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This Week in Film: March 23, 2007

C-Diddy rocking out "Hello Kitty" style in Air Guitar Nation

What's your air guitar style? Mine was wearing it low, knee-level, imitating Peter Hook and Kurt Cobain, sludging and strumming it like a mopey Shoegazer. Er, too much information. But wait, how did this bedroom pastime become a subculture and -- even more baffling -- an actual talent competition? This question and more is explored in the hard-rocking doc Air Guitar Nation.

Like the recent Spellbound (about the national spelling bee competition) and Wordplay (about the love for crossword puzzles), Air Guitar Nation works on our basic fascination with what naturally happens when you put obsession and competition together -- ego posturing and pandemonium. The film follows C-Diddy and Bjorn Turoque, two of the motley contenders each with their own unique "licking" abilities, as they rock and flail their invisible phallic instruments all the way to the World Air Guitar Championships. Yes, they exist and some people take them very seriously.

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But before I was pretending to be a member of My Bloody Valentine, I was 1/4 of another group of sorts: the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Leonardo to be exact, er, too much information again). Being in the ripe demographic for marketing exploitation at the time, I had it all: the t-shirts, the underwear, the Halloween costumes, the bubble bath, the video games, the trading cards with the stale candy, and of course the action figures. Now the shell-back foursome are back in a slicker, darker CGI version in the all-new TMNT.

After killing off The Shredder in part 2 "The Secret of the Ooze", the brothers have drifted apart, each wallowing in their turtle angst and ennui, searching for meaning and purpose beyond the sewers. However, when a disgruntled Tech-industrialist starts to unleash an army of monsters on to the streets of New York, our pizza-loving green-skin saviors must team up once again for an all-out battle royale -- ninja style. It looks like a lot fun, especially for those who fondly remember seeing the late Jim Henson creations on the big screen 17 years ago.

A boatload of flicks are opening this weekend: Adam Sandler plays a man emotionally wounded by a personal 9/11 tragedy in Reign Over Me; Terrence Howard puts together a swim team made up of inner city streetballers in Pride; Mark Wahlberg is a former sniper framed for an assassination attempt on the President in Shooter; biologist/documentarian Rob Stewart fends off poachers rather than his deadly subjects in the Canadian nature film Sharkwater; strange things start to happen when little bro and a sis discover a magical toybox in the family adventure The Last Mimzy; director Michael Apted examines the historical struggles of William Wilberforce in his quest to abolish slavery in the 18th century Brit drama Amazing Grace; finally those hungry hungry cannibals are back in The Hills Have Eyes 2 the unnecessary sequel to the Wes Craven remake.

Phew... lots of choices.

Opening this Week:

Air Guitar Nation
TMNT
Reign Over Me
Pride
Shooter
Sharkwater
The Last Mimzy
Amazing Grace
The Hills Have Eyes 2

(Photos: Docurama Films, Warner Brothers)


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