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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

new this week in U.S., Canadian, and U.K. theaters: ‘Salt,’ ‘Ramona and Beezus,’ ‘Toy Story 3,’ ‘Splice,’ more


Salt: Angelina Jolie’s CIA agent goes on the lam after she is accused of being a double agent for a cadre of Russians who miss the Cold War. Cuz the Cold War was so much fun.

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

The Fugitive (1993): Harrison Ford’s doctor goes on the run in order to prove his innocence when accused of murder; just as thrilling, if somewhat less plausible, than Salt.
The Hunt for Red October (1990): Alec Baldwin’s mild-mannered CIA analyst is forced to become a field agent when Sean Connery’s Russian sub captain aims his nuclear-armed vessel square at the East Coast of the U.S.
Mata Hari (1931): Classic girl-spy stuff with Greta Garbo as the legendary secret agent.
The Avengers (1961-1969): Choose from Diana Rigg as Emma Peel or Honor Blackman as Catherine Gale in swingin’ 60s espionage action.

Ramona and Beezus: A young girl struggles to find her place in a confusing and annoying world of older sisters, teachers who demand conformity, and other trials of childhood.

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

Pippi Longstocking (1969): The children’s fantasy classic about a very independent young lady.
Racing Stripes (2005): A more modern story about a young girl attempting to do her own thing, about a teen in the cutthroat world of competitive horse racing.
Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983): Little girls fare slightly better on TV, such as in this tale of Laura Ingalls and her frontier life.
Anne of Green Gables (1985): The Canadian TV miniseries adaptation of the classic book series.

Countdown to Zero: A horrifying yet hopeful documentary about the dangers and terrifying likelihood of nuclear weapons getting into terrorist hands, or of the legitimate military ones flying by mistake. [trailer] review to come

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

The Atomic Cafe (1982): A by turns hilarious and scary compilation of Cold War-era propaganda intended to make Americans stop worrying and love the bomb.
Fat Man and Little Boy (1989): A dramatized look at the scientific minds who created the atomic bomb amidst the pressures of WWII, effectively merging engineering fact and poignant melodrama.
The Manhattan Project (1986): If you need more convincing that making an atom bomb really isn’t all that hard, see this GenXers-will-be-the-death-of-us sci-fi flick, in which a clever high-schooler constructs a bomb for a school project.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006): For another look at how we all might die, from the same producers; Al Gore demonstrates how we’re all going to get hoist by our own fossil-fuel-burning petard.

Orlando: Sally Potter’s tricksy tale of the gender-switching aristocrat gets a big-screen rerelease. review to come


Toy Story 3: Like Schindler’s List, but with toys. Honestly.

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

Toy Story (1995): Well, naturally.
Toy Story 2 (1999): Even better than the first one.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993): Some cute animals struggle on long, arduous journey to find their people, almost exactly like Woody and Buzz have to do. *sob*
Babes in Toyland (aka March of the Wooden Soldiers) (1934): Laurel and Hardy in fairy-tale land. (Fairy tale characters are what we had before we had trademarked toy characters developed by global megacorps for irresistible cuteness.)

Splice: What if Dr. Frankenstein were a woman (Sarah Polley), and had mommy issues? Because women are all about the mommy-ness.

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

Frankenstein (1931): Might as well go straight to the classic that provided the inspiration.
Cube (1997): For a more more original, far more terrifying SF horror flick from director Vincenzo Natali.
Embryo (1976): Cheesy mad scientist Rock Hudson takes a fetus from clump-of-cells to rockin’-hot chick. Who is evil, of course.
Species (1995): Need more smokin’-hot mutant chicks? This one is part extraterrestrial, and all evil.

City Island: Crazy people make for crazy families. Just like yours and mine.

The Rebound: Catherine Zeta-Jones goes all cougarish on us. Isn’t it hilarious how women still want sex beyond the age of 30? [trailer]

Where to buy/watch:
Anne of Green Gables [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Atomic Cafe [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Avengers [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Babes in Toyland [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Cube [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Embryo [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Fat Man and Little Boy [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Frankenstein [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Fugitive [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.]
The Hunt for Red October [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
An Inconvenient Truth [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Little House on the Prairie [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Manhattan Project [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Mata Hari [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Pippi Longstocking [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.]
Racing Stripes [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Species [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Toy Story [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Toy Story 2 [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]

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