En­joy Joan Rivers, ‘Trot­sky’

Dayton Daily News - - L!FE - By Bruce Dan­cis McClatchy News Ser­vice

Here are two off­beat and quirky come­dies to warm you up on cold De­cem­ber nights: “The Trot­sky” (New Video, $24.95, not rated)

It’s not sur­pris­ing to find Jay Baruchel in an­other youth-ori­ented com­edy, as the skinny Cana­dian ac­tor has made his mark in come­dies such as the TV se­ries “Un­de­clared” and the movies “Tropic Thun­der” and “She’s Out of My League.” But “The Trot­sky,” writ­ten and di­rected by fel­low Cana­dian Ja­cob Tier­ney, is a youth­ful farce with a dif­fer­ence — it’s a po­lit­i­cal satire that blends real ideas and is­sues with ab­sur­dist hu­mor. The film, which de­buted at the 2009 Toronto Film Fes­ti­val, was shown at New York’s Tribeca Film Fes­ti­val ear­lier this year and is be­ing re­leased on DVD.

Baruchel plays a teenager from Mon­treal named Leon Bronstein. (For those who are not up on the his­tory of the Rus­sian Revo­lu­tion, Leon Bronstein was the real name of Leon Trot­sky, the Bol­she­vik com­rade-in-arms 3

Bring a flash­light and wear warm cloth­ing, 6 p.m. at Aull­wood Gar­den MetroPark, 930 Aull­wood Road, But­ler Twp., meet in the park­ing lot. (937) 277-6545, ext. 1609.

Aull­wood Win­ter Moon­light Walk:

of V.I. Lenin, founder of the Red Army, the­o­rist of “per­ma­nent revo­lu­tion” and loser of a Soviet power strug­gle to Joseph Stalin af­ter Lenin’s death.) Baruchel’s Leon thinks he is the rein­car­na­tion of his rev­o­lu­tion­ary name­sake, even though he was born into a priv­i­leged fam­ily — he at­tends a board­ing school and his fa­ther (Saul Ru­binek) owns a cloth­ing fac­tory in Mon­treal. Fur­ther­more, Leon be­lieves he will re-live the life of Trot­sky, in­clud­ing lead­ing a revo­lu­tion, mar­ry­ing a woman 10 years his elder, be­ing forced into ex­ile and mur­dered by Stalin’s hench­men.

“The Trot­sky” is a clever and en­joy­able com­edy, one based on the as­sump­tion that movie au­di­ences are smarter and more open to new ideas than Hollywood thinks we are. 4

Wear warm cloth­ing, 6:30 p.m. at Aull­wood Audubon Cen­ter, 1000 Aull­wood Road, Bul­ter Twp. Free. (937) 890-7360 for reg­is­tra­tion.

Big Win­ter Moon — Full Moon Walk:

“Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” (MPI Me­dia Group/IFC Films, $27.98/$34.98 Blu-ray, rated R)

Co­me­dian Joan Rivers doesn’t want to re­tire, be­cause, as she ad­mits in this ex­cel­lent doc­u­men­tary, made by Ricki Stern and An­nie Sund­berg when Rivers was 75 (she’s now 77), she wants to main­tain her lav­ish life­style. But her ca­reer is at a low ebb dur­ing the year-long course of the film, which fea­tures be­hind-the-scenes footage of Rivers at home and at work, in­ter­views and rem­i­nis­cences with Rivers, her daugh­ter Melissa, co­me­dian Kathy Grif­fin and oth­ers, plus archival footage of her ap­pear­ances on TV. She’s con­stantly look­ing for work, and we see her per­form­ing in live shows, so­lic­it­ing com­mer­cials, mak­ing TV ap­pear­ances, writ­ing and per­form­ing in her own the­atri­cal show and ap­pear­ing on Don­ald Trump’s “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice.”

“Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” shows that Rivers re­mains as quick and funny as ever. But per­haps more telling is what else it re­veals — a pa­thet­i­cally needy and narcissist­ic woman. 5 8 p.m. at the Schus­ter Cen­ter, Main and Sec­ond streets, Day­ton. $31-$76. (937) 228-3630. www. tick­et­cen­ter­stage.com

“The Christ­mas Mu­sic of Mannheim Steam­roller:

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