V for Vendetta, G for Great Gazoo

This weekend’s new film releases offer variety as much as anything else. First of all, the infamous Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix franchise) are offering up their ultimate antidote to last week’s number one upper middle-class, girl giggle-fest Failure To Launch with Sarah Jessica Parker

V for Vendetta, despite some mainstream media hostility to a film daring to entertain the point of view of what makes some terrorists become terrorists, should do some nifty business worldwide. Among other things, 56 of the 3,365 theaters the film will be released in are Imax. Those venues should be jammed to capacity with fans watching the visual effects care of Blighty-based Double Negative (Richard Brisco, visual effects supervisor). DB recently did work on The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Batman Begins.

Directed by James McTeigue and produced by Joel Silver, Grant Hill and the Wachowski Brothers, the film stars Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea and John Hurt. It’s based on the graphic novel illustrated by David Lloyd and written by Alan Moore (who hated the movie so much he asked the producers to remove his credit from the picture.)

Also this weekend, look for What the Bleep? Down the Rabbit Hole a documentary by William Artnz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicent. The film is a docudrama that illustrates the link between quantum mechanics, neurobiology, human consciousness and day-to-day reality. David M. Blum headed the team that created the film’s animated sequences.

And in Los Angeles, there’s a special American Cinematheque screening at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica honoring the best work of director Richard Fleischer. Called Fantastic Voyage: An Homage to Director Richard Fleischer, there’ll be screenings of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Fantastic Voyage and Soylent Green (9 PM). See details at www.aerotheatre.com.

And if you’re thinking about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in grand style, we suggest you tune in to Boomerang network. The nostalgia-themed sister station to Cartoon Network is offering an all-green five-episode marathon of The Flintstones featuring their alien visitor from outer space, The Great Gazoo (voiced by Harvey Korman). The marathon, which airs three times thoughout the day (9-11 a.m., 4-6 p.m. ,8-10 p.m.) should have Irish eyes smiling with joy.