Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week of April 15 to April 21 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

WIN WIN is a winner, a feel good movie about “good people making bad decisions,” according to writer-director Tom McCarthy. This is his third feature, after The Station Agent and The Visitor, both multi-award winners, and he’s on track for another round of kudos. McCarthy seems to have a touch for creating flawed but appealing leading characters – a dwarf (Station Agent), a widowed college professor (Visitor) – and letting life deal them unexpected hands that they play awkwardly.

This time it’s Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti), a low-level lawyer and part-time high school wrestling coach. He’s trying to be a good husband and father to his wife (Amy Ryan) and kids, but his breadwinning skills don’t seem to be up to it. Everything is going wrong, from his heating system and plumbing to his hopeless wrestling team.

But then fate gives him a couple of chances to change things, one by being unethical and the other by being the opposite. I won’t spoil things by telling you more about the plot, but it’s more comic than McCarthy’s other films. Mike Flaherty’s tribulations have a ludicrous edge, and there’s plenty of “guys hanging out at the gym” humor generated by his buddies, Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambour. It’s “a wrestling picture that reinvigorates the genre with verve, warmth and heart” (Washington Post).

Rainn Wilson (The Office) is “The Crimson Bolt” in SUPER, a comedy about a self-named superhero who’s got no super powers. But he’s got a hot wife (Liv Tyler) who’s cuckolding him, a hot girl sidekick “Boltie” (Ellen Page), and visits from God to assure him that he’s on the right path. The word on Super is that it’s “occasionally brilliant, sometimes awful and terribly confusing overall” (, “a thrill ride from the opening animated credits … to the closing moments” ( In other words, just the right formula for the next big cult film. Catch it now so you can brag you were there at the beginning.

Rounding out the lineup of new feature films is HEARTBEATS, a romantic comedy about a ménage a trois among three very appealing young French-Canadians. Marie (straight female) and Francis (gay male) are besties, both with an eye for Nicolas of the curly blonde hair (indeterminate male). It’s “a love-crazy, movie-crazy affair, laying bare its emotions just as plainly as its influences. “ (Onion AV) This is the second film from twenty-one year old writer-director-actor Xavier Dolan (he plays Francis), and makes him a man to watch. Start here.

The Special Events calendar is crammed full, starting with a benefit for FIRM (Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe) on Sunday afternoon. They’re screening the classic local film BEYOND THE TWELVE MILE REEF and conducting a silent auction. A worthy cause, we can all agree, and this is a way to support it while enjoying yourself.

Monday Movie Classic is Elizabeth Taylor’s great performance in A PLACE IN THE SUN, based on Dreiser’s An American Tragedy. Montgomery Clift is the handsome, troubled, bedeviled young George Eastman. It won six Oscars, though none for its stars.

Tuesday is the day for the matinee encore showing of Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT from the Globe Theater in London.

Thursday brings another in the Visiting Filmmaker Series. It’s the Florida premiere of EXODUS FALL starring Rosanna Arquette. The story of three teen siblings who struggle with the death of their father and try to live with their abusive mother, the film was line produced by Key West local Michael Baumgarten. He will be accompanied by director Ankush Kohli to present the film and answer questions.

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