Monday, June 6, 2016

Week of June 3 - 9 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Serves Up a ‘Six-Pack’
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

This week Tropic Cinema’s selections comprise a six-pack. But unlike a carton of same-brand soda or beer, the Tropic’s offerings are delightfully varied. For those who like indie films, you’ll find them. For those who enjoy Hollywood blockbusters, ditto.

“The Lobster” is a new indie starring Collin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. This sci-fi fantasy tells about a future where people are required pair up as romantic couples, or else be turned into an animal (like, say, a lobster). Salt Lake Tribune says the film “neatly satirizes the societal pressures of mating and the difficulties of finding a soulmate.” And Newsday calls it “highly original and mordantly funny. Perfect for fans of Franz Kafka, Charlie Kaufman and other bleak surrealists.”

On the other end of the scale, “X-Men: Apocalypse” is latest blockbuster in Marvel’s superhero franchise. This time we meet the very first mutant, an Egyptian pharaoh who becomes a villain named Apocalypse. Only the X-Men stand between him and his attempt to destroy the world.  Fort Worth Weekly says, “The X-Men series has found some promising new blood in front of the camera.” And Baret News observes, “This episode is … directed by the series’ originator, Bryan Singer, whose sophisticated touch always allows an audience to enjoy a relatively-cerebral cinematic experience.”

On the other hand, “The Meddler” is a smaller film starring Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne. As the title implies, this comedy is about a meddling mother and her exasperated daughter. Spirituality and Practice describes it as “The story of a widow’s self-transformation through generosity, kindness, and letting go.” And Killer Movie Reviews proclaims, “A better film about the complicated bond between mother and child has never had a better, a funnier, or a more heartwarming cinematic incarnation.”

“The Jungle Book” is Disney’s fourth retelling of the Rudyard Kipling story about a boy raised by jungle animals. PlusbitsMix says, “Exciting, fun, impressive and beautiful is how I can summarize ‘The Jungle Book’ experience.” And Proceso observes, “Those who saw the animated version will miss the musical numbers, yet Favreau manages to create a beautiful and balanced film.”

“A Bigger Splash” tells about a rock star and her boyfriend (Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts) dealing with an old friend and his daughter (Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson) who interrupt their stay on Italy’s volcanic island Pantelleria. Expect a few human eruptions. Detroit News describes it as “a sensuous and thought-provoking adult drama dealing with temptation, sexuality and carnal desires.” And Missoula Independent says, “I’m recommending A Bigger Splash on the strength of its performances and the complexity of the characters.”

A crowd pleaser, “The Man Who Knew Infinity” explores the unlikely friendship between a grumpy Cambridge professor and a fish-out-of-water mathematical genius. Fort Worth Star Telegram describes
it as “an incredible true story about an impoverished Indian man whose Jedi math skills helped him triumph over race, class, and bad food in early 20th-Century England -- and telescopes it into a well-made yet predictable tale of inspiration.” And adds, “Jeremy Irons and Dav Patel create a bit of magic with their mathematical dance …”

Six films, big and small. A nice selection.

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