Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week of July 22 to July 28 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

Newspapers may be in trouble, from the public’s rising inclination to get news through alternative sources, to the press’s own self-inflicted wounds like those wracking Murdoch’s empire. What’s a newshound to do? The Tropic’s got an answer for you. Check out PAGE ONE: A YEAR INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES, the new documentary set in the newsroom of the great Grey Lady. Granted broad entree to reporters, editors, and their meetings – what the filmmakers call “unprecedented access” – documentarian Andrew Rossi prowled the newsroom. Wisely focusing on a couple of reporters, especially David Carr and Brian Stelter who cover media, he tells a story while also giving us the scent of the place.

If you’re someone like me, for whom reading the daily Times is a rite of passage into the day, this is a sure don’t miss. It adds a new dimension to my reading to be able to know some of the personalities behind the bylines. But even those less addicted can take interest in how this most important of the world’s newspapers works at this critical juncture in its history. “The precariousness of keeping that enterprise going makes for a great story — one that all surviving newspapers, not just the Times, are still writing.” (

What else do we have in store for you? You like movie stars? How about Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts? In LARRY CROWNE, Tom is in his nice guy mode, sort of a grown-up version of his character in Big or a sharper version of Forrest Gump. This time he’s a guy laid off from his job at “U-Mart” for lacking a college degree. Being a positive thinker, he enrolls at the local community college and finds himself in a communications class taught by Julia. Tom Hanks directs himself in this movie, which he also co-wrote with Nia Vardelos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame. Recommended for fans of that film. The “characters and their dilemmas stay with you. These days, any of us could suddenly be Larry Crowne.” (Miami Herald)

Or how about Cameron Diaz? She’s the title character in BAD TEACHER, a comedy about a 7th grade teacher with a heart of gold… digging. It’s probably worth a trip to the cinema just to see Cameron sitting up there on a desk at the front of the classroom, in a short skirt with her legs crossed. It’s a way to get the class to pay attention. But that’s not her goal. She just wants to land a rich husband, or get money for a boob job that will enhance her charms. Maybe she should get a job as a school administrator down here. Anyhow, it’s “a raucous, cynical comedy.” (Wall St. Journal)

Summer of Fun Classics continues this Monday with GREMLINS (1985), winner of the Best Horror Film Award from the folks who give that out. “The whole movie is a sly series of sendups,… a sophisticated, witty B movie, in which the monsters are devouring not only the defenseless town, but decades of defenseless clichés” says Roger Ebert. Sounds perfect to me.

Holdover runs of TREE OF LIFE, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, and SUPER 8 round out the schedule.

And Saturday evening features a special screening of Hemingway’s ultimate fishing story about a man who tried to land the big one, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. Spencer Tracy stars, and it’s all a fund raiser for HelpLine, Monroe County’s 24 hour telephone crisis and information hotline. With programs ranging from suicide prevention to helping elders avoid falls, it’s a vital community resource. They’ll be gathering in the Sussman Lounge for a silent auction at 7pm, followed by the movie at 8pm.

By the way, don’t miss the chance to furnish your room with movie posters! The Tropic is selling off all its old posters for five bucks each. Check out the selection in the lobby.

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