Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Week of July 18 to 24, 2008

What’s On At The Tropic
by Phil Mann

Now at the Tropic! The Superhero to top all Superheroes! Iron Man? Batman? Hellboy? No.... Genghis Kahn. Born in 1162 as simple Temudgin, the dude we know as Genghis Kahn came to dominate the largest contiguous empire in history, from China across Asia and into Europe. And, get this, he was a nice guy, and he didn’t even have a sidekick. Top that Bruce Wayne.

I know all this because I saw the movie MONGOL (and I did a little reseach on Wikipedia). This is an epic on the scale of Lawrence of Arabia, with vast hordes of mounted warriors surging into battle across the sweeping landscape of the Mongolian steppes. Told with reasonable historical accuracy, and filmed with an international cast of thousands, MONGOL swept the Russian Oscars this year and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the U.S. ceremonies.

It’s bold and it’s bloody. And this film, the first in a planned trilogy, covers only The Rise To Power. According to some interesting DNA research, 8% of the men in a section of Asia are descended from Genghis. Think of how many “Son of” sequels we could have. Anyhow, this one is quite a show. It’s in Mongolian with subtitles, but don’t be deterred.

The talking hardly matters. (I can’t resist the opportunity to note that the major battle scenes in IRON MAN (also running at the Tropic) are set in Afghanistan, a very small part of the Mongol Empire. How paltry indeed are the accomplishments of the Man of Iron compared to those of the Man from Mongolia.)

On a more sedate level, the EDGE OF HEAVEN, tells the story of an expatriate Turk widower living in Germany who invites a prostitute to live with him, only to assuage his loneliness. His son, a Professor of German Literature, is dismayed, and eventually becomes embroiled in a complex plot as he searches for the woman’s daughter back in Turkey. From Fatih Akin, a Turkish-German director, this film dominated the German Oscars and has been acclaimed as “a film to been seen, savored and thoughtfully appreciated” by Andrew Sarris in the New York Observer.

The Monday night classic movie series continues this week with DOUBLE INDEMNITY a 1944 noir mystery with a pedigree to die for. Directed by Billy Wilder, written by him and Raymond Chandler based on a novel by James M. Cain, and starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson, the movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Warning: Last week’s Monday night classic was sold out, so get there early if you want to see this one.

Quite a week. Academy Award films from three continents.

Comments, please to pmann99@gmail.com
[originally published in Key West, the newspaper - www.kwtn.com]

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