|Dec. 3rd, 2013 10:01 am "Bettie Page Revealed" in Boca Raton Florida|
For local interest, don't miss **Betty Page Revealed,** a documentary featuring a little Boca Raton history south of Glades Road. We learn that Bettie Page attended "BibleTown" (now known as Boca Raton Community Church) and she shot her famous jungle photos a few blocks south in the Africa-USA park (now a housing development). Narrated by the titled subject, **Bettie Page Revealed** is a documentary of contrasts.
Throughout the movie, we see the glamour of Bettie Page, in various stages of dress and undress. Yet through the dead pan narration, we learn about Bettie's battles with abuse, censorship and her own mental illness. Not seen since her spicy photographs from the 1950s, Bettie narration is hauntingly off camera. While the woman embraces her sexual legacy, her deep voice southern drawl presents a warning to naïve young people everywhereLeave a comment
|Dec. 3rd, 2013 09:57 am "Le Grande Belleza" is "La Dolci Vita" a generation later|
On the smaller screen at the **Florida Atlantic University Living Room Theater,** one can have an intimate experience with Italy's **Le Grande Belleza** (The Great Beauty).** Director Paolo Sorrentino tells the tale of Jep (Toni Servillo), a 65 year old man who is tired living "La Dolce Vita" culture since the 1960s. Having written an influential novelette decades ago, Jep lives a shallow life in which he has lived off the reputation of his book. Jep undergoes a spiritual revelation when he meets a nun (who is a similar age) who has lived a life of chasity and poverty.Leave a comment
|Nov. 30th, 2013 03:22 pm "The Hunger Games Catching Fire" - Political Intrigue|
**The Hunger Games Catching Fire** was buoyed by additional screenings on the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery 5 story IMAX screen. In the continuation of Suzanne Collins Young Adult novel, the visual scope was not utilized until the actual **Hunger Games** begins. The extra viewing space provides both intimate details of personal survival, in contrast to the large scope of voyeuristic political intrigue.
After their unique victory in their first movie, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutchinson) fulfill their obligatory celebrity roles. Through their humane victory, Katniss & Peeta has sparked a quiet political evolution against the president (Donald Sutherland) and his oppressive policies. The president recruits Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) as his trust advisor to quell the rebellion.
The first half of **Hunger Games Catching Fire** drags a bit in the first half. However one must realize that these expository scenes are setting up a four movie arch of the **Hunger Games** story, When the **Games** begin, the character and story intensity picks up with personal violence and hidden character motives. Like **The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers,** **Hunger Games Catching Fire** is an entertaining middle film that promises a fine conclusion. Leave a comment
|Nov. 30th, 2013 09:46 am "Big House USA" would inspire a fine Quentin Taratino remake|
"Big House USA" opens with the leading man Jerry Barker (Ralph Meeker) taking advantage of a sick child. Bad things happen and Barker, a.k,a. the Iceman, ends up in jail with the likes of Broderick Crawford, Lon Chaney Jr. & Charles Bronson.Leave a comment
"Big House USA" works when this Rogue's Gallery is on camera. The interaction between Crawford, Meeker, Chaney & Bronson is authentic, dark with gallows humor. There are moments of sadism involving blow torches & betrayal, rare for 1955,
The fllm falters when conforming to 1955 conventions;
the confusing Elliot Ness imitation voice over,
the pat "crime does not pay" conclusion
and the over the top dramatic musical score.
|Nov. 26th, 2013 04:14 pm "Paddle to the Sea" - short subject simplicty|
It was at a Manor Plains Elementary School assembly that Cinema Dave first saw "Paddle by the Sea." It was a simple story about a boy who made a carving of an Indian in a canoe. The boy put "Paddle" on the top of the snow bank and let nature take it's course. The snow bank melted and Paddle sailed the seven seas. Actually Paddle sailed the 5 lakes that border Canada and the United States.Leave a comment
Though only seeing the movie once, the simplicity of the story stayed with Cinema Dave. He later learned that "Paddle to the Sea" was Caldecott Honor Book from 1941. The book is far more expansive and features maps with beautiful illustrations. Take the time to review both the short movie & the Caldecott Honor book, "Paddle-to-the-Sea" is worthy of your attention.
|Nov. 25th, 2013 05:05 pm "Escape Plan" is escapist |
One movie that no one mentioned to me was **Escape Plan,** the Sylvester Stallone - Arnold Schwarzenegger buddy movie. This team-up has been three decades in the making, though diffused by the Sylvester-Arnold **Expendables** epics of recent years. **Escape Plan** is pure Saturday matinee afternoon escapism.
Ray Breslin (Stallone) makes a living breaking out inescapable prisons and has written a book about the subject. After a successful payday,Breslin is kidnapped and sent to the Tomb, a prison of his own design. The villainous prison warren (Jim Cavielzel) is a student of Breslin and has an odious henchman (Vinnie Jones) do his evil bidding for him. Fortunately, Breslin befriends Emil Rottmayer (Arnold), a convict who rules the prison yard. The two team up to plan an audacious escape.
Despite a too-pat ending, **Escape Plan** works as an action thriller. To the credit of Summit Entertainment Marketing executives, the **Escape Plan** trailer did not reveal important plot twists and surprises. The two sixty year old action icons provide some moments of edge-of-your-seat moments with humor. While **Captain Phillips** is an Oscar contender, **Escape Plan** is a lot of fun. Happy Thanksgiving Day!Leave a comment
|Nov. 25th, 2013 05:04 pm "Captain Phillips" is the most talked about action motion picture since the summer of 2013|
In the midst of covering the ** 28th Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival** and the **30th Miami Book Fair International,** one of the most asked questions I heard was, "Have you seen **Captain Phillips?** **Captain Phillips** became my first mainstream movie post **FLiFF28.**
**Captain Phillips** has Oscar nomination written all over it. It is a big story about an international incident circa 2009. It features Oscar winner actor Tom Hanks acting his heart out as the title character, with lesser known actors adding believable menace to our everyday hero. So is **Captain Phillips** another manufactured Oscar contender like **Lee Daniel's The Butler?** Hardly. **Captain Phillips** captures the claustrophobic despair of being a hostage.
**Captain Phillips** skippers a cargo ship of charitable supplies off the African coast. When the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama is hijacked by Somali pirates, **Captain Phillips** must utilize his wits to save his crew. What was supposed to be a routine kidnapping for these thugs, becomes a global television affair involving the United States Navy. Perhaps if these pirates read **Davy Jones & the Heart of Darkness,** they would not have gotten involved in such a disastrous venture.
Best known for his work on the overrated Matt Damon/**Bourne**/amnesia spy movies, director Paul Greengrass was Oscar nominated for his intense work **United 93,** a movie about the 9/11 plane crash. Thanks to Greengrass, the intensity of **Captain Phillips** never lets up as a human story. When violence occurs, it is sudden, explosive and quick.Leave a comment
|Nov. 25th, 2013 05:02 pm Dan Brown, Anjelica Huston & Cinema Dave visit "30th Miami Book Fair International" |
With the 150th anniversary of "The Gettysburg Address" and the 50th anniversary of the last successful presidential assassination this week, both Abraham Lincoln & John Kennedy will be forever linked by the ironies of history. The legacies of Lincoln & Kennedy endured because both men held a common trait, the love of the written word. Tomorrow the celebration of the written word continues with the 30th Anniversary of the Miami Book Fair International Street Fair.
Dan Brown, author of **The DaVinci Code** and **Inferno** opened the festival Sunday evening with a lecture about how family life inspired him to become an international best selling author, his Dad was a math teacher and his mother was the church organist. Filled with self deprecating humor, Brown talked with wonder about working with Tom Hanks and Ron Howard on the set of **The Da Vinci Code,** which was actually the Louve Museum, home of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa."
With the production of such cinematic classics as **The Maltese Falcon,** **Treasure of the Sierra Madre,** **The Man who would be King** and **The Dead,** director John Huston carried a love of the written word. Beginning his career as a screenwriter, Huston's coterie of houseguests included authors like Carson McCullers, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. These houseguests proved to be an influence upon his daughter and Oscar winning actress, Anjelica Huston.
Anjelica Huston's body of work stands on it's own, **Prinzi's Honor (directed by her father)** earned her academy award, her appearences has added credibility to television shows like **Smash,** Laverne & Shirley,** **Lonesome Dove,** with movie roles as diverse as **The Big Year,** **The Royal Tennenbaums** and **The Grifters.** For young people, Anjelica is best known for her portrayal as Morticia Addams in **The Addams Family** and **Addams Family Values.**
Anjelica Huston will be discussing her memoir, "A Story Lately Told, Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York," on Friday evening. Besides acting and growing up with an eccentric father, Anjelica will discuss being a teen ager and living in London during the swinging 60s, her forays in modeling and her earlier attempts at acting.
The beauty of the **30th Miami Book Fair International** is the opportunity for unknown authors to be discovered. The Book Fair is covered the major news networks and C-Span spends the weekend in their book mobile. This is why Cinema Dave will be setting up his first booth tomorrow in Section D - Writer's Row. My two books, "The Adventures of Cinema Dave in the Florida Motion Picture World" and "Davy Jones & the Heart of Darkness." With each book sale, consumers will receive an artifact from "the Cave of Cinema Dave."
Besides being a great personal holiday present, books are great items to keep in hurricane emergency kits. As we have learned from Hurricane Wilma, one can always light a candle and read a book.Leave a comment
|Nov. 25th, 2013 05:00 pm FLiFF28 wraps, awards given, South Florida shines & grieves |
On the surface, **The 28th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLiFF28)** was a success. Honorees Lea Thompson, John Shea, Finola Hughes and Tab Hunter were class acts; they showed up on time and they were gracious with their fans. Ed Asner and Pauley Cohen revealed that their stars power has not faded. When Anna Paquin was forced to cancel, her husband (and **True Blood** costar) Stephen Moyer substituted and he was fan friendly.
With screenings of **Life is Beautiful,** **Black Swan** and **The Artist,** **FLiFF** has a history of presenting future Oscar winners. This year **FLiFF** screened inspirational biography **One Chance.** Bruce Dern's performance was honored for his work on **Nebraska,** while Meryl Streep will likely continue her Oscar streak for her performance in **August Osage County.**
The evening with Tab Hunter was particularly memorable. Brooklyn College Film Professor Foster Hirsch conducted an on stage interview with Hunter that covered wide and varied career. In the business since the age of 19, Hunter has reinvented himself for many generations. He was teen idol with a hit record that rivaled Elvis Presley, he was a costar to iconic leading men like Gary Cooper and John Wayne. Since coming out of the closet, Hunter has earned a new fan base with his autobiography, **Tab Hunter Confidential.** As he exited the Cinema Paradiso spotlight, Tab Hunter received a standing ovation from the Fort Lauderdale audience.
**FLiFF28** acknowledged South Florida history. **They Came from the Swamp** was a documentary about William Grefe movies produced from 60s to the 80s. With titles like **Death Curse of Tartu,** **Sting of Death** and **Mako Jaws of Death,** Grefe directed these independent motion pictures on a shoestring budget with a loyal crew. Grefe's knowledge of South Florida swamps lead to consultant work on 007 James Bond productions, most notably Sir Roger Moore's first outing, **Live and Let Die.**
**The Last Hit** was named Best Florida Feature. Written by Lou Pappas (who is also the leading man), **The Last Hit** is a modern gangster/noir about a hit man with a conscience. Filmed in our neighborhood, **The Last Hit** features **FLiFF** photographer Irwin Levenstein as an ornery gangster.
The final screening of **Krissy Belle** was held in the new Cinema Paradiso - Hollywood. This Art House Theater is so new - the paint is still drying on the wall. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, Cinema Paradiso - Hollywood is a great cultural addition to South Florida and is worth an excursion to the south county.
Behind the scenes, **FLiFF 28** suffered. One week before the gala, office manager Jane Moguillansky passed away. A lovable presence at Cinema Paradiso, Jane Moguillansky had a keen eye for detail. Her loss reverberated thoughout **FLiFF28.** Leave a comment
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