Saturday, August 16, 2008

Week of August 15 to 21 -- Phil Mann

What’s On at the Tropic?
By Phil Mann

For the second time this summer, we have a movie based on a television series that was based on a book. It’s a tough setup, especially when the series is so beloved it has attained an iconic status. Sex and the City suffered, unfairly in my judgment, at the pens of critics because of this. And now Brideshead Revisited is coming in for some of the same treatment.

Here’s some advice for those churlish critics. Get over your nostalgia for your mother’s Brideshead, filmed in 16mm for a little screen, and get ready for the full, lush period-piece treatment. The primary location is still the jaw-dropping 300-year-old Castle Howard in York, but its overpowering presence takes on new meaning on the big 35mm screen, and the multiple themes – class, religion, ambition, and now, clearly, homosexuality – richly inhabit the two-plus-hour-long film. This “lush, bold, intellectual treatment of the Evelyn Waugh novel about Catholicism and nonconformity, … ventures where the fabled '80s miniseries couldn't,” observes Newsday. The Anglophilic among you will swoon with pleasure, and the Anglophobes can take pleasure in seeing just how awful British society could be. You just must have a glass of sherry with this one, dear.

At the other extreme is Gonzo, the documentary life of Hunter Thompson. The filmmaker here is Alex Gibney, best known for his exposes of corporate greed (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) and American torture (Taxi to the Dark Side). Working with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter as his producer, Gibney has given us an affectionate portrait of Thompson and his multifaceted world. If you want an idea of Thompson’s unique genius, take a look at some of his insights on (a great source), for example:

“The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives“ written on 9/12/2001. 

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.”

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

“Objective journalism is one of the main reasons American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long. You can't be objective about Nixon.” [update, if you wish] 

It’s time to say a word about the person who makes sure your wine is properly chilled and your popcorn selected from only the finest cornfields. Lori Reid is the concessions manager and resident jane-of-all-trades who does more than you can imagine to keep the place humming. Like making sure the printers have ink, and debugging the box-office software. Her most important role is recruiting and organizing the team of volunteers who punch out the tickets and serve up the treats. Next time you’re at the theater wave to Lori. You can’t miss her hearty laugh and constant helpful presence.

The theater is also showing Mamma Mia! this week, and the Tyrone Power-Gene Tierney classic from 1948, That Wonderful Urge. So take break and get out of the house.

Full info and schedules at Comments to
[originally published in Key West, the Newspaper --]

No comments: