Friday, September 9, 2011

Week of Sept. 9 to Sept. 15 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

As I contemplate RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES I’m beginning to think the whole Planet series has become a metaphor for contemporary American politics. The movie series is about how a bunch of nasty apes outsmarts the good humans, and takes control of the world. Isn’t that where we are heading right now?

Anyhow this latest movie is a prequel, supposedly the back story of how the apes, who had been several branches back on the evolutionary tree, managed to leap ahead of their more sophisticated cousins. The answer: we did it to ourselves. Will Rodman, an appropriately named stiff (James Franco), is a medical researcher looking for a cure for his father’s Alzheimer’s. While testing it on chimpanzees, he discovers the most profound and impressive gains in intelligence.

It does not work on humans, unfortunately. But oh! those chimps and their Simian brethren. The master race is born. The greatest delight in this 2011 version of apes is the quality of the effects. Andy Serkis, who plays Caesar, the leading chimp and the real star of the movie, is not simply a guy stuffed in a padded suit with a prosthetic face and a bad wig. Thanks to the new CGI technology of motion and performance capture the actors can emote and express in a way that was previously impossible. And no one can do it as well as Serkis, who earned his chops as King Kong and Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.

“The summer’s best popcorn flick,” says the New York Daily News. And what better place to see it than the home of Florida’s best popcorn.

In 1953, three Dutch women fly to New Zealand to meet their fiancés. BRIDE FLIGHT is the story of the three – a free-spirited designer, Esther; a simple farm girl, Ada; and a traditional frau, Marjorie – plus that of a handsome countryman, Frank, who accompanies them on the plane. The flight is part of an intercontinental speed race, which lends some excitement to the movie. But at heart it’s the multiyear saga of these four, their loves and lacks thereof.

If you’re accustomed to the usual little Dutch art movie, be ready for a surprise. This is reputedly one of the biggest budget films they have ever made, and the guilders are up there on the screen in a panoramic cinema that cuts back and forth between the present and past. There may be a bit of soap opera in the plot, but it justifies it with a “lush, epic romantic weepie that Hollywood used to deliver on a regular basis.” (New York Post)

A passel of movies are held over: DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, SARAH’S KEY, HORRIBLE BOSSES and THE TRIP.

Sunday afternoon at 2:00 brings a special screening of the 2006 film UNITED 93, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11. This was, of course, the one plane of the four that took off that morning that never made it to its target – likely the White House or the Capitol. It’s a compelling drama and a celebration of a group of unlikely heros. The Tropic, along with the Red Cross, is joining a group of theaters who are helping raise money for a memorial in the field at Shanksville, PA, where the plane went down. Regular movie prices are in effect.

Monday evening is less reverent, with John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd in the return of THE BLUES BROTHERS showing as the week’s Monday Movie Madness classic film.

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