Your Weekend at the Movies, Starring Motherfuckin Marmaduke

06/04/2010 8:56 AM |

Bow down, fuckas.
  • Bow down, fuckas.

Get Him to the Greek: The Judd Apatow boom seems to have subsided; between his last two directorial efforts, Knocked Up (summer ’07) and Funny People (summer ’09), Apatow productions Superbad, Walk Hard, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, and Year One all hit theaters, to the point where his comedic aesthetic has inspired its very own parody that doesn’t really understand how parodies or comedies work. But at the moment, the Apatow pipeline has slowed to a projected rate of one movie per year, so for 2010 we get this spinoff of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which formerly sober rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) must be transported to a concert by aspiring producer Aaron Greene (Jonah Hill, not playing the aspiring musician from the previous movie). The trailers make Greek look broader, noisier, and less relationship-driven than Marshall, but I wonder if a farcical speed will smooth over the roughness of director Nicholas Stoller. His Marshall, while funny, sports probably the weakest, most indifferent direction of the Apatow-gang comedies. I’m also interested in an Apatow movie set in a specific industry, even if it’s one that almost no movies seem to have any interest in getting right.

Splice: Another industry movies are notoriously disinterested in portraying with accuracy: science! Or so I’m told. I don’t know, I suck at science. You might think, given the Dark Castle logo in front of Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, that this is another Joel Silver paycheck-generator a la The Reaping or Gothika. But while Splice is getting a release through Warner Brothers and the Dark Castle label, it’s actually a festival pickup… from the director of Cube. Cube! That kind of dumb Canadian sci-fi movie you rented that time! Or was that just me? In any case, I’m already pretty burnt out on swords, sandals, and sequels (note: I’m counting commercials for Sex and the City 2 and 4 Shrek 4 Furious as sequels to commercials for Sex and the City and Shrek the Third), so I am ready for some brainy horror that doesn’t even involve said brains being consumed by zombies, unless you count the next two movies discussed here.

Killers: This Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl team-up isn’t getting screened for critics, and as with most movies not screened for critics, it seems like an arbitrary decision. I know we’re supposed to be so media-savvy that anything not screening for the press is a disaster waiting to escape, but really, how likely is it that Killers is much worse than The Ugly Truth, also starring Heigl under the direction of Robert Luketic? True that studios rarely hide movies that they feel particularly confident in, but as I may have pointed out before, most of my worst movie-watching experiences ever have happened in press screenings (like, say, a screening for a clumsy indie like Finding Bliss, opening this Friday in Manhattan!), so I can’t put much confidence in the decision to screen a movie. By the same token, I don’t understand the practice of hiding middling, mediocre, or even lousy movies when there’s always something worse that critics get to see. [Such as... -Ed.]

Marmaduke: This movie exists. This movie exists. This movie exists this movie exists this movie exists. Here’s a synopsis: Marmaduke is a gigantic fucking dog. Actually, based on the eyeball-searing trailers, it doesn’t even particularly look like the makers of Marmaduke have capitalized (!) on the inspiration (!!) for this wacky-dog movie (!!?%*#!). In the comic panels, Marmaduke is a horribly drawn wreck of a monster-dog who destroys everything he touches. In the movie, he just talks like Owen Wilson and wears sunglasses and dances, like every other CGI-lipped animal in the most horrible subgenre technology has ever wrought. Of course, this makes the Marmaduke movie actually more attractive than the comic strip, because Lee Pace and William H. Macy, no matter their need for a paycheck, do not resemble scribbles drawn with the artist’s wrong hand. Then again, that crummy comic strip is mostly in black and white, and not lit like a Sugar Ray video, and in the ninety minutes that Marmaduke presumably runs, you could probably read approximately two decades’ worth of Marmaduke strips, by which I mean, yes, there are multiple ways that this movie will resemble an eternity of hell.

Ondine: The L’s review is less than enchanted, but you may want to see Neil Jordan’s new maybe-mermaid movie entirely for Colin Farrell, because you may have noticed that Farrell has started giving excellent performances with alarming regularity.