Tag Archive | "CINEMA"

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Storm Boy opens this weekend, Dumbo deserved more love

Posted on 04 April 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Despite being No. 1 in the box office last weekend, Dumbo disappointed in the box office numbers. Earning only 25 percent of its production costs, Dumbo faces much competition this spring break season with Shazam!, Pet Sematary and Storm Boy opening this weekend. The sad thing is that Dumbo is fine family entertainment directed by Tim Burton. While a darker version of the popular animated motion picture from 1941, this modern version of Dumbo eschews talking and singing animals. The new film focuses on a family and a small business facing a financial crisis.

Set in Sarasota, circa 1919, the film opens with the Medici Brothers Circus launching their annual barnstorming tour through the American Heartland. While in Joplin, Missouri (Walt Disney’s hometown), Ringmaster Medici (Danny Devito) welcomes the return of his ace trick rider (Colin Farrell) to his family and the birth of a baby elephant with big ears.

The story is simple and conflict will ensue. However, it is the attention to detail that makes Dumbo so special. Music that animals sang to in the first movie is used as heartfelt musical cues. “Baby Mine” is rendered with sideshow performers (bearded lady, strong man) playing a flute and ukulele, while resting between shows. Despite some mean behavior and a jump scare, Dumbo is a sweet movie to take children to if only to see how a family sticks together to solve problems.

Storm Boy opens this weekend and contains many of the same themes as Dumbo with far less special effects. Based on the novella by Colin Thiele, Storm Boy is a rite of passage story that is set on the Australian coast. Geoffrey Rush (who also produced) portrays Mike Kingley, a retiring business man who is concerned that his son wants to pave paradise and put up a parking lot, upsetting the economical balance of the beach front.

When reuniting with his granddaughter, Kingley reflects upon his youth with three pelicans, in particular Mr. Percival, an orphan pelican.  Mr. Percival and Kingley have a series of encounters on the island and become local celebrities.

“A good story has to go wrong before it gets better,” Kingley tells his granddaughter late in the film. It is sad, but Storm Boy concludes on a life affirming note. In fact, it will inspire you to go for an early morning walk on Deerfield Beach to watch and observe the birds on our beach.

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FLICKS: Halloween & House of Wax

Posted on 25 October 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


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: 2015 in review & looking toward 2016

Posted on 07 January 2016 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


2014 was such a disappointing year that last year I could only name seven movies for my annual Top 10 list. A few weeks later, Hollywood released their Academy Award considerations and I would have balanced the list with the following motion pictures: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.

The movies for 2015 provided escapist entertainment. Beyond my own enjoyment, I could consistently hear people laughing, crying and applauding the images on the big screen. With good stories, interesting characters and clear visualization, movies were simply more fun in 2015. The included Top 10 list sidebar is presented in reverse alphabetical order.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens just dethroned Avatar as the biggest grossing motion picture of all time. Given the fragmentation of movies between television and Internet, the record breaking box office figures reveal that people still want to see big screen epic entertainment. Jurassic World allowed ticket buyers to see the actual size of a Tyrannosaurus rex on the Museum of Discovery’s 5-story IMAX screen.

2016 will feature a big screen box office battle between a Star Wars spin off (titled Rogue One) and Star Trek Beyond. Given the success of the Marvel Comics Expanded Universe, arch rival DC Comics plans to expand their universe with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which will be followed up with Suicide Squad, featuring the Rogue’s Gallery of Villainy.

Despite a sense of diminishing returns from last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel is predicted to regain the box office championship throne with Captain America: Civil War. While Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) are expected to fight on the big screen, Civil Wars is a political movie that will examine the fine line between security and liberty on May 6, 2016.

Change is in the air locally. The Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) is under new management. Given that the base of operations is in Manalapan, it remains to be seen if PBIFF will have relevance for our Observer readers this April. Stay tuned, we always have the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in November.

2016 will mark my 17th year writing this column in which we have witnessed the home video evolution from VHS to DVD to direct streaming through businesses like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Yet, for all of these technical innovations, nothing beats seeing a flick on the big screen for popcorn-eating Saturday Matinee fun.

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