Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week of October 15 through October 23 (Mann)

What's on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann 

It's a convention of vampire lore that, despite the creature's otherwise supernatural powers, one can't come into your house until you allow it. Hence the title of the new film at the Tropic LET ME IN, faithfully based on the Swedish novel and film from a couple of years ago, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Yes, this is about a vampire, in this case one who appears to be an innocent young girl (Chole Moretz from 500 Days of Summer and Kickass) and her/its relationship with a young boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee from The Road), but don't think you're in for a conventional horror film or (horrors!) something that evokes trashy teen fiction.

The girl Amy is a character who takes you into the heart of a vampire, that makes you feel her anguish at the state in which she finds herself, incapable of having a normal relationship, in thrall to her craving for blood, while marveling at her powers. The boy Owen is a classic loner-loser, friendless and bullied at school. The movie is set in the spare, architecturally grim town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, a place that seems to say "we're busy making bombs, so don't expect things to be pretty," maybe a metaphor for vampire life.

Amy lives with a man. He's not her father, we come to understand, but a hunter who tries to supply her needs, and when he fails she goes viciously out on her own. But even the worst evil can be turned to good.

If you saw the Swedish film in 2009, you'll surely want to come back for this American look, which is "more than a respectful remake, … quietly stylish and thoroughly chilling in its own right." (Wall St. Journal) And if you missed it before, here's your chance to see the vampire movie for people who don't like vampire movies…. and for those who do, as well. This "deeply moving, not to mention disturbingly accurate, portrait of youthful loneliness, peer brutality, and the stark, moment-by-moment hell that lies at the palpating heart of so many misfit kids' lives" (Austin Chronicle) is a very special Tropic event.

WALL STREET:MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, as you probably know is also about vampires, the investment banking ones that suck the life out of whole companies. That's what the notorious, Oscar-winning Gordon Geckko (Michael Douglas) did in director Oliver Stone's 1987 film Wall Street, until his machinations led him to jail. Now Gekko is out, prowling the streets and ostensibly trying to repair relations with his daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan from An Education), but really as driven as ever. It's a very different time now, with the world economy collapsing, but Geckko is an alchemist manipulating people and secret Swiss bank accounts to get back to the top. Director Oliver Stone manages again to capture the dispirit of the times with a movie that the New York Times calls "by turns brilliant and dumb, naïve and wise, nowhere near good enough and something close to great."

MESRINE:KILLER INSTINCT shifts us from the world of white collar crime to that of down and dirty thuggery and bank robbery. Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) was a notorious figure in France, once voted the most popular man in the country, in the same way that John Dillinger achieved popularity here during the Depression. Mesrine robbed, he kidnapped, he famously broke out of jail four times and even broke back in one time to fetch his colleagues. All this has been captured in an accolade-gathering two part film. The second installment, Mesrine:Public Enemy No. 1 will be coming to the Tropic soon.

Quite a week!

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