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Tropic Cinema Will Help You Find Happiness

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

What could make you happier than a movie about happiness? Not much. That’s why you’ll want to see “Hector and the Search for Happiness,” the story of an eccentric British psychiatrist (Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the “Star Trek” movies) who puts his relationship with his girlfriend (Rosamund Pike, now starring in “Gone Girl”) on hold while he flies off to China and other far-flung environs in search of that elusive bluebird of happiness. Seattle Times dubs it “a sweet-natured film.” Beliefnet concurs that it’s “a gentle fable.” And Chicago Sun-Times expounds, “This film is a winner. It will not only entertain you, but also make you think about what it takes to bring happiness into your own life.”

Another happy-ending movie is “Dolphin Tale 2,” which takes up the story of Winter, a dolphin with a prosthetic tail. Here Winter’s relationship with Mandy, another dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, is the nub of this non-fish tale. New York Magazine says, “In a world full of cheapened, bombastic entertainment aimed at children, this modest, honest little movie feels special in its own way.” And Atlantic City Weekly calls it “excellent family filmmaking that is sentimental without being cloyingly sweet.”

Here’s a happy-enough success story titled “One Chance.” This is a biopic about Paul Potts (played by James Corden), an amateur opera singer who wins big on the Britain’s Got Talent TV show. Village Voice observes, “The film shoehorns Potts's life story into a familiar underdog template ...” And AV Club observes, “It’s a film that swears by the golden formula of crowd-pleasing sentimentality: Let viewers laugh at the struggles and share in the triumphs.”

“My Old Lady” pits a landlord (Kevin Kline) against his tenants (Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas) in this cute fable about backward Parisian housing laws. Newsday says, “What starts as an elaborate sitcom becomes an emotionally substantial tragicomedy.” And SSG Syndicate describes it as “a cross-cultural, comedic drama that should appeal to art house and older audiences.”

“To Be Takei” is a wonky documentary about Japanese-American actor George Takei, who you will remember as Lt. Sulu on TV’s “Star Trek.” Here we learn of his childhood in WWII interment camps, his struggling acting career, and his coming out of the closet. Richard Roeper sees it as “a celebration of a man of great resilience, infectious humor, a voracious appetite for the richness of the human experience.” And CinemaBlend.com says, “Director Jennifer M. Kroot delivers something that is as profound as it is funny and uplifting.”

“Tusk” is an amiable horror from director Kevin Smith (“Clerks”). Here he gives us Justin Long as a podcaster trying to avoid a sadistic killer. As Popmatters puts it, “Kevin Smith takes an intriguing premise and circumvents our expectations.” And Mountain Xpress notes that it’s “a mixed bag, but one sufficiently twisted -- and with enough goodies in that bag -- to be worth a look.”

Always fun is a superhero movie, where good versus evil -- especially when it’s in 3D. The good guys in Marvel’s “The Guardians of the Galaxy” is a ragtag group of intergalactic adventurers, including a critter and a tree (yes, tree), led by an obscure hero known as Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). Knight at the Movies says it’s “a tongue-in-cheek, big-budget sci-fi blockbuster that could easily be this generation's Star Wars.” And New Yorker explains, “Chris Pratt, overflowing with charisma, plays the leader of the pack of misfits, and his blissed-out space cowboy (with a love for seventies music) is so full of good will that he buoys the film and its requisite whizbang special effects.”

Yes, seeing these movie will make you happy.
srhoades@aol.com


IN THE TROPIC GALLERY

Tectonic Rasa

Rasa Vernon interprets the Tectonic art style by melding fashion and nature. Illustrations include monochrome and color graphics, first drawn by her hand then enhanced by computer. 



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