Welcome back to my Home Movies! This week, one of 2022’s most pleasant surprises in Dog is competing for top honors with one of last year’s darkest comedies in The Beta Test. Which one emerges victorious today, and what of the rest of the slate, which includes, among other things, a blockbuster in Uncharted? Read on to find out…
As a fan of our four-legged friends, something like Dog is right up my alley. Plus, as a vehicle for the charisma of Channing Tatum, the film just works. In terms of fun little 2022 efforts, this is one of the better ones. I spoke to filmmaker Reid Carolin here about crafting the movie with Tatum, so definitely give that a listen. This here is some of my review, which found plenty to like about the flick:
I’m a dog person. I love cats too, but at my core, dogs are truly something special. So, any movie that features one of our canine companions is on my radar (no pun intended). Of course, films with four-legged friends are a double-edged sword too, since more than a handful of them opt to go for tragedy in the third act. Thankfully, while Dog does flirt with that possibility, it’s clear that this flick is never going to go through with it. So, you wind up able to enjoy a buddy comedy with a ton of heart, as well as a steady supply of laughs. It may have small ambitions, but it’s a very successful work.
Dog is emotional at times, but almost always a lot of fun. There’s just a pleasurable aspect to Channing Tatum (starring as well as co-directing) being driven up the wall by a pooch. A road trip tale with only one character talking can be boring or dry, but thanks to his charisma, the uniqueness of this canine character, and the story itself, it never comes close to being that way.
The Beta Test
Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe are unique talents. They see films and premises within said films that no one else would. Love them or hate them, it’s impossible to deny their creativity. I spoke to Cummings and McCabe here about The Beta Test, so give that a watch. Here also is a bit from my review:
Hollywood is filled with awful men. This is no particular surprise, but it’s something the world, and especially women, deal with on a daily basis. In Hollywood, there’s also the agent culture, where assistants are treated, often by men, as almost subhuman. Occasionally, a film has tackled this sort of thing, but not nearly as much as you’d expect. Now, along comes The Beta Test, a movie that skewers it head-on, assaulting toxic masculinity and the culture in Hollywood, as told through almost an erotic thriller lens. The result, which I saw back at the Tribeca Film Festival, is an interesting flick that defies almost all expectations.
The Beta Test again sees actor and filmmaker Jim Cummings tackle a potentially basic premise in a wholly unique cinematic manner. Previously, Thunder Road and The Wolf of Snow Hollow could easily have been simple and forgettable movies, but Cummings has way too quirky a mind for that. Here, he’s doing that again, but with much darker subject matter. Still, he manages to have black comedy fun with it, and that’s no small achievement, considering the material.
Kin: Season One (TV)
Nancy Drew: Season 3 (TV)
Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies
From The Criterion Collection: “One of the crowning achievements of blacklisted Hollywood director Joseph Losey’s European exile, Mr. Klein is a spellbinding modernist mystery that puts a chilling twist on the wrong-man thriller. Alain Delon delivers a standout performance as Robert Klein, a decadent art dealer in Paris during World War II who makes a tidy profit buying up paintings from his desperate Jewish clients. As Klein searches for a Jewish man with the same name for whom he has been mistaken, he finds himself plunged into a Kafkaesque nightmare in which his identity seems to dissolve and the forces of history to close in on him. Met with considerable controversy on its release for its portrayal of the real-life wrongdoings of the Vichy government, this haunting, disturbingly beautiful film shivers with existential dread as it traces a society’s descent into fascistic fear and inhumanity.”