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Dear John

Posted 2/3/2010

The Beetle Israeli documentary filmmaker Dan Geva is MICA's spring 2010 Schusterman visiting artist, and during his stay in Baltimore he's curating a series of contemporary Israeli movies. The series starts off with this 2008 documentary from writer/director Yishai Orian, Hachipusheet, which documents Orian's funny and touching relationship with his own 40-year-old Volkswagen Beetle. Encouraged by his wife to get rid of the heap, Orian sets out on a road trip to Jordan to see if it's more affordable to repair it there rather than replace it outright. Screens Feb. 4 at Falvey Hall in the Brown Center at MICA at 7:30 p.m .

Dear John The Nicholas Sparks adaptations continue apace (viz., A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe) with this sentimental romance about a soldier (Channing Tatum) who falls in love with a college student (Amanda Seyfried) and the ensuing multi-year saga of their lives. Directed by Swede Lasse Hallström. Opens Feb. 5.

From Paris With Love Luc Besson the writer/producer is at it again. Director Pierre Morel (Banlieue 13, Taken) helms this actioner starring bald and goateed John Travolta as an FBI agent in Paris teaming up with Jonathan Rhys Meyers' spy to thwart some kind of terrorist attack, and British beauty Amber Rose Revah must have something to do because she gets third billing. Expect some kind of cheesy-plot melodrama and pointless violence. Opens Feb. 5.

The Last Picture Show Peter Bogdonavich's classic 1971 adaptation of Larry McMurty's novel captures the waning of the modern West via the denizens, young and old, of a small Texas town in the early 1950s. The cult of Jeff Bridges begins here. Shot in gloriously bleak black and white. At the Charles Theatre at noon Feb. 6, 7 p.m. Feb. 8, and 9 p.m. Feb. 11.

Monsters Vs. Aliens Things kick off with a planetary detonation that sends an irradiated asteroid to Earth where it lands on a bride-to-be. Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) crawls out from underneath her would-be interplanetary doom and quickly grows to a svelte but somehow curvy 49 feet 11 inches. That number is key, since it makes clear she's not the 50-Foot Woman who attacked movie theaters back in 1958. Susan is subsequently seized by the government, and disappeared to a mysterious facility where other "monsters" have been housed for more than half a century. There's Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), who's definitely not the Fly; there's a gillman named the Missing Link (Will Arnett), who's definitely not the Creature from the Black Lagoon; there's the gelatinous B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), who's definitely not the Blob; and there's a 350-foot grub named Insectosaurus that's kind of a hybrid between Godzilla and Mothra, but definitely not either. To protect society, Susan--now codenamed Ginormica (again, not the 50-Foot Woman)--is imprisoned with the other non-trademark-infringing characters. That is, until aliens--or rather, one alien--invades. Manmade weapons prove futile, so the powers that be, led by a hapless president (Stephen Colbert), recruit the monsters to take out the alien. Not plural, at least until he clones himself. There's a good deal of fun to be had with this concept, especially from a company that's well known for its self-reflexive pop-culture satire. (Cole Haddon) At the Enoch Pratt Central Library's Wheeler Auditorium Feb. 6 at 2 p.m.

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