Thursday, September 3, 2015

Week of Sept. 4 - 10 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Gives You a Choice of Film Genres
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Cooke Communications

Tropic Cinema covers a wide swath of film genres this week -- dramedy, psychological thriller, musical drama, feminist comedy, superhero blockbuster, and A-list action adventure. Take your pick.

“Mistress America” is a new indie film from Noah Baumbach starring his talented girlfriend Greta Gerwig. Here gal-about-town Brooke (Gerwig) wanders around NYC with her soon-to-be stepsister
(Lola Kirke), bringing the timid college freshman out of her shell with a series of questionable misadventures. One Guy’s Opinion sees it as “a sharp, sophisticated modern screwball comedy with an underlying strain of poignancy.” And St. Louis Post-Dispatch says, “It confirms that Gerwig is among the brightest talents on the cinema scene.”

“The Gift” shows Jason Bateman in a new light, not as the comedian but as a serious actor. His character’s past catches up with him when he bumps into an old high school acquaintance known as
Gordo the Weirdo (director/co-star Joel Edgerton). 3AW says, “What starts out as a standard psycho drama soon develops into a deliciously malicious tale of deceit and secrecy, ridden with some ingenious left turns.” And MediaMikes describes it as “full of great scares and even greater performances.”

“Ricki and the Flash” proves Meryl Streep can play anything (including an electric guitar). As an aging rock singer who abandoned her family in search of fame, she must return to Indianapolis to
comfort her daughter (played by Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer) who is going through a bad divorce. The List says, “Meryl is a goddess, there are some laughs and the sing-along climax is sweetly joyous.” Herald Sun tells us, “It is another deeply immersive performance from Streep that repeatedly lifts this bittersweet comedy-drama hybrid out of the doldrums.” And Sydney Morning Herald calls it “likeable and surprisingly low-key.”

“Trainwreck” will cause you to laugh out loud (and wince a few times) watching Amy Schumer make her movie mark as a commitment-phobic magazine writer who meets a guy worth getting serious about (Bill Hader). ABC Radio says, “It's a fun, crude comedy with an outrageous central
character and plenty of great one-liners.” And En La Butaca says, “Director Judd Apatow’s newest comedy is his best work in years.”

“Ant-Man 3D” is the new comic book movie based on a little-known Marvel superhero who can shrink to the size of an ant. In this first outing, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas) must keep a mad tycoon from selling this top-secret shrinkage technology
to the bad guys. Indie London says, “It may boast the world’s smallest superhero but Marvel’s Ant-Man is big on fun and ingenuity.” And Junkee explains, “Ant-Man is entertaining because it uses big-movie tricks without big-movie hyperbole.”

“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” may be the best action movie of the year, once again starring Tom Cruise as the IMF spy who can’t be stopped. Cruise does his own stunts as usual, this time hanging off the side of an airplane and holding his breath underwater for, well, impossible lengths. GQ Magazine observes, “Director Christopher McQuarrie steps in with a thriller that mixes old-
fashioned spy movie tropes with state-of-the-art action beats and a rich helping of wit.” SF Weekly adds, “The introduction of British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) to the mix suggests that this may be one of the only ongoing spy concerns that actually know how to use female characters.” And Cinefantastique concludes, “The ending even managed to build up a fair share of tension (though why I should have doubted that Cruise’s awesomeness would prevail…).”

What to see? Depends on your mood. But rest assured, there’s not a bad movie among them.

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