Friday, March 20, 2009

Week of March 20 to March 26 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
By Phil Mann

The long-awaited screen version of DOUBT finally makes it to the Tropic this week. For those of you who saw the great Waterfront Playhouse production last month, the Joy Hawkins role is being played by Meryl Streep, the David Black role by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and the Elena Devers role by Amy Adams. Too bad Miramax couldn’t have gotten some really good actors. Of course, all these movie actors did manage to get Academy Awards nominations for their performances, so they can’t be too bad.

But seriously, DOUBT is a real actors' vehicle, calling for craft in walking the line between being a good guy/gal or a bad one. If you haven’t seen or read about it, Sister Aloysius (Streep) is head of a Catholic school who suspects teacher-priest Father Brendan (Hoffman) of untoward behavior with one of the students. She goes after him like a prosecutor. But did he? That’s the doubt that gives the play its title, and the actor’s task is to make you wonder who’s the hero and who’s the villain.

The one undoubted hero of the production is writer-director John Patrick Shanley. He started his film career in 1987 with an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay – for Moonstruck -- but when he turned to writing-directing three years later, the result was the poorly received Joe Versus the Volcano. He shifted to a Broadway and Off-Broadway career as a playwright until his play Doubt won the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Awards in 2005. Now he has triumphed with the movie. And he’s a sweet guy. Congrats to John Patrick Shanley.

The other new movie this week is the oddly-named THE PERVERTS GUIDE TO THE CINEMA. First off, this has nothing to do with perverts… don’t you wish. Instead we have a Slavic film critic and his top several dozen films with great clips from each and, may I say, original, commentary. Cinema is the ultimate perversion, host Slavoj Zizek says, because it “doesn’t give you what you desire, it tells you what to desire.” I don’t what know that means, but it’s interesting. Zizek covers movies from Hitchcock (The Birds, Vertigo) to David Lynch (Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive) to Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Alien Resurrection) to Ingmar Bergman (Persona) to Victor Fleming (Wizard of Oz) with his idiosyncratic analysis. Like it or not, you’ll leave the theater knowing one hellava lot more about film than you ever thought you could know. Film critics love it, giving it a 100% RottenTomatoes rating, A unique Tropic experience. But fair warning: it’s 2 ½ hours long. Since it’s split into three parts, you might break your viewing experience up. Ask the friendly folks at the Tropic if you can do split sessions.

Last chances to see THE WRESTLER this week. I know, I know, you think it’s too violent, too down-and-dirty. I can’t say it’s a walk in the park, but everything is for a purpose, and the story and Mickey Rourke’s wrestler are priceless. Take a chance.

Get ready for free movies on April 4 at the Tropic’s Fifth Birthday Party. Plus cake and good cheer. Get a preview of the new construction, which is well underway. And join up just in time for an open membership meeting. Details coming next week.
More info and schedules at
Comments to

No comments: