Friday, February 21, 2014

Week of February 21 to February 27 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Continues to Be Oscar Central

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Cooke Communications Film Critic

Are you ready for the Oscars on March 2nd? Tropic Cinema continues its campaign to help you catch many of the Academy Award contenders.

Back by popular demand is “Philomena,” the story of a disgraced journalist helping an Irish woman search for her child given away for adoption by the nuns. Steve Coogan wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay and stars as the journalist. Dame Judi Dench is up for Best Actress in the title role. The film also received nods for Best Picture and Best Original Score. Washington Post observes, “At its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty.” And Sly Fox sees it as “a poignant meditation on motherhood.”

Also returning is director Steve McQueen’s powerful drama, “12 Years a Slave.” This is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery. Chiwetel Ejiofor is nominated for his moving portrayal of Northup. Movie Talk says the film “tackles America’s primal sin of slavery with unflinching honesty.” And Concrete Playground calls it “An unflinching, uncomfortable and entirely necessary modern classic.”

“August: Osage County” holds over, with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts vying for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. The pair spar following a death in the family in this drama about a dysfunctional Oklahoma clan. Sky Movies says, “You'll find something to empathize with even if you don't want to.” And Dark Horizon notes “The movie is wholly an actors' vehicle.”

Disney’s “Frozen” retells a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about the Snow Queen, earning Oscar nods as Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Let It Go”). FILMINK says, “The expected Disney components are on display, from gleaming imagery to catchy songs to engaging humor.”

“American Hustle” leads the pack, with a staggering ten Academy Award nominations -- Best Picture, all four Best Acting slots (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence), Best Director (David O. Russell), plus Costume Design, Editing, Production Design, and Original Screenplay). Screenwize says, “Wide characters, deep storytelling, bad hair and a great 1970s soundtrack fill this stylishly seductive comedy about small time con artists working their way up the food chain.” Passionate Moviegoer calls it “compulsively watchable.”

And for those less interested in the 86th Academy Awards, “Girl on a Bicycle” offers a sex farce about a bus driver playing papa with a French model’s kids without his fiancĂ©e’s knowledge. The New York Times tells us “It's all light as a feather, with Jeremy Leven, the writer and director, landing some good multinational jokes along the way.”

The Tropic keeps us up-to-date on must-see movies.

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