Once again we have but one opening in Humboldt County this weekend -- Angels and Demons, yet another film based on a Dan Brown book. (Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code.) Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor star in this film, which is directed by Ron Howard, who also directed the film version of The Da Vinci Code. The deal: A Harvard religious expert must track a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols in order to save the Catholic Church from being destroyed by the Illuminati, an ancient and most secret brotherhood. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material. 139m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek, the Minor and Fortuna.
This week the Saturday midnight movie at the Arcata Theater Lounge is that old favorite, Reefer Madness. The 1936 exploitation film has come to be a comedic staple for stoner circles because the madness instigated by the reefer is quite silly. The film is scheduled to screen after the House of Floyd show, so admission is free for those with H.O.F. tix. You can also purchase tickets day of, but they are guaranteed to be limited.
The other weekend screening at the ATL is the 1943 classic Hitchcock thriller Shadow of a Doubt. The film, which was filmed mostly on location in Santa Rosa, follows a low-key murderer who seeks sanctuary by moving in with his sister's family. There are three showings on Sunday starting in the afternoon and you can get more information at the theater's Web Site, www.arcatatheater.com.
STAR TREK. There's no doubt that people are stoked on the new Star Trek movie. Everyone raves. "It's awesome." "One of the best movies I've ever seen." "Good for the trekkies and non-trekkies alike." Are the rumors true? Why, yes, dear reader. Methinks the latest incarnation of Trekdom is epic for sure.
The film, a flashback to the early years of those U.S.S. Enterprise crew members, is directed by J.J. Abrams and stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as James T. Kirk and Spock, respectively. Film viewer, you must witness the dramatic birth of a most epic Trekker (Kirk), fear Romulans and root for the Federation. It's all tres Trek. Yeah, baby. There's even a music cameo by the Beastie Boys.
And you know it's super rad to get down with Spock as a youngster. Dude's neither human nor Vulcan. He's both, and that troubles him and his pure Vulcan peeps. Lucky for the Star Fleet, Spock chooses serving the Federation over pursuing ultimate Vulcan-dom when his uptight Vulcan elders hate on his human mama. You get to party with Kirk as a youth, too. And check it: Kirk's a total stud. All the background is really fun and badass. Kirk's kickin' asses in bars. Hittin' on ladies. Rebelling. And you'd better believe that the Federation -- that rad, peace-keeping, humanitarian conglomerate -- wants him. Kirk's dad was a legend after all.
Witness the first meeting of Kirk and Spock during Kirk's Starfleet Academy training. The two butt heads when Kirk beats a Spock-concocted battle simulation. The rivalry is instant. Hey, Spock's kind of a high and mighty bro and Kirk's all rebellious. It's rough. The epic-ness of Spock and Kirk in their youth is quite entertaining, but rest assured that the film does get down to business, Space is a dark, dirty and scary place, after all. There're some bad characters out there. Fortunately for Kirk, there're hot ladies out there too.
Star Fleet must come together though when the Federation gets in trouble, and you know there's always something. Enter the U.S.S. Enterprise. The special effects are bomb. The action is nothing but epic. Almost stressful even. We see the destruction of the Vulcan planet. We learn that beefs between species are sometimes dealt with via time travel. A beef from the future might as well be dealt with before the conflict even happened. Right?
Regardless, the film provides some serious background about the way that Kirk became the captain that he is and how Spock was able to get in touch with his emotions. Did I say epic already? Because I'm pretty sure I need to repeat it. Epic. The real deal Leonard Nimoy is even in on the action too. It's awesome. Star Date 220334. Live long and prosper y'all. Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence and brief sexual content. 127m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek, the Minor and Fortuna.
-- Emily Hobelmann
HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE. I am the only person at the earliest afternoon showing of Hannah Montana: The Movie other than a young girl with mother in tow, who I imagine is responding much like every other 7-year-old across the nation: joyously.
Starring Miley Ray Cyrus and her father Billy Ray Cyrus as themselves, doing, presumably, exactly what they do, the film is a simulation of reality in which the rock-star life of singing Disney TV star Hannah Montana isn't quite as rewarding as the good-ol' experience Miley gains by visiting the family farm she grew up on in Crowley Corners, Tenn. Struggling to keep her identity as Hannah Montana rock star Extravaganza a secret, Miley struggles to get back in touch with her "real girl" self as she sheds her Melrose duds for overalls and tries to ride a horse.
As the rock-star story begins, Hannah Montana goes on a Hollywood shopping spree in preparation for the New York music awards, but when she attempts to make a final purchase of the last pair of zebra-stripped heels for her best friend, she finds herself face to face with Tyra Banks trying to buy that very pair for her best friend.
As a catfight ensues, I find myself furiously taking notes -- "cat fight ... consumerism" -- when the small girl across the way begins to laugh. Looking back to the struggle on screen I realize that, oh yes, this is slapstick. Have I really become such an overeducated no-funner that I overlook the possibility of Tyra Banks and Hannah Montana rassling as humorous?
When news of the shoe-fight gets back to her father, Miley is grounded from her Hannah act and taken back to Tennessee for practical re-education. As a week goes by, the ex-prima donna begins to learn that "life is a climb," (or some quaint pseudo-country expression about hard work paying off) as she saddles up with the strapping, blond and dusty-freckled farm hand Travis Brody, played by Lucas Till.
Like any rural area in America, Crowley Corners is threatened by developers with visions of strip malls and tract homes. Learning that the town must raise several thousand dollars to save the meadows, the newly inaugurated bumpkin volunteers her "friend" Hannah to fly out for a benefit show. After a mess of confusions and fussy deceits revolving around her simultaneous double-identity, Hannah Montana takes the stage to a fairground of fans and launches into her Disney hit "Best of Both Worlds," which the little girl beside me, like every song on the soundtrack, knows well enough to sing along out loud.
Back on the screen, Miley is visibly conflicted. Looking out at her family and friends, she sees the people she's hurt by hiding her "rock star secret" and decides to give them the awful truth: She's not a pop star with blonde hair from Hollywood, she's a country-western singer with brown hair from little ol' Crowley Corners. Swapping her gemstone-encrusted mic stand for a basic black one, Cyrus emits a Shania Twain appeal with her now-hit single "The Climb," in which she maps out everything she's learned. "There's always gonna be another mountain/ I'm always gonna wanna make it move/ Always gonna be an uphill battle/ sometimes I'm gonna have to lose/ It's not about how fast I get there/ Ain't about what's waiting on the other side/ It's the climb," the little girl sings out besides me, emitting a sophomoric philosophy that's wise beyond her years.
In the Disney tradition, the on-screen story of Miley Cyrus is like that of any other princess. Whether a rock star or a farmer, the idea is that every girl is special, which I suppose is more than any other pop star sought to "teach" me. Now, is it true? Not really, and little Cyrus is probably scarred beyond any hope of normalcy as a 16-year-old earning $3.5 million annually. But let her hang out on a farm (or the fictional set of one). Can't do more harm than good. And that farmhand for company wouldn't be bad either. Rated G. 102m. At the Broadway.
-- Julianna Boggs
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 Broadway and Mill Creek.
BATTLE FOR TERRA 3D. Animated intergalactic adventure follows rebellious alien teen that defends her home planet Terra against invading humans. Rated PG. 85m. At Fortuna.
EARTH. Story of three animal families and their journey across the planet we all call home. Rated G. 95m. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.
FAST AND FURIOUS. Fugitive ex-con Dom Toretto returns to L.A. and to his feud with agent Brian O'Connor, all while pushing the limits of what's possible behind the wheel. Rated PG-13. 108m. At The Movies.
GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST. Bachelor with no-strings attached policy gets a wake-up call from the ghost of his uncle, once a fellow ladies man himself. Rated PG-13. 100m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek and Fortuna.
HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT. Family moves to Connecticut to have a nice place to treat their son for cancer, but too bad their new house is haunted. Rated PG-13. 92M. At The Movies.
I LOVE YOU MAN. Straight dude embarks on series of "man-dates" to find a suitable best man for his hetero wedding and ends up in a serious bromance. Rated R. 105m. At The Movies.
MONSTERS VS. ALIENS. Ragtag crew of monsters must combat an alien robot to save planet earth from imminent destruction. Rated PG. 94m. At the Broadway, Fortuna (3D) and Mill Creek.
OBSESSED. Big-ballin' asset manager's life is all good until the super stalker temp worker gets hired on. Rated PG-13. 109m. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.
RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN. Vegas cabbie and UFO expert must save two teens with supernatural powers from exploitation by evil peeps/aliens. Rated PG. 99m. At The Movies.
SOLOIST. Journalist discovers former classical music prodigy living on the streets of Los Angeles; bonding ensues. Rated PG-13. 117m. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.
STATE OF PLAY. U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins is the latest rage of his political party, until his research assistant's dead body turns up. Rated PG-13. 127m. At The Movies.
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 Broadway, Mill Creek, the Minor and Fortuna.