On DVD & Blu-Ray: May 2, 2017

In the opening moments of the latest sun-drenched melodrama from director Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, Hachi: A Dog's Tale) a dog is born and just quickly a dog is euthanized. It's a strange way to open a PG-rated family film about man's best friend, but was apparently the best way to set the stage for a film whose premise is that of dog reincarnation as narrated by Olaf from Frozen. Sound strange? It is, a little bit, but not nearly as bad as you might think though not nearly as effective as it should be either. This is taking into considering the fact the writers/producers and Hallström don't shy away from exploiting what is arguably the easiest way to elicit tears from your audience-a dog dying. They do this at least four times. And yet, through each of these segments, each of these lives that we see different breeds and genders of dogs lead (all voiced by Josh Gad) there is never that moment that just breaks you in the way you expect a movie like this to do. It seems there was no hesitation in doing what it takes to get the audience to that point, but the execution never matches the intention thus making A Dog's Purpose more of a sleeper than the quickly euthanized pup we met in the first scene. Video review here. Full review here. C-

Kenny Wells is a mess and that is pretty evident from the moment he appears on screen hoping to charm the curls right out of Bryce Dallas Howard's eighties frizzled hair, but even as he does this it's easy to tell there is no real thought behind his actions other than what the immediate rewards might be. This is key to understanding the type of mentality we'll be working with for the next two hours as Wells is a man who believes himself lucky to have been born into a family that started a mining company and who intends to carry it on even after the death of his father (Craig T. Nelson). Wells takes the idea from his father that they don't necessarily have to do this for a living as it's a crap shoot of a business, but instead pride themselves of getting to do this for a living. The question they're seemingly missing the answer to though, is the ever-present why? What are they doing this for? Seven years on after the passing of the elder Wells and Matthew McConaughey's Kenny has his men working out of a bar, trying to keep a lid on expenses, and coming up short in seemingly everything, but chiefly in keeping his family's business afloat. As a man who can't help but to try and survive for the next few weeks rather than the next twenty years Wells sees no other option other than to do whatever it takes to keep that business running. He is a man who puts a lot of stock in legacy in the way that he seems to inherently ask himself how proud his father would be were he to still be alive-would he be happy with what Kenny has done with their business? After the rather stirring opening and tone-setting title card fade away it becomes pretty clear that Kenny Wells is in a position neither his father nor his grandfather ever found themselves in. The guy is desperate to find backers for digs that no one believes in and that no one seems to believe will yield any results. Sure, Wells has responsibilities to his employees that are dedicated enough to work out of that aforementioned bar, to Howard's Kay who has stuck with him still and now works at that same bar as a waitress most of the time doubling as his secretary, but the biggest responsibility Kenny feels is clearly to that legacy he is set to taint. And so, Wells takes a chance, a risk-one that could fail just as easy as it could succeed, but one that perfectly encapsulates and sets the stage for how this protagonist McConaughey fully commits to will operate in the mostly entertaining circumstances Gold presents. Video review here. Full review here. B-

I saw The Comedian. I don't remember much about it. All I know is the discovery of this little gem was easily the best thing to come out of the experience. D

Rings is the fifteen year follow-up to Gore Verbinski's American re-make of the Japanese film about a video tape that kills you seven days after watching it. There was a sequel in 2005 as well, but most choose to forget that. It seems the fate of director F. Javier Guitérrez's threequel will be much the same as the film, which follows a young woman who finds herself on the receiving end of the terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in seven days, didn't exactly set the box office or criticsphere on fire.

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