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Golden Shadow Pictures presents
Dogstar (2002)

"I just think that accepting that there is no one, single, finite answer to anything is the hardest thing for people to do."
- Dogstar (Jon Jacobs)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: October 30, 2002

Stars: Jon Jacobs, J.C. Brandy, Gabriel Jewel, Alix Koromzay
Other Stars: Marcus Thirtle, Theresa Trainor, Ajax Davis, Michael Kastenbaum
Director: Sophie Pegrum

Manufacturer: Ritek
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Adult situations, violence)
Run Time: 01h:22m:44s
Release Date: October 15, 2002
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+BB- D+

DVD Review

Zero Pictures delivers an indie gem with the first time effort from director Sophie Pegrum, Dogstar,a visually entrancing, wonderfully odd character piece. Tragic, yet suffused with humor, it tells the love story of a pair of misfits bonded by fate, but destined to be apart until they can join together for eternity.

Named after Sirius, Dogstar (Jon Jacobs) is a product of the hippie generation. His father is a wanderer, whereabouts unknown, but his presence remains strong for Dogstar, who has inherited a fascination with the boundlessness of the universe. By contrast, Dogstar is a recluse, still living in his mother's house, never venturing out. He spends his days making drawings on Post-It-sized paper, then building collages on the walls with his renderings. Quiet yet intelligent, a family gathering in honor of his birthday introduces Dogstar to Gabrielle (J.C. Brandy), who while deflecting his brother Astro's (Gabriel Jewel) advances becomes intrigued by Dogstar's strange persona.

The two begin an unusual relationship, with Gabrielle showing up in the middle of the night to stare at the stars through Dogstar's telescope, only to fall asleep on his bed, where he sketches her as she sleeps. Gabrielle begins to pull Dogstar out of his shell, but he is unaware that she has serious problems of her own that are slowly consuming her. When the freeloading Astro discovers their affair, his jealousy drives him to poison their affections, and as misunderstandings ferment between the two lovers, the consequences will be irreversible.

Dogstar has a charming and unique quality to it. The film is crafted with an attention to detail and has a mature cohesiveness that is unexpected for a first time director. The plot moves at a comfortable pace, building the framework that sets up the climax. The cinematography is exquisite, utilizing stylistic angles and compositions to great effect, and the sound design and Murielle Hamilton's score work in perfectly, adding to the magical aura created by the images. What really makes this film special is its cast of quirky characters, who are extremely well written and portrayed, and whose personalities are revealed with patience and tact. The performances capture their subjects impeccably, building a strange yet intriguing world in which their story unfolds.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This visually striking film is presented in its original 1.33:1 ratio. Colors are vibrant and blacks solid, with a reasonable amount of low level detail. The image is on the soft side with a moderate amount of grain structure present, which translates well. There is the odd print flaw, and some source resolution issues in places. Given the independent nature of this release, I don't know how much more I could expect.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: On the whole the soundtrack is well presented, with an active and dynamic mix which fully utilises the soundstage. Tonal coverage is very good, but there are some source audio problems that betray the film's budget. Many of the group scenes have distortion and modulation issues presumably caused by the location microphone. Some of the dialogue is a little hard to discern in places, and there are one or two extremely brief dropouts. The score works beautifully with the picture, and comes across clean and distinct.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
12 Other Trailer(s) featuring Lucinda's Spell, Dogstar, The Invisibles, The Wooden Gun, Pheonix Point, Hero Lover Fool, Mic and the Claw, Welcome Says the Angel, The Girl With the Hungry Eyes, The Blue Door, Rage, Prometheus Bound
1 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. The Zero Story
  2. Project Entropia commercial
Extras Review: Extras are the same as the other discs in the Zero Productions library. with motion menus and trailers for Lucinda's Spell, Dogstar, The Invisibles, The Wooden Gun, Pheonix Point, Hero Lover Fool, Mic and the Claw, Welcome Says the Angel, The Girl With the Hungry Eyes, The Blue Door, Rage, and Prometheus Bound.

The trailers (available from their own menu) play at the start of the feature, so I would recommend using the chapter menu as a starting point.

A 10m:30s introduction to Zero Productions and their philosophy is presented as a collage of interview clips with the company principles and actors.

A 5-minute advertisement for the online Project Entropia RPG rounds out the supplements.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Sophie Pegrum's directorial debut shines as a unique and superbly crafted film. With its imaginitive cinematography, interesting characters, and a tender, yet darkly humorous story, Dogstar is a welcome delight. For something a little outside the norm, you can't go wrong with this.


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