I Saw Avatar

Saw it. Liked it. Recommend it. Avatar has no plot, the characters have the depth of Disney cartoons and the dialogue ("You're not in Kansas!" "We will fight terror, with terror!") ranges from "sketchy" to "George Lucas-esque painful to listen to." But...

Yeah, you should probably see this in the theatre. Ideally in 3-D. Ideally as soon as possible.

I love Avatar's dopey, hippie message. Maybe it's just that I saw the film on the right day but I was all-up for a flashy, brainless "tree-huggers vs. American-style corporate fascists in space" fable where (spoiler alert!) the good [cats] win. After a couple of weeks watching humanity's leaders bungle through Copenhagen for a useless non-treaty on global warming in real life, I needed giant, blue, feline warriors killing the crap out of crummy, capitalist scum and their stormtroopers-for-hire.

When the helicopters came, Bruce Cockburn wanted a rocket launcher. All the Na'vi (as they're called) need are inch-thick, four-foot arrows (unnecessarily) dipped in neurotoxic poison. Suck on that, you forest-raping Earth-fuckers!

As for the special and 3-D effects, dial your expectations down, slightly. Avatar won't change the way movies are made like Star Wars or Jurassic Park did. Avatar's effects aren't revolutionary, they're evolutionary. But yes, they're the best effects ever. Just don't expect to see a new colour being invented before your eyes, is all I'm saying. (I should add that, to director James Cameron's credit, the effects aren't used in a pushy way that would distract from the movie. Restraint is an admirable quality in a film that's 95 per cent computer-made.)

So that's my take. Hope it's helpful. Four dogs out of five.

Okay, four and a half. Not too bad for a flick with no script.

No Olympic Gold for BC First Nations

You'd think that authentic aboriginal art would be highly prized by tourists in Vancouver to witness the Olympic spectacle. You'd think that the production of same would be a big industry for first nations communities in BC this year. And you'd think that'd mitigate the concern from some anti-Olympic activists that the event will be a money loser for the city. "Sure, the Olympics cost us a bundle of cash we'll never make back," they'll say, "but at least aboriginal Canadians made a mint selling Haida carvings and such."

You'd think all that, but you'd be wrong. From what the Edmonton Journal is reporting today, BC's first-nations communities won't be seeing much in the way of Olympic gold.

Turns out, while an aboriginal art company is going bankrupt in BC, the Olympic organizers have outsourced the making of authentic aboriginal art to China.

12 Days of Christmas: Lethal Weapon

"Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock."

Splat! A young hooker, high on an illegal substance, jumps off a balcony and kick starts this 1987 action packed film.

It's Christmas time and Sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is investigating the death of the girl with his new partner Sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Riggs is suicidal since the death of his wife and Murtaugh is just getting to old for this shit. After watering down the franchise with three sequels, some people might have forgotten how much fun, excitement and intensity this film has.

Made near the end of the '80s and following in the footsteps of several buddy cop movies (48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop), this film was directed by Richard Donner (Superman, The Omen, The Goonies) and written by Shane Black (The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).

After the opening credits and the dead hooker, this film contains so many action scenes, it's almost hard to list them. But highlights include jumping off a building (with a suicidal citizen), a helicopter shoot out, an electric shock torture scene, numerous gun fights, several scenes containing the constant verbal sparing between Murtaugh and Riggs and of course the final kung fu fight on Murtaugh's lawn between Riggs and Mr. Joshua(Gary Busey). This movie is an intense ride.

Pick of the Day: A Serious Man

Following their triumph with No Country for Old Men the Coen Brothers return to their roots with this quirky comedy that mines their own mid-Western Jewish upbringing for inspiration. Set in 1967, the film stars Michael Stuhlbarg as a physics prof named Larry Gopnik who struggles to cope when his comfortable middle-class existence begins to crumble like an asteroid being torn apart by cetrifugal force as it spins ever faster in outer space to extend the physics metaphor -- which the Coens doubtlessly use to great effect in exploring questions of faith, morality and family responsibility.

A Serious Man plays tonight at the RPL at 7 p.m. Here's the trailer. (YouTube)

And if you're in the mood for a double-bll Amreeka screens at 9 p.m. Directed by Cherien Dabis, it chronicles the adventures of a single mother named Mona (Nisreen Faour) who journeys with her son from the West Bank to the promised land of America (small town Illinois, to be precise). Here's the trailer (YouTube)