Thursday, October 27, 2016

Week of October 28 - November 3 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Eight Films: Plenty to See at the Tropic
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Lots of new films this week on Tropic screens, eight in all. You’ll find a handful of indies surrounded by some mainstream biggies.

No, “Little Men” is not based on the classic book by Louisa May Alcott. Rather it’s a tale about two boys whose friendship is interrupted by their parents’ squabble over the rent on a dress shop. A small film, but it offers up some big names: Greg Kinnear and Alfred Molina, along with Jennifer Ehle (Rosemary Harris’s daughter) and Talia Balsam (Martin Balsam’s daughter and George Clooney’s ex-wife, now married to John Slattery). Times (UK) calls it “a deceptively intimate drama that presents itself as a quirky coming-of-age story.” And Cinencuentro declares, “‘Little Men’ has an amazing cast. It’s one of this year’s best films.

Another small but interesting film is “Queen of Katwe,” the true story of a Ugandan girl who becomes an international chess master. Along with Madina Nalwanga in the lead role as the young champion, you’ll also find excellent performances by Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo. Associated Press tells us, “The colors and rhythms of life in the slums of Uganda are what set ‘Queen of Katwe’ apart from other underdog chess movies.” And Sunday Independent adds, “It’s uplifting, feel-good, nice, well shot and really well acted.”

“Denial” recounts the trial of historian Deborah E. Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), sued by holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Small). Her barrister (Tom Wilkinson) makes the case against Irving’s distasteful theories. Newsday notes, “Facts and opinions duke it out in this thought-provoking if slightly low-key drama based on true events.” And The Young Folks adds, “The entire cast gives a monumental performance that does justice to this monumental story.”

“The Girl on the Train” continues to thrill with its tale about an alcoholic ex-wife (Emily Blunt) who snoops on her former hubby and his new wife, in the process spotting what might be a clue in a murder. El AntepenĂșltimo Mohicano calls it “an entertaining film with interesting plot twists that will keep the audience hooked from the first minute to the last…” while BuzzFeed accuses it of “positioning itself unabashedly as a knock-off ‘Gone Girl.’”

“Sully” keeps making a miracle landing as it retells the story of the heroic American airlines pilot (played by Tom Hanks) who landed his crippled plane on the Hudson River. The Nation tells us, “This is pretty much the truth of New Yorkers’ feelings about the landing on the Hudson -- and director Clint Eastwood brings them back with a crisp, unmannered efficiency of which few other moviemakers are capable.” And calls it “a no-frills affair, almost to a fault.”

“Don’t Breathe” is a scary film about a blind man (Stephan Lang) whose home is invaded by three teenagers. But they wish they’d picked another house when the blind man turns off the lights. New Yorker says, “The suspense is built as carefully as it is in a good John Carpenter movie; director Fede Alvarez uses the camera like a stealth weapon, exploring dark corners and hidden areas of the house with devilish glee.” And Detroit News calls it “a breathless, visceral, nerve-racking thrill ride that doesn’t stop coming at you until its final gasps.”

“The Magnificent Seven” is a remake of the classic John Sturgis Western, this time around starring Denzel Washington as the leader of a pack of gunmen who set out to save a town from outlaws. Deadline Hollywood Daily observes, “This Denzel Washington Western vehicle still has its moments even if there is too much gunplay and not enough character development.” And NPR adds, “If body count is what you go to Westerns for, by all means drift into this one’s corral.”

And last on the list, but not least, is “Deepwater Horizon,” based on the BP oil spill that threatened the Gulf Coast. Here Mark Wahlberg (yes, the former Marky Mark) proves his acting mettle as one of the engineers on the deep-water platform when it blew. Rolling Stone says, “The film depicts the worst oil spill in American history and director Peter Berg recreates the cataclysm of that day with unbearable tension and healing compassion.” Forbes calls it “a taut, mostly engaging, and just slightly melodramatic (in a good way) ‘you are there’ retelling of the events that took place on April 20, 2010.”

Yes, there’s plenty to choose from at the Tropic.

No comments: