Thursday, February 27, 2014

Week of February 28 to March 6 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Oscar Countdown at the Tropic Cinema

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

We’ve X’ed off the days on our calendar and the 86th Academy Awards is almost here. This year’s host is Ellen DeGeneres, that bobbed-hair out-of-the-closet television talk-show host who can make you laugh, cry, and connect.

Tropic Cinema has been leading up to the big event by screening nominated movies, documentaries, and shorts, giving you the opportunity to pick your own favorites. And on March 2nd the Tropic will host its annual Oscars party, with a live simulcast of the Red Carpet parade and the awarding of those coveted golden statuettes.

This week you still have a chance to catch several Oscar contenders showing on the Tropic’s screens.

“American Hustle,” with its ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and the four Best Acting categories, is still playing. A dark comedy about swindlers pressed into service by the FBI, it stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence. Denver Post writes that “Director David O. Russell and co-writer Eric Warren Singer grab hold of the FBI's long-time Abscam sting … as their kernel of truth, then Jiffy Pop it like mad.” And Passionate Moviegoers says, “Compulsively watchable, it's a crime film that dances.”

Also playing is “Philomena,” with four Oscar nods, inkling Best Picture and Best Actress. Dame Judi Dench takes the title role, an Irish woman in search of the son given away by nuns. Q Network Film Desk proclaims it “Equal parts uplifting tearjerker, odd-couple comedy, and righteous screed against abuse of power in the name of religion.” And Movie Habit says, “Dench triumphs.”

“12 Years a Slave” is up for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and the two supporting acting slots. Chiwetel Ejiofor gives us a strong performance as a free black man who was abducted into slavery in 1841. Movie Talk notes that the film “tackles America's primal sin of slavery with unflinching honesty,” And San Francisco Chronicle says, “It makes the unimaginable imaginable.”

Disney’s “Frozen” has been nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. This retelling of “The Snow Queen” fairy tale will dazzle adults and kids alike. Cinema sight calls it “a sweet, charming, musically diverse film.’ And tells us, “While the journey may seem overly familiar, the destination has some surprises in store.”

Rounding out the Tropic’s lineup is “Girl on a Bicycle,” the German comedy about a bus driver caught in a tug-of-war between his fiancée and a pretty girl on a bicycle. Arizona Republic sees it as “More dippy than romantic or funny.” And McClatchy-Tribune News Service notes its “Pretty actors and pretty Paris locations.”

And new this week is “Gloria,” the award-winning Chilean-Spanish film about a woman of a certain age. Paulina García has the title role, a 58-year-old woman looking for love. The Nation calls it “a feel-good movie that you don't have to feel bad for liking.” And Urban Cinefile says García gives “a knock-out performance.”

Hurry up! The Oscars are being handed out on Sunday night.

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