Think Like a Dog (2020) Movie Review

Director: Gil Junger

Writer: Gil Junger (Screenplay)

Starring: Gabriel Bateman, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, Madison Horcher, Minghao Hou, Izaac Wang, Kunal Nayyar, Janet Montgomery

Plot: A 12-year-old tech prodigy’s science experiment goes awry and he forges a telepathic connection with his best friend, his dog. The duo join forces and use their unique perspectives on life to comically overcome complications of family and school.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Family Film

Story: Think Like a Dog starts as we meet Henry, a family dog that lives with his human family Oliver (Bateman), Lukas (Duhamel) and Ellen (Fox), he knows they are smart, with Oliver being a genius child who is on the verge of being able to create a mind reader, grabbing the attention of professional scientists, Mr Mills (Nayyar) and Bridget (Montgomery).

After failing to prove his experiment works, he tries it one more time with Henry and ends making it work, being able to communicate with his dog, at the time he needs it most in life.

Thoughts on Think Like a Dog

Characters – Oliver is a genius young boy who has always been trying to create something to change the world, he has used the idea of mind reading, which fails at school, he succeeds with his own dog, being able to communicate with it to deal with a big life issue and growing up, like asking a girl to the dance and dealing with needing to earn respect in the school system. Lukas and Ellen are his parents, they are going through a difficult time, with Oliver working with Henry to try and help fix his parents marriage. Mr Mills is a world-famous billionaire creator, he has always scouted creators around the world to remain on top of the industry and will do anything to prove his brilliance. Henry is the dog of the family, he loves his owner, like every pet, he is narrating the life, through his own eyes, which adds the innocent side to everything.

PerformancesGabriel Bateman is great in the leading role, working well with the connection with the dog, he shows the success and failures of everyday life well through the film. Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox are great together are the parents in the film, with Kunal Nayyar getting laughs with his Elon Musk like character.

StoryThe story here follows a genius young boy that is trying to create a mind reading device, which sees him being able communicate with his dog, using this to help fix his parents relationship and learn to take the next steps in his early life. This is a family movie and you can tell by the story, as it shows the struggle through school, the relationship you will have with a pet growing up, while a big change might come in a young life. We get the moments of charm, the moments of fun and the moments that will help Oliver grow. The story is easy to watch and will be one that the whole family can enjoy.

Comedy/Sci-FiThe comedy in the film is for all ages, some will work, other parts won’t, with the sci-fi side of the film being about how the technology works, we are lucky the film doesn’t try to give us bad effects with unrealistic dog effects, we just have natural dog movements.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the everyday life that Oliver and his family live in.


Scene of the Movie – The dog park.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The agent’s group doesn’t get enough screen time.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family film that could be enjoyed by all, it has the heart, the important life lessons and strong performances throughout.

Overall: Fun Family Film.

Lionsgate UK presents family comedy Think Like a Dog on digital download 6 July and DVD 20 July

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – C – The Comedians (1967) Movie Rob’s Pick

Head Over to Movie Rob’s for more reviews

“Well, you can’t let the stuff rust away. It’s a crime to waste good weapons.” – Major Jones

Number of Times Seen – 1 (2 Jul 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A Welsh hotel owner living in Haiti gets involved with both the local population and some visitors to the island as he tries to find a way to reignite his romance with the wife of the Ugandan Ambassador.

My Take on it – This is a film that I heard about a while back and was quite interested in seeing another joint venture between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

I decided to finally watch it when I saw that it was a romance and would fit in perfectly with this month’s ABC challenge.

It turns out that looks and movie synopsis’ can be deceiving since the romance aspect of this film is more subtle than expected.

It does play a large part in the motivations of the main character so I guess it could be somewhat classified as having important romantic elements in the film.

The cast is superb and that helps keep thing quite intriguing to watch unfold.

The film unfortunately tho has far too many subplots which make things more confusing yet still pays off.

The 150min plus runtime is a bit too much and there are scenes that drag along slightly.

That being said the same long runtime allows for the characters to be fleshed out more thoroughly which allows for a better understanding of everyone’s motives.

Burton does a wonderful job in the lead role and creates a sympathetic character who we can care about.

This is helped by the way that he constantly seems to always try and help everyone during their own ordeals.

His character constantly pines for the character that his wife plays and it all comes across as being both exhausting and charming in the way that he does this.

This helps make it feel even more genuine and realistic.

The supporting cast is also great with Paul Ford, Lillian Gish, Taylor, Peter Ustinov and James Earl Jones in sympathetic characters who we can care about.

Alec Guinness tho steals every scene he is in and his amazing performance constantly makes the viewer question what is perhaps real and what is perhaps an elaborate fabrication in his mind.

This is ultimately a story about how people perceive themselves and those around them.

It also shows how people must learn to adapt to the environment around them.

Bottom Line – Interesting film that has a superb cast yet tries too hard to deal with far too many sub plots. The film is slightly too long at 2 and half hours yet it does allow for them to flesh out many of the characters for the viewer to get a better understanding of who everyone is. Burton is amazing in the lead role and makes us really sympathize with the various plights that his character must endure throughout the film.  The way that he pines for Taylor throughout the film is both charming and exhausting at the same time yet still feels quite realistic throughout.  The supporting cast features Ford, Gish, Taylor, Ustinov and Jones as very sympathetic characters that we can care about. Guinness tho steals every scene he is in by this amazing performance that constantly makes us wonder what is perhaps real and what is perhaps only fiction of his mind.  The story deals with the way people perceive themselves and those around them and show how people need to sometimes adapt their personality to the given situation. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – To get Dame Elizabeth Taylor to do the movie at a “bargain” salary, Producer and Director Peter Glenville told her that he had offered it to Sophia Loren. She promptly cut her customary one million dollar salary in half and signed on. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – C – Larry Crowne (2011)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Pam Grier, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Holmes Osbourne, Taraji P Henson, Rob Riggle

 

Plot: After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.


Tagline – Never too late in life to start living.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clichéd Rom Com

 

Story: Larry Crowne starts as we meet Larry (Hanks) a hard-working sales man for a supermarket like company that is let go due to him not having a college education, in desperate search for a new purpose, he heads back to college with one of his lecturers being Mercedes Tainot (Roberts) who feels she is under achieving.

After meeting fellow student Talia (Mbatha-Raw), he learns to fit in with the students and helps him find a new purpose as he reinvents himself.

 

Thoughts on Larry Crowne

 

Characters – Larry Crowne spent years in the Navy as a chef, he has worked his way up the ranks at a superstore, only to find himself laid off because he doesn’t have a college education. Not finding a new job, he heads back to college where he makes new friends and clashes with the teachers, while finding himself. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body and just wants to help people. Mercedes Tainot is a teacher that doesn’t feel she is achieving everything she could, she enjoys a drink to cover her failings in life with her marriage going down the toilet, she pushes her students while not always caring. Talia is a student that takes Larry under her wing, helps him join their gang and becomes the friend he needs through his college experience. She is the spark in the movie that keeps everything feeling fresh.

PerformancesTom Hanks takes many roles in this film, director, writer and leading man, he is good in this role, where he can play into the comedy he was once known for, but it is far from the best we know he can do. Julia Roberts is good too, she enjoys playing a less complicated character to the ones we know her for too. For me the star of the movie must be Gugu Mbatha-Raw who steals every scene we see her in with her pure positivity. The rest of the supporting cast are good throughout the film with some names that have gone onto bigger things too.

StoryWhen I look at this story it does show us how one man who loses his job, wife and is left facing no future because of his lack of education, it does play out like an important look at the real world, this side of the story is good, the problems I found with the story include how he goes to college, but we never learn what this is to achieve because on of the courses seems like a made up one too. We get a romantic angle which just doesn’t work and while it does show us about taking change in your life in your stride we do see to lose plot points quickly through the film.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film does work, it is mostly light hearted which works well. The romance in the film for me is mostly a miss because we do try to play into what could happen between the two, which shouldn’t be around in this story for Larry.

SettingsThe settings in the film take our main character back to college and to locations he wouldn’t have imagined he would have gone, even with they are cliched as they come.


Scene of the Movie –
Larry’s speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The subplots just seem to vanish through the story.

Final ThoughtsThis movie does want to give us an important message, but by the end it just falls into the clichés we know too often in rom coms.

 

Overall: By the book.

Rating

 

 

The Waiting (2020) Movie Review

Director: F.C. Rabbath

Writer: F.C. Rabbath (Screenplay)

Starring: Nick Leali, Molly Raterman, Laura Altair, Michelle Feliciano, Mark A Marple, Bob Myers

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Horror Romance

Story: The Waiting starts when down on his luck Eric (Leali) is looking to get back into dating, with a string of bad dates, but things look up when he gets a new job at a hotel, where Sally (Altair) is also on her first day.

The hotel does have a haunted room, with a reputation that you can only stay in a certain room for one minute, where Eric takes the challenge of going in the room, where he meets the ghost face to face.

Thoughts on The Waiting

Characters – Eric is a positive man that finds his love life not going well, jobs hard to come by, he is given a chance at a hotel, where his friendly nature sees him fit in with ease, Eric learns of the haunted room, which sees him try to solve the mystery behind it, showing he has a kind nature to both people in this life and after it. Elizabeth is the ghost that lives in the room, she has haunted it for years, until Eric starts to listen to her pain, she needs to escape the room going forward, only she is attached to the room in the afterlife. Sally is the fellow new member of staff on the cleaning team, she is scared by the stories about the room, which leads her to get Eric to try the room, she does see the good in the ideas about the actions. Steve is the manager of the hotel, he will take it easier on the staff once he hears about the bigger ideas for the hotel.

PerformancesNick Leali in the leading role is great, he brings to life a genuine nice guy that is always looking to help someone. Molly Raterman as the ghost figure gives a performance that is all about facial expression and body movement, which leaves you understand each emotion her character is going through. The rest of the cast are strong too, bringing about the extra twists in the story.

StoryThe story here follows a happy-go-lucky man that gets a new job in a hotel which is haunted, where he befriends the ghost to try and help understand its story to why it has remained in the hotel. This does bring a fresh spin on the haunted hotel room idea, as we know there are haunted hotel rooms around the world, we don’t get an overly aggressive ghost, we don’t have the investigation equipment, we have an attempt to communicate and learn the reason the ghost is here, with a story that has sadness involved. We do have twists along the way, when it comes to seeing how people have been acting, the idea of trying to do the right thing is going to come through strong.

Comedy/Horror/RomanceThe comedy does come from the nature of Eric, even if criticised, we will spin the reason into humour, the horror is with the idea of the haunted hotel room, though we don’t go to in depth with the horror elements. The romance circles around first Eric’s unlucky times in love and why the ghost is still in the hotel.

SettingsThe film does use the hotel as the one main location, the different rooms, be it the security room, the room 101 which the ghost occupies and where the other guest enjoy their stays at the hotel.


Scene of the Movie – The first ghost appearance has the best reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have gotten an extra scare on a guest or two.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful horror romance that shows the bigger picture of dealing with understanding why a ghost could be haunting a room in a hotel.

Overall: Horror that brings a light to haunting.