Archive for April, 2014

For No Good Reason – Day 2 FFF 2014

April 6, 2014
The LanceAround Family Highly Recommends This Documentary

The LanceAround Family Highly Recommends This Documentary

NumberTwoSon has attended Ringling College of Art and Design and The Art Department. He has met many artists and has seen a lot of documentaries about artists. So when he says For No Good Reason is the best documentary of an artist he has ever seen, it’s a Ringing endorsement. He was especially impressed with the production values–specifically the way the art was animated and presented.

While the iconic work of Ralph Steadman is some of the most instantly recognizable in the world of modern cartooning, the artist himself states that he is often dismissed as just a “cartoonist” and not seen as a “real” artist. That perception, if it is indeed true, is shattered by this spectacular documentary that chronicles his life and art. It feature Johnny Depp, who starred in the movie, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Steadman was asked by Hunter S. Thompson to go with him to Las Vegas and help illustrate a story he was writing for Rolling Stone magazine. The resulting kaleidoscope of drugs and crazy adventures led to incredible art pieces and journalism that became known as “Gonzo” journalism. An article in Rolling Stone and the movie by filmmaker Terry Gilliam (who also appears in this documentary) helped to further heighten the notoriety of this remarkable artist. Before the film, I was speaking with a member of the Enzian staff and they said that, in some ways, Ralph Steadman was crazier than Hunter S. Thompson because he did all these antics while he was sober.

The documentary does an exceptional job of exposing the creative process that Steadman goes through when creating his works of art. Superior animation techniques then bring some of his artwork to life.

Through it all, the artist himself reveals a fascinating character who is modest and self-effacing in the light of a prodigious body of well respected work. His opening salvo, that his goal was to help change the world, was tempered at the movie’s end by his musings that perhaps he and his generation really failed humanity.

While Grammy LanceAround found the movie to be a bit confusing, Mrs. LanceAround, NumberOneSon and NumberTwoSon spent the entire car ride home discussing the movie in depth. It was clear that they were very touched by this chronicle of a man who created many iconic images for generations of Americans yet finds himself questioning his own contributions.

Very well done and worth seeing!



Shorts Program I – Day 2 FFF 2014

April 6, 2014
Elijah Wood Caps Off an Excellent Shorts Program

Elijah Wood Caps Off an Excellent Shorts Program

How do famous filmmakers become famous filmmakers? Many of them go to prestigious film schools that often require them to create a short film as part of their graduation thesis. They pour all their energy into this film, and perhaps many more like them, as they learn their craft. The FFF is inundated with hundreds of these short films which they then screen and select only the best for their audience. Of course, there are many filmmakers who make a career out of only creating short movies. But it is rare for shorts to appear at movie theatres.

For these reasons, the shorts programs at the FFF are often some of the most popular. Day Two was no exception as the Shorts Program 1: Perfect Day included seven shorts which Mrs. LanceAround, Grammy LanceAround, NumberOneSon and NumberTwoSon all agreed were top notch!

Fool’s Day
A fourth grade class decides to play an April Fool’s prank on their teacher. When it goes horribly wrong, the class is confronted with a real mess to clean up-before the police officer shows up for D.A.R.E. This dark comedy has some pacing and directorial issues, but was clearly an audience favorite as there was a lot of laughter throughout the film.

Pawn Shop Feels Like a Prison-Great Metaphor!

Pawn Shop Feels Like a Prison-Great Metaphor!

Cash For Gold
Very well made film about a desperate woman, a pawn shop, and a shopkeeper who struggles to find his conscience. Excellent productions values and very well directed. This one pulls at the heart strings.



The Bravest, The Boldest
Another very well made film. Once again there is excellent directing and great production values. This short film creates some very deep and moving characters in a short amount of time. Thoughtful and poignant.

A nighttime chronicle of a man and woman, with no dialogue, who seem to find very intimate beauty in the city streetscape. But are they dreaming? And what happens when they meet each other when they are awake? Fabulous images provide a romantic, artistic backdrop to this excellent short.

The Immaculate Reception
The most famous play in the history of the National Football League becomes the backdrop for two Pittsburgh teenagers making a play of their own. Period piece that does a great job of capturing a possible family scenario. Shot in 16mm, the home movie format adds a touch of realism making this film a true trip back in time for anyone who remembers that moment in history.

Milk and Blood
Father and son relationship are explored in this subtitled foreign language film. Yet another very well made film with wonderful production values that made it very enjoyable to watch. Although few audience members will be able to relate to the specific story of milking cows every morning, every father and son will relate to the difficulties in trying to work together with members of your family.

Setup, Punch
Amusing tale of a stand up comic who appears to struggle with the development of his professional career in accordance with his personal priorities. The title gives a little hint that this short may have some unexpected twists and turns for the both the comedian and the audience who watches him–both in the film and at the theatre! Stand out performance by Elijah Wood provides the added oomph that makes this film very memorable.


At the end of the shorts, filmmaker Charlotte Glynn, writer and director of The Immaculate Reception and Alma Enriquez, one of the executive producers of Cash For Gold were available for some Q & A.

Charlotte was asked about the inspiration for her film. She sheepishly acknowledged that she was not even born when the famous football play occurred and, therefore [Spoiler Alert] did not lose her virginity on that day.  However, she acknowledged that after moving to Pittsburgh when she was 12 she gradually became immersed in the football culture and found beauty there.

Alma, from Cash For Gold spoke about how her movie creates a very real moment that many people can relate to during this period of economic unrest.

What a Trip! Day One FFF 2014

April 6, 2014
The Trip to Italy was Fabulous

The Trip to Italy was Fabulous

The Trip to Italy. What a trip! And definitely worth the trip to the Florida Film Festival.

Like many Americans, I was not familiar with the British humourist Steve Coogan until I saw the delightful Oscar-nominated film Philomena last year. But our friends across the pond are very familiar with his work as they have awarded him with five BAFTAs from 1995 through 2014.

This film, a hilarious sequel to the well reviewed 2010 film The Trip, reunites Coogan with fellow co-star Rob Brydon and director Michael Winterbottom. In 2010, the duo was asked by the British paper, The Observer, to tour the country’s finest restaurants and film it. Reprising the same concept, this time Coogan and Brydon tour the great restaurants and hotels of Italy.

With comedic, extemporaneous interactions which might remind American audiences of the work of Robin Williams, the duo continually spoof famous movie scenes with spot on accents and witty dialogue that is so insightful it’s difficult to believe it was all ad-libbed.

Complimenting the interactions between the stars is a culinary feast for the eyes. Every town they visit includes a scrumptious meal. The camera catches master chefs as they create their works of art. My mouth was watering as I watched the two comedians enjoy fresh made Italian food between their riffs.

It’s a shame that the opening night film only plays one time at the FFF. If you missed it on Friday, you’re out of luck. That is, until it opens in theatres on August 15. Mark your calendars. This is one comedy you don’t want to miss.

Oh Sheep

Prior to the opening night movie, filmgoers were treated to a seven minute, computer animated short film, Oh Sheep. This funny, albeit macabre ditty had no dialogue but plenty of humor as two shepherds try their best to keep their flocks away from one another. The sheep are so determined to intermingle they risk life and limb in an attempt to thwart the efforts to keep them apart. The film is the brainchild of German filmmaker Gottfried Mentor. On his Facebook page he describes the piece as “A tragicomedy which reminds us that we are all of one flock.” It is a very clever and quite enjoyable film–If you don’t mind some dark humor!


Opening Night of the 2014 Florida Film Festival

April 6, 2014
As Usual, the Theatre was Packed on Opening Night

As Usual, the Theatre was Packed on Opening Night

There’s always an excited buzz just before the opening film of the Florida Film Festival.

This year was no exception as patrons began to queue in line more than hour prior to the opening of The Trip to Italy. Tonight LanceAround was joined by Mrs. LanceAround, Grammy LanceAround and NumberTwoSon as we lined up for the opening night movie. We took a moment to interview some of the film aficionados who were waiting to get into the theatre.

A woman in a striped dress was thumbing through a catalog as she awaited the opening of the theatre doors. LanceAround approaches her for an interview:

LanceAround: We have with us now the person who is the absolute first person in line to attend the opening movie of this year’s festival. And you are…

Patron 1: My name is Michelle.

LA: Michelle, what brings you to the FFF this year?

P1: Last year I came for the first time and really enjoyed it. And I have returned!

LA: What is it about this particular movie that led you to get here so early that you wound up being first in line?

P1: Well, last year I wasn’t first, or close to being first, and I like to sit in the back of the theatre. So I like to have that option open.

LA: Readers, you heard that! If you want to get the exact seat you want then you definitely want to get here early…or…even better…buy a platinum pass which lets you get into the films first. Thanks very much, Michelle.

P1: Thank you.

US Congressman Mica and Mayor Jacobs

US Congressman Mica and Mayor Jacobs

LA: Moving down the queue, here we are with the second, third and fourth people in line, and you are…

Patrons2: Amy…Pam…and Lori.

LA: Tell us what brings you to the FFF this year.

P2: Umm…A movie!

LA: You absolutely wanted to see this specific movie? And what is it about this specific movie?

P2: It was recommended to me as being a comedy, a very good comedy, so I had to go see it.

LA: So who was the person who recommended it to you?

P2: A member of the Enzian.

LA: A member of the Enzian recommended it, so are you associated with the Enzian in any way?

P2: I’ve been a member of it…in the past…I’m not this year.

LA: As you’ve all heard, Pam is the deadbeat who has not renewed her membership into the Enzian [At this point, the two friends accompanying Pam begin to laugh and Pam joins in] and right now she’s looking rather sheepish about it. So, Pam, what would you say to other people …

P2: You have to persuade me, through this FFF, to renew my membership.

LA: Let me ask you this, if you don’t enjoy the film tonight, who is it that’s in trouble?

P2: …uh…The friend who recommended it.

LA: OK, she refuses to disclose who her Enzian friend is. We just have to hope she enjoys the film. Further down the line, we see a man in a blue shirt animatedly gesturing and speaking with a small group of patrons.

Patrons3: Are we on television?

LA: No, it’s a blog. We’re here with a group of people here for the opening night film. A gentleman here in a bright blue shirt animatedly talking to the other three…Sir, the FFF, how many times have you been here?

P3: Ummm…[At this point, the man stamps his foot, much like a horse’s hoof, as he counts in his head] Five.

LA: And what my readers might have missed is that he stamped his, uh, hoof, like a horse counting out how many…

Mrs. LanceAround: He must be Sagittarius…or in a past life, he might have been a horse?

P3: I just had to remember!

LA: What is it that brings you back to the FFF?

P3: My wife brings me back to the FFF.

LA: OK, [referring to the woman standing beside him] Is this your wife?

P3: That’s her!

LA: I just thought I’d doublecheck to make sure it’s not a matter of the wife saying, “You go to FFF, I’m going back home!”

P3Wife: Oh, no, no, no.

LA: So you’re the big film festival person?

P3Wife: Well I was a drama major in college.

LA: You were? So was I! What college was that?

P3Wife: Regis College, which is now Regis University in Denver.

LA: And what is it about the FFF that you enjoy so much that you drag your horse back here every five years?

P3Wife: OK…Let’s see…I just like to see…I will see anything that’s good…except horror films…I don’t like those.

LA: So you’re not going to the Midnight Shorts.

P3Wife: Probably not.

LA: Because Matthew Curtis [Programming Director for the FFF] said that it’s going to have people running for the hills this year.

P3Wife: Yea, we won’t be going to that.

P3Husband: We did get used to film festivals. We came to Florida. We imported ourselves from Palm Springs in California where the International Film Festival has been going for about 10 years. We got in the habit…

P3Wife: We’d go to that…

P3Husband: So when we saw the FFF  we said, “Great!” And we get to see new films or obscure films that you don’t get to see very often. We love the animated shorts. So we really enjoy it. It’s just something you can’t see somewhere else.

LA: And how shall I identify you in my blog?

P3Wife: Aryna and Neil, I guess.

LA: Aryna and her horse…Aryna and…lll [LanceAround makes a loud whining sound, like a horse braying.]

P3: [Laughing] Oh my God, I didn’t think about it like that!

P3Wife: Also, I’ve been a volunteer here for a few years. I haven’t done it lately, I’ve been very busy.

P3Husband: Is he always this Bbbb…aaaa..ddd? [He also makes a loud whining noise, like a horse braying.]

Mrs. LanceAround: He’s a bit of a drama queen.

LA: [To the braying horse] You say that like you don’t read my blog every week!

P3Wife: What is your blog?

P3Husband: LanceAroundOrlando! We read it every week, but we both have Alzheimer’s.

LA: The beautiful thing about that is every day you can go back and re-read my entire blog and enjoy it as if it were the first time! And it’s all fresh! [They all laugh.]

[LanceAround moves towards the end of the queue]

LA: Here we are towards the back of the line for the opening night film at the FFF interviewing patrons for the LanceAroundOrlando blog…

Patrons4: This is our spokesmodel, Ken Carpenter.

LA: This is who?

P4: Our spokesmodel, Ken Carpenter.

LA: Ken, what happened here tonight that you wound up being so late that you end up all the way towards the back of the line.

P4: We actually thought we were getting here early enough. We planned it to be here at six thirty and that’s the wrong plan.

LA: What would have been the right plan?

P4Wife: Not to eat so much! [All four of them start laughing]

LA: Are you speaking to Ken personally or are you speaking for all four of you at once.

P4: No, it was the eating and the drinking over across the street at Mitchell’s Fish Market.

LA: As the result of that, you’re going to wind up with the second worst seats in the entire theatre? Because, of course, the worst seats are going to be for the press who get to go into the theatre last.

P4: You know, when we go to the hockey game they have this thing, “improve your seats,” where they surprise people and they come over and talk to them and say, “We’re going to move you down to the lower bowl.” Is that what you guys are going to do?

LA: Yes, we are. We’re going to surprise you right now. Here’s how it works. When you walk in you go to the seats that you wanted to sit in and whoever is sitting there you tell them that Henry Maldonado, president of the FFF, told them that they have to move and those are going to be your seats.

P4: Tell them LanceAround said that?

LA: No, no, no, no, no…LanceAround didn’t say that, Henry Maldonado said that. And I will be getting all of it on film! What do you want to tell our readers about the FFF, Mr. Spokesperson?

P4: I think they should try to get to as many films as they possibly can. I’ve been doing it for years. These are first timers at the film festival [He gestures to two of the patrons standing with him] Second timers [gestures to another person.]

Mrs. LanceAround: Oh, that’s great!

P4: So your readers should get to as many of the 170 films as they can.

LA: 173!

P4: Oh, they added some. That’s right. They added Susan Sarandon and her film and Paul Sorvino and his film.

P4Wife: He’s a professor at Valencia!

LA: There’s only one person who’s seen all 173 films. Which you know because I’m sure you’ve read my blog post from Monday about it. It talked about Matthew Curtis, programming director at the FFF.

P4: He sees them all?

LA: Yes he does! So you want to get to every film?

P4: I can’t. I can’t go to every one. But I’m going to go to as many of them as I possibly can.

LA:  And you want to get there as early as possible.

P4: Now I know I need to get there earlier. I am going solo to most of the rest of them. So I’ll have more maneuverability that I don’t have tonight.

LA: [Loudly whispering conspiratorially] Note from editor, he says he’s going solo. [Speaking to Patron] Can you explain that please?

P4Friend: [Gesturing to the woman beside them] That’s the wife.

LA: That’s the wife?

P4Friend: Yes, that’s the wife right there, I’m just the girlfriend.

LA: [Gesturing to the two woman] You’re the wife and you’re the girlfriend. [Gesturing to the other man who is with them.] And that makes you the…

P4Wife: The Butler!

P4Friend: OK, we’re not going to print that!

LA: We most certainly are! And how shall we identify you in the blog?

P4Wife: The Husband, the wife, the girlfriend, the boyfriend…

P4Husband: The Butler!

LA: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover…

P4Husband: I saw that film, that was a good film!

P4Girlfriend: Ken Carpenter, professor of journalism at Valencia Community College.

LA: Ken Carpenter, professor of journalism, and his entourage and harem. Thank you very much!

P4Husban: Alright, you got it!

FFF President Henry Maldonado and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs Introduce the Film

FFF President Henry Maldonado and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs Introduce the Film

At this point, the line begins to move as patrons fill up the theatre. As usual, once the theatre is full–and we don’t see an empty seat in the house–Henry Maldonado addresses the crowd. He introduces some of the dignitaries that are in attendance this year, including Congressman John Mica and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. He also wishes Matthew Curtis, programming director at the FFF, a happy birthday and everyone sings to him. Then the lights dim and the opening films begin…

Congressman John Mica Attends Opening Night at the 2014 FFF

April 5, 2014
Congressman Mica with the LanceAround Family

Congressman John Mica of Florida’s 7th District Meets with Grammy LanceAround, NumberTwoSon and Mrs. LanceAround

We’re here at the opening night film of the FFF. Everyone enjoyed the hilarious comedy, The Trip to Italy, which has just concluded.

The FFF is no stranger to dignitaries and stars, usually from Hollywood and the entertainment industry. But today, from the halls of power in Washington D.C., we have with us U.S. Congressman John Mica representing the 7th district here in Central Florida. Congressman Mica just finished watching The Trip to Italy. Judging from all the laughter around us, he seemed to really enjoy it.

After the movie, Congressman Mica met with the LanceAround family and allowed us a brief interview:

LanceAround:  Congress Mica, welcome!

Congressman John Mica: Well, it’s good to be at the 2014 Florida Film Festival and a great kickoff here!

LA: What brings you to the FFF this year?

CJM: It was courtesy US Air and a flight that just got in. [Everyone around us chuckles] and I can assure you that the film festival will be a great success and Washington and the Federal Government had nothing to do with it.

LA: During the initial introduction, Henry Maldonado, president of the FFF, said that you’re not just here as a representative of Congress but that you are a patron of the Enzian Theatre. Can you tell us about that.

CJM: I’m a patron of the arts, I like to think. I wanted to especially come tonight because my family on my mother’s side is Italian and I loved seeing The Trip to Italy tonight. It was a great kickoff for me. Not only was the film great but to see the food–I think I gotta go home and cook myself some pasta.

LA: Each year the FFF grows in stature and this year is no exception. Congressman, thank you so much for being here tonight and for the efforts that you put forth to support the arts here in Central Florida.

CJM: Thank you, A great night and I hope everyone gets out to enjoy a lot of the great films that are going to be shown.

Florida Film Festival (FFF) Preview 2014

April 1, 2014
Mrs. LanceAround Chats Film With Florida Film Festival Programming Director Matthew Curtis

Mrs. LanceAround Chats With FFF Programming Director Matthew Curtis

The 2014 Florida Film Festival is just around the corner. LanceAround and Mrs. LanceAround are here at the preview party chatting with FFF Programming Director Matthew Curtis.

LA: Matthew, how many films are there this year?

MC: Right now there are 171. There will be 173.

LA: 173! and how many of those films have you personally seen?

MC: All of them. Every single one.

LA: All 173?

MC: Absolutely.

LA: Is there anyone else that has seen that many?

MC: No.

LA: You’re the only one.

MC: I’m the only one that’s seen every film in the festival.

LA: At LanceAroundOrlando we have a little tradition. Every year we ask Matthew to pick out his five favorite films…

"The Last Orange Grove of Middle Florida" might be of interest to local FFF fans

The Last Orange Grove of Middle Florida Might Be Of Interest To Local FFF Fans

MC: …And you know I can never do it…

LA: …I know you never can…

MC: …I can tell you some great ones…

LA: As you know, my readers can’t see 173 films so they want to know, “which ones do we not miss.” Matthew, what are the five best?

MC: The documentary on the only [Hmm, bit of a dilemma here as the name of this museum uses a word that’s not appropriate for the LanceAroundOrlando blog. I guess we’ll just have to substitute the word “Johnson.”–LanceAround] The documentary on the only [Johnson] Museum in the world…

LA: …I’m sorry, what did you say?…

MC: …There’s a documentary called The Final Member that’s about the only [Johnson] Museum in the world…

LA: …Okay, that’s what I thought you said…

MC: …And, uh, it’s hysterical and quite shocking and pretty unbelievable. Of course, the museum is 30 miles from the arctic circle in Iceland. It’s a competition between two people to, um, donate the first human phallus.

LA: In Iceland?

MC: Yea, the museum is in Iceland.

LA: Wouldn’t that make for a much smaller donation?

MC: Well, that’s a good joke…it’s a good pun. So The Final Member is terrific.

LA: I’m assuming that’s not a film for the family.

MC: No, it’s not. I would not say that. But speaking of family films, we do have the Academy Award nominated animated feature Ernest & Celestine which is absolutely beautiful. It’s adapted from a series of French children’s books and the English language version the voice actors are Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Giamatti, it’s fantastic.

LA: So you go from the [Johnson] film to the animated children’s film.

MC: Those are the extremes that you’ll find in this festival. As always, we have some incredible docs. There’s a doc called The Front Man and it’s really wonderful. We’ve got the world premier of a film about Russian mail order brides called Love Me that’s pretty jaw dropping and really interesting. It’s really about the international dating service called A Foreign Affair. We’ve got some terrific features in competition. There’s some real nice romantic comedies. An indie romantic comedy called Forev That’s really sweet and funny. Crazy, very original comedy called Crimes Against Humanity from Chicago that just world premiered at Slamdance…

LA: …So that’s number six. Are there any others that people should see?

Don't Miss the 2014 FFF

Don’t Miss the 2014 FFF

MC: Sure, there’s a couple of international features that were both the foreign language submissions for the Oscars this year; One from Singapore called Ilo Ilo which is set during the Asian recession in the late 90’s  where a family hires a Philippine maid who the mother/wife doesn’t get along with that well. Then there’s a terrific film called Gabrielle from Canada from the same producers as Monsieur Lazhar about a developmentally challenged young woman in her early 20’s who wants her independence and sexual freedom and the actress actually has Williams Syndrome which, from what I can gather, is sort of like Asperger’s. The film’s really terrific. Completely unusual. It’s a subject we really haven’t seen before. A lot of the actors are similarly challenged. It’s just a really good drama. Excellent.

LA: The sad part about this interview is that it’s a written blog. My readers aren’t able to see the expression on Matthew’s face as he talks about these movies. And for every one his face just lights up with pure delight. It’s clear that he loves all of these films. But that’s the entire list, there’s none other that are…

MC: …No, no, there’s quite a few others that are well worth seeing depending on your taste. I mean, the midnight movies this year we have one of the spookiest films to hit here. It’s an Australian film called The Babadook by a woman director. It’s about a boogeyman that they find in a pop up book. We also have a couple films at midnight that we had to put warnings on because people might be running for the hills. We actually have graphic content warnings; Moebius and a German film called Wetlands I saw at Sundance and tongues were wagging. It’s unbelievable.

LA: [In a whispered voice LanceAround conspiratorially asks Matthew] Which of these films is your personal favorite?

MC: I don’t have a personal favorite. There’s a lot of really great films. I don’t personally love every film at the festival. But I like every film. Obviously we try to appeal to all tastes and as broad a segment of the community as possible but there are some absolutely great films in the festival this year; including a number of the shorts. Animation is always huge here; the animated shorts. We have a new international shorts program this year. Every year we take turns; sometime Italian shorts, sometimes British shorts, sometimes we do international documentary shorts. This year we have a Swedish shorts program called SOS: Short Order Swedish that’s got some absolutely incredible films in that and that’s a new program. There’s really something for everyone. I couldn’t name a personal favorite. I could probably name a top ten; some of which I’ve already previously mentioned.

LA: There you have it. Matthew’s advice–Just go ahead, camp out at the Enzian, don’t miss a film. It’s going to be a fabulous year at the 2014 Florida Film Festival.

[Oh, and for the record, Matthew, we know you couldn’t give us just a “Top Ten” list either. There are always way too many films to love at a Florida Film Festival. Who could possibly limit it to just a Top Five or Top Ten? LanceAround and Mrs. LanceAround’s advice: Get a platinum pass and see as many films as you possible can!]