Friday, June 5, 2015

Week of June 5 - 11 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Big and Small -- Tropic’s Got ‘Em All!
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communication

 Tropic Cinema offers both ends of the movie spectrum -- smaller character-driven independent films as well as big ensemble-driven action flicks.
Among the smaller films is a new one about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, a biopic titled “Love & Mercy.” Yes, that’s the name of one of his songs. The film gives us Wilson in the ‘60s (played by Paul Dano) and him again in the ‘80s (played by John Cusack), under the spell of a scheming psychoanalyst (Paul Giamatti). San Diego Reader says it’s “very much the story of a man who made music, as opposed to a showcase for the music he made.” And National Post sums it up: “It gives us Brian Wilson as a tortured genius.”

Another new film is “The Water Diviner,” the directorial debut of Russell Crowe. Here he portrays an Australian farmer (and water diviner) who travels to Turkey following Battle of
Gallipoli in search of his three missing sons. New York Magazine says, “It’s clear that Russell Crowe has poured his heart and soul into the historical romance.” And Cinemalogue declares that “its journey of healing and self-discovery can be felt a century and a continent away.”

“The Age of Adaline” gives us a woman (Blake Lively) who gets stuck at the age of 29 while other people age around her. SciFiNow says it “functions perfectly well as a harmless, fantasy-infused date movie. It’s hard to really dislike.” And Daily Telegraph calls it “a quaintly disarming fairy tale, refusing any date that isn’t written in the stars.”

Carey Mulligan takes on the role of Thomas Hardy’s Bathsheba Everdene in “Far From the Madding Crowd.” Faced with three suitors, Bathsheba’s life in the English countryside is more turbulent than the title implies. Chicago Tribune calls it “a good, solid version of this novel, guided by Mulligan.” And Sacramento News & Review terms it “a beautifully mounted, fiercely intelligent, bracingly alive literary adaptation that remains an unabashed crowd-pleaser.”

Upping the action quotient is “Furious 7,” another in the fast-car franchise starring Vin Diesel and his “family.” This is the non-stop film that says goodbye to Paul Walker, who died in a
car crash before filming was completed. The Popcorn Junkie says the movie “has a heightened sense of mortality giving the series stakes for once, born of tragic circumstances due to the passing of Paul Walker, handled deftly by director James Wan.” And Movie Habit advises, “Either get out of the way or go along for the ride.”

And going way over the top with action is “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the blockbuster featuring Marvel’s popular superhero group (Captain America, Hulk, Thor, et al.). Q Network Film Desk calls it “an improvement over the first Avengers; everything feels smoother, the pacing is a bit better, and the overall plot is more intriguing.” And Forth Worth Star-Telegram concluded, “Fans of the franchise will be pleased….”

What an array of movies!



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