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FILM

FFF: Saturday, April 9

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FFF 2011
  • FFF: 20th Florida Film Festival Onscreen outcasts and misfits dominate the 10-day fest | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Friday, April 8 7 p.m. at Regal Winter Park - Project Nim (4 Stars) A story both infuriating and complex as revealed by director James Marsh, who won an Oscar for his last film, the brilliant Man On Wire, employs real footage and reenactments to tell the story of Nim Chi | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Saturday, April 9 | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Sunday, April 10 Noon at Regal Winter Park - Chekhov for Children (3 Stars) There is no knowledge of Anton Chekhov required for this touching documentary about a group of New York City junior high schoolers putting on Uncle Vanya in the late 1970s. The play, which should | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Monday, April 11 6:30 p.m. at Enzian Theater - La Pivellina (2 Stars) A middle-aged carny with candy-apple hair (Patrizia Gerardi) finds a baby abandoned in sketchy suburban Rome. Rather than call the cops, she takes the toddler to her caravan, home of Europe's least-chee | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Tuesday, April 12 | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Wednesday, April 13 1:15 at Enzian Theater - Dog Sweat (4 Stars) The Western media generally fails to paint a human portrait of young Middle Easterners living under Islamist regimes. Usually, they're portrayed only in terms of conflict. The beauty of this movie, filmed secre | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Thursday, April 14 6:45 p.m. at Enzian Theater - Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja (4 Stars) Finally, a documentary that's supposed to be better when you're high. (As opposed to the accidental brilliance of toking during Spellbound.) Jumping off of the premise that So | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Friday, April 15 3:30 p.m. at Regal Winter Park - 
Red Chapel (3 Stars) The most interesting part of Red Chapel is the fact that it fails. It fails in interesting ways, but it still fails. Its stated mission was to undermine the North Korean state with a (tremendously unf | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Saturday, April 16 12:30 p.m. at Enzian Theater - Ruby in Paradise A showing of the 1993 film set in Florida starring Ashley Judd. Following the screening, director Victor Nunez will do a Q&A with the audience, moderated by "Florida Films" program curator Scott Foundas. | 4/7/2011
  • FFF: Sunday, April 17 Noon at Regal Winter Park - 
Bots High (4 Stars) I'd forgotten about Battle Bots until seeing this absorbing documentary about a group of high schoolers from Miami designing and eventually pitting their bots against one another. The film follows three set | 4/7/2011

6 p.m. at Enzian Theater - Windfall (2 Stars) An upstate New York town, largely populated by farmers and NYC expats who've left behind urban living for rural charms, is targeted by a green-energy company that offers residents cash in exchange for the right to build windmills on their property. Some of the town's established residents take the bait, until a handful of NIMBY neighbors start looking into what, exactly, goes into making a wind farm. When they discover that 150-foot-wide wind turbines mean noise, construction and disruption of the pastoral lifestyles to which they've grown accustomed, grassroots we're-not-gonna-take-it activism ensues. It's an informative, if not exactly riveting, bit of 
storytelling. -Erin Sullivan

6:30 p.m. at Regal Winter Park - Norman (3 Stars) What begins as a clever, quippy take on the "troubled teen" genre dissolves into melodrama. Missing the sweet spot by this much, director Jonathan Segal nevertheless displays a sure hand, especially with his actors, who are exemplary. Richard Jenkins anchors the film as the cancer-ridden father of Dan Byrd (Norman), the titular hero, with fine turns by Adam Goldberg and the beautiful Emily VanCamp (TV's Brothers and Sisters). When Norman, unable to deal with his father's prognosis, lies and says that he's dying of cancer, too, the school that he resented now rallies around him. The script is all over the place and never really sells Norman's outcast status, but Byrd, who recently starred as Emma Stone's BFF in Easy A, is worth watching. He has a genuine ease in front of the camera. -JS

7:30 p.m. at Regal Winter Park - Without (4 Stars) One of the great surprises of this year's festival crop, director Mark Jackson's stunning debut feature stars gutsy newcomer Joslyn Jensen as a girl who takes on the mentally challenging task of caring for a vegetative, elderly invalid on a woodsy Washington state island without cell-phone reception or the Internet. What starts as amusing boredom eventually turns sour as her sturdy demeanor crumbles with each strange, passing night. -JS

9 p.m. at Enzian Theater - Bobby Fischer Against the World (4 Stars) We all know that chess master Bobby Fischer became a recluse shortly after his epic, politically charged win against the Russian champion in 1972. But who knew just how weird, how utterly unlikable he became? Proving that some geniuses are best left undisturbed, director Liz Garbus overturns Fischer's social stone and examines him from all angles - his sad childhood, his embattled playing career, his seclusion as a Jew-hating, 9/11-celebrating asshole - to present a man of brilliance and insanity in equal parts. -JS

9 p.m. at Regal Winter Park - 13 Assassins (4 Stars) Takashi Miike's grand tribute to Seven Samurai gets off to a slow start, as conflicted samurai Shinzaemon Shimada (Kôji Yakusho) learns of the wicked deeds committed by Lord Naritsugu (Gorô Inagaki) and enlists 12 other men to help take him out. All hell breaks loose in the film's last 40 minutes, as the squad employs everything from blades to bulls in their climactic ambush, with Miike bolstering the considerable bloodshed with the righteous fury of our heroes. -WG

9:30 p.m. at Regal Winter Park - The Happy Poet (4 Stars) When asking for a business loan, there are a couple of phrases you want to avoid, like "health food" and "masters degree in creative writing." But that's what Bill (star Paul Gordon, also the writer-director) brings to the bank's table, so he walks away with a very small loan to open a health-food stand, where he's so passive that he can hardly bring himself to ask for money in exchange for his food. Things change when his weed-selling friend teaches him a thing or two about entrepreneurship. With its deadpan charm, The Happy Poet paces itself laboriously but rewardingly. It wraps up too neatly – almost ironically so – but the film, like Bill's food stand, is easy to root for. -JS

11:59 p.m. at Regal Winter Park - Mutant Girls Squad Not reviewed.

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