Thursday, April 7, 2011


Accept no substitutes! KING KONG is back, and the Aptos Cinema's Weekend Classics series has got him. The mighty giant ape created by the great stop-motion animation pioneer Willis O'Brien is still "the 8th wonder of the world" in this original, visionary 1933 fantasy masterpiece. As if the poignant, wonderfully expressive Kong himself wasn't splendid enough, the movie is also rich in delicious '30s tough-guy dialogue, especially when Robert Armstrong, as the flamboyant American showman who discovers Kong on a tropical island during a film shoot, captures him, and ships him back to NYC to exhibit on Broadway.

("Say, what's this show about, anyway?" wonders a sassy young woman in the audience on opening night, before the curtain goes up.

"It's just a big ape," says a man nearby.

"Aw, ain't we got enough of those in New York?" cracks the dame.)

Then there's the provocative, pre-Hays Code, tran-species eroticism of Kong's fascination with platinum blonde movie starlet Fay Wray. it's all a grand, often funny, surprisingly moving and soulful adventure, that's still light years ahead of the sequels, remakes, and ripoffs that followed. Don't miss this chance to see it in all it's beautiful, haunting, black-and-white glory on a great big movie screen, this Saturday and Sunday only, April 9 & 10, 11 am, at Aptos Cinema. Trust me, you won't regret it.

And speaking of really big shows, are you watching American Idol yet? Last night was Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame night, and while everybody else was rocking out all over the stage to Elvis, Aretha, and Tina Turner, Santa Cruz's own James Durbin made the gutsy move to sit on a stool and croon "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with power and restraint.

Read all about it in my new Good Times online blog (and watch the video!) or scroll down to my recent post, The King James Version, for the story so far.

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