Friday, August 28, 2015

Week of Aug, 28 - Sept. 3 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

From Thrills to Giggles, Sex to Song, Tropic Cinema Entertains Us!
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Tropic Cinema again covers wide ground, with films that raise goosebumps, tickles the funny bone, and mildly shock. A good assortment.

A dark psychological thriller, “The Gift” shows us a different side of Jason Bateman -- not his usual droll comedic persona. Here he’s a seemingly successful married man who bumps into an old high school acquaintance who might just have a score to settle. ReelViews warns that “the film has enough twists to keep the average viewer guessing.” And Mountain Xpress adds that it’s “a well-judged, slickly-made thriller that mostly eschews the trappings of the genre for more psychological unease and a disturbingly dark vision of the world.”

“Diary of a Teenage Girl” delivers a razzle-dazzle look into the lovelife of (as the title promises) a teenage girl. Bel Powley makes a spectacular debut as said teen. Boston Globe declares the dramedy “a breakthrough moment in the culture in that it depicts youthful female sexuality ... not just with the unapologetic frankness the boys usually get, but with an awareness of all the places a girl's urges will take her ...” Minneapolis Star Tribune calls it an “artful portrayal of adolescence from a girl's point of view.” And Seattle Times says it “hits exactly the right tone.”

“Minions 3D” offers an animated adventure for kids large and small, a prequel to “Despicable Me” in which those little yellow henchmen are looking for a villain to serve. Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock) seems to fill the bill. Q Network Film Deck describes it as “enjoyable in all the right ways.” And Chicago Reader thinks the film has “gusto.”

Comedienne Amy Schumer teamed up with Judd Apatow for her first film, “Trainwreck.” Anything but, this fresh outing features a love-‘em-and-leave-‘em gal (Schumer) who doesn’t know how to handle it when she meets Mr. Right (Bill Hader). calls it “a fresh spin on familiar territory that's freewheeling and insightful and full of love.” And amNewYork says, “It’s very funny and very smart, much like its creator.”

Meryl Streep proves she can handle any role you throw at her, this time as an aging rock singer with family problems in “Ricky and the Flash.” Sydney Morning Herald sees it as “likeable and surprisingly low-key,” while Herald Sun calls it “another deeply immersive performance from Streep that repeatedly lifts this bittersweet comedy-drama hybrid out of the doldrums.”

A wide assortment, f’sure. And entertaining, absolutely!

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