Friday, April 3, 2009

Week of April 2 to April 9 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
By Phil Mann

Tomorrow is the big day. The Tropic turns five years old. It’s hard to believe for those of us who have been around for a while. It seems just yesterday that local film fans were sitting in Old City Hall trying to understand movie dialogue in a room where the sound ricocheted off more hard surfaces than those of a diamond solitaire. It’s hard enough to understand the Commissioners, but try to get what an Irish actor is saying. We used to pray for subtitled films, except that the sight lines were so bad you had to keep ducking around to read them.

But for the past five years (since April, 2004) Key West has been privileged to see movies in a theater with impeccable acoustics and fabulous sight lines, plus the best popcorn in the state (with real butter), and great wine. If you don’t like the movie selection, have a few glasses; trust me, the movie will get better.

To celebrate the big day, the Tropicans are offering free movies on all three screens from noon to three, open to everyone. There’s Frank Sinatra and Sterling Hayden in the 1954 thriller Suddenly; Rob Reiner’s classic fairy tale The Princess Bride; and the quintessential romantic comedy His Girl Friday, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Your choice, all gratis.

Then at three there will be a special informational meeting, for Film Society members only. Learn all about how the Tropic works, how the films are booked, and what is planned for the future. Limited seating, but if you want to come you can join for $35 bucks right there and get yourself the added benefit of 1/3 off the price of your movie tickets for a year.

Finally, Mayor McPherson will show up at 4:30 for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Tropic’s fourth screen and expanded lobby. That will kick off the party with free cake and popcorn until seven. The theater staff is offering tours of the expanded space currently under construction, and also the engine room of the theater – its projection booth.

By seven you should be ready for some real movies, and the regular film program will resume running. The lead movie this week is the romantic comedy LAST CHANCE HARVEY, starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, both of whom were nominated for Golden Globes for their performances. As one reviewer observed, “it’s Before Sunrise for the over-45 set…. a surprisingly tender and appealing love story.” They may be an odd couple – Hoffman is 71 and 5’5”, while Thompson is 49 and 5’8 – but the magic of movies and great actors make for a charming twosome.

Also opening is the multi-award winning GOMMORAH, hailed as the “real” Mafia movie. This Italian film, which graphically depicts the workings of the Neapolitan Camorra – the continent’s largest and most brutal crime syndicate -- is essential viewing for fans of The Sopranos or The Godfather. Even Tony Soprano knew that to get the job done you sometimes had to bring in a guy from the old country. This is where they all came from.

But the high spot of the week may be the next in the Tuesdays With Art series. This month it’s TIRES, WIRES AND FIRES. THEN, LYRICAL MOVEMENTS, exploring the kinetic sculpture of Peter Fischli, David Weiss and George Rickey. This free series, brought to you by the Film Society thanks to a generous donation from Mike Dively, and curated by Deborah Goldman and Joel Blair, is a real treat. Movies plus intelligent discussion. Check it out on Tuesday at 5:30.

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

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