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PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2002!

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La Floridiana
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Deadguy's Dementia
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Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
  Number 141  (Vol. 3, No. 49). This edition is for the week of December 2--8, 2002.
The Renegade Film Festival Strikes Back:
Saints & Sinners 2!

PLUS...

 Steven Spielberg Presents Taken

AND...

 Roswell: The Startling New Evidence (Sci-Fi Channel special)
 (The PCR "Letters to the Editor" section filled up in a hurry this week! When re/visitng that section, be sure to scroll thoroughly!)

Long-time readers will recall the first Renegade Film Festival was un-attended by my damn self due to strenuous personal circumstances I was suffering at the time. In my stead I sent stalwart actor and Florida Folk Hero Gustavo Perez to cover the event as best he could (see PCR issue #124). I was determined, however, not to let anything interfere with my attending "Saints & Sinners II", if they had to bring me in on a stretcher!

My traveling companion for this event was, once again, the afore-mentioned Gus Perez. Parking near the State Theater in St. Pete and arriving early, we saw only a modest line outside, which was encouraging only in that we had gotten a late start and were afraid of not getting good seats. While in line, we spoke to a radio-contest winner who was unaware of what kind of event he'd won tickets to ("Hell, I jess cawlled 'em up to see if ize the ninth cawller!"). After we explained it to him, he remarked that basically he just wanted the T-shirts and offered us his tickets. I remarked that I expected we had press passes waiting, but to stick close in case there was a misunderstanding (opportunistic bastard that I am), but that maybe one of the other line-dwellers could use them. Well our passes were secure, and I guess the guy got his T-shirt and left, because I lost track of him after that.

Click on images to enlarge
Nolan Canova and Rick Danford
PCR publisher Nolan Canova on left with Renegade Films' president Rick Danford
Noeland Collins and Gus Perez
Noeland Collins (director of the soon-to-be-released "Afterlife"), and Gustavo Perez
Leora and Gus
Leora Chai (Tambay Film Fest) and Gus talk at the State Theater bar
Diane and Nolan
"Gibtown" director Diane Phillips with Nolan Canova in the State Theater lobby
Andy's announcement
Andy Lalino announces his trailer for Filthy in front of the massive screen erected for the festival. The star patterns are animated projections onscreen when nothing else is playing.
Andy's gang
Nolan Canova with "Filthy" crew Andy Lalino, Eddie Sturgeon, and Kevin Bailey

Almost immediately upon entering I ran into Rick Danford, president of Renegade Films, and chief organizer of this event. The power trio of Renegade includes Kerry Hogan (webmaster/PR) and Porl Denicolo (advertising/funding/PR/200-year-old-vampire). Hogan was dressed in a tuxedo and Denicolo was dressed and made-up in his vampiric garb, including long fangs which flashed when he smiled (at least I think it was make-up!). Altho I got a picture of myself with Danford (see pictures, right), in all the excitement, I neglected to get pics of the other two---woops. In one of my visits to the lobby, I ran into Diane Phillips, director of "Gibtown" a documentary on the show-folk of Gibsonton, that has had airplay on PBS!  "Gibtown" was also playing at the festival closer to midnight. (Diane was also behind the scenes at the Roy Huston Spook Show which I reviewed in PCR # 136.) Also out in the lobby, Gus and I ran into Leora Chai who is producing the Tambay Film Festival for next year. That all these filmmakers have gathered here and are so supportive is a moving testament to not only the tightness of the film community, but demonstrates what kind of perserverance it takes to overcome the otherwise tragic lack of support experienced in the Tampa Bay region.

This is what I was able to see:
"We Believe" (12th Man Films). An extremely well-produced 90-minute documentary on, basically, Tampa Bay Buccaneers football fandom. No offense to 12th Man Films, but I detest sports documentaries, the Bucs notwithstanding. I questioned the wisdom of starting an indie film fest with a 90-minute foray into the world of grunting, screaming Bucs fans! (Maybe to allow more time for slow-arriving guests to show up?) I struggled to get through about half of it before Gus and I went out in the lobby to hang out. I will say this: of what we saw, this film generally had the best audio/visual quality. For tech-heads, they used a Canon XL-1 and GL-2 video cameras for the original footage. They must've had a terrific "filmlook" program operating in editing, because it looked like a film doc to me. Congrats to 12th Man, now get those Canons back out there and film something more interesting to non-sports fans!
"Z" (Jason Liquori). Very bizarre little flick dealing with a frustrated mailman trying to deliver his last letter before retirement---only the family's dog has barred him from an already difficult-to-reach mailbox! Funny and engaging, this is what I generally associate with good independent film: low-budget, but lots of heart and good performances. I believe this is one of the many films originated on High-8 video. (I was surprised to see that format still have so much involvement.) (Correction: Jason used S-VHS for this production. See his letter in "Letters to the Editor", below.--N)
"Raven 2" (Colin Clarke). A 3-D animation, well-executed, but with a very video-game feeling to lots of it. "Raven 1" must've played at the first festival, sorry I missed that, maybe this chapter would've affected me more. I remember this one was something of a detective story with super-hero overtones. Looked good, and was obviously lots of work. This guy has a good future in computer programming. This approach to film is not my cup of tea, however. (Sony's "Fantasy Within" left me similarly cold and on a much higher budget, too.) If you like CGI movies, you'll probably like Raven 2.
"So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World" (Andrew Tautain). If I'm remembering correctly (please correct me if I'm wrong), this is the film that suffered a dreadful technical glitch just a couple minutes in and was not replayed. It began with a woman in a bathtub on the verge of apparent suicide with wine and pills nearby. The phone rings and she reluctantly drops her pills to go answer it. There's no one there. She returns to the tub to resume her apparent hari-kari----the projector goes to snow, then a blue screen, then off! (All films were projected through a video unit onto a large white screen onstasge.) Gus and I looked at each other, like---was that it? This had the potential of being real interesting until the plug was pulled (or was that somehow part of the movie?). With no explanation, Rick Danford emerged from the shadows to announce the next film which was...
"Wonder Boy 2" (Minor League Productions). Minor League is Rick Danford's alter-ego, I take it. He cameos in a very short movie starring some sweet kids, his own among them, about action figures that come to life and kids who can also be super-heroes. Absolutely adorable, the kids' performances were great, and even Danford's cameo elicited a laugh. One day I must see "Wonder Boy".
"Filthy" trailer (Andy Lalino). A generous trailer with some completed scenes from the still-in-post-production horror movie. In a word: terrific. Shot on Super-16mm film (see Andy, I remembered!)---it is the only presentation up to this point actually shot on film---and mastered on Beta Video, Lalino's story follows an investigative reporter into a run-down mess of a house that is, well, filthy. With the camera following her, she describes what she sees, trying not to gag as she narrates. At the last second, something jumps out of the shadows......and we go to black! A big round of applause punctuated this moment (mine among them), as we saw the potential for a real creepfest when this gets done. A brief interview with producer/director Lalino afterwards revealed his intention to have it ready by around Spring 2003.
"Justice" (Local Talent). Probably my favorite full-length flick up to this point in the program. A duplicious husband and his mistress, a scheming wife, and a down-on-his-luck regular guy come together in a fabulous screenplay involving a game of "where's the bomb?" which could be inside any one of three identical valises carried by all of them at one time or another. A particularly satisfying ending elevates this movie to another level. The images look fabulous, especially considering the origination medium is, once again, High-8 video.
"Lightning Strikes Twice" (El Gato). I inadvertantly left this entry out of the early edition due to an oversight. A woman visits a tarot-reading fortune-teller who predicts the visitor will die from electrical shock unless she's careful. The visitor takes this a little too seriously and confabulates a paranoid plot in which the gypsy woman is out to get her.

I went outside about this time to meet with more festival goers (this is where I caught up with "Filthy" director Andy Lalino). The crowd had definitely swelled in ranks from when I last glanced out in the lobby and it looked to be a promising night. Unfortunately, I still have to work for a living (for now---grumble, grumble...), so Gus and I had to pack it in and leave at around 8:00pm. (Because of this, we unfortunately had to miss "Shogun Assassin"---a rare treat in this country---as well as more good films, and the awards presentation).

UPDATE: Tip-of-the-hat to the ubiquitous Mr. Lalino for forwarding the winners of the Saints and Sinners categories for this issue of PCR:  SAINTS: "Gibtown", Decoy Films (Diana Phillips).  SINNERS: "The Uninvited--Chapter 1", Relic Films (Greg Rivera). Congratulations to these fine filmmakers! (For more on what happened that night, see Andy's letter in "Letters to the Editor", below.--N)

Steven Spielberg Presents "Taken"
I resisted the temptation to enclose the entire title in quotes even tho the official title of this Sci-Fi Channel mini-series is "Steven Spielberg Presents Taken". I have mixed feelings about this 20-hour mini-series on several levels. The series can certainly boast wonderful photography, effects, and performances, but dyed-in-the-wool UFO buffs/proponents/fanatics are going to be very frustrated with the direction this series takes. I'm not even going to attempt to unveil the massive layers of plots and sub-plots right here and now, but suffice it to say, at this point, the story basically revolves around a military man who was present at the original Roswell crash scene, and is obsessed with secrecy even if it means killing those closest to him. The story covers several decades of abduction victims' stories and the frustrating government denials regarding reports.

The alien effects are very good, actually. It's rare when I like them , because producers tend to hyper-cartoonify extraterrestrials figuring it's the only way the average Joe would tune in. But the "greys" here are creepy, realistic (har har), and properly unearthly.

The series is narrated by a little girl. I'm not sure her signifiance quite yet, but I'm sure that will surface. She usually chimes in at the beginning and endings of chapters about why people do the things they do and behave the way they do. I won't be taping all this, but I'll keep an eye on it, for sure.

Roswell: The Startling New Evidence (The Sci-Fi Channel Special)
For dyed-in-the-wool UFO buffs/proponents/fanatics, I'm afraid you're going to be very frustrated with this special as well! It's hard to determine whether the "smoking gun" evidence ballyhooed in the commercials is a newly-discovered gouge in the surface of the Foster Ranch where the craft allegedly crashed in 1947, or a close-up of a memo held by General Ramey in one of a series of photographs from 1947 that has been blown up to reveal heretofore "secret messages".

Except for these dubious "revelations", the recent Sci-Fi Channel special is basically a run-of-the-mill documentary recalling much of the history/mythology/famous witnesses/gov't cover-ups surrounding the most famous UFO incident in American history. The one change of pace and major difference here is admirably charting the exploits of archeologist Bill Doleman, as he uncovers an eroded gouge in a valley near the reported saucer-site. Also, photo-interpreter David Rudiak uses state-of-the-art equipment to decipher the ancient General Ramey photo to try to read the contents of a small, crumpled memo he's holding in the photo. This is arguably the most riveting part of the show. But, I can tell you, there will be other researchers who will dispute these findings.

HOWEVER....as a sometime-practicing Ufologist myself, I find these compelling tidbits to be added evidence that the government has withheld something HUGE and terrifying from us about extraterrestrials for decades. For beginners just getting into this field, this special provides a more-than-adequate historical framework from which to judge big questions of life in the universe and it's possible interfacing with earthlings. For older, more experienced specialists, this is another decently put together Roswell documentary, but hardly "startling".



La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
A MODERN HISTORY OF PICNIC ISLAND. Anyone who has had the great honor to grow up or live in the Interbay Peninsula of Tampa (not "Sun Bay South") has probably heard of or visited Picnic Island Park. Situated on the very southwest end of the Interbay Peninsula, adjacent to Port Tampa, this City of Tampa Park has gone through incredible changes over the years... ..........................................Click here for more.

Movie ReviewMovie Review
This Week's Movie Review:
"Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights"

Review by Mike Smith. ..........................................Click here for more.

Deadguy's Dementia This week's issue
Deadguy's Dementia by Michael Scott
THE CHAPEL OF BONES. Second in the "Death on Display" series. Church of Santa Maria della Concezione:  The Church of Immaculate Conception
Unlike cities in America, Rome is laid out in a series of concentric circles rather than a grid. The center includes famous tourist spots like the Colleseum, and the Parthenon, but also includes an oft-overlooked chapel called the "Santa Maria della Concezione", or, St. Mary of the Conception. ..........................................Click here for more.

The Enlightenment This week's issue
The Enlightenment by Terence Nuzum
JAMES BOND IN PRINT, PART II.... Terence Nuzum continues his examination of James Bond's pulp-fiction roots and how they compare to the movie adaptations in this second chapter of the series.

..........................................Click here for more.

Matt's Rail This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
SEASON'S GREEETINGS! While I was almost certain this would not make it to Nolan in time for last week's holiday greeting, I certainly hope everyone had a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving.... ..................................Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
WACKO JACKO................THE LIZARD KING HAS SPOKEN............. GEORGE IS DEAD---MISS HIM, MISS HIM, MISS HIM.............NEW MUSIC ..........CALL HUGH HEFFNER..........PASSING ON............A Bullshit C .............WHAT THE HELL?........CAVEAT EMPTOR........ ..................................Click here for more.


Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.

Readers: I recently received the following newsletter from old friend Bebe Williams, who still deals in comics online. I thought you'd find his thoughts on collecting underground comics interesting and informative.---Nolan

Underground Comix News of some Type -

Looks like another Auction is going through the bullshit factory again, this one creating a high value, which in "my opinion" is as false as well as misleading. http://www.heritagecomics.com/common/auctions/viewlot.asp?s=805&l=6661

Anybody in underground comixville can tell you that many of the old titles had the cutest little color variations you can imagine. Some of you even collect them as you find them (me too)......but no way is this one worth more than a real bona fide first printing version of this book. I can go on and on about this, but I won't.

By the way, how come these hidden secret buyer auctions are the only ones generating higher than norm prices anyway? Are they real buyers? HMMMMM? If so, then they must be the normal comic collectors crossing over to our continent to get in on their mindset greed factor or the bidders really are stupid (or not very experienced).

I have yet to see any CGC premium underground comic book sale overtake a premium underground comix living outside one of them containers. Even the top bids on reserve CGC underground books have not been higher than non CGC undergrounds (I document all of this). One reason is because there are many high-grade condition copies of most of these books still untouched by 30-somethings' microscopes.

By the way, does having the highest graded underground mean that the pages are made out of seedless hemp bark? :) Any liberals bidding on the CGC books yet?

If you want any printings of Snatch #1 (first, second, or third), they are still around in high-grade condition and boxes of the third printings in 9.6 stack very tall. Now show me a high grade Snatch #2 first printing. :)

Funny, somebody asked me this week if I sell books and art on consignment. Well, I haven't touched that very much at all since I've always preferred to purchasing collections outright, but now I am considering it a possibility.

Anybody wanting Nickel Library pages, I have them up for auction starting this week, close to 50 or so. These are the San Francisco Comic Book five centers. My ebay username is artcomic

Mr. Bebe Williams


THE FEEBACK ON RENEGADE HAS ALREADY STARTED COMING IN! ---Nolan


...a delightful ditty on the night that was S&S2, Nolan. Thank you for the "Filthy" plugs; it's much appreciated by our cast/crew. One question: How can you describe Porl without mentioning the kilt? (YIKES! Gross oversight, I assure you.---N) Or what was under it (heh-heh)? (Gold lamé shorts, I figure.---N) You know, after S&S1 I can't tell you how many people came up to me and asked if Porl's eyes/vampire teeth were real! Glad he repeated the look this time 'round. The kilt was a nice touch, Porl.

Just wanted to add that Diana Philips, in addition to her work on "Gibtown" and Roy Huston's "One Scream Beyond" Spook Show, worked on "Filthy", which is where I first met her, and we've been good friends ever since. It was good to see the reaction "Gibtown" received at the festival, winning the best "Saints" film of the night - an honor well-deserved; the documentary is tremendously excellent. Incidentally, Nolan, Roy Huston is interviewed many times in the film!

Too bad you didn't get the chance to see some of the other films of the night; the other big winner was Greg Rivera's "The Uninvited - Chapter 1", an episodic short horror film with plenty of atmosphere and technical expertise. TU won best movie in the "Sinners" (horror) category. Greg had a good turnout of his cast and crew to help support the film. Like "We Believe" it was hard to tell it was shot on DV.

Other films included Renegade's own "The Pledge" (which I worked on); a fun, gory, satanically-tinged short that was a real crowd-pleaser. Good to see most of the cast/crew showed up for the official premiere. Another winner was Fear Film's (they hail from South Florida) "When Shadows Lie Darkest" a sometimes gory thriller with some really tense moments.

Renegade's Jennifer Whitaker treated the audience to her extremely personal first film "Winter's End", which really stirred up emotions in this viewer. Chris Woods and Simon Lynx from Icon Studios were also on hand screening Icon's promotional reel and the unofficial short sequel to "Bleed" entitled "Remembrance". Other standout films of the night included: Social Worker Films' "Secret Santa", "Prey on the Dead", and "Weregrrl".

All-in-all, a terrif night. Good films, a comfortable atmosphere...what more could a film fan ask for? Can't wait for S&S3 - "Filthy" should be completed by then!

- Andy Lalino
Director/Producer/Screenwriter "Filthy"


Hi,
I'm Jason L Liquori, the writer/director/producer of "Z". First of all, thanks for getting it. (Ha, ha...no problem!--N)

"Z" (Jason Liquori). Very bizarre little flick dealing with a frustrated mailman trying to deliver his last letter before retirement---only the family's dog has barred him from an already difficult-to-reach mailbox! Funny and engaging, this is what I generally associate with good independent film: low-budget, but lots of heart and good performances. I believe this is one of the many films originated on High-8 video. (I was surprised to see that format still have so much involvement.)

The only correction I would make is that the film was not shot on Hi8, but rather SVHS. They are roughly the same resolution, I just prefer working with a bigger camera and stronger decks. You are also right that the analog formats are all but gone. "Z" was shot two years ago as part of a trilogy called THREE STORY HOUSE. All three films were shot at the same location with the same old SVHS camera. We have since moved to digital, thank goodness.

Since I didn't make the fest I just thought I'd give you a little background on "Z". Almost everything about the film was decided out of necessity. It was silent, so we could give the dog commands and not have to worry about erasing the off camera sound. It all took place during the day and outside so as to avoid lighting conflicts. We shot in Black and White and dropped frames to make it look more like an old movie. The flash forwards to the mailman's fantasy retirement were an idea I had when trying to figure out how to write in that great conversion van we had.

Again, thanks for the review.

Jason L Liquori
Hocus Focus Productions
hocfocprod@aol.com

P.S.  As for the low budget we spent less than $150, including 6 pizzas and lots of dog food. Is there a way to submit the other two films for review?

Funny you should ask. In a word, yes. Please read on further, and I will make my big announcement at the end of the letters section.
And you're certainly welcome for the review...it was my pleasure.--Nolan


Hi Nolan, my name is Mike Balmer and I work with a local comedy troupe called Malixous. We presented "Orion's Cloud" at the festival, but see that you missed it.

If you want to check it out, I'd be more than happy to send you a VHS.

I'm diggin' your site - another great Tampa-based thing that I was totally out of the loop on.

Take care -
Mike

Thank you, Mike, and glad to help. You "Malixious" guys also had a regular spot on Tampa's Public Access TV, so I'm familiar with your well-conceived and well-executed comedy work. Sorry we've never met before now. Actually, I did meet one of your troupe, Mike Skold, a couple years ago in the PA hallway, but likely he wouldn't remember that. Keep up the good work!---Nolan


Dear Mr. Canova,
I wanted to write and thank you for including our trailer/scene of FILTHY in your recent website review. I chuckled when I read your description "At the last second, something jumps out of the shadows......and we go to black! That "something" 'twas I "Fermentia" fondly known as Fermie. It was my distinct pleasure working with Andy Lalino, John Karliss and the entire talented cast and crew of FILTHY. Our "Team Filthy" family are very anxious to preview the completed production this spring.

I'm sorry we didn't have the opportunity to meet and chat at the Saints & Sinner's 2 Film Festival, hopefully next time. You have a fantastic website and I've now added a link to it on my own site. We appreciate your tremendous contribution to help promote and support Florida filming.

Best regards,
Sheri Lawrence
Actress/Model/Writer
http://www.geocities.com/sherimodel/enter.html

Sheri, thanks so much for writing! I have visited your website and am honored to have a featured link there! (With a "marquee" announcement included at pagetop, no less--very cool. Hey, my name in lights! HA, ha). I'm sure we'll run into each other soon.---Nolan


Nolan -

I have been checking in on your site from time to time and must admit each return trip impresses me more. It's always great seeing you. Sign me up for your mailing list and PCR.

Peter D'Alessio
Head of Production & Development
Yo Soy Irini Productions, Inc.

Peter, it's been a while! So glad you wrote. Wild times we had in the old Carlucci/Castellano days, eh? Glad to see you've done so well for yourself, I'm always seeing your name pop up around these type of events. (Hey....remember "The Horizon Bleeds" production in St. Pete years ago? Did that ever come out?)
The PCR has no mailing list as such, I just tell eveybody to bookmark it and check back around Wednesday. HA ha, how professional. I will, however, likely start a mailing list of some type next year.
Thanks again for writing, bro.---Nolan


AND NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY-SCHEDULED MAYHEM....

Hey Deadguy,

I was reading your article on the skull chapels (Re: Deadguy's Dementia, PCR#139.---N) and was wondering if possibly the guy who designed the bone chairs and sets of the orignal Chainsaw Masscre was at all influenced by these chapels? It sure seems like alot of the set designs like the couch made from human flesh and bones used the same type of patterns. I would say that they just took the idea from something they found in [Ed] Gein's house, but to my knowledge he never made furniture. Can you give any answers? If not, it would be interesting to find out.

Terence [Nuzum]


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Among other life-changes I am currently engaged in is a vigorous effort to turn Crazed Fanboy.com, and this magazine in particular, into an even more professional endeavor. To this end, I have secured a P. O. Box to more freely exchange materials with artists and filmmakers, conventions and festivals in a safe and reliable manner. So, for anyone out there who is interested in sending me or my staff books, videotapes, DVDs, CDs, promotional materials or anything else for review or consideration, and it needs to be sent through regular mail, please use the following address:

Crazed Fanboy
P.O.Box 13991
Tampa, FL 33681-3991

(It is my opinion the "3991" extension is optional...omitting it didn't slow down any "professional junk-mail" from hitting the box already!)

The above annoucement has no bearing on email-type newsletters and press releases--keep sending them into my regular AOL or crazedfanboy.com addresses. The P.O. Box is intended for non-electronic media only.--Nolan


To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan


"Mike's Rant" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2002 by Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty    "The Enlightenment" is ©2002 by Terence Nuzum    This week's movie review of  "Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    "Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2002 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott    Add'l thanks to Bebe Williams, Andy Lalino, Jason Liquori, Mike Balmer, Sheri Lawrence, and Terence Nuzum for their input in "Letters"      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova ©2002; all rights reserved.