Walk down my street and you cannot help but hear a dog barking or a cat meowing. Within my block there are close to a dozen cats and dogs, granted six of them live next door to me. The interesting thing about my next door neighbors is how everyone on the street knows their three cats and 3 dogs. Davidson is still a puppy, but he is a very big puppy that is over 60 pounds so far. If he is in the backyard when I pull into the garage, he settles down onto the ground like a Sphynx from ancient Egypt and waits for me to come out from the garage door. Once I call out his name he bounds up like he was in starter blocks for a race and runs to the fence between our properties. I have to give him a rub down his back as he leans into the fence. Two out of the 3 cats are always outside; they prefer eating al fresco if you know what I mean. I do not know which one but for some horrifying reason Becker or Mercury have the need to leave their leftovers right in the middle of my sidewalk, to make sure I will see what they had for dinner. It drives me crazy. When I come home late at night I not only have to watch where I am stepping; but before I open my front door, I have to look down and make sure Becker is not around because he will quickly try to run inside. I feel like the animals are part of my family since they are always hanging around my house. Everyone on the block knows them and keeps an eye out to make sure the animals do not get in trouble. WHEN the red furred dog arrived he would listen to no one in the small Australian community; but that all changed when John, played by Josh Lucas (A Beautiful Mind, Poseidon), became a resident. This film festival winning comedic drama was based on a true story and what a story it was for me. Avoiding the cliched sentimentality associated with the usual animal driven stories, I thought the script did a great job in telling this remarkable story. With cast members Rachael Taylor (Transformers, The Darkest Hour) as Nancy, Rohan Nichol (Fool’s Gold, South Solitary) as Jocko and John Batchelor (Danny Deckchair, Sea Patrol-TV) as Peeto; I thought this eclectic mix of characters kept things exciting. One would think with the boozing and betting, hard driving guys, this would not be a family film; but it certainly was one. I had no trouble with the flashbacks in the picture; this DVD was a real treat. Afterwards I had to go out and pet my next door 4 legged buddy.
3 stars — DVD
There are some people who are not cut out for the responsibility; for it is a lifetime commitment. I have seen all types of parenting skills; some I have admired, some horrified me. It is curious that we need a license to drive a vehicle, but we do not need one to have a child. I remember a case study we discussed in one of my college psychology classes. A married couple had two sons, where the oldest one committed suicide with a rifle. The following Christmas the parents wrapped the gun up in holiday paper and gave it to their surviving son as a gift. What kind of message do you think the parents were trying to convey to their child? This romantic comedy took a light hearted look at parenting. Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up, The Ugly Truth) and Josh Duhamel (Transformers franchise, When in Rome) played Holly Berenson and Eric Messer; two available single people. They had been fixed up with each other on a blind date that went bad very quickly. Because they each were friends of the married couple who had brought them together, Holly and Eric were still forced to see each periodically. When a tragic accident suddenly took the lives of their friends, Holly and Eric discovered they were the co-guardians of the couple’s infant daughter. The two adults who could barely stand each other now had to share parenting responsibilities in raising little Sophie. How would this work in the best interests of the baby? The idea of the story was a little far-fetched; I mean c’mon, who lists someone as guardian without talking to them first about it? Katherine, Josh and Josh Lucas (American Psycho, A Beautiful Mind) as Dr. Sam, were good in their roles. Instead of tackling some tough issues, the writers took an easy way towards the ending. I also thought the pacing of the movie dragged at times, going through similar scenarios with Sophie. It takes a certain kind of person to raise a child and now I see it takes a particular group of people to bring the story to the big screen.
2 stars — DVD
The heart is a resilient muscle. It has the ability to heal from an emotional wound. No matter how many scars it may have, the heart will always let you know how it feels. The one exception would be when the individual does not have closure. Without that closure the heart remains in a wounded state, always reminding the person of its pain. Though I have experienced a broken heart, I never had to deal with the tragic horror the couple in this dramatic mystery were living. It had been several years with police detective Tom Adkins Sr., played by Jon Hamm (The Town, Friends with Kids) and his wife Barbara, played by Rhona Mitra (Shooter, The Number 23), no closer in finding out the circumstances behind the disappearance of their son Tom Jr. With the strain weighing particularly heavy on Officer Adkins, he could not let go and move on. When the remains of a little boy were found from a 50 year old grave, little did Tom know his detective work on the remains would result in a clue to his son’s case. This movie surprised me for a couple of reasons. First, it had a strong cast with the addition of Jessica Chastain (The Help, Lawless) as Sally Ann, Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama, A Beautiful Mind) as Matthew Wakefield and James Van Der Beak (The Rules of Attraction, Dawson’s Creek-TV) as Diploma/Roggiani. Second, the way the director blended the current events into the story behind the 50 year old remains kept my attention. With the older story, the sepia toned scenes made for seamless transitions between past and current time. In spite of several scenes that did not work for me, this film was a moving tale that touched my heart.
2 1/2 stars — DVD