March 24th, 2005

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Can the "Mean Girls" "Kill Bill" even if they are only "!3 going 30?"

Lindsay Lohan is the current teen superstar for the class of 2004, while Jennifer Garner is getting the scripts that Sandra Bullock used to receive. Twenty years ago Daryl Hannah and Uma Thurman were the fresh faces of the 1980’s. These four actresses have three movie releases that have collectively grossed over 100 million dollars at the box office of a weekend in 2004.

Having been home schooled in Africa all of her life, Cady (Lohan) enters the jungles of secondary education in Chicago. Cady learns that high school has a similar food chain as the wild kingdom: the nerds help the jocks with their homework assignments, the outcasts make fun of the "in-crowd" and school teachers have their own traumas. Cady is seen as a math protégé to the Math Teacher (Tina Fey, who also wrote the screen play) who would like her to join Mathletes, a math club. Cady is warned by her outcast friends about the social suicide this would cause, but allow Cady to spy on the Plastics. The Plastics are a clique of 3 girls who rule the social fabric of the school.

Unlike the open warfare of the jungle, Cady learns about the sneaky back stabbing ways of high school girls. Feelings are hurt and Cady eventually learns a lesson about lying to herself. Hmm...didn't Lohan's character learn that lesson in her last movie, "Confessions of a Teenaged Drama Queen?"
"Means Girls" is funny at times, but suffers from superficiality. There are incest jokes that seem to be a staple in teen comedy nowadays. For a silly plot twist, a bus hits a character. This comedic action appears insensitive if you happened to have witnessed such an event at Deerfield Beach Middle School in 1975. Of course there is the public confession to conclude prom night and everybody lives happier ever after, despite their meanness.

Chronic meanness is survival for the 40 year old women of Quentin Taratino's 4 and 1/2 hour epic, "Kill Bill." "Kill Bill Volume 2" picks up where "Kill Bill Volume 1" left off. Bill (David Carradine) ambushes a Bride (Thurman) at her wedding. The Bride seeks revenge with her specially crafted Honso sword and the body count grows. On her road to retribution, The Bride engages in ponderous dialogue about trivial topics with her enemies.

With manic energy, artistic shot composition multiple references to pop culture, Taratino's cinematic traits are evident and he is still the mainstream critic's darling. The writer/director makes violent movies that are considered art. The gargantuan battle between Daryl Hannah and Uma Thurman ends on a sadistically clever note. Hannah's reaction echoes her death scene from 1982's "Blade Runner." Yet, did the tale of "Kill Bill" need to stretch out to two movies? Sadly being cool seems to be more important than being long winded.

While being regularly displayed on fashion magazine covers, Jennifer Garner tapped into her inner goofiness in "13 going on 30." There is not a pratfall that she doesn't take or an outdated dance move she won't attempt. Garner portrays the 30 year old version of a frustrated 13-year-old girl. The 13 year old girl wishes she were older and cool. The girl opens her eyes and discovers that she is a fashion mogul at her favorite magazine. While retaining her inner adolescent, Garner learns that her childish dreams are detracting from her enjoyment of reality.

"13 Going on 30" starts off strong and then fades, much like Mel Gibson's "What Women Want." After some early belly laughs, the film loses momentum like "Peggy Sue Got Married." The film is nonetheless redeemed by the performances of Garner and Andy (The Lord of the Rings"" Gollum) Serkis as a Magazine Editor suffering from hypertension.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Hey NY & LA - Check out the first run of "Nowhere Man!"

First Run Features
Debbie Rochon is an independent movie performer in constant demand, especially in the Horror Genre. We became e-mail buddies on the set of "Corpses are Forever" during a sweltering September 2002.

During a tense scene, Felissa Rose accidently hit Debbie. When the take was over, Felissa apologized to Debbie. Debbie replied,
"Oh, don't worry. I was raped last week."

I confirmed that Debbie's rape was fictional. In fact, Debbie's character was raped during the filming of "Nowhere Man."

Here is more information about "Nowhere Man."
If you go to the first run, let me know what you think of the film!

NOWHERE MAN
Written and directed by Tim McCann
First Run, opens March 25, Quad
Located at 34 West 13th Street, between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
(Avenue of the Americas).
Check the web site http://www.Nowheremanthemovie.com for LA addresses.

Just how bad can things get? Conrad has found a pornographic video featuring his fiancé. Shocked, he calls the wedding off. But now, after an emotionally brutal week, an abused Jennifer has cut off Conrad's penis - and taken it with her for ransom! A doctor has advised Conrad that if found immediately, there is some hope for re-attachment. But where is Jennifer hiding? Vengeful and furious, Conrad blunders gun first into the underworld of her “blue-film” past, to find her – and his missing member!

Starring MICHAEL RODRICK ( Another World, Desolation Angels ), renowned cult actress DEBBIE ROCHON (‘Scream Queen of the Decade'), real life porn legend FRANK OLIVIER (as Daddy Mac), and directed by award winning filmmaker TIM MCCANN ( Revolution #9 , Desolation Angels ), NOWHERE MAN probes and cauterizes the preposterousness of love and revenge. It is both a nasty little film noir and a black humored treatise on the ever shifting balance of power in human relationships.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

October 2000 Review of "Pay it Forward" - A Modern Christian Parable?

Elizabeth Hurley & Adam Sandler were the
hottest stars of 2000 AD to portray devils in Hollywood big
budgeted marketing affairs. While unheralded, there
is a subtle Christian message seeping through two
movies of the last month. "Remember the Titans"
presented a glorious message about redemption, "Pay
it Forward" presents redemption through suffering.

Based on the novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde, "Pay it
Forward" begins when a 7th Grade Social Studies
Teacher (Kevin Spacey) assigns an extra credit
assignment;

"Think of an idea for world change and put it into
action."

Student Trevor McKiney (Haley Joel Osment) creates a
Multi Level Marketing action plan incorporating random
acts of favors. If you do a good deed for 3 people,
ask the recipient to pay it forward to 3 more people,
so that 9 people will benefit. If those 9 people pay
it forward to 3 more people then 27 people will
benefit...etc...etc...

While his first 3 favors seemed doomed to failure,
Trevor's plan becomes a folkloric sensation. A
reporter in California (Jay Mohr) becomes an
unexpected heir and seeks to find the source of the
"Pay it Forward" movement. Trevor's homework brings
him into conflict with his Mom (Helen Hunt.) She is a
single mother who works two jobs in Las Vegas and has
problems with alcoholism and abusive relationships.

There are some funny and tender moments as the "Pay it
Forward" movement crosses from the homeless shelters
to the executive board room. Yet there is an
intrusive cynicism that intrudes upon any potential
corny romanticism that makes this move tough to watch.

Haley Joel Osment proves that his Oscar nomination for
"The Sixth Sense" was no fluke. He communicates
another pained individual, perhaps Christ-like, yet
retains the hormonal imbalance of being 12 years old.

Kevin Spacey gets to sink his teeth into the role of a
battle scarred 7th Grade Teacher who has accepted life
as routine. Spacey is far more affecting in this
movie than he was for award winning performance in
"American Beauty." While he is mostly erudite with
his interpersonal communication, his dime store
vocabulary fails him when he is emotional cornered.

In her second movie in two weeks, Helen Hunt gives
another consistent performance that echoes her award
winning role in "As Good as it Gets." She is at her
best revealing her character's inner thoughts in
close-up to the audience.

Angie Dickenson plays an important character role as a
homeless alcoholic. The glamor queen of the old "Bob
Hope Television Specials" should be given the Cecil B.
Demille Award for playing such a dirty role of
defeated dreams. Jim Carvizel is affecting as a junkie
and the actor starting to make a name for himself.

Be forewarned, this is a sad movie that can be
depressing upon afterthought. It has more to do with
Bette Davis' dying in "Dark Victory" than it does with
Frank Capra's "Meet John Doe." For the year 2000,
"Pay it Forward" is as good as it gets when "American
Beauty" meets "The Sixth Sense."
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

2000 Review: Music Rules "O Brother Where Art Thou?"

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is a movie that is about
other things. The title is a reference from a 1930's
Depression era Preston Sturges classic, "Sullivan's
Travels." Joel McCrea portrayed a movie producer who
wants to make depressing artsy smartsy movies, only to
learn that what everybody really needs is a good
laugh. However, as this new movie reveals, humor is in the
eye of the beholder.

This new movie opens when 3 escaped convicts break out
of jail to find a buried treasure in the deep South.
Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) is a slow witted yokel who
undergoes a religious conversion. With slightly more
brain cells, Pete (John Turturro) tags along only to
be seduced by Sirens doing their laundry. Ulysses
Evert McGill (George Clooney) is the leader of this
bunch because he appears to have the vocabulary of a
9th Grader. Along the way, the convicts are pursued
by a devilish law enforcer who likes to burn down
barns.

Joel and Ethan Coen have written their screenplay
using both James Joyce and Homer's Odyssey as the
framing narrative. Unfortunately, "O Brother Where Art
Thou?" fails to grasp the literary symbolism it seeks.
This film is far more successful when it refers to
modern day pop culture sensibilities. The 3 convicts
are obviously patterned after the 3 Stooges and the
Klu Klux Klan rally is made to look like the
footsoldiers for the Wicked Witch of the West. Yet,
it's a curiosity that this disjointed film has been
Oscar nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

George Clooney won the Golden Globe for his
performance in this film. Being a native Kentuckian,
Clooney masters the accent and seems to be having the
time of his life. Charles Durning portrays an incumbent
politician who may be facing an electoral defeat.
Durning was nominated for Best Supporting actor 18
years ago for dancing a little political two step in
"The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." The joy of
seeing this movie is watching this tubby D-Day Veteran
reprise his jig.

Another joy of seeing this movie is to listen to the
Soggy Bottom Boys sing "Man of Lonesome Sorrow." One
escapade has our three heroes record the song.
Unbeknowst to them, the record becomes a hit and the 3
convicts become the depression era's version of
N'Sync.

While it's hard to dislike the serpia tone good
intentions of the film's creators, "Oh Brother, Where
Art Thou?" suffers from a scattered tone. While the
Coen Brothers may have fallen off their high literary
mound, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" can at least
satisfy the "Smokey and the Bandit" crowd.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

2000 Review: "Almost Famous" A Coming-of-Age Moral about 70's ROCK

One odd fact about being famous, more people know about you than you know about them. While it's great to be appreciated, sometimes it is more fun to be "Almost Famous." Writer/Director Cameron Crowe has created a fun and unpretentious movie that looks at the different perceptions of fame and an individual's code of honor.

Young Will comes from a peculiar household in San Diego, circa 1969. His widowed academic-minded mother (Frances McDormand) is in conflict with her rebellious daughter, who decides to run away from home. Four years later Will (Patrick Fugit) is now a 15 year old High School Senior awaiting graduation. Will has developed a passion for the ultra cool world of Rock.

Through his writing in the high school and underground newspapers, Will is mentored by Lester (Philip Seymour Hoffman.) Will brokers a deal with "Rolling Stone" magazine to write an article about a soon-to-be-famous band, Stillwater. The 15 year old prodigy travels across the country and utilizes his moral compass to navigate through the world of sex, drugs and rock & roll. Along the way, Will makes friends with groupie nymph Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) and band member Russell
Hammond (Billy Crudup.)

"Almost Famous" is a good motion picture that works on many levels. On one hand this is a simple rock & road
flick. Upon closer look this motion picture provides a thoughtful discussion on the nature of keeping alive
the fantasy of the Rock culture, despite the potential for self destruction.

Crowe does a masterful job not boring the audience with academic discussion. Instead he lets actions speak louder than dialog. One climatic scene involving drug abuse is cross edited with Will's high school graduation. Crowe also has a handle on the artifacts of the past, such as the use of an Eastern Airlines and the electronic mojo machine for document
transference over telephone lines.

The ensemble of actors are excellent and each actor is given the cinematography to shine. Upon hearing distressing news, Kate Hudson has a close-up where she expresses a range of emotions from shock, pain, vulnerability and then quiet self assurance. Cruddup as Russell has the most charismatic role in the film and brings forth the dual nature of the character,
from a nice guy artist to his last scene where he resembles Charles Manson. Frances McDormand is likely to be nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her small but memorable role. Even when she is not in the scene, her maternal presence reverberates through every scene. It is Fugit's performance that holds this picture together, he is a naive and
likable outsider.

The "Almost Famous" marketing campaign is being targeted for the age group that best remembers the early 1970's. Nancy Wilson of "Heart" (and Crowe's wife) provides a musical score that evokes 1973 with Musical Artists Elton John and Led Zepplin. Hopefully the audience will expand for this unique and entertaining motion picture. "Almost Famous" delivers
a realistic fable in a warmhearted and humorous way.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Spend 8 days a week at the Palm Beach Film Festival !

PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
UNVEILS DIVERSE FILM LINE-UP FOR
10th ANNIVERSARY
April 14-21, 2005

The Palm Beach International Film Festival announced today the film line-up for the 10th annual festival.

Over a 150 diverse films will screen at this year’s event, including
features, documentaries and shorts. The eight-day Fest will introduce
11 world premieres, 6 U.S. premieres and 43 Florida premieres,
including 30 international films.

Celebrities scheduled to appear to promote their films:
Peter Boyle starring in "Young Frankenstein,"
Patricia Heaton who produced "The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania,"
Al Sapienza (The Sopranos) starring in "Back In The Day and The Dance,"
Leila Arcieri starring in "A Perfect Fit"
and
Clint Howard and Linda Blair
starring in "Hitter’s Anonymous,"
filmed on location in Palm Beach County.

Highlighting this year’s festival is the
10th Anniversary Birthday Bash
on Sunday April 17 at 6 PM
at the Mizner Park Amphitheatre in Boca Raton.
The bash will begin with a “Tribute to the Movies” concert by
the Flamingo Freedom Band, followed the birthday cake for all!
The main event will be a special presentation of a true classic,
Mel Brooks' masterpiece horror comic spoof
“Young Frankenstein”
featuring an appearance by the monster himself,
“Everybody Loves Raymond’s”
Peter Boyle!

The 10th annual Palm Beach International Film Festival will be held
April 14-21 at various venues throughout Palm Beach County. PBIFF is a
not for profit 501(3)(c) charity dedicated to improving educational
programs in Palm Beach County high schools, community colleges and
universities. Proceeds raised each year go to Palm Beach County
schools to provide new technologies for optimal learning in the forms
of grants and scholarships. For more information, visit
http://www.pbifilmfest.org or call 561.362.0003.
Please tell them that CinemaDave sent you!!!
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

2004: Gospel rules over rap in "The Ladykillers,"

Based on a 1950's British comedy of the same name, the previews for "The Ladykillers" were promising. The British original movie featured a cast headed by Sir Alec Guiness, Herbert Lom and a young Peter Sellers. The spirit of mirth seemed to have transfered to the ensemble cast headlined by Tom Hanks. With the location change from Britain to Southern American, box office success seemed assured. Alas the financial results have been another disappointment for the Walt Disney corporation.

In a sleepy small town near the Mississippi River, Mrs. Munson (Irma Hall) complains to the local sheriff (George Wallace) about the corrupting influence of rap music. Upon returning to her house, Mrs.Munson encounters the Professor (Tom Hanks), a verbose man in love with his own voice. The Professor seeks to rent a room and utilize her root cellar for music rehearsal. Actually the music rehearsal is a front for criminal activity in the theft of gambling money.

Not since "Odds Against Tomorrow" has there been a team of criminals that are so mismatched. Along with a martial arts expert from Vietnam and a brain damaged football player, Marlon Wayans portrays punk custodian who is the team's "inside man." J.K. Simmons is an explosive specialists who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome. Simmons and Wayans engage in a personality clash involving youth, age and the failed politics from the 1960's. Somehow, this rag tag rogue of villainy manages to perform the perfect crime, only to breakdown by human nature.

The main problem with "The Ladykillers" is that it is too long for it's own good. A potential belly laugh occurs every 15 minutes, which is few and far between. One gets the feeling that the Coen Brothers only had a rough outline of a script and wanted their actors to fill in the gaps. There are times in which Tom Hanks rambles too long. The rivalry between Simmons and Wayans is more spiteful than funny. In fact Wayans relies on a string of obscenities that becomes tired. The small payoff is when Irma Hall smites Wayans with her purse that is the wish fulfillment of many decent folk.

With "The Ladykillers" the Coen Brothers are attempting to recreate the formula from their previous movie, "O Brother Where Art Thou?" Instead of bluegrass music and a thematic homage to "Homer's Odyssey," the new movie utilizes Gospel music with literary aspirations to Edgar Allan Poe. After seeing both Coen Brothers movies, one has a feeling that both movies could have been better.