Greetings, Golden! I’ve been rejuvenated by a brief but thick three-day visit to your smoggy climes. I made it to the Mountain of Seven and like the Pope I kissed the ground (actually I fell off the back of the snowmobile). I even made it to $4 tuesday at the Uniplex. I still haven’t been able to rent any dvds from the local renters, so most of my reviews are of movies that came out recently. If you missed them in Calgary, then you can get them when they come out for rent. Here goes:

The Red Circle (or La Cercle Rouge)

This is the coolest movie ever. French professional criminals do their thing in the late ‘60s and following the proper rules of heist movie, there’s NO FOOLING AROUND! This is something that the wimpy directors in Hollywood still need to learn. They don’t waste their time with women, alchohol or revenge. They do their job and they do it well. They do it so well that by the end of the movie, you hate the cops and their meddling ways. You also desperately wish that you were a cigarette-toting french gangster. Rent it as soon as possible.

5 out of 5 yams.

Dead or Alive

You are not ready for this movie. The first 7 minutes make the most intense opening of any movie ever. It’s way too exciting for our western senses. The intro is a hyper-edited, rocking, violent series of hits in the Tokyo underworld. The movie then gears down into an efficient and tough top-cop versus top-gangster plot. And then the ending... I would really love to tell you more, but it would ruin the goodness. Find it and watch it.

4 out of 5 yams (beginning and ending 6 out of 5 yams)

The Bank Dick

This is considered W.C. Fields classic movie. I found it more dated than I would have thought, though he plays an amazingly mysanthropic character. It’s just that the pacing and the manner of his comedy is something that I don’t think translates as well over time as, say, the Marx Brothers. Still, it’s nice to know that there were people who thought that drinking and smoking to excess were good things even back in the ‘thirties.

2 out of 5 yams


This was an arthouse “indie” hit. I didn’t know much about it and really had no idea where it was going. I found it romantic and sexy, though some may be offended. I couldn’t argue against them, except that I prefer to enjoy myself rather than get all freaked out about other people’s sexual tendencies. A masochistic young woman gets a job as a secretary for a very eccentric lawyer. Their relationship develops in an untraditional direction. She gets spanked. And likes it. I liked it.

3.5 out of 5 yams

Catch Me if You Can

I got to see this at the Golden Uniplex. What’s more, the place was almost totally sold out. I guess the KickAss must be doing okay. I’ve never seen it so crowded. Steven Spielberg has consistently annoyed me with the simple-minded schmaltz he must put in all his movies. This one was refreshingly free of that kind of sentiment. Perhaps it’s because the subject matter was not so heavy. Whatever the reason, this movie is really catchy and enjoyable, even having some depth. Christopher Walken is great as the father and even though you know what’s going to happen, you’re caught up in it all the way.

4 out of 5 yams

Talk to Her (Hable Con Ella)

Almodovar’s latest movie is getting a lot of Oscar hype. It’s a decent movie, but certainly not the best movie of the year (though that’s not saying much). It’s like a sophisticated soap opera with some very interesting twists. It has a few meandering storylines, but the main one is about a girl in a coma and the attendant who lovingly takes care of her. Europeans can be annoying when they are travelling, with their sweaters and their funny sneakers, but they sure seem cool and worldly in this movie.

2.5 out of 5 yams

City of God

Now this movie ramps it up. It starts out with some a chicken escaping the barbecue and there is lots of great samba music and editing. The movie shifts back in time and slows down a bit, but it never really loses its energy. It follows the life of a group of boys raised in the favelas outside of Rio and the gang war that ends most of them. It’s rich and entertaining, and though violent and brutal never falls into pandering sadism. The story is complex, but developed well and you are always engaged. It’s also mostly true and pretty scary.

4 out of 5 yams

That’s all for this month, you beautiful kids. Stay focused and for Jebus’s sake, stay critical. This is Oscar month or week or whatever and the man is out there working harder than ever to suck your brain out of your nose with a big gulp straw. They have this crazy movie coming out sometime in March called “America Kicks Iraq’s Ass.” Nobody wants to see it, but we’re all going to be forced to watch.