Monday, April 11, 2016

Week of April 8 - 14 (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

Six Lively Films on Tropic Cinema Screens
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

This week’s films at Tropic Cinema look at life: reclaiming it, enjoying it, weighing its values, laughing at it, even considering its spiritual elements. Here are the six films you’ll find gracing the Tropic screens:

First up, “Demolition” gives us Jake Gyllenhaal as a man who has just lost his wife in a tragic traffic accident, and is trying to cope by demolishing his old life -- right down to bulldozing the house -- so he can rebuild himself emotionally. Globe and Mail says, “Gyllenhaal’s performance is so engaging, so successfully constructed to make us sympathize with the man’s anti-social reactions to convention, even while we may understand everyone else’s bemusement.” And Tampa Bay Times observes, “Demolition could easily be maudlin, some urban Nicholas Sparks-type weeper in which ideas run out before tissues. But this is Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyer’s Club”), whose dexterity with downbeat material is edgier ... daring the audience to cry at tragedy, rather than expecting it.”

“Hello, My Name Is Doris” presents Sally Field as a 60-plus woman who falls for a younger co-worker. Is this a futile crush, or an awakening of a new zest for life? Newsday calls it “a winning comedy-drama built around one of cinema’s most endearing leading ladies.” And adds, “It’s a feel-good movie you won’t feel guilty for enjoying, or even loving.”

“Eye In the Sky” offers up Helen Mirren as a British intelligence officer tracking terrorists in Kenya by the use of drones. But is she willing to have the long-distance American drone pilot pull the trigger when the collateral damage would be a young girl twirling a hula-hoop outside the house they have under surveillance? Philadelphia Inquirer tells us, “‘Eye in the Sky’ is disturbing, but it’s also balanced and ambivalent about what is right.” And Quad City Times adds, “‘Eye in the Sky’ offers no easy answers. But when have there been any easy answers to war?”

“10 Cloverfield Lane” shares a kinship with “Cloverfield,” but it’s not the same kind of monster movie. Here a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is trapped in an underground bunker with a crazy guy (John Goodman) who claims aliens have attacked earth. Can this possibly be true? Daily Star notes, “If Hitchcock had ever directed an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone,’ it might have looked something like this.” The Atlantic says the film “alternates moods seamlessly, ratcheting tension to the breaking point and then deflating it with black humor.” And Quad City Times adds accurately, “It wouldn’t be fair to tell you too much.”

“Deadpool” is another Marvel superhero blockbuster, this time featuring Ryan Reynolds as a wisecracking anti-hero who can regenerate himself when injured. He’s out for revenge against the bad guys who turned him into a mutant. Excelsior notes, “Superhero movies have long needed a character as twisted as Deadpool.” And South China Morning Post explains, “Irreverent and incorrigible, Deadpool pricks the pomposity of your average Hollywood comic book movie with a delicious laugh-out-loud script.”

Finally, “Risen” is an Easter-based story about a Roman Tribune (Joseph Fiennes) who is searching for the missing body of an executed Jew rumored to have risen from the grave. Movie Talk calls it: “Retelling the story of the Resurrection as if it were CSI.” And Ganuyo calls it “a film that even non-believers can enjoy because of the interesting take on this tale and great production values.”

Half-a-dozen movies ranging from superheroes to octogenarians, from a grieving husband to the risen Christ. What better choices could you ask for than these six life-affirming films?

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