Film Review: A DOG’S JOURNEY (USA 2019) **

A Dog's Journey Poster
Trailer

A dog finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he meets.

Director:

Gail Mancuso

Writers:

W. Bruce Cameron (book), W. Bruce Cameron (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

How many dog movies can Swede filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom make in his career?  Ever since his claim to fame with his MY LIFE AS A DOG (English translation of its Swedish title), he championed A DOG’S PURPOSE in 2017 and now its sequel A DOG’S JOURNEY.

A DOG’S JOURNEY requires all credibility be thrown to the wind.  Even its lead character, C.J. tells her friend Trent near the end of the story that the dog story is impossible to believe.  One has to believe that:

  1. dogs can be reincarnated from one canine to another right after death
  2. this particularly canine has found and protected its mistress C.J. in 4 different coincidental cases
  3. dogs can sniff and identify cancer in human beings
  4. dogs can sniff and find someone miles away
  5. that people will love this dog movie no matter how ridiculous the plot may be

The film continues in the spirit of the faithful translation of author W Bruce Cameron’s original concept of dogs delivering humorous voiceover narration (here the voice of Josh Gad) that surprisingly got the majority of laughs at the promo-screening I attended.  But the dialogue is amusing and I found myself chuckling at best.  It is at least more respectable than the poo (or  rather dog poo) jokes that abound throughout the film.

The film opens Ethan Montgomery (Dennis Quaid) farming his land with his faithful blubbering pooch, Bailey.  Bailey does tricks, is huge and cuddly and the kind of dog that is impossible to dislike.  Well almost.  The widowed daughter-in-law, Gloria (Betty Gilpin), who is staying with Ethan and Hannah, Ethan’s wife (Marg Helgenberger) thinks Bailey dirty. Gloria has a child, Clarity June (C.J.) (Kathryn Prescott).  One day, as a result of an argument, Gloria leaves Ethan and Hannah taking C.J with her.  Bailey dies vowing to find C.J. to look after her in the next life.  The next life, C.J. grows up and owns Molly, Bailey’s reincarnation,  And the story or the dog’s journey continues.

The dog lives a total of 4 different lives in total, from Bailey to Molly, Max and Toby.  Molly the hound is the most adorable while the happy Toby the most spoilt and annoying.  C.J. grows from toddler to child to teen in the process while Ethan grows old with the faithful reincarnated Bailey by his side.  C.J. is played by n less than three different actresses.

As a family doggie movie, A DOG’S JOURNEY, written by no less than 4 authors, delivers and turns out exactly what fans of the original DOG’s PURPOSE is looking for.   A DOG’S JOURNEY is best looked as a doggie fairytale, very corny and very sentimental (imagine a doggie heaven, as implied at the end of the film).  The best thing about the film, is understandably the trained dogs on display.  Dog lovers are advised to bring lots of Kleenex.

Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2FrrSyyKfA

Film Review: THE INTRUDER (USA 2019)

The Intruder Poster
Trailer

A young married couple buy a beautiful house on several acres of land only to find out that the man they bought it from refuses to let go of the property.

Director:

Deon Taylor

THE INTRUDER is a slasher flick advertised as a psychological thriller featuring no real surprises, about a couple having to survive an intruder to their new home.  As far as intruder movies go, it is a well-worn genre done in one form or other.  The best ones are the two FUNNY GAMES, both directed by Michale Haneke, the Austrian and Hollywood versions.

THE INTRUDER sees a handsome looking black couple, Scott Howard (Michael Ealy) and the missus, Annie (Meagan Good) purchasing their dream home in the wine Napa Valley.  They leave city life for the wine region.  But they do not get what they dream of.   Instead of a funny and entertaining GREEN ACRES, the scenario turns out to be a campy horror INTRUDER in which director Taylor accomplishes a few good turns but ends up churning out a run-of-the-mill boring slasher film.

There are two kind of black films.  One shows the hardship of the African Americans like IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, MOONLIGHT or 7 YEARS A SLAVE.  The others are these unrealistic fairy tales, especially the romantic comedies and this one that show the blacks as rich, wealthy and beautiful people.  They often work in advertising agencies or some executive position with white people as their lackeys.

The married couple move into a gorgeous mansion that has been carefully kept for generations by its owner Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid).  After selling the house Peck keeps showing up unannounced, much to the chagrin of Scott, though the wife does not mind the extra help Peck offers.  Peck is supposed to leave to live with his daughter but that date never realizes.       

It soon becomes apparent that Peck has the hots for Annie.  When Scott gets aggressive with Peck, Peck runs him off the road while jogging.

The careless script is glaringly full of loopholes.  When Scott is in hospital, he asks his world buddy and colleague, Mike (Joseph Sikora) to run a background on Peck.  That very night, Mike has got all the back information on Peck, way too soon and way to convenient before Peck starts terrorizing Annie.

The only interesting character in the film is Mike, the white friend of the couple, who the audience is sure of will come to a grisly and violent death.  Mike is conveniently freaked out by a domineering Peck, making up the film’s queaziest scene.

The otherwise unimpressive film film benefits from Wilson’s occasional inspired direction and Quaid’s campiness.  One such example is the scene that suddenly lights up that reveals Quaid crouched up and ready to pounce on the unsuspecting victim.  A few other good camera angles achieve a few surprise jolts as well.  Dennis Quaid, a handsome bulked up actor now shows signs of his age though still possessing a body to be envious for.  Quaid hams it up, giving the film some camp and wicked humour needed to lift the film out of the doldrums.  One scene has her licking his victim’s body using his tongue to file her while she is passed out.

The audience at the promo screening appear to be enjoying the movie, though laughing too much for a horror film.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K7y0zsuPic

Happy Birthday: Dennis Quaid

dennisquaid.jpgHappy Birthday actor Dennis Quaid

Born: Dennis William Quaid
April 9, 1954 in Houston, Texas, USA

Read reviews of the best of the actor:

ANY GIVEN SUNDAYAny Given Sunday
1999
dir. Oliver Stone
starring
Jamie Foxx
Al Pacino

FREQUENCYFrequency
2000
dir. Gregory Hoblit
Cast
Quaid
James Caviezel,

The Day After Tomorrow
2004
dir. Emmerich
starring
Quaid
Jake Gyllenhaal

The ExpressThe Express
2008
dir. Gary Fleder
Starring
Rob Brown
Quaid
Smart People
2008
Directed by Noam Murro
Starring
Quaid
Ellen Page

Vantage Point
2008
Directed by Pete Travis
Starring
Quaid
Matthew Fox

GI JOE Movie PosterG.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra
2009
dir. Stephen Sommers
Starring
Quaid
Sienna Miller

PANDORUM Movie PosterPandorum
2009
dir. Christian Alvart
Starring
Quaid
Ben Foster
Cam Gigandet

MOVIE POSTERPLAYING THE FIELD
dir. Gabriele Muccino
Stars:
Gerard Butler
Jessica Biel

MOVIE POSTERWHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
dir. Kirk Jones
Stars:
Cameron Diaz
Matthew Morrison

LEGION Movie PosterLegion
dir. Scott Stewart
Stars
Paul Bettany
Dennis Quaid

IN GOOD COMPANYIn Good Company
2004
dir. Paul Weitz
Cast
Dennis Quaid
Topher Grace

MOVIEThe Right Stuff
1983
dir. Philip Kaufman
starring
Ed Harris
Sam Shepard

MOVIEDreamscape
1984
dir. Joseph Ruben
Starring:
Dennis Quaid
Max von Sydow

soulsurferSOUL SURFER
dir. Sean McNamara
Stars:
AnnaSophia Robb
Dennis Quaid

MOVIE POSTERFOOTLOOSE
dir. Craig Brewer
Stars:
Kenny Wormald
Julianne Hough

movie posterHORSEMEN
2009
dir. Jonas Akerlund
Starring:
Dennis Quaid
Ziyi Zhang

MOVIE POSTERTHE ROOKIE
2002
dir. John Lee Hancock
Stars:
Dennis Quaid
J.D. Evermore

MOVIE POSTERAT ANY PRICE
2013
dir. Ramin Bahrani
Stars:
Dennis Quaid
Zac Efron

movie posterEVERYBODY’S ALL AMERICAN
1988
dir. Taylor Hackford
Stars:
Jessica Lange
Dennis Quaid

TV POSTERVEGAS
Review of the 2012 action drama

MOVIE POSTERTHE WORDS
2012
dir. Brian Klugman
Lee Sternthal
Stars:
Bradley Cooper
Dennis Quaid

MOVIE POSTERAMERICAN DREAMZ
2006
dir. Paul Weirz
Stars:
Hugh Grant
Dennis Quaid