Friday, September 5, 2014

Week of Sept. 5 to Sept. 11 (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

From Robin Hood to Romance, the Tropic Will Steal Your Heart

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Two new films and three worth-seeing holdovers fill this week’s screens at the Tropic Cinema.

“The Last of Robin Hood” is not about that philanthropic green-clad robber who lived in Sherwood Forest. Rather, it’s about matinee idol Errol Flynn who starred in that classic movie about him. Here though, the film focuses on the legendary Lothario's last fling with a 15-year-old Lolita named Beverly Aadland. Perfect casting has Kevin Kline as Flynn, Dakota Fanning as his young lover, and Susan Sarandon as the girl’s avaricious stage mother. Reeling Reviews says, “The reason to see ‘The Last of Robin Hood’ is a spot on performance by Kevin Kline as the aged icon.” And Austin Chronicle describes it as combing “shredded bits of biography, scandal-sheet gossip-mongering, and philosophical retrospective.”

Also new is “Land Ho!” This cinematic rom follows to 60-plus former brothers-in-law (played by Paul Eenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson) as they tour Iceland, a journey that will fascinate you with its snowy scenery, geysers, and bleak beaches as the two men argue, quibble, and come to terms with life. Think of it as a travelogue that maps the lives to two wayward men. Fort Worth Star Telegram calls it “a sweetly simple tale that underscores what we already know but too often forget: Adventurism and finding your bliss are not just for the young.” And One Guy’s Opinion says it’s “a genial but meandering tale...that sneaks up on you if you'll give it a chance, the charm gradually winning you over.”

Holding over is “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” the feel-good foodie movie starring Helen Mirren as a French restaurateur who takes umbrage when an Indian family tries to open Maison Mumbai across the street. From culture clash to romance to kitchen competition, you’ll walk away with a smile. Globe and Mail sees it as “a movie about good food, and one man's passion for cooking,” while Guardian calls it “good-natured, undemanding fun.”

If you prefer action, you’ll get it aplenty with “Lucy,” the sci-fi film starring Scarlett Johansson as a woman who inadvertently encounters a drug that allows her to use 100% of her mind. And that opens up powers that confound the Korean drug lords on her trail as she levitates then, outraces them, and smacks them about. Morgan Freeman is on hand to offer scientific explanation to her newly acquired superpowers. Village Voice notes that “Scarlett Johansson carries the film effortlessly.” And The Playlist says the movies is “all math: one beautiful superstar (a game Scarlett Johansson), one Morgan Freeman (Morgan Freeman), a chase, some fights, superpowers, a brief moment of transcendence, gorgeous colors, all wrapped up in an 80-minute bow.”

Rounding out this week’s offerings is “Wish I Was Here,” Zach Braff’s thoughtful and funny look at a guy who learns something about life when he elects to home school his kids. Tri-City Herald says “this is deep, wonderful stuff and is the year's best feel-good movie.” And San Francisco Chronicle calls it “a funny, touching movie that features one of Kate Hudson's best performances and a curmudgeonly good one from Mandy Patinkin.”

Five movies, one great venue!

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