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Film & DVD

Orlando Film Festival

Central Florida's second-biggest film festival turns seven years old

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Andie MacDowell and her daughter, Rainey Qualley, star in Mighty Fine, screening at the Orlando Film Festival Oct. 18 and 19.

Photo: , License: N/A

Everybody's favorite ginger, Seth Green, stars in the Story of Luke, which screens Oct. 20 and 21.

"Also, most of Central Florida hasn't seen these theaters," Jaffee says. "When people walk in, they're blown away with how comfortable it is. [Everything] is all right here. You can leave one theater and go into another. … It's the best location I've ever really seen for a festival."

But are the films any good? Critiques of all 40 features and 102 shorts (all digital for the first time) are beyond the scope of this article, so it's best to peruse orlandofilmfest.com, read the descriptions and try your luck. But for a brief taste, here are three of the most highly anticipated entries:

Bad Parents
"It's a cute comedy," Springen says of Bad Parents, which is making its Southeast debut as this year's opening-night feature. It stars Janeane Garofalo, Cheri Oteri and Christopher Titus, and both Oteri and Titus will be in attendance. "It's not family friendly. ... It's soccer moms personified just to the point of absurdity." All of that is true, but the clever, dark conceit is not put to good use in this amateurish, unfunny clunker from director/writer Caytha Jentis.

The Story of Luke
Unlike Bad Parents, this film has its heart in the right place, though its brain is sometimes absent. It's an often touching, coming-of-age comedy/drama about an autistic young adult pursuing his dreams, but it's dragged down by an unpolished script and transparent performances, including a misguided Seth Green, who might be attending the festival.

Mighty Fine
Director/writer Debbie Goodstein's drama, stars the always-reliable Chazz Palminteri as a father trying to provide for his family while fighting his inner demons. It's got more to offer than the others, but it, too, is partially derailed by script problems and a single performance: Andie MacDowell, with the worst accent this side of Tommy Wiseau. However, festival-goers should take note of the debut of MacDowell's daughter, Rainey Qualley, who outshines her mom in both beauty and talent.

But no festival should be judged by just three entries. Most have their share of clunkers and fillers, destined to never see the light of day, or the dark of a cinema, again. Conversely, there will assuredly be a few flicks that, by themselves, justify the admission. And if you're lucky, you might just find one that reminds you why film festivals are culturally crucial. But if you can't, don't despair, as the festival is hosting a special event in honor of Milos Forman's 80th birthday. Man on the Moon, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus will be shown on Saturday night. Although the master director is too ill to attend, the festival plans a Q&A with him by live feed. It promises to be this year's highlight.

Orlando Film Festival

Oct. 17-21
Plaza Cinema Café
155 S. Orange Ave.

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