Friday, September 20, 2013

Week of September 20 to September 26 (Rhoades)

Four Gems Sparkle on Tropic Cinema Screens

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

New to the Tropic Cinema is “Short Term 12,” a gentle movie about a counselor at an at-risk foster home for teenagers. Brie Larson stars as Grace, the woman barely out of her teens who watches over these kids like a mother hen. But Grace has her own problems, including a romance with a co-worker. Even so, it's her charges -- Jayden and Marcus -- that give you the insights into this world. In addition to winning a Grand Jury Narrative Feature Award at SxSW, the critics have raved about this film. Chicago Sun-Times calls it “one of the best movies of the year and one of the truest portrayals ever seen about troubled teens and the people who dedicate their lives to trying to help them.” And St. Louis Post-Dispatch says “it's a redemptive and even funny film that invites us to stay and grow.”

Also coming to the Tropic is “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” the film that will likely garner Academy Award nominations for Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. This story of a White House butler who served eight presidents is really a look at the Civil Rights Movement. The New Yorker describes it as “a high-minded, didactic, but irresistible entertainment ...” And Denver Post says, “A history lesson in violence and endurance. A sentimental journey. A tribute. Director Daniels and the dedicated cast of The Butler deliver all that.”

Also holding over is “In a World …,” the Hollywood insider look at a voice coach who wants to break into the VO world where her father reigns king. This is Lake Bell’s showcase, a film that she wrote, produced, directed, and starred in. USA Today calls it “a clever, likable comedy that sends up sexism, satirizes Hollywood, examines family ties and features a surprisingly tender romance at its core.” Rolling Stone sees it as “an exhilarating comic rush.” And SSG Limited terms it a “savvy, screwball, feminist comedy gem.”

For those of you who missed Woody Allen’s latest outing, you can still catch “Blue Jasmine” at the Tropic. Cate Blanchett excels as Jasmine, a NY society wife who has fallen on bad times and must move to San Francisco to live with her adopted sister. This tragicomedy will have you debating which sister married the biggest loser. Cinema Autopsy writes that this is “one of Allen's cleverest and most compassionate films, making it also one of his greatest.” While the Salt Lake Tribune notes that “Allen includes some nicely offbeat casting choices ... but mostly he gives the floor to Blanchett, who captures Jasmine's Xanax-popping neuroses with flinty brilliance…” and Chicago Reader adds “This also benefits from one of the strongest casts he's assembled in years: 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.”

Four gems, sparkling on the Tropic screens.

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