Thursday, March 5, 2015

Week of March 6 - March 12 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview 
Tropic Cinema Brings in Comforting Newbies

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Some old friends return to the Tropic ... we meet new and interesting people ... and we get to revisit some old haunts from our nightclubbing days in New York City.
 
Yes, those lovable Brits return in "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," again featuring that marvelous ensemble cast of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Penelope Wilton -- and Dev Patel as the Indian hotel manager. And to spice up this sequel, Richard Gere checks in. ABC Radio says, "It’s a crass cash-in, but these old thespians are charming as hell, and the movie coasts breezily by on that alone, which is just enough." Spirits and Practice sees it as "a delightful visit with old friends." And San Jose Mercury News compares it to "sipping a comforting cup of warm tea."

Another newbie coming to Tropic is "Maps to the Stars," David Cronenberg’s biting satire about Hollywood. With Julienne Moore as a fading actress (far from true in real life for this recent Oscar-winner), we’re introduced to a pantheon of Tinseltown characters.
Common Sense Media says this "dark sendup of Hollywood mixes wit with abuse, dysfunction." And Dallas Morning News opines, "Moore delivers something remarkable here: a completely ego-free portrait of a woman who knows only ego."

"Still Alice" gives you another view of Julienne Moore, this film sharing her Best Actress performance as a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Madison Movie calls it "a valuable lesson in empathy and understanding." And Times-Picayune concludes, "Julianne Moore isn’t merely good in the lead role. She’s devastatingly, heartbreakingly good…"

"Leviathan" is another newbie, the story of an auto mechanic (Alexe├» Serebriakov) who lives in a small fishing town near the Barents Sea in this biting examination of modern Russian bureaucracy. Austin Chronicle notes, "The Russian Federation's 2015 Academy Award entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category (it lost to Poland’s ‘Ida’) lives up to its title and then some. And San Diego Union-Tribune adds, "Anton Chekhov would have been proud."

Also new to Tropic screens is "Goodbye to Language" ("Adieu Au Langage"), the Jean-Luc Goddard film about a dog observing a couple’s rocky romance. Rotten Tomatoes tells us, "The artist's beloved dog Roxy is the de facto ‘star’ of this film …" and says the story is "as impossible to summarize as a poem by Wallace Stevens or a Messiaen quartet." Honeycuttshollywood.com observes, "Jean-Luc Godard is an original and at 84 has lost none of the youthful vitality he demonstrated in his first feature."

Adding action to the lineup is Oscar-nominated "American Sniper," with Bradley Cooper as "the most deadly sniper in US history." Movie Habit says the Clint Eastwood film "rivets our attention while giving us plenty to think about …" while Sacramento News & Review finds it to be a "complex, conflicted and profoundly moving look at the military machine, and the toll it takes on the soldiers."

Wrapping it all up is "Go Nightclubbing," four nights of documentary footage from the punk rock scene of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Hosted by filmmakers Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong, these 8 one-hour films are making their US cinema premiere right here in Key West … at the Tropic.

srhoades@aol.com

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