Friday, May 29, 2015

Week of May 29 - June 4 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview
Tropic Cinema Blends New Films With Worthy Holdovers
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

New films keep coming out faster than we can see some already in theaters. Tropic does an admirable job of blending new with already-there fare.

New this week is “Welcome to Me,” a great tribute to narcissism. Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a wacky woman who wins the lottery and uses the money to buy her own TV talk show, imagining herself an Oprah-like personality. Chicago Sun-Times observes, “It's a tricky business playing someone who is
mentally ill and perhaps should be confined for observation, especially in a dark comedy. Wiig manages to make Alice funny as hell, endearing, sad, and sometimes a little frightening.” And Globe and Mail adds that it’s “an unsettling comedy, and I mean that in the best possible way.”

“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared” is a Swedish comedy about, well, a hundred-year-old man who skips out on his birthday party and runs off with a suitcase of ill-gotten money. As Variety puts it, “Like a cross between Forrest Gump and a Jonathan Winters character, this Swedish centenarian bumbles his way through international events.” And SSG Syndicate calls it “irreverent and filled with slapstick … an absurdist comic fable.”

Nominated for an Academy Award, “Clouds of Sils Maria” gives us Maria (Juliette Binoche), an actress at the peak of her career who is asked to perform a revival of the play that made her famous
some twenty years earlier. But is she being humiliated by this role-switching maneuver? Sky Movies says, “Binoche is reliably good but it’s Kristen Stewart who genuinely surprises, delivering a sexually-charged portrait of a girl who’s youthfully vulnerable at one moment and a whipsmart mobile-phone juggling fixer the next.” And Guardian notes, “It’s mature, complex and talky -- Bergmanesque.”

Moving to Tropic Screens is “The Age of Adaline,” a strange tale about a woman (Blake Lively) who does not age. Daily Telegraph calls it “a quaintly disarming fairy tale.” And Times says, “This magical-realist meditation on mortality is untroubled by logic….”

Holding over is “Far From Madding Crowd,” a steamy version of Thomas Hardy’s novel about a country heiress who loves unwisely.  Salt Lake Tribune says, “Carey Mulligan breathes life into Bathsheba, in a performance that highlights the character's passion without treating her like a flighty, immature girl.” And Minneapolis Star Tribune tells us, “It’s beautifully old and atmospheric without feeling dated.”

Still proving it’s worth, “Woman in Gold” holds over too. Here a woman (Dame Helen Mirren) sues the Austrian government for the return of a painting stolen by the Nazis. The Mercury describes it as “one of those films that might not challenge you too much with an artful story, but still appeals on some deeper emotional level.” And Sydney Morning News sums up: “It’s an underdog story tailor-made for the movies, devoid of surprises but touching all the same.”

Almost like a wedding with something old, something new, something etc.

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