Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Week of July 11 to July 17, 2008

What's On At The Tropic
by Phil Mann

The Tropic is proud this week to bring IRON MAN to its screens. As James Berardinellli of ReelViews notes, “Iron Man is a different breed of superhero movie - a film that remembers it's possible to be outside the target demographic and still enjoy a tale set in this genre.... Over the years, there have been only a handful of exceptional superhero movies, and Iron Man is among them.”

It’s timely and topical. Iron Man is a techno hero, his powers based on futuristic power sources, incredible alloys and voice-controlled computers. His opponents are terrorists in Afghanistan seeking world domination. It’s got great acting from Robert Downey, Jr, who seamlessly makes the transition from a hair-covered man (as he was in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus) to a metal-clad one; and Gwyneth Paltrow, who is alluring as ever as Pepper Potts (this super man’s Lois Lane).

They’re both nominated, as is the movie itself, for this year’s Teen Choice Awards. What’s that, you ask? Seventeen Magazine is trying to get the jump on the award season with a summer ceremony adding such award categories as Best Hissy Fit and Best Lip Lock to the usual actor/actress/movie stuff. The ceremony is coming up on August 4. I’ll give you a report. Indiana Jones, also running at the Tropic this week, is another of the nominees. Who said the Tropic was an elitist theater?

Not forgetting its core audience, however, they’re showing SANGRE DE MI SANGRE, winner of the 2008 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the Goya Award (Spanish Oscar) for Best Spanish Foreign Film. This thriller from first-time director Christopher Zalla, follows two undocumented Mexican immigrant boys on the gritty, mean streets of New York. Pedro has come to find his father, who he thinks is a well-to-do restaurant owner. Juan is posing as Pedro to reap the supposed benefits, and finds the father first, but the tension builds as Pedro continues his quest.

This week’s Monday night classic is from Hitchcock, the 1950 film STAGE FRIGHT. Starring Jane Wyman, the newly ex-wife of Ronald Regan and Marlene Detrich, it’s one of the master’s lesser-known films, but there’s never a really bad Hitchcock.

For some real summer fun, check out the Tropic’s Friday night special event, Rick’s Movie Madness. At ten p.m. there will be a live taping of this new WGAY-TV show. Rick shows guaranteed, certified bad films accompanied by a sniping, informative and downright funny commentary. Check it out at and come see the live taping of CHAINED FOR LIFE, the story of a Siamese twin who kills her husband, and the dilemma of how to treat her innocent sister.. It stars the real-life Siamese side-show performers Daisy and Violet Hilton. Where does Rick find this stuff?

Oh, and don’t miss UP THE YANGTZE, the documentary of the river environment soon to fall victim to the Three Gorges Dam. It’s held over for a second week by popular demand.

Full info at Send me your comments at
[Originally published in Key West, the Newspaper -]

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