Canine Cinema – Chazz Goes To Da Movies
Top Grossing Dog Films
Thanks for the info Wikipedia andBoxOfficeMoJo.com! Updated 2-2012.
- Scooby-Doo – $153,294,164 6/14/02
- Marley and Me – $143,153,751 12/25/08
- 101 Dalmatians (1996) – $136,189,294 11/27/96
- Beverly Hills Chihuahua – $94,514,402 10/3/08
- Cats & Dogs – $93,385,515 7/4/01
- Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed – $84,216,833 3/26/04
- Eight Below – 81,612,565 2/17/06
- Snow Dogs – $81,172,560 1/18/02
- Hotel for Dogs – $73,034,460 1/16/09
- Turner & Hooch – $71,079,915 7/28/89
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September 20, 2012
Letting Go…A Jake Torem Film
Distributed by Osiris Entertainment
This film is a “tribute to my Dad, who I lost 10 years ago following a prolonged battle with brain cancer.” So says Filmmaker/Actor/Director Jake Torem who plays lead character, Joel Slater in the new movie, Letting Go. Viewing the film in this most personal of contexts, causes the story on screen to be that much more powerful.
I recommend this movie. It’s a good story, worth telling. This film works because of the depth of the material. The themes explored come together, and by the end we are rooting for the main character to find his peace of mind, to triumph over his struggle. Watching this film I found much that was relate-able.
There’s a lot of story going on in this film. A LOT. Relationships, therapy, work, grief & loss, and dogs. That’s quite a bit for one non major studio production – but it works. I’m not going to parcel out credit, because filmaking is one of the most collaborative of the arts, but one can’t help but deduce this is a direct result of the work and vision of leader, Jake Torem. The dogs play a big role as well; their expressions are priceless!
So what’s this movie all about? Well Relationships for one. Yes with a capital R. Jake’s relationship with his girlfriend, his dogs, his boss, his therapist, and most importantly with himself.
Struggling to come to terms with his life, the memory & the loss of a parent , the longing for his deceased father; making it work with his live-in girlfriend, his three big dogs, his demanding job – all played out against a backdrop of Los Angeles, CA. The iconic Hollywood sign, Wilshire Blvd., the beach & the sunset all figure prominently, not only in the look of the film, but where much of Joel’s angst works itself out. Kudos to Director of Photography David C. Smith for capturing that feel.
Characters: I don’t mind admitting, halfway through the film the main character Joel was beginning to annoy me. His problems, his issues, were just so much stuff. He’s got a job and a paycheck, a nice home, food to eat, transportation, a girlfriend, and loving pets. He even takes Pilates training for goodness sakes! Why then is he so miserably, inconsolably, unhappy? He is still mourning the loss of his beloved father 10 years earlier, but does that color his whole world? Well it actually does. Significantly. That major loss, speaks to his (and our) universal fear of being alone. The character has a line, about not wanting to be left behind. Isn’t that true of most of us? The girlfriend April (Shirley Brener) who is in the midst of a depressive episode. When she yells in frustration at the dogs, “enough” after all three take a playful romp around the living room of their small home, leaving disarray & destruction in their wake, dogs being dogs – I simply smiled recognizing myself in her. A demanding, unrealistic boss and a narcissistic major client. Yep had a few of those too.
Themes: Grief for a parent who has died, especially for a younger person is often profound and can leave a catastrophic aftermath. Working your way through that experience is challenging at best. Some will do anything and eveything they can not to have to confront this pivotal change to their lives. The feelings of sadness, abandonment, and just plain missing that person can influence most aspects of everyday life, from the moment they are undeniably gone forever. Many moments of this film are sad. Be forewarned.
Making the tough choices. Joel tells his Therapist (Franklin Ojeda Smith) the reason the relationship with his girfriend is so rocky is because they have both made past bad decisions. The Therapist suggests Joel make a list of three things that will make him happy.
But maybe as the title indicates, this film is ultimately about summoning the strength and the consciousness to realize it’s time to move on, change and let go of things that we can neither do anything about or that may be causing real hurt in the moment. Letting go… to make room for the new and the good things out there waiting for each of us. Our lives. Finally the theme of redemption, an uplifting, a fresh start.
At times this was a difficult film to watch. Not because of blood & guts, horror scenes, explosions or the like. No, difficult because of its depictionof a modern young man trying to navigate his current life, while at the same time creating a new one for himself. Difficult, in that the viewer can recognize if not the exact situation, something very familiar about what’s being played out on screen.Something familiar and troubling.
Ted (Half Coyote fur real, part Chow & Irish Setter)
Dragon (St. Bernard)
These three “actors” are well worth getting a special mention. While we understand from reviewing the Production Notes from the film, these dogs were not professionals, and there might have been a little competition among them on set… that being said, well they worked like dogs to hit their marks, take their cues, and turn in pawsitively wonderful performances.
The whole ensemble is worth watching for the many small moments in this picture that ring with a satisfying truth. Peter Scolari’s performance is spot on in his role as Bill – The Dog Trainer (channeling Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry).
Jade Henham as, Swan the Pilates Instuctor, gives an able assist with her performance to Torem’s Joel; in understanding what his fears are about – recognizing the life he’s missing out on.
Shirley Brener as Joel’s girlfriend April, who has lost her way and sunken into depression stands out for her work, as does Jake Torem as the captain of his airship that has hit major turbulence.
Christopher Knight, Todd Stashwick, Eliza Roberts, all give solid, highly watchable performances.
Chazz gives this film his own: 3.5 out of 4 Paws Up Rating –
Comment: “Ted, Dragon, and Hurricane are da stars of this movie if you ask me. Woof!”
Review Disclaimer: AdoptedMom or Chazz The Dog were in no manner compensated for this review. The opinions expressed were not influenced from any outside source; and the themes discussed were of our own independent choosing.
9.15.12 Letting Go…A Jake Torem Film Here comes the trailer for Letting Go
9.14.12 Check out the official trailer from Walt Disney Pictures for Tim Burton’s soon to be released movie FRANKENWEENIE
9.12.12 Since our last post AMTCTD has received their invitation to the special screening of FRANKENWEENIE!!
We chose to see it at the historic El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, CA.
This is an old, original Hollywood theater house. We are very pawcited to be going there. My plan is to bring “Flat Chazz” with me to the showing.
We are going to a Saturday Matinee and that should be a lot of fun!
We will keep you posted as the day approaches!!!
WAIT, WHAT HAPPENED TO CHAZZ THE DOG???
Chazz will be offering his critique and opinions on films he or his designee (AdoptedMom) have viewed.
Stay Tuned: To Be Reviewed
Coming up Tim Burton’s FRANKENWEENIE distributed by Disney
and Letting Go…A Jake Torem Film
Search “Spooky Buddies” to find our review off last year’s Disney Halloween release – for a good, fun, read