Happy Winter Solstice, you Rocky Mountain Freaks. My sources tell me that you haven't got a lot of snow yet this winter. Well, I hope they are wrong as we've already got 6 inches here in New York City. That's right, 6 big inches! It's not much, but it's enough to keep me in watching as many movies as possible.

Formula 51

This movie came out in England over a year ago, but they re-released it in North America in October. It stars Samuel L. Jackson as an illegal drug chemist who betrays his boss and goes to England to sell the perfect party drug. He partners with Robert Carlyle (the psycho guy from Trainspotting) and they wreak all kinds of havoc. It lasted in the theatres about a week, which goes to show how stupid the american movie-going public are. Personally, I loved it from the get-go. It's got lots of action, great sex and excellent british actors in all kinds of bit parts. A lot of the humor centers around british football humor and rave culture, which I think flew over the heads of the american audience. But I think with a good yam, your average canadian hoser will have a pretty good time.

4 out of 5 yams

Bride of Chucky

And because Formula 51 was directed by Ronny Yu, whose Hong Kong movies I'd already seen, I went and rented Bride of Chucky, his second hollywood movie. I had the good fortune of watching it with a bunch of 11th grade girls and we had a blast. It's definitely the best of the series, as they take the evil doll concept to new heights (or depths). There is even an evil doll sex scene. It's still basically a serial killer horror movie, and you know what's going to happen, but the ride is a lot of fun. It also has one of the best getting-hit-by-a-semi moments in cinema.

3 out of 5 yams

Punch Drunk Love

This was Paul Thomas Anderson's hip, digital-video entry into the New York Film Festival. It may make it to arthouses in Canada, I'm not sure. But as far as I was concerned, it was another Adam Sandler movie. He plays a quirky loner with a penchance for violence and a loveable innocence. Some cute girl falls for him and they get together. The sound and visual aesthetic of the movie are appealing. There is a lot of energy and chaos and some great characters, but ultimately the plot is too easy. There is no real romantic tension and you are left wondering what it's all in aid of. It did have Luis Guzman in it, though, which helps any movie. Luis Guzman is the man!

2 out of 5 yams

8 Mile

If you've listened to (and believed) any of Eminem's rhymes, then the character he plays in 8 Mile is nothing like his real self. Here he has a troubled but trying relationship with his mother and his girlfriend (no mention of wanting to kill either of them). I guess they soft-peddled it for the mass market and I guess it worked because the movie made a lot of money. It's fairly enjoyable, actually. The rhyme battles are far and away the best parts of the movie and there are only three of them. Rent it or go see it on Tuesday if you must.

2 out of 5 yams


This is a pretty decent 60's heist movie, directed by Jules Dassin, strained through a filter of euro-hipness. If you can get through the annoying opening moments, and you like caper movies, you will find Topkapi pretty engaging. The technique and execution of the heist itself is really cool and it all takes place in a beautiful and lively Istanbul of the 60s. They have this crazy all-out wrestling tournament in Istanbul and it's central to the plot. If you like watching huge men oil themselves down and wrestle, then you will really like this movie.

3 out of 5 yams

Evil Dead

I only got to watch the first half-hour of this movie because the bootlegged DVD went on the fritz. I also imagine that every Canadian born in the 60's must have already seen this. But if you haven't, you definitely need to rent this low-budget, high-energy horror classic about 5 young people in a freaky cabin who read the wrong book, unleashing sadistic demons upon them. It's so cheap that the voices don't even sync up properly, but there's something manic and so immediate about the camera that it's all pleasure. It had me groaning "why do you wake us from our slumber?" to all my friends for days.

4 out of 5 yams

I'm sorry that I'm reviewing movies that you might not be able to get your hands on. If they sound interesting to you, maybe you can remember them and hunt them down when next you are in the big smoke. Otherwise, order them from amazon.ca and give them to your friends for Christmas. Better yet (shameless plug coming), go to East Kootenay Electronics and buy a DVD player for your loved ones! I hope you all have a kick-ass Golden holiday. Somebody drink a yule-type drink for me at the Lodge.