Notes from the Back Row 

The devil in Prada vs. the Easter Bunny's offspring

Last week I recommended Hobo with a Shotgun , one of the goriest, most violent flicks of the new millennium. So to balance things out this week I dug something up for the ladies. The September Issue is a documentary that gives something of an insider's look behind the scenes at Vogue magazine and its long-time editor, the most important woman in fashion, Anna Wintour.

For people who care about what colour is the new black, or how much fur is too much, Vogue is gospel and the September issue is the Bible. Wintour, who was the inspiration for Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada , is notoriously cold and she plays the part in this flick while also looking a bit like Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmations.

In any case, The September Issue doesn't dig as deep or deliver the inside scoop I had hoped for but there is lots of fashion and a tense dynamic between Wintour and her genius creative director Grace Coddington. Grace, the film implies, makes all the magic happen and crafts the dreams that Vogue sells to women everywhere while Wintour simply decides what she does and doesn't like (even the doc cameraman catches heat for being too pudgy). Anyone with functioning testes should steer far clear from this one but chicks and fashionistas can find it on iTunes for $1.99.

At the Village 8 this week is Source Code . Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon), it's a solid tech-action suspense flick starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter, a soldier plugged into a computer program that allows him to re-live the last eight minutes of another man's life - this time a poor sap who's about to die in a train bomb. Although he is only reliving the dead man's memory and not actually going back in time, if Colter can find out who the bomber is he can prevent an even larger attack later on. It's like Groundhog Day meets United 93.

Of course there is a hot chick in peril (Michelle Monaghan from Gone Baby Gone) that Colter is supposedly unable to save as he keeps getting sent back to relive (and re-die), those 8 crucial minutes while sniffing out clues and figuring things out.

Despite two characters who seem to exist only to explain things, Source Code moves along nicely and doesn't linger on scientific reasoning or dwell on moral statements like how little value the military places on its soldiers. And if you can shake a few in-world glitches regarding what can and can't be done inside someone else's memory, Source Code ends up being pretty good.

Also opening is Insidious, the latest from James Wan ( Saw). After experiencing a few freaky-ass happenings in their new house a husband and wife do something totally unique in the horror genre - they move out. Only to learn it isn't the house that's haunted, it's their son. From there things quickly get run of the mill - spooky poltergeists, lots of in-out camera shots, sudden LOUD noises and creepy piano music. Wan delivers a few good scares nonetheless, and even though it's kind of stupid and not that original, Insidious still makes a decent date movie.

Also opening, Hop is about the Easter Bunny's miscreant son who shirks his familial duties and moves to Hollywood chasing fame. The live action and CGI mixes pretty well but the rest of it looks pretty stupid - just not stupid enough to be great. A rabbit shitting jellybeans that a woman eats is about as good as it gets. Hop is made by the guy who did Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield: a Tale of Two Kitties, which makes it about as much fun as a mumps outbreak - quarantine this one.

 

 

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