Reel Reviews: ‘Isle of Dogs’ and ‘Rampage’

By on April 25, 2018

Animals abound

Well, I finally got my chance to see Wes Anderson’s (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”) latest animated film — evidently you shouldn’t call Anderson’s work “movies” — and it was exactly what I thought it would be.

I can agree with those who insist on calling Anderson’s work “films” as something greater than a movie. His work is on another level. From his directorial masterpiece debut “Rushmore” in 1998 to this most recent project, the Houston writer/director has delivered 20-years of stories that engulf creativity, inspire wisdom, and move the soul-even if it’s just a bit snarky. Whether his movies take heat like “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” or are embraced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences like “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” they definitely create a world of their own.

Anderson’s world in “Isle of Dogs” is a mash up of feudal and modern Japan, where all manner of canine is banished from the mainland by the overtly evil dictator Mayor Kobayashi (voiced by radio personality Kunichi Nomura) and his henchman Major-Domo (Akira Takayama). Dogs now reside on “Trash Island,” and this is where we meet our hero, Atari (Koyu Rankin), who has flown to the rubbish-filled land in search of his dog Spot.

If none of the voice actors previously mentioned sound familiar rest assured, Anderson has tapped some serious talent to fill in the rest of the cast, including: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, and F. Murray Abraham. This cast is amazing. Head-spinningly amazing!

“Isle of Dogs” was everything I wanted it to be… and more. Funny. Surprising. Politically-charged. Motivating. Entertaining. Dog-filled.

Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” stars the voice talents of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, and F. Murray Abraham.


I’m sorry, The Rock … ahem, I mean, Dwayne Johnson fans (I’m one, too). The muscle man’s latest family action flick just doesn’t carry the weight of past performances like “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” or “Jumanji.” Johnson plays laughable — not funny — primatologist Davis Okoye in the video game inspired “Rampage,” which wrecked into theaters last week.

The real rampage should have consisted of people exiting the theatre halfway through this movie. Filled with unswallowable bits of bad acting (especially by Jake Lacy and Malin Akerman, who form a less than sinister brother-sister duo reminiscent of Pokemon’s James and Jessie), “Rampage” tells a run of the mill sci-fi story haphazardly pieced together, truncated, and smashed into 107 minutes of cgi junk.

This movie made me cringe, not out of fear of giant alligators, flying wolves, or destruction-thirsty primates, nor out of nostalgic love for a legendary arcade game, but because it was just so lame. I can’t recall ever being so underwhelmed by an action story in all my life.

I also didn’t like having to explain to my kids some of the crass and classless jokes made in this movie. Point noted: if a movie must result to middle-school humor to force a laugh then it probably isn’t a good movie. Avoid being pummeled with stupidity and let “Rampage” flop to the bottom of the discount DVD bin at Wal-Mart.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at

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