Weekend Movie Guide 06/16: Green Lantern & Queen of the Sun

Warner Bros & DC Comics pioneered the superhero blockbuster in 1978 with Christopher Reeves' Superman and perfected it 30 years later with The Dark Knight. Green Lantern, their latest live-action adaptation, aims to launch a series that can compete against Marvel's Spiderman, X-Men & Avengers franchises. Will Warner & DC see green, or will this lantern fizzle?

Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, who receives a mysterious green ring from a dying alien. The ring & its powers draw him into the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force. Known for his comedic charisma, Reynolds boasts some comic chops. Physically, he's got the classic, square-jawed hero look, and his resume includes a recent role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as wise-cracking assassin Deadpool. Peter Sarsgaard (Orphan, An Education) plays irradiated evil genius Hector Hammond, with Michael Clark Duncan (Green Mile), Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech), Paul Parducci (L.A. Noire) & Clancy Brown (DC's Justice League & Superman cartoon series) voicing fellow Lanterns. So far, the film hasn't lit up critics' lives, but the trailer sports some stellar CGI.

Queen of the Sun courts the insect instead of the intergalactic. Subtitled "What are the bees telling us?", the latest documentary from Taggart Siegel (The Real Dirt on Farmer John) covers colony collapse disorder, a frightening phenomenon decimating bee populations across the country & around the world. Among the film's bee-zarre revelations: half of America's honeybees died off a few years ago, the survivors are hopped up on high fructose corn syrup, and demand for pollinators is so great that queen bees are imported from other countries - and artificially inseminated.

Queen of the Sun makes a sweet companion to Vanishing of the Bees, which we covered earlier this year as part of the Do Something Reel Film Festival. While there's a serving of industrial-agriculture-as-enemy that often accompanies foodie documentaries, there's no hive mentality here. Siegel prefers entrepreneurs to the end times, and Queen of the Sun is full of inspiring, innovative beekeepers from all across the world. Up in Brooklyn, grassroots bee lovers advocate to legalize their passion. Down Under, beekeeping is a family business, and generations of natural caretakers craft honey so pure it can heal. On the eclectic side, there's a Frenchman so loyal to his queen that he can trim his beard with their stingers.

Alongside these devotees, the film illustrates the mystical connection between humans & bees with gorgeous animated interludes. Interviewee Michael Pollan mentions that bees are the only insects who enjoy the same tastes we do. If that's the case, bring your "bee ff" to Queen of the Sun. They'll love it as much as we did!

Do you seek more adventurous film-going? Then check out our weekly guide to the best of LA's repertory theaters, midnight movies & special events. This week we have extensive coverage of the LA Film Festival, which continues through the 26th!

Wide Release
The Art of Getting By (Reviews) (Showtimes)
Green Lantern (Reviews) (Showtimes) (3D Showtimes)
Mr. Popper's Penguins (Reviews) (Showtimes)

Limited Release
Buck (Reviews) (Arclight Cinemas) (The Landmark)
City of Life and Death (Reviews) (Nuart Theatre)
Jig (Reviews) (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
The Last Mountain (Reviews) (Laemmle Theatres) (The Landmark)
Queen of the Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us? (Reviews) (Laemmle Theatres)
Road to Nowhere (Reviews) (Laemmle Theatres)

That's all for this week. See you at the movies!