We just watched a wonderful movie. Over The Hedge is hillarious, fun, silly, and a romp. I don't think I've enjoyed an animated film this much since A Bug's Life. The plot line is pretty formulaic: huckster racoon gets in trouble and takes advantage of a naive group of animals to get him out of it, only to find that they are far more noble than he, but the execution is brilliant. There are more sight gags and inside jokes for the 'grown-ups' than a Bullwinkle episode, and the performances by Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Wanda Sykes, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, and William Shatner(doing a brilliant parody of...William Shatner)are so honest and guileless that you can't help but care about them. Dreamworks has finally made a film that rivals anything Pixar has done, and I think Pixar is the bomb. If you have kids, make this a family evening as we just did. If you don't have kids, pop open or light up the intoxicant of your choice and buckle yourself in for a fun evening. And if you have ever had the pleasure of living with a Rottweiler, just remember the word...play?
It has also been quite some time since I read something I felt compelled to recommend, but my wife turned me on to Night Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko. It is sort of a Harry Potter for grown ups. The protagonist, Anton, is a member of the Night Watch, a supernatural police agency dedicated to keeping tabs on the forces of Darkness in the world. There is also a Day Watch, who are to keep an eye on the forces of Light in the world, and the two watches make sure that the balance is maintained, while at the same time trying to tip it in their favor. The book is actually a compilation of three novellas translated from the original Russian by Andrew Bromfield, and that is, in my opinion, its greatest strength. The characters are well defined, and the stories well told, but it is obvious that this was never meant to be for anyone but Russians. It is totally unselfconscious, with no comparisons between East and West; no hint that the author even considered that Americans would one day read it. The translation is, on occasion, somewhat inelegant, but the tales unfold rapidly and in a way that makes you truly care about the characters, and yet is quintisentially Russian. I highly recommend this tome, and eagerly look forward to the sequals that are already published in Russia, and will get here hopefully by January. (oh, there is a movie out, but me wife tells me that unless you have read the book, it makes little to no sense.)
Ok, that's all for now. Night night, y'all.