Four new reviews from Don Shanahan on “Every Movie Has a Lesson”



As ambiguous as this sounds, your love or hate of the new film and Sundance favorite, “Swiss Army Man,” will say something about your inner quirkiness, mindset, and, most of all, your heart.  Packed with detail and imagination beyond belief, this film defies classification and destroys the hyperbole, pretense, and comparative euphemisms that normally define films about friendship, the genre of buddy movies, and even unconventional screen love stories.  Movies that tug our heartstrings with a smile normally kill us with kindness.  The polarizing “Swiss Army Man” kills us with weirdness.  This film lets its WTF freak flag fly and encourages you to do the same.


Cinema aficionados will quickly point fingers towards a few familiar comparisons for director Taika Waititi’s New Zealand-based festival favorite, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”  The trouble is they will be shoehorning the film into an unshapely and narrow box where many containers are needed.  “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is rich and broad film with a charm and a sprawling ambition that will ping more that a few of your favorite film sensibilities.  Broken into ten cheeky episodic chapters and boasting beautiful natural beauty shot by cinematographer Lachlan Milne, you will find a fun experience that may feel familiar, yet is wholly unique.


What keeps “The Secret Life of Pets” entertaining is the redeeming measure of charisma.  Nothing is ever to a “Pixar Punch” level, yet the ever-present plucky pizzazz washes down the occasional preposterous stupidity with the right cooling chaser.  You could do far worse for family summer fun at the theater.  Now go home and hug that adorable pooch you left home from the movie theater.  He or she has been waiting for you.


It is entirely fair to grant that, out of the many animal breeders in the world, operations exist that are completely on the up-and-up with proper care and humane treatment of animals.  No argument there.  Not every dog breeder is a cruel and incensed perpetrator of animal slavery any more than not every Muslim is an ISIS terrorist or not every German was a Nazi.  Advocating for such a truth is fine and dandy when the message is composed in a fair and balanced way.  A film like the “The Dog Lover” is not the way to correct that message.



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