Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Week of December 16 to December 22 (Mann)

 What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

What happens when Mavis, a self-loathing, narcissistic, irrational, alcoholic thirty-something, decides she wants to rekindle her high school love affair? And when Buddy, the object of her obsession, is sweet, innocent, married, and with a new baby? Welcome to YOUNG ADULT, the new rom-com tragi-farce from the director (Jason Reitman) and writer (Diablo Cody) of the wildly popular Juno.
Because Mavis is drop-dead beautiful Charlize Theron (Monster), there is a chance that her bundle of psychoses just might turn Buddy’s head. Helping us sweat out that horrible possibility is Matt (Patton Oswald), a former classmate of Mavis and Buddy. While those two were prom queen and football king, Matt was a fat schlub, the victim of endless bullying and anti-gay beatings that left him crippled both physically and sexually… even though he isn’t and never was a homosexual. While Buddy is clueless, and Mavis is beyond clueing, Matt is wise and understanding, but hopelessly smitten with Mavis.

The title of the movie comes from the fact that Mavis has a moderately successful career writing teen romance novels. But it’s also an allusion to the fact that she’s never moved beyond her adolescent glory days, and seems to think her life is still the plot of one of her novels. She’s the kind of person who, when she learns that Buddy has a wife and baby, can only respond “I'm cool with it. I mean I've got baggage, too.”

Young Adult bumps along with nasty swerves, middle finger proudly in the air, toward an ending blessedly free of anything warm, fuzzy, or optimistic. Now that's adult entertainment.” (Lisa Schwartzbaum, Entertainment Weekly). “A cockeyed comic triumph that flashes between bright and dark like a strobe light of the spirit.” (Joe Morgenstern, Wall St. Journal).

also features a lead character who seems somewhat unhinged. Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) is a pipeline engineer, with a good job, a loving wife (Jessica Chastain) and a couple of great kids. He’s an attentive, caring father, especially to his six-year-old hearing-impaired daughter. But he’s overpowered by a sense of dread, a fear of an apocalyptic event that will destroy all this.

This fear manifests itself in nightmares, and then in daytime visions unseen by his co-workers. Driven by his fear, he builds an elaborate storm shelter in the backyard, jeopardizing his family finances and his job in the process. What is going on? Is he mad, or is he prophetic?

“A frightening thriller based not on special effects gimmicks but on a dread that seems quietly spreading in the land…This is masterful filmmaking.” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). “[Director Jeff] Nichols has given audiences something genuinely thoughtful and provocative to talk about.” (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post).

The movie fare also includes holdovers of J.EDGAR and LIKE CRAZY.

The really Special Event of the week is a live show on the Carper Theater stage. Multi-talented performer Tom Judson, who had his Key West debut at the Tropic last year, returns with a new TOM JUDSON SHOW, an evening of piano, song and story in the mode of Bobby Short and Noel Coward. It’s a benefit for Aids Help. So spring for a few bucks and have a great time. That’s Saturday night at 10:00pm.

On Tuesday, the Ballet in Cinema series features THE NUTCRACKER from the Bolshoi Ballet, with matinee and evening shows. You may have seen other Nutcrackers, but the Bolshoi is the gold-standard for this Tchaikovsky classic.

Full schedules and info at or
[from Key West, the newspaper -]

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