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“The Outlander” — with James Caviezel as a guy from another planet who battles a dragon-monster with the help of some Vikings in 760 AD, was supposed to be released nationwide today but at the last minute it has been put on indefinite hiatus.
The strategy of the studios in making decisions like this is truly mystifying. The movie is not that bad. Unlike the third “Underworld” movie, which does open today, “The Outlander” was screened for critics and I thought it was fairly entertaining. The ads have run and there’s not much competition. I’m sorry not to be able to post my review and I hope it gets a theatrical release because its special effects come across pretty well on a big screen. if there are further developments, I will let you know.

Elizabeth Verdick’s marvelous Toddler Tools series for preschoolers has two new titles. There are many great board books about letters, numbers, and colors, but her books help teach 2-3 year olds about social interaction, responsibility, and independence.

Also recommended: the Best Behavior Series, including Teeth Are Not for Biting and Words Are Not for Hurting

As a tribute to Hotel for Dogs, Yahoo Movies has assembled their list of the greatest movie dogs (and one Dogg). Check out this wonderful compilation of movie pooches from the silent era to the present. Probably the most comprehensive list of movie dogs — with breeds — is on the Fun Times website.dorothy and toto.jpg
Yahoo’s selections and the recent success of Marley & Me and Space Buddies inspired me to create my own list of some of my favorite movie dogs:
1. Most people know him as the answer to innumerable crossword puzzle clues, but before that Asta was a canine co-star who held his own even though he was sharing the screen with mega-stars William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man series. Asta appeared in the “Topper” films as well.
2. Lady and the Tramp co-starred in one of cinema’s greatest love stories. Who can forget the spaghetti smooch?
3. Probably the all-time best-loved movie dog is Lassie, who has appeared in books, movies, television shows, and even a radio series. One of the best is Lassie Come Home, co-starring Roddy McDowall and a very young Elizabeth Taylor.
4. Has any movie animal inspired more tears than Old Yeller? Yeller sacrifices himself to save the family he loves. But I admit what I remember best in this film is Fess Parker as the understanding father who acknowledges his son’s sense of loss.
5. Elle Woods unforgettably introduces her dog to a group of Harvard Law students: “This is Bruiser Woods and we’re both Gemini vegetarians” in Legally Blonde The tiny Bruiser plays an even more important role in the sequel.
6. 101 Dalmatians has some of the most memorable and adorable puppies ever to appear on screen. It was technology that made it all possible — before the Xerox machine, it would have been impossible to have one animated spotted puppy. With one, they could create more than 100!
AsGoodAsItGets.jpg7. As Good As It Gets featured Verdell, a Brussels Griffon. The scene in which Jack Nicholson and Greg Kinnear both try to get Verdell to come to them is a classic.
8. Christopher Guest’s “mockumentary” Best in Show, about a dog competition, features some quirky characters escorting some magnificent dogs. The judges went in a different direction but for me the real Best in Show was Miss Agnes, the Shih Tzu.
9. Toto is the character who really gets the story going in The Wizard of Oz, whether escaping from Miss Gulch or running away so that Dorothy doesn’t make it into the storm cellar — not to mention making Dorothy miss her ride home.
10. John Travolta and some great 3D animation make Bolt a worth addition to the best movie dogs list. His bravery and dedication remind us of what makes dogs on screen and in our homes such treasured companions.

BEST PICTURE
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
BEST ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
BEST ACTOR
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”
BEST DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“The Baader-Meinhof Complex” (Germany)
“The Class” (France)
“Departures” (Japan)
“Revanche” (Austria)
“Waltz with Bashir” (Israel)

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