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Stages of Man 

Suffering through Babies? Take heart: Toy Story III and Jonah Hex are still ahead

Previews

Call Grown Ups a reunion comedy. Producer/co-writer Adam Sandler reunited his buddies from Saturday Night Live class of 1990 -- Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider -- along with Kevin James (King of Queens) for the story of five guys who played on a championship basketball team in junior high gathering at a summer camp three decades later with wives and kids. Rated PG-13 for profanity, male rear nudity, crude humor and suggestive material. Starts Friday at the Broadway, Fortuna, the Minor and Mill Creek.

The fast-paced action comedy Knight and Day stars Tom Cruise as some sort of international super-spy and Cameron Diaz as a girl he meets in an airport seemingly accidentally. He shoots a bunch of baddies as he drags her along on his mission to save the world. Rated PG-13 for violence and brief profanity. Opening at the Broadway, the Fortuna and Mill Creek.

Opening Friday, City Island, an indie comedy written and directed by Raymond De Felitta with Andy Garcia as a corrections officer and would-be actor and Julianna Margulies (ER) as his tough wife. They live, play and argue in City Island, a fishing village in the Bronx. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, smoking and language. At the Minor.

Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the latest in the teen vamp franchise, has young Bella (Kristen Stewart) about to graduate from high school and wondering if she should roll with the cute vampire (Robert Pattinson) or the buff werewolf (Taylor Lautner). Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality. Opens everywhere Wednesday, June 30. Serious fans will catch the Tuesday midnight premiere; the Broadway has a sequential Twilight triple bill that night, preceding the opening with Twilight and Twilight Saga: New Moon.

Thursday, June 24, the Epic Bicycle Film Tour rolls into town. Portland filmmakers Mary DeFreese and Nick Peterson shot Field Guide to November Days, their indie film about 20-something bicyclists, with a crew on bikes. Their West Coast Vancouver to L.A. road trip with the film is also by bicycle. Ride your bike to the screening at the Accident Gallery.

Arcata Theatre Lounge keeps ’em coming: Thursday it's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, director Terry Gilliam's version of gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson's drug-fueled autobiographical novel with Johnny Depp as Thompson alter ego Raoul Duke and Benicio Del Toro as his attorney, Dr. Gonzo. Friday ATL has The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, an Aussie comedy/drama/musical with Terence Stamp as a transsexual leading a cross-dressing road show through the outback in a lavender bus called Priscilla. Sunday it's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, part two of J.K. Rowling's boy wizard franchise. Next Wednesday, more Japanese monsters/superheroes (Gamera and Star-Man) for another Sci-Fi Pint and Pizza Night.

-- Bob Doran

Reviews

TOY STORY 3. Building on the newly rediscovered inner child that I experienced watching The Karate Kid, I found myself enjoying Toy Story 3, despite the cacophony of crying, screaming children at the screening I attended (the age-appropriate children were mostly attentive).

The film begins with a scene that made me wonder what was going on, but it was nicely resolved when the sequence turned out to be in Andy's imagination, a nice touch that connects this sequel to the previous films. As the main story opens, Andy (voiced by John Morris) is now 17 and about to depart for college. When he is ordered by his mother (Laurie Metcalf) to divide the stuff in his room in boxes marked "college," "attic" or "trash," our favorite group of toys awake to the fact that major changes lie immediately ahead. Woody (Tom Hanks), of course, remains fiercely loyal to Andy and naïvely optimistic. Indeed, he ends up slated for college, but the rest of the gang end up in a plastic bag headed for the attic.

Unfortunately, Andy becomes distracted and his mother mistakes the bag for trash, and so begins the new adventure of Woody (who casts his lot with his buddies), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), et al. Escaping from the garbage truck, Andy's former toys end up at a daycare center ruled over by a tyrannical bear ironically named Lotso Huggin' (Ned Beatty) where they are played with too roughly by the youngest group of children. Although Barbie (Jodi Benson) hooks up temporarily with Ken (Michael Keaton), it soon becomes clear they are all doomed if they don't get out.

The primary theme, loss and moving on, show a nice parallel with the loss felt by the toys and that by the mother as Andy departs for college. This is an affecting, beautifully animated film and is probably worth seeing in 3-D. Rated G. 103m. At the Broadway (3-D), Mill Creek and Fortuna.

JONAH HEX. Jonah Hex is a bit of a mishmash. Based on a DC Comics character, the film is an antihero Western somewhat reminiscent of Peckinpah's Wild Bunch, but with a touch of the otherworldly. Set in post-Civil War America somewhere in a typically grungy Western landscape (but shot entirely in Louisiana and Los Angeles), the story follows the exploits of Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin), a disgraced Confederate soldier (he had refused to carry out the order of a superior that involved killing civilians). Turned bounty hunter, he's been emotionally scarred by the gruesome murder of his wife and child -- and physically disfigured -- by the ambitiously evil Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich).

When Hex discovers that Turnbull is not dead as reported, the story turns into a bloody revenge tale. Hex, it transpires, has acquired some supernatural powers following the death of his family: bullets only temporarily slow him down and he can communicate with the dead when he touches them.

These abilities, along with the timely help of the fetching prostitute/girlfriend Lilah (the fetching Megan Fox), come in mighty handy when Hex discovers that Turnbull means to destroy our country using a weapon secretly developed by the government itself. Who knew our current existence rested on the shoulders of a man who had no reason to love his country?

Despite its somewhat pulpy look, Jonah Hex is not without interest and I would certainly choose it over The A-Team. Not to mention that Fox looks awfully good in 1800s Western prostitute chic. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and sexual content. 80m. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.

BABIES. This French documentary by Thomas Balmès, who must have spent a lot of time in airplanes, follows four babies from around the world from birth to one year. The babies are from Opuwo, Namibia, Tokyo, San Francisco and Bayanchandmani, Mongolia. I saw the trailer for this film incessantly when I was in Portland to the point where the cute babies were burned, frame-by-frame, into my brain.

No worries, I thought -- the film probably won't come to Humboldt County. Well, here we are, and as penance for my negative thoughts about these babies I dutifully sat through a screening this past weekend. What did I learn? Well, there are differences and similarities as to how babies are cared for in different cultures. Babies are cute. Babies cry a lot and get easily frustrated. Mothers are saints. Babies sometimes hit other babies and treat cats roughly. I got images of babies and mothers, babies and goats, babies and cows, babies and cats, babies and dogs, babies and cloud formations, babies and babies. Oh yeah, babies grow, they crawl, they make sounds that could be words and they eventually walk.

Happily, there is no voice-over that attempts to explain anything and the minimal dialogue is not translated. This must have sounded like an interesting idea to a number of people, but I kept wishing the 79-minute running time didn't seem so endless. I know it reflects poorly on me, but right now if I never see another baby again I'll be a happier person. Rated PG for cultural and maternal nudity throughout. At the Minor.

Continuing

A-TEAM. I pity the foo' that doesn't see this updated version of the ’80s action TV show. Rated PG-13. 117m. At the Broadway, Mill Creek and Fortuna.

GET HIM TO THE GREEK. Sex + drugs + rock ’n' roll = hilarity! Rated R. 109m. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.

IRON MAN 2. Now with twice the iron! Rated PG-13. 124m. At the Broadway.

KARATE KID. Witness the benefits of being Will Smith's son in this martial arts remake. At the Broadway, Mill Creek and Fortuna.

KILLERS. Ashton Kutcher plays a former assassin trying to live a domestic life with new wife Katherine Heigl. One of the most critically panned films of the year! Rated PG-13. 100m. At the Broadway and Fortuna.

MARMADUKE. Yup. The comic strip dog. You aren't seeing things. Rated PG. 88m. At the Broadway.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the heroic, royal video game icon. Rated PG-13. 116m. At the Broadway and Mill Creek.

ROBIN HOOD. Russell Crowe shows Kevin Costner how it's done. First, you steal from the rich ... Rated PG-13. 140m. At Garberville.

SEX AND THE CITY 2. The girls travel to Abu Dhabi ... or was it Dubai ... Morocco? Whatever. They have sex. Rated R. 147m. At Garberville.

SHREK FOREVER AFTER. Shrek endures a midlife crisis. Bring the kids! Rated PG. 93m. At the Broadway, Fortuna and Mill Creek.

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