Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Fort Lauderdale Film Festival Draws to a Close

FLIFF draws to a closeAnd ends with a bangby Phillip Valys Entertainment Writer

Though the 22nd Annual Fort Lauderdale Film Festival is bidding its final farewells to South Florida, there’s still no drought of activities for last-minute filmgoers.

From now ’til Nov. 11, frolickers and pleasure-seekers alike will have a totally gratis screenwriter’s seminar with the masterminds behind the Brit comedy Magicians (review below). Plus, catch everyone’s favorite paraplegic Vietnam lieutenant swipe himself a Career Achievement Award at the Gary Sinise Tribute on Nov. 9.

Not sizzling enough? Well, spring for ‘corn and Sour Patch Kids and catch an eyeful of Short Stuff # 3, the final batch of brilliant mini-movies in the fest. And if that eye candy doesn’t glaze over your corneas, or if you need a second opinion, simply scan below for our staffers’ movie reviews.

But the perennial shindig isn’t complete without mouthwatering spirits at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds in Davie. If liquor doesn’t tempt you, though, do indulge in the celebrity meet-and-greets.

Tell ’em the University Press sent you.

Check out the Guide to the Festival Part 1 and Part II

Midnight Clear Movie Reviewby Cierra Robinson, Staff Writer

* * * * (out of four)

For a holiday season tear jerker, Midnight Clear broaches some touchy subjects. The film orbits around addiction, tragedy, isolation, helplessness and the strength it takes to overcome odds.

Its storyline is captivating. It illustrates how characters cross each other’s paths on several occasions – from the attempted robbery of a gas station, to an invitation to a Christmas Eve church service. A thinning faith in God, self and the reality of life’s misfortune are poignant themes that resonate.

Clear’s script was generally well-written and the acting is believable. Kirk (Kirk B.R . Miller), Eva Boile (Mary Thorton) and her son “Lefty” (Stephen Baldwin) exhibit the sort of heart-wrenching pain and gentleness that moves mountains.

The film wasn’t predictable, nor was the ending squeaky-clean. One can respect that the plight of the characters wasn’t totally resolved, but it begs a certain curiosity to know what happens after the credits roll.

Based on a short story by best-seller Jerry B. Jenkins, Midnight Clear leaves one with that impression that good people exist and flourish despite the evil of our world.

Catch this highly-recommended screening of Midnight Clear this Sunday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. at Nova Southeastern University’s Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center (3100 Ray Ferrera Jr. Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). Afterward, mosey down to the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds (4201 SW 65 Way, Davie) for the 2007 FLIFF Wrap Party. The screening is seven bucks for students, $42 for the film and the party. Call (954) 525-3456, or visit www.fliff.com.

New York Serenade Reviewby Ana Octaviano, Staff Writer

* (out of four)

Familiar faces make up the American indie New York Serenade, but they don’t make up for the lack in writing and production.

Owen (Freddie Prinze Jr), has a hard time prioritizing his fiancé (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), over his deadbeat childhood friend (Chris Klein). Both childhood friends drown their irresponsible decisions through vodka, then realize it’s not going to get them anywhere. Storylines are oftentimes plodding and uneven – Owen takes five sluggish minutes to spot a girl to hook up with, yet only five seconds to “finish his business” with the chick. And Serenade‘s budget isn’t more painfully obvious than the nonexistent lighting, especially during the NYC night shoots. Sigler, Prinze, Jr. and Klein seemed desperate for work, and the producers were desperate for a familiar face.

Though Klein’s sleazy, skinny mustache reveals the lack of class in his performance, it’s derivative of his earlier films. Prinze, Jr.’s popular and cool persona doesn’t add anything, and Sigler has a small role that doesn’t enhance the film. There area few great shots of the New York skyline here, and that’s about it. If you need something to watch before going to bed, New York Serenade will put you right out.

Want to see for yourself? Catch New York Serenade this Saturday, Nov. 10 at 8:45 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE 6 St., Fort Lauderdale). It’s just $7 for students. Call (954) 525-3456, or visit www.fliff.com.

On The Doll Movie Reviewby Cierra Robinson Staff Writer

A vivid flashback of what looks like a live baby bird begins “On the Doll.” Here is the emphasis of the film – the proof that deception is real and inevitably you’ll see someone or something for what it truly is.

In On the Doll, innocence becomes vulgar and tainted by the hands of molestation, rape, and sexual abuse of the youth. Jizz (Josh Janowicz), Balery (Brittany Snow), Chantel (Shanna Collins), and students Tara and Melody (Angela Sarafyan and Candice Accola) are all exploited but come the conclusion, still don’t seem to find the poetic justice they crave.

Some scenes were incredibly graphic and even made me feel wrong for watching. However, I won’t scapegoat the graphic nature of the film’s subject material. With the intensity of the film came acting that was oftentimes believable. All the characters, however, didn’t really give commanding performances.

The film tried to bring all the subplots full circle but misfired a few inches from the finish. The sheer volume of intertwining stories may have made a satisfying climax harder to achieve. On the Doll has certain originality that was both gritty and unpredictable. Maybe it’s one of those things made to be grasped on the second run through.

On the Doll debuts at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE 6 Street, Fort Lauderdale), this Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. Student tickets are $7. Call (954) 525-3456, or visit www.fliff.com.

Not-so spellboundIt’s amateur hour for sleight-of-hand comedy Magicians by Phillip Valys Entertainment Writer

* * (out of four)

Though this Brit comedy import sounds like a creation primed to lampoon recent ultra-serious “rival magician” thrillers like (The Prestige, The Illusionist), Magicians behaves like a stage trick gone awry.

Speaking of which, Harry (David Mitchell) and Karl (Robert Webb) play a successful double-act from the namesake vocation. After an onstage guillotine mishap puts Harry’s eye-candy assistant wife, um, out of commission, the duo calls it quits. Four years later, they’re unabashed rivals competing in Magic Shield, a prestigious international tournament that pits snooty tricksters and garish enchanters alike against each other.

Karl’s clueless agent Otto (Darren Boyd) pushes his charge to conjure up a pseudo-psychic “Mind Monger” persona for a TV gig; sadly, it impresses only the station’s woefully na’ve secretary and doesn’t pan out. Meanwhile, the luckless (and penniless) Harry recruits Linda (Jessica Stevenson), his new – and decidedly un-decapitated – onstage assistant during the contest.

The premise is about as amusing as getting sawed in half, and doubly disappointing considering Mitchell, Webb, and a battery of alums from the smash-hit U.K series Peep Show penned this quasi-clunker. Even Linda’s dance number tryout – jumping jacks and leg kicks – rings more embarrassing than laughable.

Formulaic premise aside, throwaway dialogue and homoerotic one-liners (“wanna suck my magic wand?”) fail to salvage the first three-quarters of Magicians.

Yet that’s not to say it’s a total shellacking – stick around for the heartwarming conclusion and a side-splitting side plot with Dwight White (Steve Edge) filching a nifty flower trick from a precocious teen entrant.

Catch Magicians this Saturday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE 6th St., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets are always seven bucks for students. Call (954) 535-3456, or visit www.fliff.com.

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