Can a couple of beautiful, award-worthy animated features outshine this week's collection of gut-churning horror flicks? God, I hope so.
Is genetic engineering rigidly regulated because of what we're worried the modified creatures will do to us, or what we'll do to the creatures? That may be the question Cube director Vincenzo Natali asks in his new film, Splice. Or he may simply be asking the question, "What if two kind of messed-up geneticists went off the reservation?" Because that's what happens in this film, and the situation they've created for themselves spirals out of control in a way that is frightening, sad and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny. But while some of the laughter comes from legitimately humorous moments, much of it comes from shock, as the film toes the line in several scenes then calmly strides right over it. Depending on how squeamish you are, the laughter may also manifest itself as squirming uncomfortably in your seat, and your feelings about the movie will have everything to do with whether or not that sounds like fun to you.
First of all, let's give a moment of thanks for scientific experiments, especially scientific experiments gone awry. Without them, movies would be much more boring. First of all, we would have very few superheroes: Spider-Man, the Hulk and the Fantastic Four wouldn't ever have existed. But even outside the world of superheroes, science is often the villain in movies, with cold logic warping the minds of the bad guys and reckless tampering with nature leading to bloodshed. The latter seems to be at play in the new genetic-modification horror film Splice, and we've been inspired to put together a list of some of our favorite scientific disasters in movies. Do not duplicate these tests!
It looks like Marmaduke was less competition for the kiddie dollars than we expected, as Shrek Forever After still handily defeated all comers, moving into a few more theaters and scaring up another $25 million in ticket sales. I guess kids are no longer impressed by animals who don't have jobs? After all, why see a movie about a plain old dog when you can see a movie about a cat sword-fighter, or guinea-pig secret agents, or a mouse chef? (This may be why they're spinning Puss in Boots off into his own movie.) Maybe they should have called it Marley & Me 2: Puppy-Size Me!, and had Owen Wilson magically transform into Marley-maduke at the beginning of the film. Then it might have made $36 million in its opening weekend, like Marley, rather than the $11 million it did. Well, you know what they say: hindsight is a golden retriever. Rimshot!