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Movie Review: ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Fetches Little Meaning for Sentimentality

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A Dog's Purpose Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

A Dog’s Purpose is surrounded by controversy–so how did the movie turn out? Read on for our full review:

[dropcap]J[/dropcap]osh Gad narrates the voice of a dog during his birth, asking the most important of questions: “Why am I here?” That’s a rather big thought for such a small animal. But the answer will have to wait as the dog finds himself entranced by food, fetch, melodrama and chasing his own tail in A Dog’s Purpose.

How could a dog possibly find its purpose for being when his life is so short with so many distractions? Don’t worry; he has plenty of time given that he can reincarnate as many times until he has completed his task. At least I think he has a task and unlimited tries. The movie is very unclear about the rules of reincarnation and crossing over to the other side. But don’t think about that–look at the cute dog make a mess of dinner with slapstick results!

A Dog's Purpose Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Plenty of cutesy times to be had in ‘A Dog’s Purpose.’

His 1950s boy master Ethan dubs the dog Bailey. Bailey learns all about humans by growing up in the environment of a family home that floats between sitcom scenarios and scenes from a Lifetime movie. Ethan’s father has invited his boss over for dinner, but, uh oh, Bailey made everyone slip and trip at the dinner table with big splats into their plates of food. Dad loves his gold coin collection, but, uh oh, Bailey eats one of the coins and Ethan must comically fish the coin out of his dog’s poop. Years pass, divorce happens, love is lost, Ethan leaves for college and Bailey passes away at the vet office as Ethan observes him. A sad scene, but Bailey feels as though he hasn’t done enough and doesn’t want to leave Ethan sad.

To get back to Ethan and make sure he’s happy, Bailey is reincarnated in a variety of different dogs for shameless scenarios with more dogs. He reincarnates as a German shepherd that does lots of police work, befriending a lonely cop that lost his wife. No signs of Ethan in this lifetime. He reincarnates as a Yorkie that befriends a lonely college student who eventually forms a family of her own. No Ethan here either. Years and years pass until Bailey is finally reincarnated as the old dog that will return to Ethan who has aged into Dennis Quaid.

Will Bailey reincarnate again after making Ethan happy? That’s the wrong question to ask in such a distracted movie. The more interesting question: was Bailey’s purpose in life really to get Ethan laid?

A Dog's Purpose Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

One of Bailey’s many reincarnations in ‘A Dog’s Purpose.’

I assume that the movie was intended for families to coo at the cuteness of abundant doggies, but I’m not too sure about that. This is a movie in which dogs are put to sleep by vets, abandoned by owners and shot by criminals with bloody results. A drunken husband attacks his wife, a cop weeps over the loss of his wife and a house fire renders Ethan crippled and depressed. These scenes don’t carry much emotional weight as the movie skips over the character development to go straight for the heartfelt and soapy moments. Ethan’s dad becomes a violent drunk, but why? Did the dog embarrassing him in front of his boss cause him to lose his job? Suddenly that slapstick dinner scene doesn’t seem as funny as it was intended.

Most of the comedy is unbearably basic as Josh Gad provides dog commentary ala Homeward Bound. When his character isn’t briefly asking the big questions of existence, his dialogue mostly consists of simplistic thoughts about eating, saving Ethan, barking at bad guys, smelling pheromones and pleading for attention. At least 90% of his dialogue is entirely unneeded, coming off more as the old America’s Funniest Home Video pet segments where Bob Saget would dub silly voices on animals. There’s a good reason dogs don’t speak English if this is all they think about.

Read more to hear about that controversial scene in A Dog’s Purpose:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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