Reel Time with Sister Rose


Jackson Briggs (Channing Tatum) is a former Army Ranger recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that he received in combat in Afghanistan. After three years, he feels ready to return to active duty—all he needs is a reference letter from Commanding Officer Jones (Luke Forbes). Jones offers Briggs a final test before he will write the letter: He must drive Lulu, a Belgian Malinois, to the funeral of her former handler, Riley Rodriguez (Eric Urbiztondo), in Arizona. From there, Briggs is to drop off Lulu at an army base where troubled dogs are put down.

Briggs thinks the assignment will be easy, but he has no idea that the heavily muzzled Lulu is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Briggs’ life and the well-being of his fully restored 1984 Ford Bronco are at stake.

As they drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, they have many adventures over the course of a few days. At one point, Lulu tears her travel kennel apart and jumps out of the truck to follow the smell of cannabis. Briggs chases her into the forest where he is accosted by Gus (Kevin Nash), who thinks he is a cop. While in the house, Tamara (Jane Adams) has completely soothed Lulu simply by talking to her. Tamara instinctively knows that Lulu wants to sleep in a real bed. Briggs then poses as a blind veteran and pins Rodriguez’s Purple Heart onto Lulu to get a free night in a hotel. They flee after Lulu causes some comedic havoc.

In some ways, Dog is a predictable road trip-buddy film with laughs along the way. But when they stop at the home of Briggs’ former wife hoping to see his young daughter, he is disappointed. They visit former Ranger Noah (Ethan Suplee), who is caring for Lulu’s sibling that also has PTSD but seems to have adapted. Noah shares a valuable lesson with Briggs: “When he stopped struggling, I realized maybe I could too.”

Dog was directed by both Reid Carolin and Tatum in their directorial debut. Based on the HBO documentary the pair produced called War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend, this fictional story shows the bond between a soldier and his four-legged companion. It also highlights the reality of veterans with TBIs and PTSD, human and canine alike, who continue to suffer from their injuries. Lulu and Briggs set off on a mutual journey toward healing, forgiveness, and love. Dog is playing in theaters.

A-3, PG-13‚ References to animal euthanasia, suicide, marijuana, lying, war, mature themes.

actors from disney's movie sneakerella


El (Chosen Jacobs) works as a stock boy in the sneaker shop started by his late mother in Astoria, Queens. His secret desire is to become a famous sneaker designer. His stressed stepfather, Trey (Bryan Terrell Clark), works hard to run the store, while his two mean stepbrothers expect him to cook their meals. The only people who know about his dreams are his best friend, Sami (Devyn Nekoda), and the good-hearted Gustavo (Juan Chioran).

With a dash of fairy dust from his fairy godfather, El and Sami go to the “sneaker event of the year,” where shoe tycoon Darius King (John Salley) will be showcasing his latest kicks. While in line, they meet Kira (Lexi Underwood), Darius’ daughter, and El is smitten. Not wanting to break their curfew, as El and Sami run down the stairs, El loses a sneaker that catches the eye of Sneakerhead (Elia Press), who is always looking out for the latest design trends.

Sneakerella, streaming on Disney+, is a vibrant, gender-switching, hip-hop reimagining of the classic Cinderella with lots of rap and dancing. Its diverse cast is charming and engaging. Ably directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, the film celebrates creativity, talent, family, friends, and second chances, especially for El when he lies about who he is. Empathy and being true to oneself are key themes too. But while the film celebrates the youth and the sneaker culture, it fails to address how consumerism confuses needs with wants, the cost of name-brand sneakers that many cannot afford, and that, as recently as 2021, kids have been killed for their sneakers.

Not yet rated ‚ Lying, consumerism.

legendary climber alex lowe scales a mountain


This superb NatGeo documentary, streaming on Disney+, is the story of mountain climber Alex Lowe, the 40th American to summit Mt. Everest (which he did twice). He was an exuberant outdoor risk-taker from a young age, but when he married his girlfriend, Jennifer, he took a regular job. After a year, however, the mountains called him back, and he joined his climbing partner, Conrad Anker, for new adventures. But tragedy struck when, in 1999, Lowe and cameraman David Bridges died in an avalanche while crossing a glacier on Tibet’s Mt. Shishapangma. Anker sustained injuries but survived.

Torn, directed by Alex’s eldest son, Max, who was 10 years old when his father died, is divided into several parts: Alex’s life, his personality, his achievements, and his death. The film also explores the family and the role that Anker came to play in their lives, as well as their journey to Tibet where the bodies of Lowe and Bridges were discovered.

The film is commendable because of how it deals so sensitively and honestly with Alex’s struggle to choose between family and his passion for mountain climbing. It also shows how the family and Anker have navigated life emotionally and practically over the years: grief, survivor’s guilt, identity, family, and love in the shadow of legend Alex Lowe.

Not yet rated, Mature themes.

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