Friday, January 10, 2014

Week of January 10 thru January 16 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

“Her” Heads Up Great Tropic Lineup

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

For Christmas I got an iPhone 5S just so I could talk with Siri, the disembodied woman who lives inside the smart phone. That’s the theme of “Her,” the story of a lonely guy who gets a phone with an operating system named Samantha. In this rom-com for the high-tech age, you’ll be engrossed in the sweet relationship between the mope (Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Flick Filosopher says, “It’s the rise of the machines as romantic dramedy, and the Singularity as romantic tragedy. It’s the nicest, gentlest sci-fi horror film ever.” And John Hanlon Reviews adds that it’s “an intoxicating and profound romantic drama that offers new insights into our dependence on technology.”

For those of you who have been hesitant to see a three-hour movie about a guy who makes Gordon Gekko look like a saint, overcome your resistance because this is Martin Scorsese at his most no-holds-barred filmmaking. Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a real-life penny-stock swindler named Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a man who went to prison after bilking millions from investors. But before getting caught, he and his partners let a life of unfettered debauchery, snorting coke, partying with strippers, sailing on a humongous yacht, living the high life. You’ll see it all here in a movie that The Atlantic describes as “a magnificent black comedy: fast, funny, and remarkably filthy.” The New Yorker tells us that  “Scorsese unleashes a furious, yet exquisitely controlled, kinetic energy, complete with a plunging and soaring camera, mercurial and conspicuous special effects, counterfactual scenes, subjective fantasies, and swirling choreography on a grand scale.”

“Saving Mr. Banks” is sticking around to feed you a spoonful of sugar while telling how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) coaxed the movie rights for “Mary Poppins” from its grumpy British author Pamela Travers (brilliantly played by Emma Thompson). Philadelphia Inquirer calls it “smart, delightful.” And The Sun Herald says, “As far as family entertainment goes, there’s very little to fault with this rather delightful and moving picture.”

“Philomena” gives us Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in a true story about a simple Irish woman searching for her lost son with the help of an out-of-work journalist. Passionate Moviegoer sees it as “at once heartbreaking, entertaining and humbling.” And Washington Post notes: “At its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty.”

Yes, you’ll find it all here at the Tropic -- evil nuns, Uncle Walt, slick unrepentant hustlers, and an iPhone to love.

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