Saturday, May 31, 2014

Week of May 30 to June 5 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Romances, Epics, Dramas, Documentaries  --
Something for Everybody at the Tropic

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

A vampire romance, a comic-book adventure, and a historical drama highlight this week’s films at the Tropic Cinema. That is to say, a film by an acclaimed indie director, a mainstream blockbuster, and a British historical piece … something for everybody!

“Only Lovers Left Alive” is the latest offering by idiosyncratic filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (“Mystery Train,” “Night on Earth”). Here we have the story of two vampires (Tim Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton), still in love after all those centuries. Detroit News says, “Somehow it's all very entertaining and weird and fitting, with Detroit looking like a place any vampire would be happy to be.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch declares that it “breathes new and intriguing life into the vampire genre.” And Miami Herald sums up the plot: “Even vampires get the blues.”

Marvel’s “Amazing Spider-Man 2” swings into the Tropic with the further adventures of the your favorite superhero, Spidey (Andrew Garfield). Here he faces Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan). Richard Roeper observes that it has an “overstuffed plot and too many villains, but the visual effects pop, and Garfield/Stone are still better than Maguire/Dunst.” And Baret News describes it as “a Marvel-ously entertaining franchise that miraculously just keeps on giving and giving!” And

You can still catch “Belle,” the historical drama about the illegitimate daughter of a slave (portrayed by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who was raised as a British aristocrat. Based on a true story, it tells how Belle’s uncle, the Lord Magistrate (Tom Wilkinson), helped abolish slavery in England.. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says, “Its ‘Downton Abbey’ settings, dresses like tiered and frosted wedding cakes, romance-novel d√©colletage, men in powdered wigs and elaborate 18th-century courtship rituals may be the stuff of Jane Austen, but the story is decidedly not.” And Viginia Pilot calls it “a wonderfully informative film while being entertaining at the same time.”

Holding over is “Chef,” Jon Favreau’s look at the foibles of a fancy L.A. cook who insults a food critic. Philadelphia Inquirer calls it a “bouncy paean to the culinary arts.” And Sacramento Bee tells us it’s “savvy but not cynical, soaked in atmosphere … Favreau's return to independent film immerses its audience in its likable lead character's failures, triumphs and food.”

And speaking of food, “Fed Up” is a documentary that will change the way you eat. This warning takes on your sweet tooth and the dangers of sugar in 80% of the foods found on your supermarket shelves. Chicago Sun-Times notes, “Director Stephanie Soechtig gathers activists, doctors, kids, lobbyists, parents, politicians, reporters and teachers -- all with different stakes.” And Christian Science Monitor advises, “You don't want to be downing Raisinets while watching this film.”

From bloodsuckers to candy suckers, that’s a wide range this week at the Tropic Cinema.

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