Tag Archive | "mods"

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FLICKS: MODS, FLIFF or sequels, everything old is new again

Posted on 05 September 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


With Labor Day being the unofficial conclusion of summer, Hollywood will attempt to release movies for Academy Award consideration and Halloween inspired movies. In fact, one of the most anticipated movies of this season will be Jamie Lee Curtis’ return to the Halloween, a direct sequel to the original Halloween movie released 40 years ago.

The Nun will have a one-week engagement at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) IMAX theatre this weekend [and will also be shown in regular theaters]. The Nun is part of an original horror movie franchise created by James Wan that includes titles like The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 movies and the two Annabelle movies. Like the Marvel Comic universe, each one of these thrillers is a standalone story of a contemporary world around us. After making a memorable, but brief appearance in The Conjuring 2, The Nun features an original story about a nun battling suicidal tendencies.

After The Nun, The Predator, The House with a Clock in its Walls and Venom will take over IMAX’s five-story screen. The now controversial (for not showing American astronauts planting the flag on the moon) First Man opens on Oct. 11 for a two-week stay. Based on the eight years in the life of Neil Armstrong leading up to the moon landing in 1969, First Man has received standing ovations at the Venice Film Festival.

Locally, The Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) will dominate November. The opening film and party will begin Friday, Nov. 2 at the remodeled Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Beyond the regular screenings at the Savor Cinema in Ft. Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso Hollywood, there will be special screenings and party related themes at a variety of other venues. The Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort will feature a screening of Where the Boys Are. The wrap party on Nov. 18 will feature a fairway screening of Caddyshack at the Ft. Lauderdale Country Club.

Saturday, Nov. 17 will be an interesting day at Bailey Hall. In honor of the 20th anniversary of Pleasantville, starring Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon and Don Knotts in his final film, the afternoon screening of the film will feature a tribute to writer/director Gary Ross, who also directed Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games and Ocean’s 8.

Twelve years ago, FLIFF premiered Sharkwater, a documentary that was sympathetic to the ocean’s mightiest predator, the shark. Sharkwater Extinction is a follow-up documentary that will examine the roll of the predator and its role in the balance of nature. Has there been progress? The answers can be seen at a party/screening on Nov. 17 at Bailey Hall.

As the film industry wraps up 2018, it will not feature a Star Wars or a Marvel Comics universe movie. There will be a prequel to the Harry Potter series with a sequel to Fantastic Beasts, written by JK Rowling. Co-written by Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa returns to the big screen in Creed II, which stars Michael Jordan in a unique sequel that reaches back to a Rocky sequel from 1985. As lyricist Peter Allen once sang, “Everything old is new again.”

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FLICKS: MCU Anniversary at MODS

Posted on 15 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


At the end of 2017, I wrote about “Flicks” going through an evolution. As I completed my 19th year of writing “Flicks,” it was my revelation that the world has changed more than I have. In 1999, one would drive down Federal Highway and see Walden’s, Borders and Blockbuster Video stores, only to be replaced by T-Mobile, Wells Fargos and Aldis .

Bowfinger was the first movie that I had reviewed, which was a positive critique. This Steve Martin/Eddie Murphy movie still holds up. However, it is fascinating to see Robert Downey Jr. in a cameo as a studio executive. In 1999, Downey was attempting to make a comeback from his struggle in rehab. A well-respected (and Oscar-nominated) character actor, Downey cleaned up his act and nine years later became a leading man, which kicked off the Marvel Comic Universe (MCU).

Released in 2008, Iron Man received less hype than the return of the fourth Indiana Jones movie. Yet, core Marvel comic ticket buyers propelled Iron Man over Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Wall-E and the sparkly vampires of Twilight. While not as well known as Batman or Spider-Man, Iron Man provided a fine introduction to the character through a fast paced, entertaining and stand-alone movie, or so it seemed.

Being “Cinema Dave,” I’ve always stuck around past the closing credits of every movie that I have seen. In the previous year, I was rewarded for this behavior when Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End provided a post credit scene which wrapped up the entire trilogy. The MCU was launched during the post credits sequence when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) showed up in Iron Man’s house and mentioned “the Avenger’s Initiative.”

Nineteen films later and a change of studios (from Paramount to Disney), the MCU has become a box office juggernaut with no signs of stopping. The first phase of Marvel movies provided original stories of Captain America and Thor, which led to the ultimate superhero team up movie, Marvel’s The Avengers.

Again the post credits sequence introduced audiences to Thanos, a creepy character who can (or cannot) destroy the MCU with the snap of his fingers.

While each of these 20 films is interconnected, the genius of the MCU is that each film tells a stand-alone story. Characters from other movies may appear, but if the movie is an Ant-Man or Spider-Man movie, then the title character remains the central protagonist. (If one studies Indian, Greek, Roman, Norse or the Arthurian Legends, the most remembered mythologies follow this pattern of stand-alone stories within the universe of their own culture).

To celebrate the first decade of the MCU, the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) will be screening all 20 movies starting Thursday, Aug. 30 until Thursday, Sept. 6, which includes Labor Day weekend screenings. One can see these movies individually or through special VIP Packages. For more information, visit this website; www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/1119868.

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FLICKS: Solo: A Star Wars Story; MODS gets new resident

Posted on 24 May 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


The production history was a disaster. An Oscar Winning director was called to save this much anticipated anthology film. Given the scant marketing, one wonders if Walt Disney/LucasFilm had plans to cut their losses with their first Star Wars bomb. But, surprise, surprise! Solo A Star Wars Story captures the spirit of Saturday matinee popcorn-eating fun and will be a big hit this Memorial Day Weekend.

The best Star Wars movies are those that recall the glory days of yesteryear before computerized special effects. The plot and situations are outrageous; yet, there is a good spirit that motivates the entertainment value of the franchise. There are some thrilling moments of danger, but the loudest crowd reactions featured the budding relationship between Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his future co-pilot, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), a 7 ft. Wookie from the Planet Kashyyyk.

Before the title character and Chewbacca meet, we witness Young Han and his girlfriend Kira (Emilia Clarke). The two run street scams, but seek a better life full of adventure and romance. In an attempt to leave the planet, Han and Kira are separated. While Kira’s fate becomes a mystery, Han becomes a soldier in the Emperor Army.

Not one to blindly follow orders, Han becomes a rebel and joins a band of mercenaries headed by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). Through a series of mishaps, Han demonstrates aviation skills and the ability to problem solve. As he climbs the hierarchy of a criminal empire, Han travels the far reaches of the galaxy in search of fortune and glory.

Solo: A Star Wars Story works. The film opens in film noir darkness and, through science fiction narrative, becomes a cowboy movie featuring wide open spaces and a good old-fashion showdown. Musical Composer John Powell does a commendable job keeping the audience energy in light speed and appropriately repeats the music from John Williams classic Star Wars rousing score.

Like Avengers: Infinity Wars, Solo: A Star Wars Story should be seen on the big screen with a movie theater that honors audience participation.

The film will be playing at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science (MODS) until June 13, when it will be replaced by Incredibles 2.

Terry the Otter arrives

MODS welcomed Terry the Otter. Named after Real Estate Developer Terry Stiles, the otter is an animal rescue from Louisiana. Unlike Solo: A Star Wars Story, Terry the Otter will be a permanent resident at the Museum of Science & Discovery. Videos of Terry frolicking with his new friends can be seen on my blog, http://cinemadave.livejournal.com .

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FLICKS: Tommorowland, The Farewell Party, The Connection & MODS

Posted on 04 June 2015 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


It has taken me a week to wrap my mind around Tomorrowland. For 4/5ths of the movie, I was transported to the culture of my 1960s childhood, the irrational exuberance of President Kennedy’s New Frontier. We had rocket ships going to the moon and The Jetsons showed us that common man would have flying cars in the not too distant future. Then, Y2K happened, and my generation did not get our flying car.

Tomorrowland’s leading man George Clooney and I are roughly the same age. His character, Frank Walker, is presented as a science wiz kid who crosses theoretical swords with David Nix (Hugh Laurie) at the 1964 World’s Fair in Flatbush, Long Island. With a magic pin, young Frank sees visions of a positive future. When he reaches middle age, Frank becomes like Clint Eastwood from Gran Torino, a grumpy old man who tells children to stay away from his porch.

The teenager bothering Frank is Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), who also was given a magic pin from Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a young person associated with Governor Nix. Frank and Casey develop an uneasy alliance and use their technological wits to save the world.

In the final fifth of Tomorrowland, we face the obligatory showdown between Frank and Nix and the thrashing of ideas. The biggest problem with this film is that the villain’s concerns are really the state of the union today, instant gratification from violence is the norm. Instead of presenting a solution to our problems of the day, Tomorrowland subtly warns us that we are doomed.

The Farewell Party opens tomorrow. This 2014 Israeli film concerns itself with the social norms of senior citizens in an assisted living facility. With a touch of Doctor Kevorkian, this drama provides dark humor about euthanasia.

For those considering movie fare south of Lighthouse Point, Cinema Paradiso will be presenting The Connection, a French thriller starring Artist Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin as a narcotics officer trying to crack a major kingpin. This film is said to be France’s version of the Oscar-winning 1970s classic The French Connection starring Gene Hackman.

For info, visit www.fliff.com.

Last, but not least, the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Science and Discovery (MODS) has kicked off their summer blockbuster season. The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland and San Andreas are currently on the 5-storey screen. Next week, Jurassic World opens. Book your tickets early, for shows have been selling out.

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FLICKS: The Liberator, MODS & Adventures in Charity 2

Posted on 02 October 2014 by LeslieM

flicks100214By Dave Montalbano


The Liberator opens this weekend, smack dab in the middle of Hispanic Heritage month. It is the story of Simon Bolivar (Edgar Ramirez), who planted the seed for the growth of Bolivia. Bolivar fought over 100 battles and traveled more distanced to expel the Spanish Empire from South America. Instead of conquest, Bolivar sought to return the land to the people and liberate them.

In two weeks, The Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX Theater (MODS) opens its doors after a summer of refurbishment, remodeling and redecorating. The improvements include a new 60’ x 80’ giant screen, new luxury seats, new sound system and the addition of a digital projector to complement the giant 15/70 film projector.

While the plan is to show more mainstream Hollywood Blockbusters on the big screen, MODS will continue their tradition of scientific documentaries. To open the new theater, the 3D film Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure will be shown. The movie was filmed with microscopic technology to reveal the hidden world beneath flora and the trees.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar 3 D is about an endangered species of creatures who have shown a propensity for survival. Lemurs were castaway creatures who settled upon the island of Madagascar. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this documentary was playing at MODS even before the refurbishment.

MODS will also feature its first deliberate monster movie with the screening of Dracula Untold, which weaves fantasy and reality. Prince Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) is a historical figure who defended Romania from the Turkish Invasion. Much like my novella Davy Jones & the Heart of Darkness, this film reveals the tragic circumstances that turn a heroic man into a monster, creating a myth that spans generations.

Now that he has completed his Dark Knight-Batman trilogy, perhaps writer/director Christopher Nolan will complete his trilogy of movie titles that begin with the letter “I” – that began with Insomnia and Inception, both thought provoking movies with fantastic ensemble cast. Interstellar continues Nolan’s tradition of strong narrative structure that features Oscarwinning actors Matthew Mc- Conaughey, Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine.

MODS closes out the season with Peter Jackson’s last Hobbit movie, The Hobbit : The Battle of the Five Armies. Based on J.R.R. Tolkein’s children’s book, this film promises to be the epic conclusion of The Hobbit trilogy, which lays the groundwork to Peter Jackson’s Award-winning The Lords of the Rings trilogy.

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FLICKS: MODS movies & more

Posted on 20 March 2014 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Dave Montalbano


In writing this column for 15 years, I’ve enjoyed a consistent partnership with the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS). My first IMAX movie was Encounter in the Third Dimension, starring Mistress of the Dark Elvira and Stuart Pankin. In this 45- minute 3D extravaganza, we learned about psychology, optic effects and illusion.

When The Polar Express screened 10 years ago, MODS experimented with mainstream Hollywood movies. Harry Potter, The Dark Knight and the PIXAR/ Disney movies were special events for the South Florida community. All these films did a fine job matching entertainment with education.

2014 features an emphasis on documentaries. Released last fall, Rocky Mountain Express is an open air historical epic about steam engines in Western Canada. This film also looks at the dangerous disparity between the railroad laborers and railroad management. Rocky Mountain Express may be one of the darkest movies ever set in the daytime.

Journey to the South Pacific is the latest sea-faring documentary to open and is narrated by double Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. Blanchett describes a teenage boy’s visit to the Coral Triangle and the pristine environment of Indonesia’s coral reefs. Whereas Rocky Mountain Express is a landlocked historical documentary, Journey to the South Pacific is visual poetry and is the closest experience that one will have to scuba diving.

Flight of the Butterflies 3D has been on the big screen for over a year. This award-winning film is the perfect scientific documentary to view during the Lenten Season. Two stories are told. One story uncovers the mystery of the Monarch Butterfly, whose circular exodus begins in Mexico and detours in Canada. The second features Professor Fred Urquhart, who devoted 40 years to the flight of the Monarch Butterfly and how he incorporated “Citizen Scientists” to help increase knowledge about this life-affirming animal.

Goosebumps! The Science of Fear is an interactive exhibit that includes The Fear Challenge Course that lets the visitor learn about their own specific phobia. Presented with four fears (animals, electric shock, loud noises, falling), one learns their own vulnerability. Fear Lab reviews the interrelationship between fear and one’s health. This exhibit presents coping strategies for overcoming deeply imbedded phobias.

When the economy collapsed five years ago, museums and libraries were placed on the extinction list. The creative minds behind the MODS have made this institution as durable as the Monarch Butterfly, through reinvention and providing a good time for the patrons.

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