Sofa Cinema

The movies selected for review are the choice of the reviewer Suggestions for DVD titles are welcome. Enjoy the movies.


"Hotel for Dogs," rated PG

It may help if you love man's best friend to enjoy "Hotel for Dogs," but it isn't a necessity.

Siblings Bruce and Andi are in the foster care system and it's been hard to place them because they're teenagers. Bernie (Don Cheadle) is their social worker and sympathizes with the youngsters given the less-than-wonderful couple with whom they are placed.

Andi and Bruce find love and adoration in Friday, a cute mutt that they sneak into their room. Their survival techniques are tested when Friday slips into an abandoned downtown hotel.

Before long, the "guests" in residence expand to include a few more teenage conspirators and countless colorful strays.

The outcome for "Hotel for Dogs" may be predictable, but the ingenuity of the teens is not, and adults may have fun just wondering what the movie set was like while filming.

Emma Roberts is winning as Andi and Jake T. Austin makes his feature film debut as her inventive little brother. Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon are cast as the despicable, yet humorous, foster parents.*

"Hotel for Dogs" works well for the little bipeds and quadruped lovers of all ages.

* Given the dedication of most foster parents and the social workers who work in the system, it is regrettable the filmmakers chose to portray this totally inappropriate couple.


"Pete Seeger: The Power of Song," rated PG

No movie has ever been more appropriately titled than "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song."

The folksinger's music is virtually played throughout this 90-minute documentary, transitioning the singer's life from his early roots in folk music to union activist to popular recording artist to peace movement leader to conservationist; always the activist, always the consummate musician.

Since memories often are triggered by music of the times, you may find it hard not to be nostalgic when you remember where you were when you first heard "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "If I Had a Hammer" and countless other tunes that this folk legend wrote or sang.

Jim Brown produced and directed this entertaining and informative documentary with timely comments from artists ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Bob Dylan, from Arlo Guthrie to the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines.

Seeger's on-camera comments are refreshing and the positive message of his music still holds true.

"Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" is a good movie, a good history lesson and a good reminder of the power of music.


"Four Weddings and a Funeral," rated R*

"Four Weddings and a Funeral" may have been a premonition to the sitcom "Friends." Set in England, this gaggle of mates is more or less of the "marrying" age and meet up with incredible frequency dressed in formal attire, sitting in pews, waiting for a bride to walk down the aisle.

Hugh Grant, as Charlie, becomes smitten upon first sight of Carrie (Andie MacDowell), and their all-too-brief interlude is repeated several months later at yet another matrimonial event. Their kismet moments come to an abrupt end at her nuptials, alas to another.

"Four Weddings and a Funeral" in fact revolves around the events mentioned in the title and, without giving away too many plot details, suffice it to say Charlie's life is complicated.

The clever yet believable dialogue is by Richard Curtis, whose "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually" scripts also feature Grant and his self-effacing, endearing delivery.

The wedding season is upon us. You can attend "Four Weddings and a Funeral" without the necessity of a gift and have a great time.

* The R rating is hardly appropriate given the content of the movie. PG-13 would be more accurate.

Rebecca Redshaw can be reached at r2redshaw@

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