up for it.)

Spider-Man 3

Plot: Spider-Man wrestles with his demons as well as three super-powered baddies and an alien costume in Sam Raimi's third outing as director in this highly popular series.

Deftly skirting the "too many villains" curse of movies like Batman Forever, and, for the second time, the curse of the super-hero sequel, Spider-Man 3 once again captures the spirit that has made the wall-crawler one of comicdom's most beloved superheroes: his vulnerabilities.
Some of Raimi's quirkiness as a storyteller manifests itself in this film more so than in the previous movies, and you'll either love that or hate that. (I love it.) This means you can also expect a scene-stealing cameo by cult favorite Bruce Campbell.
I hope that for Spider-Man 4 (which is already being talked about), director, cast, and crew should be kept in place. I shudder to think what someone like Joel Schumacher would do to this beloved franchise.

Man of The Year

I resisted seeing this movie. From the marketing campaign of this movie, it looked like a silly bit of political slapstick from Robin Williams, and I feel he is above that.
Still, I decided one day to give it a look.
What a surprise! This is a very smart black comedy about the political process. Williams's one-liners are well-placed, and are hardly what the movie is all about. There is intrigue, suspense, and dark social commentary throughout. This is a far, far better movie than its packaging would suggest. I really liked it and recommend it highly. Also, it's not every day that you see a movie work Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" into its soundtrack.

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