Sunday, March 11, 2012

Phil attends CINEQUEST 22: Day Eleven-March 9, 2012

This is it! The final weekend of the Cinequest Film Festival! For Day Eleven I saw a total of six films so let the movie reviews begin!

The first three films I saw were all at the Camera 12 Theater. Film number one of the day was the documentary TWITTAMENTARY. Filmmaker Tan Siok travels cross the country asking people why Twitter is so popular and if they tweet. She also picks up some amazing and touching stories by those who she meets on her travels. Among those is a homeless woman, a prostitute, a female truck driver, everyday folks like us, and sexy adult film star Mika Tan.

There was a short that preceded the film called ZOLTAN: THE HUNGARIAN GANGSTER OF LOVE. The short's about a Don Juan in a small village who is very popular with the ladies and is hated by all the men, which leads up to a bad ass traditional Hungarian dance off!

Now I enjoyed this documentary, much to the chagrin of my fellow Front Row Freaks Crew. I found the film to be funny, touching, inspiring and shows us the power of Twitter and how it can be used for good as well as help those in need. The film is amateurish but that's what gives the film personality. During the screening a group of junior high school kids joined the audience to watch the film. However they did want them to see the short so they let the kids in when the documentary began. Now they woudn't let them see the short but they'll watch and drool over the hot Mika Tan. Oops! Today was the last screening but visit the film's official website at

The second film I saw today was the horror film THE HARSH LIGHT OF DAY. Directed by Oliver S. Milburn, this UK film's about Daniel Shergold (Dan Richardson), whose house is broken into by thugs, who then beat his wife Maria (Niki Felstead) to death and leave him paralyzed. Depressed and hiding out in his secluded country cottage, Daniel mourns the death of his wife while being cared for by his home nurse Fiona (Sophia Linfield). When the police cannot no longer help, Daniel accepts a visit from a mysterious stranger named Infurnari (Giles Alderson) who insists he can help him get revenge against those who killed his wife. He agrees and and becomes an unholy creature of the night. With his new found strength, he sets out to avenge his wife's death, but will it cost him what's left of his humanity?

So, this is a vampire film that had a good idea, but it wasn't executed very well. The sound was muffled here and at times it was hard to hear what they were saying. Plus some scenes sounded like they didn't have a boom mic. The cinematography was average, however better lighting would be nice. And the acting was decent, but I couldn't invest into the characters at all. Overall, I wasn't very impressed with the film. If you wish to learn more about the film, visit the film's official website at

The third film I saw was FIVE HOURS SOUTH. Based on a true story, the film takes place in Italy and is about two friends Lucas and Mino who saw their best friend get killed. Lucas went on to become a cop while Mino became a drug crime lord. But for some reason the cop friend doesn't realize this, but that's because he's too busy chasing his dream by becoming a dancer for a break-dancing troupe. Oh and for some reason he breaks up with his hot Italian girlfriend.

This was THE worst film at Cinequest this year! All over bad! While the idea held promise, all the filmmaker did was made an Italian STEP IT UP knock off with bad acting, horrible script and awful stereotypes. I don't know how much of this is "based on a true story" but we do see Lucas at the end of the film, and he sure is hell doesn't look like the break dancing type. Overall, this is the poster child for bad dance films! After seeing this film I really need to see a good film. And so I did!

I made my way to the California Theatre movie palace for the fourth film of the day for me. I saw German silent film director F.W. Murnau's FAUST from 1926. The film follows a German alchemist by the name of Faust. As God and Satan war over Earth, the Devil preaches that he will be able to tempt Faust into darkness and so has a wager with God to settle things. Satan sends Mephisto to Earth to offer Faust an end to the plague that is making it's way through the local population, and eternal youth, in return for Faust's soul.

From the same director who made such legendary and acclaimed films NOSFERATU, THE PHANTOM, and THE LAST LAUGH, the film was Murnau's last film he made in Germany before fleeing to the United States. Here we see the ultimate battle between good and evil, and containing some of the most amazing visuals and art direction to appear in a silent film, Murnau raised the bar very high for other films to follow. Accompanying the film was a live musical score performed by the Filmharmonica Duo: my good friend Dennis James (Wurlitzer Theatre Organ and Theremin) and Mark Goldstein (Buchla Lightning Wands). This was the highlight of festival in my humble opinion. To purchase a DVD copy of the film, visit the Kino Lorber website at

For film number five, I made my way back to the Camera 12 where I saw MIXED KEBAB. The film's about Turkish gay man named Ibrahim who falls for young and handsome Kevin over marrying his cute but expensive Turkish cousin Elif. During this family drama, Ibrahim's younger brother Furkan converts to Islamic fundamentalism.

I didn't expect much from the film and I was very surprised at how heart-wrenching and poetic the film was. Here is a queer film that shows us what's it like to come out in a different country as well as being Muslim and coming out. We see the inner turmoil Ibrahim goes through as he must hide his true self from his family. A must see for fans of queer cinema. Today was the film's final screening, bu visit the film's official website at

The sixth and final film I saw was the special midnight screening of the Polish animated comedy GEORGE THE HEDGEHOG (JEZ JERZY). Based on the popular Polish comic book, a wild hedgehog named George spends his days skateboarding, chasing women and having an affair with a married woman named Yola. However his life is turned upside down (if that's possible) when two mad scientists and two Nazi skinheads hunt him down and use his DNA to create an evil clone.

The film is politically incorrect, filled with vulgar language, cartoon boobs, sexual situations, cartoon violence, racial slurs, and toilet humor. I loved this film! Made me want to rewatch Ralph Bakshi's 1972 cult classic FRITZ THE CAT! That's all I'm gonna say, so see this film when it's shown again on Sunday, March 11th at 9:45pm. Also check out 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!

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