Friday, June 28, 2013

Week of June 28 to July 4 (Rhoades)

Crowded Screens Make the Tropic a Cinematic Cornucopia.

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Six films squeezed onto four screens -- the Tropic Cinema offers lots of cinematic choice, from Hollywood blockbusters to independent gems.

New to the screen is Sofia Coppola’s crime caper “The Bling Ring.” This is a flashily told news headline, a handful of privileged West Coast  kids get their kicks by breaking into the homes of celebs like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan … and get caught. Not much plot depth, but the interest is in the stylistic telling. Emma Watson is in top form as Nicki, the girl who sees her ignominy as a moment of fame. East Bay Express calls it “One of Coppola's best films.” And Matt’s Movie Reviews says it’s “a stylish and relevant look at how the idolatry of celebrity begat a special breed of brat, whose belief that to live like the kings and queens of materialism is to steal from their palaces.”

Also fresh is “East,” an eco-terrorist group that is infiltrated by an investigator played by Britt Marling. Question is which side does she sympathize with in this indictment of Big Business? Boston Globe describes it as “a watchably confused eco-thriller that's never sure who its heroes are.” And Tulsa World calls it “a crackling good political thriller, made in the spirit of some of the best espionage films.”

“What Maisie Know” gives us squabbling divorced parents as seen through the eyes of daughter Maisie and her two new stepparents. A mix-em-and-match-em family dispute. The San Jose Mercury News says “this indie does sound like standard-issue material, but its dynamics are far more complex.” And Salt Lake City Weekly notes “It's far from the first story of a child dealing with the consequences of parental break-up -- but it may be one of the best.”

“Kon-Tiki” still offers you a sail across the Pacific on a raft with explorer Thor Hyerdahl … well, Ryan Gosling lookalike Pål Sverre Hagen playing him in this beautiful recreation of that historic voyage from South America to the islands of Polynesia. The Austin Chronicle says it’s “an absorbing and often lyrical piece of storytelling that doesn't overembellish the facts or rely on a pumped-up score or whiplash editing to heighten the dramatic action.”

For those looking for blockbuster adventure, go where no one has gone before (except Gene Roddenberry) in J.J. Abrams’s second “Star Trek” foray. Here Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock (Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto) face the wrath of Kahn in a deep-space shoot-em-up. MLive calls it “smart, fun, witty, essential sci-fi.” And calls it “easily the first must-see action flick of the year.” And Movie Habit says the film “sets its phasers on fun.”

And fantasy of another kind is the superhero spectacle of “Iron Man 3,” another entry in the comic book tale of a playboy industrialist who gets serious about doing good when he invents a near-impervious armored suit. Robert Downy, Jr. as the title character guarantees this to be a good ride (in 3D no less). MediaMike promises the film is “packed with virtually non-stop action from start to finish.” And Spectrum says it “features an interesting, angst-ridden psychological sub-text rarely found in blockbuster films.”

Check your times. With the proper scheduling, you can catch ‘em all!

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