July Film Releases

I was away in July so I am catching up on some releases I missed.

The Legend of Tarzan
The graphics are decent and Alexander Skarsgard is an impressive-looking hero, giving Tarzan more sophistication than ever. Unfortunately, the plot was predictable, some dialogue was very embarrassing, Oscar winner Christoph Waltz was reduced to a caricature villain and Margot Robbie's accent wavered with just about every line.

Our Kind of Traitor
More of a thriller than an espionage tale, Our Kind of Traitor is nonetheless an enjoyable film based on John Le Carre's novel. While on holiday, English couple Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) befriend the mysterious and charismatic Dima (Stellan Skarsgard), who is actually a money launderer for the Russian mafia, and soon they become entangled in his world. Skarsgard is superb as the boisterous villain, while McGregor and Harris give more understated performances. Our Kind of Traitor starts to follow a common formula, but it is a fun journey.

Love and Friendship
Based on Jane Austen's short epistolary novel titled Lady Susan, this film is a laugh-a-minute comedy of manners. Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is a widow on a quest to find her daughter the perfect match while also enjoying a few dalliances of her own on the side. For those not particularly fond of Austen's usual wit, Love and Friendship has the addition of being almost as risqué as Oscar Wilde's work. Unlike many of Austen's most beloved heroines, Lady Susan is selfish, devious and manipulative, yet somehow she remains oddly lovable. The costumes are splendid and there is great use of music throughout. Unfortunately, writer/director Whit Stillman rushes the ending. At only 90 minutes long, Love and Friendship could have been improved with a few more scenes showing the development to the final resolution. But perhaps that was just me not wanting it to end.

Star Trek Beyond
The latest film in this franchise is unnecessarily slow to start but eventually picks up the pace with a few good laughs along the way thanks to Simon Pegg and Doug Jung taking on the writing duties this time. Each of the protagonists has their moment to shine and the camaraderie among the cast is clear. Idris Elba is menacing as the villain and it is bittersweet to see Anton Yelchin playing Chekov for the last time. Star Trek Beyond could have been trimmed in parts but the effects are solid and Trekkies should be happy.