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More than monkey business


“Did you know monkeys could swim?” asks Tina Fey in Monkey Kingdom. While she’s asking, a toque macaque (a two foot-long monkey with red-white fur and great hair) breast-strokes under the surface of a pond, yanking out lily pad flowers by her teeth and dragging them ashore to munch later.

Turns out monkeys can swim. And slide down telephone poles. And do the thing from Flashdance where you bring down a cascade of water on your head and shake it off in slow-motion.

All will happen in Monkey Kingdom, the eighth film in nine years from Disneynature, Disney’s wildlife documentary outlet.

Soak up the fun


There’s a ton of sugar in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Literal sugar, as SpongeBob Squarepants (Tom Kenny) and Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) inhale their own weight in cotton candy and eat ice cream, one scoop per mouthful.

At one point we burrow into the brain of our boxy yellow hero and discover the inner workings of his brain: googly-eyed cakes and candies that giggle and sing. All of which is extremely appropriate for a film like Sponge Out of Water. Because not only is the movie sweet (the “awwww” kind of sweet), but it’s the equivalent of a 30-candy bar sugar rush, zipping between ideas like a sponge on rocket skates.

The story under all this is really not that complicated. SpongeBob flips burgers at the Krusty Krab.

Embraceable for all ages


Quick: disregard every moment of Paddington you’ve seen in any trailers or commercial spots. All gone? Good.

The marketing for Paddington has been monstrously off-message, portraying the classic children’s book bear as an earwax-licking, bathtub surfing, ursine Bart Simpson. The kind of Paddington bear who soils the good name of classic English kid’s literature; the bane of parents everywhere, dragged to a movie that offers nothing but groans of disgust and bear-fart humor.

Paddington is nothing like that. It’s wonderful and wonderfully inventive, peppered with dry British wit, intellectual depth and the kind of cuteness most animated films can only dream of. Really makes you wonder why they put so much bear-earwax in the commercials, doesn’t it?

CAT Theatre’s ‘Now Then Again’ planned


Director Melissa Rayford has selected the cast for CAT Theatre’s Now Then Again, the theater’s submission to the Acts of Faith “Fringe” Festival. The performance will run March 20 through April 5 at the theater, located at 319 North Wilkinson Road in Henrico.

The cast includes Matt Hackman as Henry Rainer; Rebecca A.K. Turner as Ginny Aiden; Chandler Hubbard as Chris Hale; Elliot Eisenberg as Felix; Craig M. Smith as Dr. Armand Trousant; and Kathy Northrop Parker as the minister/musician.

CAT Theatre announces auditions for ‘Quartet’

CAT Theatre will hold auditions for Quartet on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 22, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Auditions will be held at the theatre, located at 319 N. Wilkinson Road in Richmond. Quartet will run May 22 through June 6 and will close out CAT’s 51st season.

Director Laurie Follmer is seeking two males, ages 50-70 and two females ages 50-70. British accents are required for roles and are requested for auditions. There is no actual singing in the show. Singing ability and experience is not a requirement. Audition sides are available at http://www.cattheatre.com on the Audition Page.

Environmental Film Festival films to be screened at Tuckahoe Library

The Tuckahoe Area Library, in conjunction with the RVA Environmental Film Festival, will present films of local and planetary interest on Wednesday, Feb. 4, beginning at 5 p.m.

Screenings include short films from the RVA Environmental Film Contest entries at 5 p.m., followed at 5:45 p.m. by Stripers: Quest for the Bite, a film for anglers. The main feature film, Slingshot, will begin at 6:50 p.m.

SlingShot focuses on Segway inventor Dean Kamen and his work to solve the world’s water crisis. SlingShot is about a man whose innovative thinking could create a solution for a crisis affecting billions – access to clean water. Kamen lives in a house with secret passages, a closet full of denim clothes and a helicopter garage. His latest passion: the SlingShot water purification system created to obliterate half of human illness on the planet.

CACGA to offer winter, spring classes

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen has opened registration for its Winter/Spring 2015 classes, which include more than 120 offerings for children, teens, adults and families.

The classes will cover topics ranging from confectionary arts to ceramics to fiber arts, visual arts, performance arts and more. The center structures instruction to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages.

Class sizes are kept small, with generally no more than 15 students per session.

A gift that should stop giving

Was anyone asking for an extra-large helping of Larry the Cable Guy this Christmas? If so, you can thank Santa Claus for Jingle All the Way 2.

If not, you can be like the rest of us and curse Santa for his folly in creating such a film. Santa, we neither wanted nor needed this.

A follow-up to the much-derided 1996 Christmas film Jingle All the Way, Jingle All the Way 2 isn’t so much a sequel as it is an odd kind of remake, offering a few original twists on the original’s dad-vs-dad holiday showdown, but also copying large chunks of the original without alteration.

Penguin power

Welcome to the latest trend in animated movies: the “sidekick/henchman/character who sits mostly in the background” spin-off.

The penguins of Madagascar were a laugh riot, so we’ve been given The Penguins of Madagascar. Same goes for the gibbery yellow minions of Despicable Me; thus, Minions is a part of next summer’s movie crop. Last year’s Free Birds introduced a very Minion-esque squad of men in boxy yellow hazmat suits, and had Free Birds not been such a dud, Boxy Yellow Hazmat Men would no doubt be headed to a theater near you.

Is Penguins a blatant tug at the wallets of everyone who saw Madagascar? Yeah, probably.

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Calendar

The movie “The Natural” (PG) will play at 7 p.m. June 5 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 6 at Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Rd. Tickets… Full text

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