Friday, July 31, 2015

Week of July 31 - August 6 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Engages Both Body and Mind This Week
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Epidermis, muscle, brain, teeth, and tear ducts. Yes, you can engage your body head-to-toe with this week’s movies at the Tropic Cinema.

Take it off -- that’s the theme of “Magic Mike XXL,” the sequel to a popular movie about male strippers. Buff actor Channing Tatum is Mike, a retired dancer who joins his buds on a take-it-off
road trip. Along the way there’s plenty of skin on display. Concrete Playground calls it, “Sexy, funny and surprisingly heartwarming.” Snarky Rex Reed writes in the New York Observer that it’s “admirable testosterone on display that represents hours in the gym instead of the acting class.” But Trespass assures us, “Magic Mike XXL hits every mark that it aims for.”

Another buff actor is Jake Gyllenhaal, starring in the prizefighter drama “Southpaw.” Here he’s punching his way to a comeback after a fall from grace. Muscles ripple with every fight scene. New England Movies Weekly calls it “a story we’ve seen many times before, but it’s acted with such heart and directed with such skill that it’s hard to resist.” Daily Star adds, “Jake Gyllenhaal is becoming one of the most interesting actors in Hollywood.”

More sedate is “Mr. Holmes,” a different kind of mystery featuring a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes. Ian McKellen gives us a touching portrait of the great detective battling a failing memory while
trying to reconstruct his last case. Brainy entertainment. New York Magazine says, “It’s a gripping little tale, to be sure, but it’s more than that. Somewhere in its tangle of timelines, false starts, and red herrings is a great truth about the unsolvable mystery of the human soul.” Leonard Maltin’s Picks concludes, “What a pleasure it is to be in the presence of Ian McKellen, who dominates the screen.”

You might describe Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic World 3D” as a Jaws-on-an-island thriller. Chris Pratt is the dino trainer who must save the theme-park tourists from a rampaging genetically engineered Indominus rex.  Teeth are gnashing, claws are slashing. Chicago Reader says, “The characters are all paper-thin, but that doesn’t matter because their sole purpose is to get chomped.” Movie Dearest advises, “See the movie for its reptilian stars.” And Starburst confirms that it’s “definitely worth the price of admission.”

And not to be overlooked is “Amy: The Girl Behind the Name,” a British documentary that profiles the late singer Amy Winehouse. It may well bring you to tears. calls it “a
mesmerizing yet devastating look at a singular talent.” And Peter Travers of Rolling Stone observes, “It’s Amy’s words, her music, her voicemails, her home videos, her friends, her family, her tormentors, and her timeless incandescence. Look, listen and weep.”

So go ahead, pick the movies that appeal to you. You won’t go wrong no matter your choices.

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