Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Week of August 20 to August 26 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

Tropic fans learned about the early life of famed designer Coco Chanel last fall from the biopic Coco Before Chanel, which told of her rise from abandonment in an orphanage to the elevated levels of haute couture. By 1920 she was a grand dame with her own villa in the country, to which she invited the great composer Igor Stravinsky, who had been forced to flee Russia after the revolution.

Igor was happy to come, bringing along his sick wife and four children. But the juxtaposition of the self-made woman who revolutionized fashion and the tradition-breaking composer who had shocked the world with his Rite of Spring, could only wind up one way. It’s all there in COCO CHANEL AND IGOR STRAVINSKY, which “offers two hours of luxury and loveliness, music and art, and a bit of sexually charged madness, too.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Well, what do you know? INCEPTION has found its way to the Tropic. I’ve already given you my take on it – hokum – but don’t take my word for it. There’s no doubt that the movie is a cult favorite, still registering among the top topics on Twitter six weeks after its opening, generating more interest than the floods in Pakistan, the California gay marriage case, or the Ground Zero mosque.

The Twitter comments are revealing. “Epically awesome,” gushes one fan, as if mere awe is not enough. An obsessed geek has written a detailed program using almost 2,000 lines of obscure computer code “to replicate the sequence of the movie.” (If you’re interested , it’s at To me, that’s epically awesome. And no less a light than my favorite Roger Ebert affirms “It is wholly original, cut from new cloth, and yet structured with action movie basics so it feels like it makes more sense than (quite possibly) it does.”

So, what the heck. You should see it to find out for yourself. In case you don’t already know, Inception is an action-adventure, sci-fi, love story involving Leo DiCaprio’s quest to screw with the brain of a powerful industrialist by entering his dream, within a dream, within a dream.

It’ll be at the Tropic all week splitting a screen with the animated feature DESPICABLE ME, in which the multi-talented Steve Carrell voices the evil hero Gru, who plans to steal the moon. Aimed at the under-twelve set, this is “an enjoyable blend of sweetness and silliness, with loads of giggles and just enough dark-edged humor to keep the adult companions interested,” says

Don’t be shocked when you see the theater lobby. The curved yellow wall and condiment counter are gone, temporarily replaced by a folding table. Not to worry. The theaters are untouched and will continue to function on all cylinders during the renovation. But the lobby is about to be transformed with an expanded food service area and a separated cozy lounge. The long-time dream of creating a place for meeting before and after movies, and encouraging a sense of community around the films, is about to get a major boost.

Full info and schedules at
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