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  • Children of the Wild

    Children of the Wild

    ★★★

    Topa Topa is an interesting animal adventure/wilderness film which was later released as Children of the Wild. (Topa Topa being the name of a mountain featured in the film, and making something less than a striking title.)

    The movie's stars are the talented German Shepherd actor, Silver Wolf, a golden eagle, and a straying toddler, though an adult human cast also features prominently. Like many dog films of the 1930s, this one includes a plot in which the noble "wolf-dog,"…

  • Max

    Max

    ★★

    I saw Max on pre-opening night with about 12 other people total in the theater. Perhaps everyone else had already read the reviews.

    The tragedy of Max is that it could have, and should have, been a good movie. The dog, played by Carlos, Jagger, Pax, and others, was fantastic, as one would expect from canine actors of Birds and Animals Unlimited. The production values were high, the budget there. Even one really memorable moment when a boy and a…

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  • Belle and Sebastian

    Belle and Sebastian

    ★★★★½

    I was fortunate enough to just see Belle and Sebastian on the big screen. Without a doubt the best new dog film I've seen since Red Dog (2011) and before that since the 2005 Lassie remake.

    Not many people shoot a modest story about a boy and a dog on 35mm anymore. And not many movies, with any subject matter, are this beautiful.

    Belle is as stunning as her French Alps sets. The exquisite performance and training on the dog…

  • A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies

    A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies

    ★★★½

    Excellent dog film that was wildly popular in Japan when it was first released; A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies is based on the true story of a mother dog and her family (human and canine) struggling to survive through devastating earthquakes in 2004. Something like The Impossible meets Lassie Come Home.

    "Mari," a Shiba Inu, makes a wonderful star, though receives less screen-time than I would have expected from a Japanese animal drama. Despite the life-or-death struggles, the…