A Good Yarn

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Giving Thanks

I hope all of my American friends had a lovely Thanksgiving. It was a nice day for me. We've had unseasonably warm weather (don't worry, the temperatures are falling again), so it was nice to just walk around without a jacket and all that stuff. And to feel the sun on my face - winter can get a bit gloomy. I watched football for a bit and then headed over to my brother's place. He made a wonderful, huge free-range turkey. The meal was delicious. I played games with my nephew Michael, and then we saw this film:

Believe it or not I didn't really care for it. First, what I didn't like: there seemed to be a confusion of what the film was about. It starts out as a fable about accepting people for who they are - the main character, Mumble, is an Emporer penguin who doesn't sing like the rest of the Emporer penguins - instead, he dances. He's scorned and ridiculed by the elders because that's not "penguin", but of course his dancing proves to be heroic. That's a good story. But it sort of shifts in the middle. Mumble meets a group of Adelie penguins who love his dancing. He brings them back with him to Emporerland and the elders mistrust and scorn the Adelies because they're foreigners - so a bit of a theme of not mistrusting foreigners. Then it switches yet again into a story about human encroachment on wildlife habitat - the humans are fishing the seas and there are no fish left for the penguins. Any of these stories would be good, but it all seems like a mishmash. Also, those Adelie penguins are led by Ramon, who is voiced by Robin Williams. The Adelies all speak in a sort of East LA latino accent, which seems a bit racist when voiced by Robin Williams and as one of the sole sources of "humor" in the film. Williams also voices another penguin who sort of sounds like Barry White. That's another problem I had with the film - it really was pretty downbeat and dreary and didn't have much humor. A movie about talking penguins really should be kind of funny, right?

What I did like of the film - it was great animation. It was CGI with some live action footage mixed in too and looked great. The dancing and singing were great too. As I mentioned, all the Emporer penguins (except Mumbles) sing - they have a heartsong, which they sing and when they find another penguin whose heartsong meshes with their own, they are mates. The mixing of the songs was really cool. And Mumble's dance is actually tapped by Savion Glover. I should also mention that Michael loved the movie. Apparently he didn't find it dreary at all. Kate and Ben saw it yesterday and loved it too. So, I guess the kiddies will love it.

Yesterday I went for a visit with my grandpa and then I went to the office for a couple of hours. I know, I really wanted to take the whole long weekend off, but I just didn't get everything done I needed to on Wednesday. Anyway, last night I had dinner with a friend and then we saw this:

This one I loved! Will Ferrell plays an IRS auditor who all of a sudden hears a woman narrating his life. As if that wasn't annoying enough, she mentions that he's going to die imminently. Needless to say, he sort of freaks out and eventually seeks advice from a literature professor played by Dustin Hoffman. The narrator is a novelist played by Emma Thompson. It's really a fascinating story about literature and fate and living life to its fullest. There's also a love story between Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhall, who plays a progressive baker who Ferrell audits, but also falls in love with. The cast is wonderful. Ferrell proves he can play drama as well as comedy (kind of like those early movies with Robin Williams). Thompson is fantastic as the very depressed author who can't figure out how to kill her main character. I also really liked Dustin Hoffman for the first time in a long while. He plays the lit professor in a very quirky but not overdone way. I was abolutely charmed and caught up in this film.

I haven't been knitting a ton, with all this other stuff going on. I did finish another mitered square:

I also took a card class at Archiver's, but I'll save that for next time.