Guest Review: Linda (Mariah) Altrocchi
I highly recommend seeing the new James Bond movie Sky Fall. Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and the beautiful Naomie Harris brought their physical strengths, focused passion and brilliant acting talents together. This was one of the most captivating films I've seen in years.

Snow Dogs

Director: Brian Levant

Lead Actors: Cuba Gooding Jr., James Coburn and Sisqó

I should state at the beginning of this review that I’m not sure how some people fall off the A-list. Some creep down. Some dive off. Some careen off. But I can say with certainty that Cuban Gooding Jr., not so long ago, was fresh off winning ano Oscar for his energetic performance in Jerry Maguire - and in this movie, released in 2002, he is in a Disney movie sharing the screen with dogs. Maybe it's time to go into politics?  

That being said, maybe it doesn’t matter. For the purposes of this movie, Cuba Gooding Jr. worked.
Snow Dogs is about a successful Miama dentist, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., who seemingly has it all: a successful practice (cutely coined "Hot Smilt"), money, a nice car and a great reputation.

Well, his world is put into a tale spin when he receives notice via a summons that he is adopted! This puts him into a tail spin and he decides he has to find himself in the wilds of Alaska, where the will is being read over and his late real mom's inheritance is being sorted over.

Most of what his mom leaves behind is forgettable, dusty items and a broken down cabin.  But then, almost out of thin air, eight racing dogs, who used to belong to Ted (the main character)'s mother, appear.  

There he also meet Jack, the man who wants to buy the dogs off him cheap and a love interest who owns a  bar.
What You Might Not Like
Cuba is in full “show me the money” mode in this one, and is one moment away from doing a celebratory break dance move across a frozen pond during the whole movie. He rarely comes down from his super-hyped pitch long enough to deliver a normal line.

What You Might Like
Buuut. .. in a weird way, it works. The dogs, aided by some special effects, are brimming with personality and fight. They are led by Demon, the main sled dog, who has convinced all the other dogs to give their new master a run for his money before they’ll let him lead them.

The rest of the supporting cast is phenomenal.

Gooding Jr. is not the only award winning actor in the group. Coburn, who won an Oscar for “Affliction”, is convincing as Thunder Jack, champion dog sled racer. I felt that Michelle Nichols carried the movie as Ted’s adopted mother who didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth at a young age and who truly cares about her son. 
Former rapper and pop music star Cisqo is somewhat interesting as Ted’s nephew and heir apparent to the dentistry business. But that’s not where the great and funny performances end.
There was the indelible M. Emmet Walsh as Ted’s guide and pilot. Graham Greene as a snow golfing local. Joanna Bacalso works as Barb, the mixed race, possibly eskimo love interest.

Brian Doyle Murray, who I know as the boss in Griswold Family Vacation, but who also, according to his IMDB, was a member of Saturday Night Live at one point, was also great as a local with a lot of cavities and other dental problems. His character is excited to have a real dentist around! No one could stop talking about the stench of their rotting teeth in this norhtern Alaska town. Foreshadowing, possibly, to where Ted is truly needed.
Let’s face it, my dad walked out on this movie and I can see how it is not meant for the linear thinker. But, if you are the type who spots great comedic performances, stick around! The adventures are impossible and far fetched and the premise itself silly, but if you grab on to this dog sled, it will take you on a great ride.
Also, it is a great advertisement for the sport of dog sledding, which for obvious reasons doesn’t get much mainstream press in the mainland sports world.

From where I sit, recently we’ve seen an African American president, champion golfer, Secretary of State and now why not a champion African American dog sledding champion to mush past more race barriers.

Anything having to do with the racing dogs. Coburn shushing and intimidating an entire Alaskan bar in the beginning. A scene where Gooding Jr. falls unconscious in the freezing cold and has a hallucinogenic dream where the dogs talk to and mock him and Joanna Bacalso, who must have been a Laker Girl before this movie, dons a bikini.

Rating: Two Mike and Ikes

Watch this movie, you will have fun!

Neo Ned

Review by Ty McLemore


Van Fischer

Lead Actors

Jeremy Renner, Gabrielle Union, Sally Kirkland


Tim Boughn

Plot Synopsis:

Take one Neo-Nazi called Ned, add a deranged black woman who believes she is the reincarnation of Hitler, mix together in a mental institution, pour over a bed of quirkiness, drama and romance and serve hot.

This is the premise of writer Tim Boughn’s work. A body of work that is devoid of any glitz or glam, high-res cinematography or slick soundtrack. Instead, we are given a straightforward, yet unlikely love story of two individuals thrown together by vastly different circumstances.

In the end it gels, thanks in no small part to the likeability of both characters. While Ned has reluctantly followed his father’s footsteps in perpetuating hate, beneath the veneer we see an individual who in actuality is free-spirited and caring and simply longs to belong to something or someone.

That someone eventually appears in the form of Rachael - a black, single mother who is desperately trying to vanquish the demons of her past. Together, the pair help one another on a path toward redemption – albeit, not in the linear and normal way one might imagine.

While the movie seems to stall at times with excessive dialogue and senseless transitions, it is definitely thought provoking and relevant for its time.

Who Might Not Like It and Why

Those who are sensitive to offensive language and/or situations.

Top Scenes

In the opening scene, Ned has launched a verbal tirade and physical assault upon the medical staff and has to be physically restrained on the floor. While prone, the camera cuts to another part of the room where RACHAEL is violently screaming while being restrained.

Inquisitively, Ned asks of her situation to which no one gives an immediate answer. The clever juxtaposition of these two characters seems to be Boughn’s subtle way of allowing the audience to see their connection early on.

On a trivial note, I was cast as an extra in this movie and played the part of an uncredited mental patient. It was originally shot in 2003 at an abandoned hospital in the city of Pomona.

While on break from shooting, myself and several background actors engaged Gabrielle Union (Rachael) in meaningless conversation as she stretched out on a couch. She was as witty and amusing as she was beautiful and we were grateful that she indulged us for the length of time that she did.

This independent feature was first shown at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Palm Beach International and in 2008 was eventually released on DVD thru Code Black Entertainment.