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Mediterranean Cod with Roasted Tomatoes

Oregano, thyme and paprika flavor the cod in this 15-minute, Mediterranean-inspired meal. Olives, capers and roasted cherry tomatoes add color and zest to each bite.

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Dogman Movie Review

Chihuahua Man

Matteo Garrone's "Dogman" recalls much of his previous work, including his best known film, Gomorra. He is again dealing with the criminal underbelly of Italy in his new film. It's set in a run-down coastal suburb, and its central character, Marcello (Marcello Fonte), is a dog groomer with a little shop next to other small businesses, among them a restaurant and a gambling establishment.


Marcello is a physically smaller man with a nerdy feel about him that reminds me of Roberto Benigni. His problems come from two places. The first one is Simone (Edoardo Pesce), a very large, thuggish man who terrifies everyone in town. He has an unquenchable thirst to inhale cocaine and to bash in the head of everyone he perceives to be between him and what he wants at that given moment.

Marcello's other problems come from his own weakness of character. He has a touch of greed and he's not all that good at looking out for his own welfare. With these factors combined with the crazy actions of Simone, Marcello's life is a total mess that's headed toward a very bad place.

Marcello has a connection for cocaine, and Simone wants the drug immediately whenever he wants it. Simone wants to commit a heist and demands that Marcello accompany him. Marcello, of course, complies. It all falls apart and the cops question Marcello. He takes the rap for Simone, out of fear of reprisal. The result is a year in prison.

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When he gets out, he wants his share from Simone, who has no interest in complying. Thus comes the birth of a spine beginning to grow in Marcello and he wants revenge. This leads to some of the best scenes, but the ending is so muddled and confusing that it left me unsure of how everything has been resolved. At least I think it was resolved.

Aside from the confusing ending, there is one major hole in the plot, unless the mob works differently in Italy. Have you ever heard of ripping off cocaine dealers without there being any reprisal? Me neither. Despite the negatives, "Dogman" is great fun to watch and its perpetual barren look enhances all of it. Despite its flaws, it's certainly no dog.


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