Fun, Serious, and Patriotic -- a Good Mix at the Tropic
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
What do the film critics have to say about the movies playing this week at the Tropic Cinema? Lots! Here’s a summary:
Let’s start off with something fun. “The Secret Life of Pets” shares the adventures of two doggies when their owner is away from home. As you’d expect, they get into mischief. Comedians Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet voice the two top dogs in this delightful animated movie. New York Daily News describes it as “a hilarious account of the relationship we have with our animals, and a gentle reminder to treat them with love and respect.” And Flick Filosopher sums it up as “a cleverly constructed and amusingly rendered fantasy adventure that sings with a sweet, wistful devotion to home, family, and friendship.”
Also new to local screens is “Me Before You,” the controversial romance between a pretty caretaker (Emilia Clarke) and the rich and handsome paraplegic (Sam Claflin) in her care. En Film calls it, “A fairy-tale about the beauty of life and love,” while Konexion finds it to be “a film that will make you laugh and cry with great chemistry between the protagonists, but the ending brings the whole film down a little bit.” No, all love stories do not have a happy ending.
“Free State of Jones” tells the true story of a Confederate deserter who led a band of renegades against the South, declaring Jones, Mississippi, to be a slave-free state. Matthew McConaughey goes grim and fierce as the abolitionist captain of Knight Company. Toronto Star notes, “A Civil War rebellion becomes an enervating movie by director Gary Ross.” And ReviewExpress concludes, “McConaughey Brings History to Life.”
Nobody does spy stories better than John le Carré, and “Our Kind of Traitor” -- based one of his books -- delivers on that promise. British do-gooders Perry and Gail (Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris) are caught in a tug of war between MI6 and the Russian Mafia when they try to help a charming-but-chilling money-launderer (Stellan Skarsgård) defect to the West. San Diego Reader observes, “The mid-summer release of an adult, effects-free British thriller relating to the collapse of Europe’s global financial system timed out perfectly.” Nerdist adds, “If you’re in the mood for a smart, mellow, handsomely shot, and quietly engaging espionage story, ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ should easily fit the bill…”
And for those of us who didn’t get enough fireworks on the Fourth of July, we have “Independence Day,” the sci-fi sequel in which Earth fights back against alien invaders in this loose metaphor for our 1776 struggle for freedom from oppression. Scotsman observes, “With Will Smith having allowed his character to be killed off, it falls to Jeff Goldblum’s alien defense expert and Bill Pullman’s ex-president to provide continuity with the first outing. Meanwhile, Liam Hemsworth and Jesse T Usher – playing the son of Smith’s character – bland things up as the new young guns ready to fight the alien threat on the front line.” The Telegraph says “it shows "no signs of intelligent life...” but Sensacine sees it as “a fun and healthy self parody.”
Fun, serious, and patriotic -- these echoes of the real world tells we have much to celebrate at the movies.