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Notes from the back row

Oops I did it again.

Well, I have to admit it. I screwed up. Just last week, in my sleep-deprived fear of the sheer idiocy of America and their shitstorm election, I got two movies mixed up, as I’m sure you noticed, careful readers that you are. Of course The Shining is not about a plague wiping out most of civilization. I meant to say The Stand, which is Stephen King’s best novel and a decent made-for-TV movie. The Shining is, of course, King’s second best novel and the best big-screen adaptation of his work, thanks to director Stanley Kubrick and some nifty acting by Jack Nicholson. But you all knew that. Hell, I even misspelled Stephen King last week.

Tonight, however, I’m feeling much better. Maybe it’s my upcoming holiday, maybe it’s because the northern lights are playing in the night sky above me, ripping about like the wraithlike ghosts of liquid serpents. Or it could be what’s got me chuckling these days is a certain smart, beautiful girl with a thing for Bonnie and Clyde (great movie, 1967. Warren Beattie, Faye Dunaway. Watch it.) Whatever it is, I don’t know. But I tell you what it isn’t. What most definitely is not making me happy these days is the fact that Village 8 Cinema has passed on the opening weekend of Seed of Chucky ( a movie about the son of popular killer doll from the Child’s Play movies) and instead given us some serious duds like Luther and even worse, After the Sunset.

Luther is about Martin Luther, that lawyer turned monk/philosopher who, in 1517, nailed his 95 Theses to the door of a church. His criticisms led to a fundamental reconsideration of Christianity. He basically pissed off all the upper church people by asking questions they couldn’t properly answer, even though he gave them ample opportunity to do so. Pretty interesting guy, marginally interesting movie, and then only if you’re into that sort of stuff. It stars Joseph Fiennes. Regardless of all this, the question remains: Luther is almost a year old. It comes out on video Nov. 30. Why the hell is it getting first run screening time over an obvious classic about a child killer doll who resurrects his dead parents to kill the Hollywood actress who did the voices of his mom in the earlier Chucky movies? And how can anyone pass up a movie called Seed of Chucky with the tagline "Beware the second Coming"? The comedic genius in that is fairly apparent, is it not? I just don’t understand.

Ah well, life goes on, right? I’m sure Seed... will be up here next week. In the meantime we can all watch Pierce Brosnan prove he should only do Bond movies. After the Sunset has Brosnan playing a suave criminal who pulls a big heist (Didn’t we see that in The Thomas Crown Affair ?) and then retires with his gorgeous bride in the Caribbean. But true crooks can’t retire and pretty soon he’s into it again, with Salma Hayek as the nagging (yet incredibly gorgeous) wife and Woody Harrelson as the cop after him.

Salma Hayek looks amazing as always (she’s right up there with Angelina as far as making jaws drop) but she’s really a much better actress than this unoriginal fodder that is only a bit funny when it’s playing on gay jokes between Harrelson and Brosnan. Seed of Chucky, Seed of Chucky.

Luckily, The Village 8 was on it last week so if you want to watch good movies, you can still check out the Ray Charles biopic Ray, in which Jamie Foxx goes for an Oscar, or a couple animated features.

The Polar Express

is a Christmas movie that deals with children’s dreams and the cynicism that goes along with growing old, (you know, there is no Santa and all that). And it has some cool northern lights. The Incredibles is Pixar’s take on middle-aged Superheroes dealing with essentially the same thing, growing old.

As well there’s Napolean Dynamite a quirky, geeky (in a good way) teen comedy that provides a nice skewered perspective on the subject. Not the fart/animal/sex jokes of most teen comedy. And of course Team America, the puppet movie that will at least let you laugh at how screwed the world is now.

And as I mentioned, fair readers, I’m off to Guatemala for a few weeks of this and that. I leave you in the incredibly clever and supple hands of everyone’s favourite rock and roll, Do-It-Yourself, heartbreaker, love-hater, shoot-you-with-the-lights-out, girl genius, Lauren Graham. Catch you on the flipside.

At Village 8 Nov. 12-18: Luther; After the Sunset; Saw; Grudge; Team America; What the Bleep Do You Know; Ray; Napoleon Dynamite; Alfie; Polar Express; The Incredibles.

At Rainbow Theatre Nov. 12-18: Friday Night Lights.