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posted: 1/2/2014 5:30 AM

Dann & Raymond's winning 'Woofers'

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  • Young Roddy McDowall sits besides a future collie star in "Lassie Come Home," one of many canine movies in Dann & Raymond's salute to the great dog movies.

      Young Roddy McDowall sits besides a future collie star in "Lassie Come Home," one of many canine movies in Dann & Raymond's salute to the great dog movies.

 
 

The greatest dog movies in history? We've got'em when I join film historian/novelist Raymond Benson to present "Hollywood Woofers: Dogs in the Movies." It's part of Dann & Raymond's Movie Club at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton Ave., Arlington Heights. Clips from movies such as "Rin Tin Tin," "Lassie Come Home," "Old Yeller," "A Boy and His Dog," "Marley and Me" plus many others. Free admission! Go to ahml.info for details.

'Terminator'

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ociationpresents a special silver-screen showing of James Cameron's "The Terminator"at7:30 p.m.Thursday, Jan. 9, at the Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton. Admission costs a whopping $2! Film critic Dave Canfield of twitchfilm.com will introduce the classic and conduct a brief Q&A following the screening. Presented in partnership with the SMG's "Film With a View." Go to chicagofilmcritics.orgor http://bit.ly/1cg5fBA.

Hollywood flop sweat

Hollywood accountants might still be crunching the numbers, but as of this week, Walt Disney's "The Lone Ranger" looks to be the biggest financial flop of 2013, even with Johnny Depp stealing the movie from co-star Armie Hammer. Variety reports the mega-action picture's losses will top $200 million, or the entire budget of James Cameron's epic Oscar-winning "Titanic."

Meanwhile, Keanu Reeves' "47 Ronin" could be the year's second biggest champion loser with dismal opening numbers after its Christmas Day release. It'll have a tough time recouping its reported $175 million budget.

Other big losers include "Ender's Game" (earning $88 million of its $115 million budget), "Fifth Estate" (earning $8.5 million of its $28 million budget), "R.I.P.D." (earning $78 million of its $130 million budget), "Oldboy" (taking in a paltry $4 million for its $30 million budget), "Bullet to the Head" ($9.4 million earned for its $55 million budget), "Getaway" ($10.5 million earned for its $18 million budget), "Battle of the Year" (mustering $13.7 million for a $20 million budget), "Machete Kills" (earning $15 million out of a budgeted $33 million), "Tyler Perry Presents Peeples" (earning only $9.3 million on a $15 million budget), "Paranoia" (earning $23.7 million out of a $35 million budget), and "Beautiful Creatures" (eking out $60 million of its $65 million budget).

Meanwhile, studio accountants are crossing their fingers that final numbers from this New Years week might propel domestic box office to an all-time high of more than $11 billion. Variety reports Christmas season ticket sales are 10 percent more than last year.

Dann blows it. Again.

Dann: I can't believe you picked the following for the best movies:

"The Wolf of Wall Street" -- Pornographic. If it wasn't for the naked bodies, the theater would be empty.

"American Hustle" -- So boring I fell asleep. When I awoke, a man two rows down was snoring so loud I could hear him.

"Nebraska"-- Just plain boring.

My picks: "The Butler," "The Book Thief" and "Philomena." Any of these is better than the above. -- Cecile Powell

Dear Cecile: First, let me admire how you've taken the time to actually see some of the best movies of 2013 (according to me), even if you found them disappointing.

Although, I do find it odd that you would go to a movie that I said contained "eyeball-popping graphic nudity and kinky sex stuff," then complainthat it seemed "pornographic."

As for "American Hustle," we'll have to disagree. I take some solace in the fact that you must have been awake long enough to hear a patron snoring two rows away.

I understand your criticism of "Nebraska" as boring. Sometimes, thoughtful examinations of realistic relationships can lack the flash and dazzle of a "Transformers" sequel.

However, you should have been tipped off when I called it "the slow-moving story of an elderly man on the cusp of dementia."

As for your picks, I found "The Butler" to be unintentionally hilarious (Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan? Robin Williams as Dwight D. Eisenhower?) I would have liked "The Book Thief" much better had it not been narrated by a not-very-smart, British-accented Mr. Death.

But we can find common ground on "Philomena," Cecile. Good story. Good acting. Sharp direction. Shocking twist.Thanks for writing. -- Dann Gire

Daily Herald Film Critic Dann Gire's column runs Fridays in Time out!

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