Weekend Movie Forecast: <em>Brüno</em> or <em>Humpday</em>

<p>Well, there are certainly a wide range of opinions about <em>Brüno</em> to choose from; Sacha Baron Cohen's latest ribald romp—in which he plays the titular gay Austrian model—is currently clocking in at 57% favorable <a href="">on Rotten Tomatoes</a>. We haven't seen it, so let's turn to, oh, <a href="">The Observer's sensible Sarah Vilkomerson</a>: "So here’s the problem: How exactly should one judge the new Sacha Baron Cohen movie, <em>Brüno</em>? Should it be critiqued on its success in shocking people (a resounding yes), or for the queasy, teetering-toward-darkness comedy that incites waves of nervous laughter (yes, again), or for the insane heroics of Mr. Baron Cohen in crossing the line of good taste and then turning around to stomp, spit and basically take a poop on that line behind him? Perhaps! </p><p></p>"But what if we want to judge the movie simply in terms of its enjoyability? Then things get even more murky; Brüno is relentless—an aggressive, squirm-inducing affair where you will most certainly laugh, but you may instantly feel kind of bad about it, yourself and possibly humanity."

<em>Humpday</em> is a little indie "buddy movie gone wild" about two old college pals who find themselves locked into doing a gay art porn flick on a dare. Critics are mostly falling for it, with <a href="">Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere</a> calling it,<strong> "far and away a better film that <em>Brüno</em> or anything else opening this weekend."</strong> And <a href=",30167/">the Onion's Scott Tobias</a> writes, "First impressions don’t begin to tell the tale in this honest, audacious high-wire comedy. Items shift considerably during flight...The ideal way to experience <em>Humpday</em> is with little to no knowledge about where it’s heading—and if you have that kind of faith, please go now—because it sounds so outrageous on its face... In scene after scene, <em>Humpday</em> carefully raises the stakes until it hits a finale loaded with humor, tenderness, and delicious ambiguity.<strong> It’s like <em>Old Joy</em> by way of Judd Apatow."</strong>

<p>Anime-inspired splatter flick <em>Blood: The Last Vampire</em> is about a cute young vampire hunter whose bloodlust is complicated by the fact that <em>she herself</em> is half-vampire! <a href="">Time Out's Chris Nahon</a> says, "This live-action adaptation of Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s popular anime one-off from 2000 appears to have been made by a company of finches tweeting, 'Cheap…cheap.' It’s twice as long as its predecessor and about five times as stupid, especially when the weightless digital effects take over... Pleasure is to be had, though, in watching Korean actress Gianna Jun as half-breed vampire Saya, who is on a government-sanctioned rampage against any and all bloodsuckers. <strong>Never underestimate the power of a Japanese schoolgirl uniform or a well-placed roundhouse kick to excite the slobbering adolescent within. "</strong></p>

<p>We're not even going to bother regurgitating a plot synopsis for Chris Columbus's "coming-of-age" drivel <em>I Love You, Beth Cooper,</em> which <a href="">Scott Foundas at the Village Voice calls</a>, <strong>"as funny as a hit and run</strong>... Did erstwhile John Hughes protégé and <em>Harry Potter </em>progenitor Chris Columbus fall behind on his payments on a sub-prime mortgage? Or have to pony up for an emergency organ transplant? <strong>Even if so, I'm not sure it fully excuses this joyless, offensively stupid end-of-high-school farce" </strong> And <a href="">Hollywood Elsewhere thinks</a> the trailer says it all: "Do you like comedies that are aimed at dumb beasts? <strong>Do you want to be tortured? Do you want to experience the sensation of life itself draining out of you? </strong>Then you definitely want to catch Beth Cooper."</p>

<p>The three day Zaire '74 concert was supposed to coincide with The Rumble in the Jungle between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, but when the bout was delayed after Foreman got cut during training, the concert went on as scheduled anyway. The documentary <em>Soul Power</em> chronicles the sights and sounds of those three days. <a href="">Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal</a> writes, "Period pieces can be marvelous or musty, depending on the period, as well as the piece. <em>Soul Power</em> is marvelous, and no wonder—among the performers in this concert film are James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, Miriam Makeba and Celia Cruz, all at the peak of their powers."</p>

<p>Filmed in the Yucatán harbor town Puerto Progreso,<em> Lake Tahoe</em> concerns a young man whose car accident throws him in with an unlikely group of characters. <a href=";ei=5083">Jeannette Catsoulis at the Times</a> calls it "dreamy... So different from the usual fare that it might have arrived from another galaxy, <em>Lake Tahoe </em>is a painstaking collage of small incidents and expansive images clustered around a fragile narrative. At the center is Juan (Diego Cataño), a phlegmatic teenager whose bright red Nissan has collided with a pole; around him are a variety of characters — a grumpy dog lover, a friendly kung fu fanatic — who may or may not be able to help him get moving again. To reach his destination, however, he will require more than a mechanic and a replacement part...This gorgeous, deceptively tranquil movie (the second from the Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke) unfolds in long, motionless takes that cut abruptly to black."</p>

<em>Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg</em> is about a beloved radio and television star who died in 1966 and today is barely remembered. From 1929 until 1955, <em>The Goldbergs</em> was one of the most popular shows on radio and television. At the center of the show was Gertrude Berg, who played the fictional Molly Goldberg, and the documentary explores her impact as an American Jewish heroine who emerged during the most difficult years for American Jews. <a href=",30163/">The Onion's Noel Murray</a> says that unlike director Aviva Kempner’s previous documentary, <em>The Life And Times Of Hank Greenberg</em>, "her latest has too much 'life' and not enough 'times.' <p></p>"Kempner tells the story too straight, jumping from point to point without taking enough time to consider the atmosphere and implications surrounding Berg’s work. Interviewees mention in passing how Berg was a harsh boss, and how the show cautiously broached the subject of the Holocaust, and how some more assimilated Jews considered even the tame version of their culture presented on <em>The Goldbergs</em> to be too broad and stereotypical. Any of these threads could’ve been followed a little further, to more fully explore the era’s mindset."

<p>Set mostly in Moscow in the 1970s, <em>Vanished Empire</em> views the sunset of the Soviet Union through the eyes of rebellious teenage lovers. <a href=";ei=5083">Stephen Holden at the Times</a> calls it a "wise, elegiac film... [Director Karen] Shakhnazarov, a prolific and under-recognized Russian filmmaker with a surrealist touch, views the collapse of the Soviet Union as an inevitable conflation of the younger generation’s natural impulse to reject the past and of the seductive power of a monolithic pop culture that can seep through the most rigidly patrolled borders."</p>

<p>"Now then, Dimitri. You know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the bomb. The <em>bomb</em>, Dimitri. <em>The hydrogen bomb.</em> Well, now what happened is, one of our base commanders, he had a sort of, well he went a little funny in the head. You know. Just a little... <em>funny.</em> And uh, he went and did a silly thing." <a href="">The IFC Center screens</a> Stanley Kubrick's classic cold war satire<em> Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb</em> at midnight this weekend. </p>

<p>"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." <a href="">The Sunshine screens</a> Michael Curtiz's 1942 masterpiece <em>Casablanca</em> at midnight this weekend.</p>

<a href="">BAMcinématek screens</a> François Truffaut's seldom seen <em>Mississippi Mermaid</em> tonight through July 16th; it stars Catherine Deneuve as the double-crossing mail-order bride to tobacco tycoon Jean-Paul Belmondo. <a href="">Writing for the Village Voice</a>, Melissa Anderson explains, "Dedicated to Jean Renoir, based on a noir novel by Cornell Woolrich, and an homage of sorts to <em>Vertigo,</em> Truffaut's frequently overlooked eighth feature isn't kid stuff. <em>Mississippi Mermaid</em>—sandwiched between his Stolen Kisses (1968), which tracks Antoine Doinel's transition from boy to man, and The Wild Child (1970)—pairs two superstars, Deneuve and Belmondo, for its bifurcated story of crazy-in-love adults."

<a href="">Film Forum is observing</a> the 30th anniversary of Ridley Scott's <em>Alien</em> by screening the director's cut for one week, starting tonight.