Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Phil attends the special screening of SHOWGIRLS hosted by Peaches Christ at the Castro Theatre-August 27, 2011

The Legendary Castro Theatre
After last night's Midnites For Maniacs show, I couldn't wait for the party to continue at the world famous Castro Theatre. Let's face it, nobody throws a party better than Peaches Christ! After last month's PURPLE RAIN extravaganza, I couldn't wait for this month's screening of SHOWGIRLS! Also, tonight was also the 11th anniversary of Peaches showing the film. And to top it all off, tonight's show was dubbed, "Night of a 100 Lap Dancers." So, ladies and gentlemen, let's get this party started!

My Ticket Angel
Upon arriving at the for mentioned Castro Theatre, I was greeted by a very cute ticket girl, who was nice enough to let me take a photo of her, which by the way I didn't get her name. So my ticket angel, if you are reading this, contact be so I can give you credit for your kindness! After picking up my ultra cool VIP Pass, I ventured around the Castro, then returned to the theatre and wanted in line. Since I had a VIP Pass, myself and other holders were let in early. I made my way down to the front row, where I made sure that my favorite seat was reserved. Then I made my way upstairs to the mezzanine where there were plenty of snacks and drinks to be consumed. Soon the theatre let the crowd enter, and soon it was madness. At eight o'clock there wasn't an empty set in the house, and her Majesty Peaches Christ took the stage!

The Goddess Peaches Christ
Peaches began with a fantastic musical number from the film, and the rest of her "Midnight Dancers" took the stage and the audience was treated to an elaborate dance number. After that, Peaches and her team did a reenactment of some scenes from the film. After that, the show continued with a contest for best costume. There were three winners (all SF natives) and all three had great costumes. After the contest, it was time for the "Night of a 100 Lap Dancers" to commence! Members of the audience had to sign up to participate in the event, to which she called up every single one of them. Her Midnight Dancers also helped out as well. So people who had purchased a large popcorn received  free lap dance, and that's when all hell broke loose! People were climbing all over seats, gyrating pelvises where everywhere, old people and young were giving it their all as the orgy of lap dancers continued for several minutes. (If you wish to see the craziness, I have photos of the show on my Facebook page, so head on over and check 'em out) After it was all over, it was time for the movie to begin!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1995)
SHOWGIRLS (1995) stars Elizabeth Berkley as Nomi Malone, a young and beautiful drifter who arrives in Las Vegas to become a dancer, but ends up as a stripper at the aptly named Cheetah Club instead. She meets a seamstress from the Stardust Hotel named Molly (Gina Ravera) and soon the two become fast friends. When Nomi encounters a chance meeting with the star of Molly's hotel show Goddess Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon), she manages to get an audition to be on their chorus line. Soon life becomes more complicated as Cristal sees Nomi as a threat to her and to her career as the star of the show, which creates a love/hate friendship between the two. Also Nomi sets her eyes on Cristal's manager and part time lover Zack Carey (Kyle MacLachlan) and the two of them become lovers as well. Eventually Nomi wonders if all of this stardom is worth the price.

Even before the film's original release, there was so much controversy surrounding the film. It was the first to receive the new NC-17 rating. It would also be Berkley's chance to shed her good girl image she had while playing Jesse from the Saturday morning TV show SAVED BY THE BELL. The abundant nudity throughout the film had the censors rioting in the streets. So when the film opened on September 22, 1995, it was an immediate bomb. However, like a lot films, it was ahead of its time, and found new life as a cult classic, being shown at midnight shows all across America.

Once again Peaches outdid herself with this event! And there's plenty more fun ahead, so if you are interested in becoming a fan of Peaches Christ, or want to view her upcoming shows, visit her website at

To view the Castro Theater's film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Phil attends MIDNITES FOR MANIACS: AN ALL-NITE TRIBUTE TO EDGAR WRIGHT IN PERSON at the Castro Theatre-August 26, 2011

The Majestic Castro Theatre
This year marks the ten year anniversary for Midnites For Maniacs, the brainchild of Jesse Hawthorne Ficks who teaches film history at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Ficks shines the spotlight on obscure, overlooked, and forgotten films, which for me is a dream come true. Having been a fan of the series for over a year now, I was super excited upon attending tonight's show: AN ALL-NITE TRIBUTE TO EDGAR WRIGHT. And, big thanks to Jesse, we were treated to having the director himself live and in-person!

At the very beginning of the show, Ficks came out and greeted the completely sold out crowd. After a brief introduction, he brought out the guest of the night Edgar Wright. The crowd immediately came unglued and showered him with cheer, applause, respect, and love, which lasted for several minutes. Ficks interviewed Wright about the first film of the night SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, and asked him some tough questions; the main one being why didn't the film became a boxoffice success last year. Wright defends the film he made and shared with the audience some very funny behind the scenes stories and all the wonderful memories he had making the film.

Jesse Hawthorne Ficks & Director Edgar Wright
Before the show began, Wright delighted us with a funny project he did. He asked the audience if we had use the movie information vehicle, which everyone raised their hands. As a joke, Wright clicked on the Plot Keywords button to see what kinds of words would pop up for his film. It was hysterical! Words like male underwear and gay character to women's bathroom and video gamer parody. To make things fun and to get the audience to participate, Wright suggested that we should all clap when we would see "coins" appear in the film, which was one of the Plot Keywords. Then it was time to see the film that the critics panned, but lived on as a true, cult, midnight film.

Original Theatrical Poster (2010)
The film SCOTT PILGRAM VS. THE WORLD (2010) stars that young heartthrob Michael Cera in the title role. Scott is a bassist in an up & coming alternative band, dating a high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), who is five years younger than he is, and is still not over being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, who's band is the biggest band in the world. Needless to say, Scott's life isn't going to good. However, his life takes a dramatic turn when he meets and falls in love with Ramona Flowers (the lovely Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But Romona comes with some baggage: her seven deadly exes who Scott must battle and defeat to win the heart of Romona. Also appearing in the film are Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Brandon Routh, Chris Evens, Jason Schwartzman, and Kieran Culkin.

I missed out on seeing this film when it was playing in theaters last summer, so this was first time seeing it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fast, funny, and contained some interesting elements such as video game style editing, awesome soundtrack, great martial arts action, fluid and intricate directing, and of course, hot girls in tight clothes with emo-colored hair. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, this was an amazing, funny, romantic movie that should have been more embraced by people during its original theatrical run. A great film that truly deserves a second look over again!

After the film's end, both Fricks and Wright emerged from behind the curtain and began to discuss the second film of the night, the buddy cop action film HOT FUZZ. Again, Wright did a Plot Keywords gag and came up with some interesting ones, but for audience participation, he chose the words "Stabbed Through the Chin." Then they both disappeared behind the curtin, then lights slowly dimmed, and film began.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2007)
HOT FUZZ (2007) stars Simon Pegg as PC Nicholas Angel, London's Finest Police Officer. But when his fellow officers feel that his actions are making them look bad, his captains transfer him to the sleepy little quite town called Sandford. He is paired up with his new boss' son PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a young officer who is obsessed with action cop films such as POINT BREAK and BAD BOYS 2. But when a series of "accidents" point to murder, Angel uncovers a conspiracy that could destroy the name of Sandford.

Now I did see this film in the theaters, and it was funny then as it is funny now. The jokes and gags hold up well, cinematography was beautiful, crisp editing, and of course, wonderfully directed by Wright. This is my favorite film, and with good: an action, adventure, comedy, mystery, shoot e'm up, buddy cop film! Needless to say, I was very happy and excited to see the film on the big screen again.

Both Ficks and Wright came back onto the stage after the film was over, and Wright continued with his Plot Keyword gag for the last film of the night; the film he is most recognized for, and loved all over the world: SHAUN OF THE DEAD. For the film, Wright chose "Disembowelment." for the audience to cheer at.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2004)
Ok, if you have not seen SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) yet, I have one thing to say to you: where the hell have you been for the past seven years? Upon the film's release, it became a huge success. Fans of the horror genre embraced the film, saying that it was a love letter for George Romero's 1968's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, arguably the most influential horror film of the last 20th century, and single handily launched the zombie genre. The film contains the perfect blend of horror and comedy, with that classic style British humor. Fans of the film have been spreading their love for it, through Internet chat rooms, fan websites, home movies, and movie screening parties (which numerous drinking games were invented). The film has been hailed as a classic, and it draws new viewers every day.

I saw the film back in 2004, and I immediately told all my friends that they had to see it! Over the years, I've had all my friends, new and old, to come over my house, pizza a drinks abound, and watch the film on DVD. Again, watching it again on the big screen, I was instantaneously teleported back in time to when I saw the film for the first time. And you now what? Thomas Wolfe was wrong, you can go back home!

Tonight's event was awesome! I had so much fun and I cannot wait for next month's show! If you'd like to learn more about the Movie For Maniacs, visit their website

To view the Castro Theatre's film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Phil sees CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-August 20, 2011

Relationships can be very tricky. Sometimes they are perfect, just like in the fairy tales, while others are just shy of becoming a horror movie. Love and marriage in the 21st century has become even more problematic, with the divorce rate climbing higher each year. Majority is caused by infidelity, particularly from the men (not to be judgemental, but seeing that I am a man, I have seen this numerous times). Now in some situations, it is the woman who is unable to be faithful, which leads me to CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE, one of the best examples of what happens after the marriage is over.

Steve Carell portrays Cal Weaver, a fortysomething man whose life literally falls apart when his beautiful wife of over twenty years Emily (Julianne Moore) admits of having an affair with her co-worker (Kevin Bacon) and wants a divorce. Trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, Cal accidentally befriends a player named Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gossling) who reinvites Cal's whole persona and re-introduces him back in to the world of dating. However Jacob's world is thrown for a loop when he meets law student graduate Hannah (Emma Stone), who plants the seed of love in his heart. While Cal succeeds at becoming a suave and sophisticated player, his love for Emily cannot be diminished, and yearns to be by her side again.

Now normally you don't get to see the other side of the story of these scenarios, meaning the male side of it. Majority of the time, it's told from the female's perspective, which is typically the norm for the so called "chick flicks." But here is a film for the men; men who have been cheated on, men who were tossed to the curb by their loved ones, men who have a hard time coping with their loss and the morning that takes place. Here is film for the men, showcasing all these and more, such as male bonding, brotherhood, self realization, self confidence, reinvention of oneself, and discovery aspects that you thought you were incapable of having. The reason we can connect with this film is that every single male out there has gone through this exact same thing numerous times in his life. I myself was engaged once, and had my love of my life leave me for someone else. So I speak from experience, having to witness a small part of my past flash in front of me on the silver screen.

Credit must go to Steve Carell, who totally plays against type and brings life to Cal, a man who has hit rock and we the audience must cheer him on to get back up on his feet and persevere through his ordeal. Also Gossling's discovery of finding love forces Even to re-think about settling down and becoming a family man, which he has no idea on what to do. Of course, the film boasts great performances by Moore and Stone, who are the catalysts that makes Cal and Even evolve throughout the film, and moves the story in a funny, tragic, and heart felt conclusion.

CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE gets my vote as this year's best and overlooked romantic comedy. In a time when Hollywood is hammering down our throats 3-D extravaganzas, comic book superheroes, and remakes disasters, here is a film that plays on our hear-strings, telling a story about real people and real situations that we can all relate to. I highly recommend for all of you to go see this film, and if you are bringing that special someone, after the film remind them just how special they are to you. You'll thank me later for it.

CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE is now playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Phil sees CONAN THE BARBARIAN in 3-D at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-August 19, 2011

So the first film I saw today was the previously blogged COWBOYS AND ALIENS, which I had a blast watching. So for my second film of the day I went and saw the remake of CONAN THE BARBARIAN in 3-D. Needless to say, that was a bad idea.

So, instead of doing my usual movie critique, I thought it would be more educational to list what was so bad about the film:

1) All of the acting was just horrible.
2) The directing was equally horrible.
3) Why the hell did they remake this film?
4) If Rose McGowan gets another face lift job, she'll look more like Joan Rivers.
5) Too much CGI, not enough story.
6) Wait, was there a story?
7) I know that Jason Momoa did the best that he could, but he's no Arnold.
8) Why the hell was Ron Perlman in this film?
9) I remember now! No there wasn't a story.
10) Why did I see this movie again?
11) Oh that's right, because I was bored.
12) Who ever thought that remaking this film was a good idea should've been fired....or beheaded.
13) After directing such remake films like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003), FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009) and CONAN knockoff PATHFINDER (2007), Marcus Nispel should be executed immediately and his head should be planted on a spear.
14) The movie looked even worse in 3-D.
15) The poster was more entertaining than the actual film.
16) Why the hell did they remake this film? Oh wait, I already said that one.
17) I got diabetes from watching the movie.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN is the poster child for movie abortion. If there was ever a better example that Hollywood has totally run out of original ideas for movies, let this be proof. In the words of my favorite TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000, "Folks, they just didn't care."

CONAN THE BARBARIAN 2-D & 3-D is now playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading , and enjoy the show!

Phil sees COWBOYS & ALIENS at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-August 19, 2011

The Western genre has been a staple of Hollywood long before there was even a Hollywood. One of the first westerns was THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, directed by film pioneer Edward S. Porter and released by Thomas Edison Film Company in 1903. Since then, American audiences have been in love with Western genre. Names like Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson, John Ford, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, and others helped bring to life the stories of the old west. Now director Jon Favreau brings to the big screen his take on the Western, and adds a new ingredient to the mix: Science Fiction, and thus COWBOYS & ALIENS is fun-filled ride into the sunset. With aliens!

The film takes place in the Arizona territory in 1873. A lone drifter named Jake (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of nowhere with no memory of who he is and how he got there. He stumbles in to the town of Absolution where the town is ruled with an iron fist by Col. Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). When a surprise alien attack kidnaps most of the town's citizens (including Woodrow's son), both he and Jake form a posse to rescue the townsfolk. Along the journey Jake meets a stunning woman named Alice (played buy the beautiful Abigail Spencer) who holds the key to Jake's memories.

Now there is enough action in this here film to satisfy the most die hard western fan and sci-fi geek. The CGI ships and aliens are really top notch, and the action scenes are intense. Both Craig and Ford bring some fine acting to this film, and with a title like this, one might expect some level of camp. But there wasn't any in the film, which surprised me. With the film SNAKES ON A PLANE, there was enough camp in it to make John Waters blush with envy. Director Favreau really focuses on bring action and excitement while anchoring it in reality. The sets and locations are what you  would expect from a western film. He keeps the film moving toward the big, epic final battle, with mankind's existence hanging in the balance.

John Favreau has had a very interesting career. He started off as an indie actor, starring in films such as NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND (1995), SWINGERS (1996), MADE (2001), and later appeared in mainstream films like I LOVE YOU, MAN (2009), and COUPLES RETREAT (2009). His big commercial break was directing the for mentioned MADE, and soon began directing other hits like ELF (2003), IRON MAN (2008), and IRON MAN 2 (2010).

COWBOYS & ALIENS is rip roaring sci-fi, western classic that delivers the goods! Being a cowboy has never been more difficult, and a lot more fun. So strap on your saddle and get a move on, cause we be tracking down some aliens partner!

COWBOYS & ALIENS is now playing in theater nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-August 16, 2011

Now when I first heard (and saw the trailer) for this film I thought to myself, "Oh c'mon people! Is nothing sacred anymore? Damn you Hollywood!" I know that sounded extreme, but let's face reality here people, going out the movies has become the equivalent of performing a lobotomy on yourself. Now in 2001, Tim Burton made a remake of one of the greatest and most revolutionary science fiction movie of the last 30 years. That film was THE PLANET OF THE APES, which by the way, in case you haven't seen it yet, don't! It was atrocious! A total waste of time. Now fast forward to today and I went to see RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, a prequel to the series, and I have to say that I was totally blown away by this film!

This origin story takes place in the present day in San Francisco, where a young scientist named Dr. Will Rodman (James Franco) discovers a possible cure for Alzheimer's disease, mainly to help cure his father (John Lithgow) who is suffering from the disease. In a strange twist of fate, a baby ape named Caesar (who's mother was experimented on with a developmental drug called ALZ-112) was given enhanced intelligence that made him become more than just a simpleton ape. As he grew older, Caesar became more intelligent, but still maintained basic, primal animal behavior. When Caesar defends Will's father from being attacked by a neighbor, he is thrown into an ape shelter, where he realizes that he is different from the others. Soon he dowses the shelter with the same chemical that Will used on his mother, and the other apes grow smarter and making Caesar their leader. He soon breaks his fellow apes out of the shelter and leads them to freedom within the Redwoods, but both Will and the entire SF Police Department are after them. Also starring in the film are Freida Pinto (Caroline Aranha), David Oyelowo (Steven Jacobs), and Tyler Labine (Robert Franklin).

The original PLANET OF THE APES film was released in the turbulent year of 1968. It was a time of civil unrest in America. The Vietnam War was raging, thus creating a schism among all Americans. There was also the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panthers, Women's Rights marches, love-ins, drug use, the idea that all you need was love. Many films made during this period helped project this sea of chaos to audiences everywhere. APES was one such film, spotlighting on social issues such as racial tensions, ideology, religion, bigotry, and eradication. In fact, looking back at the five films from the original series, every one of those films  tackled some kind of hot topic and social issue during the time that was made in. Now in the new millennium, we have a new film that deal with nightmares that haunts many of us in our sleep.

This new film tackles a wide variety of issues and topics. The first being the most obvious one: the mistreatment of animals in shelters and in experimental labs. For many years now, PETA and other organizations have been fighting a never-ending crusade against animal cruelty. The film also touches on subjects such as intolerance, science gone wrong, man-made biochemical viruses, animal violence, the annihilation of mankind, evolution, and the existence of God.

The film's director Rupert Wyatt did an incredible job of melding action, suspense, character development, and pathos into a cinematic adventure. It's not easy bringing together all these elements and being able to pull it off so effortlessly. Also worth noting is the extraordinary performance by Andy Serkis, who was the digital performer who gave Caesar's CGI shell life in a way that gives the film a sense of believability. Watching Caesar evolve from a young ape into a influential, intelligent leader is astounding, and Serkis deserves a standing ovation for his performance.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is THE summer film that will stand the test of time as one of the best science fiction films of this era. In a sea of Hollywood cliched films, remakes, and 3-D hype, here is a film that is story driven, with amazing characters and great directing. Now how unbelievable is that? A film that actually delivers the goods? Well, that's what you get when apes take over Hollywood.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is now playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Phil attends the Cult Movie Series screening of TAXI DRIVER at the Camera 3-August 14, 2011

For years I was a big fan and supporter of the Camera Cinemas' Midnight Movie series. From May til the end of September, they would show popular, cult and horror films at midnight every week at two locations: The Camera 7 Pruneyard on Friday night and the Camera 12 on Saturday night. For over six years I would be there, winning prizes and watching some true film classics such as EVIL DEAD 2THE PRINCESS BRIDETHE PROFESSIONAL, and REPO:THE GENETIC OPERA. This past February it was reformatted and rechristened as the Cult Movie series. Now they show the same film twice a month (Thursday nights at 9:30 and Saturday nights at 11:30) at the Camera 3 in downtown San Jose, and it now continues until November. For this month, the series screened one of the greatest films by legendary film director Martin Scorsese. Known for recent films such as THE DEPARTED (2006) and SHUTTER ISLAND (2010), Scorsese's earlier films were raw, gritty, and innovative. They represented a specific time and place, all the while becoming ingrained within the lexicon of American Cinema. However, the one film that is synonymous with Scorsese's legacy, and is still talked about today, is his 1976 masterpiece TAXI DRIVER.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1976)
There isn't anything that I can say about this film that hasn't been already said by film critics, film historians, by fans, periodicals, documentaries, and by Scorsese himself. If you have never seen this film before, then you need to see this film right now! Stop reading this and go buy the film. Trust me when I say that that this film will change your life! It changed mine, and it's influence has never diminished, even 35 years after its original release. It's one of those perfect films that still shocks you and makes you stare at it and it power over will not let go until after the credits end.

Much of the film's success goes to Robert De Niro's performance in the film. His portrayal of Travis Bickle is disturbing, but you cannot look away. His famous scene where he talks to himself, asking his reflection, "Are you talking to me?" is part of pop culture. That scene has been parodied and imitated nonstop since 1976. Also Jodi Foster's role as street wise child prostitute Iris caused such a roar of controversy that it nearly got the film pulled from theaters.

And what can you say about Scorsese's directing? It's flawless. Absolutely flawless. What I don't understand is why did it take so long for Scorsese to receive and Academy Award? He should've won with this film, or with 1980s RAGING BULL, or with 1990s GOODFELLAS. Now I did enjoy THE DEPARTED and I was glad to see him finally get his recognition that he so rightfully deserves, but this was long overdue. In my opinion, Scorsese should've won with this film.

TAXI DRIVER was just recently released on Blu-Ray and the transfer looks fantastic! Of course it's loaded with some amazing extras, but people will buy it because of the film itself. This is American Cinema at its finest, helmed by America's most beloved director. Martin Scorsese is an American treasure, and with TAXI DRIVER, he will always be remembered as that.

To learn more about the Camera Cinemas Cult Movie Series, or to view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends COMEDY SHORTS NIGHT at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-August 14, 2011

It's been a while since I was at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, but tonight I returned, and it was Comedy Night! Five of the silent film era's funniest comedians showed us why they are cinema's best of the best. Tonight on the piano was the incredible Judy Rosenberg.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1917)
The first film of the night was THE IMMIGRANT starring our little Tramp, Charlie Chaplin and his lovely costar Edna Purviance. In the film, Charlie and Edna are immigrants on a ship heading to America to start a new life. Joining the cast are Eddie Campbell as a waiter who is also the its enforcer by beating the hell out of customers who cannot pay their bill! Also making an appearance in the film is Henry Bergman who appeared in several of Chaplin's films. This was one of films Chaplin made for the Mutual Film Company, which he signed with in early 1916 after leaving the Essanay Film Manufacturing Film Company. Mutual offered Chaplin a $150,000 signing bonus and his own production company called Lone Star Corporation. This is one of my favorite shorts from the Chaplin/Mutual era. The film was released on June 17, 1917.

Theatrical Poster (1925)
The second film of the night starred the other funny Charley: Charley Chase! The film INNOCENT HUSBANDS showcased Chase's amazing comedic timing as he plays a married husband who's wife is just a tad on the jealous side. OK, she is a crazy, jealous wife, which leads to some very funny sight gags and hilarious scenarios. The reason Chase isn't to well known is that he never made the transition to feature length films. The one film he did appear in was SONS OF THE DESERT, which starred Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. This short is a perfect example of a forgotten comedian who was just fantastic, and should be rediscovered. Charley Chase belongs in the ranks of the best comedian actors, such as Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Ben Turpin. The film was produced by Hal Roach Studios, distributed by Pathe, and released in theaters on August 2, 1925. Charley Chase and his films are defiantly worth checking out, so go out and rediscover this long lost and talented actor!

Buster Keaton in THE LOVE NEST (1923)
After a brief intermission, the show continued with Old Stone Face himself, Buster Keaton. In the film THE LOVE NEST, a broken-hearted Keaton tries to forget about his ex-girlfriend by sailing the seven seas. Soon he caught by pirates and soon learns the life of a pirate, albeit the hard way! This was a film that I haven't seen before, and I've pretty much seen all of his short films. This was real treat to see, as it showcased his dark sense of humor. Keaton co-directed the film with his long time collaborator Edward F. Cline, and was released into theaters in March of 1923.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1927)
The final film of the night was SAILORS, BEWARE! starring the boys; Laurel and Hardy! Now this film was one of the earliest films that the boys teamed up in, but it wasn't a full fledged Laurel & Hardy film yet. The film has Laurel as a taxi cab driver who is accidentally brought on board (along with his taxi cab). Since the captain doesn't like stowaways, he enlists Hardy to be his boss and makes him work on the boat. Little do they realize that a con artist (Anita Garvin) and her midget partner who's dressed like her infant son (Harry Earles) are robbing the ship's passengers. Another Hal Roach film, and with this a legendary comedic duo is formed, only Roach didn't realize yet. Soon Laurel & Hardy became household names, and when to star in several shorts, and soon major motion pictures. The film was produced Roach Studios, and was released to theaters by Pathe on September 25, 1927.

Another fun-filled night at the 'ol Edison Theater. If you would like to visit the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, view their film schedule, and learn how to become a member, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Phil sees TABLOID at the Camera 3-August 2, 2011

So for the second film I saw this past week, I decided to go across the street to the Camera 3, where they were showing the latest film from acclaimed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. Now, I love watching his films. They are always so damn entertaining, and unlike some of his peers, his films are unbiased. We the audience are left to decide whether or not we agree with the topic of his film. Or if we entertained or insulted. With his new film TABLOID, we are left to decide whether of not Joyce McKinney is sane or out of her mind.

The documentary focuses on Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming who was living the good life, until she fell in love with Kirk Anderson. Both fall madly in love with one another, but there's a catch: Kirk is a Mormon and soon Kirk is missing. With the aid of a private investigator, Joyce finds out that the love of her life is in England, where she finds him, kidnaps him by gunpoint, takes him to a remote cottage in the English countryside, and forces him to have sex with her.

This is Kirk's side of the story, and the English tabloids ran with that story. In the film, according to Joyce, that's not what happened at all.

Yes she tracked him. Yes she confronted him, but in Joyce's version, Kirk went along. And they had the most romantic time together in the English countryside, filled with wine, romance, and hot, passionate sex. Consenting, hot, passionate sex. Lots of sex. Yes they were very, very horny.

Regardless, after Kirk returned home, the Mormon Church got a hold on him, brainwashed him, and told his sick, sordid, and traumatizing tale of vice, violence, and rape to the media. Shortly thereafter, Joyce was thrust into the spotlight, which exposed some interesting light on her somewhat shady past.

Director Morris keeps the facts straight and true, but with hilarious stories to keep the audience entertained. Joyce's story conflicts with those interviewed in the film, but it's hard to keep a straight face while watching her tell her sob story. I'm sorry bit it's one of the best "based on a true story" stories I have ever heard. The film has it all: lost love, kidnapping, romantic getaway, forbidden love, hot sexual adventures, newspaper scandals, dog cloning, you name it, this film has it all covered!

TABLOID is one of the more bizarre documentaries I have seen so far this year, and it's one of the more interesting ones. Morris and his films are always on the fringe of society, but that's where the more interesting stories are. So thanks to Mr. Morris, you will now have to see this film and decide for yourself if Joyce is sane or nutty as a fruitcake. Her fate is in your hands!

TABLOID is now playing in select theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Phil sees FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS at the Camera 12 Downtown SJ-July 31, 2011

After a very, very, very, very long week at work, I finally got around to see some movies!

OK, I will admit I wasn't really sure about seeing this film. You see, there's not a lot of original films coming out of Hollywood these days. Case in point, earlier this year saw the release of NO STRINGS ATTACHED, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. In the film both stars portray good friends who start having sex without any emotion connection, then by the end develop feeling for one another and everyone lives happily ever after. Now Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis (who starred with Portman in last year's critically acclaimed film BLACK SWAN) star in FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, which in theory sounds exactly like the previously mentioned film, but in actuality, it's a better, more enjoyable film.

So let me give you fine folks a brief synopsis of the film: New York headhunter Jamie (Kunis) gets dumped by her boyfriend Quincy (Adam Samberg). Over in Los Angeles, California, the same thing is happening to Dylan (Timberlake) and his now psycho ex (Emma Stone). Jamie lures Dylan away from his present job to the bright lights of NY and to the offices of GQ. Both strike up a great friendship, and soon the topic of being friends with benefits comes up. Soon Dylan and Jamie are naked and sexing up all over NY, but soon emotions stat to arise and thing start to become complicated.

Now the film has its good points and its bad points, so let me start with the positives. Believe it or not, both Timberlake and Kunis have amazing chemistry on screen. They both have great lines in the film that you would actually say to your friends. Second, both really get down and dirty in their sex scenes and they are very hot and funny, but let me warn you about a couple of things real quick before you all get too excited. Now you do get to see Timberlake's chiseled physique as well as his bum, HOWEVER, Kunis used a butt double for her nude scene. So that is NOT her butt you're seeing fellas! Sorry to disappoint you guys, however I must say, her butt double really has a very nice butt. So I guess it's a positive still. I don't know, you be the judge.

Now for some negatives. I felt that some of the scenes where a bit too rushed. Also the editing could've been a bit more smoother. Also the most obvious element in the film is this: the film is poking fun at Hollywood cliches. When Jamie and her friend are walking the streets of NY at night, they pass by a series of poster for THE UGLY TRUTH, to which Jamie utters one of my favorite lines, "Shut up Katherine Heigl, you stupid liar!" Jamie complains to Dylan that romantic Hollywood films are filed with the typical cliches that would not happen in real life. Anyone see the irony in this?

The film itself is a cliched Hollywood romance film! There's the hopeless romantic but burned woman, the out of town transplant nice guy with a heart of gold, the psycho exes, crazy parents, friends having sex that eventually leads to romance but neither one wants to admit it, etc. But you know what? It works. This whole cliched Hollywood romantic comedy works, and it works well. I actually was rooting for Jamie and Dylan. Go figure but thanks to director Will Gluck (EASY A) the film has the perfect balance of love and laughter, with just a pinch of drama to keep it interesting.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is a fun, sexy, raunchy, romantic comedy that actually delivers the goods and then some. Both Kunis and Timberlake are this summer's best couple to watch, laugh, and fall in love with. Sounds kinda cliched, huh? Well what did you expect from Hollywood?

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is now playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!