Movie Column 

Christmas, already?

Early November is an interesting time of the year. The undead are barely back in the ground, there’s no snow and the Christmas movies start popping up, far too prematurely in my opinion.

Christmas movies are a genre of their own. They’re formulaic, juvenile, and they make a lot of money. What better way to get in touch with the Christmas spirit than to take the whole family out to have the true meaning of Christmas snow-shoveled down your throat? Think Home Alone , The Santa Clause, or Governor Swarzenegger in Jingle all the Way . Generally crap movies that people watch for nostalgic or escapist reasons.

However, some Christmas movies (ie. The Grinch) are actually quite good and this week looks to be the opening of another with Jon Favreau’s holiday offering, Elf. It’s a typical feel-good movie about a baby human who slips into Santa’s bag and ends up at the north pole, where he’s raised as an elf before being sent back to big, bad New York City to confront his scroogey father and help reinvigorate the world with Christmas cheer and god-bless-us-everyone attitude.

Right. Thankfully the film stars an energetic and totally enthused Will Ferrel who, fresh off a comedic high point with Old School , basically saves the show. He’ll do anything for a laugh and his blank-faced, naivety works as a six-foot elf. Director Favreau offers a witty but well-proportioned mix of humour and sentiment that will keep adults entertained while their kids take in the spectacle. Ferrel’s comedic skill and enthusiasm suit the movie well and ensure Elf a spot on Santa’s most-requested DVD list about this time next year.

If you’re not quite ready for a dose of holiday cheer and wouldn’t mind seeing some balls to the wall war scenes and ridiculously impossible fight sequences, then the third (and hopefully final) Matrix: Revolutions is out now. The fist Matrix was so groundbreaking and fresh that it’s nearly impossible for any sequel to better it. The second instalment proved that. Matrix: Revolutions raises as many questions as it answers and its mixed bag of philosophies on life and fate seem murky and limp. The action sequences still rule but the cinematic tricks that the Wachowski brothers hit us with in the first instalment are old hat now, having been copied by almost every action movie since.

The Matrix Trilogy will always be considered a sci-fi classic, and rightly so. But this movie will be all but forgotten by the time The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King drops on Dec. 17.

The Rainbow Theatre is showcasing Runaway Jury for both shows this week. Starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman, and Dustin Hoffman and based on a John Grisham best-seller, Runaway Jury is actually pretty decent. Actors of this calibre, and a Grisham premise that works, make this movie quite engaging. It won’t change your life, but hey, at least it’s not a Christmas movie.

At Village 8 Nov. 7-13

Elf, Scary Movie 3, School of Rock, Kill Bill, Mystic River, Brother Bear, Matrix: Revolutions.

At Rainbow Theatre Nov. 7-13

Runaway Jury

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