Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Week of August 8 to 14 - Phil Mann

What's On At The Tropic?
by Phil Mann

What's with the French? They give us beautiful women on the screen: the matchless Catherine Deneuve, the lush Emmanuelle Beart, the gamin Audrey Tautou, the infamous Brigitte Bardot. I have a weakness for the lovely Isabelles, Huppert and Adjani. But the men: Well, there was Yves Montand. But GĂ©rard Depardieu? And look whom we see today. In the last French film at the Tropic, Priceless, the bugged-eyed Gad Emaleh was Tautou's hearthrob. I don't know how these guys do it.

This French tradition continues this week in Roman De Gare, the twisting, turning thriller from the famed Claude Lelouch. This time it's Dominique Pinon, a scrawny, pushed-in face character with a lack of charm to match his physique, who's got the gorgeous Fanny Ardant eating out of his hand. No matter, it's the plot that counts here, as Pinon morphs his way through so many different characters you'll never guess where the story is going. No spoilers from me, but it is very satisfying to see a movie that features writing as the grandest profession.

Luckily for M. Pinon, he's far outstripped in the unattractive category this week by the eponymous lead in Hellboy. Despite his ghastly visage, Hellboy may be the most likable superhero in this summer of superheros. Unlike Iron Man or Batman, who are rich guys doing good, Hellboy is a blue-collar, cigar chomping, working class type, who happens to be able to do giant leaps and crush cars with his hands. This is Director Guillermo del Toro's second outing with Hellboy, and he brings the same visual and costuming panache to the movie that he perfected in last year's Pan's Labryinth. In an interview Del Toro put it this way: Hellboy is the kind of guy who'd rather be sitting on his couch watching television. But he had to get up to save the world.

These are only a couple of the broad selection being offered at the Tropic this week. For kids, there's a matinee every day of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, plus free Saturday matinee films. For nostalgia lovers, there's Tyrone Power and Loretta Young in the Monday night classic comedy Cafe Metropole. For Julianne Moore fans there's Savage Grace, true-story of the murder of Barbara Baekeland, a decadent American socialite living in Europe.

And for all you Norwegian film lovers, there's Reprise, a sharp and hilarious coming of age story about two young men vying to become the next great novelist. Reprise may be the best movie at the Tropic this week. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 87, it's been acclaimed as “an exuberant, exhilaratingly playful testament to being young and hungry” (New York Times), and described as “Jules and Jim ... blended with A Hard Day's Night." (Baltimore Sun). So check out something different this week.... at the cool Tropic.

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[Originally published in Key West, the Newspaper -]

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