Tropic Cinema Offers Wide Spectrum of Appealing Films
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
From an 18th-Century schemer to a 21st-Century planner, from a politician who exposes himself to a drag queen who hides his candy, Tropic Cinema offers us a wide spectrum of films this week.
“Love & Friendship” is director Whit Stillman’s take on a Jane Austen heroine, Lady Susan Vernon, a conniving woman who in the 1790s sets out to find a husband for herself and her daughter. BuzzFeed calls it “Jane Austen with the romance drained out….” Globe and Mail tells us it’s “adapted with great warmth and wit....” And Fort Worth Weekly sums it up, “Lady Susan is infuriating in her ability to justify whatever she wants to do and you want all her romantic plans to fail … but Kate Beckinsale nevertheless makes her into delightful company.”
“Maggie’s Plan” is Rebecca Miller’s homage to Woody Allen, the modern-day story a New York City single who wants to be a mommy. But her carefully crafted plans go astray in this screwball-ish comedy. Newsday calls it, “Something between Shakespeare, Woody Allen and Noah Baumbach, a cautionary tale filled with Manhattanite wit and small moments that have the ring of truth.” Detroit News notes that it’s “Greta Gerwig’s show, and once again she proves to be one of the screen’s most engaging presences.”
“Weiner” is Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s insider documentary about Anthony Weiner’s disastrous run for NYC mayor. You’ll remember Weiner as the former Congressman caught sexting women, despite being married to one of Hilary Clinton’s top aids. Christian Science Monitor says, “It would make a great double bill with ‘Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer.’” And One Guy’s Opinion notes that it’s “like watching a train wreck in slow motion, though ... the film actually moves quite briskly.”
“Viva” is Paddy Breathnach’s salute to a young Cuban hairdresser who aspires to be a drag queen. But his estranged father has other ideas. Washington Post observes, “The story is slightly melodramatic, but the director finds ways to make it surprisingly moving at times, in the same way that he makes the Havana slums look paradoxically beautiful.” And San Francisco Chronicle adds, “The lively setting helps, but the main attraction here is the familiar story, which has been around forever and yet never gets old.”
Then for a bit of mindless humor we have Shane Black’s “The Nice Guys,” a buddy film about two mismatched tough guys investigating the death of a porn star. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star as the doofus duo. MTV says, “Crowe and Gosling are a perfect mismatch. They skulk around Los Angeles like a bear and a weasel who just escaped from the circus.” And Baltimore Magazine observes, “Crowe and Gosling have a wonderful, gruff chemistry here, which is key. If this is the beginning of a ‘Lethal Weapon’ style franchise for the two actors, count me in.”
Yes, Tropic Cinema’s counterbalanced programing is sure to offer something that appeals.