Now for a dance number.

Strictly Ballroom - Dumped by his partner just before a major dance competition, gifted hoofer Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio) is forced to take a graceless neophyte (Tara Morice) as his new partner. But much to everyone's surprise, Scott soon turns his unpromising protégé into a topnotch dancer. Bill Hunter, Pat Thomson, Gia Carides and Barry Otto also star in this quirky, engaging tale from Aussie director Baz Luhrmann.

(rent) This is an older flick, and it’s quirky, but I definitely think it’s worth checking out. I like that the romance is present, but it slowly builds and is more an underlying niceness rather than the focal point. The lead female isn’t upset when Scott is a douchebag because he doesn’t love her (although that comes up early on), she’s upset because he’s being a douchbag. He’s going back on what he promised and he’s betraying her--as a dancer. So much of the plot is ridiculous (in a good way, I think), but their relationship is so pure and honest. It’s a great contrast to the insanity of ballroom (along with the sanity of her family and her life, which is so grounded, while his family is crazy). Fun, cute, and worth a watch.

My Neighbor Totoro - Legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki provides a stunningly realistic portrayal of life in the country. When their mother is hospitalized, two young sisters spend a summer in the Japanese countryside with their father. The strange new environment turns out to be a natural wonderland filled with exotic real-life creatures and a trio of furry woodland sprites who can only be seen by children.

(rent/buy) This was an enjoyable, light, children's movie that touches upon some serious subjects but never delves too deep into the dark waters. I found the beginning to be a little slow, but once the premise was established, things picked up. It's not action-packed by any stretch, but it is a fantastic children's story exploring elements of the fantastic while staying grounded in the real world. While I imagine many little kids will not be enchanted by the lovely animation or slow story, they will be pulled in by the adventures had with spirits. Worth a watch, especially if you have kids, but even without, it's worth the hour and a half of your time.

The Big Gay Musical - When not playing leads in a musical called "Adam and Steve Just the Way God Made 'Em," Paul and Eddie act out the story of their own star-crossed lives offstage. The recently dumped Paul just wants to stay in, while Eddie is still coming out.

(rent/buy) Surprisingly awesome. I went in expecting it to be ridiculous--and it is--but it’s also a touching story about Paul and Eddie and their lives. The ending wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was pretty perfect. It will hit you in all the squishy love places and make you laugh (and roll your eyes) at the crazy stereotype they are playing up. And while some Christians may take offense, I imagine most the Christians following my blog won’t (although it’s obviously not meant to be taken too seriously anyway). Check it out!

It’s in the Water - A new AIDS hospice sends a tiny Southern town into a hysterical homophobic frenzy, and the locals start heeding rumors that the facility has tainted the town's water supply with something that "turns" people gay. Caught in the middle is harried wife Alex Stratton (Keri Jo Chapman), whose fling with high school pal Grace sets off more chain reactions.

(rent) This was fairly good, but not great. It has a daytime drama feel to it with the ridiculous events and the ridiculous characters, but it also has some very tender moments and some downright laughable ones. While this didn’t amaze me or blow me out of the water, it was worth the watch and I appreciated the equal access makeout scenes. Also, I love Alex’s father. I think he and the housekeeper were my favorite parts. He plays a wonderful “that’s nice dear” to Alex’s hysterical mother.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day - Skillfully framed by an unknown enemy for the murder of a priest, wanted vigilantes the MacManus brothers -- Murphy and Connor -- must come out of hiding on a sheep farm in Ireland to fight for justice in Boston.

(rent) Compared to the first one, the second is pitiful. The beginning humps the fan adoration of The Boys being naked, then wanders around searching for a plot and trying to re-do everything that “worked” in the first. Mostly violence and humor which, especially in this movie, wasn’t that funny. Also, in reaction to the heavy homo-eroticism of the first movie, the director decided to add as many gay jokes and homophobic comments as possible. That’s the bad.

The good is everything after ¾ of the way through. The ending brings back much of the awesome from the first movie, and there is even plot (which the beginning was supposedly building toward, but could have been truncated). Even then, the movie was made by the last two scenes, where things get more interesting and almost seems like a setup for a third movie (although I don’t see that happening after the disappointment of the second and Duffy’s bad blood in Hollywood). I only bought it because I’d forgotten how bad the beginning was and because I do love The Boys.

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