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Frankly My Dear...

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    CENFLO — attendance continues to grow

    Posted: 07 Sep 2011 04:56 AM PDT

    This year’s Central Florida Film Festival was the biggest yet. They topped last year’s attendance, according to festival organizer Bob Cook. Some 1400 filmgoers and seminar attendees spent part of their Labor Day Weekend in Apopka, checking out the movies, meeting filmmakers, networking. That’s up from just under 1300 last year.

    Documentary veteran lands Elvis feature directing gig

    Posted: 07 Sep 2011 03:55 AM PDT

    John Scheinfeld, who has done fascinating musical bio-documentaries on Harry Nilsson and John Lennon (“The U.S. vs. John Lennon) has landed the gig of turning an Elvis bodyguard’s memoir into a big screen portrait of The King and his court.

    “Fame and Fortune” will be based on Sonny West’s biography,Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business.”

    This West is related to Red West, the famed Elvis confidante, friend, actor and sometime songwriter. All of these guys have cashed in with books (more than one, in some cases) on their years in close proximity to Presley.

    Anthony Hopkins is on a serial killer’s trail in ‘Solace

    Posted: 07 Sep 2011 03:45 AM PDT

    In “Solace,” a “former doctor who has psychic abilities” helps the FBI hunt for a serial killer.

    And since neither the serial killer nor the doctor has any use for fava beans and Chianti, why not get Anthony Hopkins to portray the doctor? Variety is reporting he’s in talks to star in this New Line film. The wrinkle here, aside from the doctor’s psychic abilities, is the fact that the killer, too, has mad mental skillz. Let the cat and aged mouse games begin.

    Sir Anthony will be 74 in December and shows few signs of slowing down, which is all the more amazing considering his classical Brit actor way of misspending his misspent youth.

    Adele is recording a ‘theme,’ maybe for a Bond, James Bond movie?

    Posted: 07 Sep 2011 03:35 AM PDT

    That airwaves dominatrix Adele let drop on a chat show over the weekend that she had recorded/was recording a “theme” of some sort.

    And since so few movies have a title song anymore, that leads one to think the soulful sultry syllable-bender is doing the title song to the next James Bond film.

    Bond films have a long tradition of tracking down the hottest chanteuse of the day for their themes, so she’d fit right in with Shirley Bassey and Lulu, Carly Simon, Sheena, Rita Coolidge, et al.

    Florida Film Festival — call for entries

    Posted: 06 Sep 2011 11:42 AM PDT

    Want to get your feature film, feature-length doc, short live action, animated or documentary film into the 21st Florida Film Festival?

    Time is short, but the window for entries is now open.

    “Calls for entries are officially open for the 21st annual Florida Film Festival, April 13 through April 22, 2012.  Submission forms and eligibility requirements can be found online at the official website,  Submissions can be filed directly to the Florida Film Festival or through Withoutabox,”

    Deadlines to submit American independent and international films are:


    Early: October 21, 2011                                                        Early: November 4, 2011

    Late: November 18, 2011                                                     Late: December 9, 2011

    Accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Florida Film Festival's Grand Jury award winners for Best Narrative Short Film and Best Animated Short Film will automatically qualify for entry into the Live Action Short Film and Animated Short Film categories of the Academy Awards.

    For additional questions, please visit, contact the Florida Film Festival's programming department by calling (407) 644-5625, email, or send U.S. mail to Florida Film Festival, 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751.

    Director of ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′ becomes most successful female director ever.

    Posted: 06 Sep 2011 11:22 AM PDT

    OK, Jennifer Yuh Nelson is no Kathryn Bigelow. Or Penny Marshall. But she is in Catherine Hardwicke’s league. Now.

    The veteran of several different jobs within the animation world, Nelson’s “Kung Fu Panda 2″ just became the biggest hit, worldwide, ever directed by a woman.

    “DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that its summer blockbuster, Kung Fu Panda 2, has grossed over $645 million globally to date, making Jennifer Yuh Nelson the highest-grossing female director of a film at the worldwide box office.”

    Prior to directing Kung Fu Panda 2, Jennifer Yuh Nelson served as head of story and "dream sequence director" on 2008's Kung Fu Panda, which remains one of the top ten animated movies of all time. Before that, Nelson served as story artists on DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar, head of story on Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and story artist on Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation, she served as director, story artist and character designer at HBO Animation. Nelson's animation career has spanned several countries, including Korea, Japan and Australia, and she has also published several independent comic books.

    Movie Review: Warrior

    Posted: 06 Sep 2011 09:00 AM PDT

    One brother’s a school teacher who struggles to keep home and family together in hard economic times.

    The other’s a brooding brute, home from the war, living with his long-estranged father.

    Both grown men have daddy issues, issues hinted at in bitter, perfunctory conversations between the brute and his recovering alcoholic of a father.

    “No more women for me,” the old man confesses.

    “Must be hard to find a girl who can take a punch these days,” the son spits back.

    There’s history here — hard fought, hard-bitten history. Dad, Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte), is a man of principles, a former wreck looking for redemption. And his boys, Brendan the teacher (Joel Edgerton) and Tom (Tom Hardy) –two fighters once trained by Paddy –  aren’t giving it.

    “Warrior” is a straight genre picture, a fight movie of the old school. But it’s a mixed martial arts tale, and as such, it’s the best MMA movie ever. A bare-fisted sports thriller with lots of Hollywood melodrama, “Warrior” pits these two brothers on a collision course with destiny, in the ring.

    Co-writer and director Gavin O’Connor “(Miracle”) is on sure ground with the battling Conlons, mixing loads of personal crises into a standard issue sports drama. Brendan needs money to keep paying the mortgage, but fighting gets him into trouble with the school district. Tom, a Marine of few words and much rage, just needs to fight.

    Brendan won’t let his three-years-sober dad see his grandkids. Tom would rather live with the old man so he can ostracize him from close range.

    “I think I liked you better when you were a drunk.”

    The film’s sports-movie journey takes us to the big winner-take-all tourney that both men enter, each with a need to win. That destination is entertaining, but it is the journey and the people who take it that recommend this fine film.

    Nolte’s Paddy is devoted to self-help, listening to “Moby Dick” on tape, resolving to train Tom the old way to get him ready for his bouts. The son isn’t having it. Nolte plays the toughness as a memory, the guilt and wounds Paddy carries are his new persona. And Hardy, the next Dark Knight villain, is a ferocious figure on screen every time out (The British prison bio-drama “Bronson” was his break-out performance). He plays every moment with a chip on his shoulder.

    Edgerton, of last year’s “Animal Kingdom,” has to be a convincing physics teacher, husband who lies to his wife (Jennifer Morrison) about his fighting, man at the end of his tether AND a convincing 30something mixed martial artist. It’s a brilliant turn as he lets us see the wheels turning with every argument with his wife or boss, every scheme he can think of to beat a superior opponent in the ring.

    “Warrior” is the first movie built around this relatively new sport to capture the grit, guts heart and pathos of the great boxing pictures. It may not be MMA’s “Raging Bull,” but it’s good enough to compare to “Rocky” or  “Body and Soul” and not embarrass itself or its sport.

    MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense mixed martial arts fighting, some language and thematic material

    Cast: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison,

    Credits: Directed by Gavin O’Connor , produced by Greg O’Connor. A Lionsgate release.

    Running time: 2:19

    Movie Review: Inside Out

    Posted: 06 Sep 2011 07:07 AM PDT

    World Wrestling Entertainment’s brief flirtation with family friendly films has ended. But the residue of this effort sticks to “Inside Out,” a half-hearted return to the violent men of the ring doing violent things on the screen model that predated the PG years.

    And they refuse to abandon their efforts to turn one of their stars into the next Rock or Hulk Hogan, a crossover phenomenon about to carry movies and TV shows, and not just other wrestlers and folding chairs.

    Paul “Triple H” Levesque has the look, the demeanor and the skills to be a useful heavy in other people’s action films. He’s so muscle-bound, his arms can’t quite drop to his side. His face is more scary than handsome. Yet “Inside Out” is yet another attempt to make him a leading man.

    Levesque plays an ex-con, A.J., whom we meet the day he gets out of a 13 year stretch in a Louisiana prison. He re-connects with Jack, played by the motor-mouthed goombah Michael Rapaport. Jack’s a former running mate, a low-rent gangster who is the son of another low-rent gangster. Counterfeit cigarettes is his game.

    “What are you gonna do?” Jack wants to know.

    “I’m gonna make pickles,” A.J. growls.

    Jack didn’t visit his pal in prison, and took up with and married A.J.’s ex-girlfriend (Parker Posey). He’s determined to drag the hulking A.J. back into “the life,” and keep his veterinarian-mobster dad (Bruce Dern) off his back.

    But A.J. has nowhere else to go. Mom’s in a nursing home. So he moves in with Jack, his wife and his teenage daughter. “Inside Out” could have gone the way of WWE’s last Levesque vehicle — “The Chaperone.” There’s a teenager, a guy wanting to stay out of trouble and make pickles, Rapaport bellyaching about his life.

    “I don’t care how bad prison was. Middle class is worse.”

    There’s also a hapless state tobacco control agent trying to bust this cigarette smuggling ring, at all costs, a role sort of played for laughs by Julie White (Shia’s mom in the “Transformers” movies).

    But the profanity and alcohol abuse tip us that this movie is going darker. There are shootings, bodies to be dealt with.

    Lawyer-turned-screenwriter Dylan Schaffer’s script is an unhappy combination of genres, tones, too many dead stretches of people in cars and inept dialogue. Rapaport’s tiresome patter doesn’t allow for the weak laughs to land.

    “Why do I gotta drive the hybrid? God gave us the internal combustion engine for a reason!”

    And the single resonant line about prison comes too late to give the movie the tone they might have been going for. Asked, fearfully, about jail time, A.J. intones, “You just sit there — and it passes.”

    That’s a pretty fair description of “Inside Out,” too. Dern could have played this mobster whose cover job is running an animal hospital a seriously strange or seriously silly spin. But he has nothing to play. Parker Posey does her best to hide that this is just a WWE paycheck part.

    And Levesque does nothing to suggest that if the WWE weren’t backing him that he’d ever be anything on screen other than the guy who beats the heck out Jason Statham or whoever in someone else’s action picture.

    MPAA Rating: PG-13

    Cast: Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Michael Rapaport, Parker Posey, Bruce Dern, Julie White

    Credits: Directed by Artie Mandelberg, written by Dylan Schaffer, produced by Mike Pavone. A WWE Studios/Samuel Goldwyn release. Running time: 1:33.

    Sunday at Cinematique — United 93

    Posted: 06 Sep 2011 05:24 AM PDT

    Daytona is paying tribute to Sept. 11 the only way a movie club should, by having a benefit screening of Paul Greengrass’s gritty, energetic film set aboard one of the planes brought down that day, “United 93.”

    They’re showing it at 2 in the afternoon on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on America at their theater on Beach St. in Daytona Beach.

    If you haven’t been wearied of the memory by the incessant TV and NPR news tributes to the anniversary, it’s well worth a look. If you have never seen it, shame on you. Yes, it’s a tough, emotional movie, filled with dread. For me, it’s one of those movie experiences that I am not anxious to revisit — like “Schindler’s List.” People die, terrible things are done to some of them before they die. I just got the BluRay of the film, one of the best of the first decade of this century, and I haven’t been able to put it in the player.

    But remembering is important, and Greengrass, as he proved with “Bloody Sunday,” was the man for the job.