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Who Let the Dog Out?

Timberlake (center) in Alpha Dog
photo: Darren Michaels/New Line Productions

The defense attorney who threatened to seek an injunction against the Sundance screening of the fact- and conjecture-based Alpha Dog may not have been acting on behalf of the festival (or New Line Cinema, still "indie" despite orcs and Oscars). Yet the appearance of controversy around New Line's latest youth-bait gangsta flick hardly hindered the programmers' bid to justify a closing-night slot. Essentially a bigger-budget Bully (whose director, Larry Clark, got enough props in Park City this year to look like a kid again), Dog sniffs around the stinky legend of a twerp Scarface (Emile Hirsch) who compels his weed-dealing crew to kidnap and then whack a delinquent client's 15-year-old brother (Anton Yelchin). Director Nick Cassavetes has a blast with scenes of testosterone-fueled aggression (until it's time to repent), working the subwoofer in a way that'll surely boost DVD sales among boys with bedroom posters of Tony Montana. Sundance needs to recruit the next generation of "indie" enthusiasts, and Alpha Dog, if nothing else, did succeed in bringing Justin Timberlake to Park City High.


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