Thursday, September 22, 2016

Week of Sept. 23 - 29 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Beatles, Beasties, Buns, Babies, and Bandits This Week at Tropic
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Key West Citizen

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Remember when the Beatles came to Key West in 1964? Well, here they come again in “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week -- The Touring Years,” the new documentary from Ron Howard. This is a look at the Fab Four’s concerts from their early days in Liverpool’s Cavern Club to their final performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. New Yorker cheers, “The Beatles now belong to an honored past, stuck there like an obelisk, and yet here they are, alive-busting out all over, time and time again. Yeah, yeah, yeah.” And The New York Times tells us it’s “90 percent familiar and a bit hagiographic as well, but just try watching it without smiling.”

Seth Rogen is a funny-looking guy, but you only get to hear his voice in the 3D animated “Sausage Party,” a romance between a hot dog named Frank (Rogen) and a bun named Brenda (Kristin Wiig) who believe heaven lies beyond the supermarket checkout. Underneath the funny foodstuff in this oversized cartoon you’ll also find a serious theological dialectic. Daily Express calls it “A tasty diversion.” And Observer observes: “It may not be suitable for kids, but that's not to say that this strenuously profane cartoon is not unapologetically juvenile in its approach to comedy.”

Disney’s cute 1977 “Pete’s Dragon” has been remade. This updated version sticks close to the original story about a boy and his pet fire-breathing dragon. Cairo360 says, “Don’t think twice before going in to see this magical adventure. You won’t be disappointed.” And finds it “A rare delight in how it respects the intelligence of its audience while still offering up lump-in-the-throat emotional beats in service of a welcomely straightforward story.”

“Bridget Jones’s Baby” is not a remake; it’s the third movie in this series about a British gal (played by American actress Renee Zellweger) who has finally found love with two men. But which one is her baby’s daddy? Globe and Mail saluted, “I’d like to raise a glass of Chardonnay and toast Bridget Jones’s Baby on its (mostly) hilarious, and long-anticipated, homecoming.” And Konexion adds, “A film that meets expectations and satisfies its public.”
“The Innocents” (“Les Innocentes”) transports us to post WWII Poland where a young midwife is called to help with a series of pregnancies in a nunnery. San Diego Reader notes, “Director and co-writer Anne Fontaine makes every shot and every exchange count in her tender but penetrating exploration of sisterhood in a brutal world.” And Missoula Independent “‘The Innocents’ is the best foreign film I’ve seen this year.”

And definitely one of the best films of the year, “Hell or High Water” gives us an old Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) chasing a pair of bank robbers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster). The kicker is that these brothers are robbing the bank that’s trying to foreclose on the family farm and using that money to pay off the mortgage. Poetic justice, huh? Christian Science Monitor says, “All of the performers in this film, right down to the bit players, are quite good, but Bridges demonstrates yet again that he is one of the finest actors in America.” And Irish Independent proclaims, “It’s quite a film.”

Holding over is “Bad Moms,” the “Hangover” style movie for women, wherein Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn demonstrate the adage that girls just wanna have fun. But you’ll find an underlying theme about the conflicting dream of a white house with a picket fence in the suburbs. indieWire sums it up: "A female-driven story that doesn't shy away from bad behavior while also touting the importance of familial bonds and solid parenting choices.” And Cinencuentro adds, "If you wanna have a good time watching a movie full of original gags starring great actresses, I highly recommend 'Bad Moms’.”

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