New Releases

SOMETHING NEW (PG-13) Despite the promise of the film's title, the smart money is on this being yet another romantic comedy about attractive young singles refusing, right up until the last reel, to realize they're right for each other. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Stars Sanaa Lathan, Simon Baker and Blair Underwood. Opens Feb. 3 at local theaters. (Not Reviewed)

WE JAM ECONO: THE STORY OF THE MINUTEMENT (NR) Working class heroes, avant-garde jokesters, telepathic mutant musicians, The Minutemen were one of the best and least understood American bands of the early '80s. We Jam Econo is the definitive portrait of this legendary group. A power trio too smart for labels, guitarist D. Boon, bassist Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley were committed activists who also reveled in their roles as enigmatic artists, instinctively fusing punk, funk, jazz, folk and whatever else happened to be laying around. In the five short years of the band's existence, they spewed out a brilliant and massive body of work, scaled whatever heights were available to underground musicians at the time, and finally crashed to earth with the untimely death of guitarist D. Boon in a van accident in 1985. We Jam Econo takes a curiously conventional approach to its anything but conventional subject, relying on talking heads and traditionally edited low-fi archival footage (including The Minutemen burning up various stages) to tell the tale — but with a tale this engaging that's not such a bad way to go. Plays one night only, Sat., Feb. 4, at Transitions Art Gallery at the Skatepark of Tampa, 4215 E. Columbus Drive, Tampa. For more information call 813-621-6793 or visit www.transitionartgallery.com. 4 stars.

THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN (PG-13) The Indian in the title of Roger Donaldson's new film isn't even human, although you'd be hard pressed to deny it possesses a personality. What we're talking about is a vintage Indian Scout motorcycle owned and operated by one Burt Munro, an eccentric old New Zealander who traveled all the way to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats and, against all odds, set a land speed record in 1967 that still stands. The World's Fastest Indian is based on fact and seems to have gotten most of the talking points of Munro's life right — but more important, the movie itself is a lot of fun. Anthony Hopkins is immensely appealing as the eternally optimistic Burt, playing him quirky and ridiculously personable without sentimentalizing the character, and the film is as consistently good-natured as its hero. This is basically just a road movie leading up to a predictably rousing finale — Burt travels across American encountering an oddball human smorgasbord (rednecks, drag queens, soldiers, horny widows, Native Americans, used car salesmen) and eventually realizes his dream — but even the corniest bits are so buoyant it all wins us over. Also stars Christopher Lawford, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Rodriguez and Diane Ladd. Opens Feb. 3 at Tampa Theatre. Call to confirm. 3.5 stars.


AEON FLUX (PG-13) Based on the popular MTV animated series of the '90s, Aeon Flux takes us 400 years into the future to the last city on Earth. Charlize Theron, making her debut in the sci-fi action genre, stars as an underground operative leading the rebels against totalitarian rule of a seemingly perfect society. Also stars Martin Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller and Frances McDormand. (Not Reviewed)

ANNAPOLIS (PG-13) This predictable drama chronicles the tale of a working-class kid (pretty boy Spiderman star James Franco) who just barely makes it into the United States Naval Academy. Defiant but determined, he proves himself by boxing his way to respect. There aren't too many surprises here: the comic relief is handled by the fat guy (played by Vicellous Reon Shannon), the hero gets the girl (a too-tan Jordana Brewster) and every student at the Naval Academy could moonlight as a model. Perfectly timed to inspire young bucks to trade in their baggy jeans for starched white sailor suits, this family-friendly film is Rumsfeld-approved. Justin Lin directs; also stars Tyrese Gibson and Donnie Wahlberg. 2 stars.

Erin Rashbaum

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (R) As nearly everyone in North America has probably heard by now, Ang Lee's new movie is the epic tale of two rough and tumble cowboys who discover, to their great amazement, that they only have eyes for each other. A delicate study in repressed emotions, Brokeback Mountain follows the star-crossed Jack and Ennis (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) over the years, through loveless marriages, failed attempts to forget one another, and covert reunions where passions are quickly reignited. If it's subtext you're after, there's subtext aplenty here; American iconography inevitably takes on interesting new shapes while the whole movie occasionally feels like a vintage Douglas Sirk melodrama-cum-social-critique, gently massaged into a realm where men and women have so little interest in one another that they can't even be bothered with the so-called war of the sexes. At root, though, Brokeback is something profound in its simplicity, a deliriously romantic and deeply elegiac tale of a love that dares not speak its name. Also stars Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway and Randy Quaid. 4.5 stars.

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