Friday, June 26, 2015

Week of June 26 - July 2 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Time Is of the Essence at Tropic Cinema

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communication

Tropic Cinema is like a magnificent time machine, taking you backward and forward to differing periods with the flick of a projector switch.

Putting our time machine into gear and jumping back to the 17th Century, we encounter “A Little Chaos,” a period romance directed by actor Alan Rickman. He introduces us to the court of Louis XIV of France where a Parisian woman named Sabine De Barra (Kate Winslet) is hired to design a fountain at Versailles but in the process falls for the King’s landscaper (Matthias Schoenaerts). Alan Rickman, of course, plays Louis XIV. New York Times proclaims, “Mr. Rickman has found in the Sun King a character worthy of his imperious, reptilian charisma.” And Chicago Reader agrees: “Alan Rickman was born to play the Sun King -- or any king, really.”

Edging the time machine’s dial forward a few notches, “Love & Mercy” allows us to dream of California in the 1960s when Brian Wilson was at the peak of his success with the Beach Boys. Then moving the controls another click we’re in the ‘80s when the schizoid musician finds himself under
the thumb of an unscrupulous shrink. Paul Dano and John Cusack respectively portray Wilson at these two stages of his life. Filmink comments on fledgling director Bill Pohlad’s “ability to weave these two very specific periods together, while also making them as detail-rich as possible.” And The Skinny calls it “that rarest of things: a music biopic that doesn’t just tell you about a tortured genius, it puts you in their head.”

A more immediate time zone is found in “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” a contemporary story of a widow (Blythe Danner) who decides to make new friends -- befriend the pool guy, try speed-dating, fall for a lanky millionaire (Sam Elliott). Detroit News calls it “a touching, funny and thoughtful film that trades in honesty rather than artifice.” And Fresno Bee describes it as “a beautiful and smart coming-of-old-age film.”

“Escobar: Paradise Lost” is an edge-of-your-seat romantic thriller about a surfer (Josh Hutcherson)
who discovers that his girlfriend’s uncle is none other than Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar (wonderfully played by Benicio del Toro). Los Angeles Times says, “When you have the fortune of landing an actor like Del Toro, it's almost criminal to spend so much time watching the scales fall from an innocent's eyes when we could be watching a master actor convey quiet, sleepy-eyed, mumbling menace.” And Arizona Republic adds, “Taken on its own terms, this isn't a bad little movie.”

And finally our time machine jumps to a dystopian future with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” where we find Max (Tom Hardy) joining Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) for a non-stop shoot-‘em-up chase across the blighted wastelands. The Nation says, “Unlike action directors of the plodding sort, George Miller doesn’t ask you to understand the deliriously strange world into which he throws you headlong. He just wants to change the parts you recognize.” And the Patriot Ledger concludes, “It’s everything you want your summer blockbuster to be: loaded with insane action, hot actors and death-defying stunts.”

So strap yourself in for a great ride at the Tropic.

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