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by Nolan Canova, Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, and John Miller

The Tampa Film Review for June by Nolan Canova, Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, and John Miller
"Get Smart" by Mike Smith
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee: The Monkees on Record, Part 4 by ED Tucker
Celtics Are Champs .... Somebody Check The Water! .... Willie Randolph Fired .... Tiger Tiger Woods Ya'll .... Partly Cloudy, No Storms .... Welcome Back To Tampa Lou! .... Let Him Go by Chris Munger
Celtics Are Champs .... Happy Birthday Jaws by Matt Drinnenberg
Happy Birthday .... Speaking Of Important Dates .... Rhymes With Gay .... Best Films .... Passing On .... Mmmmmmmmmmmm...quisp .... Who Says We Ain't Cool? .... And The Oscar For 1991 Should Have Gone To by Mike Smith
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For June 13, 2008
Nolan Canova here. This month's TFR was bittersweet in that it was the last TFR event to be held at the International Bazaar of Ybor City. Although the owners have been fantastic to us and we truly enjoyed the experience, the last few months have been plagued by a few annoying technical problems, most notably the failing air-conditioning. When you pack 100+ people in a room in Central Florida with wonky AC, you're going to get some (understandably) twitchy and impatient film fans! Due to a variety of reasons, the current owners decided to move their business across town. The Guzzo Bros want to keep the TFR event in Ybor, so Cigar Warehouse came to the rescue! More on this new location at the end of this month's review.

This month's TFR seemed more intimate, a smaller crowd and fewer films, but, as always, we had a great time.

Former (and future) PCR staff writer William Moriaty (La Floridiana) provided my transportation to Ybor City. When we got there we met up with Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods and John Miller, all of whom will be reviewing films with me this month. That's an unprecedented FOUR reviewers for the price of one!

Lisa "FANGRRL" Ciurro, Joel & Cathy Wynkoop, Gus Perez, Jennifer Moore, John Matheny, Jay Allan, Gene May, and Dan Brienza were just a few of the other local notables I spotted in the audience.

To those new to the process of reviewing the films, all our reviews are bundled together under each movie title, and I've been using a color-coded system to help the reader differentiate when a reviewer's "voice" changes. To wit:

All movie titles and descriptions, usually written by Paul Guzzo (or myself if none is provided with advance publicity) will be in black.
Nolan Canova's reviews will be in Navy Blue
Terence Nuzum's reviews will be in Blood Red
Chris Woods' reviews will be in Deep Purple
John Miller's reviews will be in Hunter Green
All reviews finish with our critic's rating which sit at the end of our review and are in boldface.

Special thanks to Terence Nuzum for noting the exact order the films were exhibited, and to Lisa Ciurro for help with various specific details. As stated here a few months ago, it's our policy to grant all reviewers the ability to "opt-out" of commenting on things like movie trailers and short previews, which are promotional and awkward to judge and rate, or anything deeply conflicting with personal beliefs.

Here we go....

"That's Art" by Jay Allan An unsatisfied and unhappy photography artist is disappointed in how his career has turned out. Although he has a big name and is well sought after for his work, he is never quite satisfied with his results. He resorts to finding other more deadly ways to gain artistic satisfaction.

Nolan Canova: Jay Allan, who impressed me deeply with last month's Freedom (starring Austin Blay as the boy who wanted to fly), returns with a 48-Hour Film Project about a twisted photographer under pressure from his employers to produce results. When his bitchy female employer shows up at his apartment to demand product, he quickly covers up the dead woman in the next room and immediately plans both his revenge and his next art project.
    48-Hour Film Projects can be an excercise in frustration. I suppose as competitions go it's a worthwhile excercise, but by definition, the directors are under incredible time constraints, so there always seems to be something in the final product that screams for fine-tuning. While Jay Allan's director's eye is keenly sharp as to composition, and the story itself is charmingly Night Gallery-esque, the acting simply falls too short to be a compelling piece. Over-the-top performances, jarring jump-cuts, and a flat video look restrain this film from reaching what might've been its higher potential. Decent.
Terence Nuzum: Well, it starts off promising with a creepy, sweaty photographer taking pics of a dead beauty. It later half-way turns into some muddled take on an artist's freedom vs. corporate pressure and then slaps us with a predictable, unsatifying ending. Over-all, only average. But I kept in mind that it was a rushed effort for the 48-Hour Film Project and not the director's fault. It's a competition that I do not agree with. Time limits on art? Seriously? It's not about pumping them out that makes a good filmmaker. This film shows that. It might have been really good if it wasn't time-constrained. Poor.
Chris Woods: This film started out very promising. A photographer taking pictures of a dead female, very eerie. But then it went down hill when the actors started acting. The cast could not deliver any of their lines and the story just fell apart. The idea was interesting and a promising start but it just wasnít executed well in the end. Fair.
John Miller: My only complaint was that the acting didn't quite match the tone of the film. Otherwise this was a cool short and worth the watch for fans of the bizarre. Recommended.

"Next Stop" by Brandon Hein: Scott heads into the city for a job interview. He falls asleep on the trolley and through his dream has a revelation. Become a corporate slave or follow his instincts?

Nolan Canova: Our hero (Wolfgang Weber) dreads an upcoming job interview. Sleeplessness has caught up with him and, exhausted on the trolley, he falls asleep---or does he? A beautiful girl (Paige Lindsay) enters the trolley and gives him advice on nailing the interview. He gets the job, and catching up with her later, she seems to magically be in all the right places and say all the right things. He never gets her name, and before you know it, she's gone. Some water imagery mixed with an earlier motif regarding mermaids suggested she was in fact a mermaid, but this was not as obvious to me as it was to my colleagues.
    A by-the-numbers fantasy-romance, what helps lift this film out of the ordinary are terrific performances by attractive actors (particularly the fetching Paige Lindsay) and some great shots of Tampa locations. Brandon Hein's director's chops are solid enough but he needs a better audio-editing program as the levels on this were way too low. That notwithstanding, without much competition this night, I say for inspired photography and memorable performances, Next Stop is not only Recommended, but also earns Film of the Night.
Terence Nuzum: A man dreams a beautiful mermaid enters the real world and coaxes him out of his evil corporate career. He then wakes up and sees the same girl in the real world and walks off into the sunset. OK, so the story is like all TFR films lately, clichéd out the ass, but production-wise (with the exception of bad audio) the film was sound. The actors also turned in good performances. Good.
Chris Woods: A very well done film with a very talented cast. There were some very cool shots in this film of downtown Tampa in the opening credits and during the film. The two lead characters were very good together and help carry the film. But there were a few issues with it. There were a few audio problems in the scenes that were shot outside and the big issue was the story. There were a lot of holes and things not explained. The woman who was following the man around, who was she really? Itís kind of explained at the end and I donít want to give away the ending, but thatís where things didnít really gel. I'd actually like to see it again to see if there was anything I didnít pick up on when I first watched it. But overall, the film had its moments and it was well-crafted. Recommended and Film of the Night.
John Miller: Sometimes it's nice to watch something simply because of its beauty, such as the case here. Although the story leaves something to be desired, director Brandon Hein shows a lot of potential behind the camera as do the actors in front of it. The lead actress is a natural and has a smile that pierces through the screen. Even the ghost town known as downtown Tampa appears attractive in this short, which is a credit to the director's skills. Film Of The Night.

"Force of Mind" trailer by Mike Bronson for a film by Jennifer Moore: An aspiring model takes on criminal elements in a semi-autobiographical drama.

Nolan Canova: A trailer for the feature film by Jennifer Moore who also stars. Co-stars Gus Perez. Contributions by William Moriaty. Mike Bronson did a good job with the music and the mayhem, and the photography is fabulous (congrats to Jen if that is her doing), but the super-fast pace and quick cuts might leave you scratching your head as to what the film is actually about (except obviously about modeling somehow). I got more out of Jen's live introduction there.
Terence Nuzum: Not reviewed
Chris Woods: Not reviewed
John Miller: Not reviewed

48 Hour Film Project teaser: Animations and live-action in a cleverly put-together little ad that both recaps and promotes the 48-Hour Film Project.

Nolan Canova: Kerri and Coco Bermudez appeared on stage to announce more events connected to the 48-Hour Film Project. Their enthusiasm was obvious and not just a little contagious.
Terence Nuzum: Not reviewed
Chris Woods: Not reviewed
John Miller: Not reviewed

"Cope Ransom Vs. Monsterman" by Tim Ritter and Joel D. Wynkoop: You'd think Ransom would learn by now not to trust these damn aliens but he's back at their mercy once again. This time the Morphs have convinced Ransom that his dead daughter is still alive and they will tell him where if he just does one more mission for them. Those back-stabbing aliens will put him to the test as he encounters time loops, aliens, force fields and some country hick cops that are out to make a name for themselves by capturing Ransom.

Nolan Canova: Jeezis, where do I start. Even though this chapter in the "Cope Ransom" series had a lot of the familiar elements of the previous entry (aliens, gov't conspiracy, martial arts), the charming cheeziness and resourcefulness of the zero-budget effects I found so much fun before was overshadowed by endless segments of Wynkoop marching through the woods, searching, huffing and puffing, falling a few times, rolling over, more walking, and more searching. Along the way he has a few opportunities to show off his martial-arts, including---get this---attempting to karate-kick his way through an alien force-field. But pacing and story-development seemed to take a back seat to the idea we need to intensely document Cope Ransom's every footfall for nearly 30 minutes as he struggles through the woods.
    The "plot" appears to have something to do with his daughter being held captive by a death-metal cult band and he has to perform a mission to save her and see her again. Something like that.
    Of course, I couldn't help but love the rubber alien masks and alien "worms" made of fishing lures. Then there are always the classic Wynkoop lines; the one that got the biggest reaction went something like, "I only take off my jacket for two reasons: to make love and to kick ass!"
    This shot-on-video-looks-like-video from the late '90s has "retro" written all over it and probably did even when it was new. But, ya gotta love Joel D. Wynkoop, his heart is always 100% into this stuff. So....even though I liked the previous chapter better and didn't get much out of this one, for the simple senseless fun it may provide for fans of indie schlock, Wynkoop fans in particular, I give it a Recommended.
Terence Nuzum: OK, first off, I was debating between this and Next Stop for film of the night, but entertainment won over polish. If you love rubber worms emitting force-fields, smashed alien equipment oozing out fake slime and fishing lures, rubber-masked aliens, Joel Wynkoop in a Vietnam vet biker outfit, and the immortal line, "I only take off my jacket for two things...making love and fighting," then this is the film for you. A mix of trash cinema, X-Files, and the charm of '80s Dr. Who without the good script. Film of the Night.
Chris Woods: Another adventure of Cope Ransom played by Joel Wynkoop. This one has Ransom tracking down an alien who was posing as a singer in a cult metal band. The film starts off very cool with the back-story of Ransomís daughter killing herself after listening to the metal band's album. Ransom gets revenge by killing the lead singer. But years later he finds out the singer was actually an alien that his agency wanted dead and conned Ransom into thinking his daughter was dead to go after the alien. Now, in order to see his daughter alive again, he has to do one more mission. The film kind of reminded me of those old sci-fi television shows in the 70ís like Land of the Lost and KISS Meets The Phantom Of the Park. There were some cool parts in the film like when Ransom is being chased by one of the aliens and he falls off a cliff. And there was a great line from Ransom when he says ďI only take off my coat for two things, making love and kicking alien butt!Ē Although the film could have been cut down a little bit. There were a few scenes of Ransom just walking around in the forest that seem to drag on. But other than that it was a fun film to watch. Good.
John Miller: This is my kind of movie. Cheesy effects, Chuck Norris style dialogue, aliens, government agencies and best of all Joel Wynkoop playing a greasy drifter! After viewing the full 35 minutes I still wasn't sure what this was even about but then again I didn't care either. When you see a guy attempt to drop kick a force field its time to stop asking questions and enjoy the ride. Recommended.

Ott Light Commercial featuring David Vogel

Nolan Canova: Local actor David Vogel scored a choice part as a Godfather-like mobster starring in an Ott Light commercial. Did a nice job! Included in the program were several behind-the-scenes segments showing rehearsals and how the commercial was put together.
Terence Nuzum: Not reviewed
Chris Woods: Not reviewed
John Miller: Not reviewed

"The Kronenberg Chronicles" by John Landis: A pilot for a half-hour TV program that didn't make it to air.

Nolan Canova: Comedy spoof that's basically a cross between In Search of... and Wild Kingdom. Submitted to TFR by a local actor who appeared momentarily in the background of a couple scenes. Since this is Hollywood product and not a local independent film, it is ineligible for review.
Terence Nuzum: Not reviewed
Chris Woods: Not reviewed
John Miller: Not reviewed

NOTE: The next Tampa Film Review Ė Friday, July 11 at 8 p.m. Ė will be held at:
Cigar Warehouse Theater
1704 N. 17th Street
Ybor City, FL

Visit for more info on the Tampa Film Review.

"The Tampa Film Review for June" is ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova, Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, and John Miller.

All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.

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