Friday, July 30, 2010

Week of July 30 to August 5 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

Once every year or so, there’s an independent movie that crosses over to major popular success – Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, Juno in 2007, Little Miss Sunshine in 2006, Sideways in 2004. Now it’s THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, which opens at the Tropic this week. With almost $5 million gross in its first three weeks of limited release, The Kids is playing in the same league as those other breakout hits.

What’s going on? For starters, it’s a comedy, but one where the humor comes from the dialogue and the characters, not from goofballs goofing off. It’s got an A-list cast, led by Oscar nominees Annette Benning and Julianne Moore, and featuring Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland). But best of all it’s got a serious center inside the warm and cozy wrapper.

Benning and Moore are a long-term lesbian couple, with two teen-age kids, both conceived with seed from the same sperm-bank donor (Ruffalo). When the kids decide to track down their unknown father, and bring him into the family, the dynamics explode.

The film was a huge hit at Sundance this January, and it has been blowing the critics away. “So knowing, so rich, so hilarious, so damn healthy” (New York magazine), “thrillingly funny and casually profound” (Wall St. Journal), “outrageously funny… and heartbreaking” (New York Times), to quote just a few. Need I say, it’s a definite “don’t miss?”

If that’s not enough excitement for you, the second of the Stieg Larsson crime trilogy, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, is also arriving this week, with the intense, hauntingly beautiful Noomi Rapace continuing her personification of hacker extraordinaire Lisbeth Salander, and Michael Nyqvist again portraying journalist Mikael Blomkvist. This time it’s Lisbeth who’s in the eye of the storm, as she’s being framed for three murders. There’s a new Swedish director, but he’s kept “the searing intelligence and ruthless bent.” (L.A. Times) If you’ve read the book, you’ll know you have to see the movie. Or if you just want to know what all the hullabaloo is about, here’s a quick way to find out.

And you’ll be ready for the English-language remake of Dragon Tattoo, said to be the quickest foreign-to-American remake ever. Due out next year, it’s rumored to feature Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Daniel Craig (James Bond #6). If so, it’ll be interesting to see how sweet, innocent Ms. Mulligan transforms herself into one of the most noir female characters ever to dominate the screen.

Is all this too serious for you? Would you really rather see goofballs goofing off? Not to worry, the Tropic’s got you covered with DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS. Tim (Paul Rudd) has to find an uber schmuck to bring to a monthly dinner organized by his politically incorrect boss. Rest easy, that’s “schmuck” in the Yiddish sense of fool or dolt, not a penis, which is also a common usage. (The real prick here is Tim’s boss.) Barry (Steve Carell), stepping right out of The Office, is Tim’s triumphant find for the dinner, an IRS agent whose hobby is making dioramas with dead mice. With comedic backups like Zach Galifianakis (Hangover), Dinner for Schmucks is a lowbrow delight.

Full info and schedules at or call 877-761-FILM.
Comments, please, to

No comments: