Sandra Bullock plays Margaret, a book editor who forces her young assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her so she can avoid deportation to Canada in the comedy/romance The Proposal, opening Friday, June 19. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, nudity and language. 107m. At the Broadway, Fortuna and Mill Creek.
Jack Black fans can presumably rejoice about Year One, a comedy in which Black and Michael Cera play rubes who wander around the ancient world. Boy, I really regret being out of town this coming weekend. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, brief strong language and comic violence. 100m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek, Fortuna and Minor.
Michael Bay repeats as director for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the follow-up to the popular 2007 film Transformers. Shia LaBoeuf again stars as Sam Witwicky, who stumbles onto a piece of Allspark that reveals the origins of the Transformers. Megan Fox also reprises her role as Mikaela Banes. Let the battle begin. Midnight showings on Tuesday, June 23 at the Broadway, Fortuna and Minor. Opening Wednesday, June 24, at the Broadway, Mill Creek, Fortuna and Minor. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material. 147m.
RIVERS OF A LOST COAST: Rivers Of A Lost Coast, narrated by Tom Skerritt, (A River Runs Through It), is a haunting, fresh take on the rise and fall of the steelhead and salmon fisheries in the Eel, Russian, Smith and other North Coast rivers. With zero preachiness, it illuminates the greater story of the 20th century's often reckless, abundance-fed optimism as it follows a group of pioneering, obsessive fly fishermen who came to the north coast beginning in the 1920s to fish rivers choked with monster steelhead and Chinook. Their exploits eventually drew mobs of fly fishermen in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and even led to innovations in fly fishing gear design. But by the 1980s, as the fisheries began to plummet, the fly fishing heyday was done.
The scene was dominated by the rivalry between two characters, the serious Ted Lindner and the eccentric Bill Schaadt. The film places Schaadt, especially, at the heart of things. He made his fishing gear out of litter scraps, bartered fish for gasoline, and played dirty -- pouring oil on rocks to keep bank fishermen from his fishing hole; attaching razor blades to his flies to cut the lines of other fly fishermen. Many marveled at his obsession:
"I mean, here comes this heroic figure, 60 fucking miles an hour on a goddamn dirt road ... jams on the brakes and the car skids around in a circle and ends up sideways like this," recalls fly fisherman Russell Chatham in the film. "He literally rolls out of the car -- and he threw a pair of waders on, took his rod and ran top-speed from the car towards the river, running like an athlete, just peeling line ... and the minute he hits the water he drives that cast out there and he's fishing."
With a score that evokes jumping salmon, raindrops and the flow of river water, filmmakers Justin Coupe and Palmer Taylor float you gently into the struggle -- to the bunching muscle of fish powering through the water. The heavy rains. Town-obliterating floods. Overcut hillsides. Silted waters. Drought. Disappearing fish. Sickness.
There is one scene, of a river packed with side-by-side fly fishermen, and one by one the fishermen disappear. But in the end, you don't feel sunk by helpless nostalgia, but rather tugged into watchful reflection.
See it. Not rated. 90m. At the Minor June 22 at 5:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and June 23 at 5:15 p.m. At the Fortuna June 23 at 7 p.m.
-- Heidi Walters
THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is a thoroughly entertaining film all on its own, but it also benefits by arriving on the local movie scene following a spate of truly abysmal summer commercial fare. Even a film featuring ABBA music might seem like a winner at the moment.
Based on the book by John Godey, the film is a remake and post-9/11 updating of the 1974 film starring Walter Matthau as a transit cop trying to match wits with a group of criminals who hijack a subway train for ransom. The new version stars the reliable Denzel Washington as Walter Garber, a transit executive accused of taking bribes and demoted to dispatcher. As such, he takes the call from borderline psychopath Ryder (nicely portrayed by John Travolta) who heads up the gang that has hijacked the Pelham train.
With a standard plot form that largely consists of two antagonists matching wits, the film rises or falls by the level of acting and the complexity of the characters. On both counts, Pelham is satisfying. Ryder may be a psychopath, but as played by Travolta he's also witty and unpredictable. Furthermore, as befits our current climate, his real prize has little to do with the actual ransom and all to do with the stock market.
Making his antagonist a person with no police experience also benefits the relationship possibilities between the two. The conversations between Walter and Ryder hinge more on philosophical and ethical concerns than they do on typical cop-and-robber stuff. The back-and-forth is all the more interesting since Walter himself is under an ethical cloud.
While Travolta and Washington are the center of the film, the familiar New York in-your-face attitude was intermittently amusing and I laughed at the mayor's (James Gandolfini) line, "I left my Rudy Giuliani suit at home." Washington is an actor impossible not to like no matter the role he is playing, and that quality works well here, while the up-and-down Travolta has one of his better outings. Director Tony Scott (Man on Fire) keeps the action moving, sometimes too frenetically. Bottom line though: an entertaining and clever summer thriller. Rated R for violence and pervasive language. 106m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek and Fortuna.
-- Charlie Myers
THE BROTHERS BLOOM: The Brothers Bloom falls in the comic caper genre, a genre that has its pleasures and limitations as Ocean's Eleven, for example, demonstrated. It's a tricky genre that depends on just the right stylistic touch and on the effective use of cleverness. Writer/director Rian Johnson, who gave us the very interesting and offbeat Brick in 2005, gets it right sometimes, but in the end the style and cleverness overwhelm the very slight narrative. Happily, the generally good cast compensates somewhat for the film's other deficiencies.
The film opens with brothers Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody) at ages 13 and 10 respectively, and we see the beginnings of their career as con men, along with Bloom's nascent realization that attraction to women (or in this case a young girl) doesn't mix with the life of a grifter. We then flash forward a number of years and discover that Bloom has quit the game, but allows himself to be talked into one final con by Stephen.
Frankly, the plot proved to be completely uninteresting, serving primarily as an excuse for a travelogue. But what made the film watchable for me was the zany performance by Rachel Weisz as "eccentric, shut-in, rich bitch" Penelope. Initially intended as the mark in the brothers' con, she, of course, becomes much more, particularly to Bloom, who is given a chance to work out his attachment issues. Normally seen in more serious roles such as My Blueberry Nights or The Constant Gardener, she is an entertaining revelation as a screwball comic actor.
The film flirts with the broader issues raised by the nature of the con, but in the end we're left with Weisz's performance and little more. Rated PG-13 for violence, some sensuality and brief strong language. 113m. At the Minor through Thursday.
-- Charlie Myers
17 AGAIN. Middle-aged father wakes up one day as a 17-year-old, so he tries it on for size. Rated PG-13. 102m. At The Movies.
ANGELS AND DEMONS. In schlocky Da Vinci sequel, swashbuckling religious historian (T. Hanks) travels through pop history to rescue the Catholic church. Rated PG-13. 139m. At the Broadway.
DRAG ME TO HELL. Spooks, ancient curses and Satan's eternal evil plague a suburban bank manager. Directed by S. Raimi. Rated PG-13. 99m. At The Movies.
GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST. Spirits of dumped babes open can of Dickensian whoop-ass on bare-chested rake. Rated PG-13. 100m. At The Movies.
THE HANGOVER. Getting severely trashed with your bros at a Vegas-based bachelor party can have serious consequences, especially when no one remembers what happened. Rated R. 100m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek, the Minor and Fortuna.
IMAGINE THAT. When a financial exec's life goes haywire, he finds refuge in delusion via his 7-year-old daughter's imaginary world. Rated PG. 107m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek and Fortuna.
LAND OF THE LOST. Feature-length film version of tripped-out classic TV series stars the one and only Will Ferrell. Rated PG-13. 106m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek and Fortuna.
MONSTERS VS. ALIENS. Ragtag crew of monsters must combat an alien robot to save Planet Earth from imminent destruction. Rated PG. 94m. At The Movies.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN. Museum exhibits come to life leading to a history-packed battle of good versus evil. Rated PG. 105m. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.
STAR TREK. Get the action-packed backstory on Kirk and Spock's rivalry-ridden relationship. Rated PG-13. 127m. At the Broadway.
TERMINATOR SALVATION. Young John Connor (C. Bale) leads human resistance to robotic overlords. But first he must solve a mystery! Rated PG-13. 115m. At the Broadway.
UP. In Pixar's latest, an elderly gentleman sets out to fulfill lifelong dream despite annoying Boy Scout tagalong. Rated PG. 101m. At the Broadway (2-D and 3-D), Mill Creek, Minor and Fortuna (3-D).
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. Film leads up to events of X-Men with story of Wolverine's epically violent and romantic past. Rated PG-13. 107m. At The Movies.