Weekend Movie Guide 04/22: Put The 'Eat' In Earth Day

The Do Something Reel festival continues this Earth Day weekend at the Laemmles (here's a series refresher from a previous Film Calendar) with Planeat. The British documentary highlights how simple changes in diet - fewer animal-based meals and more plant-based meals - can have profound effects on personal health, global society & the environment. Less incendiary than Food Inc. & less guilt-inspiring than Eating Animals, the Planeat trailer promises practicality & personal choice rather than militant gross-outs.

Of course, certain meals simply demand meat. Particularly those consumed by the lions & cheetahs of the latest Disneynature release, African Cats. Following on the heels of National Geographic's The Last Lions, Disney ups the anthropomorphism but brings the bad-assery with narration from Samuel L. Jackson. A portion of each ticket sold Earth Day week benefits an African Wildlife Foundation project in Kenya's Amboseli Corridor (home to the doc's cats & a host of other animals), as will 20% of ancillary merch. As far as corporate philanthropy goes, it's something we can all take pride in.

For a fictional take on the Earth Day spirit, run off with Water For Elephants. The literary adaptation stars R-Pattz as a turn-of-the-century veterinary student who falls in with the circus & falls for its leading lady, Reese Witherspoon. Only problem is she's married to the circus' abusive animal trainer (Christoph Waltz) and the equally callous ringmaster will do whatever it takes - including throwing dissenters off moving trains - to insure she stays faithful.

The loss of Restrepo director Tim Hetherington earlier this week is a stark reminder of the danger photojournalists face overseas. Unfortunately, it's nothing new. The Bang Bang Club, a biopic opening at Laemmle's Sunset, profiles a group of photographers who risked life & limb (eventually losing both) to capture the horrors of South African apartheid, riots & extreme poverty for Western audiences. The most (in)famous incident dramatized is Kevin Carter's Pulitzer-winning photo of a vulture stalking a starving child, still one of the most disturbing images committed to film. Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) portrays Carter, while Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman (Watchmen) & South African natives Frank Rautenbach & Neels Van Jaarsveld round out the rest of the Bang Bang Club.

Full list appears below. Due to a scheduling conflict this week, there was no Film Calendar covering the rest of the specialty theatres. See you at the movies!

Wide Release
African Cats (Showtimes)
Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family (Showtimes)
Water For Elephants (Showtimes)

Limited Release
The Bang Bang Club (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Deep Gold 3D (Bigfoot Crest)
Dum Maaro Dum (Culver Plaza Theatres) (Laemmle's Fallbrook 7)
Incendies (The Landmark)
Legend Of The Fist: The Return Of Chen Zhen (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Meek's Cutoff (Arclight Hollywood) (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Meeting Spencer (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Nostalgia For The Light (Nuart Theatre)
Planeat (Laemmle Theatres)
Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Arclight Hollywood)
Zokkomon (Culver Plaza Theatres)

Featured Trailers
The Bang Bang Club

Planeat

African Cats

Water For Elephants