Friday, May 22, 2015

Week of May 22 to May 28 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Four New Films, Three Repeats Crowd Tropic Screens

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Tropic Cinema makes up for hosting only four films last week by upping the number to seven this week, squeezing them into its non-stop movie schedule.

“Far From the Madding Crowd” is a sultry new version of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel about Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) who has three unsuitable suitors. Newsday calls it a “sturdy adaptatation of Hardy, with some fine work by Mulligan.” And ReelReviews says, “Carey Mulligan is an inspired choice to play Bathsheba … She’s cool and confident; we come to respect her strength and appreciate that she doesn’t need a man to be complete.”

 “5 Flights Up” is a snapshot of an elderly couple (Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton) who are considering selling their Brooklyn walkup apartment. The New York Times says,  “The lead performances are so perfectly in sync that Alex and Ruth really feel like an old married couple who know each other’s foibles and cherish every tic.” And Los Angeles Times observes, “What a pleasure to see a simple, finely tuned dramedy about real adults with real emotions in a real-life situation.”

 “Woman in Gold” recounts the true story about a determined woman (Helen Mirren) and her young lawyer (Ryan Reynolds) who sue the Austrian government for a painting stolen by the Nazis. St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the film works “large because of the odd-couple chemistry between Mirren and Reynolds.” And Globe and mail notes that “Director Simon Curtis milks the predictable drama, thrills and heartache of the Holocaust-era story….”

 “Iris” is a doc about a dotty old fasionista that will enthrall you. Toronto Star observes, “Flamboyantly fashionable and filter-free, 93 year-old Iris Apfel is a delightfully quirky muse for legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles’s final solo film.” And Philadelphia Inquirer says, “Iris is a kick, whether or not you care a whit about the world this character is moving through.”

“Ex Machina” ranks as one of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies, right up there with “Metropolis.” Here, a tech genius (Oscar Isaac) invents an artificial woman (Alicia Vikander) that seduces a nerd (Domhnall Gleeson) into believing she’s real. Minneapolis Star Tribune calls it a “tense tale of artificial love so intelligently crafted and edgy that I adored it.” And Detroit News says the film “takes its time, wrestling with questions of responsibility, morality and compassion…”

 “The Age of Adaline” is a Dorian Gray story about a 106-year-old woman (Blake Lively), albeit one trapped in the body of a 29-year-old beauty. New Yorker notes that “the conceit endows Lively’s regal air of distracted superiority with an intermittent pathos. And Newark Star-Ledger say, “Ford -- after so many years of grumpily picking up paychecks -- seems delighted to be acting again, andin a real movie.” And

“Merchants of Doubt” is a documentary by Robert Kenner designed to expose the American propaganda mill.  Newsday terms it a “compelling expose of professional propagandists, though the movie itself is not agenda-free.” And San Francisco Chronicle concludes, “When (and before) the end credits roll, you will probably feel a sense of outrage -- and helplessness.”

Seven films -- count ‘em. All supremely watchable.

No comments: