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DVDs In Brief: September 1, 2010

The theoretically comic antics of a Great Dane called Marmaduke have haunted the comics page for decades, inspiring indifference in generations of readers. Still, in this adapt-everything-now environment, a big-screen version was inevitable. Thus Marmaduke (Fox), starring the voice of Owen Wilson as Marmaduke, George Lopez as his feline sidekick, and William H. Macy as the great actor who shows up and tries not to act embarrassed…

Remember the troubled couples of Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? Well, they’re back for more melodramatic twists and stern talkings-to in Why Did I Get Married Too? (Lionsgate)…

Michael Caine lends a dignity and gravitas to the lurid British vigilante movie Harry Brown (Sony), but it’s wholly unmerited. Take away Caine’s reliably strong work as a vengeful widower, and Emily Mortimer’s oddly emotional take on a police investigator, and Harry Brown is no better than Death Wish 2010, a clueless, violent expression of generational resentment toward the kids of today…

For a better, though decidedly longer, excursion into British crime, try Red Riding Trilogy (IFC), three films adapting a series of David Peace novels about murder and conspiracy in Northern England between 1974 and 1983. Each is helmed by a different director and shot in a different style, and while none match the noir-to-the-bone atmosphere of Julian Jarrold’s opening salvo, the sum is greater than any individual part. It’s a major accomplishment, gripping as a thriller and unflinching in its portrayal of moral rot…

Much as with Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker films, the wacky parody antics in the French spy spoof OSS 117: Lost In Rio (Music Box) are hit-and-miss, and viewers are likely to enjoy whichever OSS 117 movie they see first, then have problems with diminishing returns. (2009’s Rio follows 2006’s Cairo, Nest Of Spies, and another OSS 117 film is on the way this year, but they needn’t be seen in order.) Still, French comedy star Jean Dujardin is utterly winning as the clueless, racist, sexist secret agent who offends everyone wherever he goes, while thinking himself suave and admired; in the process, the films parody specific spy, crime, and action films; send up the socially dated smugness of ’60s spy heroes; and layer on some extremely accomplished slapstick.