Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week of June 17 to June 23 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

Summer is upon us, and the Tropic has livin’ is easy fare.

Woody Allen’s MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is a charming and romantic crowd pleaser, held over for another week. Follow the adventures of Gil, a wannabe novelist, wandering the streets of the French capital and longing for the Golden Age of the Twenties, until it comes true. As he hobnobs with Ernest (spouting Hemingway prose), Scott and Zelda, and Gertrude Stein, he falls in love with a woman who longs for the Belle Époque. And so it goes in this story of grass is greener time travel, where the only flights are of fancy.

BRIDESMAIDS has been touted as the woman’s answer to The Hangover, and there is a superficial similarity. A wedding is looming, and like the groom and his buddies, the bride and her BFF’s are in for a little fun. But the girls are more into shopping than shagging, and Las Vegas is out of reach. If you’re a Saturday Night Live fan, you’ll recognize Maya Rudolph as the bride and Kristin Wiig (who also co-wrote the script) as the maid of honor in this sharp, funny comedy about female bonding and, … if I can say it, bitching. It’s raunchy in places, because director Paul Fieg and producer Judd Apatow insisted on inserting a little barf-a-rama. But that helps assure that the guys in the audience will love it too, while the gals will just get it and laugh from beginning to end.

“Witty, raunchy and affecting, … it's a broad-gauge farce that examines sex from a woman's point of view, … a sophisticated comedy of manners.” (Wall St. Journal) “A film of great hilarity, humanity, idiosyncrasy and grade-A, eyebrow-singeing raunch.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Want more adventure? How about PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES? Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow, now searching for the Fountain of Youth, while dealing with the machinations of the lovely Angelica (Penelope Cruz), Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). “This is the perfect summer movie and perhaps the best Pirates of them all.” (Box Office Magazine)

Or would you like something that gives your mind a bit more of a workout? A speed-dating romance turns to noir mystery in THE DOUBLE HOUR, a movie from the Italian giallo (yellow) genre, so named because they were originally based on pulp-novel thrillers. An Italian security guard meets a Russian immigrant chambermaid, love blossoms, crime intervenes, and the plot twists and turns. Winner of the Best Italian Film at the Venice Film Festival, “the Double Hour draws on classic film noir and such Freudian freakouts as Hitchcock’s Vertigo.” (Washington Post) It “leaves you wishing for an extra 20 minutes of diabolical mind games; you don’t want it to end.” (New York Times)

And to top it all off, a new Summer of Fun Cool and Classic Movie Series, selected by our hip and cool projectionist Dan Schwab, begins this Monday. The opening film is THE BIG LEBOWSKI, the Coen brother’s wild tale of “The Dude” Lebowski’s (Jeff Bridges) mistaken identity escapades as he tries to outsmart a couple of kidnappers using a brain so fogged by drink and dope that we can only expect a fiasco. And, happily, we’re not disappointed. It’s a “golden hunk of totally unique celluloid from the versatile Brothers Coen.” (

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