Last week, my dog Doug and I finally caught up with The Booksellers, the recent documentary about antiquarian and second-hand booksellers which is now streaming, without any sense of irony, on Amazon Prime. Doug usually isn’t very interested in movies, preferring, instead, the movie that plays out from the windows of my second floor bedroom. There, he looks out across the adjoining yards that run behind us, waiting for something to happen. The pace is slow, but when a neighbor starts burning garbage (illegally!), or the illusive German shepherds reappear in their yard, the thrill is undeniable. …


Sending dogs and their owners around the world looking for clues and scooting down ziplines seems like a bad idea, but I can’t stop watching The Pack

A few months ago, I received the screeners for nine of the ten episodes of The Pack, Amazon’s new Amazing Race competition for dogs. Expletives immediately rose from my head to the invisible sound balloon above me. I have a low, low tolerance for dog shows on television, in part because they are usually shaped by people who don’t know anything about dogs and they bend the lives of dogs and their…


With “On the Rocks,” Sofia Coppola gives us just the sort of myopic, unaware tale that she’s always been mistakenly accused of making.

Rashida Jones and Bill Murray in On the Rocks.

It happens all the time in pop culture, primarily in popular music, when, after years of producing smarter than average pop that might fly slightly over the heads of critics, an artist comes out with a collection that is just as shallow as their worst critics have always claimed. And so, with her latest film, Sofia Coppola has invested a great deal of artistic resources to come up with a tale of privileged New Yorkers that is…


The New York Film Festival is midway through an extended virtual edition:here’s what’s been good, what’s been strange, and what you can still watch from home.

Lovers Rock

On September 17th, the 58th edition of the New York Film Festival burst back to life with the world premiere of Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock. Set at a house party in London’s West Indian community circa 1980 and compressed to an efficient 68 minutes, the film is pure joy — something I never anticipated saying about a Steve McQueen film. …


Christopher Nolan’s new film is thrilling nonsense, but that may be enough.

John David Washington and Robert Pattinson can’t figure out what direction their car chase is going, in Tenet.

Starved for a live, communal film watching experience, on Wednesday I drove across the state line to Connecticut to see an “Early Access” screening of the new Christopher Nolan film Tenet. It was my birthday. I deserved it. But nobody would go with me. In fact, friends begged me not to go. “I’m against it,” one texted. Another said, “Ken, a movie is like marijuana, next you’ll be in a gym and then suddenly we’ll see you dancing on a boat at Lake Havasu.” …


The magazine Film Comment was a tangible space for discovering and exploring the world of film; then the pandemic swept it away.

Even today, I could find that section of the library stacks blindfolded. The first floor of Stevenson Library, to the very end of the L-shaped layout, then a u-turn along the windows to the desk three rows up from the end. That’s where the stash of Film Comment could be found, almost within literal reach. …


Quarantine changed my relationship with my dogs. What happens if things go back to normal?

This morning, when I reluctantly got out of bed and headed to the bathroom, Bananas was at my side. She was scampering. She made eye contact with me, as if to say, “Don’t dally, we have things to do.” In dog training, learning to make eye contact is the key to giving your dog the appropriate cues and commands. Now she had mastered this in reverse. It was Day 129 of our pandemic quarantine and, during that time, it seemed everything had changed.

We went…


When my heart gave out mid-pandemic, I had to make some grown-up decisions.

Image used with permission from Shutterstock.

Spoiler alert: I’m alive. But a few weeks ago, I wasn’t so sure that would be the case. After three months of quarantine and fear of contracting Covid-19, I was being attacked from within.

The pandemic, up to that point, had been a strangely productive time. I kept telling friends — well, some friends — that I had never been busier. Given the troubles everyone else was experiencing, I also felt that I should maybe keep it to myself. I was working sixty hours a week from…


Growing up far outside the city in the 1970s, I felt strangely inspired by films that reflected the danger, isolation and diversity of what now seems a forgotten place.

In a recent podcast with Film Comment, the Safdie brothers discuss their recent film Uncut Gems through their own influences of New York on film. It’s a great discussion, and I found them immensely, surprisingly likable. But I also found myself wondering at the sameness of the films they mention, which seem to portray a very narrow swath of both the real New York and New York city on film. …


My love for a Costa Rican strays led me to two women: one who ran a dog sanctuary on her farm, the other who initiated a spay/neuter movement.

Note: I wrote this in 2006, after returning to Costa Rica since my first visit there in 2000. I was struck by the many advances that had occurred since I had fallen in love with the strays there and becoming, unexpectedly, a dog person. Obviously, many more advances have occurred since then. On a more recent visit to Cuba, I was impressed by a one-stitch spay that was being used for stray…

Ken Foster

Author of fiction and non-fiction; dog guy; bad boxer. New book, City of Dogs, is just out now from Avery/Penguin.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store