Past the Popcorn film roundup—Wall-E, Wanted, and more

Movie ticketsEach week, Past the Popcorn offers a thorough look at the latest round of films opening on big screens.

Well, there’s no mistaking it: the big news of the movie-going summer appears to be WALL-E, the latest from Pixar… and arriving just in time for some great buzz over the 4th of July holiday.

There will always be naysayers, of course, but the great consensus is that they are wildly off the mark in this case—and Jeff Walls agrees with that assessment. Pixar, he says, has “managed to pull off a film that is quite a delight to watch. It may not match the studio’s best work, but it certainly does not come off as a disappointment.” And as you might expect from Pixar, it’s family-friendly. “The only thing parents will need to worry about with this film,” says Jeff, “is how to explain why the planet is such a mess in the future. And that may not be the worst conversation to have.”

Also out this week (and not much competition for WALL-E) is the R-rated sci-fi thriller Wanted, which Jeff says deserves “credit for creativity” in spite of its predictability (and “more bullets blasting out of the back of people’s heads since The Departed).

In the art houses, you might consider Up the Yangtze, a documentary about the human cost of China’s Three Gorges hydroelectric project. Greg Wright gives it a qualified recommendation: “There are great things to think about in connection with the Three Gorges Dam, and Chang brings several of them up; we can be grateful for that. Finally, though, the film is just a little too slack for my taste, and talks too little about the dam itself. Americans should be cautious about judging China too harshly.”

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