Thursday, September 29, 2016

Week of Sept. 30 - Oct. 6 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview
Tropic Offers a Cinematic Mixture 
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Key West Citizen

Tropic Cinema adds two films and holds over three -- a mixture of foreign cinema, war thriller, a documentary, a British comedy, and western drama.

New to Tropic screens, “Mia Madre” introduces us to an Italian filmmaker (played by Margherita Buy) going through a bad patch -- tension with her crew, conflict with her star (John Turturro), and coming to terms with a dying mother. SF Weekly notes, “It’s difficult for an expressionistic Italian film about a director experiencing an existential crisis to not evoke ‘8 ½’ to some extent, but Nanni Moretti’s ‘Mia Madre’ is its own lovely meditation on art and life.” And One Guy’s Opinion tells us, “In its quiet, subdued way 'Mia Madre’ touches an emotional chord, enhanced by Buy’s subtle, multifaceted performance.”

Another newcomer is “Anthropoid,” a true-life WWII thriller about the assassination of the Nazi who masterminded the Final Solution. Josef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) are the two soldiers who parachute into their occupied homeland in December 1941 to kill high-ranking SS officer Reinhard Heydrich. Movie Talk advises, “Get past the off-putting title, which sounds as though it belongs to a schlocky sci-fi film. Get past the iffy Czech accents. And get past the stodgy scene setting. Do all this and you will find WW2 thriller ‘Anthropoid’ genuinely stirring.” And calls the film “bracingly realistic, carrying a strong emotional kick in the final act.”

We travel back in time with the Fab Four in Ron Howard’s documentary “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years.” Here we follow John, Paul, George, and Ringo on their concert tours from 1962 to 1966. New Yorker says, “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 Washington Post adds, “It all feels a little glossy, but who can complain when the vibes are so good and the tunes so catchy?”

“Bridget Jones’s Baby” gives us the further adventures of that British lass who’s unlucky in love (played again by Renée Zellweger). However, this time she’s got two beaus (Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey) wondering which is her baby’s daddy. EntertainmentTell writes, “It’s got the same smart character work and commitment to slapstick as the previous films, while believably adapting the characters to older ages and the passage of time.” And People Magazine observes, “Her heart is still gold and her sense of humor fully intact, reminding us why we fell in love with her in the first place.”

“Hell or High Water” may well be the best movie this year, a bleak-but-bouncy drama about a Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) chasing a pair of bank-robbing brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster). Indie London proclaims the film is “destined to become a modern classic -- and deservedly so.” And Commercial Appeal says, “Worrying his lines like a plug of chaw, Jeff Bridges again proves that an extreme, even expressionistic characterization can be an unlikely vehicle for emotional honesty.”

Five films, five great choices.

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