Thursday, November 23, 2017

Phil's Cult Classics: ROLLER BOOGIE (1979) from Olive Films - November 15, 2017

ROLLER BOOGIE Blu-Ray
ROLLER BOOGIE
Starring Linda Blair, Jim Bray, Roger Perry, Beverly Garland, James Van Patten, Kimberly Beck, Albert Insinnia, Stoney Jackson, Mark Goddard
Written by Barry Schneider and Irwin Yablans
Cinematography by Dean Cundey
Edited by Byron 'Buzz' Brandt, Edilberto Cruz and Edward Salier
Produced by Irwin Yablans, Bruce Cohn Curtis and Joseph Wolf
Directed by Mark L. Lester
Originally distributed by United Artists
Released by Olive Films

Welcome back to another edition of Phil's Cult Classics! Today's film come from that groovie decade known as the 1970's. In fact, it was released in the last year of that decade and it started off a trend that continued in the early 1980's Dubbed "The CITIZEN KANE of the Roller Disco Films", ROLLER BOOGIE continues to entertain audiences long after its original release!

The film's official synopsis: Terry (Linda Blair), a classical musician, meets fast-talking roller skater Bobby James (Jim Bray) at Venice Beach, Calif. After initially ignoring Bobby, Terry warms to him when he saves her from a roller skating accident. The pair start skating together and decide to partner for a competition at the local roller rink. But, when they discover a shady plot to sell the rink to a crooked developer (Mark Goddard), Terry and Jim team up with their friends to stop the deal.

Original Theatrical Poster (1979)
Lead actress Linda Blair is no stranger to genre fans. Having shot to stardom with her role as in director William Friedkin's 1973 horror film classic THE EXORCIST, she went on to appear in movies like THE EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, HELL NIGHT, CHAINED HEAT, SAVAGE STREETS and  REPOSSESSED. At first, Blair's co-star was going to be her then boyfriend David Kennedy, but they broke up and he was later dismissed. Jim Bray (making his one and only film appearance) was originally hired to be the stunt double for Blair's then uncast leading man. When the producers failed to find an actor they liked, they cast Bray as Bobby James. By the time he was cast fir the film, he had already won a staggering 275 trophies for rollerskating! Beverly Garland had already made a name for herself in classic sci-fi and B-movies of the 1950's such as PROBLEM GIRLS, THE ROCKET MAN and Roger Corman's SWAMP WOMEN, GUNSLINGER and IT CONQUERED THE WORLD

The film was directed by the great Mark L. Lester with great set-ups and compositions. Lester started out with making exploitation classics like STEEL ARENA, TRUCK STOP WOMEN and BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW. He burst into the mainstream with films like CLASS OF 1984, FIRESTARTER, COMMANDO and ARMED AND DANGEROUS. Lester is still making films to this very day, ranging from action movies to fright flicks such as GROUPIE, POSEIDON REX and DRAGONS OF CAMELOT

Produced by Compass International and distributed by United Artists, the movie was released to theaters on December 21, 1979. The film grossed an impressive $13.2 million at the box office but it was the soundtrack that really got everyone grooving. Issued by Casablanca Records, the double-LP soundtrack featured disco hits by Cher (Hell on Wheels), Earth, Wind & Fire (Boogie Wonderland), as well as several original songs written by Bob Esty and Michelle Aller. Despite its cult status, the soundtrack still remains unavailable on CD or digitally.

ROLLER BOOGIE remains one of the best disco cult classics of all time and garnered a legion of fans who enjoy the innocence of the movie! It's a comedic, light-hearted, disco love story that will make you dance in your seat! It captures the late 1970's beautifully and reminds us how much fun it was to be alive back then! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


ROLLER BOOGIE is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD from Olive Films. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit your local retailer or order one on their website at olivefilms.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Phil Goes Bollywood: COCKTAIL (2012) from Eros International - Novemebr 11, 2017

Ever since seeing the anniversary screening of DEVDAS a couple of months back, I have been itching to return to that magical and wonderful land called Bollywood! Eros International is one of my favorite distributors and back in 2012 they released a film that I've been wanting to see. So after all these months, I once again traveled back to India (as well as London) to watch the romantic comedy COCKTAIL.

Original Theatrical Poster (2012)
The film's official synopsis: Three friends Meera (Diana Penty), Veronica (Deepika Padukone) and Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) move into an apartment together. All is well until love enters their lives & adds more complications than they can handle. Set against the vibrant and luscious backdrop of London and Capetown, this is a comical, new-age and warm celebration of relationships exploring various choices that life may offer and the extra-ordinary choices that ordinary people make.

What I enjoyed about the film is that it takes place in the modern world, in this case London. Instead of having the film be a period piece like most Bollywood movies, it gives the audience that sense of reality, knowing it takes place in the here and now, so to speak. The other aspect is that the characters are all relatable; we can identify with them and their personalities and eccentricities. We have a friend who they remind us of, or we see us in them. This breaks down the language barrier, giving audiences that ability to become emotionally invested in these characters. Love and friendship transcends language, and thus, becomes the universal language for the whole human race.

Khan's portrayal of Gautam is something most men can relate to: a cocky, self-absorbed playboy who sees women as a conquest. Of course, we were all like that at his age. I for one used to pick up on women all the time during my 20's and early 30's. It's something we all go through, but in time, we find love when we least are expecting it. Padukone's character Veronica is the all-night party girl we all know and maybe even dated. But there comes that time when the bright lights start to fade and you are wondering is there anything more than this? Penty's Meera represents those people who have everything planned out, but come to the conclusion that life doesn't always go as planned. Together, these three cinematic individuals represent us in our youths, those who are in their youth and the discovery of what life offers us. All three of these talented actors did a phenomenal job and their on-screen chemistry is second to none!!

Director Homi Adajania (FINDING FANNY, BEING CYRUS) as well as screenwriters Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali did a fabulous job of crafting a movie that has a lot of heart, laughter and hurt. Adajania's directing really captures the emotional context of the script while showcasing both London and Capetown as characters in the film as well. Not a lot of directors try to display their surroundings as characters, which is really a shame. We see London in all it's eclectic beauty: the flashy lights of the nightclubs, the rainy skylines and the clash of its modern building and historical landmarks. Capetown is a tropical heaven on Earth. His set-ups and composition's are simple yet elegant and suits the film's themes perfectly.

Produced by Illuminati Films and released by Eros International on July 13, 2012, the film received positive reviews by several media outlets. The film was nominated for several awards from various awards shows and won five, including the UK Bollywood Cosmopolitan award and the Vogue beauty award for best female debut to Diana Penty in 2012 and the BIG Star Critics Award for Best Actress and OIFA and the Award for Best Actor Female to Deepika Padukone in 2013.

COCKTAIL is a wonderful and emotionally charged romantic comedy that reminds us that life is full of love and surprises!! If you think Bollywood movies are just about singing and dancing, then this movie will definitely change your opinion on them. 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


COCKTAIL is currently available on Blu-Ray,  DVD and VOD from Eros International Pictures. To purchase a copy for yourself, and to learn more about Eros and their film library, visit their website at erosnow.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Phil sees THOR: RAGNAROK at the Cinelux Alamden Café & Lounge - November 3, 2017

Well, it's officially November folks! And you know what that means? Yup, a new Marvel movie was released! Pretty much whenever a new Marvel movie comes out it's a cause for celebration. It means another chapter of the MCU is open for us to explore, full of action and adventure! This time we're joining the God of Thunder as we bare witness of his journey in his third outing in THOR: RAGNAROK!

The film's official synopsis: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela (Cate Blanchett). But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)!

The THOR franchise has been mostly serious, sprinkled with some humor. Focusing on the God of Thunder and his human companions as they stop God-like adversaries, the series has been played straight forward. However, with this film, the franchise has made a hilarious sharp left turn and is now played as a comedic action/adventure superhero flick!

Credit goes to screenwriters Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost for crafting a hysterical, smart and action packed script that still contains the mythical aspect of the character while injecting a generous amount of humor from the James Gunn GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series. In fact, during my viewing if the film, I thought that Gunn had written the script! It was fresh and exciting to see Thor portrayed in this kind of light, which adds a new layer to this famous comic book character. Add the incredibility talented director Taika Waititi (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, BOY, EAGLE VS. SHARK) helming the project, and you have a Marvel that will rank in the Top 5 Marvel Films of all time!

Once again Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston return as Thor and Loki, respectively. There's nothing that I can say that I haven't said about them before. This is their fourth outing together on the big screen and, all I can say is that they're fantastic! The have the best on-screen chemistry within the MCU and I can't get enough of them. I can watch these two all day! Cate Blanchett's Hela is cunning, vicious and deadly and is easily one the greatest villains in the MCU. But she isn't without a sence of humor and she's got me to laugh a couple of times!

Mark Ruffalo is back as Bruce Banner, better known as the Incredible Hulk! We learn what happened to Banner at the end of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON and what he's been up to since then. Like we saw in the first AVENGERS film, Thor and Hulk continue their brawl as they have one helluva slobberknocker of a battle! But when we see Bruce interact with Thor, we witness the beginning of a beautiful friendship! Hemsworth and Ruffalo are great actors and they play off one another amazingly. I hope we see more of them in future Marvel films!

Jeff Goldblum basicallly plays himself but in a fancy costume as the Grandmaster, but it's so much fun to watch. Tessa Thompson portrays Valkyrie, the long fabled warrior from days gone by. She is a interesting new character to the THOR franchise and Thompson is a wonderful addition to the cast. Also, we get an appearance of the great Anthony Hopkins as Thor and Loki's father King Odin and
Benedict Cumberbatch return as the mystical Doctor Strange. In fact, the bonus scene at the end of his film appears in this film, which is a nice way of tying the two films together, making it feel like the comic books.

Also, I have no idea on who thought about using Led Zepplin's The Immigrant Song in the movie but that was the most brilliant idea ever! The song appears at the very beginning of the film and at the third act's climax and it heightens the action and intensity of both these scenes! Plus, it exposes the song and the band to a new generation of kids who may never have heard of it before. So whoever is the one responsible for that, good job buddy! Make sure you get a bonus for that!

Overall, THOR: RAGNAROCK is the best film in the series and is one of the funniest, action packed films within the MCU!! Fans will no doubt being seeing this film in the theaters over and over again! So head over to your local theater and see this bad boy on the big screen!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


THOR: RAGNAROCK is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cineluxtheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Phil counts down to the 14th Annual ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILMFEST at the New People Cinema in Japantown, San Francisco October 25th - November 8th, 2017

One of the aspects I love about living here in the Bay Area is all the awesome films festivals that are held here. One of these is the upcoming 14th Annual ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL, which is presented by SF IndieFest and will be held at the New People Cinema, located in Japantown, San Francisco. From October 25th through November 8th, 2017, fans of horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres can witness a total of 29 films and 94 short films during the festival's 15-day run!

The festival kicks off the festivities with the its Opening Night's Film MOHAWK, which is, "a historical Action/Thriller film dealing with a conflict between a small band of Native Americans and a group of brutal colonists during during the War of 1812." Screening before the feature is one of the 11 short film programs the festival is offering for fans. Entitled SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME, this program features, "an international collection exploring the themes of time travel and future technologies."

There are plenty on independent films screening at the festival this year, including the giant insect film DEAD ANT and Troma Entertainment Alumni Trent Haaga's 68 KILL, both on Saturday, October 28th at 7pm and 9pm, respectively, the zombie thriller THAW OF THE DEAD on Thursday, November 2nd at 7pm, and EMPIRE OF THE SHARKS screening Tuesday, November 7th at 7pm. Also screening at the festival is the dark horror/comedy TRAGEDY GIRLS on Friday, November 27th at 9pm.

The festival will also spotlight local filmmakers from the Bay Area as well. David O'Shea's 2012 film DAY JOB will be having its 5th Anniversary Screening on Sunday, November 5th at 7pm with O'Shea participating in a Q&A session with audience members. The supernaturally demonic movie SWEET KITTY will be having its wold premiere on Saturday, November 4th. Then on Saturday, October 28th at 5pm, Shorts Block #4 entitled STRANGERS WITH EYE CANDY features several local filmmakers' short films, including cartoonist and animator Levni Yilmaz, creator of the popular YouTube series TALES OF MERE EXISTENCE. Then there's CHRISTOPHER COPPOLA'S ART FILM TRILOGY & G-MEN FROM HELL, spotlighting prolific local filmmaker and festival alumni Coppola's TRILOGY being shown in the order they were produced plus his 2000 film adaptation of Michael Allred's comic book G-MEN FROM HELL starring William Forsythe, Tate Donovan, Bobcat Goldthwait, Gary Busey and Vanessa Angel with Coppola participating in a Q&A session afterwards. This screening will take place on Monday, November 6th at 9pm.

Then there's the awesome screenings of modern day cinema classics, including French filmmaker René Laloux's 1973 animated sci-fi film FANTASTIC PLANET and the 35mm film print screening of Oliver Stone's 1994 movie NATURAL BORN KILLERS, both on Monday, October 30th 7pm and 9pm, respectively. Then on Halloween night, the festival will be showing John Carpenter's iconic 1978 horror film HALLOWEEN at 7pm and then Rick Rosenthal's 1981 sequel HALLOWEEN II at 9pm, both shown in stunning black and white!!

Closing out the festival is the body horror film REPLACE, starring festival alumni and legendary genre actress Barbara Crampton! Show starts at 7pm on November 8th.

Plus so much, much more, it'll take another post to list them all!!

So what are you waiting for?  Mark the festival's date on your calendar and come out to the city for some amazing works of art! Individual tickets are $15 online and at the door. All-inclusive festival passes will be priced at $149, which includes all the films and special events. For the full festival schedule, visit the Another Hole in the Head's official website at www.ahith.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: Phil sees HAPPY DEATH DAY at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge Theater - October 16, 2017

Hello and welcome to another installment of my horror movie marathon! Boy, I've been watching a lot of horror films this month!! One of them I saw this past Monday at the Cinelux Almaden Theater. Today's film has already garnered a lot of positive press and was the Number #1 film this past weekend!! It's hear that I saw HAPPY DEATH DAY, the newest film from Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures.

The film's official synopsis: Blumhouse (SPLIT, GET OUT, WHIPLASH) produces an original and inventive rewinding thriller in Happy Death Day, in which a college student (Jessica Rothe, LA LA LAND) relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.

I recall seeing the trailer and thought that it looked interesting. Basically, it looked like GROUNDHOG DAY meets MEAN GIRLS meets FRIDAY THE 13th all rolled up into one movie. While as generic that may sound, the film itself was a blast to watch!

First, hats off to screenwriter Scott Lobdell for coming up with a fun and clever script that had cool characters, great villain and inspiring kills! Lobdell is best known as a comic book writer, having penned several Marvel titles like Fantastic Four, Alpha Flight, Uncanny X-Men and Generation X, which he created with artist Chris Bachalo. legend has it that Lobdell wrote the film's script over ten years ago and Michael Bay was to produce it and star Megan Fox under its original title HALF TO DEATH. Then on October 11, 2016, Blumhouse Productions were going to make the film with Christopher Landon directing the project.  Landon is no stranger to the horror genre, having helming films like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES and SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE and was the writer for DISTURBIA, VIRAL, SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2-4 and the THE MARKED ONES. Landon does an exceptional job of crafting a solid film with that perfect balance of laughs, scares and mystery. A terrific job from these two individuals who know how to keep our interests!

Our heroine Tree Gelbman is portrayed by the very talented Jessica Rothe. Tree isn't your typical sorority rich bitch. There's a reason she's a self-absorbed, snotty and downright rude; she's been through a lot and throughout the movie she evolves and changes, but still has that cunning and at the end, she becomes that bad ass final girl horror fans have grown to love. Her companion on this never-ending day trip is Carter Davis, played by Israel Broussard. Both have great on-screen chemistry and it was great to see their characters interact with one another, especially Tree remembering everything and Carter always is the same person but not in the same sense as the previous day.

HAPPY DEATH DAY is a clever and entertaining slasher horror thriller that will keep you guessing all the way to the final scenes!! Don't give this movie a pass! Go to your local theater, grab some popcorn, snacks and drinks, and then sit back and have a good time!! 4 1/2 out 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 


HAPPY DEATH DAY is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cineluxtheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: Phil attends the theatrical roadshow screening of VICTOR CROWLEY with Tiffany Shepic Live In-Person at the Osio Thater - October 8, 2017

Hello again and welcome back to my Halloween Horror Watch marathon! So in the previous post I mentioned that I was at the Osio Theater in Downtown Monterey to see two films. The second film would be a very special theatrical roadshow screening of filmmaker Adam Green's surprised latest installment of his HATCHET series VICTOR CROWLEY from Dark Sky Films!! To make the event even more amazing, Scream Queen actress Tiffany Shepis, who also appears in the film, was going to be there live in-person!!

The film's official synopsis: Andrew Yong has spent over a decade claiming that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the 2007 massacre that left over 40 dead. Yong’s allegations have been met with widespread disbelief, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past.

Adam Green spent two years making the film in secrecy, which is an unbelievable feat unto itself!! On August 22, 2017, he surprised an unsuspecting audience during the “10th Anniversary” screening of the original HATCHET screening that he held at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood. Needless to say, the audience went completely batshit crazy!! The film received two standing ovations and Green announced that he would be taking the film on a theatrical roadshow around the country. As he mentions in his blog post after the screening he hopes, "that no one who saw the movie last night or who will be seeing it soon on this upcoming tour spoils anything about it on-line either." So, per Mr. Green's request, this will be a spoiler-free review.

Green proves that he still has it when it comes to delivering a film filled with laughs, blood and gore! The script is very funny and very clever, especially on how Victor Crowley comes back from the dead! It's rather quite genius if you ask me. It has a great three act story arc, fun characters and the kills are bloody plentiful. His directing is sharp, clean and fantastic; treating the Hatchet Army fanatics with a worthy installment in the HATCHET franchise!!

Actress Tiffany Shepis and I outside the Osio Theater.
The cast is incredible and give it their all! The iconic Kane Hodder returns once again as the indestructible Victor Crowley, who returns to kill again in his Honey Island Swamp again! The man hasn't lost a beat and his kills are freaking sick and bloody! Felicia Rose plays Andrew Young's publicist and she nails her part. Speaking of Young, actor Parry Shen brings depth to his role as well as laughs. Tiffany Shepis portrays Casey and is awesome in the part! Laura Ortiz of Holliston fame gives the performance of the year as Rose. Breakout Performance goes to actress Katie Booth for her portrayal of Chloe. She brings a lot of depth and vulnerability to the role and is phenomenal!

After the screening, actress Tiffany Shepis participated with a fun-filled and informative Q&A with the audience. She recalled making the film in secrecy, working with Kane Hodder again, her humble beginnings as an upcoming actress, her Troma roots and what's up on the horizon regarding new projects she's currently involved in. Afterwards, she took pictures with her fans, and yours truly, finally got to meet this awesomely talented and lovely lady! This was one of the best nights of my life!

VICTOR CROWLEY is a funnier-that-hell, gore filled, bloody rollacoaster ride of a sequel of all time!! This was such a damn cool movie that I cannot wait for it to come out on Blu-Ray so I can watch it over and over again!! If this movie comes to a town near you, make it an effort to go see it on the big screen!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


VICTOR CROWLEY is currently on a theatrical roadshow across the country. To view the film's schedule to see if it's playing near you, visit the ArieScope Pctures website at ariescope.com. To learn more about Dark Sky Films and their film library, visit their website at darkskyfilms.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: Phil sees BETTER WATCH OUT at the Osio Theater - October 7, 2016

Welcome back to another installment of my Halloween Horror Watch marathon! Today's film adventure took me back to the lovely coastal town of Monterey! There at the Osio Theater in downtown Monterey, they were showing two films that I was really excited to see (more on the second film later on). The first film I saw was the holiday horror film BETTER WATCH OUT, which was a wonderful way to start my cinematic day!

The film's official synopsis: This holiday season, you may be home, but you’re not alone... In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion horror, babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) must defend her young charges Luke (Levi Miller) and his best friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould ) when intruders break into the house one snowy night – or so she thinks.

The cast is absolutely outstanding in their respective roles. Olivia DeJonge is just reveting as our main protagonist Ashley. Tough, vulnerable and fierce, she could very well become this generation's new final girl! Levi Miller's Luke characters is the personification of all us young boys who had crushes on their babysitters. I mean, who hasn't had that one babysitter who we used to dream about? Ed Oxenbould plays Luke's stoner best friend Garrett. Fun fact: both DeJonge and Oxenbould played siblings in M. Night Shyamalan's 2015 thriller THE VISIT. Overall, all three of them have excellent on-screen chemistry, which elevated the film for me. Really enjoyed their performances in the movie!

Filmmaker Chris Peckover directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Zack Kahn. Together, these two gentlemen made one of the smartest films ever! The set-up is straight forward, however, by the end of the first act, the film did a complete 180 degrees and the movie became something completely different. I can't remember the last time I was impressed with a movie, where I figured out the plot, only to have it surprise the hell out of me! Peckover's directing is sharp, percise and moves the film at an even pace. Really great filmmaking from this awesome filmmaker!
 
Originally titled as Safe Neighborhood, the film a big splash when it was the Fantastic Fest in 2016. It went on to garner acclaim at other festivals before being picked up for distribution by Well Go USA Entertainment.

BETTER WATCH OUT is my new favorite holiday horror film of all time!! This is one of the most original, entertaining and sick horror movie I've seen in a long time!! You owe it to yourself to go see this festive fright flick on the big screen!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


BETTER WATCH OUT is currently playing in limited release in theaters nationwide, including at the Osio Theater in Monterey. To view showtimes, visit their website at osiotheater.com. To view the film's website for future screenings, visit www.wellgousa.com/theatrical/better-watch-out.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!