Harry Brown's Why Did I Spread Marmaduke?
Harry Brown: “Because I only know the charming older version of Michael Caine, it’s hard for me to remember that he actually was at one point Michael Caine, Beater of Ass. It’s like Alec Guinness — he’s always going to be Obi Wan Kenobi for most people, but when you watch Bridge on the River Kwai or Kind Hearts and Cornonets, you realize just how fucking amazing of an actor he actually was. The most I’d seen Michael Caine kill up to this point was a shark and a gay playwright Superman. And I forgot how dangerous an old man can be. Daniel Barber’s Harry Brown is the oldest of action flicks — the vigilante/vengeance flick. The stuff that sends roidmonkeys from the WWE straight to DVD. It’s such a simple premise: Someone you care about is beaten badly or killed, so you track down the criminals that perpetrated the crime and perpetrate a little whoopass of your own. What makes Harry Brown so effective and so powerful is its lack of frills. It’s a gritty, ugly, almost documentary-feeling film. There aren’t huge stunt sequences or flashy one-liners. There’s no Harry Brown signal, no footage of low-income citizens giving their opinions into a news camera, no little kids dressed up in a Michael Caine mask playing in a playground. There’s just one man, upset that his friend was murdered, taking out the trash. And goddamn is it fun to watch.” - Brian Prisco
Marmaduke: “Quite simply, “Marmaduke” has no place as a syndicated comic strip — let alone one that’s persisted for over half a century with no redeeming cultural, social, or entertainment value — and offers nothing for cinematic adaptation beyond the existence of the titular pup and his long-suffering owners. So, the very basic realization of a Marmaduke movie required a fair amount of creativity and effort, even if the script does begin and end with ceremonious flatulence, and the middle of that shit sandwich isn’t necessarily any more appealing. After all, this is a tale of live-action dogs with computer-generated woofers, and the effect is much like “The Moving Lips” skits from “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds — even before the surfing and dancing begins — which betrays any appeal these animals would otherwise have. In particular, Great Danes really are a gorgeous breed of dog, and the creature who functions as the titular hound is woefully spoilt by a pair of ridiculously flapping jowls that the filmmakers decided were necessary as a means for Owen Wilson’s surfer dude voice to spill forth. And when that happens, the dog-related puns (e.g., “a new leash on life”) run amuck, as does Marmaduke in a series of never-ending chases.” - Agent Bedhead
Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too: “Sure, the sequel’s premise — four couples go on an annual marriage retreat and all hell breaks loose — remains the same as its predecessor, but I sort of got into this shit for the second round, and it’s difficult to explain exactly why, during the first hour of the movie, I felt a bit of a connection to some of these characters. After all, it certainly wasn’t the charm of the picture-perfect couple, Dianne (Sharon Leal) and Terry (Perry); nor was it the loftier-than-thou Dr. Patricia (Janet Jackson) and Gavin (Malik Yoba) that drew me in. I found more tolerable yet mostly neutral ground from Sheila (Jill Scott) and her new husband Troy (Lamman Rucker), who aren’t as financially well-off as the other couples and also must deal with her dickhead ex-husband, Mike (Richard T. Jones), who conveniently decides that paying for part of a timeshare means that he’s also invited to the week-long jamboree. Perhaps it was the odd couple, Angela (Tasha Smith) Marcus (Michael Jai White), who endlessly squabble but provide most of the laughs here and are surprisingly well-equipped to whether the inevitable storms of a relationship, who made me realize that I was sort of enjoying myself. While Tasha Smith may overplay her role, she’s a pretty damn entertaining physical comedian, particularly in the moments following an “oops” entrance from an endearing native couple, Porter (Louis Gossett Jr.) Ola (Cicely Tyson), who join the four couples for their last night by the campfire for some literal and figurative fireworks. And I bloody liked watching it happen.” - Agent Bedhead
Spread: “Ashton Kutcher is a very intelligent dude. Laugh derisively all you want, hater, but this pretty-boy parleyed a second banana dumbass on a second-rate sitcom into a glorified Candid Camera series on MTV, commercial deals, and into the panties of the former Mrs. John McClane. He’s got enough money to pretty much do whatever film he wants. So why the fuck does he keep picking progressively worse scripts? His best film to date was a fucking catchphrase I’m still convinced was a dare between the Weinstein brothers for a dollar and the right to get anus shotgun on all future casting couch threesomes. Not satisfied with merely despoiling any tepid romantic comedy he can find, Ashton decided to wipe his ass on the sordid indie dark sexromedy. It has yet to work for any sitcom 20-something: not a Dawson’s Creeker, a 90210omo, a 7th Heavenizen, not even Roseanne’s brood. So why in the pink and purple fuck did Kelso think it’d work for him?” - Brian Prisco
Also released this week: 9th Company, Clear Lake, WI, Made for Each Other