The Good, the Bad and the Freddy

Let us never speak of this againIf you used one page of this week’s NOW as a statistical sample — page 70, to be specific — you could reasonably conclude that (1) this week’s movies are terrible, or (2) I hate everything. But neither of those conclusions would be correct. That’s the problem with samples.

The truth of it is that there are three really terrible movies opening this week — four, actually, if you include the movie Rad reviews on page 71. (We’ll get to that.) But they’re balanced, somewhat, by one really good little film and a horror remake that was much better than I expected it to be. Let’s see if you can figure out which is which as we go down the list:

“English Butler Masala Chai”: The daughter of a stodgy Indian mogul tries to hide her love connection with an English royal by enlisting a gay friend as her beard. Rad is not amused.

Furry Vengeance“: A bunch of CG-enhanced animals declare war on hapless corporate tool Brendan Fraser in this awful, awful eco-comedy. The fact that it’s arriving a week after Earth Day should tell you something about the distributor’s confidence in the film’s message.

Gunless“: I’m just thinking out loud here, but given the current hostility towards the arts in Ottawa, is it really the right time to make a movie this terrible with four million dollars of federal funding? But then, is it ever?

A Nightmare on Elm Street“: Samuel Bayer preserves the core values of Wes Craven’s 1984 creeper with an update that’s low on jokes and big on ugliness — and Jackie Earle Haley is a really nice choice as the new Freddy. I was pleasantly surprised, if you can use that term in relation to a movie where teenagers are eviscerated by the truckload.

Passenger Side“: I’ve been batting for Matthew Bissonnette’s delicate little study of two brothers (fully realized by Adam Scott and the director’s brother Joel) driving around Los Angeles on a vaguely defined mission since August. Isn’t it about time you see the damn thing?

The Perfect Game“: A bunch of plucky Mexican urchins go all the way to the 1957 Little League championships — and learn valuable life lessons along the way — in this insipid family film from director William Dear. Worth watching for Emilie de Ravin’s appearance as the broadest period journalist since Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hudsucker Proxy” … you know, if you’re high.