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Notes From The Back Row

DVD time

By Feet Banks

When was the last time you spent a rainy spring evening curled up in front of a fire, scraping resin out of your pipe and watching two puppets cover each other in sexual juices? Well the time has come again, my friends, and it’s come in the form of the Team America:World Police - Unrated and Uncensored DVD. If you haven’t seen this film yet, you need to. And even if you have seen it, you haven’t seen it like this.

First off, Team America is made by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the same guys responsible for South Park . Secondly, it’s a puppet movie where all the characters are marionettes, which, as I’ve said before, are the wooden puppets on strings not the kind you put your fist in. And C, Team America is a cunning and well-executed spoof on stupid Hollywood action films like the ones Jerry Bruckheimer produces (that guy’s a CIA operative, by the way, inserting "Yay America" propaganda into his blockbuster films as well as making viewers distrust any country the U.S. government dislikes. Cuba in Bad Boys 2 , for example . ) Oh yeah, Team America is also chock full of hilarious songs, great one-liners and puppet puke and sex scenes. Add to that a strong message about world politics and the American way, some uncensored scenes, and you have yourself the DVD of the week.

Speaking of wooden acting, Star Wars 3-The Revenge of the Sith is out and I imagine it’s playing on at least three screens at the good old Village 8, thus explaining why we have no new movies coming in this Friday. Episode 3 features more action, more poor dialogue and somewhat of a sense of closure to the tragedy of Annakin Skywalker. It’s not as good as the originals, but I’m sure it’ll still make 400 million bucks or so, although seeing Darth Vader in a BurgerKing commercial can be considered blasphemous. In any case, it’s a Star Wars movie so you pretty much have to go see it, especially if you wasted you time and money on Episodes 1 and 2. George Lucas deserves credit for changing movies forever, but he should have just crammed all three prequels in one king-hell doozy of a movie and left it at that.

Back to DVDs and the funniest movie of the past year or so, Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Bill Murray plays Zissou, a Cousteau-like oceanographer who makes documentaries about his adventures/discoveries, the latest of which is to hunt down the "jaguar shark" (which may or may not exist) and kill it as revenge for eating his buddy. Zissou contains the same intelligent deadpan humour and unique characters that made Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums one of the best movies of the last 10 years. Rent it, watch it, then watch it again with the commentary on.

Another interesting DVD, if you care about film history, is the HBO biopic The Life and Death of Peter Sellers starring Geoffrey Rush as Sellers and Charlize Theron as one of the love interests. If you’re my age or younger you probably don’t know that Peter Sellers was one of the greatest actors of all time. He had an uncanny ability to totally become his characters, sometimes acting four different roles in the same picture (Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove .) Life and Death… paints Sellers as a tormented, narcissistic, genius chameleon actor who could fill any role but considered himself to have no discernible personality. He tackled this theme in his work though, as simplistic Chauncy the Gardner in Being There , perhaps the best film from an actor who may have been one of the best ever. Birdie Num-Num, indeed.

AT VILLAGE 8 May 20-26: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Interpreter; Monster In Law; Kingdom of Heaven; Unleashed; Kicking and Screaming; Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE May 20-26: A Lot Like Love.