Flicks Feature Fabulous, Eye-Popping Action

By Luke Phillips
Imperial Valley summers can be brutal, but luckily we’ll have a plethora of eye-popping entertainment on the silver screen to keep us out of the heat and in the theater.
The summer movie season, which seems to start earlier every year, is already in full-swing this year, kicked off by two big Marvel Entertainment movies last month. Marvel’s Thor was released May 6 to mostly negative reviews, but big box office numbers and has already earned approximately $176,000,000 in the U.S. X-Men: First Class, also released by Marvel on June 3, was mostly liked by critics and also had a good haul at the box office, but wasn’t able to match Thor’s numbers, taking in about $120,000,000 domestically.
Also this month, we’ve already seen the release of monster movie Super 8, director JJ Abram’s tribute to old Stephen Spielberg movies. Abrams has been quoted as saying that he was trying to bring back the genre of ‘Alien wonderment’ found in films like E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and in fact Spielberg even served as an executive producer on the film.
Abrams refused to show the film’s monster or give away any plot points in the teaser trailer for Super 8, a move that some Hollywood insiders said would hurt the film’s box office numbers, but so far that hasn’t been the case. Since opening June 10 Super 8 has made about $87,000,000 worldwide. Super 8 has also done fairly well with the critics and currently has a score of 82 percent positive reviews on the web site Rotten Tomatoes.
This past week DC Comics made their latest entry into the movie arena with Green Lantern. Except for the latest Batman movies, DC hasn’t faired nearly as well as Marvel when it comes to comic book movies, releasing such flops as Catwoman and Superman Returns. But Green Lantern earned $75 million it’s first week and could turn out to be their biggest movie since the mega-successful Dark Knight in 2008.
On June 24 we’ll get to see the first big comedy of the season, Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz as a drinking, drugging and incredibly foul-mouthed high-school teacher trying to win the heart  of a wealthy substitute teacher.
Also being released June 24 is the sequel to Disney/Pixar’s 2006 animated feature Cars. Cars 2 will reunite the entire cast and crew including director John Lasseter and stars Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy and Michael Caine.
On June 29 director Michael Bay rolls out his third movie about everybody’s favorite robots in disguise. Transformers: Dark of the Moon will have all the elements of a great summer popcorn movie: Giant robots, explosions, more special-effects than you can shake a stick at, along with star Shia Lebouf and whichever sexy girl he’s wearing on his arm this time around.
On July 15 the decade-long Harry Potter saga will come to an end with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, featuring young wizard Harry Potter in the ultimate face-off against his mortal enemy Lord Voldemort, all in jump-off-the-screen digital 3D. Don’t fall off your broomstick!
We’ll get another dose of comic-booky goodness on July 22 when Marvel releases it’s third big feature of the summer: Captain America: The First Avenger. Closely following his comic book origins, Captain America will star Chris Evans (Not Another Teen Movie, Fantastic Four) as a WWII soldier who is deemed too wimpy to enlist and is instead volunteered for an experiment that turns him in to a super soldier. Captain America, along with his sidekick Bucky Barnes, fight the Red Skull, the fictitious head of Hitler’s advanced weapons program.
One of the most anticipated movies of the summer, Cowboys & Aliens, will be released July 29 and will feature Daniel Craig (James Bond!) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo!) as cowboy bad-asses that are forced to fight off an alien invasion in an old west town. What more could a moviegoer ask for?
Also on the 29th,  80s cartoon favorite The Smurfs will get their first big-screen adaptation featuring CGI renderings of our favorite blue characters set lose on New York City. The film stars Jonathan Winters as the voice of Papa Smurf, Taylor Swift as Smurfette, Neil Patrick Harris as Brainy Smurf and Hank Azaria as bad guy Gargamel.
Set for an August 5 release, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a prequel to the famous Planet of the Apes series starring James Franco, will tell the story of how a race of super-intelligent apes came to rule the earth.
On August 19 the Summer movie season will wrap up with a trio of big releases.
First up, we’ll get a new interpretation of the film that made Arnold Schwarzenegger famous: Conan the Barbarian. The filmmakers insist the new movie is not a remake of the original and will take the franchise in an entirely new direction. The film stars Jason Momoa in the titular role, along with Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang and Ron Pearlman.
Next is a remake of the classic 80s horror movie Fright Night. The new movie will feature a plot nearly identical to the original about a teenage boy who suspects that his neighbor is a vampire. Anton Yelchin is set to play the lead with Colin Farrell in the neighbor/vampire role.
And last but not least, director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror) will give us the 4th installment of his Spy Kids series. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World will be the first movie in the series since 2003s Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and will feature twins Rebecca and Cecil teaming with their hated step-mother Marissa (played by Jessica Alba) to help save the world from a Nazi wizard.

ICE Agent’s Status Irks Victims’ Family After Car Crash

By
Luke Phillips
The family of three Imperial Valley women who were killed in a car accident after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Cole Joseph Dotson ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed and collided with their vehicle on a country road near El Centro in 2009.
Dotson was arraigned late last month on three charges of Vehicular manslaughter, but the families of Sandra Garcia, Patricia Martinez-Reyes and Maria Consuelo say they still don’t feel like justice is being properly served.
According to Alfredo Garcia, son of Sandra Garcia, Dotson is still on duty and working for ICE.
“I would have thought they would have stopped him from working,” Garcia said. “I don’t see how somebody can cause such a thing like that and still be working and going through life like nothing happened. It’s something that you just don’t expect.”
Dotson plead not guilty to the charges at his arraignment on Tuesday, May 31 and Garcia says he was laughing and joking as he left the courthouse.
“He’s out like nothing happened. He can wake up and go to his job and continue working,” Garcia said. “I don’t see how it’s fair to our family. If it was a citizen other than law enforcement I’m pretty sure they would have been put in jail within the first two days.”
Dotson is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on July 12 and Garcia says he hopes all the proper steps are taken and that justice is truly served.
“We just want everything to be handled the right way,” he said. “It won’t bring my mom back, but at least it will give us a little relief knowing that there are consequences for every action you take. For him to not deal with the consequences is not fair.”
Garcia says that he’s not happy with the way ICE or the government has handled the entire case.
“We haven’t even heard or received a call from the government saying we’re sorry for your loss,” he said. “We’ve had no help from them at all.”
The families of the women ended up having to take out a loan of $14,000 to pay for funeral expenses after they asked ICE to cover the charges and were refused. Garcia says the agency told him that they couldn’t set a precedence of paying for burial expenses.
For now, Garcia says he’ll wait to see what happens at Dotson’s trial, but he also says he’ll work to tell people about what he calls the injustices he sees in the judicial system.
“I want the people to hear what really happened,” he said. “I’m not just going to stay quiet. It’s just not fair.”
An ICE Public Relations officer told the Holtville Tribune that they could not provide any comment because the case is ongoing, but they were able to confirm that Dotson is still on duty, but has been moved to administrative work and is not active in the field.

The Search Begins For The Valley’s Best Burger! This Week: Burgers & Beer

By
Phil Mestomack
[This summer, our resident gastronome Phil Mestomack takes to highways and byways to find the best burger the valley has to offer.  What will Phil’s talented taste buds tell us this week?]

Pioneers Hospital Recognizes Best Nurses Of 2011

Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District has a wonderful team of caregivers. To recognize the outstanding nurses during National Nurses Week this year, a peer-based selection by each nursing unit was employed. The selected outstanding clinical staff members, by department, were as follows:

Aracely Nelson, RN, BSN – Perinatal Service
Carmen Fitzsimmons, RN – Float Pool
Clara Miranda, RN, BSN, PHN – Case Management
D’Andre York, RN – NICU
Eric Aragon, LVN – Medical/Surgery Unit
Hui Su Felix, RN – ICU
Jessica Ancheta, RN, BSN – Surgery
Nicole Castaneda, RN, BSN, PHN – ER
Nita Bhakta, RN – Definitive Observation Unit
Yolanda Smith, RN – Pediatrics