Friday, June 26, 2009

Week of June 26 to July 2 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
By Phil Mann

Cue up the Lohengrin, or should I say Abba. Tonight (Friday, June 26) is the night for the MAMMA MIA! Sing-Along. It’s not just karaoke, but an entire wedding, with party props, champagne and cake, plus prizes for the best costumes. Oh, yeah, you’ll see and sing with the full movie, joining Meryl Streep and the gang on a Greek island. All for twenty-five bucks, and you don’t have to give the couple a present.

Meanwhile, back in the ordinary movie world, the Tropic has a mix of comedy, Disney and art.

Leading the pack is THE BROTHERS BLOOM, a con-men farce starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist, King Kong), Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardner, The Mummy). As their past credits suggest, these actors know how to shift from serious to silly, and The Brothers Bloom gives them ample opportunity. We’ve got an exotic Eastern European set, lots of explosions, but more than that director Rian Johnson “has infused The Brothers Bloom with so much heart and beauty that one can and should easily overlook its discomfiting moments. The truth is, the film's even more profound and touching upon second viewing, once you've dispensed with the genre affectations and gotten in touch with the filmmaker's affection for his characters. Maybe that's Bloom's best con: It steals your heart.” (

Not far behind is the Disney-Pixar animated adventure UP. What’s up in UP is the lead character, a curmudgeonly old balloon salesmen and his nine-year-old stowaway sidekick, who go on a multi-balloon-lifted ride across the Western Hemisphere. Given the provenance, you know you’ll have visuals to die for, and evil villains who will be vanquished by these unlikely heros. What’s not to like, especially if you’re under the age of consent? If you’re over, you might think you would prefer Up!, which was a 1976 Russ Meyer sexploitation flick, but you’d be making a mistake. This Pixar UP tells a grown-up story, with a plot that’s an homage to Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. So find a kid on the street if you don’t have one at home, and take him to see UP.

The sophisticates among you can to turn to EASY VIRTUE, the Noel Coward-based comedy that was originally booked for one week, but has been held over as a surprise hit. Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth “welcome” a surprise and unwelcome new daughter-in-law to their country estate. Since she’s a sexy and outrageous American, she starts with two strikes against her in the British upperclass playbook. But it also means that she offers a ripe target for Coward’s wit.

LITTLE ASHES is this week’s counterpoint, a story of a real-life repressed relationship between two young Spaniards who are later to achieve fame. They are Salvador Dali and Frederico Garcia Lorca, and the time is 1922, when both were students at Madrid’s School of Fine Arts. Luis Buñuel is also there, completing a trio of youthful artist-revolutionaries bent on overturning sexual mores as well as the government. There are no subtitles in this film, and Dali is played by an ethereal-looking Robert Pattinson, fresh from something similar in Twilight, so it may offer an opportunity for his fans to catch a little cultural history while gazing on their hero. But be warned: he’s a cross-dressing gay.

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

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