Thursday, January 28, 2016

Week of January 29 - February 4 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Adds Two New Films to Lineup
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Key West Citizen

Want to get your movie list covered before the Academy Awards? Tropic has added two more Oscar-nominated films: “45 Years” with a Best Actress nod, and “The Hateful Eight” with a nom for its score.

Yes, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtney took top acting awards from the Berlin Film Festival for “45 Years,” the story of a long married couple who receive disturbing news just before celebrating their 45th anniversary. Now she’s up for an Oscar. Globe and Mail says the film “exposes the paradoxical balance of the successful marriage, one that requires a sentimental suspension of disbelief on the one hand and a hard-headed ability to deal with the everyday on the other.” And Toronto Star adds, “Both actors deliver a master class in expression by understatement. The most unsettling of ghosts, we are moved to realize, are the ones we try hardest to deny.”

A complete change of pace is “The Hateful Eight,” a retro-revisionist- psychotronic Western from director Quentin Tarantino. Co-starring such regulars as Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen, we have a gathering of bad guys during a blizzard. Don’t expect many survivors. Note the Oscar-nominated score, Ennio Morricone’s first Western composition in 35 years. Blog de Cine calls it “a superb chapter in the Western genre, an outstanding film overall.” And Movie Guys says, “Classic Tarantino mixed with Agatha Christie and John Ford! Simply stunning 70mm photography and a dream cast that can't be beat!”

A magical movie is “Room,” the story of a young mother and her son being held hostage in a 10x10 shed. Brie Larson is up for an Academy Award for this (and I’m rooting for her). Herald Sun trumpets, “Larson's economical, yet electrifying performance is all but guaranteed to win her the next Best Actress Oscar. Her intimate chemistry with young Tremblay (also unbelievably strong, in totally different ways) is a force that cannot be denied throughout.” And Toronto Blade calls it “a most extraordinary achievement, finding light and love and hope in even the darkest of places.”

“Joy” is director David O. Russell’s reassembling Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro (his “Silver Linings Playbook” cast, hoping the old magic will work again. You decide in this story about the plucky woman who invented the Miracle Mop. Clarin calls it “the fable of the rise of a self-made woman, an ode to entrepreneurs, with an idealized heroine…” And Publimetro sees it as “proof that Jennifer Lawrence is one of the best actresses of her generation.”

A cinematic delight, “Brooklyn” follows an Irish lass to America and back as she searches for love and country. Saoirse Ronan is marvelous using her native brogue. Film Comment Magazine says the film “at heart is a women’s picture, that staple of mid-century cinema in which a woman must choose her path in life, and the film adapts the genre's traditions splendidly.” And adds, “If you leave this film without a smile on your face, you must have done something wrong. Go back and watch it again.”

Not to end on a downer with this film about the housing credit bubble crash, but “The Big Short” turns this real-life tragedy into kind of a comedy. An ensemble cast that includes Steve Carrel, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt add a sense of surreal absurdity. Daily Express observes, “A subject that may have seemed dry is brought angrily and amusingly to life. Scarily, it seems little has changed to prevent such a crisis happening again.” And This Is London concludes, “Confronting these facts while snorting at how funny this film often can be is quite confounding.”

Two new, four you should see if you haven’t. The Academy Awards is coming up soon!

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