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‘Planes’ sequel crashes


Planes: Fire and Rescue opens with a dedication to the hero firefighters of the world. It’s an admirable notion, and it makes sense, given that this is a film about planes that fight fires.

But here it might be a little out of place, as Planes: Fire and Rescue has a few things on its mind besides supporting the men and women who routinely throw themselves into burning buildings.

Like money. Lots and lots of money – into the 11-figures-and-counting range. In case you weren’t aware, 2006’s Cars was the biggest moneymaker Disney had in decades – not because of how much green the film printed at the box office, but because a combination of toys, games and snack foods stamped with the Cars seal of approval routinely pulls in tens of billions of dollars per year.

Weinstein JCC to host national film festival

The Weinstein JCC will premiere award-winning films in an interactive festival that begins Monday, March 31 and is designed to take viewers beyond the typical movie-going experience.

From autism to Tourette’s syndrome to a fish with one fin, the ReelAbilities film selections offer a variety of settings and unique stories that will captivate and engage audiences of all ages and experiences. Taking viewers beyond identified disabilities, the movies illustrate distinct individuals and shared experiences faced in overcoming challenges to pursue lives of satisfaction and meaning.

Khumba-ya? Not quite


You might have seen something called Khumba while clicking through a Redbox recently (or perhaps it was nestled in some hidden corner of a DVD sale shelf). And chances are, you passed it by without much of a thought. Makes sense; that goggle-eyed cartoon zebra on the cover (a zebra that’s dangerously close to becoming Madagascar copyright infringement) doesn’t inspire much confidence.

But when Khumba starts up, it looks nothing like you’d expect. The camera gazes across the savannah and the soundtrack swells with triumphant South African vocals.

Abstract emotion

Abstract paintings of Inge Strack (pictured) are on display through March 9 at the Gumenick Family Gallery at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Strack, a Chestefield painter of German origin, often paints in bold colors with a deep sense of emotion, focusing on brushstrokes, texture and form to find a balance. Strack’s painting is routed in the European tradition of expressionism but has found its own, unique language in following the American dream.

“I am not attempting to abstract the physical world," she said. "I draw my subject matter from inside of myself hoping to create a constant conversation between the viewer and the painting, especially since abstracts do not seem to answer but ask.”

Oh, nuts

What is it that made The Nut Job so successful? Cartoon squirrels equal live-action cash, apparently; the film had the biggest opening weekend of any independent animated movie in history. Three days later, and plans for a sequel began. You can’t call the film anything but a rousing, undeniable success story.

Unless, of course, you actually sit down to watch it. The Nut Job may have been a terrific investment, but it’s certainly not a terrific movie.

Artists on display

Emerging professional dancers of the "We Are Artists" project perform “Interference” together with teacher and choreographer Blake Roeder during a Jan. 18 event at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. The project gives emerging professional young dancers from the Richmond region area an opportunity to learn from, collaborate and perform with accomplished professional dancers. Founding siblings Roeder and Autumn Proctor are professional dancers, choreographers and dance teachers and expose the project participants to the innovative methods of movement creation they have learned and used in New York, Montreal and Berlin.

A good walk spoiled


A long, long time ago, Walking with Dinosaurs was probably a terrific movie. The film’s namesake, BBC’s original dinosaur documentary, was outstanding in its own right, so crafting a version for the big screen would surely achieve the same successes, right? That was the plan, at first – Walking with Dinosaurs was to be a prehistoric nature film that could appeal to all audiences and all ages.

Then the “powers that be” stepped in. Dinosaurs, it was declared, weren’t family-friendly enough on their own, and what Walking with Dinosaurs needed was to lose the nature film vibe and get those dinos cracking wise.

The many needy lives of Walter Mitty


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and its hero, Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) have something in common – they both just want to be appreciated. But Walter just seeks the affection of a single person: his unrequited office love, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig).

Walter Mitty wants to be loved by all: the young, the old, the comedy fans, the drama fans, and every single human being in between. And unlike the living, breathing Walter, Walter Mitty‘s neediness is its undoing.

Coffee, anyone?


Virginia Repertory Theatre will host theater enthusiasts and intrigued patrons for the latest in its monthly installment of “Coffee and Conversations” on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at its Willow Lawn location, featuring an inside look behind French Connection: Duquesnay to Moliere.

Virginia Rep has been hosting similar gatherings for the past five seasons. The program serves as an audience engagement opportunity to educate patrons about the process of the theater, the various programs and how it works.

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave., will present Flowers After 5 on Thursday evenings through August. Stroll through the gardens and enjoy wine, music and dining al fresco. There… Full text

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