Tag Archive | "PBIFF"

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FLICKS: Queen and Country, PBiFF begins & Dan Aykroyd

Posted on 26 March 2015 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


Five-time Oscar bridesmaid, but never a bride, director John Boorman, has created indelible images on the big movie screen. He directed Lee Marvin in two savage movies, most notably Point Blank, which featured an all-star ensemble cast. Through the years, his visual acuity created both beautiful and nightmarish imagery in Deliverance, Excalibur and The Emerald Forest.

Released 28 years ago, Hope and Glory was his semi-autobiographic tale about his British childhood during the World War II blitzkrieg. Opening tomorrow is Queen and Country, which continues the adventures of Bill Rohan (Boorman’s alter ego) during the Korean War. While war is background theme to both movies, there is much humor in these films which present a character’s rite of passage. Queen and Country is Boorman’s big screen swan song, so expect an appropriate “goodbye” from a master craftsman.

The 20th Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBiFF) opens tonight with a red carpet screening of Welcome to Me at the Muvico Parisian 20 & IMAX at City Place in West Palm Beach. Saturday Night Live alumus Kristen Wiig (currently queen of independent film production) stars as a narcissist who suffers from a comical nervous breakdown. The cast includes Joan Cusack, Linda Cardellini, Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

The Lost Key will be part of PBiFF’s “Jewish Experience,” which features an assortment of 35 international films from Germany, Hungary, France, Cuba and Bulgaria. Bulgarian Rhapsody is the country’s recent representative of the Oscar race. Israeli actor Udi Persi from 10% My Child will be spending the week in Palm Beach County.

If history is a good indicator, this year’s PBiFF should be a lot of fun with many surprise guests and memorable experiences. With the grand finale being held at the Cinemark Palace in Boca Raton, there is no excuse to miss! For further updates and information, please visit www.pbifilmfest.org.

Promoting his Crystal Head Vodka, Dan Aykroyd blew into town [March 20] as an energetic juggernaut. At ABC Liquors in Sunrise, Aykroyd was a human autograph machine as he signed vodka bottles, Ghostbusters and Blues Brothers memorabilia.

Blues History was made at Stache in Ft. Lauderdale when Aykroyd reunited on stage with South Florida resident and Blues Brother Matt “Guitar” Murphy for a mini reunion concert. The night was emotional and definitely defined the spirit of the Blues.

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FLICKS: 3 Hearts, Cinderella and PbiFF

Posted on 19 March 2015 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


After screening at the 32nd Miami International Film Festival, 3 Hearts opens in limited South Florida release tomorrow. Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde) misses his train, but finds comfort with Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). After an intense experience, the two part ways. Marc settles in and develops a deeper relationship with Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni) with plans to marry. When meeting his future in-laws, including matriarch (Catherine Deneuve), Marc discovers that Sylvie and Sophie are sisters.

Nominated for numerous awards at the Venice and Lumiere Film Festivals, 3 Hearts is a French Film with English subtitles and features the plot device of a romantic triangle. With the cinematic legacy of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve, this film reveals that French storytelling is consistently modern.

It was French scholar Charles Perrault who penned European folk tales and crafted what we now know as the fairy tale Cinderella a.k.a. The Glass Slipper. As recent box office figures have revealed, this tale of love, romance and service has struck a chord with modern audiences.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Thor), the audience retraces the narrative about how Ella (Lily James) became “Cinderella.” We meet her adorable parents (Ben Chaplin and Hayley Atwell, who was in Agent Carter) who teach their daughter that it is important to have the “courage to be kind.”

These life lessons go into effect when Ella’s parents die. A wicked stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her sinister sisters (Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger) have Ella clean the furnace and she gets covered with “Cinders.” Considered “too dirty” to attend the Prince’s ball, Ella meets her Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) who gives the heroine a makeover. By now, one should figure out the rest of the plot.

Cinderella deserves its success. Kenneth Branagh makes the sugary romance palatable, the characters are not overblown and the actors ensemble chooses restraint. This film can best be summed up in one scene – Ella’s “walk of shame” — because it is a beautiful moment due to the heroine’s pure motives.

Next week, the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBiFF) celebrates 20 years with appearances from Tom Arnold, Ellar Coltrane and others, and music provided by TK Records, who has a South Florida connection with K.C. and the Sunshine Band. At this international festival, keep an eye out for The Lost Key, a Spanish documentary about a Rabbi who talks about intimacy, lust and love.


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FLICKS: PBIFF, openings of Joe & German Doctor

Posted on 17 April 2014 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Dave Montalbano


For veterans working on their second decade covering the 19th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF), there was a positive vibe this year. While not quite the glory days when Louise Fletcher, Robert Davi and Malcolm McDowell visited, there was a sense that those glory days are on the horizon. It also helped that they showcased some fine films.

Life Inside and Out took the Best Feature Film award. It is a domestic drama written by Maggie Bird. Bird also co-stars with her son Finneas O’Connor, who play the fictional mother and sullen son. Both Bird and O’Connor were in attendance for the closing ceremony at the Cinemark last Thursday night.

The best documentary went to Faberge: A Life of its Own. Created during the times of the Russian Tsars, these “Easter Eggs” tell a fascinating story involving international intrigue. The film also documents the commercial opportunities that these golden eggs created.

Lion Ark took the Best Documentary Audience Award, a film that screened at last year’s Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival. This film, about saving lions from circuses in Bolivia, features a triumphant conclusion after much danger and politics.

On the box office horizon, Nicholas Cage is making a critical return with Joe. Unlike the action hero roles that have paid his bills for the past two decades, Cage returns to a complex role that he used to be known for. Joe is an ex-convict with a bad attitude, who is given a chance for salvation when he meets a bullied boy in the south.

In two weeks, The German Doctor opens at area art house movie theaters. Winner of nine Sur Awards (Argentine’s Oscar), this film is about a doctor who befriends a family in Argentina. Unknown to the family, this doctor is actually a dangerous criminal who is being pursued by Israeli agents.

It has been 10 years since The Passion of Christ broke box office records for best foreign language film (a box office record that still stands). Since then, director Mel Gibson’s career has floundered but the film did tap a marketplace that had been ignored by Hollywood executives,– ticket-buying Christians. This week’s box office results will prove to be an interesting commentary for Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter!

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FLICKS: PBIFF & Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age

Posted on 10 April 2014 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Dave Montalbano


The announcement that Mickey Rooney passed away last Sunday showcases the cultural impact of the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) to our local community. Rooney was honored at the 2008 PBIFF and his career represents the golden age of Hollywood. From the Andy Hardy and My Friend Flicka movies to the original Night at the Museum and The Muppets, Rooney’s name is known by young and old.

This year, Rick McKay’s Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age, was shown and he was honored with a Visionary Award. Eleven years ago, McKay screened his work-in-progress, Broadway: The Golden Age, at the fest. With Fay Wray as his trusty consort, McKay earned his first festival award then. That film is on regular rotation on PBS fundraising drives.

Broadway: The Golden Age is a great documentary that should be shown in all performing arts schools, for the people who were interviewed are now considered legends of the Great White Way, including Marlon Brando, Ethel Merman and Kim Hunter. With his nonfussy camera work creating an intimate experience between subject and interviewer, McKay conducted some great interviews with Bea Arthur, Carol Burnett and Gwen Verdon. This film reminded us about forgotten heroes like John Raitt, who was the original voice in the first Rogers & Hammerstein musicals. Raitt is best known today as Bonnie Raitt’s daddy.

Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age covers the next generation of Broadway. It is the late seventies and mid eighties, a dark time on the Great White Way. Theaters are closing and buildings are going into disrepair. In these days of economic malaise, performers either bond or find new careers in film or television.

Meet Bob Fosse. With an Oscar for his direction of Cabaret and an Emmy for the television special Liza with a Z, Fosse went on to garner the Tony Award for Pippin, which made Ben Vereen a star and featured Irene Ryan’s (Beverly Hillbillies’ granny) last performance. Pippin was not a success, but Fosse decided to think out of the box and directed his own television commercial featuring 30 seconds of the show. At the end of the commercial, the announcer said, “If you want to see the rest of the … show, come to the Mayfair Theater on Broadway.” The rest is legend.

Robert Morse (who was also honored at PBIFF with a Lifetime Achievement Award Monday night), Robert Redford, Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera share some great backstage stories about productions that succeed and opening nights that bombed. The cast of Ain’t Misbehavin’ share stories about racism and hailing a taxi that become comedic in their absurdity. Of course, the only way to end Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age is with a grand finalé. The story about the longevity of A Chorus Line certainly qualifies as a graceful exit.

PBIFF is also about the future. Tonight, the closing night of the fest, Jason Priestly (known for Beverly Hills 90210) makes his directorial debut at the Cinemark Palace in Boca Raton with Cas & Dylan, showing at 7 p.m. (www.pbifilmfest.org).

Last but not least, kudos to Jeremy Emerman, Deerfield Beach High School graduate and son of Randi Emerman PBIFF president and CEO. That teenager who I used to work the red carpet with a decade ago, has become the camera man for some of the biggest blockbusters of recent history, including The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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FLICKS: Captain America: The Winter Soldier & PBIFF

Posted on 03 April 2014 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


After three Iron Men, two Thors and one Avenger, Captain America gets his first stand alone sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is the best sequel from “Phase I” of the Marvel movie series. Next year, at this time, we will be bombarded with Avengers: The Age of Ultron media hype to kick off “Phase II” of the Marvel Movie series. Is all this exposition necessary to know before viewing Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Not one bit.

The brilliance of these Marvel superhero movies is that each film works as a stand-alone feature, each story is complete within itself. This film is a political thriller along the lines of 1970s paranoid thrillers like Three Days of the Condor, The Conversation and The Parallax View, Unlike those 1970s classics that feature losers portrayed by the likes of Robert Redford, Gene Hackman and Warren Beatty, respectfully, this film presents a hero with values personified by the likes of John Wayne.

Captain America, alias Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is adapting to the 21st Century after saving the world (Avengers) and waking up from a 70 year hibernation (Captain America: The First Avenger). Joining forces with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo), Rogers rescue some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents from pirates. During the rescue operation, Captain America uncovers secrets kept hidden by Black Widow and their boss, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

When Captain America confronts Nick Fury, Fury confronts one of his bosses – Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), a member of the S.H.I.E.L.D Security Council. Through the chain of communication, security becomes breached and explosive chaos ensues. As Steve Rogers attempts figure out who is an ally and who is an enemy, the Winter Soldier is called upon to eliminate Captain America.

This is a good movie. The story unfolds in a logical way and the character development seems real. The friendship that develops between Captain America and the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) is respectful and genuine. The action scenes have visual clarity that improve with each conflict. Yet, it is the humble character of Captain America that gives this big budget motion picture its soul.

For popcorn eating Saturday matinee fun, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the film to go see. This new Marvel film is first best movie of 2014.

For those who prefer more grounded cinema, the 19th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) opens this weekend with special screenings at the Cinemark Palace in Boca Raton. Robert Morse, Rick McKay and Jason Priestly will be among those flying into town. Check out this website for events and times: www.pbifilmfest.org.

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FLICKS: PBIFF (April 3-10) & Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Posted on 27 March 2014 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


It is time to start planning The 19th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF), which opens in two weeks. This year, there will be an emphasis in South Palm Beach County with the opening, centerpiece and closing movies screened in the Cinemark Palace 20 in Boca Raton.

Belle opens the fest, an English drama about royal racism. Belle (Gugu Mbatha- Raw) is the illegitimate daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised with privilege by her uncle, Lord Mansfield, Belle finds certain doors closed to her because of the color of her skin. The cast includes two Harry Potter veterans (Emma Watson, Tom Felton) and Tom Wilkinson.

A decade ago, Rick McKay debuted Broadway the Golden Age, which features Broadway legends like Kim Hunter, Marlon Brando and Gwen Verdon. This year, he returns with Broadway Beyond the Golden Age, which emphasizes the second generation of Broadway productions featuring controversial musicals like Hair and Oh Calcutta! The star of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Robert Morse, is scheduled to attend and receive an award on Monday, April 7 at Cinemark Palace 20. There will be a party at Bogart’s Bar & Grille on the second floor.

Twenty years ago, Jason Priestly was a target for the paparazzi for his work on the television show Beverly Hills 90210. He has quietly slipped behind the camera and has directed Cas & Dylan, a road movie which stars Richard Dreyfus, Tatiana Maslany and Jayne Eastwood, which will be PBIFF’s final film. Priesly will be in attendance.

The festival also places an emphasis upon independent features. Fat, Dumb and Happy is a comedy/drama filmed in Orlando. The Other One is a domestic drama about a child’s responsibility to an aging parent. A visual effects intern for The Walking Dead, Vicki Lau, debuts The Painter, a short subject about an artist with a magical paintbrush. Lion Ark is a documentary about activists saving lions from a brutal existence at Bolivian circuses. Given that April is Autism Awareness Month, PBIFF will be presenting A Teen’s Guide to Understanding and Communicating with People with Autism, with director/ writer and High School Freshman Alexandra Jackman scheduled to attend the Lake Worth screening. For late breaking news, visit the website www.pbifilmfest.org.

Last, but not least Mr. Peabody & Sherman has quietly earned 83 million dollars in a fortnight. With sophisticated scatological humor, grievous puns and a dose of Twisted history and drama, this film is an animated feature with much heart. Parents taking their upper-aged elementary school children will enjoy a good time at a Saturday matinee price.

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FLICKS: PBIFF wraps, On the Road & Jurassic Park 3-D open

Posted on 11 April 2013 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


The 18th Annual (PBIFF) wraps up this evening with a screening of Chez Upshaw, a comedy about a bed & breakfast that becomes the home for assisted suicides.

Director Bruce Mason and character actress Ileana Douglas are expected to attend with a wrap party at the Frank CineBowl and Grille in Delray.

Unlike the previous nine festivals, which provided postcard-perfect weather, PBIFF 18 was fraught with traffic jams and tornado warnings.

Yet one must acknowledge the tenacity of Executive Director Randi Emerman and her loyal sidekick Laurie Wein. When the opening night rooftop party was cancelled due to tornado warnings, the party moved indoors. Ticket buyers were entertained by the movie Decoding Annie Parker and music by the Sheffield Brothers Band.

There is no doubt the PBIFF team found inspiration from the Comedy Warriors. This 90-minute documentary lived up to the hype. Director John Wager confidently manages the emotional minefield between tragedy and comedy.

This film also provides a fine tutorial on how to construct a joke for comedy at the Improv. Expect to hear more about this documentary.

Still Mine held a screening during PBIFF. Starring James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold, this drama about self-determination is scheduled for wide release in May.

In other movie news, On the Road opened last weekend. Based on Jack Kerouac’s cult novel, this film explores the end of the beatnik generation and the beginning of the hippie era. While much of the hype has centered around Kristen Stewart’s nudity, this is an ensemble piece featuring quirky performances from Steve Buscemi, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams. On the Road will not please every ticket buyer, but neither did Kerouac’s novel of the same name. When PBIFF ends, the summer blockbuster season begins to heat up. The Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX Theater is presenting a reminder about how much fun a Summer blockbuster can be with a limited engagement of Jurassic Park 3-D. The last screening will be next Thursday. Visit the website – www.mods.org/IMAX/ index.html


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FLICKS: PBIFF begins (Apr. 4-11)

Posted on 04 April 2013 by L.Moore

Pages 09-16By Dave Montalbano


It has been 10 years since the Boca Raton Resort & Club hosted the 8th Annual (PBIFF).

It was a historical night for the motion picture industry, which featured silent screen legend Fay Wray, recent Oscar winner Adrien Brody, Supermodel Carol Alt, venerable actor/producer Robert Evans, Director Brett Ratner and the King of Pop Michael Jackson-all in the same room. Each year, PBIFF adds to this legacy.

This Thursday, PBIFF 18 begins its future history. Decoding Annie Parker is the opening film this festival. Based on the true story of breast cancer survivor Annie Parker, this film stars Helen Hunt, Marley Shelton and Samantha Morton in the title role. The “real” Annie Parker is scheduled to attend opening night festivities.

Comedy Warriors: Healing through Humor is a documentary that makes its debut tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Frank Theaters CineBowl and Grille at Delray Marketplace, 9025 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach (at the corner of Lyons Road and W. Atlantic Ave.

Comedy Warriors features five severely injured military veterans who undergo therapy of the soul and mind. Under the tutelage of comedians Lewis Black, Zach Galifianakis, B.J. Novak and Bob Saget, the comedy warriors perform in Los Angeles comedy clubs. Can these handicapped individuals succeed? Given that these are veterans with a sense of humor, nothing is impossible.

The most hyped documentary of PBIFF 18 has been Meditation, Creativity and Peace. Director David Lynch conducts a 16-country tour to college students to talk about his favorite subjects-films, meditation and world peace. It is produced by Palm Beach local Joanna Plafsky, who also has another film in the festival, My Reincarnation.

The best thing about a local festival is the international opportunity it provides. Lost for Words is an indie that features Will Yun Lee from Hawaii Five-0/The Wolverine fame.

The Shift presents a generational divide between two healthcare workers. Danny Glover has a role in this film.

These are just a few of the gems! For more information, visit www.pbifilmfest.org.

Happy festival!

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FLICKS: PBIFF wraps, June Lockhart honored

Posted on 18 April 2012 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


The 17th Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) wraps up tonight in Palm Beach Gardens.

Most of the films, especially the documentaries, proved to be serious fare. After viewing Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story and Free China: The Courage to Believe, one leaves the theater feeling annoyed by trivial topics like parking meters, bad customer service and chasing the brass ring of social circles.

Besides attending the world premier screening of Zombie Hamlet, Actress June Lockhart accepted her lifetime achievement award at the beautiful Lake Pavilion on the Waterfront in West Palm Beach. In her 15-minute acceptance speech, Lockhart talked about citizenship. She is actively involved in Los Angeles charities like International Hearing Dog and helps raise funds for Santa Monica Police Department Mounted Patrol and Big Band of Barristers. Though she was the fictional matriarch in Lost in Space, in reality, Lockhart has been an advocate for the N.A.S.A space program.

When asked about the future of N.A.S.A, June answered, “There is a great necessity for private companies to get involved. They have always been involved. There is so much science that comes out of research and it pays dividends.”

Being third generation thespian, Lockhart is very grounded in her approach to show business.

She said, “It is not a matter of survival, regarding work. Dad (Gene Lockhart) told me to audition for its own sake, meet the people, but don’t sweat an audition. Therefore, there is not pressure to get the job. It is only a means to an end.”

There is life after PBIFF.

Tomorrow night, at the Movies of Delray (7421 W. Atlantic Ave.), producer Zack Norman will attend the 7 p.m. screening of his ensemble comedy, Overnight, which will also be playing at the Muvico Pompano (2315 N. Federal Hwy).

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FLICKS: PBIFF’s impact, Mizner features Jewish documentaries, violinist

Posted on 11 April 2012 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


In the past five years, The Avengers has easily become the most hyped comic book movie since the end credits of Iron Man. At the 2008 Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF), Iron Man’s costar Sayed Badreya walked the red carpet promoting his short subject Prisoners.

(This weekend, Badreya will be seen as an orderly in The Three Stooges).

Standing by my side on the red carpet was a Deerfield Beach High School student and photographer, Jeremy Emmerman. Look for Jeremy’s name at the end credits of The Avengers; he was one of the photographers.

Jeremy’s story is just one example of how PBIFF impacts our community on a local level. Two years ago, the festival was rumored to be going extinct, but last year’s fest revealed its resiliency; it has outlasted two competing festivals. This year, the staff, board and volunteers took additional steps to be more inclusive with the community.

The fact that PBIFF returns to Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center is a major bonus to our local community.

Formerly the Cartoon Museum, the screening room on the second floor will feature two fine documentaries about Jewish culture and Israel on Sunday afternoon – Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story and Violins in Wartime.

Set against the backdrop of the second Lebanon war of 2006, Violins in Wartime features master violinists teaching a music class to young prodigies who have gathered in Israel. Through the horrors of war, music provides solace for dark times.

This 50-minute documentary provides the intimate carpentry of Amnon Weinstein the Violin maker, the film’s central character. Master Soloist Ida Haendel, one of the master soloists in the film, will be at the 4 p.m. screening.

For those who feel like venturing to Palm Beach Gardens or Lake Worth venues, visit http://pbiff.festival genius.com/2012/schedule/ week for more details about screenings and events.

Who knows? One might see a local celebrity … like the return of Eric the Doorman this year!

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