May 17, 2019, 6:05 AM
Engaging critically with Dog Movies can be a challenge for a critic. Who wants to be the crank who scoffs that the heartwarming animal movie is just too contrived and sentimental? But it can be hard to avoid, with the sickly sweet pandering pabulum of recent films like “A Dog’s Purpose” and “Dog Days.” Fortunately, “A Dog’s Journey,” the third in a trilogy of films adapted from W. Bruce Cameron’s novels, offers up an interesting, complex story into which we can sink our teeth. Directed by Emmy-winning TV director Gail Mancuso, written by “Purpose” vets Cameron, Maya Forbes, Cathryn Michon, and Wallace Wolodarsky, “A Dog’s Journey” has the emotional bite to match its somewhat hokey bark.