Friday, September 13, 2013

Week of Sept. 14 to Sept. 20 (Rhoades)

Tropic Cinema’s Lineup -- Loud and Clear

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Ever noticed that the voices narrating movie previews are usually male? That’s no accident. Men dominate Hollywood’s voice-over business. So what would happen if a female voice coach -- the daughter of the King of Voice Overs -- decides to go for the big VO assignment on an upcoming movie, vying with her father’s handpicked protégé as well as dear ol’ dad himself? That’s the proposition star-writer-producer-director Lake Bell puts forward in her comedy, “In a World …”

This is one of three new films playing at the Tropic Cinema.

“In a World” is wowing critics. Time Out says, “Like her character, Bell has made herself a contender in a male-dominated industry. And a damn funny one at that.” Denver Post calls it “surprisingly tender and wise as it is deftly wise-cracking.” And USA Today adds, “A clever, likable comedy that sends up sexism, satirizes Hollywood, examines family ties and features a surprisingly tender romance at its core.”

Director Jem Cohen's “Museum Hours” explores the ability of art to alter our lives. We find a guard at Vienna's grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum meets up with a woman who has been wandering the streets. Together, they show us the beautiful city, the exquisite artworks in the museum, and their secret lives. The Washinton Post notes that it’s “every bit as masterfully conceived and executed as the art works that serve as the film's lively cast of supporting characters. View London calls it “grand, profound and exceptionally beautiful love letter to museums and the wealth of culture that can be found in everyday life.” And Radio Times terms it “a beguiling and often moving treatise on the relationship between art and life.”

“Still Mine” pairs two of my favorite underappreciated actors -- James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold as Craig and Irene Morrison. In this modern-day “Mrs. Blandings Builds His Dram House,” Craig faces bureaucratic obstacles as he tried to use his father’s shipbuilding skills to construct and abode for his ailing wife. Philadelphia Inquirer tells us “it is about a husband and wife, partners through six decades, grappling with issues of aging, and how to spend what time together remains with grace and dignity.” And Boston Globe calls it “a tough-minded tearjerker, based on a true story ...”

Fir those who have missed it, the Tropic is holding over Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” the Tennessee Williams-eque story of a high society matron (Cate Blanchett) who falls onto hard times when her wheeler-dealer hubby (Alec Baldwin) gets sent to prison. Thus, Jasmine is forced to move in with her adopted sister (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco, raising the question of who are the real losers in this existential dramedy. “Cate Blanchett sets the new standard for actors portraying wildly dysfunctional people,” says Aisle Seat. And Cinema Autopsy calls it “one of Allen's cleverest and most compassionate films, making it also one of his greatest.”

From a look at voice-over actors by Lake Bell to the voice of one of our greatest filmmakers Woody Allen, Tropic Cinema comes across loud and clear.

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