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Notes from the back row

Cops, on and off the big screen

Watch out movie lovers, the FBI is on the hunt. Someone released a working cut of the new X-Men Origins: Wolverine onto the Internet last week - essentially the entire movie with a few of the digital effects unfinished - and Marvel Films is hopping mad. Slated for theatrical release in May, Wolverine was supposed to be Marvel's kickstart to the summer blockbuster season, but since hardcore comic geeks practically live online much of the flick's target audience has already seen it. Marvel spent over $100 million making the film, and so the Feds are on fast on the case.

Not as fast as Fast and Furious though. That brainless car-racing flick grossed over $71 million last weekend, the biggest April opening ever. That is as crazy as two months ago when the Paul Blart shitty mall cop movie made over $120 million. What the F!?

Opening Friday is Observe and Report, the second mall-cop movie of the year. It stars Seth Rogen as Ronnie, a bi-polar mall cop with grandiose delusions and a hankering to put the hurt on anyone who dares break the rules on his turf. When a flasher begins exposing himself at the mall Ronnie springs into action to prove his worth and win the heart of mall worker Brandi, played by the always-fantastic Anna Faris (who absolutely nails a very Whistler-esque sex scene).

Director Jody Hill, who gained notoriety with Foot Fist Way , delivers another comedy in which an awkward, excluded character overcomes his insecurities with overt macho energy and determination. The comedy is still sleazy, inappropriate and mostly funny but Hill's added a tense, psychotic dramatic angle as well as Ronnie the hero is borderline insane. Rogen looks a bit too likeable for the role but still gets the job done and Foot Fist's Danny McBride cameos as well as a drug dealer. Ray Liotta ( Goodfellas, Blow) also delivers as the real cop invading Ronnie's turf. This flick is fresh and weird and good.

Also opening Friday, and also pretty good, is the Canadian-made One Week which opened last year's Whistler Film Fest. Joshua Jackson stars as a guy with a week (or so) to live who ditches his fiancé and takes off on a cross-Canada motorcycle trip, solo style. The plot is secondary to the scenery and the epiphany spouting characters he encounters along the way, including a pot-smoking Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. Some people complain that One Week portrays us as a nation of wierdos (not such a stretch) but I think it plays more as a love story with our spacious and unique country. This is Canadian so check it out regardless.

You can skip the crappy Hannah Montana movie though, featuring child-pimp Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter. That opens Friday but fear not, quality children's entertainment is coming soon. This fall look for The Fantastic Mr. Fox, a Wes Anderson ( Royal Tennenbaums) directed stop-animation movie that will totally rule. Also, start getting stoked for Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are , coming October 16. If you haven't seen the Wild Things trailer yet get online and do it now. And if you're feeling like some Internet criminal activity you might still be able to find that Wolverine movie on there too. For those scared of the FBI or who'd rather commit their crimes in the real world with a quick smoking session prior to hitting the theatre, keep your heads up. Whistler's mall cops (a.k.a. Bylaw) are nowhere near as scary as Seth Rogen, but they're still the kind of people who relish the idea of ruining a good time.