Notes From the Back Row 

Frenzied week ahead

 

It's going to be a frenzied weekend at the theatres as Twilight Saga: New Moon opens and girls aged 10 to 50 go batshit crazy in ways that only women can.

Based on the bodice-ripping teen fiction of Stephanie Meyer, the Twilight series, with its cheesy melodrama, ain't just for kids. It's hooked mature women as well, from bored housewives to thirsty cougars to usually-intelligent professionals.

"I'm not that excited about the movie coming out this weekend," said one friend of mine, "I'd much rather watch it in the privacy of my own home." And she doesn't mean because she makes better popcorn.

They call these rabid fans "Twi-Hards" and all the hype is all about Edward Cullen, the brooding 108-year-old Vampire played by Robert Pattinson, and the little girl who loves him, Bella, played by Kristen Stewart. I won't even bother with the plot synopsis because the trailers give it all away and everyone who's going to this movie has already pored over the source material. It's a built-in audience and despite laughably bad dialogue, cheap-looking effects, poor acting (Pattinson) and that recurring "becoming a vampire/losing your virginity" metaphor that little girls love, this movie is critic-proof.

Even though it's really the dudes who get sexually objectified in these films (Taylor Lautner is shirtless almost the entire 130 minutes) Kristen Stewart is still hot, but Bella sulks and pouts her way through the whole flick. It's like sitting in on a teen depression seminar peppered with mystic homoeroticism and then getting a "save yourself for marriage" pamphlet crammed into your face on the way out. I guess the fight sequences are a bit better as Edward takes on a generic clan of Vampire royalty but none of it is terrible inspiring. Unless you've got a mop to wipe up all the slug-like trails leading in I'd stay out of the theatre this weekend.

Stay home and rent Anvil! instead. Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a documentary about a seminal '80s Canadian metal band. These guys were pioneers forging the thrash-metal sound that later became huge with bands like Metallica and Slayer. Credited as big influences by successful rockers like Lars Ulrich, Lemmy Kilmister and Slash, Anvil never really took off and drummer Robb Reiner and frontman Steve 'Lips' Kudlow have long been forced to take day jobs to support themselves and their families. Now in their 50s, the middle-aged rockers are still givin'er and dry humping the rock and roll fantasy of success on an ill-fated European tour with hopes that their 13th album will catch on.

It watches a bit like Spinal Tap but this is a real story and director Sacha Gervasi (who was a 15-year-old roadie on Anvil's 1985 tour) plays things straight, capturing perseverance and love of metal in the face of endless economic troubles and repeated blows to the band members' self-esteem. Anvil beautifully illustrates that rock and roll is a lifestyle not a job and if shredding guitars, pounding drums and screaming vocals are the only things that make you happy then that's what you should do with your life. Plan B is to just keep on givin'er.

Plan C for movie lovers this week should be to seek out a theatre playing The Fantastic Mr Fox, the latest stop-motion animation from Wes Anderson (Life Aquatic, Royal Tenenbaums). Voiced by George Clooney (that guy is everywhere), Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray this flick is way better than Where the Wild Things Are. And if you wear a leather jacket, poof your hair up, look sullen and hang out in the lobby after you can probably take home a frisky Twi-hard as well.

 

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