Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Week of May 3 to May 9 (Rhoades)

Tropic Cinema Fills Its Screens with Enticing Variety

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Here’s Mud in your eye. That is, “Mud,” the new Matthew McConaughey movie that opened this week at the Tropic Cinema. It’s one of three new entries that join two other terrific films on Tropic’s screens.
“Mud” is a modern-day Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer adventure on the Mississippi, but in this film from writer-director Jeff Nichols (“Take Shelter”) the two boys are known as Neckbone and Ellis. And you can think of Mud, the fugitive played by McConaughey, as Jim. No, it not exactly the same story, but its cultural underpinnings are clear.
Also new this week is “Hunky Dory,” a gleeful musical set in a high school in Wales, where a drama teacher (Minnie Driver) is determined to put on a musical based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” -- a rock ‘n roll version with numbers that will have you dancing in the aisle. The students, led by newcomer Aneurin Barnard, perform songs by David Bowie, ELO, Beach Boys, and other ’70s icons.
Another new film is “Beyond the Hills,” a Romanian drama about two young women in a convent who must deal with an exorcism. No, despite the locale and theme, this is not a vampire tale or a horror flick. Sight & Sound listed it as the 8th best film on 2012. And writer-director Cristian Mungiu won Best Screenplay at Cannes, and amazingly his two stars shared the award for Best Actress.
Still playing is the new Robert Redford thriller, “The Company You Keep.” With a stellar cast -- Julie Christie, Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte, to name a handful -- this is the story of ‘60s radicals still on the run. Based so closely on real events, you’ll think you remember reading about them in the newspaper.
 Also holding over is “The Place Beyond the Pines,” a generational story about a bank robber and an ambitious cop (Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper) … and their sons. You won’t stop talking about it.
Coming of age, ‘70s music, exorcisms, aging Weather Underground members, cops and robbers -- what an enticing variety of films at the Tropic Cinema.

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