Friday, February 7, 2014

Week of February 7 to February 13 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Academy Award Nominees Line Up at Tropic Cinema

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Gearing up for the Academy Awards, the Tropic Cinema is showing a frontrunner for Best Foreign Language film, previewing another Best Foreign Language Film contender, screening the Oscar nominated shorts (animation, life action, and documentary), holding over a multiple-nominated drama, and continuing a sentimental favorite.

“The Great Beauty” is Italy’s entry as Best Foreign Language Film. It’s the story of a 65-year-old wastrel reflecting back on his life. Some compare its societal view as being reminiscent of “La Dolce Vita.” Tampa Bay Times says, “Cut from similarly sexy and satirical cloth as Federico Fellini's masterworks a half-century ago, Paolo Sorrentino's movie glides like reverie, probing the emptiness that can result from living a full life.” LarsenOnFilm sees it as "...a sumptuous elegy." And Milwaukee Journal Sentinel calls it “intelligently observed and staggeringly beautiful.”

On Tuesday night there’s a one-off showing of “Broken Circle Breakdown,” a Belgian film that’s also up for Best Foreign Language Film. It introduces us to Didier and Elisa, a couple who bluegrass music and share the heartbreak of a sickly daughter. Chicago Reader says it “swings like a pendulum between elation and despair.” And Times-Picayune notes “it is at turns sweet, romantic, funny and heartbreaking.”

Also showing are the Oscar nominated shorts. These include such entries as Mickey Mouse going on a wagon ride, a friendly witch and her cat flying off on a broom, Mr. Hublot receiving a robot pet, an aid worker encountering an African child soldier, a woman finding refuge from her abusive husband, a 109-year-old pianist, a gay man encountering a Neo-Nazi who attacked him when he was a teen, an environmental sculptor who carves sandstone caves in New Mexico. And more. New York Times declares, “The animated shorts are especially outstanding.“ And Philadelphia Inquirer says “See them all ... You won't be sorry.”

“August: Osage County” is holding over. This is an epic battle between two great actresses, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, as mother and daughter in a family wracked by a suicide. As the relatives gather, sparks fly in this generational battle for control. notes that “Tracy Letts adapts his own prize-winning play into a blistering depiction of one of cinema's most dysfunctional families ever.” And ReelViews observes that it’s “all about the acting.”

And still playing is “Labor Day,” the romantic drama about an escaped murderer (Josh Brolin) who falls for his captive (Kate Winslet) and her son. And on this lingering Labor Day in 1987, the feelings are reciprocated. Leonard Maltin says, “Kate Winslet is completely believable as a woman who can no longer face even the simplest tasks and Josh Brolin brings both warmth and effortless authority to his character.” NewsBlaze calls it “a defiant romance.” And FILMINK tells us that it’s “surprisingly effective material for the filmmaker, who reveals that he also possesses a deft hand when it comes to relaying big, earnest emotions.”

Not a one of these films should be missed.

No comments: