Thursday, December 31, 2015

Week of January 1 - 7 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Holiday Gift: More of a Good Thing at Tropic
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Key West Citizen

What’s better than a good thing? More of a good thing. And we get that this week at the Tropic Cinema as it holds over six good movies.

“Joy” is drawing raves for star Jennifer Lawrence. Here she portrays Joy Mangano, the Long Island mom who became a multimillionaire by invention the Miracle mop -- despite the obstacles of a dysfunctional family, patent thieves, and no money. Detroit News sums it up, “It's all about Joy overcoming obstacles on her way to the American Dream and Lawrence imbues her with strength and resolve. The result is joyous indeed.” And Boston Herald adds, “Jennifer Lawrence is this generation's greatest female lead. Here's why.”

“Brooklyn” gives us a different type of girl, Saoirse Ronan as a young Irish immigrant who must choose between men and countries in her search for love. Film International gushes, “I can't spot a single thing wrong with Brooklyn. An Oscar-caliber package; start betting on victory for Ronan, at the least. Heart-warming, light-hearted, and perfectly poised. Simple. Beautiful. Lovely.”

And still a different type of woman is “The Danish Girl,” a transgender who chooses her inner self. Eddie Redmayne dresses up as Lili Elbe and Alicia Vikander shines as his/her patient wife Gerde. Little white Lies says, “Redmayne and Vikander, along with the film’s dusky flourishes, allow The Danish Girl to reach beyond the awards it was designed to win.” And is succinct: “Beautifully filmed, superb acting.”

“Spotlight” tells the true story of the Boston Globe journalist who ferreted out the Catholic Church sex scandal. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams head up the ensemble cast. Aisle Seat describes the film as “riveting from its first second to its last. With a smart script, perfectly paced direction, and superb acting, this is a work that manages to be as entertaining as it is important.” And Daily Film Fix adds, “The journalistic process has never seemed more interesting nor more important.”

Meanwhile, “The Big Short” fictionalizes this film about the big housing credit crash. Ryan Gosling, Christian Bail Brad Pitt, and Steve Carell lead this ensemble cast. Toronto Sun observes, “Ultimately, The Big Short should outrage us, once we understand the sheer larceny that went on with other people's money, and which crippled the world economy. En route to that, it entertains us.” Globe and Mail  points out, “It’s funny because it's true. And it's tragic and frightening for the same reason.” And Miami Herald pegs it as “an angry, fiery movie disguised as a comedy.”

And finally -- just for the thrill of it -- is 007 in “Spectre,” the latest adventure in cinema’s longest-going spy series. Here James Bond confronts his past. Daniel Craig is suave as usual (with an edge of danger) and Christoph Waltz plays the villain. calls it “a solid, serious spy film that still has a playful glint in its eye.” And Mountain Xpress concludes that it's “either a return to form, a winking homage to the whole series, or a dumbing down of the angsty, introspective Bond of the Daniel Craig era. Choose up sides.” We assume all three.

Yes, six good films. As Oliver Twist said, More please.

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