FLICKS: The Top 10 Flicks, Another look at 2018

Posted on 10 January 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Last year, many critics joked that since Ash Wednesday would be on Valentine’s Day and Easter Sunday would fall on April Fools Day, many Christians would be confused. Instead, people’s faith in their God was severely tested on Feb. 14 with the Parkland Shooting. In the midst of political finger pointing, our neighbors pitched in and attempted to heal the painful situation. Bentley, host for Deerfield Beach Percy White Library’s Wags & Tales Reading Program, visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as a therapy dog. The Coral Springs Museum of Art encouraged art therapy and displayed student’s art work. Music was another form of release as I witnessed two teenage strangers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School bond with each other through their acoustic guitar strumming.

On April 1, 2018, family and friends quietly celebrated; it was a quiet news day. At 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the first notes of Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert on the NBC Network and social media exploded. While there was common criticism of cheesy TV commercials, the live production was a juggernaut of show-stopping musical numbers featuring John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper and Brandon Victor Dixon singing the signature song. After 40 days and one week of grief and despair, Jesus Christ Superstar provided a few hours of escapism that good art should provide.

Beyond a good story, interesting characters and strong visualization, this year’s Top 10 List includes movies that helped me escape. I went into the dark cave known as cinema and emerged with a sense of illumination about my place in this world.

Cinema Dave’s Top 10 favorite films (In reversed alphabetical order):

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

12 Strong

The Mule

Juliet, Naked

First Man

Eighth Grade

Creed II

Bohemian Rhapsody

Black Panther

Avengers: Infinity War

Honorable mentions: Solo, A Star is Born, Ready Player One, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

2018 will go down as a fine year for documentaries. Won’t You Be My Neighbor was unique because Dr. Fred Rogers was such a positive character and the film retained a sweetness from beginning to end. Despite a tragic ending, Sharkwater Extinction was a fantastic visual experience featuring gorgeous sunsets and underwater adventure. RBG and Love, Gilda provided private insight into two public figures, a Supreme Court Justice and a gonzo comedian, respectively. While The King is a toe-tapping assault about the fruits of American capitalism from the Hollywood elite, Women of Venezuelan Chaos presented the squalor and negative effects of the dreams of socialism, which is an eminent front for government tyranny.

With the exception of Christian Bale thanking Satan for his Golden Globe win, the Hollywood elite bridled their words at last Sunday’s awards ceremony. Based on the belligerent behavior of Hollywood elites (I am looking at you, Robert DeNiro), the television ratings have been increasingly dropping. The box office broke records for 2018, but with Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther contributing for nearly a billion dollars in the kitty alone. Without family friendly Marvel Comic Universe movies for 2018, the record breaking box office would have collapsed like a house of cards.

With new revenue streams like Amazon and Netflix, many award-nominated motion pictures had limited screen time in theaters. In fact, some films go from opening at film festivals to direct streaming on your computers if you purchase Netflix or Amazon. If movie theaters plan to survive, they need to focus on good old-fashioned customer service and cleaner movie theaters.

Nonetheless, I am optimistic about visiting Savor Cinema in the next couple of months to catch up with the Oscar nominated films that I did not see yet. With Glass, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame opening at Museum of Discovery and Science (IMAX) in Ft. Lauderdale, expect to see Cinema Dave eating a jumbo bag of popcorn and enjoying Saturday Matinee escapism.

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FLICKS: A look at movies from 2018

Posted on 03 January 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Given that I am writing this column in 2018, I still have a few hours left before creating my Top 10 List of films and honorable mentions for the year, which means it will be posted next Thursday, Jan. 10 instead.

Being a good information scientist, I have been researching other people’s mainstream Top 10 Lists and the results have been eclectic. One of the most bizarre picks is Deadpool 2, which happened to earn the 5th largest box office gross for the year. Aside from many comic book “in” jokes and a celebrity cameo from Brad Pitt, Deadpool 2, to me, is merely an extension of gags from the first movie.

A darling of the Venice Film Festival, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is the latest movie from the Coen Brothers, who delight in pessimistic themes of the old west (Raising Arizona, No Country for Old Men, True Grit). This anthology film presents six stories. The first story stars Tim Blake Nelson and is a musical comedy that generates many belly laughs. The remaining five stories get progressively darker and crueler. “Meal Ticket” is the most disturbing tale. It features Liam Neeson as a snake oil salesman and his partner, an armless and legless orator of classic poetry (Harry Melling), the actor best known for playing Young Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter movies. After Meal Ticket, the good will of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is squandered.

Ghost Stories is an anthology film with a narrative thread that creates a full cinematic experience. Shot in Great Britain on a shoestring budget, writers and directors Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman (who is also the main protagonist) create a classic ghost story that relies on sight, sound and a narrative drive that is psychologically based.

Eighth Grade was a surprise find. It is a simple slice of life movie written and directed by Bo Burnham. In it, Elsie Fisher stars as Kayla, a teenager in her final week of middle school. While it is modern (Yes, cell phones play a big part in moving the narrative along), the awkwardness of being a teen is real and is presented as a right of passage. Eighth Grade is easily the best film I found on other mass media’s Top 10 Lists and Elsie Fisher is nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.

It should be noted that the films I mention in this column are no longer on the big screen. Each one of these films can be found on Netflix or on DVD at your local library.

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FLICKS: “Cinema” Dave’s 2018

Posted on 26 December 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

As a child of the 1960s, the term “Revolution” was often described as a political movement. When “Revolution” was utilized during the 2008 political season with the same political marketing, I realized that “Revolution” was not a political movement, but an excuse to reinvent the wheel.

Last December, I wrote that my column would be going through a sense of “Evolution,” which implies a sense of growth and change. As long as I am known as “Cinema” Dave, this column will always be grounded in film. Yet, there were moments watching boring movies in 2017 (Justice League was the tipping point) that I really questioned my value of sitting in a dark room of flickering images.

Starting in 2018, I sought more meaningful entertainment diversions, something more personal to this writer. As Deerfield Beach Percy White Library prepares for another visit from the “President and his First Lady” (historical reenactors) on the last Saturday in January, I reflect upon my interview with the actor who played many presidents William Wills, leading man, entrepreneur and family man. Besides being a labor of love, “Presidents and their First Ladies” is a family affair in the performing arts that also raises funds for military veteran familes.

Thanks to Marlene Janetos and Theresa Waldron, I have renewed my visits to the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) IMAX Theatre, which also provided fine exhibits featuring hurricane preparations, Archimedes mathematics, and an appearance by Terry the Otter. The differences between local theaters and the five-story IMAX screen is dramatic.

I am thankful that the Observer has acknowledged my film columns since the summer of ‘99, during one of my most challenging years [They gave me a plaque for my almost 20 years of service as a film columnist]. I am also thankful for the loyalty that Randi Emmerman, Gregory Von Hausch and Joy Bowman have provided me throughout the years. The fact that I received a medal from “Adventurers in Charity” also is very meaningful to me, much like my multiple nominations for a Rondo Hatton Award.

With any evolution, there is an acknowledgement of the passage of time and loss. The year 2018 is the year we lost Burt Reynolds, the Hollywood movie star who found solace in his Florida roots. Like Burt Reynolds, Johnny Depp also has South Florida connections. Being movie stars, both individuals have had their share of good press and paparazzi press. As I write this column, Disney Studios have announced releasing Johnny Depp from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Unlike his image as the media monster presented by the mainstream press, the Johnny Depp I met at the Alice Cooper’s 17th Annual Christmas Pudding concert in Arizona was clear-eyed and engaging, and appeared to be enjoying himself as the guitarist for the Hollywood Vampires band. Given that Depp and I are the same age, perhaps he too is going through his own sense of evolution? Only time will tell.

Dear Readers, let us all start things off with a Happy New Year!

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FLICKS: Movie memories & The Mule

Posted on 19 December 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

It was 20 years ago this Christmas Eve that I lost my Uncle Billy. Besides my Mom and Dad, I spent more Christmases with Uncle Billy than any other family member, so I am very sensitive to people suffering from loss when it seems as if everybody is singing about happiness and joy.

As I was dealing with the raw grief of the situation, the movies playing on the big screen included Mighty Joe Young, You’ve Got Mail, Stepmom and Jack Frost. I wanted to avoid the tear jerker Stepmom (the previews revealed Susan Sarandon as a dying mother and Julia Roberts as her future replacement), so I went to see Mighty Joe Young and You’ve Got Mail.

The most shocking film was Jack Frost, a comedy in which Michael Keaton portrayed a musician who dies in a car accident and returns to earth as a snowman. Like No Country for Old Men being released during the Christmas week, I feel an obligation as a columnist to alert my readers about watching a potential melancholic mind trap of a movie on a happy holiday.

With a heavy marketing push on television, The Mule has presented screen legend Clint Eastwood as a haggard old man driving on the U.S. Interstate Highway. Inspired by a true story, Eastwood portrays Earl Stone, a successful florist who constantly disappoints his family. With all of its film noir trappings, The Mule is a surprising revelation for the holiday season.

In 2005, Earl enjoyed the harvest of a good economy. Twelve Years later, his home is being foreclosed upon. With the exception of his grandchild Ginny (Taissa Farmiga), Earl receives no support from his ex-wife, Mary (Dianne Wiest), and he is not on speaking terms with his daughter Iris (Alison Eastwood — Clint’s real life daughter). While attending a disastrous family function, Earl is offered a simple job by a Mexican man.

The job is simple. All he has to do is drive cargo to Chicago. Upon staying at a designated motel, Earl receives a bundle of cash in the morning. The job is easy and Earl continues to do it, even when he discovers he is a courier for the Mexican Drug Cartel, headed by Laton (Andy Garcia).

Under such an austere situation, the trademark dark humor of a Clint Eastwood movie shines through. There are great scenes of Eastwood driving his truck by himself, singing road songs on the radio and getting the lyrics wrong. There are funny scenes involving Earl’s new found wealth and his propensity for being a Robin Hood. That written, The Mule does not detract from a simple message about family, career and redemption. With that sentiment, there is no other way to end this column then with these two words, “Merry Christmas!”

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FLICKS: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Posted on 12 December 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

In battling the ventriloquist puppet known as Sinister Simon, this columnist’s solution to the conflict was to throw the puppet off a four-story building and feed the puppet to Jan Mitchell’s Jack Russell terriers [This refers to a funny video Dave was in, for those who have not seen it]. This solution would have horrified Mr. Rogers, who disavowed such violence in his neighborhood.

Won’t You Be my Neighbor? is now on DVD, having made it’s South Florida debut at the 35th Miami International Film Festival. Using clips and outtakes from his long running PBS television series, this documentary features the story of Fred Rogers, a seminary student in his last year who gets interested in this newfangled contraption called “television.”

Fred goes to work for the public television station (PBS) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Being the pioneering days of television, Rogers is both producer and live music director for a children’s show. Technical difficulties often interfere with live telecast, but Fred learns how to save a scene by using a tiger puppet to save the day.

Finding his life’s calling, Rogers returns to the seminary, becomes a minister and creates Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which runs over 40 years. Despite being a show that features the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, the first show that aired in February 1968 features puppets talking about war. Five months later when Robert Kennedy is killed, Daniel Striped Tiger, the puppet, asks one of the grownups, “What does the word assassination mean?”

If one goes to learn something scandalous about Mister Rogers, he will be extremely disappointed with Won’t You Be My Neighbor? The Fred Rogers who was on PBS is the same Fred Rogers that one saw on talk shows or speaking in front of the United States Congress. His wife, children, cast and crew members talk about Fred with such consistent fondness. The man seemed too nice to be true.

There are hints that he had a tough childhood and was bullied for being a rich kid known as “Fat Freddy,” but that is not the core drive of this documentary. By not dwelling on negativity, Fred spends his professional life being a problem solver and a strong advocate for children. A registered Republican, Mister Rogers was an open Christian who preached the importance of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Comedian Dana Carvey once said that his George H.W. Bush impression was a cross between John Wayne and Mister Rogers. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a sweet lesson that children today need to learn and adults need to remember about their own childhood. This documentary about Mister Rogers is one of the best movies to see this holiday season.

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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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