Friday, July 27, 2012

Week of July 27 to August 2 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
 by Phil Mann

Steven Soderbergh got his filmmaking start with Sex, Lies, and Videotape back in 1989, and has since gone on to a career ranging from Pleasantville to Oceans Thirteen to Contagion. Now he’s back with sex again, but a faux kind. MAGIC MIKE is a male stripper, a guy who grunts and grinds on stage and then on the laps of the female patrons, who seem to love this classic role reversal. “You’re satisfying their fantasies … safely,” is the way club owner Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) puts it. Channing Tatum, who plays Mike, has worked in the trade, so there’s an authenticity to the film, which combines plenty of high production-value strip routines with a touching human interest story. Despite his down and dirty stripping, Mike is concerned about a kid (Alex Pettyfer) who he brings into the trade, and smitten with the kid’s sister. You’ll love the action, including a very buff McConaughey who does some strip-dancing himself, but stay for the story.

Director Steven Soderbergh is working very near the top of his game here, and if Magic Mike tells an old, old story about a young man, his talent, his rise, and his fall - see everything from "Saturday Night Fever" to "Boogie Nights" - he brings the confidence of a born filmmaker and a cast that's sharper than their characters and ready to play.” (Ty Burr, Boston Globe)

As a treat, the Tropic is celebrating the Tuesday 6:30pm show of Magic Mike as Girl's Night Out with drink specials. And Wednesday at 6:30pm it'll be Boys Night Out for the guys with the same drink specials.

All three dimensions are popping with the all-star animal cast of MADAGASCAR 3 in 3D. The ensemble of wandering Central Park Zoo animals – Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) are trying to get back to the U.S. via a European detour. It’s nonstop animated action. “Where Madagascar 3 soars is in its visuals: A Monte Carlo chase is vertiginously madcap; a Cirque du Soleil-style spectacle dazzles with rich pastels; the 3-D effects have wit and invention.” (Andy Webster, New York Times)

“How we think about [debt] changes how it works.” This observation from Margaret Atwood provided the premise of her book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, and now the documentary film PAYBACK. That and the social concept of people “paying their debt to society” in prison. True to its intellectual underpinnings in Ms. Atwood’s book, the subjects of the movie include BP’s debt for its Gulf oil spill, an Albanian farmer’s for shooting his neighbor and thus accruing an eye-for-eye obligation of like-kind repayment, and that of you and me for the benefits that we get from exploited migrant farm laborers.

Salma Hayek is getting around. While she’s a brutal drug lord in Oliver’s Stones SAVAGES (held over this week), in AMERICANO she’s also a Mexican stripper named Lola dancing nightly at a club in Tijuana. The writer/director and also star of this movie is Mathieu Demy, the son of famed French directors Agnes Varda and Jacque Demy. It’s a very personal story of a French-American young man who travels from Paris to Los Angeles to settle his mother’s estate. A quest to find a Mexican woman to whom the mother’s apartment has been bequeathed leads him to the Club Americano and Lola.

“Though not explicitly autobiographical, this film is deeply personal, and while the nature of cinema is very much on its mind, it rarely feels insular or self-conscious. Instead, it is wistful and nostalgic, and at the same time full of restless curiosity.” (A.O. Scott, New York Times)


The Kids’ $1 movie this week is the original MADAGASCAR (1989). That’s Saturday morning at 10:00AM.

Sunday evening at 7:00:pm, a new classic series starts with THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

Monday night’s Road Trippin’ Classic is PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, starring Steve Martin and John Candy.

Full schedules and info at or

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