‘DOG’ Rated PG-13
While some similarities in tone may exist, Channing Tatum’s wild journey with a PTSD-scarred Belgian Malinois in “Dog” conjures up memories of Tom Hanks’ comedic partnership relationship with an exuberant dog in “Turner & Hooch.”
It’s nicer to have man-and-dog comedy than canine tears like “Marley & Me” and “A Dog’s Purpose.” At least we won’t have to bring a box of Kleenex to the theater for “Dog.”
Tatum Channing, who doesn’t have a wide range of acting skills but is right for the role with his charisma, is Jackson Briggs, a veteran of the Afghan Army Rangers who suffered a brain injury that left him sidelined but eager to return to battle.
Working in a sandwich shop in the Pacific Northwest offers no satisfaction for a warrior. Ticket Back to Work is a mission to take army dog Lulu on a trip to Arizona for the funeral of a veteran who served with Briggs and was the war hero’s dog handler.
The trip won’t be on a plane with Lulu playing the role of a service animal, as the dog doesn’t have the social graces to be around other people and four-legged creatures. Lulu needs to be muzzled and possibly heavily medicated.
Briggs packs his unwitting companion in his vintage 1984 Ford Bronco for what won’t be a leisurely drive along the Pacific Coast to Arizona via Los Angeles. How difficult is it going to be to lead a dog to a destination? Quite difficult, it turns out.
First off, Lulu isn’t exactly a passive passenger for the ride. In fact, the Warrior Canine has anger issues related to traumatic stress that cause her to tear herself up to shred the car seat.
Many misadventures await the duo, from encounters with a suspicious pot grower and his psychic wife, to an affair with new age women, to Briggs getting a free room at a posh San Francisco hotel by pretending to be blind.
“Dog” has legs, not because the dog has four, but as far as any kind of comedy goes, the laughs were brief on the big screen and this film hangs out at the multiplex to deliver the crowd-pleasing lightness that we badly need.
HISTORY CHANNEL OVERVIEW
The History Channel has lined up some interesting non-fiction series looming on the horizon right now and apparently worth the wait.
The title of “Five Families” represents what you probably think it does, which is a series about the dramatic rise and fall of New York’s Mafia families – Genovese, Gambino, Bonnano, Colombo and Lucchese.
For decades, these five families ruled New York City and turned the American mob into an underground empire. The series will follow the mob from its violent growth in prohibition, its golden age of domination in the 1970s and 1980s, to its bitter war with law enforcement.
Executive producer Ray Liotta, an actor well versed in crime dramas, talking about power, money and status, said “there’s a reason there’s so much public intrigue surrounding the mafia and why she continues to be a mainstay of pop culture.”
Who doesn’t love a heist movie? I still rank “The Bank Job” with Jason Statham, based on the true story of a daring job in London, as one of the best of its kind. Gene Hackman in “Heist” is another really good one.
“History’s Greatest Heists Starring Pierce Brosnan” is an hour-long non-fiction series that delves into the most incredible and elaborate real-life heists, from Wilcox’s train robbery to 1899 to the flight from Great Brinks to Boston in 1950.
Acting as host, Pierce Brosnan, who may know something about capers after his James Bond turn, reveals that “great heist stories are thrilling and, when told well, have the ability to… bring the viewer almost like a co-conspirator to the crime itself.
Each episode examines the story of an incredible heist, breaking down all aspects including the team, the brand, the plan, how they pulled it off, and the fallout. Burglaries throughout history have become legends, and the History Channel is here to tell the tale.
The four-part documentary event “Harlem Hellfighters” will bring the complex and courageous history of the Harlem Hellfighters to life through the eyes of three men: bandleader James Europe and soldiers Henry Johnson and Horace Pippin.
A century ago, an all-black regiment was formed in New York as the United States prepared to enter the Great War. This infantry group of mostly Harlem members faced intense racism at home during training and then faced shocking discrimination in the field.
Their extraordinary courage displayed in battle earned them the name Harlem Hellfighters and France’s highest military honour, the Croix de Guerre. “Harlem Hellfighters” is bound to honor the legacy of the brave warriors who fought fiercely in the horror-filled trenches of war.
Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.