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PCR #476 (Vol. 10, No. 19). This edition is for the week of May 4--10, 2009.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
Summer Movie Preview

Commentary by:
Michael A. Smith

theater seats

"Star Trek"  by Mike Smith
Summer Movie Preview by Mike Smith
Glen and Randa  by ED Tucker
Movie Marathon Begins .... Instead I’d Recommend .... Our Nation Gets The Flu .... Make The Fed Be Transparent .... TARP Not $700 Billion, But 3.5 Trillion?... Enemy of State: Ted Stevens .... One-Hit Wonders  by Brandon Jones
Nfl Network’s Top 10 Home Field Advantages .... Cowboy Tragedy .... Two Faces .... Coyotes Moving .... The Richest F**k Up! .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
You Can Dance If You Want To .... Fly By Night .... This Hurts .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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Summertime, summertime. Sum, sum, summertime. The sun is warm and the air conditioners in your local Cineplex are cranked high. Time to take a look at the movies we’ll all be enjoying in what could be a record-breaking summer. With “Wolverine” (***) and “Star Trek” (****) already playing to packed houses, how many more of the following will follow them to the top of the charts? As always, opening dates are subject to change due to the whims of the studios. Some synopsis information courtesy of the Internet Movie Data Base. See you at the concession stand!

MAY 15

ANGELS & DEMONS. Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard team up for the fourth time in this prequel to 2006s “The DaVinci Code.” This time, Robert Langdon (Hanks) works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican. Fans who found Hanks’ hairstyle unusual last time will be pleased to see it has been changed.

THE BROTHERS BLOOM. Two con men (Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo) take on one last job - showing a beautiful and eccentric heiress the time of her life with a romantic adventure that takes them around the world. From writer/director Rian Johnson, creator of the film “Brick.”

MANAGEMENT. Sue (Jennifer Anniston) is a traveling art salesman who finds trouble when one of the hotel managers she meets with falls in love with her. Steve Zahn co-stars in writer Stephen Belbers’ directorial debut.

MAY 21

TERMINATOR SALVATION. Getting a one day jump on its competition this Memorial Day weekend, the fourth film in the series focuses on John Connor (Christian Bale) as he leads a group of rebels against the machines that wish to enslave them. Rumors have both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton making appearances. McG (“Charlies Angels”) directs.

MAY 22

DANCE FLICK. Once upon a time there lived a nice couple named Howell and Elvira Wayans. They so loved each other that they gave the world a group of brothers and sisters that would one day take over Hollywood. This take off of popular dance films (?) was written by no less than FIVE Wayans, stars at least SIX Wayans and was directed by Damien Dante Wayans, whose mother, Nadia, once had a bit part in “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka,” which was written and directed by only one Wayans, Keenan Ivory.

THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE. A Manhattan call girl does her best to meet the challenges of her boyfriend, her clients, and her job during the 2008 Presidential Election. Director Steven Soderbergh’s latest “serious” project while waiting for Clooney to agree to “Oceans Fourteen.”

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Robin Williams return as Security guard Larry Daley infiltrates the Smithsonian Institute in order to rescue his friends who have been shipped to the museum by mistake. Amy Adams joins the fun as lost flyer Amelia Earhart.

MAY 29

DRAG ME TO HELL. When a loan officer (Allison Lohman) is ordered to evict an old woman from her home she is put under a supernatural curse which turns her life into a living….you know. After three straight “Spiderman” films, director Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead,” “Army of Darkness”) returns to the genre’ he helped resurrect.

UP. Following his wife’s passing, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America by tying thousands of balloons to his house. He’s not happy to find a stowaway in neighbor boy Russell (Jordan Nagai). From the fine people at PIXAR, who have yet to have a film make less than $100 million.


AWAY WE GO. In this all star comedy, a couple (John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph) who are expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way they encounter strange relatives and old friends. Oscar winning director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) takes no chances with his first comedy, adding Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan and Jeff Daniels to his cast.

DOWNLOADING NANCY. Unhappy Nancy (Maria Bello) orders a guy she meets over the Internet (Jason Patric) to kill her. Music video director Johan Renck makes his feature debut.

THE HANGOVER. A groom to be and his three buddies head to Vegas for one last night of partying. The next day, he’s gone and his pals find themselves dealing with everything from a lost baby to Mike Tyson. Bradley Cooper, Jeffrey Tambor and Zach Galifianakis star.

THE LAND OF THE LOST. The lyrics to the television theme song began “Marshall, Will, and Holly on a routine expedition.” In Kevin Smith’s film, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” Will Ferrell played a US Forest Ranger named Marhsall Willenholly. Coincidence? I think not. Here, Park Ranger Rick Marshall (Ferrell) and his now adult friends Will (Danny McBride) and Holly (Anna Friel) encounter dinosaurs and sleestaks, among other dangers.

MY LIFE IN RUINS. “My Big Fat Greek Weddings” Nia Vardolos stars as a woman who takes a trip to Greece to find love. Richard Dreyfuss co-stars.


FOOD, INC. An unflattering documentary look inside America's corporate controlled food industry.

IMAGINE THAT. A financial executive (Eddie Murphy) who finds his career heading downwards, travels into his daughter's imaginary world, where solutions to his problems await. Eddie and a cute kid usually equals big bucks.

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3. The 1974 original starred Walter Matthau as head of the NYC Transit Authority and the late, great Robert Shaw as the leader of a group that hijacks the title subway car. It also is cited as the film that Quentin Tarentino “borrowed” the idea of giving his burglars in “Reservoir Dogs” names like Mr. White and Mr. Brown. In this version, Denzel Washington has the Matthau role while John Travolta goes into bad guy mode. Add “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini as the Mayor and the cast is top shelf. Directed by Tony Scott.


THE PROPOSAL. A pushy boss (Sandra Bullock) forces her young assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada. Like “Green Card” without the big, hulking Frenchman.

WHATEVER WORKS. Woody Allen returns to New York with this comedy about an arrogant man named Boris and the people he encounters. Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) stars.

YEAR ONE. When a couple of lazy hunter-gatherers (Jack Black and Michael Cera) are banished from their primitive village, they set off on an epic journey through the ancient world. Co-written and directed by Harold Ramis, whose already given us classics like “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day.”


TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN. After learning that Sam (Shia LaBeouf) has learned the truth about the Transformers origins, Decepticon forces return to earth. Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime, who forms an alliance with international armies for a second epic battle. Directed once again by the master of excess, Michael Bay. Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel also return.


FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN. Inspired by a poem by Robert Frost, Julia Roberts leads a top notch cast in a story that centers on the complexities of love and commitment in a family torn apart when faced by an unexpected tragedy. Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe and Emily Watson also star.

MY SISTER’S KEEPER. When a young girl (Abigail Breslin) finds out that her parents only had her to help their older, leukemia stricken daughter stay alive, she seeks medical emancipation from her parents (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric). Nick Cassavetes directs.


ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS. Though technically the dinosaurs were destroyed because of the ice age, a few must have survived, giving them the opportunity to meet up with Manny, Sid, Diego and the rest of the “Ice Age” gang. In 3-D where available.

PUBLIC ENEMIES. Johnny Depp stars as notorious gangster John Dillinger, who was finally nabbed outside the Biograph theatre in Chicago by J. Edgar Hoover’s favorite Gman, Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale.) Directed by the incomparable Michael Mann.


BRUNO. After the success of “Borat,” writer/star Sasha Baron Cohen returns as the flamboyant Austrian fashionista Brüno who takes his show to America.

I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER. When a high school nerd proclaims his love for the title character during his high school graduation speech, he is shocked when she shows up at his house later to offer herself to him. Hayden Panettiere stars.

SOUL POWER. A documentary that tells the story of the concert held in Africa just before Muhammad Ali and George Foreman met in the Rumble in the Jungle. James Brown, B.B. King and Miriam Makeba star.


(500) DAYS OF SUMMER. Offbeat romantic comedy about a woman ( Zooey Deschanel) who doesn't believe true love exists, and the young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls for her.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. Held back from last year thanks to “The Dark Knight” kicking butt at the box office, the sixth film in the “Potter” series finds Harry and his friends starting year six at Hogwarts. When Harry finds a book meant only for “the half-blood prince he begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort's dark past.


G-FORCE. A story only Walt Disney Studios could imagine. A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world.

ORPHAN. A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be. Think of it as “The Omen” without the spooky devil stuff.

THE UGLY TRUTH. A romantically challenged morning show producer (Katherine Heigl) is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by her chauvinistic correspondent (Gerard Butler) to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love.


FUNNY PEOPLE. A popular comedian discovers he has a terminal illness and decides to soften his public image by taking a newcomer under his wing. Stars Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen. Directed by Sandler’s old roommate, Judd Apatow, a funny man in his own right.

THEY CAME FROM UPSTAIRS. A group of Maine teenagers, including “High School Musical” star Ashley Tisdale, band together in an attempt to stop aliens from taking over their vacation home. Kevin Nealon and Andy Richter co-star.


G.I. JOE: RISE OF COBRA. An elite military unit comprised of special operatives known as G.I. Joe, operating out of The Pit, takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer. Stars Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid.

JULIE AND JULIA. “Doubt” co-stars Meryl Streep and Amy Adams reteam in this Nora Ephron comedy about legendary chef Julia Childs (Streep) and a woman who endeavors to make every recipe in Childs’ cookbook.

SHORTS. A young boy's discovery of a colorful, wish-granting rock causes chaos in the suburban town of Black Falls, Texas when jealous kids and scheming adults alike set out to get their hands on it. “Planet Terror” director Robert Rodriguez returns to “Spy Kids” mode with a cast featuring William H. Macy, James Spader and Jon Cryer.


BANDSLAM. New girl in town, played by ANOTHER “High School Musical” alum, Vanessa Hudgens, forms a band and competes in a city wide battle of the bands. Lisa Kudrow also stars.

THE GOODS: LIVE HARD, SELL HARD. Used-car liquidator Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) is hired by a flailing auto dealership to turn their Fourth of July sale into a majorly profitable event.

PONYO . Matt Damon and Tina Fey voice this animated adventure centered on a 5-year-old boy and his relationship with a goldfish princess who longs to become human. From acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”).

SPREAD. Ashton Kutcher stars as a serial romancer who meets his match when a jilted lover seeks revenge.

TAKING WOODSTOCK. Comedy Central’s Dimetri Martin stars as a man working at his parents' motel in the Catskills who inadvertently sets in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969. Oscar winner Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”) directs.

THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. From the Academy Award winning writer of “Ghost,” the film tells the story of a Chicago librarian (Eric Bana) who possesses a gene that causes him to inadvertently travel through time, much to the chagrin of his wife (Rachel McAdams).


INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. Director Quentin Tarantino updates the 1978 “Dirty Dozen” rip-off that starred Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson. He ups the cast quality some by casting Brad Pitt as the head of a military unit dispatched behind enemy lines during World War II to kill lots and lots of Nazis. Samuel L. Jackson and Mike Meyers lend a hand.

IT MIGHT GET LOUD. A documentarian look at the electric guitar through three different musicians: Jack White, the Edge and the incredible Jimmy Page.

WORLD’S GREATEST DAD. Robin Williams enters Eddie Murphy land in a comedy about a man who learns that the things you want most may not be the things that make you happy, and that being lonely is not necessarily the same as being alone. Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.


THE BOAT THAT ROCKED. Richard Curtis, creator of “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually” writes and directs this period comedy about an illegal radio station in the North Sea in the 1960's. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy and Kenneth Brannagh star.

FINAL DESTINATION: DEATH TRIP 3D. Another kid has another premonition of death and cheats it….for now. This time in 3D.

HALLOWEEN 2. Director Rob Zombie’s re-imagining of John Carpenter’s horror classic earned the franchise a new set of fans and a new life. Here he continues the story of Michael Myers (the killer, not the actor) with a cast that includes Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif…and “Weird” Al Yankovic.

This week's commentary, "Summer Movie Preview," is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2009, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.