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Hotel for Dogs 

An abandoned building that’s become home to a group of wayward canines, the “hotel” in director Thor Freudenthal’s feature-length debut is virtually a character in itself. That’s where Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin), two young orphans, set up an assortment of contraptions that enable the dogs to entertain themselves in the absence of their surrogate owners. While it might seem like the perfect opportunity to use computer-generated graphics to show the dogs doing an amazing array of tricks, that’s not the case here, as a group of professional dog trainers trained the creatures to strut their stuff without imposing too many human qualities. As a result, the movie’s unabashed charm (as well as the fact that not a single dog dies) distinguishes it from the slew of dog films that have recently hit theaters. HH 1/2

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