Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coming Distractions June 16th, 2009

Crash-landing onto our shelves next Tuesday:

What Goes Up
Friday the 13th
Burn Notice - 2nd Season
Secret Life of the American Teenager - 2nd Season
Saving Grace - 2nd Season
Raising the Bar - 1st Season
Family Guy - 8th Season
Scott Walker: 30th Century Man

What Goes Up stars Steve Coogan, Hilary Duff, Molly Shannon, and the two kids from The Wackness (Your problem is you always look at the wackness, whereas I look at the dopeness. Naaaaaww?) The movie is, apparently, the story of the teenagers at the high school where Christa McAuliffe worked until she was elected to become the first civilian sent into space on the Challenger. What a title for a movie that is, at least tangentially, about how McAuliffe was also the first teacher to explode on her way to space (Must Come Down). Right?
Real life tragedies have a long and robust (and healthy?) relationship with filmed drama. Some shows (see Law & Order: all incarnations, Criminal Minds, etc.) rely on dire news week after week. Let's take a look back at a few of the recent U.S. disasters that have been adapted for the big screen. And please feel free to comment with any films or tragedies I may have missed.

School Shootings have appeared in film before Columbine (If... ('68)), but throughout the 00's these tragedies have been all too prevalent in reality, and therefore on film . Elephant ('03, written & directed by Gus van Sant) & The Life Before Her Eyes ('07, starring Uma Thurman & Evan Rachel Wood) are two of the most famous. Duck! The Carbine High Massacre (1999), is another. Bowling for Columbine addresses both school shootings and the ease with which guns can be acquired in this great country.

Spike Lee's powerful documentary When the Levees Broke, takes on Hurricane Katrina in order to correct the widespread misbelief that it was Mother Nature, and not human incompetence, that destroyed the city of New Orleans. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button uses Katrina as a needless and annoying plot-framing device. Another documentary, Trouble the Water, will be out in August.

9/11 has inspired a slew of films and books, such as United 93, Flight 93, and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center (not to be confused with the pre-2001 electronic duo, I Am the World Trade Center). Reign Over Me (starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle) is about a man whose family was killed on that infamous day. The DVD September 11 contains 11 short segments from filmmakers around the world about the reactions to the terrorist attacks in each of their respective countries.

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