Friday, April 18, 2014

Week of April 18 to April 24 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema’s Movies Are Food for Thought

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Movies often remind me of other movies. Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. But here’s what this week’s lineup at the Tropic Cinema made me think of:

You will want to add “The Lunchbox” to your list of favorite food movies, for it is about … well, a lunchbox. This Indian film is really about romance, an affection that grows from handwritten notes passed back-and-forth in a mis-delivered lunchbox. Think: “Shop Around the Corner,” swapping love letters with a sight-unseen suitor. Detroit News says, “All meals should be this satisfying.” And Minneapolis Star Tribune calls it “a feast of delights, one of the best stories about the connection between food and love the movies have ever seen.”

If you’re more in the mood for noir you can catch “Rob the Mob,” a crime drama about a Queens couple (Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda) who stick up Mafia social clubs because nobody carries a gun there. But robbing the mob is not the healthiest hobby you can come up with. Think: “True Romance.” The San Francisco Chronicle notes the film’s “unexpected sweetness and vulnerability.” And We Got This Covered describes it as “a deceptively complex mafia epic and as a wildly entertaining, Bonnie and Clyde-esque romance.”

For the more serious viewer is “The Unknown Known,” a documentary by legendary filmmaker Errol Morris that takes its name from an enigmatic comment by Donald Rumsfeld. This profile covers the former US Secretary of Defense’s career from his early days as a congressman to the invasion of Iraq. Think: “The Fog of War.” Newsday observes, “Morris doesn't ‘break’ Rumsfeld, as some think he did McNamara. He has held a mirror up to the man, and found no reflection.” And Seattle Times sees it as “a portrait of a wartime leader determined to avoid, at any cost, an honest perspective.”

“Under the Skin” is a sci-fi thriller with Scarlett Johansson as a sexy alien who preys on men. Yes, the film has deeper meanings than a pretty beast sucking out men’s innards, but that’s enough to hook me. Think: “Species.” Austin Chronicle calls it “a cinematic happening near-guaranteed to get under your skin and into your head for far longer than is comfortable.” And Boston Herald concurs, “Sexy beast, indeed.”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is the much-anticipated Wes Anderson film about a suave hotel concierge (Ralph Fiennes) who gives personal attention to elderly blonde guests. When one dies (Tilda Swinton), he finds himself accused of murder by her greedy son (Adrien Brody). A stylistic comedy featuring Anderson’s usual repertoire company. Think: “Moonrise Kingdom” meets “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” ABC Radio calls it “a fairytale for adults.” 2UE That Movie Show finds it to be “a work of visceral, madcap comedic genius.” And Denver Post dubs it “elegantly zany.”

What wonderful variety -- don’t you think?

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