Tropic Cinema Skips through Time
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
From past to the present to worlds of fantasy, this week’s Tropic films take you on cinematic tours.
“The Birth of a Nation” takes us back to 1831, to a rebellion led by Nat Turner, a Virginia slave. Nate Parker both directs and stars as Turner in this epic historical drama. USA Today proclaims, “A work this powerful would be impressive for any filmmaker, so the fact that this is Parker’s first directorial feature is undoubtedly amazing.” And HitFix declares it to be “a vibrant, furious piece of work.”
On the other hand, “The Girl on the Train” is an up-to-the-minute psychological thriller in which an alcoholic ex-wife (Emily Blunt) rides the train past her old neighborhood, fantasizing about a woman who lives a few houses away. One day she witnesses her being abducted ... but is it what it seems? No, nothing is. The Straits Times notes, “The extraordinary thing … is that the hype around this bestseller-turned-movie has not lessened the story's ability to deliver a punch.” And AwardsCircuit.com concludes, “The film boasts an all-out amazing performance from Emily Blunt …”
With “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, ” director Tim Burton again leads us down a fanciful rabbit hole, introducing Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) who oversees some very strange wards. A boy (Asa Butterfield) must step forward to protect them from murderous Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson). Rolling Stone says, “Tim Burton (is) repeating tricks from his greatest hits (think Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands). But stick with it just for those times when Burton flies high on his own peculiar genius.” And La Nacion adds, “Another of the many adaptations by Burton that shows that every story has a dark side. It's like it was written for him.”
“Hell or High Water” is a tale of West Texas in which an old lawman (Jeff Bridges) chases a pair of bank-robbing brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster). It may be the best movie of the year. Philadelphia Inquirer tells us, “‘Hell or High Water’ is at once a tale of desperation in hard times, and a keenly observed character study – or studies.” And Indie London says it’s “destined to become a modern classic – and deservedly so.
And rounding up the Tropic’s lineup is Ron Howard’s documentary about the Fab Four, “Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years.” This is a musical look at Beatles’ concert years, 1962-1966. Urban Cinefile tells us, “I tapped my toes throughout Ron Howard’s fabulous documentary that gives a real sense of the time, the Beatles’ talent and the Beatle-mania that sweeps the world in the 60s ...” And Sydney Morning Herald sums it up: “For those of us who can remember, it's a deliriously evocative nostalgia trip …”
Five films skipping through time at the Tropic – quite a tour!