Notes from the back row 

A Valentine's Day massacre

Surprise fellas, it's Valentine's Day. Time to take a ratchet to your game and tighten that shit up because not only is it the international day of spending money to convince someone you love them, it's also the first week of the Olympics. Which means there'll be thousands of smooth-talking Euro dudes in Descente jackets hanging around town just waiting for a chance to swoop in and steal your girlfriend. Especially since we've banned strippers within Municipal boundaries.

Luckily the Village 8 is making it easy for you and opening a hand-holding , heart-thumping Valentine's Day date flick this weekend - The Wolfman.

The Wolfman is a re-imagining of the 1941 Universal Pictures flick of the same name starring the great Lon Chaney Jr. This time The Wolfman stars Benicio Del Toro as a living-abroad actor who receives word his brother is missing and returns to the English countryside to reunite with his father (Anthony Hopkins), fall for his brother's woman (Emily Blunt) and unravel a dark and wolfy family secret.

Back in the day, the Universal movie monsters lurked alongside themes about the Duality of Man - we are civilized but we are beasts as well. Good and evil in one fleshy package. This Wolfman, directed by Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, October Sky) doesn't hit you over the head with any themes but does suffer from a rather clunky plot and also takes itself a wee bit too seriously.

Werewolf movies are all about their make-up effects, it's what makes of breaks them. Remember the transformation scene in 1981's American Werewolf in London, where the skull and legs could be seen stretching and popping beneath the skin? That make-up wizardry came from 6-time Oscar winner Rick Baker, who is back working with The Wolfman and used old school latex-and-hair techniques to create a true Wolf-Man, not a giant CGI wolf like Twilight or other recent forays into Lycanthropy.

Unfortunately the actual transformation is mainly CGI. One can only ponder why the filmmakers would hire the best make-up artist in the business and then opt to go with CGI but at least they recruited Gene Simmons and David Bowie to help with the Wolfman's bloodcurdling howl. Fellas, you can use that little tidbit of information to distract your date at the theatre while you prepare for the popcorn trick (because Valentine's Day is all about surprises!)

Speaking of the devil... There's an entire movie called Valentine's Day that also opens this weekend and, surprise, surprise, it's really crappy. The star-studded cast can't elevate the weak writing and shoddy direction of this intertwining-lives sapfest about love lost, found, revenged upon, and persevered. This skidmark of a film was marketed as a couple's movie but single dudes might be wise to bite the bullet and check out Valentine's Day as well - there's bound to be at least a few clusters of desperate single chicks out for a girls' night and if you can find an old Descente jacket from the Re-Use-It Center you can play like you're on the Swiss ski team or something and reel them in. (Just don't tell them you're on the two-man Luge team.)

Of course, wise lovers will stay in for Valentines Day, cook a nice dinner and chill with a DVD. I suggest Martyrs. It's French so it's a bit weird but there are plenty of surprises and as we know, everyone loves a good surprise on Valentine's Day. (Unless it's a False Flag Terror attack perpetrated by our own government to help fast track a North American Union or some other crooked agenda. Paranoia? Maybe not. Check out for more info.




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