Friday, July 25, 2014

Week of July 25 to July 31 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Six ‘Holdover’ Films at the Tropic Cinema -- Some New to You!

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Remember that long-ago slogan one of the television networks used to promote its summer reruns? “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.”

Well, I’d say the same thing about this week’s movie lineup at the Tropic Cinema. Most of this week’s films are holdovers from the week before … but if you haven’t seen one of these movies yet, it’s new to you.

“Begin Again” begins again this week, telling the story of a British songwriting duo (Keira Knightley and Adam Levine) who come to New York only to break up. As you might expect in a musical rom-com, Greta (Knightley) is discovered by a down-and-out music producer (Mark Ruffalo) and gets her big breakthrough. The New Yorker tells us it’s “another sappy but engaging musical fable from the Irish writer and director John Carney, who made ‘Once.’" But as adds, “The wholesome, hopeful, let's-put-on-a-show enthusiasm may sound hokey but it's actually infectiously joyful.”

“Jersey Boys” delivers plenty of music too. This biopic of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons traces their history from Jersey streets to the heights of success and down again. Not surprisingly, Atlantic City Weekly opines, “The movie is a rollercoaster ride that soars on the wings of the incredible music and then crashes into the mob element.” But as Laramie Movie Scope points out, “Fortunately, the music is very good and John Lloyd Young (who plays Frankie Valli) is a fine singer.”

“Maleficent” gives us the Snow White fairy tale from the other viewpoint -- that of the wicked enchantress (Angelina Jolie). Richard Roeper describes it as “admittedly great-looking, sometimes creepy.” And Christian Science Monitor tells us, “Disney was smart enough to cast Jolie. She has a genuinely heroic presence.”

“Snowpiercer” is a futuristic fairy tale, in a sense. Survivors of an end-of-the-world ice age ride a supertrain that’s compartmentalized by haves and have-nots. Chicago Sun-Times says, “The future is miserably dystopian as usual in this apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, but at least it's thoughtful, stylishly crafted, high-speed misery that keeps on hurtling relentlessly forward -- even though there's nowhere to go.” And Cinema Crazed calls it “a thought provoking science fiction masterpiece...”

“22 Jump Street” is the sequel to (you guessed it) “21 Jump Street,” an action comedy about two undercover policemen who pass themselves off as students. Channing Tatum plays the jock cop and Jonah Hill is the nerdy one. Dark Horizon observes that “the jokes are fresh and more often than not manage to produce some big laughs,” while Herald Sun concludes, “All you really need to know is that it's the cleverest sequel to a dumb movie of all time.”

And returning after its one-night stand as a New York Film Critics selection is “And So It Goes.” This geriatric rom-com pits an acerbic real estate broker (Michael Douglas) against a widowed singer (Diane Keaton) in this battle of the sexes from director Rob Reiner. Slant Magazine snipes, “It pairs Diane Keaton with Michael Douglas to simulate the sort of second-chance AARP romance that's intended to stimulate grizzled audiences who see one movie in theaters every three or four years.” But Hollywood Reporter reports that “the picture wins you over.”

All in all -- a great collection of “return engagements.” Make sure you don’t miss them.

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