Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week of September 16 to September 22 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

THE GUARD is one hoot of a movie. Sgt. Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is a lone wolf constable in a rural Irish town. He plays by his own set of rules, including taking a day off in the midst of a major investigation so he can keep a date with a couple of foxy call girls; protecting an IRA arms cache, while filching an couple of weapons for his own use; and ironically, race-baiting a black FBI agent (Don Cheadle) sent from America to thwart a drug ring operating in Boyle's district.

You wouldn't expect Boyle and his very straight FBI counterpart to get along. They don't at first, and their clashing banter keeps things lively. (When shown pictures of the white suspects at an FBI briefing, Boyle asks the black agent, with the feigned simplicity of a country boy, "I thought all drug smugglers were black...or Mexican.") But they’re the good guys in a movie with some hard-core bad ones, so you’ve got to suspect that they will eventually come together.

You may remember Gleeson from In Bruges. The Guard shares that same sensibility -- a crime thriller with a joke book snuck into its script. But also with a similarly dramatic shoot-em-up conclusion.

A definite crowd pleaser. It’s “
more pure, profane enjoyment than a body should have.” (Ty Burr, Boston Globe)

Got time for a double feature? PROJECT NIM is splitting a screen with RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. The former is a documentary about a Columbia professor who tried to raise a chimp as a child in a regular human family, with less than ideal results. The latter is a fictional take on the same experiment, with an even less satisfactory outcome. NIM might even be thought of as the prequel to PLANET, which could be retitled The Revenge of the Simians. Get a six pack at concessions and see them both.

Rounding out this week’s schedule are two romances.

ANOTHER EARTH is billed as a science fiction film, but it’s not the sci fi of aliens or elaborate special effects. Rather it’s a low budget human drama combined with a provocative sci fi story.

The human drama involves incoming MIT student Rhonda Williams (Brit Marling) involved in a horrendous DUI accident where she kills the wife and children of composer John Burroughs (William Mapother). Trying to make amends, but without revealing her identity, she finds a job working for him. The sci fi side of it involves the discovery of a new planet in our solar system that is a duplicate of earth. Everything about it is the same, including a population of doppelgangers for people on our planet. Should Ms. Williams continue building her growing relationship with Burroughs, or should she seek to go to the other earth to see if there might be an alternative outcome to her tragedy?

The combination is “science fiction at its best" (Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter), that “proves compellingly that science, intellect and emotion can coexist in mesmerizing synchronicity on the big screen." (Claudia Puig, USA Today)

THE NAMES OF LOVE is an entirely earthbound French comedy. The lovely Baya Benmahmoud (Sara Forestier) is a political activist lover. She sleeps with conservatives to convert them to her liberal views. Arthur Martin (Jacques Gamblin) is an apolitical stick in the mud. The combination is “a playfully sexy farce that plays like a Gallic Annie Hall” (Mark Jenkins, Washington Post) . I hope the subtitles won’t deter you, because “if you don't enjoy this one, you don't like fun.” (Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune).

PINK FLOYD:THE WALL is up on Monday for the Music Madness Classic.

That’s a total of five new films this week. Keep busy.

[from Key West the newspaper -]

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