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THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"The Alamo"
 by Mike Smith

ODDSERVATIONS
Cinematic Cover Tunes, Sequels, and "Inspired-by's": No End in Sight!
 by Andy Lalino

VINNIE VIDI VICI
D-Rice, Ache-ins Diet, and Absolutely Nothing About “The Passion of Christ”
 by Vinnie Blesi

SPLASH PAGE
Four Movies in Three Days, the Screening Nazi, The Alamo, The Clone Wars, Scooby Doo 2, Jersey Girl, Hellboy, Dawn of the Dead
 by Brandon Jones

CREATURE'S CORNER
Midnite Terrors .... Hellboy .... Marvel Trading Cards
 by John Lewis

MATT'S RAIL
Bush--The Amazing Hypnotist....Happy Horror-Days
 by Matt Drinnenberg

MIKE'S RANT
It Was 25 Years Ago Today....Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid....Passing On....Meet The Beatles, Part 12
 by Mike Smith

CF SPOTLIGHT
Special Feature!
Interview With Martha Coolidge
(director of "The Prince & Me")  by Mike Smith

LETTERS
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our fifth calendar year!
    Number 212  (Vol. 5, No. 16). This edition is for the week of April 12--18, 2004.

   Tampa Filmmaking Scene Improving

Everything that's happnened so far this year points to a vastly improved networking and achievement-based attitude among the filmmakers here in the Tampa Bay area.

The Romeo Coffeehouse in Ybor City has hosted more local film events this year than you can shake a stick at. The Guzzo Brothers TOO Productions Film Series meetings there have been robust and encouraging. The newly-formed IFF (Independent Florida Filmmakers) club meetings have been a hive of networking meeting-and-greeting action. While the colleges and The Covivant Art Gallery have hosted many fine educational foreign, independent and hard-to-get films at their locations (and to their great credit), the Coffeehouse seems to be ground-zero for anything strictly Tampa-originated.

Last week's article by Katharine Leis (wildly well-received and circulated) illuminated a sad series of affairs and setbacks for Florida being taken seriously as a moviemaking state. Namely, the poor choices afforded filmmakers both here and elsewhere as far as incentive programs displays the arrogance of the Florida legislature in selling the community short. We're losing business to other states who take it much more seriously.

This Friday, The Punisher opens nation-wide. Besides being a much-anticipated action-thriller based on the comic book of the same name, the film is set in Tampa. Yes, as in Tampa, Florida. Side-stepping the confusion that the original comic was set in New York, the point is this brought big Hollywood to our doorstep. Now it would be time for other films to locate and work here, right? Not exactly. Katharine found out that other productions whose screenplays were set in Tampa would film in Toronto or something simply because it was cheaper to film there than in Tampa! We got lucky with The Punisher (well, that, and the film's star villain, John Travolta, has a home down here and could cavort with his Scientology buddies in Clearwater while filming, etc., etc.).

Jason Stevens from Pinellas Public Access's SCREAM @ THE WALL preparing to shoot an interview with the crew of Homeland Security. Tech-head alert: that's a Sony PD-150 video camera in Jason's care. I know because I guessed and he told me I was right!
Just recently I modified this website to put more emphasis on the message board as far as up-to-date info on filmmaker action and any regional gossip, and retired the original Florida Filmmaker's Update section except for times I wanted to do a special photo feature. Last Thursday's Romeo Coffeehouse meeting was scheduled to be reviewed there, but due to awful technical problems suffered that night, many films didn't get shown or had bad audio problems or whatever. I really don't have much in the way of in-depth reviews. But since I'm dealing with the very topic of indie film, this issue of PCR I'm moving what I have of the last Coffeehouse meeting to the front page.

First ones I saw were Chris Woods and Simon Lynx ("Jesus Marimba, look who showed up," I says) of ICON Film Studios putting in their first appearance since January. After some good-natured kidding about that, we settled down for the night's festivities. Renegade Films/Enigma's Rick Danford was spotted near the screen---I think this was his first visit ever, glad to see him aboard. Within seconds I was nearly trampled by Night Demons' co-producers Shelby McIntyre and Mark Terry as they were scrambling to get a seat. And always good to see actor Joe Makowski (The Show, Night Demons, Homeland Security). Brandon and I showed up a wee bit late so I only got to se the last half of "Love's Relic" by Katie Damien. What I saw looked good, though. "Lightning Strikes Twice" and "Slur" were buffeted by technical problems, but "You Can't See Me" (creepy story re: ouija boards and uninvited ghosts) by Storyboard Productions, ironically, we could see as well as Vito Trabucco's "Homeland Security" (effective B&W silent chiller about 4 men who take the law into their own hands in a post 9-11 America).

The motley crew of April 8th. From left, Brandon Jones (Splash Page/Clips Productions), Chris Woods and Simon Lynx (ICON Film Studios), yours truly, Joe DiCanio and John Boyd (Rykar Films, "HUNTED: A Zombie Short").
A young man named Jason Stevens from Pinellas Public Access was there to film interviews for his show SCREAM @ THE WALL, which also plays in Hillsborough on Friday nights. This certainly brought me back and we talked about the state of affairs at public access TV. I'm glad his county facility apparently hasn't suffered the same setbacks as ours. He set up a nifty little mini-set in a corner of the Coffeehouse, complete with lights and lav-mics, to conduct interviews with The Night Demons' guys and the ICON guys. I was propositioned to participate, but I was so knocked out with sleep-deprivation (as usual), I felt I really couldn't give my best. I took a rain check.

About this time I decided to get some pictures and got all the ones you see on this page. Unfortunately, Rick Danford had already left, so I couldn't get his. Maybe next time.

Despite all the malfunctions, spirits were high, and Paul & Peter Guzzo are to be commended for building this event. Thanks are also due to Walter Romeo, without whose Coffeehouse we'd have nowhere to go!

The above-metioned cast and crew of Homeland Security and Night Demons preparing for their public access interview. From left, co-producers Mark Terry and Shelby McIntyre, flanked by their films' frequent star, Joe Makowski.

Mark and Joe have appeared in these pages before, but this is a first for Shelby McIntyre. I've finally forgiven him for leaving his cellphone off while I was desperately trying to call him for directions to the set of Night Demons. Ha ha.

And, oh yes, the behind-the-scenes footage I shot is still on the way.


Chris Woods and Simon Lynx do Public Access, mainly talking about their new film, "Broken Tomorrow".
I was privileged to receive a sneak copy of the film on VHS before I left that night. These are two of the most consistent filmmakers in the area. There's scary talk we might be working together sometime in the near future.


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"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2004 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino    "Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones    "Creature's Corner" is ©2004 by John Lewis    "Vinnie Vidi Vici" is © 2004 by Vinnie Blesi      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova    
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