Thursday, December 11, 2014

Week of December 12 - 18 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Seven Films Fill Tropic Cinema’s Screens

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Seven Film keep the four screens at the Tropic Cinema flickering! And they offer a wide variety of stories -- all of them must-sees.
Back by popular demand is "Gone Girl," one of the best thrillers of the year. This is the one where a husband (Ben Affleck) is accused of murdering his wife (Rosamund Pike), based on the diary that’s discovered after she goes missing. But you can count on plenty of twists and turns. Spectrum calls it "a dark, disturbing walk down the aisle of matrimonial madness, and an unforgettable one at that." Movie Dearest tells us it’s "the best, most satisfying mystery/psychological thriller in a long time." And 2UE promises that it "lives up to the hype."

"Force Majeure" is another look at family dynamics, as a Swedish family gets caught in an avalanche while having lunch in a ski lodge in the French Alps. Laramie Movie Scope describes it as "an emotionally powerful film about the struggles of people to deal with the restrictions and limitations of traditional male and female roles in modern marriage." And Oregonian says, "The laughter it provokes may be uneasy, but the ultimate emotional impact is quite real."

"The Theory of Everything" starts off as the tale of a young genius in love, but it takes a darker turn when he comes down with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This, of course, is a biopic about theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane (well played by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones). Detroit News sees it as "intimate scenes from a very specific and challenging marriage, warts, black holes and all." And St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls it "a brainy bio that exerts a gravitational pull on the heartstrings."

"St. Vincent" is a character study about a gnarly misanthrope (played perfectly by Bill Murray) who babysits his neighbor’s kid with questionable results. says, "Bill Murray shines in this story of a cynical grump whose life is changed by his friendship with a bright young kid." And Times observes, "Bill Murray eases into the role of cantankerous curmudgeon Vincent like it’s a pair of threadbare old board shorts that he’s had since the mid-1980s."

"Birdman" is a different kind of character study, one with a dash of the surreal. A washed-up actor (played close to the bone by Michael Keaton) tries to resuscitate his career with a Broadway play. Film Comment says, "What this extraordinary work does best is drop us into the mind of an actor beset by insecurities, vanity-project hubris, and that inner critic who simply won’t shut up, whisking us up into a dazzling, dizzyingly subjective whirlwind." And New Yorker sees it as "a white elephant of a movie that conceals a mouse of timid wisdom."

"Dear White People" hold up a satiric mirror to race relations, looking at how four black college students handle their oh-so-white classmates. What are they willing do to fit in? ScreenRant describes it as "a strong debut for a newcomer director, who tackles sensitive racial and cultural topics with wit, sensitivity, and thoughtful commentary." And Globe and Mail calls it "‘Do the Right Thing’ for the Obama generation…"

"Citizenfour" is a different kind of film, a documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Love him or hate him, you’ll learn about what he uncovered straight from his lips to your ears. Film Threat declares, "What an astonishing, immeasurably important historical document this is -- on top of being a lock for the Best Documentary Oscar." And Toronto Star says, "It’s one of the most riveting films you’ll see this year." Amen.

Seven films, that’s only seeing one movie a day. You can do it.

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