Directed by John Gatins

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Dreamer - Directed by John Gatins
By Travis Mackenzie HooverIt's the "inspirational sports movie" combined with the "down home horse movie" for one big, mawkish jamboree. Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning are a father and daughter with an injured champion horse on their hands; though they're advised to put her down, they persevere and nurse the horse back to health. And not just for breeding duties but as a full-fledged racing horse, finally entering her in the Breeder's Cup against dad's old, greedy employers. But there's plenty of manufactured hardship along the way: money problems, impossible odds, nearly broken spirits, the sort of thing that only makes it that much more obvious that the underdog will rise to kick ass and take names. The producers assure us that this is based on true events, but it's clearly been embellished to create (meagre) tension and give us some sort of story on which to cling. And despite Kris Kristofferson offering his easygoing charm as Russell's crotchety father, there's nothing here that hasn't been seen in a million other family inspirationals and American long shot uplift dramas. To be sure, it's a tad smoother and easier on the palate than others of its ilk, with no big showstopper monologues that illustrate some moral point, but it's still not worth the time and money to any vaguely sophisticated audience member. Extras include featurettes on the horse that inspired the film, the use of horses in the film, the cast and horse caring basics, a music video for Bethany Dillon's title song, two deleted scenes, a "Trackside Live" segment in which a sports caster interviews director John Gatins, and a commentary where the director practically tugs his forelock in deference to his collaborators. (Dreamworks)
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