Tag Archive | "REFLECTIONS"

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FLICKS: Reflections, Peanut Butter Falcon & Ukulele event

Posted on 01 August 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Cinema Dave with music teacher Chai Latte. After teaching four lessons of ukulele, Chai Latte will conduct The Space Jam Ukulele Concert with her “graduate” students Thursday, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m.

It was a decade ago this month that I committed to publish my first book, The Adventures of Cinema Dave in the Florida Motion Picture World, which featured 652 pages of interviews, pictures and movie reviews from the Observer. Despite going through an economic recession in 2009, I was optimistic about the film industry.

Deerfield Beach was centrally located between multiple film festivals, the Delray Beach Film Festival, the Palm Beach Film Festival, the Miami International Film Festival, the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival and multiple conventions and comic book film festivals.  Now, of those fests, only the Miami International Film Festival and the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival have survived. [But other festivals have popped up].

Thanks to the adaptation of small screen telephones [and the ability to stream movies on the Internet], consumer interest did change. With the exception of a film like a Star Wars and a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, seeing a movie as a communal experience has waned.  

If you do go to the movies this month, keep a keen eye out for The Peanut Butter Falcon, an independent film that features fine performances from Dakota Johnson, Bruce Dern, wrestler Mick Foley, John Hawkes and newcomer Zack Gottsagen. This entertaining movie, which features a roller coaster ride of emotions, is pure American cinema.

If you are looking to do something fun and free tonight, “The Space Jam Ukulele Concert” will be conducted at the Deerfield Beach Percy White Library starting at 6 p.m. This concert is the culmination of four weeks of ukulele lessons that library patrons have taken with music teacher Chai Latte. Honky-tonk pianist Kris Nicholson will tickle the ivories for this special evening. [He was part of the library’s “Blues School” event Feb. 2]. Join the fun this summer evening.


Cinema Dave with Kris Nicholson, the Honky Tonk piano player. After his contribution to Blues School last Feb. 2 at Deerfield Beach Percy White Library, Kris Nicholson guest stars in this evening’s (Aug. 1) free Space Jam Ukulele Concert.

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FLICKS: The Top Ten List& reflections

Posted on 04 January 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


In the waning hours of 2017, Star Wars: The Last Jedi nudged out Beauty and the Beast to become the box office champion for the year. This marks the third year in a row that a Star Wars movie has become the reigning monarch of the box office. While overall box office revenue was down for the motion picture industry, Disney showed a consistent return on investment with their Marvel Comics Universe and animated fare like Coco. Now with the acquisition of 20th Century Productions, only Warner Brothers will provide competition against Disney Studios for the Box Office Crown.

In this year’s Top Ten List, one will see many films from Disney, Warner Brothers Studios and 20th Century Fox. There were also some good stories from some independently-produced motion pictures. These films provide a good story, intriguing characters and technical achievements that enhance, but do not detract from the entertainment value of the product. So in no particular order, except in reverse alphabetical order, is my top ten list of films:

Wind River

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Megan Leavey

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Lost in Paris


Kong: Skull Island



Honorable Mentions:

War for the Planet of the Apes


Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

The Shape of Water

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Logan Lucky

Lady Bird

The Last Word



Baby Driver

Annabelle: Creation

While Summer Blockbuster season was a disappointment both critically and at the box office, the colder months featured consistent box office revenue and more critical love. According to the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, there was a great disparity of opinion between paid criticism (the Tomatometer) and the audience score. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was loved by mainstream critics, but rated low on the audience score. Overall, I’ve enjoyed more films in 2017 than I have in recent years, though I find my favorites lean towards a strong audience score with strong box office performance.

Given the sexual harassment scandals involving so many Hollywood icons, one would expect a more subdued awards season. Yet, given the tenure of the late night talk shows featuring Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, expect more President Trump bashing nonetheless.

Good movies should be the focus of these ceremonies.

Each award ceremony on television will feature a montage of people who have passed away in 2017. I hope I see a glimpse of my late friend Kenny Miller, who passed away last May 8. With the exception of a Florida-made independent film, Kenny Miller has not made a full length motion picture on the big screen since 1976. However, he worked steady in Florida nightclubs and earned a semi-regular role on Burt Reynolds’ detective series BL Stryker, which was filmed in West Palm Beach. A consummate professional and a heck of a nice guy, Kenny was one of the first interviews that I conducted for the Observer. Kenny worked in Hollywood classics featuring Hollywood legends like Orson Wells, James Dean, Anthony Quinn and Janet Leigh. He had many great stories to tell. He is missed.

The 2017 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) was a consistently good community event from its opening to the closing evening three weeks later. The variety of stories were intriguing and special guests — Burt Reynolds, Blanche Baker and Karen Allen — provided a fine balance of movie stardom combined with artistic integrity. Both the Miami International Film Festival in March and FLIFF have a combined 67 years of local history.

As for the future, expect to see many television commercials during the Superbowl 18 (If you are not boycotting it) and Winter Olympics 2018 featuring films produced by Disney and Warner Brothers, the only studios that can afford the multi-million dollar tab for a 30 second spot. If these flicks are interesting — Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — then this swashbuckling journalist & information scientist will be there. A writer is only as good as the story he tells.

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FLICKS: Backstage reflections for 2015

Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

flick123115By Dave Montalbono

Compared to the previous year, 2015 has been a consistent year for the box office. As predicted, Disney dominated with their Marvel and Star Wars franchises. While not the Disney Juggernaut, Universal Pictures scored big with 50 Shades of Grey, Furious 7 and Jurassic World. However, 2015 low budget independent fare like Ex Machina produced a high profit margin for investors.

In April 2003, The Observer covered the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) for the first time. Recent Oscar winner Adrien Brody, producer Robert Evans, musician Michael Jackson and the legendary Fay Wray were in attendance at an elegant gala held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Concurrently in Houston, director/writer Richard Linklater had completed filming the first year of Boyhood, a film that took 12 years to complete. At 2015’s PBIFF, Ellar Coltrane, one of the stars of this ambitious independent film attended.

The film, which was well received at the Academy Awards, also featured Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

Tired of being on the sidelines, I invested in a student short subject, Give Me Trouble starring local Blues Legend Joey Gilmore and featuring Robert “Hi Hat” Carter as the bass player. This film details a blues man’s last concert and will hopefully be entered in either the Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale Film Festivals. Gilmore and his band frequently perform in our neighborhood, so check ‘em out!

Best known for playing “Marcy Darcy” on Married with Children, Amanda Bearse found her niche behind the scenes as a television director. A Winter Park native, Ms. Bearse also appears on the soap opera All My Children and the movie Fright Night. Of the many celebrities that I have met this year, Amanda Bearse was a true class act; she asked every individual their name and was generous with her time.

I briefly met Burt Reynolds on the red carpet at PBIFF six years ago. Having just recovered from open heart surgery, Reynolds seemed timid among the paparazzi. Despite walking with a cane, Reynolds appeared “born again” at the Spooky Empire convention. He was chatting with his diverse fan base, fans of films like Deliverance or the Smokey and the Bandit movies.

Reynolds has done much for the film culture in South Florida. The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theater in Jupiter has provided a valuable stepping stone for local talent. At the peak of his stardom, Reynolds was generous to Palm Beach culture and his alma mater, Florida State University.

The film business is a forward-focused culture; however, it would be wise to reflect upon those Florida pioneers who paved the way for our future. Happy New Year!

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