FLICKS: Museo & Love, Gilda

Posted on 20 September 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Museo and Love, Gilda open this weekend. While both are diverse movies, both movies present pure drama with a touch of comedy, a dose of thrills and maybe a few tears.

A hit at the Berlin Film Festival, Museo is a film with international acclaim set in Mexico. It is the holiday season and Juan Nunez (Gael Garcia Bernal) is bored with simmering anger. Observing the lax security at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, Juan recruits his friend Benjamin (Leonardo Ortizgris) to rob the museum on Christmas Eve.

With relative ease, Juan and Benjamin steal over 140 treasures and artifacts. The heist becomes an international sensation in 1985, for many of the stolen objects are priceless artifacts from the Mayan culture. Due to the notoriety of the crime, the young criminals have a hard time trying to fence the objects for payment.

Unlike the film noir conventions of The Asphalt Jungle or Heist, Museo presents a travel log of adventure. The stolen artifacts are presented as shimmering treasures that are misused by the crooks. One scene of debauchery features Juan drinking alcohol from a cup that may have been used by Montezuma. Montezuma’s revenge is not presented, but Museo reaches a thought-provoking and satisfying climax.

RE: Love, Gilda — It was post Halloween in 1975 and Channel 12 WPEC presented too many commercial interruptions of Son of Frankenstein on Creature Feature. Frustrated, I switched the dial and tried this new show, Saturday Night Live. Candice Bergen was the guest star, with a new cast of unknowns (known as The Not Ready for Prime Time Players). Among the unknowns, there was Gilda Radner, who appeared both vulnerable and tough enough to take a funny pratfall.

Gilda Radner died a month short of her 43rd birthday from Ovarian Cancer and young people today may just know her because a sick relative may visit Gilda’s Club for comfort. However, this new documentary, Love Gilda, presents videos of what made this comedian so successful, respected and loved.

Through home movies, we see a chubby girl from a well-to-do Jewish family in Detroit. Using comedy as a defense for her insecurities, Gilda becomes the class clown and excels in performing. Moving to Canada, Gilda finds work on the musical Godspell (despite her initial inability to sing) and is noticed by the Second City and National Lampoon comedy troupes. Using her personal diary as a narrative thread, Love Gilda is not just a celebration of her life. Through laughter, Love Gilda shows how one can achieve victory over his or her own mortality.

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FLICKS: The lessons of Burt Reynolds

Posted on 13 September 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


The first Burt Reynolds movie that I saw on the big screen was with my Cousin Leisia in Pensacola, Florida and the movie was White Lightening, co-starring Ned Beatty and Diane Ladd with the screen debut of her daughter, Laura Dern. It was an entertaining Country Western car chase movie that delighted this then 10-year-old boy. White Lightening marked the first of genre films that Burt Reynolds became known for.

During the 1970s, Burt proved to be an entertaining guest on television talk shows. He was a humorous storyteller and, when he was on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, a food fight would ensue, especially if Dom DeLuise was around. This decade also featured Burt’s best movies, Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit.

When I was attending Florida State University, there were rumors of Burt Reynolds sightings at all the major football games in Doak Campbell Stadium. This was a boom period for the motion picture industry and Burt Reynolds did much to promote local business. Besides producing, directing and starring in multiple locations filmed in Florida, Burt was in B.L. Stryker, a detective series that was set in Palm Beach County and lasted two seasons on ABC Broadcast television. The show employed many local actors and crew.

Despite his Emmy Award-winning success on the CBS Sitcom Evening Shade, much of the early 1990s were troubled times for Mr. Reynolds. Yet, Burt persevered through his craft and earned a Best Supporting Oscar nomination for his work on Boogie Nights, a film he detested. Burt seemed more comforted by his weekly commentary, “Great Moments in Seminole Football” that aired on local television. Burt authored many books, including Seminole Seasons: Florida State’s Rise to the Nation Title.

After open heart surgery in 2010, Burt made his first public appearance at the 15th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival. This was the first time that I got to meet him. He was reticent to talk to reporters, but I was granted a question. Standing next to Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side), Burt looked frail. However, when it was time for him to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award, the movie star genes clicked in and Burt gave a fantastic speech about Quinton Aaron, Quinton Tarantino and his adopted son, Quinton. As he talked about his Palm Beach roots, Burt seemed reborn that fine April evening.

Five years later, Burt Reynolds attended Spooky Empire, [a horror convention in Orlando.] Burt and his entourage really seemed to enjoy interacting with his variety of fans: the Deliverance minions, the Smokey and the Bandit crew or old cowboys who remembered his Gunsmoke days. At this convention, I was able to confirm a Hollywood legend — that a studio executive fired both Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood on the same day.

The 2017 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival was the last time I saw Burt in person. It was a fantastic evening at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, with Burt arriving in a modified “Trans Am Golf Cart” and concluding with an emotional summary of his life, career and craft, after a screening of the film he starred in, Dog Years (The title has changed to The Last Movie Star). Clips of Reynolds talking after the screening can be found on my “Cinema Dave” YouTube Channel. However, there is a story that bears repeating here — Burt’s conversation with Last Movie Star co-star Ariel Winter (from the television show Modern Family). Apparently, Miss Winter had a bit of a potty mouth and it bothered Mr. Reynolds. The old actor pulled the young actress aside and asked, “Do you like Sally Field?”

Ariel Winter responded in the affirmative and Burt Reynolds continued, “Well, Sally Field don’t talk like you. She wouldn’t talk like you. You would have to hit her with a board to make her say some of the words you say. And I don’t talk like that, I don’t think. You can’t do that anymore and I am not going to let you. You gotta stop it, you are a pretty little thing and you are talented and I don’t want you to do that no more. You either got to stop it or quit acting!”

Ariel Winter said she would stop using vulgar language and she did not use that type of language in front of Burt Reynolds again.

Despite his fame or scandal, most people who met Burt Reynolds enjoyed his candor and Southern Manners. Perhaps, that is the best lesson movie star and teacher Burt Reynolds could teach us and his peers.

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FLICKS: MODS, FLIFF or sequels, everything old is new again

Posted on 05 September 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


With Labor Day being the unofficial conclusion of summer, Hollywood will attempt to release movies for Academy Award consideration and Halloween inspired movies. In fact, one of the most anticipated movies of this season will be Jamie Lee Curtis’ return to the Halloween, a direct sequel to the original Halloween movie released 40 years ago.

The Nun will have a one-week engagement at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) IMAX theatre this weekend [and will also be shown in regular theaters]. The Nun is part of an original horror movie franchise created by James Wan that includes titles like The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 movies and the two Annabelle movies. Like the Marvel Comic universe, each one of these thrillers is a standalone story of a contemporary world around us. After making a memorable, but brief appearance in The Conjuring 2, The Nun features an original story about a nun battling suicidal tendencies.

After The Nun, The Predator, The House with a Clock in its Walls and Venom will take over IMAX’s five-story screen. The now controversial (for not showing American astronauts planting the flag on the moon) First Man opens on Oct. 11 for a two-week stay. Based on the eight years in the life of Neil Armstrong leading up to the moon landing in 1969, First Man has received standing ovations at the Venice Film Festival.

Locally, The Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) will dominate November. The opening film and party will begin Friday, Nov. 2 at the remodeled Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Beyond the regular screenings at the Savor Cinema in Ft. Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso Hollywood, there will be special screenings and party related themes at a variety of other venues. The Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort will feature a screening of Where the Boys Are. The wrap party on Nov. 18 will feature a fairway screening of Caddyshack at the Ft. Lauderdale Country Club.

Saturday, Nov. 17 will be an interesting day at Bailey Hall. In honor of the 20th anniversary of Pleasantville, starring Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon and Don Knotts in his final film, the afternoon screening of the film will feature a tribute to writer/director Gary Ross, who also directed Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games and Ocean’s 8.

Twelve years ago, FLIFF premiered Sharkwater, a documentary that was sympathetic to the ocean’s mightiest predator, the shark. Sharkwater Extinction is a follow-up documentary that will examine the roll of the predator and its role in the balance of nature. Has there been progress? The answers can be seen at a party/screening on Nov. 17 at Bailey Hall.

As the film industry wraps up 2018, it will not feature a Star Wars or a Marvel Comics universe movie. There will be a prequel to the Harry Potter series with a sequel to Fantastic Beasts, written by JK Rowling. Co-written by Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa returns to the big screen in Creed II, which stars Michael Jordan in a unique sequel that reaches back to a Rocky sequel from 1985. As lyricist Peter Allen once sang, “Everything old is new again.”

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FLICKS: Even with no nudity, Juliet, Naked is a fun romantic comedy

Posted on 29 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


First premiering at the Sundance Film Festival last winter, Juliet, Naked is a new romantic comedy that opens this Labor Day weekend at select theaters. For the 50 Shades of Grey fans, Juliet,Naked will be a disappointment. There is no nudity nor acrobatic sex scenes, but for fans of Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn or Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies, then Juliet,Naked is the film for you.

Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) is an American one-hit-wonder who penned and performed the song “Juliet.” Much like the cult worship of Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, Tucker Crowe is the subject of worship for some British music fans, especially Duncan Thomson (Chris O’Dowd). Duncan has had a long time relationship with live-in girlfriend Annie Platt (Rose Byrne), who tolerates her boyfriend’s obsession with the faded musician.

One day, Annie receives a bootleg CD titled “Juliet, Naked” and listens to it, unimpressed by the song. After a comedic domestic dispute, Duncan listens to the song and worships it. While discussing the CD on his podcast, Duncan is met with some heavy criticism from an anonymous source. The anonymous source turns out to be Tucker Crowe.

Bit by bit, the plot moves forward to a logical climax and conclusion. The mystery and magnitude of Tucker Crowe is deconstructed, while Rose and Duncan take the time to discuss the seriousness of their relationship. Will there be a happy ending? Let’s just say that this romantic comedy supplies a satisfactory ending.

Juliet, Naked is based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. This British novelist also penned High Fidelity, About a Boy and his own memoir Fever Pitch, all titles that have been converted into movies. While not major box office sensations, the movie versions of Nick Hornby’s books have grown in status with repeated television viewings. The characters and situations are real with much audience empathy. The emphasis is about everyday pains, but with subtle humor.

As either second banana or the heroine’s antagonist in romantic comedies like Bridesmaids and The Internship, top billed Rose Byrne shines as the heroine. Chris O’Dowd also shines as the super fan, who becomes the romantic rival to his own idol. Ethan Hawke was born to play enigmatic Tucker Crowe. As written, Crowe could have been a total jerk, but Hawke brings a working class charisma to the musician, who prefers to just live in his garage apartment and talk to his many kids, from his two or three wives, or girlfriends.

Being a romantic comedy, go see this movie with some friends and get some dinner afterwards. Juliet, Naked is a communal affair that is best seen on the Big Screen. Happy Labor Day!

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FLICKS: Papillon flies in the face of repression

Posted on 23 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


This summer marks the 45th anniversary of when my parents and I moved to South Florida. Every weekend, we did something new and went exploring from Clewiston to Dinner Key. One Saturday night, we went to the movies at the Boca Twin, which was located in the 5th Avenue Shopping Plaza in Boca Raton (A McDonalds now stands where a box office used to be). Our choices were either the Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie The Sting or the Steve McQueen/Dustin Hoffman movie Papillon. We chose The Sting, which won the Best Picture Oscar that year.

I finally got to see Papillon five years later on broadcast television. As the title character, Papillon was Steve McQueen’s film from start to finish, but Dustin Hoffman stole most of the scenes as the ratty Louis Dega. The same could be written about the new Papillon, which opens this weekend at a local cinema, which stars Charlie Hunan as the title character and Rami Malek as the scene-stealing Louis Dega.

Henri Charrière is a suave safe cracker in Paris near the Moulin Rouge underground. After being framed for a murder he did not commit, Charrière is sentenced to a penal colony in French Guyana. Unlike the four season climate in Europe, the South American heat is brutal and Charrière is frequently shirtless. Due to a butterfly (French translation = papillon) tattoo on his chest, Charrière is nicknamed “Papillon.”

Given his street smarts and natural ability, Papillon is hired by Louis Dega (Malek) as a bodyguard. A master forger, Dega absconded to prison with money hidden in an unmentionable orifice, a seemingly common practice in the French Guyana penal system. When other convicts get wind of inmates carrying cash in this manner, the inmate is frequently gutted by fellow inmates and corrupt prison guards.

Infractions of the rules are met with harsh brutality. When a prisoner is captured trying to escape, he is sentenced to a guillotine. Before chopping off his head, the executioner states the philosophy of this hellish prison: “Keeping you is no benefit. Destroying you is no loss.”

The theme of escape is a constant in prison movies. Various attempts are made by Papillon to escape, only to be met with solitary confinement. One tantalizing escape features Papillon, Dega and two inmates attempting an escape during a social event while King Kong is being played on the prison wall.

Director Michael Noer creates a thrilling ride from crudity to sophistication, from carnal lust to spiritual freedom.

Based on Charriere’s autobiographies Papillon and Banco, this is a harsh story but a redemptive one. Both versions of Papillon stand on their own and do reflect the culture in which the film is made.

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FLICKS: MCU Anniversary at MODS

Posted on 15 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


At the end of 2017, I wrote about “Flicks” going through an evolution. As I completed my 19th year of writing “Flicks,” it was my revelation that the world has changed more than I have. In 1999, one would drive down Federal Highway and see Walden’s, Borders and Blockbuster Video stores, only to be replaced by T-Mobile, Wells Fargos and Aldis .

Bowfinger was the first movie that I had reviewed, which was a positive critique. This Steve Martin/Eddie Murphy movie still holds up. However, it is fascinating to see Robert Downey Jr. in a cameo as a studio executive. In 1999, Downey was attempting to make a comeback from his struggle in rehab. A well-respected (and Oscar-nominated) character actor, Downey cleaned up his act and nine years later became a leading man, which kicked off the Marvel Comic Universe (MCU).

Released in 2008, Iron Man received less hype than the return of the fourth Indiana Jones movie. Yet, core Marvel comic ticket buyers propelled Iron Man over Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Wall-E and the sparkly vampires of Twilight. While not as well known as Batman or Spider-Man, Iron Man provided a fine introduction to the character through a fast paced, entertaining and stand-alone movie, or so it seemed.

Being “Cinema Dave,” I’ve always stuck around past the closing credits of every movie that I have seen. In the previous year, I was rewarded for this behavior when Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End provided a post credit scene which wrapped up the entire trilogy. The MCU was launched during the post credits sequence when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) showed up in Iron Man’s house and mentioned “the Avenger’s Initiative.”

Nineteen films later and a change of studios (from Paramount to Disney), the MCU has become a box office juggernaut with no signs of stopping. The first phase of Marvel movies provided original stories of Captain America and Thor, which led to the ultimate superhero team up movie, Marvel’s The Avengers.

Again the post credits sequence introduced audiences to Thanos, a creepy character who can (or cannot) destroy the MCU with the snap of his fingers.

While each of these 20 films is interconnected, the genius of the MCU is that each film tells a stand-alone story. Characters from other movies may appear, but if the movie is an Ant-Man or Spider-Man movie, then the title character remains the central protagonist. (If one studies Indian, Greek, Roman, Norse or the Arthurian Legends, the most remembered mythologies follow this pattern of stand-alone stories within the universe of their own culture).

To celebrate the first decade of the MCU, the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) will be screening all 20 movies starting Thursday, Aug. 30 until Thursday, Sept. 6, which includes Labor Day weekend screenings. One can see these movies individually or through special VIP Packages. For more information, visit this website; www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/1119868.

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FLICKS: Fifty Shades Freed on DVD & The Meg, Popcorn Frights Film Festival open

Posted on 09 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


The fluidity and rapidity of mass media production is increasing at a geometric rate. In less than three months, the No. 2 box office champion of the year (Avengers: Infinity War), is now available to download digitally. While there was much buzz on Facebook about tears being shed during Disney’s Christopher Robin, the box office champion remained Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Despite being obliterated by Black Panther a week after its release, Fifty Shades Freed enjoyed a solid box office opening and steady home video use. The concluding chapter of the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy, this romantic S & M flick is a popular franchise that no one in public admits to liking. Of the three Fifty Shades films, Fifty Shades Freed is the second best of the trilogy.

For the first half of the movie, we witness the same naked aerobics between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan that we have seen in the previous two movies. During these scenes of passion, the musical soundtrack loudly explains Anastasia (Johnson) and Christian’s (Dornan) interior thoughts and motives. There is less S & M in this film, but there is a homage to Kim Basinger/Mickey Rourke music videos that were used to promote Andrian Lyne’s movie from 1986, 9 1/2 Weeks.

The second half of Fifty Shades Freed ties in all of the loose plot threads (A true cynic would ask, ‘There was a plot?’) of the previous movies. Anastasia and Christian have stalker issues, while there is corporate intrigue involving computer hacking. As if it were not cliched enough, Anastasia and Christian have a spat about making babies.

With a sense of guilty pleasure, Fifty Shades Freed does hold one’s attention. Unlike the lumbering second movie, the film does present growth, personal responsibility and maturity.

From the first movie to the last, we witness the virginal and over-dressed Anastasia transform into a married woman who eagerly subscribes to topless sunbathing in the French Rivera.

Of course, the high profile media magnate Christian Grey is not happy with his newlywed’s exhibitionism and he schedules a session in his little red room. Fifty Shades Freed provided closure to the Fifty Shades trilogy.

The Meg opens this weekend at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science. Since the dawn of the Internet, The Meg has been in Hollywood development Hell …for 20 years. Based on a series of novels by Steve Alten about prehistoric giant megalodon shark, Jason Statham stars as the title character’s main foil. To appreciate the size of The Meg, check out the permanent Meg exhibit found in the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science.

Of course, a few blocks down the road, Savor Cinema hosts the Popcorn Frights Film Festival, concluding a summer series, but opening the door for Halloween season!

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FLICKS: The King inspires nostalgia, sadness and profound thinking

Posted on 01 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


As a teen, the summer of 1977 was a transitional time for this reporter. Memorial Day weekend opened the first ever Star Wars movie, and Smokey and the Bandit featured a driving duel between Jackie Gleason and Burt Reynolds with Country music blaring through auditorium Dolby speakers. As the Miami Dolphins began preseason, Quarterback Bob Griese revealed that he was near-sighted and that he would be wearing big framed eye glasses during game time. Those eye glasses are in the NFL Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

We visited family in July that summer. As we departed New York, the big Blackout occurred on July 13. A few weeks later, Mark Lindell and I tried to observe a meteor shower in the middle of the night and we talked about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, learning that earlier in the day that serial killer David Berkowitz (alias the Son of Sam) had been caught. The death watch for comedian Groucho Marx was the entertainment focus for most of the summer, but this potential news story was overshadowed by the sudden death of a 43-year-old king, Elvis Presley.

Being released this weekend, The King is a unique documentary that examines the cultural heritage of Elvis Presley. Taking the King’s 1963 Rolls-Royce, director Eugene Jarecki visits the places that Elvis lived: Tupelo, MS; Memphis, TN; New York; Hollywood, CA and Las Vegas, NV. While many celebrities and Elvis acquaintances are interviewed, Jarekci makes a point of interviewing people on the environment.

We learn that the street where Elvis is born is still impoverished; he was born in a shack in Tulepo, MS. The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas is revealed to be a film noir nightmare. With television central being headquartered in New York, we see Elvis’s television triumphs that introduced The King to millions of homes witnessing the birth of Rock ‘n Roll. It is in Hollywood that Elvis accepts the soft life and which clouded his future judgments.

There is a strain of pessimism that permeates The King. The poverty of Tupelo compliments the decadence of Las Vegas.

If the American dream is about rising above one’s station in life, could The King represent the American nightmare where one is overwhelmed by choosing success?

When in New York riding in the back seat of the Rolls Royce, social commentator Alec Baldwin (known now, in part, for his Trump impersonations on Saturday Night Live) finds fault with the Reagan Administration for today’s social ills. In Blues music, meeting the devil at the crossroads is part of the mythology of success. Ethan Hawke (who also produced) makes the case that Elvis traded his musical passion for a bigger paycheck.

The King is a good, thought-provoking documentary that raises questions. My question is “Why does the media celebrate Elvis on the anniversary of his death?” For the past four decades, Oldies Radio plays “Jailhouse Rock” and a few cable channels will screen Elvis movies. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more impressed with his versatile vocal talents, a variety of Rock, Gospel and opera. When you view these movies, you see a brown-eyed handsome man in his late 20s and early 30s, unlike the bloated grease-painted caricature in his final years.

Another documentary, Generation Wealth is scheduled to open this weekend. From the makers of The Queen of Versailles, the trailer examines America’s obsession with money. With clips of President Trump in both The King and Generation Wealth, one can expect similar arguments about the demise of the American dream. Yet, the American dream is more than just raising capital. It is taking the capital and doing something that raises the quality of life. Both documentaries reminded me of the words of my mentor, Mary Helen Fontaine-Rassi, given on April 15, 1980: “It is important to be successful, but it is more important to know your own success.”

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FLICKS: Plan for the Popcorn Frights Film Festival

Posted on 26 July 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


After Mission: Impossible — Fallout opens this weekend, the big Hollywood studios will cut back on their big budgeted releases until the fall season. Throughout the month of August, lower budgeted movies will be released. Released 40 years ago, the relatively low budget National Lampoon’s Animal House provided a strong return of investment, when the big budgeted/all star multi-marketed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band nearly bankrupted the same studio, Universal Pictures. Thus due to budgetary considerations, August movie releases tend towards either comedy or horror.

Last weekend, the San Diego Comic Con laid out the blue print for the next year of movie releases. With Marvel Comics not attending, DC Comics absorbed the spotlight with Wonder Woman 1984, Shazam and Aquaman trailers. Due to be released Memorial Day weekend 2019, the Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters trailer inspired shock and awe, while Jamie Lee Curtis’ return to the Halloween franchise inspired nostalgia for Monster Kids.

It is the Monster Kids who will take over the Savor Cinema in Ft. Lauderdale for seven days beginning Friday, Aug. 10. The Popcorn Frights Film Festival concludes a four month season that paid tribute to the fun of going to the movies again. Founded and directed by partners Igor Shteyrenberg and Marc Ferman, Popcorn Frights kicked things off with a successful screening of The Return of the Living Dead featuring Scream Queen Linnea Quigley, who happens to live locally. (Pictured with Popcorn Frights founders, pg. 1).

Quigley had so much fun, that she attended the next screening Popcorn Frights presentation with a screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Being a vegan, Quigley did partake in a meatless BBQ sandwich, though regular BBQ sandwiches were available for carnivores. Ticket buyers drove from South Miami and Orlando to attend this grindhouse classic and eat authentic BBQ and ticket purchases have remained consistently big. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream Master solidified the success of Popcorn Frights in July.

The Popcorn Frights Film Festival is committed to screening 28 films in seven days. The film titles seem to cross-reference 1970s Roger Corman exploitation flicks with direct-to-VHS titles found on the bargain rack at a Blockbuster video store.

From the United States comes movies like Boogeyman Pop, Wolfman’s Got Nards and Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.Asia, Europe, Latin America and the former Soviet Union will also be represented. Those titles read much more serious: Cold Skin, Cursed Seat, One Cut of the Dead and Satan’s Slaves.

Popcorn Frights will also pay tribute to Chuck Russell, who directed A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and The Blob, before moving on to bigger budgeted fare like Eraser (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger) , The Mask (Jim Carrey) and The Scorpion King (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). A good festival finds a balance the success of tradition with an eye to a creative future. [For more info, visit www.popcornfrights.com].

The Dog Days of August are fast upon us and the school year will begin shortly. However, there is plenty of air conditioning fun that can still be had at a theater near you.

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FLICKS: Leave No Trace opens

Posted on 19 July 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Despite Wimbledon and World Cup grand finales, the box office enjoyed a solid weekend on the big screen, with Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation being the recent champion. Entertaining flicks like Ant-Man and the Wasp and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are providing pure escapism, but the serious documentary Eating Animals is expanding theaters this weekend.

Leave No Trace opens this weekend and this is a special motion picture. Adapted by Peter Rock’s novel My Abandonment, Leave No Trace will stir memories of Cheryl Strayed’s novel Wild (Starring Reese Witherspoon) and Jennifer Lawrence’s breakthrough movie Winter’s Bone, which was co-written and directed by Debra Granik, who also directed and co-wrote Leave No Trace.

Will (Ben Foster) is a war veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome who is more comfortable living in the wild. Will lives with his 13-year-old daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie ) and he home schools her out in the wild. After being spotted by the government, their hovel is bulldozed and the two are forced to live in civilization.

This is not downtown Ft. Lauderdale, but the Pacific Northwest. The father and daughter are given a home and socialization into society. While Will cuts down Christmas trees, the social worker is impressed with Tom’s intelligence. The situation is idyllic, but character is fate as Will suffers from the claustrophobia of having a roof over his head.

In less capable hands, Leave No Trace could have become a full tilt melodrama. Instead, Granik creates a low key experience that reflects the passage of time. We see Tom’s growth while Will is unable to get beyond his own PTSD. As Will, Foster gives his best performance in the movies thus far.

If Winter Bone is remembered for Jennifer Lawrence’s performance, the same will be said about McKenzie’s performance in Leave No Trace. There is no crying or hysterics, but there is pain and growth in her performance. It is a revelation when the daughter says to her father, “The same thing that’s wrong with you isn’t the same thing wrong with me.”

Like Eating Animals, there will be talk about award buzz for Leave No Trace. Take the time to see this one on the big screen some afternoon.

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