Saturday, August 23, 2014

Week of August 22 to August 28 (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

Tropic Cinema Offers Forgiveness, Music, Thrills, Food, and Magic

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Yes, the five films playing this week at the Tropic are totally different, a grab bag of cinematic themes. But each has its own appeal.

New to Tropic screens is “Calvary,” the story of an Irish priest whose life is threatened in the confessional by a man who claims to be a childhood victim of abuse by a priest. Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is targeted because he’s a good man whose death will have more impact on the church than a bad one. Will forgiveness save him? Seattle Times says the film “serves as a marvelous showcase for Gleeson, a great old-lion actor who shows, in the film's many close-ups, a quiet, weary yet unbending faith, and a face on which emotion can play like a wave on the beach.” And Austin Chronicle calls it “a film that will needle its way into your psyche.”

Rocking the house is “Get On Up,” the musical biopic about James Brown (well portrayed by Chadwick Boseman). From Brown’s turbulent childhood to his turbulent adulthood, you’ll see his life in flashbacks … including the historic T.A.M.I show where he upstaged the Rolling Stones. (Note: Mick Jagger is one of the film’s producers.) Killer Movie Reviews says, “It is as kinetic and as kaleidoscopic as the radical new approach to music Brown introduced.” And Christian Science Monitor observes that “the Brown who emerges from this film has a monstrous ego to go with his monster talent.”

Action fans have “Lucy.” Here is Scarlett Johansson as a woman who exhibits super powers after a drug sewed into her stomach by smugglers is ruptured. Morgan Freeman is cast as the scientist who best understands how her mental abilities have been enhanced by this dose of CPH4. Little White Lies queries, “Who remembers the last good Luc Besson movie? Time to reset that particular clock, as he’s returned with a stormer.” And Irish Independent calls it “a brash, breezy and breathlessly paced thriller.”

Holding over is “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” a foodilicious treat. Helen Mirren is the owner of a French restaurant who is faced with an Indian eatery opening up across the street. It’s a rom-com of sorts, as she battles with papa while the promising young Indian cook woos her sous-chef. Herald Sun says, “The culinary craft on display is indeed mouth-watering, but it is the film's winning collection of wonderful characters that will truly satisfy all tastes.” But Common Sense Media boils it down to: “Cultures clash in the kitchen in warm family drama.”

And wrapping it up is Woody Allen’s new entry, “Magic In the Moonlight.” Here a famous magician (Colin Firth) sets out to expose a fake medium (Emma Stone) at the peril of his own empty heart. Austin American-Statesman notes that “love makes the magic in Woody Allen’s latest movie.” And Ozus’ World Movie Reviews concludes, “The 78-year-old’s 44th film … though weak, is still better than most films out there.”

That’s this week’s grab bag at the Tropic. Reach in and take out a prize.

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