Thursday, May 15, 2014

Week of May 16 to May 22 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Catch Up on Some Terrific Films at the Tropic

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

This is a week of second chances at the Tropic Cinema.

If you missed the New York Film Critics Series advanced showing of “Locke,” here’s another chance to see it. This is a quiet drama about a married man whose life is crumbling around him as he drives through the night toward London to see his pregnant girlfriend. Tom Hardy’s one-man performance (assisted by a few voices on his cell phone) is riveting … even without any action sequences or settings other than the interior of a car. The Denver Post says, “The mistakes that have him in the driver’s seat, but hardly in control, are terribly human and all too familiar.”

On the other hand, if you’ve been hankering for some slam-bam 3-D action adventure, you can catch this second run of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Starring Chris Evans as Cap, this is one of the best of Marvel’s superhero blockbusters. Columbus Alive calls it “a layered and paranoid espionage thriller, what you'd get if John le Carre took a stab at the superhero genre.” And Cinema Signals says it “may be the most thoughtful instance of character depth in a comic-born action extravaganza.”

Still playing at the Tropic is the so-called Woody Allen movie “Fading Gigolo.” Fact is, this sex comedy was actually written by, directed by, and stars John Turturro. “It’s like a Woody Allen movie -- same music, same shtick -- but without the uneasy moral takeaways,” explains Big Hollywood. Woody merely co-stars, playing a nebbish bookseller who decides to pimp out his pal (Turturro) to lovelorn women (Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara among them). Cleveland Plain Dealer describes it as “a sweet, touching film (though a tad contrived at times) that provides some good laughs.”

And, yes, you can still see “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Perhaps Wes Anderson’s best movie, this stylized fantasy tells of a European hotel concierge (Ralph Fiennes) who is falsely accused of murder (Tilda Swinton being the supposed victim). 3AW calls it “another visually scrumptious cinematic doily from America’s master of over-designed whimsy.” And St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, “After feeding on this sweet buffet, sated cinephiles will want to call the front desk to extend their stay.”

However, if you’ve already caught up on all those movies, there’s also new fare at the Tropic. “The Railway Man” is based on a true story of a WWII vet (Oscar-winner Colin Firth) still tormented by his treatment as a Japanese prisoner of war. So he contemplates the age-old question: Is revenge a dish best served cold? Toronto Star observes, “The quality of mercy isn’t just strained … it’s measured out by the teaspoonful.” And Seattle Times adds, “The truth of what happened to him is devastating; the truth of how he found forgiveness in his soul is astonishing.”

Yes, life does offer second chances -- especially at the movies.

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