What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann
by Phil Mann
Are you a Wes Anderson fan? He’s famous for creating little worlds that are ostensibly real but oddly off kilter. In The Royal Tenenbaums it was an estranged family of child prodigies. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou dealt with a boatload of intrepid oceanographers. The Darjeeling Limited followed three brothers on a train across India. And of course his last film The Fantastic Mr. Fox was a stop-action animation with an incredible set of puppets.
In MOONRISE KINGDOM he turns his attention to a scout summer camp on a Maine-like island. This is not your usual Boy Scout operation, with a scoutmaster (Ed Norton) who smokes and drinks, and a group of campers who bring lethal weapons on a mission to find an unpopular colleague who has gone AWOL. The escaped 12-year-old camper is having a rendezvous with a local girl from the small island community. Although it’s chaste young love as only Anderson can imagine it, her parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) aren’t pleased, nor are the sheriff (Bruce Willis) and the child social-services officer (Tilda Swinton). But love will out.
“A thoroughly endearing journey, and one of the most enjoyable and touching movies to land in theaters so far this year.” (Mike Scott, New Orleans Times-Picayune) “It’s a movie about how we remember childhood, when confrontations with other kids seemed to have life-or-death stakes, grown-ups spoke about things we didn’t understand or care about, and it really was possible to run away and go on a wild adventure, as long as you brought the proper supplies.” (Rene Rodriquez, Miami Herald)
ELENA is a Russian thriller set in a grim post-Soviet Moscow. The title character is a frumpy former housekeeper, now long-suffering wife to a wealthy older man. When he falls ill and announces he is about to slash her share of his will, she has fateful choice. “A breakthrough movie after its own fashion, a mysterious existential thriller that's brilliantly acted and masterfully directed, without a second of wasted screen time.” (Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com)
The documentary QUILL: THE LIFE OF A GUIDE DOG is irresistible. It follows a yellow lab from his selection as a puppy, through his life’s work as a service dog, to his old age. You’ll learn about the training, about the dogs, and even about the mixed virtues of their handicapped masters. “The exquisite live-action Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog may be the family film of the year.” (Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine)
MEN IN BLACK 3 in 3D completes the schedule of new films. With THE AVENGERS (also in 3D) held over this week, we’re in the midst of existential invasions. But not to worry the Men and the Supermen (and a Superwoman) have things under control. Take your choice of threat and team.
Monday night’s Road Trippin' Month Film Classic is THELMA AND LOUISE, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis’s iconic female road movie. There’s also a road movie for kids this Saturday morning: CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG with Dick Van Dyke and his fabulous flying car.
Full schedules and info at TropicCinema.com.