Thursday, September 18, 2014

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 19 - 25 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview
Familiar Faces Return to the Screen at the Tropic Cinema

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

 It is a week of returns: Actor Tom Hardy again claiming the screen, Pierce Brosnan back again in a Bond-like role, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon taking to the road again.

Last time we saw British actor Tom Hardy, he was driving to London in a movie called “Locke,” having intense phone conversations along the way. Now he’s back, but this time as a Brooklyn bartender in a taut crime drama called “The Drop.” The title is a reference to a bar where mobsters drop off money to be laundered. Based on a Dennis Lehane short story, you can count on a murder. ReelViews tells us, “The movie doesn’t pull surprises out of thin air for the sole purpose of shocking an audience -- it lets them develop naturally.” And Andrew O’Hare of says, “I found this dark odyssey through an amoral dream Brooklyn curiously invigorating; it’s a masterful construction that held me rapt from first shot to last…”

“The November Man” marks Pierce Bronson’s return as a man with a license to kill. But this time he’s a retired assassin known as the November Man, up against the replacement killer he trained. “Bronson nails his tough, ruthless, bleak character,” says And Quad City Time trumpets, “Move over, Bond and Bourne.”

Also delivering plenty of action is “Lucy,” starring Scarlett Johansson as a young woman subjected to a drug that unleashes the unused parts of her brain, turning her into a super threat to Korean drug lords. Commercial Appeal says, “Director Luc Besson's most ambitious realization of his peculiarly exuberant notion of girl power.” And Grantland accurately calls it a combination of “Big Bang and bang-bang.”

Another movie that explores fantasy realms is “The Giver,” with Jeff Bridges as a keeper of knowledge in a dystopian future. It’s based on Lois Lowry’s popular YA novel. Urban Cinefile says, “With consummate skill, director Phillip Noyce orchestrates all the complexities of the tale and its parallels with the state of the world, blending together its fantasy and thriller elements with a rich emotional heart.” And AM/New York adds “It’s special because it focuses on the interior lives of its characters.”

Rounding out the lineup is “The Trip to Italy,” a gastronomical tour with that bickering improv team of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. This talk-and-travel outing is a sequel to their earlier film “The Trip.” Dallas Morning News says, “Where comedy provides the tonic in so many films, it’s the hint of reality that pushes in at the edges and changes the pace here.” And One Guy’s Opinion concludes: “Tagging along with these exaggerated versions of the two stars is just about as enjoyable the second time around.”

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