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Sep. 21st, 2017 10:46 am "mother!" potificates

The Querulous Nights of Athena Minerva is the most disturbing book that I have written; it is also my least profitable. Dark themes are a tough sell; but, if one balances the fine line between horror with humor and humanity, a story can be profitable as It and Annabelle Creation can attest. Mother! was released last weekend and was a box office disappointment.

With award winning credits like The Wrestler and Black Swan, writer/director Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! was highly praised by urban elitist critics on RottenTomatoes.com. Yet, the same site also revealed a far lower audience score. When old time New York film critic Rex Reed named Mother! the worst film of the year — perhaps the century, ratings from the urban elitist critics dropped.

Part of the attraction of Mother! are the deep Biblical themes that Aronofsky (who also did the much-panned Noah) claims he attempted, with an emphasis upon the Book of Genesis. The film begins in flames and transposes into a jeweled crystal that Javier Bardem places on the mantel. Once set, the scenery expands to reveal Jennifer Lawrence sleeping on the bed. Lawrence (revealed to be the title character) goes looking for “Him” (Bardem’s character name).

After the first jump scare, Aronofsky keeps the focus on Jennifer Lawrence’s face. Sometimes Aronofsky pulls the camera lens back to reveal that Lawrence does construction inside the house, while barefoot. A Man (Ed Harris) knocks on the door and says he is Bardem’s No. 1 fan and that he needs a place to sleep. After a night of drinking, it is revealed that the “Man” is missing a rib. The next day, a “Woman” (Michelle Pfiefer) arrives and reconnects with the “Man.” Mother is not amused.

During these expository scenes, Aronofsky directs with minimalist restraint. The cinematography invokes the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. Yet, as more characters enter the house (Mother never steps off the porch), the set becomes claustrophobic and invokes the dark visions of Francisco Goya and Caravaggio.

As the old saying goes, “Half of Art is knowing where to stop.” Such is the case for this film, which becomes as ponderous as a house waiting for electricity.

The story lacks coherence and one tires of Jennifer Lawrence’s cries for help, for she is not a real person but merely a dramatic symbol of Aronofsky’s fevered mind. Like Stanley Kubrick’s overrated The Shining, Mother! may be the darling of the urban elitist critic circle in a few decades. For the time being, there are better movies on the big screen besides this one.

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Sep. 10th, 2017 09:18 pm

When the new poster was unveiled at Steve Savor's Villa di Palma mansion off Las Olas on Wednesday, August 30th, there is a feeling that this year's **Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival** will be better than the previous year.

The festival will begin a week earlier this week with events being held at both **Savor Cinema** and **Cinema Paradiso Hollywood** beginning Friday, October 27th. The week will build towards the official opening night film on Friday, November 3rd - **Dog Years,** featuring Todd Vittum, Chevy Chase, Ariel Winter and Burt Reynolds. An Alumnus of Florida State University, it feels appropriate that Reynolds will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the **Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.**

Earlier on the same day, the Seminole Hard Rock will also host a special screening of **Rumble: Indians who Rocked the World.** This documentary focuses on Native American's contributions to American Pop Music and features music icons like Charlie Patton, Jimi Hendrix and Robbie Robertson. Given the experience of seeing **Jaco** at the Seminole Hard Rock 2 years ago, **Rumble: Indians who Rocked the World** is an experience NOT to be missed in Broward County's premier stadium.

Still designated as the World's Longest Film Festival according to the Guinness Book of World Records, **FLiFF 2017** concludes Sunday, November 19th. Karen Allen returns to South Florida to debut **A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.** This short subject marks Allen's directorial debut of Author Carson McCuller's poetic short story.

A veteran of 29 **FLiFFs,** President and CEO Gregory Von Hausch still has surprises up his sleeve, especially regarding the Centerpiece Film near Veteran's Day. For Tickets and the latest information, call (954) 525 - FILM.

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Apr. 16th, 2017 11:58 pm Happy Easter

From Death to Life, Jesus Christ the ultimate problem solver.

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Apr. 16th, 2017 11:30 pm The Holy Week of 2017 is a time for reflection.

Wars & rumors of wars were the headlines of 2017, yet this Lenten Season featured some good moments for Cinema Dave

Hosting the last of the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns at the SilverSpot in Coconut Creek-

Hanging out with Frank DellaPenna, the Spirit of the Bells who is "Cast in Bronze!"

...or haning out with Linnea Quigley & friends at the Renaissance Festival

...and yet if there is a pizza to be eaten, then Cinema Dave will find it!

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Apr. 16th, 2017 11:26 pm Lent Day 40 Cinema Dave meets Lil' Rev


Lil Rev hosted a ukulele seminar at the Penny Lane Emporium in Fort Lauderdale, with an emphasis on teaching students some "LeadBelly" basics.

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Apr. 16th, 2017 11:26 pm Lent 39 Wags & Tales featuring Bentley !

The contract has been signed and Bently, with his caretaker Pam, have agreed to host WAGS & TALES @ Deerfield Beach Percy White Library.

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Apr. 16th, 2017 11:24 pm Lent Day 38 Simon reunites with his first crush


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Apr. 16th, 2017 11:23 pm Lent Day 37 The Underated "Gifted"

Gifted is an underrated family movie that is performing poorly at the box office. Captain America’s Chris Evans portrays Frank Adler, an unmarried uncle raising his intellectually gifted niece, Mary (McKenna Grace). Set in a small town in Pinellas County (but filmed in Georgia…grrrrrr), Frank enrolls Mary into public school.

On the first day of school, Mary outwits her teacher, Miss Bonnie Stevenson (Jenny Slate), who brings the girl to the principal’s office. After some testing, it is revealed that Mary is a mathematical genius akin to the minds of Einstein, Newton and Pythagoras. While school administrators would like to send Mary to the school for gifted youngsters, Frank has his reasons why he wants his niece to go to public school.

While the conflicts are realistic, Gifted is a sweet and charming movie. Both Evans and Grace have a real chemistry. Their scenes together are both heartbreaking and humorous. Having Oscar winner Octavia Spencer around adds some emotional gravitas. For two hours, I felt pure movie escapism.

The Dinner is a movie about rich people with problems. In contrast, presents everyday people who try to solve problems.

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Apr. 16th, 2017 11:23 pm Lent Day 36 "The Dinner" causes indigestion

Starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Steve Coogan, this is a motion picture with an international pedigree. Based on the novel of the same name by Dutch author Herman Koch, The Dinner has been filmed in Dutch and Italian studios. This American adaptation features references to Obamacare and mental illness.

An annoyed Paul Lohman (Coogan) and his dutiful wife Claire (Linney) await his sister-in-law Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his brother Stan (Gere), an elected politician who plans to become governor. The plan is to eat at a really ritzy five star restaurant and eat a five course meal. Cell phones keep interrupting the dining experience as Paul and Stan’s sibling rivalry festers.

As the film opens, one expects to see another Coogan comedy about food. When Gere arrives, one expects another domestic drama like Arbitrage or Unfaithful. There is a mystery that is exposed midway through the movie, but the reddish cinematography, mixed with unremarkable dialogue, distracts from a realistic dramatic experience. As the film ends, one feels as if the producers ran out of money to create a satisfying conclusion. The Dinner is simply a bizarre flick.

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Apr. 16th, 2017 11:22 pm Lent Day 35 The Lost City of Z

The recent release of Kong: Skull Island reactivated my love of all stories related to jungle adventure. With Adventurers in Charity IV [in Disney World] not set until the end of September, the only local avenue left for this Adventurer will be a pilgrimage to Mai Kai restaurant this summer and watching Indiana Jones movies. Released nearly 20 years ago, local author Rob MacGregor wrote four Indiana Jones novels about the intrepid archeologist. The third book, Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils was set in South America and was inspired by British Explorer, Percy Fawcett, who is the focus of a new movie that opens on the big screen tomorrow, The Lost City of Z.

At the turn of the 20th Century, Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), having served in the British Military, is recruited by the Royal Geographical Society for his skills in cartography. With his sidekick Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) and a team of explorers, the expedition travels through the Amazon River to find the source. Along the way, the expedition encounters piranhas, hostile natives and opera. When they find the source of the river, Fawcett finds archeological artifacts of a lost civilization.

Upon their return to London to report to the Royal Geographical Society, Fawcett and his explorers are met with skepticism. After a contentious assembly, the society finances a return expedition with explorers who served under Sir Ernest Shackleton’s antarctic expedition. When the frost of the British Reserve melts under the jungle heat, madness ensues.

The Lost City of Z is one story from the turn of the century age of exploration, in which lost worlds were being found, documented and mapped. The timeline covers the two decades in the early 20th Century and one sees how technology is advanced by the influence of a world war. Told in approximately two hours, this epic story about the adventures of this explorer does not feel rushed.

This film is also a family drama and Fawcett’s domestic life is handled with equal importance. During her husband’s adventures, Nina Fawcett (Sienna Miller) stayed in London and raised three children. It is obvious that this husband and wife love each other, despite their squabbles between his time-consuming adventures. These domestic scenes retain the same emotional resonance as rugged scenes of World War I and the jungle culture.

As Fawcett, Hunnam cements his acting credentials as a box office leading man, especially given his recent work on Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak. Best known from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and as a leading man in the Twilight vampire movies, Pattinson provides a dignified, quiet performance as Fawcett’s sidekick. While retaining a stiff upper lip and retaining a heart of gold, Miller symbolizes the domestic expectations of a woman of the British Empire.

The casting of actors from other action/adventure genres, such as Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars), Angus Macfadyen (Braveheart) and Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) already gives The Lost City of Z a critical footnote in cinema. However, the film stands on its own as a quiet adventure film, minus expensive computer-enhanced special effects.

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