Friday, August 14, 2009

Week of August 14 to 20 (Mann)

What's on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

IN THE LOOP may be the most blurbable movie of the year. “The audience ... is likely to die laughing... line by filthy line, scene by chaotic scene, by far the funniest big-screen satire in recent memory.” (New York Times) “Devilishly clever.... deserves to be a sleeper hit.” (Rolling Stone) “Hands down the funniest movie I've seen all year and also the smartest.” (Christian Science Monitor) And that's just a sample.

Now it's not for everyone. The language is atrocious. The humor is British, because it's a Brit film based on a popular political satire on the BBC. But if potty-mouth political satire is your cuppa, then come running. The plot involves high level British and American foreign policy types all twisted up about what to say about an impending invasion of an unnamed Middle Eastern country. So it's topical in a way, but the movie is not about plot. It's about lines like “He's as useless as a marzipan dildo.” It's about scenes like an American general (played by James Gandolfini) counting up troop strength on a children's toy.

If that doesn't get you laughing, then BRUNO might. I've been a fan of Sasha Baron Cohen ever since I discovered Da Ali G Show on television, but I never thought he could keep working his bizarre, non-sequitor spouting, ambush-interviewing shtick. I was wrong. Ali G begat Borat who begat Bruno. This time Sasha is a gay celebrity-baiting Austrian TV reporter who will do anything for publicity, including exchanging an iPod for a baby. What can be next?

But neither of these is the funniest film at the Tropic this week. That title, in my humble opinion, goes to the Monday night classic, the 1953 MR. HULOT'S HOLIDAY. If you've never seen this Jacques Tati masterpiece, you've missed some of the great moments on film. Neither Charlie Chaplin nor Marcel Marceau have anything on the wordless antics of M. Tati, as he travels to Brittany in his bicycle-wheeled car for a beach vacation.

Two other comedies also continue their runs: THE HANGOVER (frat-boy frenzy) and (500) DAYS OF SUMMER (sweet young romantic comedy). Both have been very popular, with different crowds, I suppose. Both are date movies, with the guys dragging the chicks to the first, and the girls responding with the latter. Mars and Venus, you know.

I guess the Tropic staff is in a good mood to celebrate the news they just got. Florida Monthly's annual Best of Florida issue, coming out next month, will proclaim the Tropic as the Best Cinema in Florida. Feature that! No need to leave the rock.

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

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