Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Week of May 4 to May 10 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

There’s no scholar like a Talmudic scholar, a man (always a man) whose life is devoted to poring over texts, trying to find profound meaning, the secrets of God and man’s existence in the Hebrew bible. So when I tell you that FOOTNOTE, this year’s Israeli nominee for Best Foreign Language film, is about the father-son rivalry of two Talmudic scholars, you’ll chuckle, and wonder if the sequel is about watching grass grow.

But the chuckle would be a more appropriate reaction than you think. Because this is a comedy, as well as a suspenseful tale of intrigue in arcane academia. “It's one of the smartest and most merciless comedies to come along in a while. It centers on an area of fairly narrow interest, but in its study of human nature, it is deep and takes no prisoners.” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times) “It's a vivacious film, having its little fun with suspense-flick conventions (including Amit Poznansky's bouncing score) that build to a climactic finish.” (Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Examiner)

Last year we saw Nim, a documentary about trying to teach a chimp how to act like a human. The experiment failed. But now CHIMPANZEE lets the apes be themselves, notably a young chimp named Oscar and an elderly one called Freddy. Since this film is part of the Disney Nature series being released each year for Earth Day (Earth, Oceans and African Cats were its predecessors), you can expect exquisite cinematography, and you won’t be disappointed. But this time you’ll also get a story arc to rival the best of classic Disney animation. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s been compared to Bambi and The Lion King, as young Oscar goes from the joys of childhood innocence to confront and then surmount a tragedy of jungle life.

The narration by Tim Allen may be a little cute for some adults, but this is a surefire winner for kids. “
Chimpanzee is so skillfully crafted, and the big-hearted outcome so endearing and entertaining, that any narrative liberties taken to aid in the telling of this prehensile tale are not only forgivable but welcome.” (Mike Scott, New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Just to clinch the deal, a  friend of Tropic Cinema who loves chimps and kids is letting kids 12 and under see "Chimpanzee" for $3 for all shows for the first week of the film.  Regular Tropic member and nonmember prices apply to their grownups.

Another attractive proposition for kids, especially young girls, is MIRROR MIRROR, a modernized, jazzed-up version of the Snow White story, starring Julia Roberts as the evil Queen. What’s new? Well the dwarves have names like Napoleon, Half Pint and Butcher, and they’re bandits rather than miners. And Snow White learns how to handle a sword and leads her small army to attack the castle, where she’s ultimately the kisser rather than the kissee. Isn’t that enough? “Mirror Mirror's spectacular production design, inventive costumes and sophisticated visual flair, paired with a sweet message of true love, make for a vividly enjoyable retelling.” (Claudia Puig, USA Today)

You’re a grownup? THE SALT OF LIFE is an Italian confection about a guy in middle-aged crisis who decides that adultery is the answer. Gianni isn’t the best looking or smoothest guy around. But there are possibilities… “This being an Italian film, and Gianni being such a hapless, kindhearted aspiring Lothario, make this perhaps the sweetest movie ever made about a guy trying to cheat on his wife.” (Marc Mohan, Portland Oregonian)

, and SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN are held over. Check showtime schedules carefully, because it’s a week packed with Special Events.

Friday night at 9:00 it’s the Key West Songwriters’ Festival. Still a few tickets left as I write this.

Saturday afternoon from 3:30 to the finish, it’s the DERBY DAY PARTY, a fund raiser for The Visiting Nurse Association and the Tropic. Mint Juleps, Games of Chance, Derby Fare and, of course, the Run for the Roses on the big screen. Fifty Bucks.

Monday it’s Classic Mystery Movie night, part of the Key West Mystery Fest. The movie is MURDER BY DEATH (1976), with Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, among others. Thursday the Mystery Fest continues with MONK NIGHT. Meet Andy Breckman, the creator of Monk and Hy Conrad, the show’s writer-producer, and learn all about the Emmy Award winning series. More info at

Full schedules and info at or

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