Friday, October 2, 2015

Week of October 2 - 8 (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

Double Your Movies at the Tropic
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Key West Citizen

Think of it as double features. Tropic Cinema has four screens with eight movies playing this week. Do the math. Of course, you’ll see them one at a time unless (like me) you’re into “binge watching.”

First up is “Phoenix,” a Hitchcockian mystery about a concentration-camp survivor who isn’t recognized by her husband, so she plays along with his scheme to pass her off as his wife in an inheritance scam. Philadelphia Inquirer says, “There is intrigue. There is suspense. Guilt -- a man’s guilt, a nation’s -- hangs heavy in the air.” And Madison Movie notes that it “gathers momentum and hits you with the force of an express train at the end.”

Next is “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine,” definitely the documentary to see before getting caught up in all those biopics about the founder of Apple. ArtForum observes that “Alex Gibney’s twisty, engrossing documentary approaches its subject from an oblique but highly productive angle.” And We Got This Covered notes that it’s “a conversation starter loaded with controversial data about the lesser-known life of genius/tyrant Steve Jobs.”

Then we have “The Visit,” M. Night Shyamalan’s grim fairytale about a boy and girl who go visit their grandparents -- only to discover they might not survive this outing. Despite Shyamalan’s
obvious influences, Reforma calls it “scary, funny and very original.” And Cine Premiere reveals that “it builds up the suspense until its amazing ending, proving that Shyamalan still has a couple of tricks up his sleeve.”

Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie test the limits of a platonic relationship when both are, as the title says, “Sleeping With Other People.” Minneapolis Star Tribune says, “This freewheeling alternative to the standard date movie emerges as one of the year’s best surprises.” And PopMatters describes it as “a deconstructive sweet-and-sourball of a romantic comedy…”

The title “Pawn Sacrifice” offers a clue to how chess genius Bobby Fischer was used in the Cold War
competition between the US and USSR. says, “The film features a showboat performance from Tobey Maguire as the increasingly disturbed Fischer, along with a more composed one from Liev Schreiber as the taciturn Spassky.” And ScreenRants calls it “an engaging and well-made biopic.”

 “Stonewall” recounts the 1969 riots that ushered in gay pride for New York’s LGBT community. Los Angeles Time says, “The film is a vital, evocative reminder of a turbulent time that paved the
way for hard-fought freedoms. And New York Magazines tells us “It’s a self-financed passion project, from a man who might be the most financially successful out gay filmmaker ever” … Roland Emerich (“Independence Day”).

With “Grandma,” Lily Tomlin takes on her first lead role in 27 years, that of a cranky lesbian poet determined to help her pregnant unmarried granddaughter. MLive says, “Tomlin’s versatility rarely has been nurtured so well, and she’s a joy to watch.” Reno News and Review agrees that “Tomlin is incredible.” And Seattle Times describes this entertaining dramedy as “short, tart, yet unexpectedly sweet.”

Finally, “A Walk in the Woods” gives us Robert Redford and Nick Nolte as two old duffers who
decide to hike the Appalachian Trail. Daily Mirror says, “Like the book upon which it's based, Robert Redford’s latest is a film of small but continual pleasures -- an amiable amble that’s almost impossible to dislike.” And Daily Express offers this spoiler: “Misadventure and musing about the meaning of life and growing old ensues.”

So double up on your moviegoing.

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