Notes from the back row 

Dead Homies and home improvement

I suggest we start this week off by having a drink and pouring a splash on the ground for all our dead homies, particularly the Rainbow Theatre, who, for the time being, has closed its doors and dimmed its lights one final time.

Granted the Rainbow was never truly that great and really dropped the ball these last few years when it should have been showing classic flicks like Scarface rather than Scary Movie 4 a week after we’ve already seen it, but I have fond memories of the place. That was the first theatre I ever attempted the classic stretch-and-put-your-arm-around-her trick, or the even-more-classic popcorn trick (with free popcorn too). I once watched Son in Law in there completely by myself. In any case, as piss-poor as it was most of the time, the Rainbow Theatre was always better than nothing and I’m going to miss the only theatre where the front row had the best seats in the house. RIP Rainbow Theatre, you had a gay name but your heart was big and your popcorn buttery, and, like some people, you were a lot cheaper in your final years.

Speaking of things no longer around, World Trade Center opened on Wednesday and plays this week at the still-here Village 8. Director Oliver Stone is known for making conspiracy pictures but he really reigns himself in on this one and instead presents a much more restrained, classic disaster-movie approach to the tragic events of 9/11.

The film is glossy and well made, opening with grand shots that reveal the relationship between New York’s landscape and its citizens. These buildings, bridges and statues are more than concrete structures. They are a part of the people, important facets of their daily lives. Like how you never feel truly home from traveling until you drive past the Tantalus, or turn the corner after the four-lane and see West Bowl gleaming at you.

Stone focuses on two Port Authority transit cops/impromptu rescuers who become trapped under the rubble during Tower 1’s collapse. Cutting between the heroes, their families, and the other rescue workers he weaves a story that manages to be both melodramatic and claustrophobic at the same time. Full of courage and teamwork, the film is being blasted by many critics as too forced and "not like United 93, which left me ready to kick some terrorist ass!" Personally, I think it is what it is and people bring too much baggage into these 9/11 movies for their own good.

My favorite 9/11 movie, by the way is Die Hard With a Vengeance, which was made in 1995 and involves a shitload of gold being stolen from beneath a bombed-out New York building. It also stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson and Jeremy Irons as a terrorist.

Speaking of terrorism, I’d enlist in Al Queda if they promised the next target was Tim Allen. You know, that incredibly annoying "comedian" from TV’s Home Improvement . I’d rather get kicked in the teeth and gargle vinegar than watch Tim Allen. This week he stars in Zoom, a superhero movie, and I’m not even going to waste my word count. Superhero? More like super waste of time. Skip it and check out Pulse , the dead-people-on-the-internet, Japanese horror remake. With a few scares and a nice dark feel Pulse will keep horror fans satiated until next week’s doozy, Snakes on a Plane , a disaster flick that very little is known about, except that instead of conspiracies and towers or stupid Tim Allen, there’s just snakes… on a plane. Good enough for me.

AT VILLAGE 8 Aug. 11-17: Zoom; Pulse; Step Up; Talladega Nights The Ballad of Ricky Bobby; World Trade Center; You, Me and Dupree; Miami Vice; Night Listener; Barnyard; Pirates of the Caribbean 08/09/06ead Mans Chest.

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