Friday, September 25, 2009

Week of Sept. 25 to October 1 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

As you probably know, there are two aquatic species called “dolphin.” One is the marine mammal also known as porpoise, the Flipper of television and Sea World fame. The other is a finned fish, cousin of pompano. This fish is good eating, very good, but you can’t find it anywhere around town because every market and restaurant calls it by its Hawaiian name, mahi mahi.
Why? Because we love Flipper too much to contemplate chowing down on something that even sounds like him. It’s actually “her,” since the original Flipper was played by a series of females.

That’s one of the things that you’ll learn from the new movie THE COVE, opening at the Tropic today.

That’s sweet, but the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say, will scare the life out of you. Thanks to the amazing undercover work of a group of dedicated activists, led by Ric O’Barry, we learn of porpoise roundups in a small town in Japan. The technique resembles the corralling of wild horses, with an array of boats driving the creatures into shore with sonic probes.

The best of them go to petting pools and shows around the world, but that’s only a small fraction of those corralled. The rest have a less happy end. But you’ll have to see the movie to find out. The filmmaking team managed to install video cameras hidden in “rocks,” specially built for them by George Lucas’ Star Wars complex, Industrial Light and Magic. They planted these devices with the help of world-class free divers and a team using night vision and heat-sensitive cameras.

It’s all a great documentary thriller with amazing footage.

The other new film this week is also a documentary, but more for Guitar Hero lovers than dolphin fans. IT MIGHT GET LOUD, from Davis Guggenheim (best known for his collaboration with Al Gore on the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth) has turned his cameras to something completely non-political. The subject is the electric guitar, told through the stories of three masters, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin; the Edge of U2; and Jack White, of the White Stripes.

Don’t worry; it’s not just talking heads. There’s plenty of playing and great jamming with all three together. A don’t miss musical education and entertainment. Rolling Stone of course loved it (“rock heaven”), but the New York Times agreed: “It Might Get Loud is more than a narrowly focused fan artifact. It gives those of us with tin ears and clumsy fingers a chance to linger in the presence of serious artists with formidable chops and big, if not always clearly expressed, ideas about what they do. And it will put you in the mood to listen.”

On the non-documentary side of things, the romantic comedy ADAM continues into its second week. Everyone who has seen this movie comes out laughing and crying. I’ve heard that some of you are avoiding it because the hero has Asperger’s syndrome. But it’s not a movie of the Rain Man genre, more a love story with a different spin. You might give it a chance.

And MOON is also continuing for a second week. This is a sci-fi buddy movie, where one of the buddies is a computer named GERTY, but voiced by Kevin Spacey. It’s “a superior example of that threatened genre, hard science-fiction,” says Roger Ebert.

Oh, and Jacques Tati is back in the Monday night classic with MON ONCLE. Now, that’s fun!

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

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