Thursday, July 17, 2014

Week of July 18 to July 24 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

The Crowded Screens at the Tropic Cinema -- We Love It!

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

How many movies can you squeeze onto four movie screens? This week the answer to that puzzle is seven, nearly two per theater at the Tropic Cinema.

These seven films showing at the Tropic range from holdovers to second runs to brand new offerings.

If you haven’t heard Keira Knightley sing, there’s still time. Director John Carney’s “Begin Again” is holding over. This musical traces a Brit songwriter’s lovelorn visit to New York City. Film Racket calls it “a light and dancing comedy about fresh starts.” And adds, “The wholesome, hopeful, let's-put-on-a-show enthusiasm may sound hokey but it's actually infectiously joyful.”

Also holding over is another tuneful movie, “Jersey Boys.” Clint Eastwood directed this biopic about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. All of those doo-wop song you love are here in this film based on the Broadway play. Total Film calls it “a solid watch that seeks to deepen the emotion of the jukebox musical.” And The Standard gives it “an extra star for its excellent songs.”

You also have another chance to see “Maleficent,” the Snow White fairy tale seen from the viewpoint of the wicked enchantress. And Angelina Jolie makes such a beautiful witch. Irish Independent says, “It's a spectacular thing, the sets and shots matching Jolie's remarkable face.” And advises you to “watch Angelina Jolie devour of the scenery in the role she was born for. The camp factor alone is worth the price of admission.”

Another fanciful ride is “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” the animated sequel to that story about the Viking boy who befriends a flying, fire-breathing dragon. SFX Magazine says, “Bigger, braver and even more visually rewarding than the original, it’s an ambitious attempt to extend the scope of its predecessor without sacrificing the charm, humor and excitement that made that so appealing.” And opines that it’s “quite possibly the best action-adventure movie of the year.” High praise indeed.

“22 Jump Street” is another sequel about those sophomoric undercover cops played by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Chicago Reader exudes, “This sequel to the hit action comedy ‘21 Jump Street’ is better all around: the pacing is more consistent, the sight gags more imaginative, the self-referential jokes sharper.” And SSG Syndicate calls it “subversively satisfying.”

End-of-the-Word sci-fi is found in “Snowpiercer,” the dystopian tale about a supertrain that carries the survivors of a global warming disaster on an endless journey. New Yorker pronounces it as being “Violent, often absurd, but full of brilliant surprises.” Newsday describes it as “a summer movie with a social conscience.” And Three Movie Buffs call it “one of the few surprises of the summer and one that deserves a much wider audience.”

Last but not least (as they say) is “Life Itself,” a documentary that allows us to better know the late film critic Roger Ebert. He was a man who knew how to get the most out of life itself. Rotten Tomatoes describes it as “a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful, and transcendent.” CinemaDope finds it “fascinating, engaging, and life-affirming ‒ without being in the least mawkish.” And Us Weekly concludes, “As this riveting documentary proves, two thumbs up made up only a small part of the total man.”

Seven films, count ‘em. That’s many pleasurable hours in a darkened theater letting your imagination enjoy the feast.

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