Friday, May 8, 2015

Week of May 8 - 14 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

This Week’s Tropic Cinema Films Explore Past, Present, And Future

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

From monkeys to machines, lost paintings to haute couture, this week’s film lineup at the Tropic doesn’t fail to entertain and enlighten.
Disney’s "Monkey Kingdom" is a delightful nature film about a family of toque macaques living among the antique temples in Sri Lanka. You will watch in fascination as a macaque dubbed Maya rises through the ranks when the tribe is threatened by neighboring monkeys. New York Magazine observes, "This may be an unabashed, Disneyfied version of nature. But it's also fun, touching, and expertly assembled." And Newark Star-Ledger tells us it’s "an enjoyable documentary, with some painless lessons. And a good heart, too ..."

"Ex Machina" is a sci-fi film for the thinking man … woman … and android. A technology genus (Oscar Isaac) invents a human-like robot and brings in an underling (Domhnall Gleeson) to apply the
Turing Test, a method for assessing artificial intelligence. But the android named Ava (Alicia Vikander) is both sexy and very clever. Urban Cinefile declares, "Borrowing body parts from the age old horror/sci-fi workbook, director-writer Alex Garland makes a female Frankenstein movie (sort of) and interrogates the pursuit of A.I. in the process." And Laramie Movie Scope says, "Unlike most science fiction films, this one has smart characters, a smart plot and smart dialog. It also has romance, murder and suspense. This is a suspenseful, disturbing and thought-provoking film."

"Woman In Gold" mixes past and present in this true story about Maria Altman (Helen Mirren), a woman who sues the Austrian government for the return of a golden painting of her aunt that had been seized by the Nazis. Her determined young attorney (Ryan Reynolds) accompanies her to Vienna. MediaMikes notes, "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 St. Louis Post-Dispatch praises "the odd-couple chemistry between Mirren and Reynolds."

The documentary "Dior And I" takes you behind the scenes at the famous fashion house, while introducing Raf Simons as its new artistic director. observes, "Simons is a fascinating central figure, even if the straightforward approach seems determined not to ruffle any
feathers." Seattle Times adds, "We get to know the people -- mostly women, but a few men -- whose hands create these intricate, beautiful garments." And Oregonian concludes, "All that effort just to make a dress still seems a bit silly, but the passion and integrity of those involved are hard not to take seriously."

Dramas and documentaries, how can you say no to these varied and intriguing films?





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