The Long and Short of It at Tropic Cinema
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications
Each year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hands out Oscars for the best short films. This week at the Tropic you can see many of this year’s nominations.
There are two shorts presentations, Animation and Live Action, each offering five short films that have been nominated for an Oscar. The animation styles are varied, with entries from both Disney and unknowns. The live action covers topics ranging from a crisis-ridden phone call to an Afghan man facing a foreign environment. "True, most of these films deal with depressing subject matter like illness, loneliness and government suppression, but just about all of them inspire hope and belief in the human spirit," says the Patriot Ledger of the Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts. And Playback:sti notes, "The nominated live-action shorts this year are an international and multilingual lot, as they usually are (and as nominated feature films usually are not)..."
Also new to Tropic Screens is "Two Days, One Night," a feature film starring Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard as a woman who loses her job after an extended hospital stay. San Diego Reader proclaims, "Wonderbrothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne return with a tale of heroic struggle against an ordinary disaster." And Boston Globe explains, "Coursing underneath the film’s calm, observant surface is a fury at a system that sets people in the same leaky boat at each other’s throats."
Still showing is "Birdman," the incredible one-cinematic take film about an out-of-mind movie star (perfectly cast as Michael Keaton) trying to stage a comeback with a Broadway play. Filmink calls it "admirably daring and filled with wonderfully vivid performances," while The Mercury describes it as "a slick delivery vehicle for a philosophically detailed existential crisis story, with life imitating art imitating life."
If you haven’t seen "The Imitation Game," do it now. Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of British code-breaker Alan Turing is nothing short of brilliant. Not only did he help break the WWII Nazi encryptions, he invented the computer in the process. Houston Press says, "Cumberbatch gives a performance that is, by turns, awkward, triumphant, and heartbreaking." And ReviewExpress.com reminds us that it’s "enthralling history unveiled in this well-acted film."
And if you want some wacky noirish fun, you can catch "Inherent Vice," starring Joaquin Phoenix as a stoner private detective searching for a missing millionaire. Daily Express describes it as "a faithful adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel that feels as if a labyrinthine Raymond Chandler thriller has been thrown into a cocktail shaker with Alice In Wonderland. And Empire Magazine advises us to "just relax and let this beautiful, haunting, hilarious, chaotic, irritating and possibly profound tragicomedy wash over you."
There you have it, the long and short of it this week at the Tropic.