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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2006!
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The Tampa Film Review for November  by Chris Woods and Nolan B. Canova
Tampa Comic Con/Indie Fest VI  by Nolan B. Canova
"Casino Royale"  by Mike Smith
The Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival (M.I.F.F.) Returns to the East Coast....Holy Family Catholic School Celebrates 50 Years – A Reunion....The Florida Collectibles Show featuring Will Moriaty, Dennis LeBrun, and Charlie Carlson  by Andy Lalino
Passing On .... Thanks, Rush!... Do They Know It's Christmas? ... $60,000??? ... Juiced? ... Happy Birthday .... My Favorite Films, Part 46: "Goodfellas"  by Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 347  (Vol. 7, No. 46). This edition is for the week of November 13--19, 2006.

Tampa Film Review for November

By Chris Woods and Nolan B. Canova

(All photos courtesy of Chris Woods)

Nolan here. This month's review is a little unusual in that we have two reviewers for the price of one! Of course, there is a good reason for this. For the first time since I started writing reviews for the Tampa Film Review exhibitions, I myself actually had an entry this month, Milk Crate Scars. I desperately wanted to avoid any "conflict of interest" appearances, so I tapped on the only other reviewer ever to grace this column, Pinellas county film legend, Chris Woods. Chris also brought an entry to the TFR, a trailer of his newest movie endeavor, The Quiet Place, but I figured, what the hey, a trailer isn't enough to knock him out of the running.

So.....Chris will start the reviews and I'll put in my two cents' worth after he does his. I'll sit out Milk Crate Scars, and he'll sit out The Quiet Place trailer. Other than that, like I said, this month you're getting two reviewers for the price of one.

For those keeping track, Terence Nuzum was my traveling companion to the TFR this night, and, of course, Milk Crate Scars is basically his baby. Seen in the audience upon our arrival were Joe Davison, and Tim & Em of Griffowers Productions. Peter and Paul Guzzo were in New Jersey to see a nephew christened, so were not present. It fell to volunteer Damien Kincannon (Hand Delivery, The Quiet Place) to man the projector and maintain order.

One final note. Chris wrote all his reviews from memory, which is remarkable. I have a poor memory for details, especially after a week's gone by, but am fortunate enough to have the discs loaned to me for a second viewing (plus I can look up names in the credits and such). Any additional information I can provide is solely due to this arrangement.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, Christopher Woods:

The November edition of TFR was the first time I attended since August. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the last two ones, but I was glad I can make it to this one. I was hoping to see Pete and Paul Guzzo but they were in New Jersey; fellow filmmaker Damien Kincannon was running the show for this evening. Many familiar faces and new ones were at this event. As usual the crowd started out small, but grew larger after eight o’ clock. Now on to the films that played:

Patrons at this month's TFR include filmmakers (L-to-R) Emerald Gowers, Tim Griffin, Terence Nuzum, Nolan Canova, and Michael Pelaez
(Titles and plot synopsises, generally written by Paul Guzzo, are in black. Chris's comments are in dark red. My add'l comments are in traditional blue. --N)

The Owl: The Hooted Avenger by Michael Pelaez: A generic bat man spoof. Featuring the characters: the Owl (Batman), Quotation Mark Guy (the Riddler) and the Juggler (the Joker).
This film from first-time director Pelaez was good for a first effort. Playing off the Batman series of the 1960’s, our hero, The Owl, goes after villains such as Quotation Mark Guy and The Juggler to rid Gothic City of them. Lots of tongue-in-cheek humor in this one, which made it very entertaining. The film was a little rough around the edges as far as quality, but like I said before, it is a first time film and I think Pelaez will improve in future projects.
I generally agree with Chris here. I met with the 27-year-old director after the show and that's when he told me this was his first film. To illustrate this, he wasn't even sure what kind of camera was used as it was borrowed! The showdown between our hero and villains takes place at a public library, I believe, in North Tampa. Strictly existing lighting, on-camera mic recording stuff here. But it had a lot of heart, and some thought went into the costumes. Plus, I'm a sucker for super-hero spoofs!

The Hollow (Not announced on the original schedule.) (Sorry, forgot who did this one.) First off, this film didn’t make any sense at all. It was shot very well and the editing was clean. Acting wasn’t too bad but the story fell short. It starts off with a couple talking about getting married. The lead actor then goes to his father’s house to tell him about the wedding and to patch things up with him. (They never tell you what happened between them in the past but the two make up.) Then the movie goes from "Terms of Endearments" to "Evil Dead", when it cuts to the actor in a forest getting attacked by an unknown presence. Then the man is suddenly in the hospital with his wife to be and father looking down at him, and then it ends. What just happened here? I don’t recommend this one.
So if Chris is lost, you can all just imagine where I am. I would like very much to have re-viewed this disc and discovered some details (like the director's name), but unfortunately, in the meleé of getting out of the International Bazaar (the location of the TFR) Damien and I inadvertantly fouled up getting it in my hands and I left without it.

Knock Knock by Griffowers Productions: The first silent movie made by Emerald Gowers and Tim Griffin (Griffowers Productions) on their digital still camera, "Knock Knock" tells a story of a relaxing evening at home, shattered by a knock at the door from a stranger.
This is the very first film from Emerald Gowers and Tim Griffin (Farewell Frieda), again, like The Owl, as a first film it is rough around the edges, but still is somewhat entertaining. A cop knocks on the door of a woman and continues to harass her. It gets to the point where he tries to attack her and the woman kills him with a butcher knife. Very simple story that was shot with a still digital camera in video mode. Not bad for a first time film, but it still needed some improvement.
Terence and I are already assigning Tim & Em into "periods". That's pretty funny in that they've only been at this less than a year, I think. The "Knock Knock" period includes "Second Time Around" and "Farewell, Frieda", both the latter two showing much growth while remaining with a primitive set-up (shooting silent with the Sony Still-Pix camera already mentioned). Their more recent efforts (not yet exhibited outside of MySpace) show much more ambition, but remain to be seen if the original charm and ingenuity can translate with better equipment and more experience. These two are ones to watch.

Mingling after the show are (L-to-R) Joe Davison, Chris Woods, Chris Passinault, Nolan Canova, and Terence Nuzum
Last Night by Jen Persons and Jon Wolding: (Not announced on the original schedule.) This was a pretty good film about a girl who’s trying to figure out what happened the night before at a party. She calls all her friends and each of them give her different accounts on what happened. This comedy was put together well, with nice editing, good quality camera work, good acting, and a funny twist at the end.
Agreed. Good writing by Jen Persons and Heather Diaz. There was no director as such listed in the credits, simply "a film by Jen Persons and Jon Wolding", so I assume they shared directoral duties. The actors make it fun, but the editing has to be pretty tight on something like this, so kudos to the editor (Jon Wolding) as well!

Supply Curve, Produced and directed by Tom Mott: Produced for the 2006 Incubator Project in Miami. The competition theme was "Power." It illustrates the power of money, the power of sex, and the power of violence. 4 min.
This one has a guy at a strip club who takes the stripper that has been feeding dollars bills all night to a motel for some action. But the stripper walks away with his wallet to only have it stolen from her outside the motel. Funny thing is the robber goes to the same strip club and uses the cash on the other strippers. Okay film, not too much to the story, acting was so-so, but it was short and sweet.
The ironic ending is what makes it cool. Also had very, very nice photography. The jazz soundtrack by John Matheny is outstanding. Matheny's trademark smokey, sultry slow swing is accompanied by Gene Cannon's sax solos befitting the very finest noir ambience (in fact, most of Matheny's soundtracks make me want to light a cigarette, sip a martini, and maybe solve a crime, haha. This composition is one of my very favorites by him.). The only thing I'd've done different is to ditch the original bar patron's mental musings as he watches the stripper -- not needed.

Milk Crate Scars by Public Domain Pictures: From Public Domain Pictures comes a short film anthology directed by Terence Nuzum, Vinnie Blesi, and Nolan Canova. Three seemingly unrelated tales involving murder, insanity, and femme fatales come together in a bizarre twist ending. 20mins
All three directors (Terence Nuzum, Vinnie Blesi, and Nolan Canova) use stories written by Blesi. This was a cool short film with lots of interesting camera angles and effects. The first story is "Thought Crimes", directed by Nuzum, where most of it is the point of view of the main character looking over at a woman he murdered laying on a bed in a motel room. This one was shot with a film-look to it and the scene reminded me a little of Dario Argento’s Deep Red. Suddenly, it cuts to the next story which is "Noir Geek", directed by Blesi, which is a story about a man who falls for a beautiful woman, but then on a visit to her house the man finds her dead and is blamed for the murder. He is locked in a mental institution where he stares off into space and imagines that the woman is sitting beside him. This was my least favorite of the three films. It was a good idea for a story but it wasn’t executed well. With poor acting, rough edits, the same actors being used for different roles in the same scene, and clips of old movies thrown in there that didn’t go with the story. Next up, "Dead Red", directed by Canova, which is a cool little tale about a man who finds a woman in the personals but she turns out to be a crazed cannibal. Some great effects in this one, cool shots, and decent acting. The film ends with the first story, ("Thought Crimes", a reprise) and it picks up where it left off. It ties all the stories together and has a classic horror story ending. A good first film from these three directors. One thing I wanted to add was at the end of this film there was silence from the audience at first. Not sure why, maybe they didn’t get the film. I got it. It wasn’t a film like "Hollow", which made no sense at all.
Thank you, Chris. Just to prevent any confusion, this was our first film in 6 years (not first ever), and first to be exhibited at TFR. Previous projects were for public access television in 2000 and prior. I'll admit, though, to me, this re-emergence does kinda feel like starting anew, thereby, a "first".

FMPTA member, stunt coordinator, and now director Jerry Alan, left, with Popgun Productions' Joe Davison
The Survivor's Club by FMPTA, written by Chris Battle, directed by Jerry Alan: It follows the story of a young mother who lost her teenaged son to a hit and run driver, lost her husband to suicide, and lost her job when her corrupt boss ran away with the company's money and a secretary. It explores how she will turn her life around.
This has to be one of the worst films I have ever seen at the TFR. So bad I wanted to get up and leave and go outside for the remainder of the film. The story is basically about a woman auditioning for an orchestra to play the violin while she copes with the death of her son. Very boring story telling, dull acting, the film drags on and on. Most of the cast was over 45 (nothing against that, but they kept on using slang and terms like “you go girl” and “it’s your birthday”, things that teenagers would be saying.) I have to say that it was shot very well and it looked like it was professionally done, but the story and acting were no good. Jerry Alan has been working in the film biz as a stunt coordinator for years and I’m a big fan of his stunt work, but his directorial debut is not that impressive.
Jerry gave quite a speech introducing this film and John Matheny went to great trouble to ensure Damien set the projector's aspect ratio correctly. We were braced for some kinda terrific experience. Woops, maybe not. To clarify one of Chris's points, obviously a survivor's club would consist of older, seasoned veteran's of life -- no problem there -- it's just that the script portrayed them unrealistically. Jerry Alan has a prestigious history in stunts and pyro work, but his FMPTA buddies and he didn't make such a good team here.

Tonight's trailer: The trailer to the new film I’m involved with, The Quiet Place was shown. I wrote the story and produced the film along with The Guzzo Bros., Joe Davison (who also stars in the film) and Mike Compton. Damien Kincannon also directed the film.
The quick-paced action and acting look pretty amazing, and I have every confidence Chris's script is awesome. I was surprised by the flat video look of this highly-anticipated movie (shades of Unearthed there) especially considering two expensive HD cameras were on set at all times. Some well-placed visuals helped stoke the audience, and I know this film will do well. We just gotta Film-Look it up a little. Unless it's not supposed to be, which is cool, too.

UNbanned produced by Shelby McIntyre: A short documentary highlighting examples of the Hillsborough County Commission office's history of discrimination over the past few years.
This was the last film of the night, which was a documentary on the Hillsborough County Commission (mainly Rhonda Storms) discriminating against gays and other minorities. One issue that stems from all this is Storms banning books on gays from public libraries. This was a well-put together short documentary that was very informative that included some facts on the issue, interviews, quotes from newspapers, and file footage. This film also got a lot of press from the media when it was first released.
I agree with Chris, but then I would, because I detest Ronda Storms. The "press" Chris refers to is mainly about Storms' plan to stop the filmmakers from exhibition by threatening legal action. She's such a sweetheart. In a grudging effort to be fair, I will admit I did hear at least two complaints that the film wasn't balanced enough by any opposing viewpoints. (To some this could qualify it as propaganda.) Storms' only defense is in discouraging using public finds for gay literature (or "propaganda", so there you go). Still, no one else on the Council gets their panties in such an uproar over gay books and tittie bars. I'm glad she's out of our hair for the moment: Storms was recently elected to the State Senate where, hopefully, we can vote her out next time.

("Enter The Spooners" by the Guzzo brothers, previously announced on the schedule, was not shown tonight. --N)

So, this TFR had some good films and bad films. It seemed that the ones that looked professionally done had the worst story and worst acting. But ones that were on a shoestring budget may not have been the best quality but had great stories and good acting. Which is the key to good filmmaking, to have those two elements down first. I still like to see films with both good story and acting and a high quality look. I know they’re a few out there. But, I also know at times that can be very challenging to get those entire elements perfect. Hope to see you at the next Tampa Film Review in December.

-- Chris Woods

Visit www.thetampafilmreview.com for more information regarding the Tampa Film Review.

"The Tampa Film Review For November 2006" is ©2006 by Chris Woods and Nolan B. Canova. All photos used courtesy of Chris Woods.

All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.

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