Category archives for: Entertainment

Penguins: They’re back

2006’s Happy Feet was a truly crazy movie, a blend of Pixar-style animation, Bollywood musical and a streak of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Set in a world in which penguins sing to connect with their soulmates, the film focused on the unfortunate young Mumbles, unable to carry a tune but endowed with a natural […]

‘Martha’ a poignant exploration of cult phenomenon

At the beginning of Martha Marcy May Marlene, the title character—all those names are hers—flees a cult in rural upstate New York. In desperation, she calls her older sister Lucy, who’s had no idea of her whereabouts for the past couple of years. Lucy comes and picks her up, and takes her to the upscale […]

‘Thing’ remake still frightful

All it means, really, is “object,” yet somewhere along the line in American pop culture the word “thing” came to mean something scary, a monster, a freak. Maybe it says something about humans that it’s what’s undefined, not consigned to a pigeonhole, which raises our collective gooseflesh. There were Lovecraft stories like “The Thing on […]

‘Dolphin’ tale a quixotic charmer

“From the studios and producers of The Blind Side.” That’s how Dolphin Tale is being marketed. This may strike you as a tenuous aesthetic connection, but it’s savvy advertising—Dolphin Tale, loosely based on true events, is another story of a wounded foundling becoming a star. The young dolphin in question is injured when she runs […]

‘Hoodwinked Too!’ redux ready for girls (and boys, too)

Made in a less-expensive, not-so-lush form of computer-generated animation, 2005’s Hoodwinked! was a fractured retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood myth. It was filled with wacky references to other fairy tales, something like Shrek but without the same effortless wit. The voice cast was good and the film certainly had its moments, but on […]

Latest ‘Planet of the Apes’ sequel recasts earlier efforts with mostly joyous results

Of the many geeky enthusiasms of my boyhood, that for the Planet of the Apes movies was second in intensity only to Star Trek. So despite the disappointment I, like many fans, felt over Tim Burton’s 2001 version of Apes, I was still childishly excited about the new film, Rise of the Planet of the […]

‘50s Smurfs legend resurrected for 3D remake — and a worthy one at that

It’s understandable if you don’t feel much enthusiasm at the prospect of taking your kid to The Smurfs. You may fear you’re in for a pretty cloying hour and a half. Created in the late ‘50s by the Belgian comic artist Pierre “Peyo” Culliford—as Les Schtroumpfs; the term Smurf was a Dutch rendering—the tiny, blue-skinned […]

Pooh tale best of animal epics

Opening this weekend is Winnie the Pooh, a new Disney feature chronicling the adventures of the title teddy bear and his various pals in the Hundred Acre Wood. I must admit that I come to the Disney incarnations of these characters with a bias. The low-key, quietly witty original stories, by A. A. Milne, and […]

Attempt at first novel ends with arrival of a remarkable look-alike

A little over 10 years ago, mostly at the urging of a friend, I wrote my first novel. It took me about a year, including some lengthy interruptions, and though it was challenging at times, I greatly enjoyed the process. When the book was (more or less) done, I gave it to read to a […]

Despite its shortcomings, ‘Tree of Life’ grows potentially classic roots

The specific subject of Terrence Malick’s new film The Tree of Life is a mid-century, middle-class, middle-American family—dysfunction and tragedy played out in Norman Rockwell light. Malick isn’t big on specificity, though, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that what he’s really taking on with this movie is no less than the Meaning […]

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