Thursday, June 18, 2015

Week of June 19 - 25 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Musical Interludes Morph Into Mindless Action on Tropic Screens

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Tropic Cinema lets you choose dramedy and music or action and adventure. It’s a toss up, depending on your mood.

For instance, “I’ll See You In My Dreams” explores a widow’s future -- from friendships to dating to love. Blythe Danner (Gwyneth’s mom) gives an affecting performance as a woman facing life’s disappointments. St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the film is “at once funny and poignant -- and not just for moviegoers of a certain age.” And Philadelphia calls it “delicate and nuanced, with writing that rejects, or at least reshapes, the clich├ęs of movies about people facing the glare of their sunset years.

“Love & Mercy” looks at a life that nearly goes off kilter -- that of Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson. In this two-track look at his life (he’s played by both Paul Dano and John Cusack), we see the highs and
lows as he deals with mental disorders. Lawrence.com crows “This has to be the best-sounding movie ever made, and like Brian Wilson himself, it's full of naked emotion, while still retaining an air of mystery.” And Cinemalogue.com calls it “... a stylish effort that smartly avoids a straightforward approach in portraying Wilson as a troubled genius.”

“Pitch Perfect 2” is a musical comedy, the continuing saga of the Bellas, a collegiate a capella group led by Beca (Anna Kendrick). Can these frenzied females win the world championship despite
numerous mishaps? Tampa Bay Times says, “The first movie was a sweet, simple song. This one is a gaudy production number.” But Dark Horizons tells us this sequel “retains the musical verve that made the first film so great.”

Russell Crow weighs in with his directorial debut, “The Water Diviner. In it, he plays an Aussie father who goes to Turkey in search of three sons who are missing from the war. Sacramento News and Review sees it as “

It's an old-fashioned movie in the best sense, beautifully photographed by Andrew Lesnie.” And Media Mike declares it to be “a first rate classic that's sure to be remembered come Oscar time.”

“Mad Max” gets a new face, that of Tom Hardy in this tale of a dystopian future where savage ISIS-like tribes roam the wastelands. He’s helping Charlize Theron and a tanker of breeders make their escape from a warlord. Spliced Personality exclaims, “You stumble out of the theatre giddy about what films can do, transported by the breathtaking velocity in this battering ram of a picture that just goes, goes, goes and then keeps on going.” And Spectrum describes it as “Thunderously entertaining.”

And for even more action -- if that’s possible -- we have “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” another blockbuster from Marvel featuring an ensemble of your favorite superheroes (Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, et al.). Cinephile.org says, “It has color, great delivery, amusing interludes, a cohesive story, and a payoff that doesn't betray the sensibilities of its direction.” Movie Chambers notes that “mindless action rules, punctuated only by super hero/villain quips.” And Sci-Fi Movie Page gushes: “Stan Lee says, "Excelsior." If that doesn't get you bouncing off the walls, you've clearly come to the wrong franchise.”

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