Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week of October 24 - 30 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Crams 7 Riveting Films Onto Its Screens

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

For an indie theater with 4 screens, the Tropic Cinema is packing them in -- 7 gotta-see-em films playing there this week!
An interesting bit of British history is found in "Pride," the uplifting story about a group of gays and lesbians who traveled to Wales to support striking miners back in 1984. An odd coupling, these flamboyant activists and homophobic miners, you will enjoy watching them find common ground through a dance demo. Boston Globe calls it "A funny, moving, audience-rousing experience, one that comes out of the closet without quite leaving the safety of the Britcom genre." And Philadelphia Inquirer points out that it "takes a footnote in the history of Britain’s crippling yearlong industrial action and gives it a human face."

"Men, Women & Children" holds over, exploring the invasive impact of digital technology on our (sex) life. The families herein (Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, and a great ensemble cast) share their overlapping stories. Movie Habit terms it a "densely populated cautionary tale that offers good performances." And agrees, noting that "there are ideas on our wi-fi culture contained within that deserve exploration…"

"This Is Where I Leave You" offers Jane Fonda as the matriarch overseeing her family (Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, and Kathryn Hahn) at a wake. Empire Magazine calls it "a dream cast are on good form in a film that makes you want to call your siblings, but very glad you don't live with them." And Common Sense Media sums it up as "dramedy mines dysfunction for laughs."

You’ll like "The Judge," a courtroom drama with a hotshot lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) returning to a small Indiana town to defend his estranged father (Robert Duval), a judge. The Guardian declares, "There are plenty of emotional fireworks in this big, soupy but entertaining picture, which is obvious Oscar bait." And Denver Post concludes, "There are a number of fine reasons to see the courtroom-meets-family melodrama... As you might suspect, two stand out: actors Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr."

And a little-known Patricia Highsmith book makes it to the screen. "The Two Faces of January" is a thriller about a trio of swindlers on the run in Greece (Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Dunst, and Oscar Isaac). Minneapolis Star Tribune calls it "A stylish directorial debut for screenwriter Hossein Amini." And Seattle Times comments, "Things get awfully twisted under that hot Mediterranean sun."

You’ll get hardcore action in "The Equalizer," starring Denzel Washington as an ex-covert ops guy who takes on the Russian mob. Don’t bet on the bad guys as our hero displays 50 way to kill your enemies. SSG Syndicate observes, "Denzel Washington propels this crime drama, challenging Liam Neeson as the new aging action hero." And Schmoes Knows adds, "Denzel’s performance and the film’s high-voltage action premise make it one to watch this fall season."

And if you haven’t seen it yet (I’ve seen it three times) you’ll definitely want to catch "Gone Girl," the talked-about marital thriller with a husband (Ben Affleck) suspected of murdering his wife (Rosamund Pike). It has more twists than a serpent. Spectrum calls it "A dark, disturbing walk down the aisle of matrimonial madness, and an unforgettable one at that." Mountain Xpress says, "Deeply cynical, darkly funny, sometimes brutal, very powerful filmmaking that may make you a little queasy, but will almost certainly entertain you to no end." And Flicks sums it up, "This superior thriller arrives at a time when Hollywood mostly seems to have forgotten how to make ‘em."



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