Film Review: DOG DAYS (USA 2018)

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Dog Days Poster
Trailer

Dog Days follows a group of interconnected people in Los Angeles who are brought together by their lovable canine counterparts.

Director:

Ken Marino

Writers:

Elissa Matsueda (screenplay by), Erica Oyama (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »

 

The logo at the start of the film “Life is better with a dog” implies what director Manrino’s film sets up to prove.  It is not a very subtle message and not a very subtle film too.  DOG DAYS is a family oriented movie about humans and man’s best friend.  Unfortunately the word dog can also be used to describe the movie.  DOG DAYS is sporadically funny at best with a very low joke hit/miss ratio.

The film contains four humans stories – all silly and uninteresting.  The first is a TV host who ends up interviewing Jimmy Johnston a sports star only to end up arguing on set.  The cliché ridden script would mean that the two will fall in love, which they do, and lo and behold, what a surprise – it also turns out that they each own a cute dog.  The next story begins at a Starbucks style coffee shop where a regular customer meets an employee who falls for Mr. Hots, a dog doctor who owns a fabulous car.  The customer, as geeky as they come owns a dog shelter that, yes, any 2-year old can guess is going to have trouble financially.  She helps him out with a fundraiser but is dated by Mr Hots.  A one-year old can guess what happens next – yes, she discovers Hots to be an a-hole and realizes true love might be Mr. Geeky himself.  Then there is the musician who babysits sister’s dog while she is having twins.  The dog is a huge but cute one who changes Mr. Annoying’s life.  My Annoying is not only annoying buy terribly unfunny. The last story involves a sad man who ha substituted the love for his past wife with a dog he has lost due to Pizza boy.  The dog is found and looked after by a couple who adopts a little girl.  

Director Marino clumsily intercuts these stories with weak links.  For example, Johnson’s dog is brought to the clinic owned by Mr. Hots.  The lack of a villain in the story means that each story meanders around with no purpose except to display the cuteness of different dog breeds.

The film has no shortage of cliches.  A girl ditches her not-that-good-looking friend to date Mr. Hots only to find Mr. Hots an idiot and then dates back her not-that-good-looking friend who is actually in love with her. A lost dog found by a family who needs the dog more than the owner is eventually given the dog by the owner and so on.

The human stories are weakly linked to each other like an excuse.  The stories are predictable and unexciting.  No one really cares. 

As if cliches are not enough, director Marino aims to pull at the heart strings with no signs of stopping  A lost dog is re-united with its owner; an owner learns about life lessons from his canine friend. It is as if Marino has discovered that his humour is to working and trying for tears as a last resort.  

Containing more cliches than dog tricks, DOG DAYS makes one wonder who let this one out of the dog house?  This is just a very bad dog of a movie.

Warning!!  Make sure you leave before the closing credits.  There are extra takes of the actors cracking more unfunny jokes that will guarantee to make your skin crawl.  

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEilmeGeVXY&t=5s

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Movie Review: IT (USA 2017) ***

 

It Poster
Trailer

 Director:

Writers:

Chase Palmer (screenplay), Cary Fukunaga (screenplay) 

Stars:

Bill SkarsgårdJaeden LieberherFinn Wolfhard

IT is the much anticipated new horror film based on the 1986 Stephen King of the same name. Any novel by King turns out to be a box-office hit. IT expects to do the same and not only that, but to boost the 2017 box-office from its awful slump in recent months. IT was first adapted in a 1990 series, but many like myself have never see it.

The basic story involves seven children, with stuttering Bill being the main one, all terrorized by a killer dancing clown called Pennywise. Their town of Derry, Maine have experienced disappearing children in the past. One of the kids researched that these events occur once every 27 years. It is later revealed that Pennywise comes out to eat children. The kids have to say together in order to defeat the monster.

The film never compromises the horror – which is both emotional and physical. IT is clearly a film for adults but with both adult and childhood horror. Besides the real terror of the dancing clown, there is the notion that the terror is also imagined. When the terrorized kids stick together, Pennywise is defenceless. The film also emphasizes the terror of being alone.

As a result of the un-compromised horror, the film turns out to be quite nasty. The nastiness includes:

– poor young Georgie at the start of the film losing an entire arm
– pedophilia with Beverly terrorized sexually by her father
– bullying taken to the limit with the bullies using a knife to cut up a victim and a vicious fight of rock throwing lots of blood splattering a son killing his father with a switchblade

With a story involving a total of 7 kids, it is expected and it does happen, that not all the stories are completely told. The main kid, Bill, for example has a few minutes with his parents who are then absent throughout the rest of the film .

IT though set in Maine (as in many of King’s stories) was shot in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Toronto and also around Oshawa and Port Hope. Canadians will definitely recognize their typical built neighbourhoods, with the streets and storm drains, like the one shown early in the film when Georgie first meets the killer clown.

Despite the film’s flaws, director Andy Muschietti (MAMA) effectively piles the horrors on. His display of emotional and physical terror is well balanced. The horror and shock effects are quite good. The film is definitely many steps ahead of recent horror films like ANNABELLE CREATION.

The film running at 135 minutes, is long for a horror movie which normally runs 90 minutes. Thought the film is scary in most parts, the film drags in the middle. At the end of the film, the credits ‘Chapter 1’ appear, which means a sequel is for sure already in the making. The second instalment should be good if it is at least good as this one.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnCdOQsX5kc