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Notes from the back row

Willis saves the day?



By my account Bruce Willis has saved the world eight times already (Armageddon, Fifth Element, 12 Monkeys, etc.) and this week he's back at it in Surrogates, a new PG-13 sci-fi about the near future when nobody leaves their homes, preferring rather to sit around in 'stem-chairs' controlling perfected robot versions of themselves that go out into the real world and lead the lives they've always wanted.

Bruce plays a cop investigating the first homicide in 15 years as someone's surrogate dies and the real person dies as well, which kind of defeats the purpose. In order to save the world this time Big Bruce needs to unplug and get low-tech like only he can. Yippee-Kie-A, suckas.

Surrogates director Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown, Terminator: Rise of the Machines) has skills but has never really had that breakthrough extra little push. Chances are he won't this time either as really good sci-fi usually requires a bit more grit than you'll get out of a PG-13 Disney-distributed picture. As a flashy action pic though it doesn't look too bad. Although no advance screenings for critics is usually a bad sign.

Unless it's the new Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day, which opens Canada-wide (but not in the U.S.) this Friday. No pre-screenings but we all know fans of the show be on board for this. Filmed in a more Mockumentary style than the last movie (the cameramen get into things, reminiscent of the early seasons) and what's not to like about a high-speed vehicular pissing battle?

The plot is standard trailer park excellence. Leahy (still the best drunk to ever grace the silver screen) needs to run a sewer line under Julian's trailer in order to get his fancy new trailer park up and running. Meanwhile the boys plan a bank job and manage to survive various shitstorms, shiticanes and the odd shit typhoon.

These characters and this show have been around so long now that some fatigue is inevitable but the truth remains that TPB was/is groundbreaking. Remember when Ellen Page (Juno) did five episodes in 2001-2002 as Treena Lahey, Barb and Jim's daughter?

Ellen Page is fantastic, Canada's darling.  She has a new flick out next week, a roller derby movie called Whip It that's directed by Drew Barrymore. Drew's been acting and producing and underage drinking her way around Hollywood since she was knee-high to Danny Devito (she was in ET, the first movie I ever saw in a theatre) but this is her first time steering the ship, her directorial debut. Early word is that Ellen Page is the best part of the flick but otherwise there're a lot of musical montages and a not-even-close-too-being-pulled-off food fight scene. But we'll see how it goes.

It can't be as piss poor as the last flick opening at the Village 8 this week, a remake of '80s musical Fame. Dancing is huge right now, singing too, and fame-whoring has always been in vogue but you'd have to put the business end of a Glock 9mm fully automatic pistol in my mouth, or in the mouth of a close family member, to get me to see this movie. This is simply not my cup of tea.  I'll watch Honey, Save the Last Dance, even White Nights but not this (okay, you got me, not White Nights either).

And to make things even less appealing, Fame also stars Kelsey Grammer. Shoot me now.

No seriously, try to shoot me, it's okay. Bruce Willis will save the day. He always does.