Welcome to my film critic's blog! A lifetime of loving movies has enabled me to do this. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Movie match-ups: The game is on

 An interesting idea that came to me recently is doing a match-up of two movies and deciding which is a better bet on a movie weekend. I'll try and pick pairings that have similarities and make it a full-on battle to choose the better film. So for right now, it's gonna be 'Marley and Me' versus 'Hotel for Dogs'.


'Marley & Me'

Based on the book by John Grogan, 'Marley & Me' is about a family that learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog.

Pros: Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston - this odd coupling works very well and though it may seem like a romantic comedy, the dog Marley is very much the centre of the story. The narrative is touching, funny and anyone who loves dogs is bound to love this film. The plot contrivances fall into place nicely and nothing feels forced. You will get that warm fuzzy feeling at the end of the film.

Cons: Those who are not dog owners will find it tough to empathise with the characters. And the fact that the family is always in the background may turn some people off. The story moves at a very sedate pace and patience is needed to enjoy the movie.

'Hotel for Dogs'

Based on the children's book by Lois Duncan, the tale is about Andi and her brother Bruce, who are not allowed pets at their foster home. For the adorable dog they secretly care for, however, they're ready to risk everything. They find him shelter in an abandoned hotel and soon, he is joined by all kinds of furry friends; so many that it alerts the neighbors...and the local pound.

Pros: Emma Roberts - more people need to start talking about this girl. She reminds me of the talent I noticed when I first saw Lindsay Lohan in 'The Parent Trap'. Okay, so Lohan lost her way but Emma is one that will definitely go far. She shines in a strictly children's movie. Don Cheadle is a nice bonus. Oh and Lisa Kudrow is also there (though I'm not sure that's a pro in this particular case). The film balances kiddie film hijinks and serious issues very well.

Cons: Too much indulgence in the fantasy elements! Fine, Bruce is an engineering wiz but some of the inventions are fairy tale stuff - it is excusable only because it's a kid flick. Cliches abound and every twist is pretty predictable. 

VERDICT: While 'Marley & Me' is easily the superior film, it may be an unfair comparison as 'Hotel for Dogs' is so completely tailored for family viewing. 'Marley & Me' is the must-see of the two. 'Hotel for Dogs' provides a pleasant distraction, however.