Two New Films Mix It Up With Five Holdovers at Tropic
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Each week new films come to Tropic, old films leave, some linger behind. This time around a British comedy and a New Zealand dramedy join a literary biopic, a wacko documentary, a surreal story about a dead guy, a magic show, and an animated comedy about dogs and cats.
Quite a mix.
The popular British TV show “Absolutely Fabulous” has come to the big screen. This time around those Ab Fab gals Edna Moonsoon and Patsy Stone (Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley) go on the lam to the South of France thinking they’ve killed Kate Moss. Tribune News Service calls it “a big, bright and viciously bold celebration of funny, flawed women, and the friendship that sustains them.” While Frisno Bee observes, “It all comes down to how beautifully Lumley and Saunders bring their characters to life. They have had so many years to play the roles that they come across as more of a second skin than an acting job.”
In “Hunt For Wilderpeople” New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi gives us a cross-generational buddy film in which a chubby juvie and a grumpy outdoorsman (newcomer Julian Dennison and old pro Sam Neil) go on the run, chased by police and a misguided social worker (Rachel House). Detroit News describes it as “a hoot with heart.” And Newsday finds it to be “a lopsided gem full of off-kilter humor, hard truths and real emotion.”
With “Genius,” writer Thomas Wolf spars with his editor Maxwell Perkins. Jude Law and Colin Firth bring the vociferous Wolf and taciturn Perkins to life. Boston Globe calls it “an intriguing study of the personalities and torturous process behind some of the early 20th Century’s great writing. And Philadelphia Inquirer sees it as, “well-written, gorgeously shot, and expertly edited.”
“Tickled” is a documentary that explores the absurd subject of “competitive endurance tickling.” MLive notes, “The old cliché about truth being stranger than fiction rarely feels so apt.” And PopMatters calls it “... an example of investigative journalism at its finest.”
Even more off the wall is “Swiss Army Man,” with Daniel Radcliffe as a dead body and Paul Dano as a castaway who seems to bring him to life. Spirituality and Practice offers this Cliffs Notes summary: “A lonely island recluse is given a new lease on life in this macabre buddy movie.” And Student Edge chuckles, “They say there are only six kinds of stories. Well, they finally found a seventh.”
Like its predecessor, “Now You See Me 2” is a heist film about quartet of stage magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and replacement Lizzy Caplan) plus a puzzling FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo). Can they outwit a dangerous tech wizard (Daniel Radcliffe again). RTÉ says, “If you saw ‘Now You See Me’ and enjoyed it, take it from me: you’re going to love this sequel, which is pretty much more of the same and then some.” Also Digital Spy tells us it “improves significantly on the first movie, a more purely entertaining ride thanks to a couple of character shake-ups and tighter group chemistry.”
“The Secret Life of Pets” is the animated comedy that reveals what your doggie does while you’re away at work. Here two pooches (voiced by Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet) go off leash and face many misadventures … yet get home before their owner. Hindustan Times advises, “It is a wonderful answer to every pet owner’s paranoia and I recommend that you watch it, with your pets if you can. But maybe they watched it already while you were at work today.” And ABC News Radio finds it to be “solid family fun with plenty of cute and intelligent jokes, as well as a few scary moments that aren’t too scary.”
Dogs, cats, dead bodies, magicians, fashionistas -- the mixology is, well, absolutely fabulous.