Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week of August 26 to September 1 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

So what do you know? Just when you thought the future was doomed, what with the deficit limit crisis, Rick “Cowboy” Perry riding the range for the Republi-cants, Congressmen hanging out in their underpants, and a President who doesn’t have “no” in his vocabulary, Captain America is bringing hope to town.

Unfortunately, this is CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, which tells the story of his exploits against the Nazi menace during World War II. But it is reassuring to learn that a ninety pound weakling (Chris Evans – Fantastic Four) can conquer evil, with a little juicing from the scientist of Barry Bonds’ dreams. Just to make things interesting, the Germans have stolen the juice to create the Captain’s evil counterpart, so our guy must face a villain that makes Hitler seem like a naughty boy.

You’ll love the supporting actors. Stanley Tucci is the scientist with the stuff. He affects a German accent,  but he’s a good German. I suspect that’s because the producers wanted to give a little comfort to German audiences while they watched their countrymen otherwise embody evil incarnate. Tommy Lee Jones is the tough-talking officer in charge of the Captain’s unit. Hayley Atwell is the love interest whose lipstick is never challenged by wartime duties.

But mostly it’s director Joe Johnston’s movie. A protégé of Star Wars master George Lucas, Johnston sharpened his skills on The Wolfman, Jurassic Park III and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. He makes thisthe most stylish comics-derived entertainment of the year” (Chicago Tribune). You’ve got to see it so you’ll be prepared for next summer’s The Avengers, the long promised reunion of Captain America, Thor, Ironman and The Incredible Hulk.

winner of the Academy Award for most bizarre title punctuation, pairs up Steve Carell, Julianne Moore and a “zinger-studded script” (Wall St. Journal). Cal (Carell) and Emily (Moore) are having marital problems after years together. She starts an affair and asks for a divorce. He seeks solace in a bar and the mentoring of the successful lothario Jacob (Ryan Gosling). And the fun begins, with Marisa Tomei as a hot babe who breaks Cal out of his funk and Emma Stone as an equally hot one who puts the cool Jacob into one. “It may well restore your faith in the very possibility of love, to say nothing of romantic comedies.” (L.A. Times)

is a quietly funny buddy road movie. Two British television personalities Steve Coogan, playing himself, and Rob Brydon, doing the same, are off on a trip to visit the finest restaurant in England, all at the expense of The Observer, for which Coogan is writing an article. If you think this is going to be about food, or in the intellectual spirit of My Dinner with Andre, you’ll be sorely disappointed. It’s much more about such things as whether Brydon or Coogan can do a better imitation of Michael Caine, or how many receptionists and waitresses Coogan can get to bed. It may not sound like much, but the two are standup comics with perfect timing, and their characters evolve in into more than just comic characters. It sneaks up on you until you’re surprised and sorry that it’s over. You’d like to hang with the guys a little longer. “Doesn't sound like much. But it's terrific.” (S.F. Chronicle); “riotous and resplendent” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

But the big event of the week is Sunday afternoon, when the team of Michael D. Robinson, the great Christine Gorham, and Eric Haley bring us YOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE SOME: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO THE ACADEMY AWARDS. Robinson is at the keys of the Tropic’s new grand piano (donated by him and David Cooper) in this wonderful dedication of the piano and benefit for the Tropic. Don’t miss it. You’ll leave humming, and demanding more concerts at the theater. Tickets available now at or the box office.

Plus several holdovers, including HARRY POTTER, and REPO MAN for the Monday Summer of Fun: Murder and Mayhew Classic. See you at the Tropic.

[From Key West, the newspaper -]

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