Shorties #7

Normally, I try to mix a bunch of entertainment types into these entries, but I've been blowing through a ton of films lately, so are you ready for an all-movies Shorties? Let's hope so!

#1: Kinky Boots: This 2005 movie was recommended to me, so I tossed it on the Netflix queue. It's about a British man who inherits a failing shoe factory from his father, and in a desperate effort to save it, decides that production will shift to comfortable boot-wear for drag queens. It wasn't bad, but it's very much a product of its time, hitting all the rote paint-by-number plot devices a lot of movies with gay characters over-rely on. (Grade: B-)

#2: Paranorman: 2012 was a very strong year for animation, and this funny little monster movie is yet another score in the "win" column. Norman is a lonely little boy who can communicate with the dead, and must save his skeptical town from a witch's attack. His goofy and pudgy new friend, the best friend's dim-witted jock brother, and Norman's shallow sister are his only allies, and the movie deftly manages to combine kid-friendly fun with a decently macabre story, funny asides, and even a little sly social commentary. (Grade: B+)

#3: 21 Jump Street: I had initially decided to skip this, but after it got all kinds of generous reviews and decent word-of-mouth, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Hey, remember the other comedy I was going to skip, but then relented due to generous reviews and decent word-of-mouth? Yeah, same deal. This action/comedy deals in a lot of stupid jokes, but thinks that by calling out its own idiocy, it can be forgiven for it. It wasn't so bad that I wanted to kick the screen in when it was over, but for everything that worked, something else came along to cancel it out. It's possibly the most inessential thing I've seen so far this year. (Grade: C)

#4: Princess Mononoke: I've seen this one once before, but had forgotten a bunch of the details. After seeing The Secret World of Arietty, I wanted to refresh myself on another Miyazaki film I think of fondly. It's a lot darker than I remember. Some of Miyazaki's films, like Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away, are a lot more fantastical than human stories like Arietty and Mononoke. This one involves the very grim, ongoing battle between man and nature, and neither side gets away clean. That's not to say it's bad; it's just as fascinating this second time around. (Grade: B)

#5: Hannah and Her Sisters: Another one I saw long ago and have mostly forgotten. This is Woody Allen at his Woody Allenest - smack in the middle of his neurotic relationship drama period. For a movie where the stakes are comparatively low, it's pretty engaging. I can see why it won three Oscars (Dianne Wiest and Michael Caine for acting, Woody Allen for writing). I also enjoyed all the blink-and-you'll-miss-them cameos from people that are well-established now, like Sam Waterston and John Turturro. (Grade: B)


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