Monday, July 29, 2013

Reel Dogs Freeze-Frames 16

A Golden Retriever takes the cake in A Christmas Wedding Tail (2011).

A mixed breed finds herself on the wrong (or right?) side of the fence in Wendy and Lucy (2008).

A biscuit too hard even for a dog according to this white Australian Shepherd in To Dance with the White Dog (1993).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What's Wrong with this Reel?

Below is a scene from the 1975 film Against a Crooked Sky, set in the old west frontier and following the story of a teenage boy struggling to rescue his kidnapped sister.

But there's something wrong with this reel:

Spot it? The picture's not very clear so here are some clues:

Yes, Irish Wolfhound fanciers take note—Against a Crooked Sky costars a handsome, fawn Irish Wolfhound named B'ar Killer. What he's doing in nineteenth century Utah is never explained.

"B'ar Killer" was trained by Harold Packer, best known for Where the Red Fern Grows (1974). Here are more scenes with the big hero, who, though he's in the movie for only a short time, twice saves the life of the human lead.

You can find Against a Crooked Sky on several DVD releases.

For other Irish Wolfhounds in film, try The Bashful Elephant (1962) (very rare), The Legend of Lobo (1962), Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), and Another Thin Man (1939).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Upcoming Dog Movie

I know too many Dachshund fans not to post this one:

Avalible on DVD July 2, 2013, you can find Wiener Dog Nationals on Amazon and Facebook.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New Releases in Straight-to-DVD Dog Movies

Indulge your movie dog impulse buys with spring pre-orders for upcoming DVDs:

This newest Bailey sequel even has its own FaceBook page.


And a word of caution:
Don't be fooled into thinking this darling Australian Shepherd pup plays the lead in another new canine family film this spring. Despite the unrelated new cover art, this is the same The Duke from 1999 about a Black and Tan Coonhound, which has been out on DVD for years:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reel Dogs in Art Week 4

More than comedy, tragedy or danger, journeys home or lost dogs, dog movies reinforce something we already know: human beings have no greater friend and companion than the dog.

These three beautiful portraits show us heroes of modern canine films. Dogs who work for us, believe in us, love us, and never give up on us.

Fly and Rex became canine celebrities when Babe (1995) was the first major motion picture to allow animals to speak with anthropomorphic mouth movements using CGI. These Border Collie heroes, painted by Chicamiau, not only put in a 40+ hour week for their farmer, they shape the destiny of a little pig who longs to grow up and be just like them.

In 1987, Japan’s most famous dog, Hachikō, a cream Akita, was immortalized with a beautiful film paying tribute to the dog who waited for his dead guardian to return to their meeting point at Shibuya Station. For ten years.

In 2009 Hollywood released a new adaptation of the Hachikō story with Hachi: A Dog's Tale. In this portrait by Cederin, Hachikō waits through the winter.

Another true story, Red Dog (2011) is an Australian film celebrating the life of a Kelpie who traveled Western Australia in search of the one man he had claimed as his own. BooYeh here captures the spirit of this rugged traveler and the red desert he called home. See a Reel Dogs review of Red Dog here

The artwork above is published here by kind permission of the artists; Chicamiau, Cederin, and BooYeh of deviantART.

Thanks for following along with Reel Dogs’ Art Weeks!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reel Dogs in Art Week 3

The hero’s journey has been a major theme of Reel Dogs since 1943, when one of the most famed and beloved dog movies of all time was released, Lassie Come Home.

From Lassie to Benji to Bingo, it seems dogs on the big screen are always trying to get somewhere. And it’s always very, very difficult. They’re attacked by wild animals, struck by cars, kidnapped, and abused. They battle against starvation, blizzards, raging rivers, city streets, and animal control officers in their fight to find their people, or simply to stay alive. Here are just a few of these journey hounds celebrated in art:

The modern classic of animal journey movies is Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993), a remake of the 1963 film and based on Sheila Burnford’s beloved novel. This sketch portrait of “Chance” (American Bulldog, Sure-Grip’s Rattler) by GoldieRetriever captures the enduring personality behind one of these three unforgettable characters.

Japanese classic Nankyoku monogatari (Antarctica, 1983), follows an epic journey, not of travel, but of survival at the bottom of the world for a sled dog team of fourteen Sakhalin Huskies and one Alaskan Malamute. The heroes of this true story, Taro and Jiro, are painted here by SanctuaryWarrior.

In Fluke (1995), a dog is on a quest to find his family. But he’s not a dog. And it’s not his family. Fluke, seen in this emotive portrait by Wolfinden, is a man reincarnated in a canine body and recalling only flickering images and feelings of his past life. Yet some of those images prompt him to set out in search of that life.

The artwork above is published here by kind permission of the artists; GoldieRetriever, SanctuaryWarrior, and Wolfinden of deviantART.

Watch for more Reel Dogs art next week!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Foreign Film Friday - Snow Cake (2006)

This Canada/UK coproduction is not truly a dog film, but worth a look by any Reel Dogs fans for the costarring mixed breed, "Marilyn," played by Charlie and trained by Sherry Davis.

Snow Cake is the story of a high-functioning autistic woman brought tragic news by a stranger who accidentally becomes a part of her life. A life previously shared closely only with her adult daughter and her dog.

Produced by Revolution Films, Rhombus Media, UK Film Council

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reel Dogs in Art Week 2

Modern dog movies are generally associated with a young audience. Benji and Lassie are deliberately marketed toward children. Even when an adult story is adapted into a dog movie, it’s often kept to a PG rating—such as Marley & Me (2008).

Yet movie dogs can be so much more. From the silver screen Hollywood dog heroes like Luke, Strongheart, Rin-Tin-Tin, and Asta, to the animal horror trend of the 1970s and 1980s, to canine sidekicks in modern comedy and drama, Reel Dogs are truly for all ages and all audiences.

One of the most recognizable icons of the movie dog world for grown-ups is Cujo. This vivid portrait by Christopher-Manuel captures the lovable Saint Bernard turned killer who still chills audiences today. Based on the Stephen King novel, Cujo was released in 1983 after animal horror films had already been through their Hollywood heyday with movies like Jaws (1975), Grizzly (1976), and The Pack (1977).

Some films keep their PG rating without ever really being child’s play: White Fang (1991) is the Walt Disney adaptation of Jack London’s famed wolf-dog novel. This illustration by Inarah shows White Fang (played by the extraordinary Jed) in one of many fights throughout the movie that are brought about by human brutality.

Recently, a German Shepherd Dog once more captured the hearts of adult movie goers in I Am Legend (2007). Samantha (played by Abbey) is captured here by Emlis as "Sam" copilots for her best friend (Will Smith) in this post-apocalyptic drama.

These artists bring vividly to life the fact that dog movies take many forms and tell many stories. Dogs appear in every genre, from horror to sci-fi, and play every imaginable role—from background ambiance to killer to hero to talking alien from outer space. Like life itself, the movies just wouldn’t be the same without them.

The artwork above is published here by kind permission of the artists; Christopher-Manuel, Inarah, and Emlis of deviantART.

Watch for more Reel Dogs art next week!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

In honor of the Feast of Saint Patrick here are a few Irish dog films you might want to consider for your next Reel Dogs movie night:

Lassie (2005)

An Irish co-production starring the world's most famous Rough Collie. Filmed mostly in Ireland, along with Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Man About Dog (2004)

Three Belfast friends and a racing greyhound run into a series of comic and unsavory adventures in this Northern Ireland comedy. Available on PAL DVD.

The Honeymooners (2005)

This USA production was filmed mostly in Ireland and features four different greyhounds to play the part of "Iggy."

Animal Farm (1999)

Another USA production filmed in Ireland, Animal Farm stars Spice, a tri-colored Border Collie, as "Jessie."

Moondance (1995)

With Girlie the Greyhound as "Ishka."

The Matchmaker (1997)

Costarring handsome Border Collie, Murphy, who also appeared in The Last of the High Kings (1996), This Is My Father (1998), the mini-series Amongst Women (1998), and others.

The Snapper (1993)

UK production filmed in Ireland, with Jack Russell Terrier "Famine."

Many of the canines seen in Irish films are provided by Mary Owens and Rita Moloney of Fircroft Dog Training.

For Irish Reel Dogs in not-so-Irish films check out Big Red (1962) and Firehouse Dog (2007):