Dry Heat at the Megaplex

And the sands did swallow them up, and there was much rejoicingAnother Friday, another wave of movies — though this week’s options are arranged along a distinctly Middle Eastern theme.

Ajami“: Nominated for last year’s Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s Israeli take on “Pulp Fiction” — a grim, chronologically scrambled look at crime and punishment in a Jaffa suburb — finally gets a Canadian commercial run. Check it out. It’s good.

“Excited”: Bruce Sweeney’s latest study of despairing Vancouverites stars Cam Cronin as a miserable fellow confronting the sexual dysfunction he’s allowed to destroy his chances at happiness. It’s not as tight as “Dirty” or “Last Wedding”, but it does have its moments.

“Kites Remixed”: A week after Anurag Basu’s Bollywood romance opened in Toronto (see Rad’s review here), its distributor releases this shorter, more America-friendly version assembled by Brett “the ‘Rush Hour’ guy” Ratner. This one wasn’t screened for the press, which doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

Micmacs“: After the relative seriousness of “A Very Long Engagement” Jean-Pierre Jeunet kicks back for some Rube Goldbergian fun with this silly tale of Parisian underdogs who take on a couple of arms merchants. It’s not half as deep as it thinks it is, but it’s awfully entertaining.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time“: Jake Gyllenhaal runs, jumps and fights in this disappointingly thin Arabian fantasy-adventure. But at least Alfred Molina is funny, and Gemma Arterton will get a boost out of it.

“Sex and the City 2”: Having run out of serious storylines, Carrie and her posse go to Dubai to, like, hang out and do whatever. It’s been pulling atrocious reviews, and as someone who never much liked the series, I have no intention of seeing it until I absolutely have to. But Susan found it … passable.

Well, there you have it. My advice this week is to stick to the subtitles. Wait, does “Kites Remixed” have subtitles? Caveat emptor, then.