Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Please go to http://tropiccinema.com/movie-reviews for your new source of reviews from the Tropic's local reviewers, Ian Brockway and Shirrel Rhoades.

Thank you for your interest.

Tropic Cinema

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Arrival (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway


Denis Villeneuve's "Arrival" is riveting, tense and thought provoking. It is the story of alien beings coming to earth to tell us something, and at times it is opaque just what the "something" means.

From the start, we are hooked. While it slightly resembles "Inception" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," its surprise turns and philosophical depth make it a unique film for the genre.

One day linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams), who is coping with the death of her daughter, is teaching at college. Sudden beeps are heard. Each student is recieving text messages. Louise turns on the TV and discovers to her great shock that alien ships are hovering all over the world in some forty countries.  People are in an uproar.

Not knowing what to do, she goes home and is visited by  Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) who tells her that her expertise is needed with the extraterrestrial language barrier. She refuses. But after being summoned in the dark of night, Louise agrees and she is flown to Montana.

The military camp looks like a toy army field from above, plastic and frozen, the men with guns glued in place. The ship is there, hovering inches from the verdant green expanse, egg like and grayish black: a three-dimensional Magritte painting.

Louise is briefed and introduced to physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner). They are put in Hazmat suits and sent upward. This is suspenseful because they are sent up a pitch black shaft and we feel their uncertainty.

They meet the beings but do they mean introduction or harm? The visitors speak in a calligraphic language that has no linear bearing on time and space. Understandably, both Louise and Ian are in a dilemma. How far should they push and just what is the meaning of their encounter if the language used is absent in qualities of beginning or end?

Amy Adams is excellent as a conscientious  professor and grieving mother who cares greatly about her discovery, but more immediately is just trying to cope.

Director Villeneuve (Prisoners) has the sense not to reveal too much and while the story does get technical and maze-like, there is enough heart and emotion to keep one held and transfixed. The singular sight of the huge ship floating  mere inches from an emerald greenspace is enough to make one cheer for Surrealism in the 21st century.

"Arrival" is a contemplative film that rejects spoon-feeding its audience or giving easily digestible images. It is a provocative film which goes deeper than Christopher Nolan's aforementioned highly praised puzzler "Inception".

Write Ian at ianfree1@yahoo.com

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Queen of Katwe (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Queen of Katwe

Director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) gives a queen her due in "Queen of Katwe" an bouyant biopic about Phiona Mutesi, the teen chess champion of Uganda. Mutesi, having lost her father and sister in childhood and raised in poverty by a single mother, overcame near impossible odds. She began to learn chess as a young girl and with a prodigious memory, earned a championship.

Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) aids her mom, Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong'o) in selling maize. She likes her home life, but grows increasingly pressured. Phiona is bullied, money is scarce to non-existent and her sister Night (Taryn Kyaze) is known to be going out with whoever has flash. By chance, she spies youngsters playing chess at the Sports Outreach School, a Christian Mission. Phiona wanders in with her brother, Brian (Martin Kabanza).

Her interest is piqued. The kids make fun of her, but the instructor Robert Katande (David Oyelowo) notices her enthusiasm.

Director Nair employs Disney's trademark sweet tone to great effect. Rather than cloying or sugary as some Disney films are, the film is effervescent and bubbly, but never without its pathos. The sister, Night, flirts with the gangster realm but never fully succumbs. The film does not shy away from domestic fireworks, but when it does indulge in drama, it is startlingly authentic.

This film is a true underdog story in the best sense and it is impossible not to cheer. The mere glance at Nalwanga's serious yet cheerful face will have you smiling in an instant. Like Karate Kid's stance and Rocky Balboa's jog, Phiona has a trademark snap after a chess move combined with a dance that is sure to enter cinema history.

The cinematography and editing is so emotionally strong that it floats and leaps upon the eye like music.  The magic is that these very real people are as iconic as any heroes in older classic Disney tales and they are all the more powerful for actually living in this realm.

The best that could be said of "Queen of Katwe" is that it embodies an irrepressibly contagious joy that is possible in life, if we make solid choices along with luck.

Write Ian at ianfree1@yahoo.com

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Week of November 11 - 17 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic’s Screens Filled With Interesting Characters
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Key West Citizen

Tropic Cinema welcomes aliens from outer space, brainy chess queens, grumbling misanthropes, cute li’l trolls, gun-blazin’ cowpokes, and crafty murderers to this week’s screens.

Take me to your leader! “Arrival” recounts intergalactic spacecraft landing on earth. Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker lead the team trying to decipher the aliens’ message -- is it a greeting or a warning? This has been called a thinking-man’s (and -woman’s) sci-fi film. Village Voice describes it as “a sci-fi movie that looks not up at the stars but rather deep within.” And RogerEbert.com calls it “a film that forces viewers to reconsider that which makes us truly human, and the impact of grief on that timeline of existence.”

“Queen of Katwe” is certainly a feel-good movie, but it’s much more than that -- a metaphor for rescuing your life. A young Ugandan girl becomes a chess master despite her impoverished existence in the slums of Katwe. Associated Press says, “The colors and rhythms of life in the slums of Uganda are what set Queen of Katwe apart from other underdog chess movies.” And New York Observer adds, “The story is true, and the message it delivers -- with care and help, the disenfranchised can become role models and inspire others -- is unabashedly sentimental, but in a good way.”

“A Man Called Ove” gives us a world-weary grump (Rolf Lassgard) who life is turned around when new neighbors knock over his mailbox with their car, sparking an unexpected friendship. San Francisco Chronicle sees it as “a pleasant journey from pawn to king -- spiritually speaking, of course.” And Killer Movie Reviews tells us, “In the end, we take Ove on his own terms, and he shows us how a bittersweet life can be a life very well lived.”

“The Girl on the Train” is a “Gone Girl” wannabe, a murder mystery with twists and turns. An alcoholic ex-wife (Emily Blunt) spies on her former husband and sees things that make her a suspect in a missing person case. ABC Radio Brisbane promises it “offers intrigue and a few red herrings…” And South China Morning Post says it has a “potential to entertain.”

“Trolls” is a sticky sweet children’s outing, a 3D animated musical about those tiny fright-wigged dolls you remember from your childhood. Justin Timberlake provides the bouncy music. Detroit News tells us, “‘Trolls’ isn't likely to advance mankind in any significant way, but it’s a harmless adventure with a few toe-tapping musical numbers and a positive message of togetherness and teamwork.” And New York Times calls it “Exuberant, busy and sometimes funny .…”

Want a good Western shoot-‘em-up? This remake of “The Magnificent Seven” stars Denzel Washington as the leader of gunslingers (and more) who set out to rescue a small town from bad guys. NPR says, “If body count is what you go to Westerns for, by all means drift into this one's corral.” And Detroit News says this “latest spin on the classic outlaw tale -- comes in guns blazing, sweeps the town and gets the job done.”

Meet them all at the Tropic.


NUTS! (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Nuts!” Is a Deliberately Nutty Doc
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I’ve always had a reluctant admiration for charlatans and hucksters. I enjoyed the motor-mouth spiels of Crazy Eddy selling cheap TVs and Vince, the ShamWow guy. And I remember that Will Kellogg created corn flakes as a heath food, while Coca-Cola was originally promoted as nerve tonic.

No surprise that I enjoyed “Nuts!” -- a documentary about the controversial medical doctor and radio mogul, John R. Brinkley. He was a Kansas druggist-turned-physician who claimed he could cure male impotence by implanting goat testicles into the scrotums of his patients.


Did it work? Not really. But what did you expect from a man with dubious academic credentials?

Back in the ‘20s Brinkley invented the infomercial, using “satisfied customer” testimonials to hawk his health cures over his country-music radio station KFKB. Critics said the call letters stood for “Kansas Folk Know Better.”

When the radio station was closed down by the Federal Radio Commission (now the FCC), Brinkley merely started up a “million-watt-regulation-skirting border-blaster” station in Mexico and continued filling Kansas airwaves with dubious messages. Such as hair products containing lead.

His so-called cures were blamed for many deaths.

When screenwriter Thom Stylinski and director Penny Lane decided to make a documentary based on the book “The Life of A Man” by Clement Wood, they were more interested in people’s gullibility than Brinkley’s factual biography

As Stylinski explains, “It’s because people want to believe that something as magical and as weird as this could be true. So I was … interested in investigating that aspect.”

“Nuts!” is showing next Monday night as the latest entry in the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers at the Tropic Cinema. And Thom Stylinski will be on hand to introduce the film.

“Nuts!” is a fascinating film, using a combination of animation, interviews with historians, news clips, and archival footage to tell the wacky story. As narrated by associate producer Gene Tognicci, we find we can’t trust John R. Brinkley -- or the unreliable narration.

Penny Lane says, “We can all get fooled.”

On the film’s website, you will find an outline so you can determine where “Nuts!” stayed true to the facts, altered the chronology of events, or “simply made things up out of whole cloth.”

Or you can simply ask Thom Stylinski during the Tropic’s Q&A.


Arrival (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Arrival” About More Than Extraterrestrials
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

My brother runs multiple computers that “listen” for messages from outer space. It’s part of the SETI@Home program.

SETI is short for the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence.

As Agent Mulder used to say in TV’s “X-Files,” the truth is out there.

However, in “Arrival” -- the new science-fiction movie playing at Tropic Cinema -- the truth is closer to home when extraterrestrials arrive on earth.

As spacecraft land around the world, a task force is assembled to investigate the enigmatic visitors. A linguistics specialist (Amy Adams), a physicist (Jeremy Renner), and an Army colonel (Forest Whitaker) team up to avert a global confrontation.

Called “a thinking man’s sci-fi film,” it pays homage to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” while retaining director Denis Villeneuve’s own unique vision.

Contrary to Villeneuve’s previous works (“Prisoners,” “Sicario”) “Arrival” doesn’t offer a dark view of humanity. Rather than a shoot-‘em-up action film, here we find a trio who are trying to understand these aliens. With various nations trying to translate the language, there’s lots of room for misinterpretation. Amy Adams gives a sensitive performance, turning the typical invasion from outer space trope into a backdrop for self-reflection. Dr. Louise Banks (Adams) examines what makes her human as she mourns the loss of a daughter.

So rather than discovering what the aliens are, we consider what makes us who we are. Both positive and negative.


Queen of Katwe (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Queen of Katwe” A Crowd-Pleaser
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

How do you make an interesting movie about a thoughtful, slow-moving game like chess? Just ask director Mura Nair.

Her new movie “Queen of Katwe” is more than just a feel-good biopic. Its subject is 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi, a girl who lives in Katwe, the largest of eight slums in Kampala, Uganda. She cannot read and has to sell maize in the street to help support her impoverished family. The change in her life comes when a local sports official decides to teach the kids chess rather than soccer. Phiona only joins the chess club because it offered free porridge and she was hungry. Other kids say, “She smells,” but the coach welcomes her, noting “This is a place for fighters.” Phiona surprises him with her aptitude for the game … and before you know it she’s beating him.

Nair deftly equates the elements of chess to her young subject’s life. Finding a “safe space” whenever your opponent is on the offensive. Against all odds, marching a pawn all the way across the board to turn it into a queen.

“In chess,” one young player explains, “the small one can become the big one.”

In short, it doesn’t matter how strong or rich you are, the game can teach you to “strategize your way to a better life.”

It did just that for the real-life Phiona. She went on to become one of the first two women in Ugandan history to become titled chess players. Phiona was awarded a Woman Candidate Master after her performance in the 40th Chess Olympiad in Turkey.

Newcomer Madina Nalwanga stars as Phiona Mutesi. Nearly 700 girls were interviewed for the part. Well cast, Nalwanga gives a subtle, nuanced performance as a girl struggling against poverty, self-doubt, and prejudice.

Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) is spectacular as Phiona’s headstrong mother, Nakku Harriet. She exudes a determination to protect her daughter from disappointment, while striving to keep their family afloat, living in a hut they can ill afford.

And David Oyelowo (“Selma”) is charismatic as Robert Katende, the coach who discovered Phiona while conducting a Christian missionary program for slum children.

Don’t leave before the credits, because tears will sting your eyes as you see the actors meet the actual people they played. Kind of like that moment at the end of “Schindler’s List.”

Surprisingly, “Queen of Katwe” is a Disney movie. Mura Nair likes to joke that this is the first Disney film set in Africa that doesn’t have a single animal in it.

Based on a story by Tim Corothers in ESPN magazine (“The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster”), the screenplay was penned by William Wheeler. Despite her earlier success with “Monsoon Wedding,” Nair was forced to film a high-concept short to alleviate Disney’s concerns about an odd kind of sports film set entirely in Africa. But it turns out Disney has a soft spot for “underdog” sports films.

Nair described “Queen of Katwe” as “a radical film for Disney in many ways ... It has beauty and barbarity side-by-side.”

A movie with a female lead and an all-black cast directed by a woman of color, the movie was a long shot. But Mura Nair was determined, just as dedicated as any underdog in a Disney movie. She kept in mind the slogan of a film school she founded in Uganda: “If we don’t tell our own stories, no one will.”


Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Man Called Ove (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

A Man Called Ove

For those that loved "The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" and "Life Is Beautiful," a new film by Hannes Holm "A Man Called Ove" will satisfy your sweet tooth. The film is based on the novel by Fredrik Backman.

An older Swedish engineer Ove (Rolf Lassgård) is a recent widower. He loves his wife with a passion and misses her dearly to the point of keeping her room immaculate as she last left it. But Ove's daily life is one of gray ennui. His life is in mono. Ove feels the absence of his wife's red shoes. Those that know this man try to socialize with him, but Ove will not be part of it.

He steels himself to attempt suicide, and goes to elaborate detail to craft his end perfectly. He tries hanging, exhaust poisoning and a shotgun and experiences a mortem interruptus each and every time either by a knock or the sight of a passerby.

To offset his uges, Ove befriends a very expressive cat which reminds one of an Edward Gorey illustration. The sight of this cat is a scene-stealer, perfecty positioned in the aftermath of Ove's vexing hijinks. Each attempt brings memories of his wife Sonja (Ida Ingvall) and Ove watches each memory vignette in the form of a stage play where he takes the form of his younger self (Filip Berg). These sequences have the charming flavor of early Woody Allen. Light, seriocomic and always affecting, the segments offer a good balance to Ove's obsessions with termination which border on the Hitchcockian.

The pains that Ove takes to achieve his desired end provide the best of the film precisely because they are without maudlin overdone feelings. The scenes simply reveal Ove as a well-rounded person.  At the end of one suicidal interlude, there is a mailbox drama that occurs outside Ove's door. He reluctantly agrees to help his newlywed neighbor Parveneh (Bahar Pars) who is a parallel to Sonja. Both characters transfix you, candy for the eyes and the spirit.

A friendship ensues.

Though the story has its "Forrest Gump" flavor in Ove's passive sentiments (mostly in contained in the last third) the film excels in keeping us guessing, oscillating between Ove's fatal preoccupations which come upon him like a trance and his memories which unfold like Spielberg cliffhangers: colorful, warm and adventurous.

We truly get a deep and intimate look at this man Ove. Far from a sluggish curmugeon, he is a man of cerebral feeling  capable of romantic spontaniety and sudden drive. It is only the film's last fairy tale note that is a little too sugary and sweet. One might want for a little more complexity.

But this is a slight reservation. The complete whole of "A Man Called Ove" is a vivid and rolling love story, satifying not least for its dark humor that never stoops or panders.

Write Ian at ianfree1@yahoo.com

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Christine (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway


While some of us may have breezed through the 1970s with "The Planet of the Apes" toys, 45 rpm records, jello and shag carpeting, for others it was no joy, as in the case of Christine Chubbuck, a passionate and dedicated TV journalist who suffered with depression.

"Christine" directed by Antonio Campos (Simon Killer) is the story of her life at age 29, as a small-town TV reporter in Sarasota in 1974. Actor / director Rebecca Hall delivers a spot on, flawless performance as the fiery yet painfully self-deprecating Chubbuck. To her credit, Hall highlights her discipline and terrific work ethic as well as her crippling struggle.

Day after day, the reporter yearns to bring a stirring human interest stories to the public, but she feels increasingly confined by her mundane assignments, covering chicken raising and strawberry picking, along with her talk show segment, Suncoast Digest.  Chubbuck's only outlet is the occasional eye contact with news anchor George (Michael C. Hall) and some volunteer work at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, performing puppet shows to children.

In an effort to receive edgier material, Chubbuck gets a police radio and goes to a fire. Rather than report the fire itself, she interviews the victim who is convinced of a personal conspiracy. Elated, Chubbuck goes to her director, Mike (Tracy Letts)  who harshly pushes her to produce "juicy" or sensational segments, only to be aloof to her endevours in the end.

The journalist's home life is no easy respite. She is stressed out by living with her mom (J. Smith-Cameron) and her mom's boyfriend (Jayson Warner Smith). Chubbuck has never had a steady date and is still a virgin. She also wishes for kids of her own but is cheated in this with the discovery of an ovarian cyst. To combat these disappointments, she throws herself into her work.

One day, Christine gets word of an impromptu visit by station owner Bob Andersen (John Cullum) and grows very anxious. Ranting in full view of her co-workers, she berates her boss Mike and his wife.  Needless to say, there is no love lost.

Through her research on gun sales, Chubbuck develops an interest in calibers.

Presented in a deceptively objective manner "Christine" highlights the emotive and diverse performance of Rebecca Hall, who is a wonder. As a living person, far from an urban legend, Hall gives this woman a galvanic energy as well as some daunting porcupine quills. This is a talented woman stuck deeply in her shell. One feels The Sword of Damocles above.

While having the quality of a dispassionate short story, "Christine" is by no means a thriller. It is an honest character study and cautionary tale urging us to recognize Chubbock's talent, subverted in a not so positive hunger for titillating news stories at any cost.

Write Ian at ianfree1@yahoo.com

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Week of November 4 - 10 (Rhoades)

Tropic Overview

Tropic Cinema Offers a Blender Filled With Films
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Toss in a mystery, a couple of dramas, a Western, and some 3D animation, flip a switch, and you’ll have a fusion of films playing this week at the Tropic.

No, “Trolls” is not at horror movie about the monster that threatened Billy Goat Gruff. Rather, it’s about those cute little dolls with the electric-shock stand-up hair. This 3D animated outing is aimed at your kid. The Film File says, “Gloriously computer-animated on top of being a well-told story, ‘Trolls’ takes a long-in-the-tooth doll brand that hit its pop-culture zenith in the 1990s and quickly exceeds expectations.” And Washington Post exudes, “All that humor, color and happiness is an undeniable delight, making you tap your feet and, as Justin Timberlake sings, feel as if you’ve got sunshine in your pocket.”

“The Girl on the Train” continues to ride the imaginations of audiences. An alcoholic ex-wife (played by Emily Blunt) spies on her former husband and his new family, but in the process witnesses suspicious goings-on that involve a missing woman. Daily Star tells us, “It’s Blunt’s convincing turn as the sozzled Rachel that keeps us gripped.” And Hollywood.com concludes, “It’s no ‘Gone Girl,’ but it’s not half bad either.”

“Sully” is about the aftermath of Chesley Sullenberger’s landing US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. Starring a mustachioed Tom Hanks, we learn that it’s not easy being a hero. Washington City Paper says, “Sully is at its best when it’s in full dramatic reenactment mode…” And San Diego Reader puts it, “Hanks’s Sullenberger is by far Clint Eastwood’s most untarnished standard-bearer to date. Not even Nelson Mandela came off looking this good.”

“A Man Called Ove” gives us an angry old man who forms an unlikely friendship with the boisterous people who move in next door. Salt Lake Tribune describes it as a “mix of humor and heartbreak.” And Detroit News says the film “starts out gruff and unlikable … then it opens up and becomes something of an epic about ordinary life, touching, funny and engrossing.”

“Christine” is the true account of the Sarasota newscaster who committed suicide on air. Rebecca Hall stars as the ill-fated Christine. San Francisco Examiner observes, “Hall’s quietly extraordinary performance as a woman disconnected from the world she so desperately wants to glow in makes the movie worth seeing.” And The Young People tells us the film “will truly break your heart as it shows just how hard Chubbuck fought to step back from the brink.”

“The Magnificent Seven” rides again in this remake of the Western classic. This time around, Denzel Washington fills the saddle as the leader of those tough characters out to save a town. Deadline Hollywood Daily advises, “Not nearly as magnificent as the originals it is based on, this Denzel Washington western vehicle still has its moments.” And East Bay Express agrees that “outside of being a tad overproduced, it stands on its own perfectly well.”

“White Girl” tells of a NYC college girl (Homeland’s Morgan Saylor) who falls for a drug dealer. That’s when she learn about the price of love. Chicago Sun-times says, “Frequently difficult to watch, ‘White Girl’ is the powerful feature debut of a filmmaker with original vision and clear talent -- and a movie that proves a lead actress can possess the gift of transformative performance skills.” And Mark Reviews Movies calls it “a generic cautionary tale...”

Seven films that leave you stirred, not shaken.


Trolls (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

Dreamworks “Trolls” A Sticky Sweet Animated Musical
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

You remember those ugly little dolls with fuzzy up-combed hair that became so popular in the 1960s. Many people called them Dam Things, not because of their demonic appearance, but because the dolls were created by a Danish woodcutter named Thomas Dam.

As the story goes, Dam could not afford a Christmas present for his daughter, so he carved her a doll. Other children in the village wanted one and so he started manufacturing what he called Good Luck Trolls.

In 2013 Dreamworks announced it has purchased the Troll brand from the Dam Company and promptly began work on a 3D computer-animated movie.

“Trolls” is currently playing at Tropic Cinema.

This musical comedy features the voices of Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Jeffrey Tabor, Christine Baranski, John Cleese, and Russell Brand.

The simple storyline involves two trolls who are trying to save their village from large grumpy creatures called Bergens who eat trolls. Seems trolls are perpetually happy little things that make Bergens happy for a moment after ingesting them. Like kids popping sugary candy.

Justin Timberlake also serves as the movie’s musical director, and the theme -- “Can’t Stop the Feeling” -- is already a hit.

Your kids will enjoy this sticky, sweet fairy tale. I hope you’re not diabetic.


Christine (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Christine” Recounts An On-Air Suicide
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Back in 1976 the black comedy “Network” gave us a TV anchorman who shouted “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” This satirical story (written by three-time Oscar-winner Paddy Chayefsky) ends with the TV anchor’s death on live television.

The film’s shocking finale admittedly was based on the on-air suicide of television news reporter Christine Chubbuck that took place two years earlier at WXLT in Sarasota, Florida.

The actual story of Christine Chubbuck is now being told in “Christine,” a new film playing at Tropic Cinema.

Christine Chubbuck hosted an early-morning talk show called “Suncoast Digest.” It covered “matters of interest to the growing beach community.”

Turns out, Christine suffered from severe depression. She’d attempted to overdose on pills a couple of years earlier, but her family kept it hushed to protect her job. She’d been seeing a psychiatrist, but had recently stopped. She suffered from bipolar disorder.

Apparently she had a crush on one of her co-workers, but he was going out with her best friend. She was turning 30 and still a virgin.

Christine convinced the station’s news director to let her to do a story on suicide. She met with the local sheriff’s department asking about the best ways to kill oneself. She bought a gun.

On the morning of July 15, 1974, Christine opened her program with the news. When the tape about a local shooting jammed, she said, “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts,’ and in living color, you are going to see another first -- attempted suicide.” Then she pulled out her revolver and shot herself behind the right ear. The broadcast quickly faded to black, followed by public service ads and a movie. Viewers called in to ask if the shooting was staged.

Afterward, the night news editor recalled that she had joked about killing herself on air, but he didn’t take her seriously. He’d considered it “sick humor.”

For the new film, director Antonio Campos follows the true-life events fairly closely. Rebecca Hall (“The Town,” “Iron Man 3”) stars as the titular Christine. Michael C. Hall (TV’s “Dexter”) plays the newsman for who she had romantic feelings. And Kim Shaw (“She’s Out of My League”) is cast as the sports reporter that he was dating.

“She was very gifted and she never felt like she was good enough and she was constantly doubting herself, and I mean morosely doubting herself,” says her brother Greg Chubbuck. “And she would come out of it and she would be better and we would think with all the outside help with the professionals maybe this would be the time she would get her wind and be fine. But it just never really happened completely for her. It is a really sad, tragic circumstance.”