Commonly, there are only two general reactions to witnessing an elaborate intentional joke of dark comedy. You either admire the effort to relish the measured malice or you are appalled and disconnected to the sense of humor being exploited. There will be very little gray area between those reactions for Todd Solondz’s “Wiener-Dog.” Make no mistake. For lack of a better term, this is a filmmaker being an asshole on purpose because he can and he doesn’t care. You will either champion or loathe that supposed brilliance and brashness. Buyer beware, honest and true dog lovers need to stay far away from this film.
Cynical critics and audiences will likely pontificate a headline of “Russell Crowe Goes Soft!” after watching his lead work in his new film “Fathers and Daughters” from “Pursuit of Happyness” director Gabriele Muccino. Watching the “Gladiator” Oscar winner play an ardent father of a heavy ensemble drama is a role that does not require the temperamental violence that normally fronts for the inner honor and heart we know resides inside many of the Australian tough guy’s most memorable roles. For once, he lets love do the talking instead of his fists.
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