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Weekend Movie Forecast: <em>Star Trek</em> Or...Oh, Just See <em>Star Trek</em>

<p>J.J. Abrams's "reboot" of the creaky <em>Star Trek</em> franchise is currently rocking a 96% critical approval rating <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_trek_11/">on Rotten Tomatoes</a>, and we're not dissenting. After catching a preview screening earlier this week, we've got to hand it to Abrams: the man knows how to make a solid action movie. Thrilling from the very first explosive sequence, his origins story is less concerned with fulfilling every little plot point on the Trekkie wish-list than it is with yanking audiences on a kinetic, deep space adventure. It's pure, well-crafted escapism on a level that Hollywood seems mostly incapable of delivering these days. Let's just say he had us at "Sabatoge." </p><p></p>Or as Christopher Orr <a href="http://www.tnr.com/booksarts/story.html?id=9114c278-fe40-4875-a0da-bec46b1c4561">at the New Republic</a> puts it: "In his daft, dizzy reinvention of a moribund franchise, Abrams has found a way to be referential without being reverential, to conjure nostalgia without being constrained by it. <strong>He may play fast and loose with the world he's been bequeathed, but at least the movie he gets out of it is itself fast and loose."</strong>


<p>Atom Egoyan's new film <em>Adoration</em> concerns a young man who turns a provocative homework assignment into a controversial, public exploration of his parents' (possibly intentional) death in a car crash. The Village Voice's Scott Foundas <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-05-06/film/adoration-close-in-form-to-egoyan-s-early-work/">has this to say</a>: "Inspired by a classroom translation of a news article about a Jordanian man who attempted to blow up a commercial airliner with a bomb hidden in his pregnant girlfriend's luggage, the boy claims the story as that of his own deceased parents—a lie that quickly goes viral and takes on even more bizarre dimensions when the teacher (for reasons Egoyan holds close to the vest for most of the running time), disguised in a face-covering burka, pays a house call on her student and his blue-collar uncle (an excellent Scott Speedman). </p><p></p>"Never short on ambition, Adoration has no lack of interesting things to say or interesting ways to say them, but the longer it runs, the more you feel Egoyan working up a sweat to deploy the same effects—Pinterian abstractions, fractured timelines, shifting points of view—that he once made seem effortless. <strong>The end result is a movie considerably more absorbing to talk, write, and think about afterward than it is to actually watch."</strong>


<p>Fresh off its New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, <em>Rudo y Cursi</em> stars Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal as warring Mexican brothers who work at a banana plantation until they get a shot at the big time in a pro soccer team. Nathan Rabin <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/rudo-y-cursi,27712/">at the Onion</a> says it "begins as a delightful satire of the tackiness and crass excess of the nouveau riche, blessed with the same loose, improvisational, French New Wave-inspired vibe, stellar performances, and dynamite chemistry of <em>Y Tu Mamá Tambien</em>. Yet [director Carlos] Cuarón’s light touch abandons him once the film takes an unfortunate detour into contrived melodrama...<strong><em>Rudo Y Cursi </em>barely survives its third-act <em>Goodfellas </em>descent into seedy coke-and-crime drama." </strong></p>



<em>Julia</em>, a new film from Erick Zonca (<em>The Dreamlife of Angels</em>) stars Tilda Swinton as a grotesquely self-destructive boozer who gets drawn into an acquaintance's ill-conceived kidnapping/ransom scheme. Everything goes horribly wrong, and <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/movies/08juli.html?ref=movies">The Times's Manohla Dargis</a> says that some scenes are "so tonally relentless, so claustrophobic and harrowing that I found myself pushed right out of the movie...But Ms. Swinton demands to be seen even when her character is on a self-annihilating bender so real that you can almost smell the stink rising off her. So I sat in my seat, cursed the screen and was grateful to watch an actress at the height of her expressive power claw toward greatness. <strong>Claw, crawl, stumble, scurry, fly like a bat out of this hell — Ms. Swinton does it all."</strong>


<em>Next Day Air</em> is a screwball blaxpoitation action comedy about two amateur crooks who accidentally receive a huge brick of cocaine in the mail and encounter a world of trouble trying to sell it. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/next-day-air,1156481.html">The Washington Post says</a>, "The movie is fascinated by the mechanics of drug distribution, but, like its pot-addled protagonists, is easily distracted. Fans of <em>The Wire</em> will giggle to see Wood Harris, the actor who played that show's menacing Avon Barksdale, here portraying a jittery, fast-talking hood named Guch..<strong>.In the end, it's a fitfully amusing, sloppy comedy that doesn't work very hard for your 10 bucks. It's a hustle that befits a movie in which one character berates another: 'You're in America! Steal something!'</strong>"


<p>Set in Spain, <em>Little Ashes</em> concerns the turbulent relationship between Salvador Dali, filmmaker Luis Buñuel and writer Federico Garcia Lorca. The film's named after one of Dali's paintings; here the legendary artist is portrayed by Robert Pattinson (<em>Twilight</em>). The Village Voice's Melissa Anderson <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-05-06/film/little-ashes-is-pattinson-s-attempt-to-expand-past-twilight-fan-base/">calls it</a><strong> "a typically bombastic lives-of-the-artists production</strong> made even more stilted by having all the actors (including the Spanish ones) speak accented English; the first several minutes contain so much Castilian overlisping that someone surely must have sprained a tongue."</p>



<p>Kirby Dick's documentary <em>Outrage</em> sifts thought interviews with journalists and politicians to suggest that closeted politicians are essentially blackmailed into pushing for anti-gay rights legislation. According to <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/movies/08outr.html?ref=movies">A.O. Scott at the Times</a>, "The central claim of <em>Outrage</em> — advanced most ardently by Michael Rogers, a blogger who sees it as his mission to name names and reveal secrets — is that politicians who vote against gay interests while surreptitiously pursuing gay sex deserve exposure... 'Washington is a very gay town,' one of them says. 'And it’s also a deeply closeted town.'"</p>


<em>Objectified</em> documents the creative processes of some of the world’s most influential product designers, and looks at how the things they make impact our lives. <a href="http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2009/05/08/objectified/index.html">Salon's Stephanie Zacharek</a> says it's "so straightforward, sensible and thought-provoking that it alleviates that design noise instead of adding to it. Designers think about those things so we don't have to. <em>Objectified</em>, in turn, makes it fun to think about them."


<p>Film Forum's <a href="http://www.filmforum.org/films/con.html#58">Con Film Festival</a> is a two week celebration of classic Hollywood bad boy movies. The fun kicks off with a double feature of Mervyn LeRoy's 1932 film <em>I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang</em> (pictured) and Howard Hawks's <em>The Criminal Code.</em> About the former, Pauline Kael at the New Yorker wrote, "One of the best of the social protest films, with moments that haunted a generation and one of the great closing scenes in the history of film." Based on a true story about a war veteran's run from the law, the original author was re-captured following post-movie publicity.</p>


<p>Academy Award nominated documentary <em>The Garden </em> concerns <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Central_Farm">the long, bitter battle between</a> Latino farmers who, in the wake of the Rodney King riots, turned a patch of LA urban wasteland into a massive urban farm and community garden, only to be evicted in 2006 and see the site bulldozed. <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/movies/08gard.html?ref=movies">Jeannette Catsoulis at the Times</a> says it "has all the elements of a John Sayles drama: hard-working immigrants, self-serving politicians, a greedy land developer and Daryl Hannah. Yet this intricate and compelling documentary about the tug of war over a 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles paints a portrait of American politics not even Mr. Sayles could render more saddening."</p>


<p>On Saturday, <a href="http://bam.org/view.aspx?pid=1061">BAMcinématek screens</a> <em>After the Rehearsal, </em>Ingmar Bergman's made-for-TV movie about a theater director's emotional post-rehearsal encounter with the star of August Strindberg's <em>Dream Play.</em> Reviewing it when it was released here in 1984, the Times's <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E0DE6DA1739F932A15755C0A962948260">Vincent Canby wrote</a>, "Though<em> After the Rehearsal</em> runs a scant 72 minutes, it's as much a survey of the human condition as Strindberg's play, even if that condition is seen exclusively from Mr. Bergman's severely particular point of view. That is, the vantage point of an artist, nearing the end of a long and very successful career, for whom his art - the theater and his work in it - is life, and everything else has the effect of illusion... Although it's a very different kind of film, <em>After the Rehearsal</em> is as passionate, knowledgeable and funny about the stage as Francois Truffaut's <em>Day for Night</em> is about movies."</p>


<p>It's the 50th anniversary of Billy Wilder's priceless screwball comedy <em>Some Like It Hot</em>, which stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as two luckless musicians on the run from the mob in drag, and Marilyn Monroe. <a href="http://www.landmarktheatres.com/Films/films_frameset.asp?id=42786">Sunshine is screening</a> it this weekend at midnight.</p>



<p>Get your diapers on, Lebowski; the IFC Center <a href="http://www.ifccenter.com/event?eventid=999766">is hosting two parties</a> this weekend celebrating the '90s funniest movie:<em> The Big Lebowski.</em> In addition to midnight screenings of the Coen Brothers masterpiece, there will be costume contests, Wii bowling, and even a rug-peeing competition. Ever thus to deadbeats.</p>