Truth or Dare at the Tropic Cinema
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Liar, liar, pants on fire. Several of this week’s movies at the Tropic Cinema explore the topics of truth and deception.
"An Honest Liar" is a documentary about James Randi, the world-famous magician who hates deceptions -- from phony psychics to religious con men. He considers magicians honest liars because you know they’re going to trick you. But here Randi gets deceived by someone close to him. Chicago Sun-Times says, "Anyone who can challenges faith healers, psychics and mediums who claim a special bond with the dead -- and often wins those challenges -- deserves a standing ovation." And Arizona Republic calls this "a fascinating look at what the truth means, and how it means different things to different people."
"True Story" is another look at liars, here a murderer who denies his guilt and a former New York Times reporter fired for falsifying a story. Their connection is a bizarre one, where both are deceivers. Orlando Weekly says, "the very definition of ‘true crime’ itself is put under the microscope, as Jonah Hill and James Franco both play against type and play against one another." And Patriot Ledger says it "earns its place in the pantheon of journalists cozying up with mass murderers."
"While We’re Young" examines two couples, one middle-aged (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) who befriend a younger pair (Adam Driver and (Amanda Seyfried). But can they trust each other? "Questions of identity abound," says Illinois Times. And 3AW calls it "a well-etched social comedy with clear viewpoints about the elastic nature of integrity and compromise."
"Danny Collins" asks the question of how your life might have been different if you had it to do over. Al Pacino plays an aging rock star who regrets his bad choices after discovering a lost letter from John Lennon. Mountain Xpress observes that "bright dialogue and great chemistry between Al Pacino and the rest of the cast raise this fairly predictable comedy-drama to very enjoyable entertainment." And Seattle Times says "it’s hard to resist."
"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" looks at a group of elderly Brits (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, et al.) who’ve retired to India in this sweet sequel. The Young Folks notes, "If this film poses any questions that aren't simply redundant at this point, it's the film’s frank look at age and the abrasive acknowledgement of time..." And TV Guide’s Movie Guide decides, "The elder actors are, of course, perfect."
"Cinderella" is Disney’s live-action retelling of its animated classics. Dark Horizons says, "Based on the classic fairy tale, but borrowing heavily from the 1950 film, Cinderella is enchanting, a wonderful and stylish film with a charming lead and emotional narrative.’ And ABC Radio offers, "Above all else, the best reason I can give to see this film is Cate Blanchett. She’s incredibly good as the evil stepmother."
Tell the truth, could you think of a better way to spend the week than at the movies?