Friday, April 17, 2009

Week of April 17 to April 23 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
By Phil Mann

What a wonderful movie EVERLASTING MOMENTS is! It’s a sleeper. No stars, no publicity, no buzz. Not here, at least. But it swept the Swedish Oscars, and for good reason. Maria Larsson is a woman struggling with a sometimes kind -- but more often abusive and drunk – husband, and a seven-child-laden household. The time is early 20th century, when electricity and indoor plumbing are the exception, and the vaunted welfare state does not yet exist. But Maria has one outlet, taking photographs with a small camera.

The movie captivates on two levels. First there is the story of the time and place, of labor turmoil and war, of working class hardship, and also of the early days of photography. No digital imagery here, but single shots on separate plates that she learns to process herself. When Maria first starts using the camera she has only three plates, that is, only three pictures that she can take.

But there is also the family story, narrated by Maria’s eldest daughter, who has her own troubles when she is hired out as a servant to a wealthy family. The central figure, however, is always Maria, her pains to keep the family together, her feelings for the photo studio owner who helps her, and her wonderful photographs.

Everlasting Moments is subtitled of course, and it has a mood and feeling we’ve come to associate with Swedish film, but there’s nothing obscure or convoluted about it. Just gloriously photographed, emotionally moving, cinematic story telling. Don’t miss it on the big screen.

SUNSHINE CLEANING, on the other hand is thoroughly modern. Rose (Amy Adams from Doubt and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) and Norah (Emily Blunt from Jane Austen Book Club and the forthcoming Young Victoria) are two sisters who start an odd janitorial business – cleaning crime scenes. With this odd premise and Alan Arkin playing the same character-type as he did in Little Miss Sunshine, this time as the women’s father, there’s plenty of humor, but also a serious plot about the emotional impact of dealing with the ample blood and gore of the job. The L.A. Times calls is “a smartly done morality tale that couldn't be more in sync with these troubled times.” With that and humor, who could ask for anything more?

The hot ticket on the Special Events calendar is HOORARY FOR HOLLYWOOD: Music from the Movies, Bruce Moore and Bobby Nesbitt’s singing and dancing tribute to movie musicals. Featuring clips from great films, and the first-ever use of the Carper Theater’s new wooden dance floor, it’s time to see this if you missed the sellout shows last summer. Or to see it again. One performance only at 2:00pm on Sunday.

Last week’s DUPLICITY and LAST CHANCE HARVEY are held over, and there are three revival screenings for you nostalgic edification.

At Saturday matinee you can catch Janet Leigh and Tony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock’s all-time classic PSYCHO or Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in THE ROAD TO MORROCO.

Or, if you prefer a foreign film, that comes on Monday night with the 1967 Oscar-winning Czech movie, CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS. You may have seen writer-director Jirí Menzel’s latest effort, I Served the King of England, which showed at the Tropic earlier this year. In its 1966 review of Closely Watched Trains, the New York Times observed that “the charm of his film is in the quietness and slyness of his earthy comedy, the wonderful finesse of understatements, the wise and humorous understanding of primal sex.” If you liked Menzel’s new movie, you’ll surely like this one, too.

Full info and schedules at
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[from Key West, the newspaper -]

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