Who would have thought that the most controversial movie in theaters today would be about puppy dogs? “A Dog’s Purpose” has come under scrutiny because of a leaked video that suggests that a dog might have been treated inhumanely during the making of the film. The movie, however, is all about humanity’s love of canines. An adorable pooch who is reincarnated multiple times until he ultimately discovers his reason for living. It’s shamelessly manipulative, corny and mawkish. But if you’re a dog lover, it just might have you reaching for the tissues.

 

“Paterson,” the latest movie from eccentric filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, is perfectly in keeping with his low-key, offbeat sensibilities. Adam Driver plays a New Jersey bus driver who is also a poet. Over a period of a week, we observe his life as he drives his route, writes his poems and interacts with his wife, passengers, co-workers and patrons at his favorite bar. Driver is terrific in this deliberately paced slice of life that is as much a tone poem as a film. Jarmusch fans will be in heaven. To others, “Paterson” could feel like watching paint dry.

 

With all of the compelling elements in its remarkable true story, “Gold,” should have been another “Social Network” or “The Big Short.” Sadly, it doesn’t live up to that promise. Matthew McConaughey stars as an unlucky small-time prospector who enlists a geologist to help locate gold in the jungles of Indonesia. Their fortunes take a turn when they locate a promising vein and raise millions to extract it. But will they be able to keep their money when powerful entities move in? McConaughey goes all out, going fat and bald, but the movie’s jagged structure prevents it from creating an emotional punch.

 

Also opening this week, the so-called finale to the zombie franchise, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.”

FREEZE FRAME: “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Paterson,” “Gold”

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Who would have thought that the most controversial movie in theaters today would be about puppy dogs? “A Dog’s Purpose” has come under scrutiny because of a leaked video that suggests that a dog might have been treated inhumanely during the making of the film. The movie, however, is all about humanity’s love of canines. An adorable pooch who is reincarnated multiple times until he ultimately discovers his reason for living. It’s shamelessly manipulative, corny and mawkish. But if you’re a dog lover, it just might have you reaching for the tissues.

 

“Paterson,” the latest movie from eccentric filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, is perfectly in keeping with his low-key, offbeat sensibilities. Adam Driver plays a New Jersey bus driver who is also a poet. Over a period of a week, we observe his life as he drives his route, writes his poems and interacts with his wife, passengers, co-workers and patrons at his favorite bar. Driver is terrific in this deliberately paced slice of life that is as much a tone poem as a film. Jarmusch fans will be in heaven. To others, “Paterson” could feel like watching paint dry.

 

With all of the compelling elements in its remarkable true story, “Gold,” should have been another “Social Network” or “The Big Short.” Sadly, it doesn’t live up to that promise. Matthew McConaughey stars as an unlucky small-time prospector who enlists a geologist to help locate gold in the jungles of Indonesia. Their fortunes take a turn when they locate a promising vein and raise millions to extract it. But will they be able to keep their money when powerful entities move in? McConaughey goes all out, going fat and bald, but the movie’s jagged structure prevents it from creating an emotional punch.

 

Also opening this week, the so-called finale to the zombie franchise, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.”

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