‘The Secret Life of Pets’
(PG; 90 minutes; Universal):
Directed by the “Despicable Me” franchise’s Chris Renaud, “The Secret Life of Pets” is a pet-lover’s loving salute to the domesticated animals we rely on to bring us comfort, companionship, and triple-digit veterinary bills.
Set in a bright, bustling Big Apple, “The Secret Life of Pets” is about what happens when the humans go off to work, leaving their four-legged friends back in the apartment to fend for themselves. It’s also about what happens one fateful evening when the perky human Katie (the voice of Ellie Kemper) returns home to Max (Louis C.K.) with a shaggy brown beast rescued from the pound. Accustomed to getting all the attention (not to mention all the food), Max does not welcome the messy behemoth named Duke (Eric Stonestreet). Territorial disputes ensue.
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So does a crazy plotline involving an underground gang of revolutionaries called the Flushed Pets, led by a white rabbit with a bitter view of humankind (yes, Kevin Hart as a bunny named Snowball – talk about color-blind casting!). There’s a scary clowder of alley cats. There’s a trained hawk who sounds an awful lot like Albert Brooks (it is). A pampered Pomeranian (Jenny Slate), a rotund tabby (Lake Bell), and a dachshund with a novel use for the electric mixer add to the madcap menagerie. And yes, there is a tattooed pig.
In much the same way that the smash “Zootopia” demonstrated that creatures of different culture and class and species are better off when they come together, “The Secret Life of Pets” is a testament to teamwork and friendship and fixing the rifts that divide us.
Contains action and some rude humor. Philadelphia Inquirer
(PG; 123 minutes; Universal): Jason Bourne is back, after nine long years in cold franchise storage.
The ideal audience for this movie: amnesiac graduates of the deadly U.S. intelligence experiment known as Operation Treadstone, the dark secret at the center of the series based extraordinarily loosely on the Bourne novels by Robert Ludlum. If you can somehow wipe your memory clean of director Paul Greengrass’ earlier, exhilarating “Bourne” pictures, breathless triumphs of minimally plotted, nerve-jangling pursuit and evasion, you’ll get a pretty good, thinking-person’s mindless entertainment out of the latest one.
At its best “Jason Bourne” crackles with professionalism; at its worst, it’s rehashing greatest hits from earlier films, with a lavish budget. If a summer picture can be both vaguely disappointing in relation to its franchise predecessors yet worth seeing in relation to its multiplex neighbors, “Jason Bourne” is that picture.
Contains intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language. Chicago Tribune
‘Don’t Think Twice’
(R; 92 minutes; Film Arcade): Don’t Think Twice” is a smart, wistful and very funny movie in which six friends weather difficult times but ultimately realize that they do, indeed, have each other’s back, for always.
Written, directed by and featuring Mike Birbiglia (“Sleepwalk With Me”), the movie focuses on The Commune, whose six members have been making live comedy together in Manhattan for 11 years. In their 30s, they mostly still live like college students, waiting to get their big break. But when news comes that their longtime theater is about to be shuttered, it ruptures the group. And when one hits the improv jackpot and joins the cast of “Weekend Live” (a “Saturday Night Live” clone), the others struggle with unexpected competitiveness and resentment.
Birbiglia wisely cast his movie with comedy pros rather than A-list names. Keegan-Michael Key’s Jack – a tall, handsome crowd-pleaser – is a standout; more interested in stardom than the rest of them, he has a practiced looseness, a constant sense that someone’s watching.
“Don’t Think Twice” ultimately becomes a gentle meditation on late-blooming coming-of-age. You begin the movie with six strangers; you end it, changed, with six friends.
Contains language and some drug use. Seattle Times
Also out Dec. 6
- “The Hollars”
- “Beauty & the Beast: The Final Season”
- “Family Guy: Season 14”
- “For the Love of Spock”
- “Greenleaf: Season 1”
- “Jack Goes Home”
- “Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures”
- “Ordinary World”
- “Scream Queens: Season 1”
- “The Great Gilly Hopkins”
- “The Perfect Weapon”
- “The Remains”