Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week of September 10 to September 16 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

The September doldrums are upon us. Restaurants are closed down to give their staffs a break, and tourism is in that awkward stage between child-driven summer travel and adult-inspired Key West fun (think Fantasy Fest). But the Tropic continues to hum along, your all-season, all-times place for a night (or afternoon) out.

The lobby renovation is not quite complete, but all services are available, from movies to Merlot. Two new films open this week, both comedies, though you may wonder about one of them.

The comedic sure thing is THE OTHER GUYS, a big-budget boffo blast starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as a mismatched team of cops who don’t exactly do things the usual way. The usual way being the mode of another team made up of Dwayne Johnson-Samuel Jackson, who Ferrell-Wahlberg want to emulate. LOL

Now, you know this movie has got to be a big hit. Ferrell’s salary is listed at $20 million, Wahlberg gets $10 million, Johnson $15 million and Jackson $6 million. At least that’s what it says on the internet. You can’t necessary believe it, because the same source says that the salary of Michael Keaton, who’s boss of the precinct in the movie, is $100. (No typo. Just two zeros.) But there’s no doubt that each of these guys is expected to deliver some real entertainment, and they do. “So hilarious that even longtime Ferrell haters (me) can't resist it,” says the Miami Herald reviewer.

LIFE DURING WARTIME does not sound like the title of a comedy. The characters, including a pedophile just released from prison who’s trying to track down his children who think he’s dead, don’t seem comic. But like everything, it just depends on how you take it.

Writer/director Todd Solondz says, "There's good laughter and bad laughter. As long as they're not laughing at the expense of any of these characters, it's OK. My films are comedies, but they're sad comedies and this is the saddest of all." I’ve heard of black comedy before, but never “sad comedy,” which may be why Solondz is considered one of the most creative filmmakers currently working. His last film Happiness, which was about anything but the title, was praised by Roger Ebert as exemplifying “the emerging genre of the New Geek Cinema, films that occupy the shadowland between tragedy and irony.” That, rather than “sad comedy” may be a better definition of his work.

It’s certainly the other end of the cinematic world from The Other Guys, so see them both and stretch your mind.

Speaking of mind-stretching, this weekend marks the opening of the Tropic’s new live opera season. The rooftop satellite, which brought us operas from the European continent last season, has expanded its scope to include London’s Covent Garden and the Globe Shakespeare Theater. The first of the Royal Opera company’s live performances will be on Friday, September 10, with the performance of Mozart’s Così fan Tutte genuinely “live” at 2:00pm EDT (7:00pm London time), with an encore “delayed live” showing at 7:00pm EDT. It’s a striking modern-dress presentation, with a set design from director Jonathan Miller, and costumes by Giorgio Armani. Fans out in Scottsdale AZ say they’re going to have a tailgate party before
the live show, which airs at noon out there. Now, that’s an idea!

If your brow is a bit lower, another special event on Saturday brings Leonard Cohen in concert performance to the Tropic screen. Both the opera and the Cohen shows will be making use of the new digital projector in The George theater, with images four times as bright as last year.

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[from Key West, the newpaper -]

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