Notes from the back row 

You know who the real bad guys are these days? Not terrorists or people who don't recycle their plastic bottles, not tow truck drivers or the greedheads tugging themselves over the Olympic cash-in, not even mother nature. No, the real enemies, the ones responsible for these dark, putrid, nut-kickingly hard times we're currently wallowing in are the big banks, the good ol' economic institutions of the world.

Or at least, that's the premise behind The International , a new thriller-shoot-em-up that opens Friday at the Village 8. Clive Owen stars as an overly dedicated Interpol officer attempting to take down the IBBC, a multinational and highly corrupt bank that sells weapons, promotes chaos, levels countries and kills whoever it wants/needs to.

Inexplicably, Owen is teamed up with an American lawyer played by Naomi Watts and the chase is on. Director Tom Tykwer is known for his vivid, frantic filmmaking ( Run Lola Run ) and he brings lots of that to this globe-trotting actioner. The 14-minute shootout in New York's Guggenheim Museum might be the best cinematic gunfight since Heat . Seriously, it's no joke. Unfortunately, the dialogue and story sometimes are.
Naomi Watts is given almost nothing to work with and while Owen does his best (and bad guy Armin Mueller-Stahl totally delivers) the end product is a bit underwhelming. But extra points to Tykwer for attempting one of those '70s style paranoia flicks where the common man fights the big faceless corporation because that is probably going to be our future. It's tough to win a war where your enemy controls what little money you do have and you owe him a shitload more on top of that. Time to move to the country and keep your money in coffee can out in the garden.

Of course the country can kill you too, and if you don't believe me just head up to Camp Crystal Lake for the weekend and see what happens. That's right, this Friday is the 13th and that means Jason is back for the 12th time.

Friday the 13th , the remake, is directed by Marcus Nispel, the same guy who did the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. There are no advance screenings of this one because we already know how it will go - some kids go out for a weekend of drinking, good times and nudity, then Jason picks them off one by one in creatively gory fashion. Toss in some more nudity, more missing kids, some creepy country folk, and that killer Jason heavy breathing sound effect and, well, I had you at more nudity didn't I?
In any case, Fear is an aphrodisiac and it's Valentines' Day so do the right thing and choose Jason.

Otherwise you'll be stuck with Isla Fisher, which wouldn't be that bad because she's amazing and hot, but it means going to Confessions of a Shopaholic which is, I suppose, the go-to movie for people with whom I have nothing in common (a.k.a. the Sex and the City crowd). Forget about the fact that no one can really afford to shop these days, this film is about addiction to buying designer crap and Isla's character is carrying a $14,000 credit card debt so at least it's relatable in that sense. In almost every other sense this film is pretty stupid.

DVD of the week is Bonnie and Clyde , Arthur Penn's 1967 classic about the iconic outlaws who zipped around the American dustbowl having fun, fun, fun. "We rob banks, not people," and so Bonnie and Clyde were public heroes. I wonder if our current hard times and penchant for remakes will produce a new spin on the Robin Hood myth? Nightmare on Wall Street: Freddy's Revenge sounds pretty rad to me.

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