Saturday, January 4, 2014

Week of January 3 to January 9 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

New Year Celebrations Continues at Tropic Cinema

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Tropic Cinema rang in the New Year by holding over four great films -- “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and “Saving Mr. Banks.”

“Nebraska” stars the venerable Bruce Dern as a Montana farmer determined to walk to Nebraska to claim a million-dollar sweepstakes prize he thinks he’s won. Will Forte plays his youngest son, torn between reality and helping his dad achieve his garbled dream. Time Out describes it as “an intimate road movie about one family that also lingers on the landscapes and fabric of an old-time, dying vision of the American Midwest.” And Minneapolis Star Tribune sees it as “a wonderful comedy shot in black-and-white and told in shades of gray.”

“Philomena” offers a terrific performance by Dame Judi Dench as the eponymous Irish woman searching for the son she gave away 50 years ago. Steve Coogan co-stars as the disgraced journalist helping her in this seemingly futile quest. The Washington Post notes that “at its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty.” And Passionate moviegoer finds it “at once heartbreaking, entertaining and humbling.”

In “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Martin Scorsese gives us his favorite actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) as a boiler-room financial manipulator who parties hardy, does drugs and dames, and steal money. Not exactly a cautionary tale, since the aforementioned wolf is barely punished for fleecing the sheep. The Atlantic calls it “a magnificent black comedy: fast, funny, and remarkably filthy.” And tags it as “a cynical, nasty satire.”

In “Saving Mr. Banks,” Tom Hanks takes on the affable persona of Walt Disney, cajoling the rights to “Mary Poppins” from grumpy author Pamela Travers (a great performance by Emma Thompson). Suite 101 says, “It’s every bit the charming confection you expect it to be, but it's also uncommonly and unexpectedly thoughtful about the troubles of the creative mind and the travails of the creative process.” And Denver Post observes, “It's more a spoonful of sugar than medicine for aging baby boomer's souls.”

So celebrate the New Year by catching up on the movies you meant to see in 2013.

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