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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #522 (Vol. 11, No. 13). This edition is for the week of March 22--28, 2010.

"How To Train Your Dragon"  by Mike Smith
FANEX Files: Samuel Z. Arkoff  by ED Tucker
Album of the Month: Jimi Hendrix-Valleys of Neptune  by Terence Nuzum
FANGRRL Goes To The 2010 Gasparilla International Film Festival  by Lisa Scherer
DVD Review: Cave of the Silken Web  by Jason Fetters
Lampin' Goes To Wild Splash 2010  by John Miller
Movie Notes .... Passing On .... Toy Story .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf o  by Mike Smith
FANGRRL by Lisa Scherer

FANGRRL Goes To The 2010 Gasparilla International Film Festival

The unofficial theme of the Gasparilla International Film Festival in 2010 seemed to be Difficult Decisions. After last year’s expansion to a ten-day festival unfortunately coincided with the economic recession, GIFF organizers considered taking a break in 2010, but ultimately decided to move forward with the 2010 GIFF. This year, festival planners didn’t partner with Channelside Cinemas again, deciding instead to spread screenings amongst CineBistro, Centro Muvico Ybor and Tampa Theatre.

For some reason – I’m guessing because of the severely limited seating at CineBistro – the film fest Powers That Be instituted a new policy this year requiring that all GIFF pass holders reserve tickets for individual screenings, and that all ticketholders be in their theater seats at least 15 minutes prior to start time or risk their seat being given to someone on the waiting list. Last but not least, the restrictive new ticketing policy, multiple screening venues, confusing website and tightly-packed schedule caused film fans to have to make some difficult decisions about which movies to see.

Or to try to see, as might be the case. This was the first time I’ve encountered festival passes – no matter what kind: filmmaker, board member, whatever – not really being anything special. It was also my first time reading “a ticket does not guarantee you a seat” in a non-airline setting. I did not attend as many GIFF screenings as in previous years due to prior commitments (damn you, busy social life!); unfortunately I also caught fewer screenings this year than I’d hoped to because of the set-up. Several of the movies I’d really wanted to see were either playing back-to-back (What if they gave away my seat at the second movie because the first movie ran late? Too risky for me.) or at different movie theaters (CineBistro/Centro Muvico Ybor). But I did manage to catch a few movies, including:

THE PERPETUAL LIFE:KYLE COOPER -- I saw this 5-minute "documentary" about the immortal and unhappy Kyle Cooper at the 48 Hour Film Project-Tampa/St. Pete festival last summer, so I knew that the filmmakers were assigned a genre (mockumentary), a prop, a character name and a line of dialogue ("When you say it like that, it's crystal clear.") that they had to use. Even without that background knowledge, however, this film still works. Jereme Badger (Kyle Cooper) is one of the best local actors around. (Why don't I see him in more movies?) B+

OFF SEASON – Beautiful to look at, this short thriller takes a hell of a long time to get going, but when it does, wow. Oh. My. God. Totally twisty ending that freaked me out. Twist Ending: A+ Overall: B+

BOUT THAT BOUT – An interesting documentary short about a high-school fight club in Seffner that more than made up in heart what it lacked in technical prowess. B

KING JEFF – You know how you play dress up as a kid, wearing costumes and pretending to be a superhero or soldier or fairy princess or something? Meet Jeff. Or, as the eccentric middle-aged star of this short film prefers to be known, King Jeff. Whimsical, clever and absolutely hilarious. My favorite film of the entire festival. A

IMMORTAL ISLAND – This feature-length thriller about a tropical island trip gone wrong – ancient curse, brutal murder, drug dealer dustup kind of wrong -- was an odd mix of highs and lows. Strong actors were given bad dialogue, creative camera techniques were overused, and an intriguing story lost its way among the plot twists. C

CAGED DREAMS – This beautifully-shot, well-acted short about an up-and-coming MMA fighter and his burned-out, failed Olympian wrestler trainer was like that old adage about March weather – it came in like a lion, but went out like a lamb. The story wrapped up very quickly – almost abruptly – and left me slightly confused for a brief moment. Plus, I wasn’t ready for the movie to end. Director Pete Guzzo said at the Q&A afterwards that they’d originally wanted to make a feature-length film, so that probably explains it. A-

SPAVENTARE – I’ve written before about how this short thriller creeps me out. The GIFF screening was about the sixth time I’ve seen it, and it still made me jump, dammit. A-

TRIPPIN’ – When you go see a movie by the directrix (her term) responsible for movies with titles like Confederate Zombie Massacre and I Spit On Eli Roth, your expectations are pretty high. Luckily, those expectations were not only met but exceeded. Trippin’ is a wacky, clever, scary, weird, funny story about six friends road trippin’ for the weekend. Along the way, they encounter road kill, bloody appendages, hillbillies, car trouble, a mysterious death, a psycho hunter, sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, crazed children, skinned bodies and one awesomely absurd animated drug hallucination. Trippin’ wasn’t anything like I was expecting, which is probably a good thing. A

I skipped out on the closing awards ceremony because of the torrential rain that day (remember what happened to the Wicked Witch of the West when she encountered water?), but you can find out who won what at www.GasparillaFilmFestival.com.

"FANGRRL" is ©2010 by Lisa Scherer.   All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.