Friday, August 28, 2009

Week of August 28 to September 3 (Mann)

If you haven’t been asleep all summer you know it’s the fortieth anniversary of the most historic rock concert ever: Woodstock. How do you make a movie about this sprawling, out-of-control event, best described in the bumper sticker cliche: “If you remember Woodstock, you weren’t there.”

Well, polymath director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Hulk, The Ice Storm), who was 14 and living in Taiwan, surely wasn’t there. Neither was his longtime screenwriter-collaborator, James Shamus, who is five years younger. But drawing on a memoir written by Elliot Tiber, a Greenwich Village interior designer who was temporarily helping his parents run a crummy motel in the Catskills, and who stumbled into a pivotal role in making it all happen, these master filmmakers have fashioned TAKING WOODSTOCK. The movie opens nationally this week, with the Tropic Cinema bringing it to Key West.

The music is part of the film, with tracks from such as The Grateful Dead; Jefferson Airplane; Janis Joplin; The Doors; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Arlo Guthrie; and The Band; but as background to a story that’s more around, than in the middle of, the event. But, as one reviewer says: “One thing is for sure, life could never be the same after Woodstock. Ang Lee's film is a hypnotic carpet ride that allows us to understand that - close up and from afar.” Urban Cinefile

For something completely different, check out DEPARTURES. This Japanese film, winner of the 2009 Best Foreign Film Oscar, tells the story of a concert cellist who, after losing his orchestra job, finds himself employed as funeral home "encoffineer,” preparing bodies for burial. Oh, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have told you, because you’re probably put off. But don’t be. It’s “sometimes humorous, … the cinematography is perfectly framed and evocative, and the movie is uncommonly absorbing,” says Roger Ebert, or as NPR’s Bob Mondello puts it, the movie is a “sophisticated and elegant departure” from the typical noisy summer films.

And now for this week’s prizes. Real prizes. Wear your best Woodstock getup to the 6:45pm or 9:00pm shows today (Friday, Aug. 28) of Taking Woodstock, and win movie passes and popcorn.

Even better, the Restaurant Store is supplying a $25 gift certificates as door prizes today at 6:15pm and 8:30pm, to celebrate the Tropic’s opening of the cooking dream movie JULIE AND JULIA. You really shouldn’t need a prize to entice you to this film. Writer-Director Nora Ephron tracks the lives of two cooks, the great Julia Child (Meryl Streep) who revolutionized American cooking, and the not-very-great Julie Powell (Amy Adams) whose only claim to fame is that she prepared all 524 recipes in Julia’s masterwork over the course of a single year. You might not think there’s a movie in this, but you haven’t reckoned with the skill of Ms. Ephron (Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail) and her co-stars, both of whom are as delicious as the recipes. “One of the gentlest, most charming American movies of the past decade,” says the New Yorker. Book a great dinner after seeing it. You’ll be hungry.

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

1 comment:

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