When you’re still in school, the summer seems to arch into this glorious never-ending sunset; while in adulthood, it’s more like a few months where it’s a bit hotter and maybe you drink slightly more often. This is why you have to take miniature vacations for yourself, despite the fact that you might not have enough money to actually go anywhere. Movies are my solution because it’s good to get out of my head sometimes and it’s a helluva lot safer than a lobotomy. This week, “Salt,” “Ramona and Beezus,” “Life During Wartime,” and “Countdown to Zero” are your mind vacation options. Don’t forget to pack snacks!
The Movie: “Salt”
The Trailer: CIA super agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) may or may not be a Russian spy. Her cover is (maybe) blown when a Russian defector says that the Russians have a small army of sleeper agents in America who will strike when they hear the order and that she is one of them. She whisks into defense mode, fleeing the scene, insisting innocence but acting super guilty. Her sympathetic co-worker Winter (Liev Schreiber) kind of believes her but is just as dumbfounded as everyone else about her actions. There’s a lot of chasing and MacGuyvering on Salt’s part and you’re left wondering who the hell she is.
The Hitch: Apparently, the movie opens with Angelina Jolie writhing around in her underwear and along the way, she covers a surveillance camera with her lace panties and uses a tampon to bandage a wound. We get it. She’s a girl spy. If she also has a pink glock, I’m going to cry. It is great to have a female action star, but it would be even cooler if, one day, they could do it without using sex to sell it. Does Bourne have long, lingering shower scenes and gratuitous butt shots? (I wish.) Anyway, this is a high-action thriller which, while devoid of much logic, is probably pretty exciting. I think I can wait for the DVD, but hopefully Jolie’s first role since birthing her twins is a success.
The Movie: “Ramona and Beezus”
The Trailer: Ramona Quimby (Joey King) is an imaginative tomboy who drives her older sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) crazy sometimes. Their father (John Corbett) loses his job and Ramona schemes on how to raise enough money to save their house. Meanwhile, her aunt (Ginnifer Goodwin) is visiting and runs into her former and maybe future boyfriend (Josh Duhamel).
The Hitch: I was totally obsessed with the Ramona books when I was little. The movie borrows stories from almost all eight of Beverly Cleary’s books and tries to squeeze them in. Part of me wishes that there were only no-name actors instead of bringing in familiar faces and Disney superstar Selena Gomez to play Beezus, but I’m just happy they made the movie anyway. Even the troublemakers need love, and Ramona Quimby has got to be the cutest troublemaker around!
The Movie: “Life During Wartime”
The Trailer: A followup to Todd Solondz’s “Happiness,” the same family from that film is back but with a new cast playing them. Their pedophile dad (Ciarán Hinds) is out of prison; they’ve moved from New Jersey to Miami; their mom is remarrying (Allison Janney); and her sons are meeting their future stepdad. The mom’s virginal sister, Joy (Shirley Henderson), has run away from her degenerate husband Allen (Michael K. Williams) and her life in New Jersey. Depression ensues.
The Hitch: This was all I could think while watching the trailer: “Omigod! Paul Reubens is back!” The ultra-saturated color makes even the most depressing movies more beautiful, and if you watched “Happiness,” you know to expect depressing. Solondz also brought us “Welcome to the Dollhouse,” which was brilliant but not exactly heart-warming. I’d still watch the hell out of this movie though, because between Allison Janney and Pee Wee, I don’t need much else. Plus, it’s available through On Demand!
The Movie: “Countdown to Zero”
The Trailer: From the makers of “An Inconvenient Truth,” this film follows the history and present of nuclear weapons, back to the times when we almost fell prey to these weapons, like in 1995 when Bois Yeltsin was told we’d attacked and he had to release the hounds. The film also shows us how easy it is to get enriched uranium right now but how important it is for us to get rid of all the weapons before we destroy everything.
The Hitch: I’m the paranoid sort, so thinking about how we all might die at any given time is kind of the norm for me. But this might be a scary realization for most people, made more frustrating by the fact that there is nothing we can do as individuals to stop the problem. If only humans would realize that we’re already destroying the earth and we don’t need a fast-forward button.