What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann
Here’s a movie that everyone loves: BEGINNERS. Christopher Plummer (last seen at the Tropic as Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station) and Ewan McGregor (recently seen as the title character in both The Ghost Writer and I Love You Phillip Morris) join their talents as a father and son rediscovering each other at a late stage of life. The father is 75 and widowed, when he suddenly announces to his son, age 38, that he is gay… and has terminal cancer.
I know, the plot doesn’t sound promising. But in the hands of these master actors, you are drawn to their story as the father and son, in extremis, form a bond that they could never forge in better times, and change the son forever. “A sad, sweet, funny and ultimately unforgettable love story about a man and a woman and a father and son, and also ranks among the most affectionate and sensitive portraits of homosexuality ever crafted by a straight person.” (Salon.com)
The power of CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, doesn’t come from plot or character, because there is none. Rather it is our sense of amazement that captivates us. Director Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man) obtained unique permission to take cameras into the ancient caves at Chauvet in Southern France to photograph the remarkable paintings on the walls. The artistic quality of some of these depictions of animals would rank the unknown illustrator with any contemporary painter. Yet the images are as much as 32,000 years old, and the artists from a preliterate, prehistoric world that seems impossibly removed from ours. To all the definitions of the essential differences between man and other creatures, we might add: the ability to make art. In any event, this will be your only opportunity to see these paintings, because the caves are not regularly open to the public, and are available even to scholars only for limited periods each year. A “cinematic mind trip that blows you away.” (New York Daily News)
The art in CARS 2 is a little bit more recent, and of course the creatures depicted are mechanical rather than horses and woolly mammoths. I read somewhere that the artistic breakthrough in the original Cars, maintained in this sequel, was to move the vehicles’s eyes from the headlights, where you might intuitively expect to find them, up to in the windshields, giving them a more human-like visage. Would you say that this cinema art shows the advance of humanity over 320 centuries? Well, that’s not the point is it? Summertime is for kids, too. Let them enjoy this “this lightning-paced caper-comedy [that] shifts the franchise into high gear with international intrigue.” (Variety.com)
PAGE ONE, LARRY CROWNE, BAD TEACHER, and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS are held over, all probably for the last week. Fair warning.
Now that we’re in August, the Monday Summer of Fun Movie Classics is shifting themes, to Murder and Mayhem. First up is THE EVIL DEAD (1981), the directorial debut of Sam Rami (Spiderman 1,2,3 and Drag Me to Hell). Do you like guys chopping up their girlfriends with axes, trees raping women, and horribly possessed demons? Then queue up on Monday night for this cult classic. You know who you are.
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[from Key West, the newspaper - www.kwtn.com]