2012 Florida Film Festival
The 2012 Florida Film Festival's brightest star is Central Florida itself. Are we ready for our close-up?
Published: April 12, 2012
Turn Me On, Dammit! (4 Stars) It seems like the world is just waking up lately to the fact that, just like their male counterparts, teenage girls have sex lives as well as love lives and the whole thing can be just as messy and awkward as they feel their way through it into adulthood. Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is a teenager stuck in the sticks of Norway who becomes an outcast when her friend and classmates turn on her because they think she is lying about … well, let's just say her supposed lie lands her the nickname “Dick-Alma,” and even the offer of free drugs isn't enough to get them to ease up on her. Director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen's insightful drama – which she adapted from the novel by Olaug Nissen – is funny and cuts right through all of the sugar and spice nonsense we've been fed over the years. – RB (9:45 p.m. at Enzian Theater)
The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best (4 Stars) Here is a stunning feature debut from writer-director-star Ryan O'Nan, with a touching performance from TV's Michael Weston that may finally dig the witty and always watchable actor out of his “poor man's Jamie Kennedy” typecasting rut. O'Nan plays Alex, a mopey singer-songwriter who can't stop getting kicked out of bands, loses his girl, his real estate job and his side gig singing to school kids, only to find himself stalked by Weston's Jim, an awkward savant with baby xylophones and entry-level Casios. Out of desperation, they form the Brooklyn Brothers, and what follows is one of the saddest, most honest portraits of life in a modern, under-the-radar hipster band I've seen. Featuring appearances from the always great Jason Ritter, Melissa Leo and even Wilmer Valderrama in a bro mode that suggests something like depth, O'Nan seems to be in much better shape than his onscreen alter ego. – JS (9:45 p.m. at Regal Winter Park)
God Bless America (4 Stars) Frank (Joel Murray, brother of Bill) is fed up. He's sick of stupid neighbors, mean-spirited co-workers, ugly reality shows, fear-mongering news channels, even his ungrateful little shit of a daughter. To top it off, he's actually sick, so how better to go out than with guns blazing? Bobcat Goldthwait's follow-up to World's Greatest Dad arguably peaks early in venturing beyond the pale – and the rants do pile up a bit – but what hits the mark hits hard, and Murray maintains a pitch-perfect deep-down wariness as he plays Clyde to Tara Lynne Barr's teenage firebrand Bonnie on their cross-country idiot-killing spree. – WG (11:30 p.m. at Regal Winter Park)
A Cat in Paris (4 Stars)The French contender for last year's Best Animated Feature Oscar, this breezy charmer concerns a literal cat burgler who befriends little girl Zoe (voiced by Oriane Zani) by day and partners with sly thief Nico (Bruno Salomone) by night. Their fates finally intersect once Zoe's mother (Dominique Blanc), a police inspector on the trail of notorious gangster Costa (Jean Benguigui), notices that her daughter inexplicably has a far too valuable bracelet in her possession. The relentlessly wavy visual design boasts a rather unique aesthetic appeal, and the off-kilter sense of humor helps the 70-minute running time float right on by. – WG (12 p.m. at Regal Winter Park)