Thursday, October 2, 2014

Week of October 3 - 9 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview
Tropic Lineup Ranges from Marriage Dramas to Noirish Murder, Fashion Statements to Funny Books Epics

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Cooke Communications Film Critic

Every week Tropic Cinema amazes us with its smorgasbord of film selections. This lineup offer that bountiful variety we’ve come to expect.

No, "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" is not a murder mystery. It’s kind of three-films-in-one about a disintegrating marriage. The story is told from Her viewpoint, His viewpoint, and then Them. Jessica Chastain is the titular Eleanor and James McAvoy is her unhappy husband Connor. Oregonias explains that it’s "an edited-together version of two movies that explain the dissolution of a marriage from different viewpoints." And Chicago Reader finds it "maturely written, richly characterized, and flawlessly acted."

Attention, fashionistas! Here is the story of haute couture maven Yves Saint Laurent (played by Pierre Niney). Simply titled "Yves Saint Laurent," it’s an incisive profile from filmmaker Jalil Lespert. Globe and Mail calls it "sumptuously shot and competently assembled." However, We Got This Covered observes that this is "an elegantly filmed and exceptionally acted biopic that may be too tasteful a drama for such a ravishing figure."

"My Old Lady" pits Kevin Kline against Maggie Smith as a recalcitrant tenant in his inherited Parisian apartment. Arcane laws say he has to pay her to live there, so -- what the heck -- he moves in with the old woman and her daughter. Newsdays says, "What starts as an elaborate sitcom becomes an emotionally substantial tragicomedy." And Arizona Republic adds, "One finds oneself wishing to spend many a dinner with Smith and Kline as conversation partners, as their banter is both humorous and razor-edged."

"Love Is Strange" pairs John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a newly married gay couple who find that marriage equality is not a smooth ride. But won’t love conquer all? Groucho Reviews says, "It explores a universal theme of dealing with life's unexpected derailments and trying to get back on track." And SSG Syndicate calls it "gentle and bittersweet."

"The Drop" gives you a noirish Dennis Lehane story about a mysterious Brooklyn bartender who adopts a pit bull and keeps his head low … until he can’t ignore a ten-year-old murder any longer. Denver Post describes it as "a slow-cooking set-up for a startling climax. One, thanks to fine acting, that comes with powerful revelations." And East Bay Express tags it as "top-quality genre filmmaking."

"The Skeleton Twins" puts Saturday Night Live alums Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader together as estranged twins in this dour drama. Kansas City Star sees it as "a profoundly moving study of two damaged characters." And Columbus Alive says, "You might be expecting a comedy. You won't get what you expect, You get something better."

"Guardians of the Galaxy" is another Marvel comic book blockbuster featuring a lesser-known superhero, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and his merry band of interplanetary screw-ups (Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, and Vin Diesel). Plenty of action, great special effects, and funny! Cinema Sights calls it "The most fun film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe." And Grantland says, "When the credits are over, all you want to do is get back in line and enjoy the whole thing again."

There you have it -- from marriage dramas to noirish murder, fashion statements to funny books -- it’s all at the Tropic.


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