Thursday, March 1, 2012

Week of March 2 through March 8 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

Looks like we’ve got another week with a solid slate of Oscar winners at the Tropic, with HUGO, THE ARTIST and THE IRON LADY held over. That’s not entirely voluntary on the theater’s part, but rather a standard industry commitment to retain big winners for at least a week. So take advantage of this sparkling lineup to catch these films if you’ve missed them.

Added to that array is another of the Tropic’s provocative documentaries, ADDICTION INCORPORATED.  It’s the true story of a tobacco company scientist who figured out how to make cigarettes less dangerous, while maintaining their addictive quality - until his bosses realized that this was not good public relations and shut him down. And then he went public…. beginning a publicity and litigation barrage that, while not totally effective, has largely succeeded in changing smoking from a cool, sophisticated act, to a suckers’ solace. “The film packs a wallop.” (Loren King, Boston Globe). “It's subtly unobtrusive and effective.” (Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post).

Meanwhile, let’s wrap up the Oscar picking saga. I did pretty well with my tips last week, getting 12 of 14 correct. I mistakenly touted Tree of Life for Cinematography and Rise of the Planet of the Apes for Visual Effects (Hugo won both, taking home five of the statuettes). But of course I only picked the easy categories. The real master is Tropic Board member Runi Goyal, who got 20 of 24 right. Amazing, but of course she was ineligible for the house prize, which is going to go to one of the three people who got 19 out of 24: Nijole Ladd, Michael Vernon, and Steph Wischerth. The contest organizers are still trying to figure out how to break that tie as my column deadline comes due. Nijole and Steph are Tropic volunteers, but that’s no disqualification, or edge.

Speaking of volunteers, Saturday is the day of the Tropic’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Party, preceded by the Members’ Meeting. It’s too late for you to score an invite to the Party if you haven’t already joined the cadre of 150 or so folks who keep the place running. But the Meeting is open to all members, even those who join on that day. It promises to be an interesting show, in which the theater opens its books and reveals the inside skinny on how the place runs. A
dmission is free with a Membership Card, but seating is limited so get there early.

On Monday, the March series of Classics begins, with the topic Wild About Wilder. Very timely. W
hen he accepted the Oscar for Best Director last Sunday, Michael Hazanavicius said there were three directors who inspired him. Echoing the old real estate trope -- location, location , location - the newly anointed Oscar winner proclaimed Wilder, Wilder, Wilder. Whether you’ve seen it before or not this week’s film, SOME LIKE IT HOT, with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, is fun, fun, fun.

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