Freeze Frame: “DC League of Super Pets” (PG), “Vengeance” (R)

File the animated action comedy “DC League of Super Pets” under the ‘pleasant surprises’ category. Krypto, Superman’s dog, puts together a crew of rescue pets to save his master and the other members of the Justice League when their lives are threatened by a super evil guinea pig. Okay, okay, I thought this one would cough up a furball, but thanks to a funny script, clever voice work and zippy action, it should appeal to both kids and adults. Dwayne Johnson provides the voice of Krypto and Kevin Hart plays Ace; a rescue pet who gains superpowers after being exposed to yellow kryptonite. Kate McKinnon is amusing as the voice of the evil guinea pig and Keanu Reeves scores as the churlish Batman. “DC League of Super Pets” has a cheeky appeal for the whole family. Hey, it’s at least as good as most other superhero movies.


In his big screen writing and directing debut, actor B.J. Novak of “The Office” fame, shows some impressive chops, even though he may have bitten off a bit more than he can chew. In his dark comic mystery “Vengeance,” Novak plays a New York journalist who travels to Texas to exploit the death of a girl he casually dated by turning her tragic story into a podcast. It’s an observant neo noir thriller that explores some intricate philosophical ideas. Novak manages to make his character likable despite his lack of self-awareness. Ashton Kutcher is also impressive as a slick West Texas record producer who thinks he has all the answers. Novak’s dialogue is funny and perceptive although it sometimes comes off as a bit verbose. While it can’t quite tie all of its provocative themes together, “Vengeance” is a competent first effort.

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