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Monday, 21 February 2022 16:12

Tatum and company offer up a good ‘Dog’

Full disclosure: I am a sucker for dogs.

Seriously – all a filmmaker has to do is place a dog prominently in their movie and I will be absolutely enraptured by it. And if that dog is placed in trying circumstances of any sort? Cue the waterworks, particularly if those trying circumstances involve said dog’s relationship with a human.

(Please note: I DO NOT CARE about the well-being of the human, save for how that human’s well-being will impact that of the dog. Do whatever you want to the people, just keep the dog safe.)

So I was ready for “Dog” to pluck at my heartstrings. The film, which stars Channing Tatum and marks the actor’s first time in the director’s chair – well, co-director’s chair at any rate (Reid Carolin, who also wrote the script, served as co-director) – tells the story of a former Army Ranger who is tasked with getting the service dog of his fallen comrade to the man’s funeral.

It’s a surprising film, one whose emotional beats feel largely earned despite sporting the cheat code that is a dog; this movie is aware that it is pushing buttons, but manages not to come off as doing so cynically, all while being a good deal funnier than you might anticipate. Yes, the film has its share of issues, but “Dog” is actually rather well-made – certainly solid work from a pair of first-time directors.

Published in Style

Full disclosure: I love dogs. I am a bordering-on-weird dog person. I recognize this about myself and own my lack of objectivity regarding dogs and their feelings fully. That said, I am able to manage enough separation to recognize when a movie isn’t actually all that good, even if it has no problem pushing the appropriate buttons to elicit the desired emotional responses from someone like me.

“The Art of Racing in the Rain,” based on Garth Stein’s best-selling 2008 novel of the same name, is far from great cinema. On its face, it is an over-plotted and underdeveloped family drama with a whiff of Nicholas Sparks about it. We’re kind of on a road to nowhere, driving aimlessly and never actually getting anyplace.

But there’s a dog with an inner monologue who has thoughts and feelings and engages with the thoughts and feelings of people, so what am I supposed to do? I’m not made of stone.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:37

‘Dog Days’ more bark than bite

August is an interesting month when it comes to the movies. It’s a landing spot for films that maybe don’t quite fit the now-traditional IP blockbuster mode, but don’t make sense in the fall, but are also too good for the January-February wasteland.

In many ways, “Dog Days” epitomizes a certain type of August movie. It’s an ensemble comedy that isn’t unceasingly raunchy or packed with big stars, one driven more by the uncynical central conceit that dogs make our lives better.

Despite the subversive comedy bona fides of director Ken Marino (of “The State” fame), “Dog Days” seems content to coast on moments of sentimental cuteness and easy jokes. It’s basically one of those Garry Marshall holiday-themed movies, only with more dogs and a less famous cast.

Published in Movies

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