Saturday, August 31, 2013

Week of August 30 to September 5 (Rhoades)

At the Tropic Cinema You Can Watch Government Watching You
In “Closed Circuit”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Ever feel like someone is watching you? They are. Closed circuit TV cameras monitor us in department stores, casinos, thruway toll plazas, street corners, etc.

Recently we saw how police used footage from closed circuit cameras to track the Boston bombers carrying out their nefarious task. So the theme in “Closed Circuit,” the new thriller from John Crowley (“A Boy”), has a ring of truth.

Here a British defense attorney (Eric Bana) defending an accused terrorist (Denis Moschitto) with an assist from a special advocate who happens to be his ex-lover (Rebecca Hall) uncovers a sinister government plot that puts them all in danger. Paranoia at its most delicious. USA Today calls it “intelligent, well-told, and deftly acted.” Spirituality and Practices describes it as “A riveting thriller that reveals the widespread use of surveillance technology in the war on terrorism.”

Also new to Tropic screens is “”The Spectacular Now,” a teen love story from director James Ponsoldt (“Smashed”). In it, a senior high school student named Sutter (Miles Teller) falls for Aimee (Shailene Woodley), an unlikely candidate for his sexual ambitions. Main thing you need to know is that this script was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, the duo who gave us “(500) Days of Summer.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune terms it “the sweetest, saddest, most humane movie I’ve seen all year.” And the Miami Herald says, “It makes you laugh, then it breaks your heart.”

Still playing at the Tropic is Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” starring Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins as a pair of adopted sisters who take very different paths in life only to wind up at the same spot. Jasmine (a brilliant portrayal by Blanchett) is destitute after her husband (Alec Baldwin) goes to prison for a real estate Ponzi scheme and is forced to move in with her sister Ginger (Hawkins). Remember, this is a film by the Woodman, so expect to be treated to a look at life’s ironies. Kansas City Star comments that “Allen’s 45th feature movie as writer/director is quietly mesmerizing.” says, “Cate Blanchett gives a masterful performance....” And Chicago Reader opines, “Cate Blanchett is exceptional in the lead, and there are strong supporting turns from Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, and (in a surprise dramatic turn) Andrew Dice Clay.”

If you just want some shoot-em-up action with a comic twist, you can still catch “2 Guns,” with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as two undercover agents thrown together without knowing each other’s identity. ViewLondon calls it a “pleasingly old fashioned buddy cop thriller enlivened by a witty script and engaging chemistry between Wahlberg and Washington.” Richard Roeper says it’s “beyond ridiculous but always entertaining.”

“Elysium” is the sci-fi movie about a gated community that’s up in the sky which is about to be crashed by an earthbound warrior with a mechanically enhanced exoskeleton (Matt Damon). American Profile calls it “a ripping, gripping fable about two worlds in a dreary future that doesn't seem as far out of synch with today, or as far away, as we might like to think.” And says “As he did with ‘District 9,’ South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp grounds this sci-fi thriller in present-day society, telling a story that resonates with a strong political kick.”

Up in space or down to earth, even in the electronic circuits of surveillance cameras, the Tropic has a movie for you.

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