FLICKS: Bohemian Rhapsody inspires golden memories

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

My School of Rock vocal teacher, Jessica Morale, threatened to suspend me because I had yet to see Bohemian Rhapsody, which had been getting some of the best word of mouth rave reviews. Much like A Star is Born, so many people have seen Bohemian Rhapsody on the big screen. I regret missing this feature on the five story IMAX screen when it played at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science. But I finally got to see it.

For those who rode with me back in the day in my yellow Volkswagen Beetle named Kelso, you likely heard a Bohemian Rhapsody bootleg on an eight-track player. When Kelso was full, we would all sing the opera parts from the song, a decade before Wayne’s World was released. We were cool before we knew it.

Bohemian Rhapsody shows a baggage handler at London Heathrow Airport, Farrokh Bulsara (Rami Malek), who lives with his conservative Parsi family. One night, he catches his favorite local band, Smile, whose lead singer abruptly quits. Farrokh auditions on the street and his future bandmates Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) recruit him immediately. After forming a new rock band by the name of Queen, Farrokh legally changes his name to Freddy Mercury.

Despite having a flamboyant front man, Queen becomes a strong ensemble band with each player contributing to some of the great songs of album rock radio stations, ie, “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “You’re My Best Friend,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “We Are the Champions.” Queen tours the world with concerts that demand audience interaction, mostly conducted by Freddy Mercury.

Of course, with any rock artist biopic, we witness the self destruction of success. To director Bryan Singer’s credit, he does not dwell on this dark side of Freddy Mercury. (It should be noted that Brian May and Roger Taylor were involved in this production). Bohemian Rhapsody opens and closes with Freddy Mercury’s redemptive moment, the “Live Aid Concert” on July 13, 1985 at the Wembley Arena in London.

The “Live Aid Concert” was a golden moment for this columnist finishing up his course work at Florida State University. Broadcast poorly on MTV, so much of the concert was lost in hype, though Queen’s performance was highly praised.

Bohemian Rhapsody is worth the price of admission for recreating this golden performance with four actors and special effects. That said, unlike the self indulgence of the “Woodstock Generation,” “The Live Aid” generation used music to prevent starvation in Ethiopia in the mid 80s. Thanks Bohemian Rhapsody for reminding this columnist about this charitable time during the Reagan-Bush administrations.

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FLICKS: Creed II

Posted on 29 November 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Ralph Breaks the Internet scored high with the box office receipts, along with Creed II, The Grinch and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Bohemian Rhapsody is showing consistent box office returns with Rami Malek’s performance as Freddy Mercury being talked about for award consideration. But, grossing $55 million, Creed II probably received the best return of investment from lower production costs.

Creed II (or Rocky 8) is a stand-alone story about a boxer named Adonis “Donnie” Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) who fights by the name of “Adonis Creed,” the son of the late Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) from the first four Rocky movies. Apollo died in the ring from the fists of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), a boxer from the Soviet Union. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) defeated Drago in an epic 15 round battle and the Soviet Union collapsed.

Thirty three years later, Adonis Creed has become champion, creating a marketing opportunity for Ivan Drago, whose life has been miserable since losing to Rocky Balboa in 1985. Drago has trained his son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu) to become a fighter and sets the stage for a Creed-Drago rematch. (The original fight occurred when the current combatants were in diapers). This, of course, opens up some old psychological wounds for both Donnie Johnson Creed and Rocky Balboa.

The stage is set and Creed II takes this complicated history and forges a simple story. It helps to have seen the other seven Rocky movies in advance, but it is not necessary. Creed II is a unique story about individuals trying to solve problems in their own lives. It is a film of little moments that create a whole satisfactory experience.

For example, there is a subtle nod to Rocky’s illness from the last movie when Donnie compliments his mentor’s new hairstyle. In Creed, Rocky underwent chemotherapy treatment and lost most of his hair. While still intimidating and brutal, Ivan still has a little boy vulnerability about him, especially when his ex-wife (Brigitte Nielsen — who happens to be Stallone’s ex-wife also) appears.

There are plenty of boxing scenes in the movie with the usual inspirational training montage. Being a Creed and not a Rocky movie, the music used in this film plays homage to Ennio Morricone’s work in the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. But don’t worry, the original Rocky musical cue is used at the precise moment.

It is these subtle details of the past that enhance the world of Adonis Creed, who is going through the rites of passage with the love of his life, Bianca (Tessa Thompson). Besides battling the demons of the past, Creed II looks at the importance of familiar responsibilities in the present moments. Creed, Balboa and Drago each face a challenge in their own family unit. Creed II provides a fascinating denouement that is appropriate for this holiday season.

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FLICKS: FLIFF wrapped, A Star is Born keeps growing

Posted on 21 November 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

The Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) concluded its bravest year yet on an upnote, with a successful closing night extravaganza featuring an outdoor screening of Caddyshack at the Ft. Lauderdale International Country Club. Released almost four decades ago and directed by the late Harold Ramis, that popular film was produced by Barbra Streisand’s former hairdresser and live-in boyfriend, Jon Peters.

For legal reasons, Jon Peters also holds a producer credit for this summer’s critically acclaimed and consistent box office champion since Oct. 5, A Star is Born. Driven by social media, many single females in their 20s have attended repeat screenings of this fourth remake, this time starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who also makes his directorial debut.

The film opens with Jackson Maine (Cooper) on stage at the height of his country rock star game. The next scene features a female voice breaking up with her boyfriend on a cell phone while in a toilet stall. As Ally (Lady Gaga) walks out of the restaurant, her place of work, the title first appears on the big screen, “A STAR IS BORN.” Though simple, these two sequences foreshadow so much.

Seeking to decompress after another stadium filled show, Jackson visits a bar with live music. Though a drag show with female impersonators, Jackson is tearfully impressed with Ally’s rendition of “La Vie En Rose.” He invites himself backstage and asks Ally to join him for a drink.

With developing chemistry, Jack and Ally collaborate on songwriting and singing. During one loud auditorium show, Jack forces Ally onstage. Ally nails the moment and record executives take notice.

As one constantly learns from the entertainment business, so many successful people in the spotlight have many demons in their backstage life. Although this is the fourth adaptation of A Star is Born since 1937, it is a painful lesson that each generation must endure and learn.

With less Hollywood trappings compared to the three previous versions of the film, Bradley Cooper’s unfussy direction tells a truthful tale. Lady Gaga sheds her flamboyant persona and reveals the soul of Ally, the New York girl who has much in common with Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Lady Gaga’s real name). A performance driven movie (expect Sam Elliott to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, along with his leading man and lady), A Star is Born is a performance-driven movie that will be talked about during awards season.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

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FLICKS: FLIFF concludes & documentaries rule

Posted on 15 November 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

With no Marvel Comic Universe or Star Wars movies opening this holiday season, all bets are off in determining the final box office Juggernaut of 2018. The Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens this weekend, with Creed II being released in time for Thanksgiving, repeating the marketing strategy of the Rocky Balboa in 2006 and the original Creed in 2015. The much acclaimed A Star is Born has shown consistent box office numbers, with a likely resurgence this Thanksgiving weekend.

The Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) concludes its 33rd edition this weekend. More than any other FLIFF in memory, documentaries and short subjects are overshadowing the fictional features. Each category is very competitive and the subjects vary. While the best documentaries are science based, the short subjects vary in tone from serious to whimsical.

Shot in the Cayman Islands, Hotel features a sad man and a happy woman who meet in the hallway. Being out of towners, both people find they have much in common. It should be noted that the female ingenue is portrayed by Taylor Burrowes, an actress with a PhD in counseling who goes by the moniker, “Doctor Babe.”

An Italian short subject based on a true story, Magic Alps looks at immigrants entering Italy and being separated from their pets.

United Kingdom’s The Vest is a seven minute nightmare about a suicide bomber who seeks redemption.

From Life is an eight minute short subject from the United Kingdom. A complete story with a solid beginning and middle with a surprise ending, this movie provokes thoughts about art, history and the nature of being. From Life is easily the best short subject of the festival, though Animal Cinema deserves special recognition for a science short subject. Told from the perspective of wild creatures operating video cameras from 2012 to 2017, the video footage was found on all seven continents.

Directed by Teresa Tico, Keely Shaye Brosnan and executive produced by her husband Pierce, Poisoning Paradise looks at the conflict between native Hawaiians and corporations developing genetic pesticides for corn crops. With a dramatic opening and close celebrating the Hawaiian Paradise, this film bogs down in the middle by relying on television interviews and stock footage of protests.

In contrast, Secrets of a Frozen Ocean is a minimalist documentary about a 75-year-old scientist who makes one last trek to the Arctic to find evidence of a meteor landing there millions of years ago. Avoiding editorial drama and a musical score that would make Marlon Perkin’s “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” so cheesy, this film strives for truth and is very humane.

Sharkwater Extinction is easily the best documentary of FLIFF. The narrative is strong and the cinematography captures the oceans, landscapes and sunsets in Gods crowning glory. Adventurer Rob Stewart’s life mission appeared to have been to change the negative perception of sharks as a killing machine. When viewed rationally, sharks are necessary predators of the food cycle to prevent population surplus.

[Stewart showed his first 2006 film Sharkwater at FLIFF and he was presented a Humanitarian Award by FLIFF in 2012 when his film Revolution was showing at Cannes]. Tragically, in 2017, he died while diving in The Keys [possibilty from equipment malfunction]. His last film, Sharkwater Extinction will be screened this Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Bailey Hall at Broward College (3501 Davie Rd, Davie, FL 33314). Even if one separates the emotional connection to this young man’s last film, Sharkwater Extinction deserves to be seen on the BIG SCREEN to appreciate the visual beauty of the world of which we live.

For more information on the festival, visit www.FLIFF.com.

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FLICKS: What They Had opens, FLIFF continues & House of Wax concludes

Posted on 07 November 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Relief. The campaign season is over and we can start to think seriously about the upcoming public holidays — Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. For many, it is a time of renewal and a time to reconnect with family and friends. For seasoned citizens, it is a time to confront the challenges of aging, and the collateral repercussions.

Opening this weekend, What they Had is family drama that looks at this subject. There is already Oscar buzz for the performances given by Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster and Blythe Danner. Danner portrays the matriarch suffering from dementia. When she goes for a midnight walk in a Chicago Blizzard, the son and daughter (Shannon and Swank, respectively) begin to doubt their father’s (Foster’s) competency to care for their mother. The drama will be real and painful, but expect the tender mercy of humor in family discord.

While Halloween created box office records for an October movie release, revenue dropped dramatically on Nov. 1, losing to Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Despite mediocre reviews, save for Rami Malek’s performance as Freddy Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody was last week’s box office champion. While the biopic follows the Hollywood formula, it is the Rock ‘n Roll sequences that merit seeing this film on the big screen.

Despite the cold and flu bug that has intruded upon The 33rd Annual Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF), the event is going smoothly with successful screenings at the Seminole Hard Rock, Savor Cinema and Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood. Philanthropist Steve Savor received the Marti Huizenga Humanitarian Award, a distinguished honor. Along with her husband Wayne, Marti Huizenga founded FLIFF in the late 1980s from the Las Olas Boulevard headquarters of Blockbuster video. A friendly face at the concession counter, Tina La Boeuf, was named Employee of the Year and received her plaque. For those who earn a plaque from FLIFF, the inscription alone is worth the honor.

This Veterans Day weekend, the fun continues with screenings and the events at Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood, Savor Cinema and NSU Art Museum in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Viewings are free for those with museum membership for the screenings beginning Tuesday, Nov. 13. On Thursday Nov. 15, the museum will host The Art & Times of Frosty Myers at 7:30 p.m. This also is an opportunity to check out the Glackens and Renoir exhibit that opened last month.

For many years, FLIFF would celebrate the Ft. Lauderdale canals [Intracoastal] as America’s Venice with a morning cruise. With Daylight Saving Time and potential confusion, this event has been transformed into a Sunset Cruise this Monday night, Nov. 12 aboard the Musette. As we have experienced the evening darkness at 6 p.m., this is an opportunity to screen four international short subjects in the dark about a variety of topics, all of them dramatic. For info. on all FLIFF events and screenings, visit www.fliff.com.

This columnist will be hosting the last screening of House of Wax this Friday evening. While he will be donating four of his books in a post screening trivia contest, he will also donate an autographed copy of The Book of Joe written by Vincent Price. Complete with 3-D glasses, last week’s House of Wax screening went extremely well, with people laughing and screaming at the appropriate times. This film is as worthy today on the big screen as it was 65 years ago, before the advent of cell phones, cable television and color television sets.

Happy Veterans Day!

 

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FLICKS: FLIFF begins

Posted on 01 November 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

After last year’s historical film festival with Burt Reynolds, there is no denying the challenge this year’s 33rd Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) faces. Fortunately, with nearly three decades experience putting on such a such an event, festival director Gregory von Hausch and his merry crew of technicians and volunteers have programmed three weeks of films that celebrate Broward County. Given how the motion picture industry does not travel south of Atlanta these days, it is especially important that FLIFF shines this week.

While most of the presentations will be held at the usual locations of Savor Cinema and Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood, this year’s venues also include the NOVA Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art and the Sunrise Civic Center. With a portion of ticket proceeds going to hurricane relief for Hurricane Michael victims in the Florida Panhandle, the festival opens at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with a French Garden Party saluting the opening night film, The Return of the Hero, starring Jean Dujardin, Oscar winner from The Artist, which premiered at the FLIFF in 2011.

While this columnist is looking forward to hosting the 65th anniversary screening of House of Wax, Saturday night at 10 p.m. at Savor Cinema, the theater will also feature Smuggling Hendrix before it at 8 p.m., a film written and directed by Marios Piperides from Cyprus. Prior to the movies Southeast premier, Michelle Filippi will host a Greek Party in the theater’s John Mager Courtyard.

While one might think this film has something to do with legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix, it really is a story about a dog named “Jimi,” a comedy that pokes fun at culture, politics and borders. It is the story of a divorced man with custody of “Jimi,” who crosses the Cyprus/Turkey border for a vacation that becomes an epic journey. A favorite of the Festival Director, Smuggling Hendrix promises to be 93 minutes of cinema fun.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort, prepare to take a time machine to December 1960 with a screening of Where the Boys Are. Florida legend Connie Francis will be in attendance, as well as Woody Woodbury, who will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Unlike the previous parties where gala clothes or togas seemed appropriate, swimsuits will be what to wear. In tribute to “Ft. Liquordale,” there will be complimentary drinks at the “Elbo Room After-Party.”

Shorts at Sea” will be a unique event on Monday, Nov. 12 aboard the Musette. This twilight cruise will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres and four short films, with the longest film being only 15 minutes long.

The topics vary from cute animals to ghosts to life affirmation. Short subjects are underrated gems and this cruise on the Musette will raise the profile of these films.

The Miami Dolphins have faded, the World Series is over and there is a hotly contested election next Tuesday. Now more than ever we need a vacation from the ordinary film and FLIFF will provide that escape. For details on these and other events and films, visit www.fliff.com.

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FLICKS: Halloween & House of Wax

Posted on 25 October 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

One month shy of her 60th birthday, Jamie Lee Curtis received an early present from the box office gross of her latest Halloween movie. When it was announced that Curtis would be returning, the hype machine cranked up, but, in the shadow of the Me Too movement, this Halloween motion picture took on added significance. Like Nightmare on Elm Street’s Heather Lagenkamp’s “Be Nancy” advocacy, Halloween places emphasis upon the heroine, with less glorification on the boogeyman.

Released 40 years ago, the original Halloween, starring a teenage Jamie Lee Curtis, had the shadow of the Chi Omega murders on the Florida State University campus earlier in the year, which led to the arrest (and eventual execution) of serial killer Ted Bundy. While a good horror movie can provide pure escapist entertainment, the subtext will provide dark unease.

There have been a total of 11 films in the Halloween franchise and Jamie Lee Curtis has been in five of them. Twenty years ago, Curtis first acknowledged her debt to the franchise. With Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, despite a strong ensemble cast, the film felt repetitive. Yet, it is significant for this film features the final onscreen appearance of Jamie Lee Curtis’s mommy, Janet Leigh. As an Easter egg, Leigh offers Curtis some maternal advice, then drives away in a car similar to the car she drove in Psycho [with score from Psycho playing in the background]. Leigh was Oscar-nominated for playing the victim (most known for the shower scene) in that classic Sir Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Ironically, Leigh was given the role that was originally written for J.P. Soles, a memorable victim from the first Halloween movie. Having been seen as a memorable bully with a red baseball hat in Carrie, Soles appeared topless in Halloween and improvised her funny dialogue and tragic death scene.

The comedic spark has served Soles well as she made appearances in comedies like Stripes, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (starring the Ramones), Private Benjamin (starring Goldie Hawn) and the Oscar-nominated Breaking Away, where she worked with her future ex-husband, Dennis Quaid. A friendly face on the horror convention and film festival circuit, Soles has a cameo appearance as “Teacher” in the new Halloween film.

Last Saturday night, Abbott and Costello meets Frankenstein played on Svengoolie on MeTV. This film effectively retired the champion monsters from the previous 18 years: Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man. As a closing gag, the Invisible Man shows up to scare off Bud & Lou. The voice of the Invisible Man is portrayed by Vincent Price, an actor who retained his reign of terror for the next 50 years of Cinema.

Vincent Price earned a Lifetime Achievement honor from the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival in 1991. In recognition of the 65th Anniversary, Savor Cinema will be screening House of Wax on Saturday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 9 and it is this columnist’ honor to host these two screenings. At each screening, Cinema Dave will donate Vincent Price’s book about his faithful dog, The Book of Joe , which was autographed by Vinnie and his daughter Victoria Price. BE THERE and BE SCARED, if you DARE!

 

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FLICKS: First Man, FLIFF helps Hurricane Michael relief

Posted on 17 October 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Even though some American flags flew in First Man, the box office results for First Man last weekend was a disappointment. Despite casting two non-Americans in the leading roles and poor public relations from the studio, director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle has crafted an epic motion picture, without losing sight of character development in subtle ways.

The film opens with Neal Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) test piloting an X-15 rocket plane when he accidentally bumps off into outer space. Keeping his cool, Neal returns to earth safely. His domestic life is not so safe, as his young daughter is terminal with a brain tumor. A stoic man with a stoic wife named Janet (Claire Foy), Neal tries to problem solve his daughter’s illness with the same detached precision of engineering and flying an X-15.

When his daughter dies, Neal channels his anguish into his work. With the space race in hot competition with the Soviet Union, Neal commands a Gemini spacecraft, which almost spins into disaster. Showing his grit and intelligence under extreme pressure, Neal is eventually named the commander of Apollo 11 and the rest is history.

Visually, First Man does not disappoint. Enhancing actual NASA footage with computer software, First Man will be playing in mainstream theaters (as well as at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX six-story screen for the rest of this month. While there, check out the Archimedes Exhibit).

For all of its bells and whistles, the theme of First Man is how a family copes with grief. Besides the loss of their daughter, there is the loss of colleagues from accidents. The pain of grief is real, but how one deals with loss presents character. With understated nuance, Gosling and Foy have earned awards for their stoic performances. Expect some buzz for First Man when the awards season begins.

In two weeks, the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) kicks off its three weeks of international films, parties and merry making. To coincide with the screening of Return of the Hero, FLIFF will be hosting a French Garden Party at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

The opening gala is always a special event, but this may be the most important. Given the natural disaster of Hurricane Michael and its devastation of the Florida Panhandle, 50 percent of full price general admission tickets sales will be dedicated to relief efforts for Mexico Beach. The Hard Rock Auditorium can seat 3500 seats, so there is the potential to raise $21,000 dollars to help our Florida neighbors to rebuild their lives. To purchase a ticket, please visit this website — www.fliff.com/movies and scroll down to Return of the Hero.

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FLICKS: The Samuel Project & The Walking Dead Day

Posted on 11 October 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Looking for a positive experience at the movies? The Samuel Project opens this weekend and it could be the film for you. Starring Hal Linden (as the curmudgeon Samuel) and Ryan Ochoa (as the artistic Eli, the Grandson), The Samuel Project is about individuals who cross generational and cultural divisions.

Eli is an art student who is given an assignment to tell a story through his craft. His grandfather, Samuel, considers Eli’s art as a bunch of “doodles.” One afternoon, Eli is recruited by Samuel to go see an elderly Jewish woman on her deathbed. Revealing an emotional crack in his grandfather’s stoic persona, Eli realizes he has a personal story to tell about his grandfather surviving the Holocaust.

The subject is serious, but the humor is respectful. Director/writer Marc Fusco presents Eli and Samuel’s behavioral quirks in an endearing way. Like a good Hallmark channel type movie, politeness triumphs over pettiness and the grand finale builds to an agreeable climax. While there is no kicker in the end, stick around and watch the animated credits.

This Saturday, Oct. 13, the Deerfield Beach Percy White Library acknowledges the popular TV show The Walking Dead with its Walking Dead Day, which celebrates nine seasons of the zombie apocalypse on the AMC Cable Channel. At 2 p.m., there will be a screening of a classic black & white Val Lewton terror movie starring Frances Dee and Tom Conway, released 75 years ago. (Due to licensing agreements, the title cannot be revealed; however, there are plenty of flyers available at the library.)

Set on a fictional Caribbean island, this noir classic eschews gore and decapitations to set up a fearful mood. With a very modest budget, the techniques of light and shadows have influenced modern filmmakers. Evidence of Val Lewton’s production values can be found in modern classics like It, The Sixth Sense and Halloween. The images from this film are haunting.

Thanks to the sponsorship of the AMC cable channel, the first 20 people to attend the screening at 2 p.m. will receive artifacts from a box that mysteriously arrived at the Deerfield Beach Percy White Library. After screening the 70 minute movie, there will be a Walking Dead Day Trivia Contest, hosted by this reporter, as well as volunteer extraordinare Lita Andreano.

Walking Dead prizes will be awarded to individuals who finish in first, second and third places. For those who want to study for the Trivia Contest, the answers can be found within the Walking Dead television show, the previous movie being screened, horror literature, monster movies, and Halloween culture and rituals. Like The Samuel Project, the emphasis is not doom and gloom, but entertainment and fun.

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FLICKS: The Final hoopla of Adventures in Charity, FLIFF cultivates Florida locals

Posted on 04 October 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

In the motion picture industry, the last weekend in September features box office doldrums. Halloween season is starting to rev up, while some of the summer blockbuster movies enjoy their final big screen moments on the smaller screen. This is why for the past six years I have departed Deerfield to attend “Adventures in Charity” in Orlando.

The Adventurers Club in Disney World opened when Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was playing on the big screen, circa 1989, and closed when Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released in 2008. A controversial business decision, Disney made plans to convert Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. The plan was successful, though many Adventurers Club members were displaced. [The Adventurer’s Club was a themed nightclub in Pleasure Island with theatrical entertainers in this part of Disney World]. Nature abhors a vacuum and for four years, there were reenactments. However, it wasn’t until 2013 with the creation of Adventures in Charity, that I started making the pilgrimage to the Holiday Inn Resort by Lake Buena Vista to attend. The show was so good that my 94-year-old mom has joined for the last five years.

Under Chairman Robert Croskery’s financial leadership and the dedicated attention of the Adventures in Charity Board, the Adventurers Club lived on, but with the mission of helping charities. This year, they raised $25,000, more than double the amount of the previous five individual charity event totals. Proceeds benefited the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Texas Civil Rights Foundation, the Actors Fund, the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation and the Dravet Foundation.

Each year, this author donated “A Cinema Dave Adventure Pack” which featured my four published books and various unique artifacts from “The Cave of Cinema Dave” [Dave’s house], including a mini crystal head vodka bottle autographed by Dan Aykroyd.

With budget limitations, cast member Graham Murphy scripted an adaptation of club bits and featured songs. This was a true Ma & Pa operation as Graham’s wife Emily filled in as secretary/event decor and swag coordinator. The spirit of adventuring lived on.

Adventurers in Charity ran its full course last Saturday night, almost to the day of the 10 year anniversary of the original club’s closing. It was still a bittersweet moment, as many of us accepted that our club has now folded; tears were shed.

Still, being a true adventurer, there had to be one last act of defiance. Last Sunday at 1 p.m., a flash mob of 21 adventurers visited “The Edison,” the steampunk replacement artifice of our beloved club. On cue, we all sang a rousing version of the Adventurers Club all-purpose theme song. Our building and our annual charity weekend are history, but the spirit of the Adventurers Club lives on…

The Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival will be born again this Nov. 2. There will be an emphasis upon Florida locals. While Connie Francis has already been announced, Cindy Morgan (Caddyshack) and Woody Woodbury have been added to the list of attendees. Woodbury owned a nightclub in Ft. Lauderdale 45 years ago and made movies with Fred MacMurray, Ernest Borgnine, Jerry Lewis and baseball legends Mickey Mantle & Roger Maris. Expect the spirit of adventure this FLIFF season. For more info., visit www.FLIFF.com.

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