This Week's Review: The Big Sick and War for the Planet of the Apes

I was able to squeeze two films into my July 15 schedule: The Big Sick and War for the Planet of the Apes.  They are not the best films I have seen in recent years, but they were far from the worst.

The only reason I contemplated The Big Sick was the presence of Holly Hunter in the cast; I have enjoyed her comedic roles ever since Raising Arizona, but I was impressed with the rest of the cast, particularly Ray Romano, whom I did not recognize until the end credits began to roll.  I have not read the book upon which the film is based.

The plot involves a Pakistani family trying to assimilate into American culture while preserving as much of the traditional culture as possible.  The younger son has little interest in traditions; he makes his living as a Uber driver and as a stand-up comic.  He falls in love with a heckler, but dares not introduce her to his family.

Much of the comedy in the film involves his mother’s unflagging attempts to arrange a marriage for him.  The girl’s sudden and potentially lethal illness forces our hero into meeting and dealing with his girl friend’s parents (Hunter and Romano); they are as unthrilled with him as his parents are when they learn what is going on.

Not everyone comes out well at the end.  You need to stay for at least the first part of the closing credits since some outcomes are described by photographs rather than by dialogue.  The language is often ghastly, but the film is worth seeing.

My second film was more escapist than serious.  War for the Planet of the Apes is supposedly the last installment in the current series; I only saw the first of the original series (and that was several decades ago) and cheerfully avoided the many sequels.  This series has been interesting and well-done, particularly because of Andy Serkis’s work as Caesar, the first of the intelligent apes.

Woody Harrelson is also good as a human general who has gone so far in his desire to exterminate the apes that other humans have declared war on him and his forces.  The general’s confrontations with Caesar are well done.

I saw the film in 3-D, but the “ordinary” version should be equally satisfying.