Saturday matinee popcorn eating fun

Posted on 26 December 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

Given the timeliness of #FakeNews, the tragedy of Richard Jewell was going to be my last review for Flicks, but my dear readers are savvy enough to know the difference between fantasy and reality.  It is for John Williams sake that I chose to review Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker as the last column of Flicks.

While the Beatles are the soundtrack from my youth and Alice Cooper is helping me cope with middle age, the music of John Williams has truly been the soundtrack of my life.  “Johnny” Williams, the maestro, composed many television shows, most notably season three of Lost in Space, which still gets my adrenaline pumped after 50 years. When I hear the opening notes of The Cowboys, I want to find Bruce Dern and avenge John Wayne. As a senior at Florida State University 35 years ago, I was honored to lead the Marching Chiefs across three football fields to the strains of the Indiana Jones theme.  

For many years, John Williams was the conductor for the Boston Pops, and I had always wanted to attend his concerts. The year 1992 was to be John Williams’ final tour. He was playing at the Wolf Trap in Virginia. At that time, I was unemployed, house sitting in Maryland and being nourished by Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. As broke as I was, I decided to put myself further in debt and attended the concert. It was a crossroads moment in my life, and I have never regretted this decision. I finally learned to listen to my own voice 37 years ago.

Beyond the special effect visuals, following one’s own conscience and moral compass has been the underlying theme of the Star Wars franchise.  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker wraps up three generations of characters and how they deal with consistent evil. Characters like Darth Vader and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are seduced by power and evil, while characters like Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), Luke (Mark Hamill) and Rey (Daisey Ridley) endure, persevere and heal. John Williams also has a cameo as a bartender in the film.

According to Rotten, the public likes Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker more than mainstream critics.  Given four decades of great expectations and the fact that the top billed actress died three years ago, the production team created an entertaining movie.

Utilizing John Williams’ inspired musical score, Episode IX cements many lingering plot points from the previous eight movies of the Skywalker Saga. Along with Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Disney has plans for the future of Star Wars, though the Skywalker Saga, which began in 1977, has concluded. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker succeeds as popcorn-eating Saturday matinee fun.

In the days before Christ, primitive people would hunker down in their caves at night, light a torch and tell some stories. The more artistically inclined individuals would paint their stories on the cave walls. It was much later when someone placed some corn over a fire, watched it pop and shared the food with their family and friends. This was the first cinema experience, which became perfected by the evolution of technology. Movies are merely an extension of the entertainment once enjoyed by our ancestors.

At age 81, former President Ronald Reagan said, “In our country, one’s destinations matter more than one’s origins. Like most Americans, I live for the future.” 

These words become more meaningful to me as I write my final paragraph of Flicks.  I am humbled by my dear reader’s 20 years of readership and, to quote the great clown, Red Skelton, “God Bless and Good Night.”

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“The Swashbuckling Journalist & Information Scientist”

Posted on 19 December 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

Santa Claus meets “Cinema” Dave.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7

When I accepted the plaque for 20 years of service with The Observer, I admitted that “Flicks” has been a labor of love for me. I also became aware that I would not be writing this column for another 20 years. Like Dwyane Wade’s final year with the Miami Heat, I was hoping to have #OneLastDance. 

This columnist came to the revelation that the world had changed more than I have. (Case in point — does anyone know what the word “Flicks” means?) I am still the shy 10-year-old Davy from Huntington, Long Island, who moved to Deerfield Beach with his parents and Chrissy the dog in 1973. I live with chronic grief over the loss of my dad and my dog, yet I am sustained in my Christian belief that real love is eternal. We will meet again for a grand family reunion with my New York and Alabama families and dearly departed friends that I have written about in this column.

With decades of show business training, I am comfortable when the spotlight is thrust upon me. Actually, I am a private person and not emotionally demonstrative. I like having the separation from shy Dave Montalbano to Cinema Dave — that “swashbuckling journalist and information scientist.” The meek Montalbano is a working man with a deep love for his family, friends and pets, while Cinema Dave attends premiers, festivals and gets his picture taken with movie stars, music legends and American heroes.

Since 1999, our community has survived wars, rumors of wars, the 2000 Presidential Election, multiple hurricanes (with Hurricane Wilma being the most devastating), political corruption, shootings and my personal battles with a pesky puppet — Sinister Simon.

This column is older than actress Bailee Madison, Dwayne Wade’s NBA career and the Marvel Comic’s “The Infinity Wars Saga.”

Considering that major media have hired syndicated columnists from either New York, Chicago or Los Angeles for over a decade, I am proud to have claimed the title “the longest standing film columnist in Broward County.”  My intention was to write a film column that was not uppity or snarky, unless I thought my column was Saturday matinee popcorn eating fun. Then, I would report on a film and let the ticket buyer decide the value of seeing the movie. Afterall, some people love Madonna and some people love a King Kong movie. Both are entitled to their opinions.

This column has outlasted Blockbuster Video and Border’s Bookstore. It seems appropriate that a column titled “Flicks” closes in 2019. People do not go to movie theaters the way they did in 1999. Yet, I am thankful this year to share the communal experience watching Captain America battling the Mad Titan Thanos at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science Autonation IMAX screen — A battle reminiscent of David versus Goliath, a mythic story that is close to this writer’s heart.

At my age, my heart is a current concern.  Given the sedentary lifestyle of being a swashbuckling journalist and information scientist, my medical doctors have prescribed more walking and swimming, which I will be doing in my free time, since I will not be writing a weekly column. After next week, “Cinema” Dave has no plans for public publishing, but I have learned by writing “Flicks” that writing is my innate talent, so, given my Christian belief and faith, my writing has been “born again.” It seems appropriate to end my penultimate column with Merry Christmas!

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Register for Blues School 2020!

Posted on 12 December 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

Given that Deerfield Beach Percy White Library had successfully hosted “Blues School: Ragtime Migration with Kris Nicholson,” “Blues School 2020” became inevitable.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Percy White Library Inc., Nicholson will ring the school bell on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. This first program features “Music from Martin Luther King’s time 1929-1968.” This Honky Tonk piano player will create an uplifting celebration of Doctor King’s life in the 20th Century. Expect a lot of familiar songs from the eras of Harold Arlen to Otis Redding.

The Saturday before the Superbowl – Feb. 1 – Florida Blues Legend Joey Gilmore will add some authenticity to the “Blues School 2020” series. Gilmore has shared the stage with James Brown, Etta James, Bobby Bland, Little Milton and Robert “HiHat” Carter. A crowd favorite at festivals and on the road, Joey Gilmore earned the coveted IBC for his contribution to Blues culture and education.

Saturday, March 14 features America’s Music: From Plymouth Rock to Rock ‘n’ Roll hosted by scholar Matthew Sabatella. Part musical concert and part historical lecture, Sabatella’s programs always have people tapping their feet and feeling enlightened by our unique American heritage.  

Cinema of the Blues will be seen Thursday, Jan. 30, Saturday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, March 5. Due to licensing agreements, the titles cannot be revealed, but flyers and titles are available by visiting Deerfield Beach Percy White Library. (Hints: The January movie stars Ralph Macchio, Joe Seneca and Steve Vai. The February movie won the Best Picture Oscar, and the March screening stars Elwood Blues without his partner Joliet Jake.)

“Blues School 2020” graduation with Senior Moments: “The Unforgettable Band” happens Saturday, March 28. This final program is the culmination of the series and features the Big Band Swing aspect of the Blues.

As an American art form, the Blues provides an entertaining escape. The Blues acknowledges hardship, sorrow and loss, but the music allows one a vehicle to escape to the garden of happiness and perseverance. The best thing about “Blues School 2020” is that it is free and open to our community. How cool is that?

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Remember December 7?

Posted on 05 December 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Translated quote attributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (though not factually verified)

This Saturday, Dec. 7 marks the 78th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Does this sentence hold any significance for you? For some of my readers, the bombing of Pearl Horror was a horror story that they first heard about on Broadcast Radio or that their parents lived through. It was a life changing day for millions of people.

The Japanese Imperial Navy waged a surprise attack on the territory of Hawaii, which was the most western naval base of the United States of America. (On Dec. 8, 1941, Congress declared war on Japan.) A shocked nation responded months later with a bombing mission over Tokyo, which lead to the Battle of Midway, Iwo Jima, Bataan and the eventual dropping of two Atomic Bombs on Japan. Thus, in one compound sentence, explains the Pacific Campaign of World War II.

As a child and teen growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, World War II was very much a topic of conversation, since many relatives and neighbors served in the conflict. Television shows like Hogan’s Heroes found humor about prisoners of war. Afternoon movies featuring John Wayne, Cary Grant and Errol Flynn presented patriotic stories with stock war footage filmed by legendary movie directors like John Huston, John Ford and Italian Immigrant Frank Capra. 

When war concludes, a soldier returns home in the hopes of finding peace. The highest ranking actor in military history, a Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve, James Stewart made a movie with Frank Capra that bombed — It’s a Wonderful Life. It wasn’t until the early 1980s with contemporary, hot film director Steven Spielberg that The Searchers and It’s a Wonderful Life were two of the most influential movies. 

As Greek philosopher Socrates proclaimed over 5,000 years ago, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”  As Sept. 11, 2001 has revealed, each generation faces the challenge of evil and how one responds to that challenge defines a generation.

This Monday, Dec. 9, Broward County Library Director Kelvin Watson will be visiting Deerfield Beach Percy White Library to do a book talk on Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel.  As a follow up to his book, The Good Soldiers, Finkel focuses on the returning soldiers from the “War on Terror” and how they are trying to adjust to civilian life.

This Saturday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m., Deerfield Beach Percy White Library will present a John Wayne movie released in January 1944. (Title cannot be revealed due to licensing agreements.) While young people might scoff at how dated this film will look, this film is a time capsule about the culture of world war. One will cringe at the cigarettes being smoked in this movie, yet one will appreciate the sincerity of domestic sacrifice. While John Wayne did not serve in World War II, his movies where respected by the American soldier. I should know. My Dad served in World War II at the time of this movie’s release.

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The Diane Baker story

Posted on 27 November 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

Prolific actress Diane Baker and Cinema Dave.
Photo by Rachel Galvin.

It should have been easy. We scheduled my interview with Diane Baker to avoid traffic on the Veteran’s Day holiday.  Despite leaving with plenty of time to spare, I sat on I-95 for 45 minutes, trapped between the exits of Cypress Creek and Commercial Boulevards.  When I finally arrived, I expected this movie star to turn diva on me. Instead, she shared her strawberries with me. Diane Baker is an optimistic individual who radiates positive energy. 

So it was with a sense of irony that she would conduct FLIFF post screening interviews of Strait-Jacket and Marnie, a horror and suspense movie, respectively. After seeing Marnie, after not seeing it for many years, her first words were “That was disturbing.”

A sensitive soul, she did tear up when she discussed Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s treatment of her and Tippi Hedren on the set of the film.

One does not survive six decades in show business by being a victim. Baker worked steadily on television in classic shows like Route 66, Wagon Train and Dr. Kildare.  She appeared in the first episode of The Invaders and the last episode of The Fugitive starring David Janssen. Of her costar Janssen, Diane said, “No one knew how smart he was.” She rates Janssen’s intelligence with that of Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Robert Osborne, Vincent Price and her mentor, Melvyn Douglas.

Television provided a variety of acting opportunities for Baker. She considered playing the mother on Little House on the Prairie, but had doubts about committing to performing the same role for seven years. Instead, she chose the pilot for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which was not picked up.  As recent as 2012, Baker portrayed Nicole Kidman’s mother in the Emmy Award winning Hemingway & Gellhorn, a good experience that involved two days of work.

As Senator Ruth Martin, Baker worked one day on The Silence of the Lambs, another good experience, thanks to Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme and Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins.

Demme wanted Baker for this small, but important role as the victim’s mother.  Both actors were prepared. Hopkins and Baker performed an emotional first take of the scene.  Demme complimented the actors but asked for another take, to make it simpler and play it more internally.  Demme’s instincts paid off. The chilling scene between the masked Hannibal Lecter and the senator remains tense drama nearly 30 years after it was filmed.

Like It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Silence of the Lambs earned Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor.  Despite scary protests at the 1992 ceremony, Baker attended at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with her boyfriend Michael Lerner, who was nominated for his work on Barton Fink. Like being on a winning sports team, Baker shared the joy as Demme, Hopkins and Jodie Foster collected their golden idols. 

Given that her first film was The Diary of Anne Frank, Baker is used to creating quality.  She has been an acting teacher for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and served as the executive director for the School of Motion Pictures &Television, and the Academy of Art University School of Acting.  Her interests are broad, and she is an advocate of Norman Cousins, who believed in healing through laughter.  

Baker and I laughed together. We share mutual birthdays, and we sang “Happy Birthday to Us” when she departed for home.

As a teacher and mentor, I asked her what advice she would pass on to a new generation, to which, she answered, “Young people should learn to meditate… Get to know thyself and calm yourself.”

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17 Days of FLIFF 2019

Posted on 21 November 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

An epic tale can be told in 17 days. That is the major lesson that was learned in the 2 ½ weeks of the 34th Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF), which featured a strong beginning, middle and a grand finale.  There were heroes and villains, featuring close calls and thrilling escapes. There was also an acknowledgement that regardless of race, color or creed, there is a community of individuals who love stories told on the big screen.

Winner of the best ensemble award,Working Man, is a film that symbolizes the themes of FLIFF 2019. Ten years in preparation, Robert Jury molded his script into a 1 hour and 49 minute drama that touches upon all the elements of Aristotelian drama: sadness, penance, comedy and redemption. Yet, for all of the academic touch points, Working Man is a contemporary movie that taps into modern sensibilities. The production values of this film reflect upon a little independent film that costar Talia Shire was involved in 43 years ago — Rocky.

Forty-three years ago, the biggest star on the set of Rocky was Burgess Meredith, an actor who was known to one generation as Batman’s nemesis “The Penguin,” to another generation he was “George” to Lon Chaney Jr.’s “Lennie” in John Steinbeck’s adaption Of Mice and Men.  The production values of Rocky were far more depressed than the previous mentioned Burgess Meredith productions. In fact, the actor’s dressing room was a shared van on the streets of Philadelphia.

Instead of missing the glory of salad days gone by, Talia Shire saw him (in his Long Johns, in the dressing room) proclaiming, “Isn’t this great?” Meredith garnered an Oscar nomination for Rocky and steady work in the industry for another 30 years. This is a lesson that the then 29 year-old Talia Shire embraced.

Being trained in theater with the gravitas that “the show must go on,” Shire flew into Ft. Lauderdale on a red eye jet, later than expected, despite an injured index finger and waves of throbbing pain. She would have made Burgess Meredith proud. 

Shire provided expert analysis of Working Man (Videos will be downloaded on my blog — this weekend.)  She was generous with the press, signing autographs and posing with fans for photographs.  Shire is a movie star, but she prefers to be known as a character actress.

As an Italian child from Long Island, the film From the Vine helped me recapture moments of my youth.  Starring Joe Pantoliano in a rare leading role, this filmis the story of an overworked executive who discovers the bucolic joy of making wine. 

In 17 days, the climate changed from tropic heat to November chill.  As a double feature, Working Man and From the Vine were great Sunday afternoon matinee fun.

FLIFF 2019 has closed. Many of the backstage angels and class acts are limping home from a job well done.  In fact, 17 days is a great benchmark in the motion picture industry. For Working Man and Rocky were filmed within a similar time period.   Hmm … Cinema Dave has an idea for a film project in 2020 Anno Domini …

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The Warrior Queen of Jhansi opens as FLIFF closes this weekend

Posted on 14 November 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

Based on a true story, The Warrior Queen of Jhansi opens this weekend and deals with the 1857 Indian Rebellion against the British Empire.  If you remember the historical epics that starred Errol Flynn, Charlton Heston and David Niven, The Warrior Queen of Jhansi presents an alternative perspective from the losing side of history.  Like the Alamo, the seeds of victory were planted in this rebellion that was led by a warrior woman, Rhani of Jhansi (Devika Bhise).

Clocking in under two hours, this film is an entertaining piece of history. The film provides costume drama with conflict between the Rhani and Queen Victoria (Jodhi May), but also presents the outdoor beauty of India. The battle scenes are epic, but lack the bloody intensity of current events provided on the big screen and the small screen these days.

It is with a sense of melancholia that The 34th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival closes this Sunday evening with From the Vine starring Joe Pantoliano.  Pantoliano stars as a damaged individual who returns to rural Italy in an attempt to resurrect a wine vineyard. 

Written and directed by Daniel Cohen, A Stone in the Water will play this weekend. Bonnie Bedelia portrays a grief-stricken mother who projects her worst fears upon a pregnant survivor of a car crash. Sunday evening will wrap up the festival with Working Man, which features Talia Shire’s return to the festival.

Prolific actress, Diane Baker has graced the festival with her warmth and humanity. A voting member of the Academy Awards who serves with the Actor’s Branch, Baker  credits acting to opening her world to adventures in Greece and Israel.  She has witnessed firsthand a government dictatorship, while acknowledging the common wishes and desires of worldwide humanity.  She credits much of her education to her mentor, Melvyn Douglas, a MGM contract player who won two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor in Hud and Being There, respectively.     

Douglas helped Baker deal with Joan Crawford, an actress who could be very demanding. Baker and Crawford made three films together: The Best of Everything, Della and Strait-Jacket. Perhaps because Crawford portrayed Baker’s mother in two of the three films, the fine line between fantasy and reality seemed to be crossed. This weekend, I will be presenting the videos of Diane Baker’s interview with Professor Foster Hirsch on my blog —, which will detail how Baker dealt with her conflict with Joan Crawford.

As much as I love partying and reconnecting with friends and colleagues, it is these special moments with people like Diane Baker that elevates a film festival like FLIFF.  As much as the industry has changed, it is great to listen to a professional of her caliber who believes in good stories, human values and the importance of laughter.

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Freedom & fun are the focus of FLIFF

Posted on 07 November 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

Behemoth ! Colossal !! Gigantic ! ! ! These are just some of the adjectives describing the opening night of The 34th International Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF34) at the Museum of Discovery and Science.

Cuba, the 45 minute documentary on the six story IMAX theater, created ambiance to set up a unique party. How unique? The magnitude of party goers danced to Tito Puente Jr.’s Mambo tunes on a dance floor situated between a Megalodon Shark and Terry the Otter’s water pool.

Besides rocking it out on the dance floor, Karen Allen and Peter Reigert proved to be generous celebrities. Karen Allen’s drama Colewell and Peter Reigert’s short subject, Extra Innings, are reminders about the importance of storytelling in the movies. For this film columnist, it is such a welcome relief to see professionals like Allen and Reigert express such genuine love for cinema and storytelling.

With echoes of Frank Capra’s Oscar winning classic, It Happened One Night, the French film, Our Happy Holiday, screened with director Patrick Cassir and actress Camille Chamoux too. A romantic comedy with modern charm, this film had people laughing all the way up to the end credits.

This international party continues this Friday, Nov. 8 with Duck Pond from Sweden. Director Robert Andersson will present his film and host the Merry Meatballs party after the 6 p.m. screening. Even Executive Director Michelle Filipi’s success with organizing parties this season, expect this Duck Pond/Merry Meatballs party to be a unique and fun event. 

On Veteran’s Day — Monday, Nov. 11, actress Diane Baker will attend the screening of her cult classic, Strait-Jacket, costarring Lee Majors and Joan Crawford. Professor Foster Hirsch will conduct an onstage interview with this prolific actress with a long resume. Besides appearing in Oscar winning films like The Diary of Anne Frank and The Silence of the Lambs, Diane Baker has starred in many cult classics like Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Cable Guy and A Mighty Wind.

Baker will attend a special evening screening of Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie at the Savor on Tuesday evening, Nov. 12.

Earlier in the day, Florida Film Legend William Grefe will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award before the screening of the 1985 film Cease Fire. This moviewas one of the first movies to tackle the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on the big screen. Starring Don Johnson,this filmfeatures an appearance from Vietnam Veteran’s advocate Chris Noel.

With Justin Long and Radha Mitchell arriving in town to screen their movies and party with our neighbors, it is silly not to join the fun. For ticket prices and updates, visit the website — Also — don’t forget to thank a Veteran this special weekend!

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Keep the Halloween Party alive with FLIFF

Posted on 31 October 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

Even though Halloween winds down this evening, this weekend will keep the party going with Day of the Dead festivities, especially in Ft. Lauderdale. The 10thannual tons of fun Florida Day of the Dead Skeleton Processional in downtown Ft. Lauderdale begins at 6 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 2.This rowdy processional will snake through downtown Ft. Lauderdale with many touch points that will involve the 34th Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF).

FLIFF runs Nov. 1 to 17. Savor Cinema will kick things off Friday, Nov. 1 with a special movie, Scream, Queen, which is a documentary about featured guest Mark Patton. An avuncular fixture at horror movie conventions, this gay actor has served on Scream, Queen panels with certified Scream Queens like Linnea Quigley, P.J. Soles and Barbara Crampton. While there is safety at a horror convention, this new documentary will present Patton’s struggles in the motion picture industry after A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge was released in 1985. Freddy’s Revenge will screen after Scream, Queen.

This Saturday evening, Nov. 2, at Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood and Sunday evening, Nov. 3, at Savor Cinema, Gamble Rogers: Down at the Terminal Tavern will screen. A documentary about singer, songwriter and raconteur, this documentary will present the life and times of a unique artist. Special guests Bill and Melissa Shepard Sykes will be in attendance at a special party Sunday evening at Savor Cinema. The couple is expected to walk the red carpet this Friday evening, Nov. 1, at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science Gala Party.

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m., local resident Chris Noel will be visiting the Retro Pool Party at the Conrad Ft. Lauderdale Beach, 6th Floor, Spinnaker Pool Deck. Cast in the movie, Noel will be the Special Guest at the screening of Girl Happy, starring Elvis Presley. Filmed in Ft. Lauderdale circa 1965, Noel was cast as an “Elvis Girl.” While visiting Vietnam on a promotional junket, Noel became an advocate for Vietnam Veterans and worked for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. As a guest of the motorcycle posse, Rolling Thunder, she rode her chopper to Washington D.C. for many Veteran’s Day ceremonies.

On Saturday, Nov. 9 at 3:30 p.m. at Savor Cinema, Australian actress Radha Mitchell will receive the FLIFF2019 Career Achievement Award. With appearances in films like Olympus has Fallen, Silent Hill and Man on Fire (co-starring Denzel Washington); Mitchell will attend the screening of her new movie, Celeste. Celeste is a family drama that was filmed in North Queensland, Australia.

On Saturday, Nov. 9, Justin Long will attend the Centerpiece Party at Savor Cinema. The actor, producer and podcaster will present his new film, Safe Spaces at 8:30 p.m., and will receive the FLIFF 2019 Career Achievement Award.

To close out the evening, Popcorn Frights will screen the Sam Raimi scary flick, Drag Me to Hell, co-starring Alison Lohman and Justin Long.

Over 100 FLIFF Catalogs have been given away at Deerfield Beach Percy White Library since last Saturday. While the catalogs are likely to be gone at the time of this column’s publication, pocket schedules will still likely to be available.

Keep the party going, but have a safe and Happy Halloween.

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MODS hosts FLIFF & Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Posted on 24 October 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

[After witnessing couples of all types shedding tears during climactic portions of the film], this jaded film columnist feels that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a reminder about the power of movies to transform and inspire. The film opens with village people raiding the forest and abducting miniature mushroom men. As the forest fairies retaliate, one thug manages to sneak a mushroom man into the waiting hands of the mad scientist midget Lickspittle (Warwick Davis), who may be a distant relative of Jedi Master Yoda. The titles are announced and we see Sleeping Beauty, alias Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), in the forest preparing to meet the village Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson). Despite their cultural differences, the prince proposes to the princess and the unification of the kingdoms is underway.

With marriages comes the conflicts with the in-laws, most notably Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), who have a bitter unsaid history with one another. Their first dinner party goes badly. A war breaks out between the village and the forest people. With spectacular battle scenes involving pink fairy bombs, it is the diva duel between Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer that drives the emotional core of the film.

The gala opening of the 34th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) will be held at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) on next Friday night, Nov.1. Actors Karen Allen and Peter Riegert [who were in Animal House together], are scheduled to walk the red carpet that night. The evening will include a screening of the movie Cuba. The Tito Puente Latin Jazz Ensemble will provide the musical ambiance (sponsored by local resident Cyndi Boyar in honor of her late father, Jerry, and mother, June). For tickets and membership information, contact 954-525-FILM.

There is no denying that Halloween is in the air in our neighborhood, with the City of Deerfield Halloween festivities at Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex this Friday night and the Halloween Hoe-Down at the Villages of Hillsboro Park on Saturday night. Not to be left out of the fun, Deerfield Beach Percy White Library will be contributing with a special screening of a Frankenstein movie at 2 p.m. on Saturday. (The movie title cannot be announced due to licensing agreement.) Lacking the special effects of Maleficent, this black & white 1943 classic is currently being honored at Universal Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando. The screening is free and will include comic book giveaways while supplies last. 

Stop by the library, check out a scary book for the scary season and enjoy the display created by Andrea Rubin, Latasha Garrett and Joy Smith.

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