THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


It's a war between canines and felines in Cats & Dogs
Cats & Dogs is about a war between felines and canines for world domination. If you think the cats are the good guys here, you're barking up the wrong tree. It's man's best friend who is the hero in this case...just like in real life. (Okay, you guessed correctly. I'm a "dog person.") Jeff Goldblum plays a scientist who finds a cure for people with dog allergies. The evil cats plan to reverse his discovery, making the world allergic to dogs so they can become the favored pet of humans everywhere. Trying to stop them is a cute beagle named Lou (voiced by Tobey Maguire) who happens to belong to Goldblum's son. Cats & Dogs is another in a series of recent talking animal pictures. (I'm beginning to think Dr. Dolittle is the leading screenwriter in Hollywood these days.) As you might expect, this one is high on the "aww" factor. As in: "Aww, aren't those puppies and kitties cute?" Well, all I can say is: "Aww, yes they are." Although it's aimed at kids, this movie has a healthy adult sense of humor as well. I like the military command posts that are hidden inside dog houses and the computerized surveillance equipment that is operated from beneath trash cans. And those kung fu kitties? Divine. Cat owners may be a bit miffed that their preferred pets are the baddies here, but then again when have you ever seen a pooch trying to eat Tweety Bird? Cats & Dogs is so much fun, you may want to lick yourself.

( out of four)

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are high octane in The Fast and the Furious
I remember those old low-budget car movies that used to play at drive-ins when I was a kid: Eat My Dust and Grand Theft Auto are two that come to mind. The Fast and the Furious is a throwback to those pictures; I almost expected to see the American International logo at the start of the credits (instead, it's Universal). Paul Walker plays an undercover cop getting the lowdown on a Los Angeles street racer named Dominic (Vin Diesel) who may be boosting expensive cargo from tractor trailer trucks. I think you know the formula from here: the cop gets involved in the illegal racing, comes to be accepted by the very guy he's supposed to be busting, and falls for the guy's sexy sister (Jordana Brewster). Yes, it's old stuff but it works again. Director Rob Cohen (Dragonheart) films the race scenes with incredible intensity. During one race, the camera looks through the windshield of a speeding car and sees nothing but blur. The last 30 minutes contain one of the most dazzling car chases ever committed to film. It's outrageously illogical, to be sure, but also quite exciting. This isn't the kind of subject matter I normally like although I find it hard to resist a film as high octane as this one. The cars are hot, the action is intense, and the pulsing rock soundtrack adds to the flavor. The Fast and the Furious is a guilty pleasure.


Cats & Dogs is rated PG for animal action and humor The running time is 1 hour and 25 minutes.

The Fast and the Furious is rated PG-13 for sensuality and some language. The running time is 1 hour and 47 minutes.
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