Friday, February 18, 2011

Week of February 18 to February 24 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

The academy awards are almost upon us, coming up a week from Sunday (February 27). As usual, the Tropic will be broadcasting the full show on its big screen, from the first red carpet moment to the final best picture envelope, so if you want a proper film venue for film's big day, you know where to go. Only $15 for Tropic members and $25 for nonmembers. Not yet a member? Join that night and save $10 toward a membership.

They're also running their own pick-the-winners contest, with a Producer membership worth $600 as the top prize -- free movies for two for a year! Pick up your ballots at the box office, as many as you'd like, for $5 each. You don’t have to attend the Tropic’s Oscar show to participate. Just drop your completed ballot(s) off before things get rolling on Sunday night. Both the Oscar show and the contest are a benefit for the theatre, and I don’t have to tell you what a worthy cause that is.

If you’d like to enhance your chances of winning, catch the full package of BEST LIVE ACTION and BEST ANIMATED SHORTS, which will be showing all this week. These are always great little films. Read summaries of all of them at, or just jump in. Hey, if you don’t like one, wait a few minutes and you’ll see another.

Of course there doesn't seem to be much doubt about what's going to win best picture this year. THE KING’S SPEECH has already won the top prize given by the Producers Guild, the Directors Guild, and the Screen Actors Guild. Who do you think make up the membership of the Academy that chooses the Oscar, duh.

King’s Speech is a worthy picture, no doubt, and is immensely popular, already the highest grossing movie in the history of the Tropic and still going strong. With an uplifting theme (king needs a helping hand from a commoner and together they triumph), pageantry (a coronation, no less), and great performances, it’s good old-fashioned movie making, comfort food for the cinema soul.

 I can't help rooting, however, for one of the more unusual nominees. The Social Network is extraordinary for its ability to craft a compelling film out of a story with no production values -- no glorious crowd scenes, no CGI, no car chases, no sex -- just a nerd and his nattering. It surely has my vote for best screenplay. It won the Writer's Guild award for best adaptation and is most likely to pick up that Oscar.

My personal favorite among the nominees, as I’ve said before, is Winter’s Bone, an ultra-low-budget indie starring Jennifer Lawrence, a previously undiscovered young woman destined for stardom. The movie is a gritty story of a family struggling against meth dealers in the Ozarks. It may lack the glamour of Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, but the human drama is, to my mind, more compelling.

Meanwhile, the hottest film of last summer, Inception, has all but faded from contention. It did pick up the Writer's Guild best original script award and the Cinematographers top prize, but this doesn’t seem to be the year for special effects movies. Last year we had all the buzz about Avatar and how its spellbinding effects and 3D heralded a new era in filmmaking. A year later, who cares. Thank God, we're back to story and character. The cream always rises.

[from Key West the newspaper -]

No comments: