Combustible Celluloid
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With: Heather Berman, Madeleine Hackney, Nell Mooney, Daniel Ponickly, Danielle Quisenberry, Ann Reinking
Written by: Amy Sewell
Directed by: Marilyn Agrelo
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 105
Date: 04/10/2005

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Rumba in the Bronx

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Only an icy hearted cynic could disparage this joyous, infectious documentary. Three classrooms of mostly working-class New York City eleven year-olds take required courses in merengue, rumba, tango, the foxtrot and swing dancing before entering a competition with other schools. The film examines the overall positive effect dancing has on the children's self-esteem, and takes care to spend a little time with the contest losers. In shooting, filmmakers Marilyn Angelo and Amy Sewell were either incredibly lucky or employed a genius editor; the film spills over with miraculous little moments, capturing a telling glance or a smile, a word, a laugh or a cry. Though it lacks the crushing suspense of the very similar Spellbound, Mad Hot Ballroom is a clear winner.

DVD Details: Paramount's new DVD comes with no extras other than a handful of previews. They obviously didn't know who the disc would appeal to, so the previews range from No Direction Home: Bob Dylan to The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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