Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Week of Jan. 16 to Jan. 22 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

A Musical Interlude Lightens Tropic Lineup

Reviewed  by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

This week the Tropic is adding a little fairy tale magic and music to its holdovers of three more serious films.

Coming to Tropic screens is “Into the Woods,” Rob Marshall’s fantasy based on the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical. In this Disney picture, you’ll find your old storybook friends – Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Giant, even a witch played by Meryl Streep. Philadelphia Inquirer calls it “a jolly mash-up of symbol-laden, signature once-upon-a-time tales about lust, envy, greed, and misguided pursuits of happiness.” And Daily Film Fix describes it as “a superior example of adapting the stage to the screen.”

Held over is “Selma,” the much-talked about depiction of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. Drawing fire is how King’s relationship with President Lyndon Johnson is depicted. But whatever your opinion, you cannot turn your eyes away from David Oyelowo’s powerful performance as Dr. King. Seattle Times says, “History becomes breathtaking drama in ‘Selma’; there’s an urgent realism in the storytelling, as if we’re seeing this just in time. And indeed we are ...” Star Democrat offers, “Though these events occurred half a century ago, their power and relevance are undiminished.” And RedEye calls it, “A film of great power and integrity, fiercely attentive to the tipping point of progress and the difficult decisions that push it forward.”

Sticking around for another week is “The Imitation Game,” the much more dramatic story of Alan Turing, the British math whiz who helped crack the German’s Enigma code during WWII – while having a few secrets of his own. Benedict Cumberbatch is masterful in his portrayal of Turning. America Magazine says, “Cumberbatch brings his immense talent and intelligence -- and not too much glamour -- to the socially awkward, notoriously disheveled protagonist. And Daily Mail says, “Benedict Cumberbatch’s sensitive, moving performance is the film's beating heart, and the best reason to see it.”

Also staying over is “Wild,” the coming-to-terms-with-life film starring Reese Witherspoon as a woman who hikes the 1000-mile Pacific Crest Trail as she thinks back on her lost marriage, haunting mother, and where she went off-track. indieWire calls it “a first-rate advertisement for the purifying abilities of the great outdoors.” And Vanity Fair observes, “Witherspoon finds both a mature centeredness and a zen-like openness – it’s been a long time since we've seen her this fluidly expressive, this connected to good material.”

There you have it, three serious film bites with a side order of magic beans.

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