Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week of October 28 through November 3 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann
First, let’s get the bad news out of the way. The Tropic will be closed for the evening shows on Friday and all day Saturday. There’s just no competing with the frolic on the streets. You would have trouble getting to the theater if it were open. So enjoy Fantasy Fest.

If you survive, or get to the Tropic before it closes on Friday, there are a couple of treats for you.
THE WAY is a different kind of road movie, following the journey of a man (Martin Sheen) as he walks a 500 mile pilgrimage in northern Spain. Known as the Way of St. James, or El Camino de Santiago, it’s a centuries-old route. One of the Tropic’s founders, Kim Narenkivicius, made the trip a few years ago as a journey of self-discovery, so it has a personal touch for us.

As you discover watching the film, there are as many reasons to make the pilgrimage as there are pilgrims, from the traditional act of penance to a means of losing weight. For Sheen’s character, it begins as a tribute to his son, who died on the route, but turns into something much more, something inspired as much by the Wizard of Oz as by any Christian saint. Sheen bonds with three companions, who discover their brains, hearts and courage. That’s not my idea, but an observation of the writer-director Emilio Estevez (Sheen’s son in real life, who also plays his fictional son in flashbacks).

Like the original Oz story, it has comedic elements mixed with a parable. “Funny, moving, hip and transcendent all at the same time, The Way is both deeply thoughtful and enormous fun to watch.” (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)

There’s nothing spiritual about LOVE CRIME, a French thriller about nasty double-dealing that reminds us of All About Eve. The always wonderful Kristin Scott Thomas, who can employ French or English with equal aplomb, is Christine, a French marketing executive, sure in her power over her employees, whom she manipulates like pieces on a chessboard. Especially her number one assistant Isabelle (Ludivine Sangier – Mesrine, Girl Cut in Two), who idolizes her. The carefully structured plot involves malfeasance and political infighting in their multinational corporation, which eventually spirals out to larger crimes and a surprise ending. Did you like George Clooney’s Michael Clayton? Then this should be your demi-tasse.

Speaking of Clooney, he’s back in THE IDES OF MARCH a timely political thriller. Clooney is a very straight-arrow Presidential candidate, faced with some serious moral and ethical dilemmas in a crucial primary contest. His young assistant campaign manager (Ryan Gosling) lets his ambition lead him into trouble, but when you’re as smart as he is there’s hardly anything you can’t accomplish with a little backroom deal making and backstabbing. In this business, when you’re up, you’re on your way down, and vice versa. You just never know. “A big, bruisingly funny moral fable etched in acid and Obama disillusion.” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

and 50/50 are held over.

On Monday the surprise treat is an Undead Are Fundead double feature. George Romero’s groundbreaking (an apt metaphor) 1968 classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and Ed Wood, Jr.’s 1959 PLANET 9 FROM OUTER SPACE starring Bela Lugosi. A fitting end to October’s ghoulish series.

For those of you with more refined tastes, Tuesday evening brings a performance of ADRIANA LECOUVREUR, sung in Italian from the Royal Opera in London. Expand your mind.

Full info and schedules at or
Comments, please, to

No comments: