Monday, 27 June 2022

Buddy comedy ‘Dog’ still has legs; History Channel preview




‘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 the comedic relationship of Tom Hanks partnership with a rambunctious dog in “Turner & Hooch.”

It’s more pleasurable to have a man-and-dog buddy comedy than the canine tearjerkers such as “Marley & Me” and “A Dog’s Purpose.” At least one won’t need to bring a box of Kleenex to the theater for “Dog.”

Tatum Channing, who doesn’t have a wide range of acting talent but is right for the part with his charisma, is Jackson Briggs, an ex-Army Ranger veteran of Afghanistan who suffered a brain injury that has him sidelined but itching to return to battle.

Working in a sandwich shop in the Pacific Northwest offers no satisfaction for a warrior. The ticket back to duty is an assignment to take Army dog Lulu on a road trip to Arizona for the funeral of a veteran who served with Briggs and was the handler of the war hero canine.

The trip is not going to be on an airplane with Lulu acting the part of a service animal, because the dog lacks the social graces to be around other people and four-legged creatures. Lulu needs to be muzzled, and possibly heavily medicated.

Briggs packs his unwilling companion into his vintage ’84 Ford Bronco for what is not going to be a leisurely drive down the Pacific Coast, heading to Arizona by way of Los Angeles. How hard is it going to be to drive a dog to a destination? Pretty difficult, it turns out.

First of all, Lulu is not exactly a passive passenger along for the ride. In fact, the canine warrior has anger issues related to traumatic stress that result in her tearing to shred the car’s seat.

Misadventures aplenty await the duo, from encounters with a suspicious pot grower and his psychic wife, a liaison with new age women, to Briggs scoring a free room at a swanky San Francisco hotel by pretending to be blind.

“Dog” has legs, not because the canine has four of them, but as far as any kind of comedy goes, laughs have been in short order on the big screen and this movie is hanging around at the multiplex to deliver the enjoyable crowd-pleasing levity that we badly need.

THE HISTORY CHANNEL PREVIEW

The History Channel has lined up some interesting nonfiction series that are somewhere on the horizon at the moment and seemingly worth the wait.

The title of “Five Families” represents what you probably think it does, namely 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 and built the American Mafia into an underworld empire. The series will follow the Mob from its violent growth in Prohibition, its golden age of domination in the 1970s and 1980s, up through its heated war with law enforcement.

Executive producer Ray Liotta, an actor who knows his way around crime dramas, in talking about power, money and status, said “there’s a reason why there’s so much public intrigue around the mafia and why it continues to be a pop culture mainstay.”

Who doesn’t like a heist film? I still rank “The Bank Job” starring Jason Statham, based on the true story of a daring London job, as one of the best in the genre. Gene Hackman in “Heist” is another really good one.

“History’s Greatest Heists with Pierce Brosnan” is a one-hour nonfiction series delving inside the most unbelievable, elaborate real-life heists from the Wilcox train robbery of 1899 to Boston’s Great Brinks robbery in 1950.

Acting as the host, Pierce Brosnan, who may know something about capers after his turn as James Bond, reveals that “great heist stories are thrilling, and when well told, have the ability to bring the viewer along as almost a co-conspirator to the crime itself.”

Each episode examines the story of one incredible heist, breaking down every aspect including the team, the mark, the plan, how they carried it out, and the fallout. Heists across 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 story of the Harlem Hellfighters to life through the eyes of three men: band leader James Europe and Privates Henry Johnson and Horace Pippin.

A century ago, an all-black regiment was formed in New York as the U.S. geared up to enter the Great War. This infantry group consisting mostly of members from Harlem faced intense racism at home during training and later confronted shocking discrimination in the field.

Their extraordinary courage displayed in battle earned them the name Harlem Hellfighters and France’s highest military honor, the Croix de Guerre. “Harlem Hellfighters” is bound to honor the legacy of brave warriors who fought ferociously in the war’s horror-filled trenches.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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