Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Week of June 13 to June 19 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Six Terrific Movies Squeezed Onto Four Tropic Cinema Screens

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Wow! Another great week at the Tropic Cinema. We have six films to fill the screens.

“Palo Alto” is a new movie by Gia Coppola (granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola). Here’s a close-up look at the restless teens in that same-named city. Based on a collection of short stories by actor James Franco, we find a kid named Teddy (Jack Kilmer) doing community service for a DUI, while pining for April (Emma Roberts), a girl involved with the high-school soccer coach. Arizona Republic says it’s “another movie by another Coppola about the lives of the rich, bored and disaffected, but that description sells the movie short.” And Canada.com observes, “The movie brings back all the emotional flotsam of youth, and lets the viewer scavenge the debris for lost treasure.”

Also new to Tropic screens is “Test,” a story that examines the advent of the AIDs epidemic in 1985 San Francisco. A dancer (Scott Marlowe) finds that anonymous gay sex can be risky. Movie Mezzanine calls it “an evocative portrait of an in-between moment of history, one of the periods where no one is quite sure what’s going on and everything seems to be in question.” And Independent says, “The film pinpoints an important historical moment, and gives some sense of how bad even San Francisco could be for the gay community, less than 30 years ago.”

Another entry is “Neighbors,” where we find a young couple (Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne) annoyed by the frat boys (Zac Efron et al.) who party next door. Movie Habit calls it “a gross-out comedy that parties hard.” And Film Threat describes it as “a leave-your-brain-at-home flick.”

“The Immigrant” tells about a Polish immigrant (Marion Cotillard) who is exploited by a New York pimp (Joaquin Phoenix), her only hope being a seedy stage magician (Jeremy Renner). One Guy’s Opinion says it’s “a very melodramatic picture ... yet it's remarkably evocative and compelling, almost compulsively watchable.” And John Hanlon Reviews opines, “Marion Cotillard offers up one of her best performances in this painful but thought-provoking drama.”

Still playing is “Chef,” Jon Favreau’s fable about a hot L.A. chef who gets fired for insulting a powerful food critic, but finds salvation in managing a rundown taco truck. Raleigh News & Observer says, “Like all good foodie movies, ‘Chef’ works not only because of the cooking scenes, but because it is a beautiful portrayal of the passion and love the best chefs have while cooking food for other people.” And St. Louis Post-Dispatch adds, “Best of all is Favreau. Instead of mass-producing another superhero epic, he has given the overfed public a dish of right-sized comfort food.”

Finally, we have this year’s big monster movie, “Godzilla.” Shown in 3-D, we encounter the giant reptile fighting MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms), while a disgraced scientist and his son (Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) try figure out what’s going on. Slate tells us “It’s a smooth, sleek, technologically awe-inspiring 3-D blockbuster with a top-shelf cast.” Concrete Playground calls it “a proper-sized blockbuster, where the humans are wholly incidental.” And Reno News and Review sums it up: “THIS IS A GODZILLA MOVIE ... AND IT RULES!!!”

A half-dozen films squeezed onto the Tropic’s four screens … leaving not a moment to have your attention wander.


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