Tropic Cinema Offers a Diverse Quartet of Films
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications
New this week is "5 Flights Up," a film that features Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton as an older couple who have lived in the same Brooklyn apartment for 40 years and are now thinking about selling. Don’t expect it to go easy. Los Angeles Time says, "What a pleasure to see a simple, finely tuned dramedy about real adults with real emotions in a real-life situation." And Newsday calls it "A couple of pros, playing attractive characters in an amiable yet topical story." But the Examiner asks, "Are Freeman and Keaton charming enough that anybody would want to watch them rifle through Classifieds and house hunt for 90 minutes?" The answer is yes.
Based on a true story, "Woman in Gold" finds Maria Altman (Dame Helen Mirren) suing the Austrian government for the return Klimt’s famous painting "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" that was stolen from her family by the Nazis. She aided in this pursuit by a hotshot young lawyer named E. Randal Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds). MediaMikes says, "Sharply directed by Simon Curtis, the film is an intriguing mystery as, little by little, more and more information comes across the viewer's desk." And Laramie Movie Scope adds, "There is suspense, drama and emotion in this story. Reynolds and Mirren give great performances with good supporting performances by Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes and Allan Corduner."
A thinking man’s -- and woman’s -- sci-fi film, "Ex Machina" debates the use of artificial intelligence. We encounter a reclusive tech genius (Oscar Isaac) who asks a geeky subordinate (Domhnall Gleeson) to test a seductive android (Alicia Vikander). Before you can say, "Danger, Will Robinson!" the story takes a sinister turn. That’s why Lyles Movie Files sees it as "a spellbinding character study mystery made even more fascinating by the thought that its premise is far closer to becoming reality than most of its sci-fi peers." Q Network Film Desk says the film "works because it gradually shifts the terms of the narrative and thematic structure, forcing us to reevaluate what we thought we knew and seriously question the fundamental essence of humanity." And The Age opines, "Ultimately it’s a horror movie where the monsters are men."
Who wouldn’t love "Monkey Kingdom"? It’s more fun than, well, a barrel of monkeys. This new documentary from DisneyNature follows a family of toque macaques (cute reddish-brown monkeys) in Sri Lanka as they vie for territory. SSG Syndicate describes it as an "engaging live-action eco-documentary, combining education with entertainment." And Reeling Review concludes, "The filmmakers bring us to places and creatures we would never see otherwise, so we get education along with the entertainment."