It's been awhile since we've had a little film blog group hugging action around here. Today it's cold and snowing here, so what better way to put off cleaning house and baking lasagna for our Boxing Day party than to cozy up under a quilt with a cup of hot tea and some of my favorite film bloggers? As 2007 wanes away and Sundance looms near, I thought I'd pop by some of my favorite film blogs to see who's doing any writing this holiday weekend.

Before taking a well-deserved break for the holidays, hard-working film blogger Karina Longworth at Spout Blog put up this thought-provoking piece on whether Disney wants to turn your daughter into a whore. As Karina points out, Barbara Ehrenreich's recycled rant on the evils of all things Disney is well past-due. I was getting into arguments about Disney back when I was doing time in mom's clubs when I did the stay-at-home-mom gig for a few years; the "We're raising our kids gender-neutral," granola-crunching, feminist hippy mamas in Seattle and parts elsewhere have had Disney in their crosshairs for years.

My favorite line from Ehrenreich's piece: "One's sexual inclinations--straightforward or kinky, active or passive, heterosexual or homosexual--should be free to develop without adult intervention or manipulation. " Riiiiiiiiight. If you raise your kids in a bubble unexposed to any society whatsover, perhaps. Kids are products of their social communities whether they grow up in the favelas of Brazil or in a high-rise overlooking Central Park, and trying to mold their little minds with the androgyny of gender-neutrality is no less manipulative than allowing your daughter to dress up like a pretty princess. Bratz, though, is another story. I hate those damn dolls with a passion previously reserved for Barney. If anyone's trying to shallow-fy and whore out our daughters, it's the evil geniuses behind those Bratz dolls. At least the Disney Princesses don't have lips that look like they had an unfortunate experience with a silicone injection. Anyhow.

More group hugs after the jump ...

I missed Film Threat's gift guide for movie geeks in all the last-minute holiday rushing around here, but I have to give props to any gift guide that includes both The Italian Stallion and Once in the same list. Not a big fan of Stallone, myself, but I have become very enamored of the soundtrack for Once, which I listened to while wrapping 89,000 presents. Now I have a big crush on Glen Hansard.

Over at The Hot Blog, David Poland puts a writer's strike spin on "'Twas the Night Before Christmas":

'Twas the night after Christmas', when all through the town,
Not a writer was writing, not even scabs 'round;
The force majeurs hung all the weak deals with care,
In hopes that reduced costs soon would be there;
The industry nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of smug execs danced in their heads;
And Will Smith in his cash cow, and Nic's Treasure deuce,
Had just settled in to shake kids' dollars loose,

Now go read the whole thing over at The Hot Blog, and stop by the Holiday BYOB to see what's shaking while you're there.

The Envelope's Tom O'Neill has a post up about late-arriving DVD screeners and the possible impact on Oscar voting (via Hollywood Elsewhere).

Year end Top Ten lists are popping up all over the place now, but my favorite so far is Roger Ebert's, mostly because, in a true case of "I could care less what all you artsy-fartsy types think about it," he boldy put Juno at the top of his list. Comedy tends to be underappreciated by the smart film geek set, and it's nice to see a well-known critic like Ebert give it some love.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has its members Top Ten lists up (including mine, which will be expanded on in a longer write-up here on Cinematical soon). Notes on those lists: Lexi Feinberg also has Juno as her top pick, so at least Ebert's not all by his lonesome anymore with that. I see a lot of my fellow female writers have Cannes winner 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days on their Top Tens. I must be one of the only women on the planet who intensely disliked that film. I respected it as good filmmaking, but the main character was so completely annoying and unlikeable that I found it difficult to even watch. When I saw it at Telluride, there was a good deal of grumbling after the screening of the "THAT won at Cannes?" variety, so I know it wasn't just me, but still, I keep feeling like I need to maybe revisit just to see if it goes down better on a repeat viewing.

Speaking of Top Tens, Jim Emerson has a clever take on the Top Ten list at his Scanners blog, with an excellent look at opening shots from his favorite ten films of the year. How many can you guess just from the shots?

Dropping by Michael Phillips Talking Pictures blog at the Chicago Tribune, Phillips has a nice piece up about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which, after much agonizing, ended up in the top slot of my own Top Ten list. He has an equally thought-provoking post about No Country for Old Men, which ended up as my #4 pick. I agree with Phillips' take on No Country -- it's an excellent piece of filmmaking, but for me, it just lacked the heart of both Diving Bell and Juno, films I enjoyed much more.

Rotten Tomatoes has a "Meet a Critic" interview up with our own Scott Weinberg. It's an excellent interview that really captures Scott's wonderful personality. I don't know many other people -- critics or otherwise -- who get that excited about two new Uwe Boll films coming out, AND can also talk intelligently about the critically acclaimed pics like There Will Be Blood in the next breath. Scott's one of my favorite film critics, I learn from him all the time, and I'm glad to see him profiled over at RT. Go on over and get to know him a little better and say howdy to him in the comments.