MOVIE BUFF-ET: Disney’s Penguins a perfectly pleasing nature documentary with heart


If fairy tales, super heroes, and space fantasies aren’t really your thing, Disney might still have a movie on its slate to please your more discriminating palate with its latest nature documentary “Penguins.”

New In Local Movie Theaters

  • Penguins (G) 1 hr. 16 min. – AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Hills
    » Watch trailer
  • The Curse of La Llorona (R) 1 hr. 33 min. – AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Malco Springdale
    » Watch trailer
  • Breakthrough (PG) 1 hr. 56 min. – AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Malco Springdale, Bentonville Skylight
    » Watch trailer
  • Teen Spirit (PG-13) 1 hr. 32 min. – AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Rogers Towne
    » Watch trailer
  • Unplanned (R) 1 hr. 50 min. – Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Hills
    » Watch trailer

The movie, directed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, is absolutely gorgeous, sumptuously photographed and humorously written by David Fowler with narration by Ed Helms.

The film tells the story of an Adélie penguin named Steve and his quest to mate and then protect his family against the wicked weather of the the Antarctic, its natural predators, and other penguins, who steal the pebbles little Steve gathers for his nest about as quickly as he can find them.

It’s no doubt a harsh life for a penguin. The drama is real, but little birds are so exceptionally cute and so lovingly filmed that the movie is quite irresistible like most of Disneynature’s fare.

As one who watched the “Wonderful World of Disney” TV show as often as I could growing up, I have a fondness for nature documentaries of this sort. I love seeing them on the big screen just to bask in the vivid beauty of them after watching so many of them on tiny screens as a kid.

While I might not rank this movie up against the best animated fare of Disney or Pixar, I doubt that you will find a more enjoyable movie-going experience among films released this week.

If you want to see “Penguins” in IMAX, you’d better take the chance this week because “Avengers: Endgame” opens next Thursday night, and it will push “Penguins” and practically every other movie to the side.

(G) 1 hr. 16 min.
Garde: B+

Classic Corner

The Green Pastures
With Sunday being Easter, Turner Classic Movies channel is celebrating with a slew of Easter-themed movies ranging from dramas depicting the life of Christ like the 1961 and the 1926 silent version of “The King of Kings” which play at 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. respectively. Mixed in with those and other dramas, TCM shoehorned in a couple of musicals for good measure.

The first musical begins TCM’s Easter-viewing slate at 5:15 a.m. (CT) with “The Green Pastures.” The Easter Bunny is probably the only one who’ll be up in time to watch this 1936 film based on the 1928 novel by Roark Bradford “Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Chillun.”

The movie, which does use racial stereotypes, is one of just six films that feature an all-African American cast during the Hollywood Studio era. The old-time gospel tunes are remarkably irresistible.

The film features stories from the Old Testament as depicted through the eyes of Southern, African American folklore. A really interesting concept that gets to the core of the Sunday School stories that many have cherished since childhood.

Some will find the movie troublesome, but it features a host of entertaining performers such as Rex Ingram, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Myrtle Anderson, and Edna Mae Harris, a, which drives home the point the golden-age of film would have been well served my more diverse casting.

Easter Parade
The second musical “Easter Parade” which airs at 7 p.m. (CT) really has very little to do with Easter other than the title song. That’s O.K. because the film is still delightful, if you enjoy classic Hollywood musicals
The 1948 Charles Walters’ film does feature Judy Garland at her apex, Fred Astaire while he was still near the top of his game, and 14 wonderful songs by the great Irving Berlin.

Astaire had announced his retirement, but Gene Kelly, who was supposed to co-star with Garland before breaking his ankle playing volleyball, talked Astaire into taking the part.

The movie also features Peter Lawford as Astaire’ rival for Garland’s affection, and Ann Miller as Astaire’s dance partner, whom Garland replaces in the film.

The movie won an Oscar for Best Music Score, and Berlin’s songs provide the perfect vehicle for the performers to spotlight their talents.