Friday, April 22, 2016

Week of April 22 - 28 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Ordinary Folks Mingle With Extraordinary On Tropic Screens
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Some filmmakers celebrate the ordinary; others tell stories about the extraordinary. Both hold our attention in the films playing this week at Tropic Cinema.

In “Everybody Wants Some!!” director Richard Linklater dishes up the same approach that worked so well in his earlier “Dazed and Confused.” Here, we witness a day in the life of some ordinary college kids in this amiable non-story. Newsday calls it “Another love letter to the magic hour of adolescence from director Richard Linklater.” And Associated Press says, “Though his characters are often just bouncing from conversation to conversation, night out to night out, the film's direction is never lackadaisical.”

We revisit some old friends with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.” In this sequel to one of the most successful rom-coms of all time, a typical Greek American family (headed up by Nia Vardalos and John Corbett) celebrates another wedding in boisterous fashion. Reforma says, “The movie works because of it's endearing characters.” And ReviewExpress assures us of “Non-stop laughs.”
An ordinary sixty-something woman named Doris (none other than Sally Field) starts to feel special when a younger co-worker seemingly returns her attentions. Windy City Times describes it as “a charming ugly duckling story with some surprising and very welcome turns.” And Film Experience observes, “It manages to be both funny and endearing because Field knows to play both the external comedy and the internal drama.”

“Eye In the Sky” looks at the military hawks and dovish government officials who must decide whether to unleash a Hellfire missile on a house hiding potential suicide bombers, at the risk of causing collateral damage. This Is London says, “It’s a tense thriller about a single action, taking place in Nairobi, commanded from London, albeit piloted from Las Vegas - and its presentation of the moral dilemma about whether to strike or not is complex and wrenching.” And Daily Express calls it “a drama that forces the audience to think, take sides and examine their own consciences.”

“Born to Be Blue” is a musical biopic about jazz trumpeter Chet Baker (portrayed by Ethan Hawke). This funny Valentine is replete with his troubled life, from heroin addiction to damage to his mouth that nearly ends his career. San Diego Reader observes, “Hawke's performance ably conveys the painful, humble work of climbing back up the mountain, and writer-director Robert Budreau mostly sticks to beauty over prettiness, and the nature of practice over the magic of talent.” And Tulsa World tells us, “There are highs and lows galore, balancing humor and darkness.”

A similar story, “Miles Ahead” gives us an impressionistic look at the life and career of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis (played by Don Cheadle), including his struggles with heroin addiction. Journal and Courier says, “As in most biopics, "Miles Ahead" blurs the line between fact and fiction. Does it matter? Davis purists and aficionados may be upset or offended, but for the casual music lover who knows Davis only by name or reputation, the film should prove satisfying.” And St. Louis Post Dispatch sees it as “a jazzy and unconventional tribute to an American icon…”

And “Midnight Special” gives us the quite extraordinary tale of a man (Michael Shannon) who goes on the lam with his son who has mystical powers. says it’s “Very likely the best sci-fi movie of the year.” And Student Edge concludes, “Next time someone asks you why there's no more magic at the movies, point them towards Midnight Special…”

Take your pick -- ordinary or extraordinary people -- their stories as told here make for extraordinary films.

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