Friday, December 6, 2013

Week of December 6 to December 12 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Time Travels From Civil War to WWII to
Beat Generation to Now!

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Key West “Howlings” columnist Mark Howell is an expert on the Beat Generation, so I’ve promised to take him to see “Kill Your Darlings,” a film set around the NY literary movement sparked by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. This tells the story of David Kammerer’s murder by Lucien Carr, a lynchpin in the group. Time Out observes that “Daniel Radcliffe is back in a pair of nerdy specs as Allen Ginsberg in this sincere, heartfelt film about how the gay beat poet found his voice.” And St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes it as “a coming-of-age chronicle that morphs into a crime story without missing a beat.”

Moviegoers are raving about “The Book Thief,” a story set in a small German village during WWII. A young girl discovers the joy of reading and the hope that books instill, while Nazis are searching houses for the Jewish boy her stepparents are hiding. Dallas Morning News says, “Pretty visuals give an unexpectedly painful twist to other parts of the story.” And Detroit News opines that it “may not be perfect, but it may steal your heart.”

“12 Years A Slave” provides a different view of man’s inhumanity to man, the true story of a free black man kidnapped into slavery. Horrific in some ways, but inspiring in others. The New Republic says, “It is a film that necessity and education demand seeing.” And Cinema Writer goes so far as to term it “The film of the decade.”

In “All Is Lost” Robert Redford takes you on a sea cruise, one that will make you think twice about owning a yacht and sailing it alone on the Indian Ocean. No Somali pirates here, but the vicissitudes of nature make this an unforgettable voyage. The Denver Post says this is “very much Redford's triumph.” And Laramie Movie Scope observes, “This is a one man show. One man against the sea.”
Want a good laugh? “Last Vegas” will deliver it, a “Hangover” type comedy about four aging buddies -- Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Robert De Niro -- getting into trouble in Vegas. Globe and Mail calls it “a preholiday trifle that’s mildly risqué and a lot sentimental.” And the Guardian notes: “A good-natured bimbo of a movie, it’ll do just about anything to please you.”

“About Time” is one of my favorite little films of the year. It introduces us to a very unusual family where the men can (yes!) time travel. Domhnall Gleeson is the winning young man who sets his timing on Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy is his remarkable dad. The Times-Picayune says, “It’s smart and sweet and unabashedly sentimental. But it’s also the kind of movie that -- in spite of its faults -- strikes a bright, resonant wind-chime of a note.” And Film Threat adds, “It’s a charmer.”

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