Thursday, December 18, 2014

Week of December 19 - 25 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Bridges Time and Space With Six Great Films

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

From the vastness of interstellar space to the intimate mystery of a missing wife, Tropic Cinema stretches time and space with six films this week.
Aptly titled "Interstellar" is an epic sci-fi thriller from "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan. In it, Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway go into space and cross through a wormhole in the fabric of time in search of a new home for dying earth. Richard Roeper describes it as "One of the most beautiful films I have ever seen." And MediaMike concurs, "A remarkable achievement in filmmaking that will have you on the edge of your seat."

Surprisingly, "The Theory of Everything" is not about wormholes and interstellar black holes. Rather, it’s the study of a young genius in love, before health issue alter his life. Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife-to-be Jane (Felicity Jones) find romance at Cambridge amid his theories about time and space … and love. Newsday says, "This is rich material for the film’s lead actors, and both are superb." Miami Herald adds, "Redmayne makes you forget you’re watching an actor put himself through punishing contortions."

"Gone Girl" returns by popular demand, a taut mystery about a husband (Ben Affleck) suspected of murdering his wife (Rosamund Pike). Directed by David Fincher, it’s one of the best films of the year. The Atlantic says, "What Fincher does better than almost anyone is create moody, meticulously crafted thrillers that straddle the divide between genre and art." And Antagony & Ecstasy calls it "something close to a mechanically flawless thriller."

Brand-new is "Wild," the story of a woman (Reese Witherspoon) making a thousand-mile trek up the Pacific Coast in search of herself. Denver Post says, "Not since June Carter Cash in ‘Walk the Line’ has Witherspoon been so present to a character. Her Cheryl is funny and messy, wounded but not without survival instincts." And Las Vegas Weekly adds, "The flashbacks intertwine beautifully with the present-day scenes, and Witherspoon's performance is full of vulnerability and regret."

"Birdman" continues to amaze audiences, with Michael Keaton playing a movie star very much like himself, trying to redeem himself with a Broadway play after starring in comic-book blockbusters. US Weekly observes, "The brazenly off-kilter comedy offers a blistering look at how an industry rat race can decimate a man's self-worth." And Tri-City Herald gushes, "Michael Keaton is a solid lock for the year’s best male actor, his supporting cast is incredible and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s play-like film is a must-see."

And "St. Vincent" is a great character study from Bill Murray, playing it straight as a crusty curmudgeon who agrees to babysit the hapless kid who moves in next door. A saint-like performance. Urban Cinephile observes, "Let’s face it: who else could make a heavy-drinking, gambling, cursing man with a pregnant Russian stripper girlfriend and squashed-face Persian cat so likeable?" And Empire Magazine calls it "Murray’s finest, funniest, meatiest performance since ‘Lost In Translation’ …"

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