Movies: Zoolander, Iron Monkey, Musketeer. Books: Five Moral Pieces (Umberto Eco), New Basics (Cookbook), The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake). Gratuitous quote from a Terry Pratchett novel.

Zoolander. Maybe this movie isn’t everyone’s cup of freaky tea. I mean, who wants to wake up with a midget folk band and a hangover? I have to admit that Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller don’t do it for me…but there’s a cameo of Billy Zane, so the sex appeal factor is pretty high. But they are funny. And there’s Milla Jovovich, perfectly capable of a genuine Russian accent, pulling a Natasha. It’s cheesy. It’s horrible. There is no point. It’s just a bit off. I’ll probably never see it again…but it’s my kind of stupid movie.

Iron Monkey I’m probably going over the heads of genre buffs, but screw ’em. Have you seen Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love? The two movies are tied together — watch them on the same night sometime. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Iron Monkey fit together the same way. Maybe even better. Both are movies with two sets of protagonists, sometimes allies, sometimes in conflict. Both are fairy tales. You cry at the end of one and cheer at the end of the other. Iron Monkey is an incredible film, wonderfully and innocently told. Don’t bother being cynical about the obvious plot twists; just enjoy it.

Musketeer You’ll probably want to rent this movie because of the matial arts sequences you saw on TV. Don’t bother. If, however, you have a craving to see Tim Roth justify a multimillion-dollar dumbass action flick that screws up Dumas so badly you know they had to have read the book to get it that wrong, go ahead. You don’t get many good villians these days. Pity the rest of the movie’s such a waste.

(To be continued…)

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