Friday, July 16, 2010

Week of July 16 to July 22 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

There’s a fascinating juxtaposition at the Tropic this week – two movies starring the rotund, rascally, very non-movie-star Jonah Hill, best known for frat boy comedies like Superbad.

One of his current movies, GET HIM TO THE GREEK, is held over from last week. Hill is a shlubby Hollywood agent on a road adventure trying to get an errant British rock star from London to L.A. in time for a concert. The movie is in his usual style, full of debauchery, dirty talk, and sophomore humor; and Hill is in his groove.

But Hill's newest movie, CYRUS, opening this week, breaks the mold. The writer-director team is the Duplass brothers, Jay and Mark. They’re from the small budget, indie-film world, where their last two films (The Puffy Chair and Baghead) grossed under $200,000. But the movies were well-received, garnering them a “Someone To Watch” nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards and leaving critics wanting to see more. It also got some backer to fund a decent budget and cast.

The title character Cyrus (played by Hill) is a 21-year-old mama’s boy, still living with his single mom Molly (Marisa Tomei). To say they’re close doesn’t capture it. (There’s even a suggestion that he may only recently have been weaned.) Into this household comes John (John C. Reilly), a lonely divorcé who has fallen for the attractive, perky Molly. A domestic battle is about to take place. That much is obvious.

Give a Swedish director that setup and the darkness and angst would be palpable. But the Duplass boys are from Atlanta, and they don’t take things too seriously. The only thing black is the comedy. Cyrus knows what he wants, and he knows how to get it with clever sneak attacks that leave John in a daze and his sweet mother unaware. The result is “an edgy, engrossing comedy with an art-house sensibility and mainstream appeal” (USA Today), “a dulcetly crazy, certifiably hilarious and eerily mysterious little comedy” (Wall St. Journal).

Both movies are certified summer fun.

As is TOY STORY 3, now at the Tropic for your family enjoyment. Just the thing to introduce your kids to the joy of seeing a movie in a warm and friendly environment.

Held over: I AM LOVE – Tilda Swinton stars in this story of a powerful Milanese family caught in familial and generational conflict. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP – Documentary (or maybe “prankumentary”) about art collectors and the art world.

Brought back by popular demand: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – First in a series of films based on the Stieg Larsson best sellers. The second film, The Girl Who Played With Fire will be opening soon, so take this chance to get prepared.

Another reason to make your way to the cool confines of the Tropic this week is a special program organized by Hometown Pac! On Monday from 5:00 to 7:00 they’ll be presenting a forum for you to meet candidates for upcoming elections to the Mosquito Control Board (eight candidates) and the School Board (seven candidates). Everybody’s got something to say or something to find out about these elections, which get so little real coverage in the press. Don’t miss your chance to become an informed citizen. Admission to the forum and a candidate meet-and-greet is free and open to the public. But seating is limited.

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