Thursday, November 5, 2015

Week of Nov. 6 - 12 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Mixes New Films, Second Runs, And Holdovers to Great Effect
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Key West Citizen

Tropic Cinema seems to be drawing on that old saying, “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” with this week’s film lineup.

One of the best-made movies in memory, “Bridge of Spies” is the tour de force by director Steven Spielberg. Starring Tom Hanks as the attorney who negotiated the prisoner exchange of Russian spy Rudolf Abel for downed U2 pilot Gary Powers, you will marvel at the where-it-happened scenery and the visual transitions of scenes. EscribiendoCine calls it “A political thriller with a lot of heart, like a mix between the patriotic sentimentalism of Frank Capra and the cold world of spies of John le Carré.” L.A. Weekly observes, “‘Bridge of Spies’ connects Cold War paranoia to today’s terror. That’s a bridge worth building.” And Cinencuentro tells us it’s “impeccably acted, impressive technical levels and entertaining.”

Also new to Tropic screens is “Big Stone Gap,” a rom-com about a spinster-by-choice (not so spinsterish Ashley Judd) who learns a family secret that makes her reevaluate life. Set in the rustic town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia -- hence the title -- Seattle Times calls it “greeting-card pretty and sweet.” Chicago Reader notes, “Director Adriana Trigiani, adapting her best-selling novel, delivers the hackneyed material with good cheer, eliciting bright performances from an excellent ensemble cast.” And BeliefNet says, “It goes down easy, like sweet tea brewed by sunshine.”

Something blue is “Love,” the romance-gone-awry featuring explicit sex scenes (in 3D). Need I say more? San Francisco Chronicle observes, “Almost all of the action takes place in the bedroom. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but a little more character dimension would have made these between-the-sheet sessions a lot more charged.” And Chicago Daily Herald concludes, “Director Gaspar Noé clearly isn’t interested in sex as eroticism, but as a form of communication between people.”

Still playing is “Truth,” the insider story about how TV anchor Dan Rather came to be fired by CBS. Starring Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett as “60 Minutes” producer Mary Mapes, it’s a study in journalistic ethics told from her viewpoint. Flick Filosopher describes it as “a fascinating look at the pitfalls of modern journalism, and a compelling portrait of a journalist who paid a high price for letting them trip her up.” And Mountain Xpress calls it “Surprisingly effective as drama and thought-provoking on every other level.”

And “Sicario” follows an FBI newbie (Emily Blunt) who joins a team hunting down a Mexican drug lord. Q Network calls it “a powerful experience that forces us into a violent confrontation with our own ethical worldview, challenging any tidy notions of right and wrong.” And Spirituality and Practice sees it as a “tense drama with a standout performance by Emily Blunt as a conscience-driven FBI agent.”

Quite an array of choices. Something for everybody!

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