Friday, December 21, 2007


Let's just quote Joe Morgenstern from the Wall St. Journal: "The nicest surprise of the week -- not just nice but amazing -- is a comedy called "Ira and Abby." The film was directed by Robert Cary from a stunningly funny script by Jennifer Westfeldt, who plays Abby to Chris Messina's Ira. (She co-wrote and played the title role in "Kissing Jessica Stein.") To do rough justice to this special treat in not much space, let me first stipulate that it evokes any number of Woody Allen films, thanks to its therapy-centric characters and its Upper West Side milieu. But it also evokes the precision and panache of Feydeau farces, and the giddiness of the classic screwball genre, thanks to Ira and Abby's roundelays of marriage and divorce in a madcap relationship marked by skittering skepticism about the wisdom of marriage, and the nature of love.


t's funny, it's touching, it's cool, and it's "the feel-good movie of the season." (NY Daily News) Written by ex-stripper Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking), JUNO knows how to hit all the right notes. Ellen Page (Hard Candy) stars as the title character, a smart-alec teen confronting an unplanned pregnancy by her classmate Paulie (Michael Cera, Superbad). With the help of her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby), Juno finds her unborn child a "perfect" set of parents: an affluent suburban couple, Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), longing to adopt.


Documentarian Rob Stewart dives into shark-filled seas to disprove fear-based stereotypes and raise awareness of the world's dwindling shark population. But he ventures into dangerous waters when he battles shark poachers in this award-winning film. With renegade conservationist Paul Watson, Stewart exposes the criminal and highly profitable harvesting of shark fins, risking his life and facing a corrupt court system for his efforts. "Sharkwater aims to be nothing less than the 'Uncle Tom’s Cabin' of aquatic conservation: propaganda with teeth," says the New York Times.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


The Coen brothers have assembled a brilliant cast with Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin to bring this sinister, simmering, Southwestern tale to the screen. Brolin is a young hunter who stumbles on a stash of cash; Jones is the honest sheriff who tries to make things right; and Bardem is the personification of evil; in this story of a drug deal gone bad.

National Board of Review Winner, Best Film of the Year


The new documentary about the 1968 single-handed non-stop Around the World Race. In 1966 Francis Chichester amazed the sailing world with his single-handed circumnavigation, the first man to ever do it while staying south of the three great capes: Cape Horn, Cape Leeuwin (Australia) and the Cape of Good Hope, But he made a stop. Two years later a small group of intrepid seaman sought to better Chichester, and take home a cash prize offered by the London Sunday Times. Focusing on the story of Donald Crowhurst, seduced by the chance for fame and glory, and combining actual on-board footage from race participants with interviews and archival footage, the movie tells a tense, compelling story of ambition gone wrong.


Leonardo DiCaprio’s effort to follow up on last year’s An Inconvenient Truth. There’s more talk and fewer visual aids in this new documentary, but it adds positive prescriptions and a wealth of additional information for those who would do something to stop the world from going to hell in a handbag.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

AIDA (La Scala)

The Tropic's new opera season opens with the splendor of La Scala‘s production of L’Aida, directed and set-designed by the legendary Franco Zeffirelli. In 1872 Giuseppe Verdi himself presented his masterpiece L’Aida for the first time in Europe at La Scala. Share the experience of the opera's 135th anniversary return to the La Scala stage.


Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice, Lust, Caution combines sex (it's rated NC-17, the notch below -- or above, depending on your viewpoint -- R), fabulous cinematography that powerfully evokes Shanghai in the 1940's, and a sinister noir plot involving secret agents and double-dealing.


Tom DiCillo, who cut his teeth as Jim Jarmuch's cinematographer, joins everyone's favorite quirky hero Steve Buscemi to bring us DELIRIOUS, about a paparazzo's obsessive quest for that one perfect picture that will make his career. It's a sharp, comic spoof about the crazy pursuit of fame.


Ready for a hooting good time? Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) wrote, directed and stars in this poignant and humorous look at a man in search of a soul mate.


Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) stars in a heartfelt comedy about a loveable introvert named Lars whose emotional baggage has kept him from fully embracing life. After years of solitude, he invites a girl he met on the internet to visit him, but she's a life-size doll, not a real person.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


An all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise and Robert Redford dominant this thoughtful exploration of apathy and commitment in modern America. "'Wake up, America!' That’s the fervent call to action in Lions for Lambs, a well-intentioned and often nervy critique of America’s current complacency during a time of war," says the Austin Chronicle.


In the Shadow of the Moon brings together for the first--and possibly the last--time the surviving crew members from every single Apollo mission that flew to the Moon, and allows them to tell their story in their own words. This riveting first-hand testimony is interwoven with visually stunning archival material that has been remastered from the original NASA film footage--much of it never used before.


Talk about truth in advertising! For once, the packaging and the film go together. You won't be misled. This is a film of musical numbers, mostly unrelated, and the guys are naked (that means frontal.)

Friday, November 9, 2007


Freshly graduated from college and with a promising future ahead, 22-year-old Christopher McCandless chose instead to walk out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure. What happened to him on the way transformed this young wanderer into an enduring symbol for countless people.


A searing documentary that exposes the tragedy taking place in Darfur as seen through the eyes of an American witness who has since returned to the US to take action to stop it. Using the exclusive photographs and first hand testimony of former U.S. Marine Captain Briahn Steidle, The Devil Came on Horseback takes the viewer on an emotionally charged journey into the heart of Darfur, Sudan, where an Arab run government is systematically executing a plan to rid the province of its black African citizens

Sunday, November 4, 2007


George Clooney (one of the Patron Saints of the Tropic's George theater!) returns to our screens with this thriller written and directed by Tony Gilroy (screenwriter on all three Bourne films), and the raves are in. Michael Clayton (Clooney) is an in-house "fixer" at one of the largest corporate law firms in New York, taking care of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen's dirtiest work at the behest of the firm's co-founder (Sydney Pollack). But when Kenner Bach's brilliant and guilt-ridden attorney Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) flips out and sabotages the U/North case, Clayton faces the biggest challenge of his career and his life.


Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Director/co-writer Daniel Karslake's provocative and entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


In the new comedy from director/co-writer Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums), three American brothers who have not spoken to each other in a year (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) set off on a train voyage across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other—to become brothers again like they used to be.


An audience favorite at film festivals worldwide, GYPSY CARAVAN is a gorgeous surround-sound celebration of misery and oppression turned into music.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Against the backdrop of the 1960s, amid the turbulent years of mind exploration and rock 'n' roll, star-crossed lovers Jude (Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), along with a small group of friends and musicians, are swept up into the emerging anti-war and counterculture movements. Directed by Julie Taymor.


A wry and engaging French look at how personal the political becomes.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Opening at the Tropic on Oct. 12
On his first weekend back after serving in Iraq, Mike Deerfield (Jonathan Tucker) goes missing and is reported AWOL. When former military MP Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) and his wife Joan (Susan Sarandon) get the phone call with the disturbing news, Hank sets out to search for their son. Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron), a New Mexico police detective in the jurisdiction where Mike was last seen, reluctantly helps him in his search. As the evidence grows, her missing person's case begins to look more and more like foul play, and soon Sanders finds herself in a fight with the military brass as she and Hank struggle to keep control of the investigation. Written and directed by Paul Haggis (Crash).


It's 1983 and school is out. Twelve-year-old Shaun (Thomas Turgoose), a lonely boy whose father died while fighting in the Falklands war, is growing up in a grim coastal town in Northern England. Over the course of the summer holiday, he befriends a group of local skinheads. With pent up rage and frustration, Shaun finds exactly what he needs in the gang: mischief, mayhem and brotherhood. He also meets the volatile and boorish Combo (Stephen Graham), an older skinhead who adopts Shaun as his protégé. Directed by Shane Meadows (Dead Man's Shoes, TwentyFourSeven).


The lives of six present-day friends (Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, Amy Brenneman, Maggie Grace, Emily Blunt and Hugh Dancy) are revealed through the witty prism of their literary heroine. Six book club members, six Jane Austen books, six interwoven story lines over six months in the busy modern setting of Sacramento, where city and suburban sprawl meet natural beauty. Today's central California may be far removed from Regency England, but some things never change. We're still every bit as preoccupied with the complexities of marriage, friendship, romantic entanglements, position, and social manners and mores as was Austen at the turn of the 1800s. Written and directed by Robin Swicord (screenwriter of Memoirs of a Geisha), based on the novel by Karen Joy Fowler.


In director David Cronenberg's latest thriller, he is re-teamed with Viggo Mortensen, his leading man from A History of Violence. Mortensen plays the mysterious and charismatic Nikolai, a Russian-born driver for one of London's most notorious organized crime families. His carefully maintained existence is jarred when he crosses paths with Anna (Naomi Watts), a midwife from a North London hospital trying to right a wrong, who accidentally uncovers potential evidence against the family. Co-starring Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl. Written by Steve Knight (Dirty Pretty Things).

Friday, August 31, 2007


A dignified send-off for a loved one erupts into uproarious chaos when romance, jealousy, in-laws, hallucinogens, dark secrets, life-long yearnings and a spot of bold blackmail collide graveside in this irreverent British comedy.

Winner of Audience Award at U.S. Comedy Arts Festival

Friday, August 24, 2007


This fascinating documentary intertwines an interview with the Dalai Lama, a look back at the history of the spiritual leader and an exploration of the culture of the small city of Dharamsala, India, where His Holiness was exiled 50 years ago.


For a jump on the 2008 Oscar scene, don't miss Don Cheadle's electrifying perfermance. Director Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou) tells the powerful real-life story of Ralph "Petey" Green (Cheadle), an outspoken ex-con who talked his way into becoming an iconic radio personality in 1960s Washington, D.C.


Set centuries ago and in mythical times, writer/director Rolf de Heer's (The Quiet Room, Bad Boy Bubby) surreal tragi-comedy is the first feature film to be shot entirely in an indigenous Aboriginal language (predominantly Ganalbingu).


You've read the novels, now see the back-story. This wonderful biographical movie takes us into the life of Jane Austen, who clearly knew whereof she wrote. Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Brokeback Mountain) stars in this fresh and daring view of Jane Austen's early years.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Christian Bale (Batman, The Machinist) stars in this true story of a German-American pilot shot down in Vietnam. Written and directed by the great Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Aguirre: The Wrath of God), this action drama recounts the ordeal of Dieter Dengler (Bale), who grew up in bombed-out post-war Germany, dreaming of becoming a pilot.


The much loved indie film star Parker Posey brings a startlingly mature and nuanced performance to this film written and directed by Zoe Cassavetes (daugher of the late John Cassavetes). Posey is Nora Wilder, a thirty-something Manhattanite cynical about love and relationships.


A new comedy written and directed by Lars von Trier, best known for the dramas Dancer in the Dark and Breaking the Waves, his "least pretentious and most sheerly enjoyable" picture in years.


Filmmaker Dan Klores tells the astonishing story of the obsessive roller-coaster relationship of Burt and Linda Pugach, which shocked the nation during the summer of 1959.


The "Little Sparrow" Edith Piaf, the most famous and beloved French singer of our time, lives again in an uncanny portrayal by Marion Cotillard.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


A modern day musical set on the streets of Dublin, featuring Glen Hansard and his Irish band The Frames. Writer/director John Carney tells the story of an emotionally vulnerable street musician (Hansard) who meets a Czech immigrant (Markéta Irglová) unable to afford the piano she yearns for.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The summer's must-see film starring the greatest actresses of our time. Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Eileen Atkins, Glenn Close, Clare Danes, Toni Collette all join in this Michael Cunningham adapation of the novel by Susan Minot.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


While on a fishing trip, Stewart and his friends find a girl's body in the river. Instead of returning home to report the discovery, they spend the day fishing. When the men finally return home and report the finding, no one can understand how they could have continued fishing with the dead girl right there in the water.

Friday, July 6, 2007


A who's who of celebrated filmmakers from around the world come together to show Paris in a way never before imagined. Through a kaleidoscope of stories about joy, separation, unexpected strange encounters and of course—love—their films capture both the reality of contemporary Paris as well as the enchantment one feels as a visitor.


Over the course of the 2003-2004 Broadway season, director Dori Berinstein follows the four high-profile productions that would eventually become Tony nominees for Best Musical: Wicked, Taboo, Avenue Q and Caroline, or Change.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


"SICKO is socko" Time Magazine
Following on the heels of his controversial, award-winning features Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, director Michael Moore sets out to investigate the American health care system, and the 45 million Americans who have no health care despite living in the richest country on earth. Sticking to his tried-and-true one-man approach, Moore sheds light on the complicated medical affairs of individuals and local communities alike, giving us "a movie of robust mind and heart.


Eighty-year-old Jimmy Mirikitani survived the trauma of WWII internment camps, Hiroshima, and homelessness by creating art. But when 9/11 threatens his life on the New York City streets and a local filmmaker brings him to her home, the two embark on a journey to confront Jimmy's painful past.

Winner of Audience Award at Tribeca Film Festival

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Mariane Pearl was posted to Karachi, Pakistan along with her Wall Street Journal reporter husband Daniel. In 2002, the Pearls were literally one day away from leaving Karachi when Daniel had one last interview to conduct -- a tentative meeting with an elusive subject. He left as his wife was preparing a farewell dinner with their friends in the area. He never returned. It's hard to imagine anyone who doesn't know how this story ends -- Pearl was executed, as captured on a notorious videotape, weeks after his abduction -- and that pall of certainty hangs over all of the character's efforts and struggles.


Nearly 20 years after his initial request, filmmaker Philip Gröning was granted permission by the General Prior of the Grande Chartreuse monastery, located high in the French Alps, to document the day-to-day routines of the reclusive Carthusian Order of Monks, a centuries-old Roman Catholic brotherhood of whom next to no aural or visual documentation exists.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


You'll love this "inspired comedy-drama about artistic temperament" (Baltimore Sun). Waitress is a movie that'll have you smiling and making a beeline for the next bakery.


Julie Christie is "hauntingly, heartbreakingly good" (Newsweek) in this poignant story of a woman who seeks to rise above an Alzheimer's disease decline


"X" (Derek Magyar) is a wildly successful male escort. After 10 years of sex-for-pay, he becomes romantically entangled with his two roommates (Jonathon Trent, Darryl Stephens) and with Gregory (Patrick Bauchau), a reclusive elderly client.

Friday, June 8, 2007


One hesitates to invoke the name of the Swedish master Ingmar Bergman, but the team of Anders Thomas Jensen (writer) and Susanne Bier (director) bring the same Scandanavian sensibility to the screen.


Ever wonder how your daughter or granddaughter might fare as an Army draftee?

Rebellious and outgoing Smadar can't stand types like Mirit. Mirit, introverted and frightened, keeps away from the likes of Smadar. But the two are thrown together as they are assigned to a patrol in Jerusalem as part of their compulsory military service in the Israeli army.


The living master of French farce, writer/director Francis Veber (La Cage Aux Folles, The Closet, The Dinner Game), combines classic elements of hilarious slapstick with quick-witted dialogue in his new comedy.


The action-packed new comedy from the makers of Shaun of the Dead stars co-writer Simon Pegg as Nicholas Angel, the finest cop London has to offer. He's so good, he makes everyone else look bad.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


n 1920, Irish workers form guerrilla armies to face the ruthless "Black and Tan" squads being sent from Britain to block Ireland's bid for independence. Directed by Ken Loach (Bread and Roses, Riff-Raff).

"This powerful political saga is not merely a cinematic masterpiece from start to finish but a righteous rallying cry for disenfranchised masses anywhere with nothing left to lose but their chains," says Newsblaze


A young woman named Jessica (Cécile de France) comes to Paris from the provinces and lands a job waiting tables at a chic bistro on fabled Avenue Montaigne, the city's nexus for art, music, theatre and fashion.

"An absolute must for Francophiles and a great choice for anyone who loves a vibrant ensemble dramedy, Avenue Montaigne is a bustling delight, a slice of Parisian artistic life that will have you dialing Air France the morning after you see it." says

Friday, May 11, 2007


Richard Gere stars in this film about the greatest literary hoax of the century. In 1971, Clifford Irving burst onto the literary scene, claiming to have been granted the right to pen the authorized biography of the famously reclusive icon Howard Hughes. It was all a lie.


The five nominees for Best Animated Short in 2007, plus five more great ones.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


A sophisticated screwball sex comedy is a story of chance encounters, psychoanalytic excuses and one woman's struggle to make a commitment.

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “brainy and balmy,” and it’s “a screenplay with the crackle of vintage Woody Allen” adds the New York Times.


Director/co-writer Paul Verhoeven (Hollow Man, Basic Instinct, RoboCop) returns to his native Netherlands for a gripping, epic thriller about the Dutch underground in the fall of 1944.

“It’s hugely enjoyable from start to finish” says the Wall St. Journal.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


What does it mean to be an American family? In her most personal film to date, acclaimed director Mira Nair (Vanity Fair, Monsoon Wedding) brings to the screen a poignant and transporting version of Jhumpa Lahiri's best-selling novel.

A saga of the immigrant experience that captures the snap, crackle and pop of American life, along with the pounding pulse, emotional reticence, volcanic colors and cherished rituals of Indian culture,” says the Wall St. Journal


Want something completely different? How about South Korea’s biggest box-office hit ever, a film that the New York Times calls “a loopy, feverishly imaginative genre hybrid.” The talk of the 2006 Cannes International Film Festival, the newest thriller from director/co-writer Bong Joon-ho (Memories of Murder) utilizes state-of-the-art special effects to tell a tale that's equal parts creature-feature thrill ride, comedy and poignant human drama.


Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, GOD GREW TIRED OF US explores the indomitable spirit of three “Lost Boys” from the Sudan who leave their homeland, triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversities and move to America, where they build active and fulfilling new lives but remain deeply committed to helping the friends and family they have left behind.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


A literary phenomenon of the early 20th century, world-renowned children's author Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger) became an iconic figure, swimming quietly, but with great fortitude, against a tide at a time when most young women of her class aimed only to make a good marriage. She created a series of books (such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit) and characters that are as beloved today as they were a hundred years ago


Wound tight and cocky, Jimmy Starks (Guy Pearce - Factory Girl, Memento) is a smooth-talking salesman certain he's on the verge of a big break. Even when his car stalls in the middle of nowhere, a roadside soothsayer (J.K. Simmons) assures him a windfall is on its way. But although Jimmy is skeptical and sure he's calling his own shots, the would-be prophet's prediction comes true, and Jimmy becomes fearful that the mysterious seer could be right about something else…to beware the first snow.


Filmed in cinema vérité style, director James Longley's poetically rendered documentary looks at contemporary Iraq through the eyes of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. The series of intimate, passionately felt portraits includes a fatherless 11-year-old apprenticed to the cruel owner of a Baghdad garage; Sadr followers in two Shiite cities rallying for regional elections while enforcing Islamic law at the point of a gun; and a family of Kurdish farmers who welcome the U.S. presence, which has allowed them a measure of freedom previously denied. Winner of three Documentary awards at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival (Best Director, Cinematography, Editing). Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature.


When brash trailer park resident Teri Horton bought a secondhand painting for five bucks, little did she know it could be a genuine Jackson Pollock worth millions. This film documents Horton's volatile 15-year journey into the heart of the art world's elitist establishment to have the painting authenticated. The clash between stuffy art dealers and the cussin', beer-drinkin' Horton is funny, eye-opening and utterly unforgettable.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Two of the screen's best actors, at the height of their powers, shine in director Peter Glenville's intelligent and thought-provoking spectacle, for which both received Academy Award nominations. Peter O'Toole, fresh from Lawrence of Arabia, plays the lusty and powerful King Henry II in 12th century England. Richard Burton plays Thomas à Becket, his best friend and close advisor. Thomas serves the king well until Henry, against his advice, insists on making Becket Archbishop of Canterbury. Visually and emotionally stunning, this is one of the best historical epics ever made.


A simple love story becomes a celebration of romance, determination and the immigrant experience as debut writer/director Ali Selim charts one couple's intimate struggles through the challenges faced by their grandchild.

Friday, April 6, 2007


The best of the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival.

How about a hysterical documentary on Jeff Goldblum taking a break from film to star in a production of The Music Man? Or a Croatian film reminiscent of Mash, full of dark comedy and deadpan humor? Or a Columbian/American romantic comedy about US bachelors seeking Columbian brides? Or a couple of great new surfing flicks? Or a thriller about a jet-lagged businessman who awakens to find strangers in his bedroom? It’s all here in the Spring 2007 Southernmost Mini Fest.

Thirteen movies from eight countries over four days -- April 12-15, 2007


The life and career of one of the most unique, important and controversial political figures of our time - Ralph Nader


“a courageous, moving, organically funny picture about the slow-healing sadness that occurs when private grief gets interspersed with public events” - Baltimore Sun.

"The Waterboy has made the varsity" - NY Daily News

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Ioan Gruffudd (star of Fantastic Four and the Hornblower TV features) plays William Wilberforce, an idealist Member of Parliament who navigated the world of 18th century backroom politics to end the slave trade in the British Empire.

“Michael Apted’s Amazing Grace, from a screenplay by Steven Knight, turns out to be blessed with inspirational nobility and comic eccentricity—the former provided by an edifying narrative, and the latter by a colorful cast of characters—to bring it to emotional fruition.” Andrew Sarris


CLIMATES is the kind of movie that takes you into a world you’ll never know otherwise. During a summer vacation on the Aegean coast, the relationship between middle-aged Professor Isa (director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Distant) and his younger girlfriend, Bahar (Ebru Ceylan, his real-life wife), falls apart and we follow him as he begins a new affair and then tries to return to his wife.

“The beauty of the Turkish film Climates, a small but indelible masterpiece, is more than skin-deep. … It's as sharp and lovely as the best Chekhov short stories.” Chicago Tribune

Thursday, March 22, 2007


A gothic fairy tale for adults, set against the repression of Franco's post-civil-war Spain.

Winner of three 2007 Academy Awards

"A swift and accessible entertainment, blunt in its power and exquite in its effects" New York Times

"The year's true masterpiece" New York Post

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


A compelling human drama and a psychological thriller in which simple humanity clashes with the power of the East German Stasi secret police.

2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Feature

"A great film..., and far and away the richest and most brilliantly acted picture to be released this Oscar season" San Francisco Chronicle

"...supremely intelligent, unfailingly honest" New York Times