Friday, March 9, 2012

Phil attends CINEQUEST 22: Day Ten-March 8, 2012

We're getting down to the final days here folks so welcome back to Day Ten of my trip to the Cinequest Film Festival! Another five film reviews await for you to read.

The first film I saw today was SUNFLOWER HOUR. And yes, again, I know that I saw this film already this past Sunday, but I had missed the first 10 minutes of the film so I wanted to see the beginning of the it. And let me tell you something folks, here is a film that's even funnier the second time around. This time I watched it with my Front Row Freaks crew (my friends Jason and Roy) and it was awesome watching them, and the rest of the audience, laugh uncontrollably. Today was the last screening if the film, but you can still check out the trailer and other goodies by visiting the film's official Facebook page at

The second film that I saw was the documentary CODE 2600. Directed by Jeremy Zerechak, the film's about that wonderful world called the internet. Tracing it from the beginning, we learn all about the internet: how it was created, who created it and those who wish to control it. Inventors of technology are in a bitter struggle with the hackers who want to manipulate it and thus control the system. The film also asks that age old question: Are we willing to give up our freedom to Big Brother in exchange for security?

Now this was a really cool and informative documentary that really showed me just how dangerous it is for people to hack into your personal information in a variety of different ways. Plus to see that we are all linked to the same system. From our cellphones, personal computers, ATMs, even government uses the same technology. And since with all this hacking going on, the government is more than willing to protect us, granted if we're willing to give up more of our rights in exchange for peace of mind. Now that right there is a horrifying thought to have. I knew that what we all do on a regular basis; talking, texting, emails, buying product online and so forth was being watched, but I had no idea that others were watching it as well. Especially the government. Today was the last screening of the film, but you can see the trailer and other information at the film's official website at

The third film of the day for me was the documentary CLOSE TO HEAVEN (DEM HIMMEL GANZ NAH). Directed by Titus Faschina, this black and white film follows the Stanciu family and their now almost extinct farm life in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. And that's about it. OK now I would go explain what I liked or didn't like about a film, but in this case, I'm just gonna this: I did not like this film at all. While it was beautifully photographed, it was, without a doubt, THE most boring film I have ever seen. If I had difficulty sleeping, I would watch this film. If I wanted to die of boredom, I would watch this film. There was a short that preceded the film called 27 about a young French man who really doesn't like to be bothered. If you doubt that, ask his his ex-girlfriend. The short was only 12 minutes long and it was far more entertaining than the main feature. Today was the last screening of the film, which made me very happy.

Film number four of the day was the MARIACHI GRINGO. Directed by Tom Gustafson, the film stars Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from the X-MEN films) as Ed who after befriending a local mariachi player in his tiny Kansas hometown becomes inspired to become one. So he packs up his things and heads down to Guadalajara, Mexico, where he finds out it's a lot harder than it sounds. It's here he meets a lovely young woman named Lila (Martha Higareds, STREET KINGS) who aides him on becoming a first class mariachi player.

Since I'm Hispanic, I loved the fact that the film showcased Mexico with beauty and wonder. Unlike most Hollywood films that show Mexico is a negative light, here is a film that shows us what makes Mexico so amazing: the food, the people, the language, the architect, the colorful clothing, and of course the mariachi music. Director Gustafson was in attendance and conducted a fun Q&A session. The film will be shown again on Friday, March 9th at 4:30pm and again on Saturday, March 10th at 1:45pm.

The fifth and final film I saw today was the Philippines family film THELMA. Directed by Paul Soriano, the film's about a young girl named Thelma (Maja Salvador) whose family faces a difficult situation when her younger sister is struck by a car, rendering her unable to walk. Blessed with the gift of running, she enters a marathon to which she wins the prize money for her sister. Discovered by her high school track coach, she begins to train and compete in events. This leads her Manila where she received a scholarship for track and field. But even she cannot out run from her past as she struggles with either fulfilling her dreams or return home to take care of her family.

Now this is what a family film should be: inspirational, entertaining, and fun. Beautifully shot and directed with great acting and story makes this film a winner in my book. The film revived a G rating in the Philippines and has become a smash hit at the boxoffice. The film's star Salvador has become even more popular with audiences. If you have a family and want to take them to see a film that all of you can enjoy, then this is the film for you. The film will be shown one last time on Saturday, March 10th at 11:30am. Also visit the film's official website at

Another fun-filled day at Cinequest!  Remember the festival ends this Sunday, March 11th so make sure you come out here to San Jose! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

No comments:

Post a Comment