Thursday, June 26, 2014

Week of June 6/27 to July 3 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Awash with Romantic Comedies … and Adventure!

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Rom-coms headline this week at the Tropic Cinema -- one embracing controversy, another an intellectual exercise, and the third is a weeper. But all are about finding love.

“Obvious Child” is both funny and daunting. Sometimes called “the abortion movie,” it’s the story of a would-be stand-up comedian who gets pregnant from a one-night stand. But can she find the man of her dreams in a guy she hardly knows? Newcity exclaims, “Jenny Slate? Here comes a great comedy star in a smart, conversational, bluntly funny, certainly subversive rom-com.” And Toronto Star opines, “Director Gillian Robespierre and company deserve high praise for tackling a story with such a difficult subject at its heart, with a combination of grace, humor and courage.”

Meanwhile, “Words and Pictures” is a showcase for Clive Owen as a writing professor and Juliette Binoche as an art instructor who clash over their chosen fields. But is the argument about words and pictures, or about their burgeoning relationship? Fresno Bee says the film “resonates with a clever and endearing energy that harkens back to the days when Doris Day and Rock Hudson dominated the box office.” And Boston Herald concludes, “The glorious leads make this work.”

Incoming is “The Fault in Our Stars,” the story of two teenagers (Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort) who meet and fall in love at a cancer support group. Contactmusic.dom says, “Based on the beloved novel by John Green, this film is so squarely slanted toward teen girls that it is likely to annoy everyone else.” Little White Lies counters, “Suck up the saccharine, let it into your heart, and deal with it.”

Still playing is “Chef,” a comedy about renewed romance … and food. Jon Favreau wrote, directed, and stars in this tale of a fancy chef who offends a food critic. The Daily Star says, “This generous, big-hearted, funny and touching little film goes down a treat.” And Minneapolis Star Tribune observes, “It’s a refreshing change of pace from typical summer fare, a story not framed around the skeleton of an old TV series or designed as a tie-in to Hasbro toys.”

Held over is “Ida,” a visually stark Polish film about a woman’s lost identity. About to enter the convent, Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) discovers that she’s really named Ida, the daughter of Jewish parents executed by the Nazis. Detroit News says, “In the end, Ida has to confront where she’s come from, decide who she is and who she wants to be. Then again, don’t we all?” And Looking Closer adds, “Anna’s journey will leave her deeply conflicted about what she has seen, just as I feel conflicted about this film. It’s been three weeks, and I can’t stop thinking about her.”

And offering some mind-clearing action is “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” In this story based on a Marvel comic book series, adamantium-clawed Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent into the past to affect events that have led to a war between mutants and robots. Dark Horizons calls it “ambitious and epic in scale and intimate in execution.” And Cinema Crazed declares it to be “a perfectly fine reboot for a series in dire need of one, as well as a very good and exciting X-Men film all around.”

Love, adventure, cancer, unexpected pregnancy, Nazis, and food … it’s all here on the screens at the Tropic.

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