A Dog’s Way Home
Separated Pet Embarks on Perilous Journey in Heartwarming Family Adventure

  Life has proven to be quite a challenge for Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) from the start. Soon after birth, the puppy was separated from her mother, though she was lucky enough to be nursed back to health by a stray cat.

  The lovable mutt eventually lands at an animal shelter where receptionist Olivia (Alexandra Shipp) introduces it to the cute volunteer (Jonah Hauer-King) she has a crush on. Lucas decides to adopt Bella, hoping she might help lift the spirits of his mom (Ashley Judd), a military veteran suffering from PTSD.

  Terri does take to the playful pooch, although she is subsequently threatened with eviction for violating her lease’s “no pets” provision. A further complication arrives when Denver’s dogcatcher (John Cassini) incorrectly labels mixed-breed Bella as a pit bull. He warns that a local ordinance allows him to euthanize any pit bull not on a leash in public.

  The plot thickens the day Bella impulsively leaps through a window to chase a squirrel down the street. She’s spotted and seized by Officer Chuck who is eager to put her to sleep.

  But the hound’s life is spared thanks to a compromise whereby Bella is shipped to New Mexico to live with Olivia’s Uncle Jose (Darcy Laurie).

  Unfortunately, Bella is miserable without Lucas and Terri, and it’s not long before she runs away, embarking on a 400-mile journey home. That very eventful odyssey, marked by love, altruism, loyalty, unlikely liaisons, close brushes with death and even a terrible tragedy (which might upset tykes), fuels the fire of A Dog’s Way Home, a touching tale directed by Charles Martin Smith (Air Bud).

  The movie is based on the novel of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron whose best seller, “A Dog’s Purpose,” was successfully adapted to the screen a couple of years ago. Though not technically a sequel, this is another inspirational adventure narrated by an anthropomorphic canine.

  The sentimental storyline is designed to appeal to dog lovers of all ages. Don’t be surprised if you just can’t resist the transparent attempts to tug on your heartstrings, despite the fact that this is a flick which telegraphs it punches.

  Fairly formulaic, but it works!

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG for peril, mild epithets and mature themes
Running time: 97 minutes
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures / Pariah / Bona Film Group
Studio: Sony Pictures

 

OPENING THIS WEEK
Kam’s Kapsules
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening Jan. 11, 2019

 

WIDE RELEASES

A Dog’s Way Home (PG for peril, mild epithets and mature themes) Adaptation of W. Bruce Cameron’s best seller of the same name about a pet pooch (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) that embarks on a very eventful, 400-mile journey after being separated from her owner (Jonah Hauer-King). With Ashley Judd, Edward James Olmos and Alexandra Shipp.

Replicas (PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, mature themes, nudity and sexual references) Sci-fi thriller about a biologist (Keanu Reeves) willing to violate his scientific ethical principles to resurrect his family after a tragic car accident. Cast includes Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch and Emjay Anthony.

The Upside (PG-13 for drug use and suggestive content) English language remake of The Intouchables, the 2011 French dramedy inspired by the real-life relationship of a paralyzed billionaire (Bryan Cranston) and the ex-con (Kevin Hart) he hires as a live-in caregiver. With Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies and Aja Naomi King.

 

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Perfect Strangers (Unrated) Spanish language remake of the 2016 Italian comedy about seven friends who agree to read aloud all their incoming text messages during a revealing dinner party. Co-starring Cecilia Suárez, Bruno Bichir, Mariana Treviño, Manuel García Rulfo, Miguel Rodarte, Franky Martin, Ana Claudia Talancón and Camila Valero. (In Spanish with subtitles.)

Sgt. Will Gardner (Unrated) Max Martini wrote, directed and stars in this poignant portrait of an Iraq War vet suffering from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury who attempts to pick up the pieces of his broken life during a cross-country motorcycle trip. Featuring Gary Sinise, Omari Hardwick, Dermot Mulroney and Robert Patrick.

Tall Tales (PG for mature themes) Animated comedy about a kindhearted cricket (Justin Long) framed for the kidnapping of the queen bee (Kate Mara) by her treacherous cousin (Anne Tilloy). Voice cast includes Kev Adams and Haley Chey Lynch.

The Untold Story (Unrated) Against the odds dramedy revolving around an aging Hollywood icon (Barry Van Dyke) inspired to mount a comeback by his new next-door neighbor (Nia Peeples). Supporting cast includes Jordan Ladd, Miko Hughes and Joe Lando.

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