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Notes from the back row

Kids, Men, Women



Hollywood generally tries to make movies that will appeal to everyone, because they want all the money. It rarely works though, because everyone has different tastes. Refreshing this week then, to see a youth movie, a Man's movie and a Women's movie all open at the good old Village 8.

Anyone who grew up on comic books, arcade games and action flicks is in for a real treat with Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. Michael Cera stars in the title role, as a 22-year-old wallflower bass player who falls in love with a hair-dyed pixie hipster named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) even though he is sorta-kinda dating a high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong.) To get Ramona, Scott Pilgrim must defeat, in battle, her seven evil exes - a mish mash of wack-jobs who literally pop up out of nowhere to fight, video-game style.

And style is what Scott Pilgrim is all about. Director Edgar Wright ( Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) is certainly one of the best mash-up directors working today and he goes no-holds-barred with this one, integrating comic-book aesthetic sound effect text like a spelled out "ding-dong" of a doorbell or an airy cloud of "love" that Knives sends Scott's way. It's hyperactive, attention-deficit filmmaking but Wright welds it all together seamlessly and delivers a film about self-discovery and the insecurity of young love. Older audiences may find their attention waning after the initial awesomeness of the high-style antics wears off and they start looking for stuff like real connection between the characters, but for those of us who don't have grey hairs and lofty expectations Scott Pilgrim effin' rocks.

Speaking of grey hair and plotlines lifted from video games, The Expendables stars every geriatric action star you can think of in a throwback male-centric film no more complicated than four quarters worth of Contra .

Focusing on Stallone and Jason Stratham as the main duo in a team of bad-asses sent on various missions to shoot the hell out of nouns (people, places, and things) The Expendables also stars Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren and a handful of other "guys' guys." It's a meaty display of old muscle, new guns, fast cars, tattoos and refreshingly there are no romantic subplots anywhere.

Unfortunately Stallone, who also directs, doesn't have the skills to elevate The Expendables any higher than nostalgia and for all the martial arts training in the cast, a little more hand to hand ass kicking would have been nice. When was the last time we got to see a bunch of grandfathers beat the tar out of each other? This is not a good movie, but it is a Man's movie, the kind they don't make many of any more.

They don't make a lot of Women's movies either so anyone who knows what menopause actually is will be stoked to see Eat, Pray, Love , (adapted from the best-selling book) starring Julia Roberts as a woman who, I think, is out to find herself so she goes to Italy and eats, then goes to India and prays, and then goes to Bali for some good old sweaty tropical lovin' with Javier Bardem. The good thing about this movie is that it's like Hot Tub Time Machine, or Snakes on a Plane in that the title is the plot. This makes it easier for me to avoid.

The DVDs of the Week are Piranha and Piranha 2: The Spawning because the best movie of the summer is coming next week and we all need to catch up.



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