Count Them on Your Fingers:
A Handful of Fascinating Films at the Tropic
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
This week Tropic Cinema confines its screens to five films. That limited number means more showings of each. So there’s no excuse for missing one you want to see.
New this week is “Florence Foster Jenkins,” an amusing true story about a diva who couldn’t carry a tune. Meryl Streep stars as Florence, the amateur operatic soprano who always performed for private audiences until she got invited to sing at Carnegie Hall. Hugh Grant is the Shakespearean actor who shares her life. And Simon Helberg tinkles the keys as her eye-rolling accompanist. Slate observes, “Streep ... makes the character's delusional faith in her own talent so infectious that we ache at the thought of Florence's impending humiliation even as we prepare ourselves to laugh at it.” And Movie Nation posits, “Streep’s latest feats? Playing her first-ever dope, and making Hugh Grant relevant again.”
Woody Allen fans will want to catch “Cafe Society,” a nostalgic trip to the 1930s when a Bronx boy (Jesse Eisenberg) goes to Hollywood hoping to work for his uncle (Steve Carell), but winds up falling in love with his secretary (Kirsten Stewart). Even so, he returns to New York to work with his gangster brother in a nightclub that caters to, well, café society. Spirituality and Practice describes it as “a romantic comedy about the heartbreak of being in love with love.” Sacramento News and Review says, “The stars blossom in Allen’s hands -- Eisenberg may be the best Woody-clone yet, and Stewart has never been anywhere near this interesting before.” And
Want some action? “Jason Bourne” delivers big time. Matt Damon returns for this sequel about a spy with little memory of his past. Impulse Gamer notes, “The fifth entry in the Bourne franchise is comprised of familiar character types, plot points and action beats, but there's an intense, visceral feel that, to my surprise, renews almost all of these elements.” And EntertainmentTell sums it up: “Damon’s an outstanding hero. There’s a superlative supporting cast. The plot is full of intrigue and challenging ideas.”
An animated comedy, “The Secret Life of Pets” follows two pooches (voiced by Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet) as they go off-leash while their owner is away at work. Yes, mischief ensues. ChristyLemire.com calls it “an incredibly simple yet irresistible idea for a movie.” And the Tribune News Service says it “draws on the universal experience of pet ownership to draw out the ‘awww’ in all of us.”
And for the anglophiles, there’s “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.” Based on the British TV show, two middle-aged fashionistas (Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley) go on the lam after supposedly killing supermodel Kate Moss. Drag queens are abundant as they escape to the South of France. Rolling Stone asks, “Is it too much? You bet. But Saunders and Lumley are all about keeping the party going. So grab your Bolly, darlings, and party on.” And The Atlantic demurs: “I won't spoil the movie's ending, but its twist is surprisingly gratifying.”
With five films, it won’t be hard to catch them all.