Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Phil sees INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-Dec. 28, 2013

I love folk music. Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Dar Williams, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. The folk music revival of the 1960's in New York's Greenwich Village literally changed the face of music forever. Now the Coen Brothers once again return to the big screen to tell a story that takes place during this time frame. The end result is the folk music drama INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is one outstanding film!

The film's official synopsis: Follow a week in the life of young folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles -- some of them of his own making.

Written, directed and edited by Joel and Ethan Coen, the film was inspired by folksinger Dave Van Ronk's  autobiography entitled The Mayor of MacDougal Street. (In fact, the album cover of Inside Llewyn Davis in the film is an exact copy of Ronk's album cover entitled Inside Dave Van Rok)Once again the Coen Brothers capture lightening in a bottle: crafting a complex story about the examination of a flawed, but likable, character and how he struggles to make it in life.

Oscar Issac gives his greatest performance ever in front of the camera. His portrayal of the struggling folksinger Davis is simplistic, relateable, and funny while simultaneously sad, tragic, and ironic. But Issac goes one step further and actually sings in the film! And he looks and sounds just like a 1960's folksinger! The film opens with Issac singing "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" is he sounds amazing! Another interesting fact that must be made known is that, with the exception of one song, all the songs in the film are recorded live! Yes, that is very impressive!

Justin Timberlake also appears in the film as the loveable, yet naive, Jim, who is dating Llewyn's ex-girlfriend Jean (portrayed by the stunning Carey Mulligan). She just radiates on the silver screen and she steals all her scenes from her co-stars. Look for her nabbing a Best Supporting Actress nod from the Academy!

The film's soundtrack was produced by none other than T Bone Burnett, who also produced the award-winning soundtrack to the Coen's 2000 film O'BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? Burnett shows us his magic touch, as all the songs from the film sound and feel like classic folk songs from that era. Adding to that feeling is the inclusion of an unreleased studio version of "Farewell" by the great Bob Dylan!

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is one of the greatest films the Coen brothers have ever made! Period! This is what great American cinema should look like people! From the first frame to the last, you will never find a more perfect film to watch! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL at the Camera 3 Downtown San Jose-Dec. 22, 2013

When one mentions the Bettie Page out loud, a flood of images comes to mind: that face, those eyes, that sexy smile, those cute bangs, and a body that made men want to be with her! At the height of her popularity, she disappeared. Now thanks to the recently released documentary BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL we now get the full story of a young girl who transformed into a pin-up queen and pop culture icon who's influence is still being felt today.

The film tells the entire life story of Bettie Page; all of the good, the bad, and the ugly that she unfortunately had to suffer through. By using a combination of popular and unreleased photographs, private home films, old newspaper clippings and onscreen interviews as well as with new interviews, director Mark Mori finally sets the record straight on her humble beginnings, her rise to fame and popularity, and mystery of what happened to her after she waked away at the height of her career.

After a fun and entertaining montage that accompany the opening credits, Mori starts off his documentary with footage of Bettie Page's funeral (she passed away on December 11, 2008 from pneumonia). I think this was very effective and poignant way to start off his film. What better way to tell Page's life by starting off with her death, then circling back to her beginnings.

Another fascinating aspect of the film is that is was narrated by Bettie Page herself! How is possible you maybe asking yourself? The answer is quite simple. Bettie's narration was culled from over 6 hours of interviews that Mori conducted with her prior to her death. So we hear the whole story from the pinup goddess in her own voice, which was just amazing to hear!

Mori gathered a who's who that were involved in Page's personal life and professional career as well as those who were influenced by her: Hugh M. Hefner, Mamie Van Doren, Julie Newmar, Todd Oldham, Perez Hilton, Rebecca Romijn, Bunny Yeager, Paula Klaw, Tempest Storm, and Dita Von Teese just to name a few!

While it's fascinating to her Page talk about her life, I found it very painful to hear all the grisly details that she had to go through: her parents got divorced when she was just ten years old, being molested by her father at age 13, living in an orphanage for a year with her two sisters. And that's the tip of the iceberg! Several failed marriages, government witch-hunts, becoming an evangelical Christianity, depression, violent mood swings, and spending several years in a state psychiatric hospital are all told in gruesome and horrifying detail by Page.

But there is light at the end of her story. Thanks to a resurgence in popularity during the 1980's, Page started to receive the respect and admiration that she so richly deserved, thus receiving the title "Queen of the Pinups."

BETTIE PAGE REVEAL ALL is one of my favorite documentaries of 2013!! This is far and away the best film ever about Bettie Page! Congrats to Mark Mori for making the definitive film about our favorite pinup queen! For all you BP fans out there, you need to see this movie!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!



BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL is currently playing in select theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES at the Camera 12 Downtown San Jose-December 22, 2013

When I saw ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGANDY in theaters when it first came out back in 2004, it was the funniest film I saw that year. Fast forward to 2013 and I'm over at the Camera 12 in Downtown San Jose to see if lightening strikes twice. Yes my faithful readers, I went and saw ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES and it was funnier than the first film!

The film's official synopsis: Having left San Diego for New York City, Ron Burgundy (Will Farrell) is living the high life with his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) and son Walter Burgundy (Judah Nelson). However, when the boss decides to promote Veronica to full time lead anchor and fire Ron, everything changes. Now heading back to San Diego, Ron is washed up and working part time at Sea World. His shot at redemption though comes in the form of a man named Freddie Schapp (Dylan Baker), who's an executive producer at the Global News Network, the world's first 24 hour round the clock news channel. He hires Ron, who proceeds to reunite the news team of Champ (David Koechner), Brick(Steve Carell), and Brian (Paul Rudd), and head back to New York City. While there Ron and his news team are given the graveyard shift and a challenge. Ron comes up with a radical new idea to transform the news and that puts him at the top of the game once again. But how long will Ron's new found fame last? And will Brick finally find true love?

As I said in the beginning, the film is funnier than the first one, and I thought that was impossible. But director Adam McKay does a tremendous job creating a sequel that's funnier, crazier, and wilder than its predecessor. Of course it doesn't hurt that McKay once again teamed up with Farrell to write this outrageous follow up! These two madmen have done the franchise justice with this latest installment!

The old gang that we know and love return to their respective characters and they are fantastic! Farrell, Rudd, Carell, and Koechner are just as rambunctious as they were in the first film, but here the laughter is cranked up to eleven! I was laughing the entire time and I swear at one point I thought I was going to piss in my pants because I was laughing so damn hard! While there is a script to follow, I often wondered how much was scripted and what was improved. When you ave these four comedy geniuses in one scene, lookout! Cause there is some very funny shit that's gonna happen!

The film also features the return of the lovely Christina Applegate (who is fabulous in the film) as Ron's now estranged wife Veronica well as a few other familiar faces from the previous feature. But this is a sequel and there are some new faces to get acquainted with. There's the previously mentioned Dylan Baker's character Freddie Schapp, GNN executive producer Linda Jackson (the extremely sexy Meagan Good), Ron's new arch nemesis Jack Lime (the versatile James Marsden), and Veronica's new love interest Gary (Greg Kinnear).

There is a whole boat load of cameos from famous celebrities in this film! There's Harrison Ford as Ron and Veronica's boss Kristen Wiig as the very strange Chani Lastnamé, who just so happens to capture Brick's heart! That alone you need to see! Then there's the big climatic clash between Ron's and Jack's News Crew and, in case you where wondering, this battle out does the big news crew battle from the previous one! And it's a who's who of famous faces: Liam Neeson, John C. Reilly, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Kanye West just to name a few! Now that you gotta see!

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES truly is the funniest films of 2013!! Whatever you do don't eat your popcorn or drink your soda while watching this film! Because you will choke due to the fact that this is one helluva funny film!! Go see it!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 


ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees AMERICAN HUSTLE at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-December 21, 2013

I love the 1970's. I love the clothes, the music, the colors, the television shows, the toys, the looks, the sounds, and, of course, the movies. I love it all! Of course it doesn't hurt that I was born in the 70's and I remember it all so very vividly! So whenever I hear that there's a modern day film that takes place during that far out time, I will be the first person in line to see said film. So when I saw the trailer for AMERICAN HUSTLE, I knew I had to see when it came out. And that's exactly what I did!

The film's official synopsis: A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.

Writer and director David O. Russell (along with co-writer Eric Singer) once again knocks it out of the park with this film that is absolutely amazing! What I really enjoyed about the film was that story, which was so brilliantly written. It was a joy to watch the film's story unfold and to hear these larger than life characters speak. There is that element of surprise which I loved. But because you don't really know what's going to happen next, and you don't know what these characters are going to do, that really intrigues me and I sat impatiently in my chair and watched the film with a big 'ole smile on my face.

Once again Russell brought back his dynamic duo of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence from last year's award winning film SILVER LINING PLAYBOOK. Christian Bale gets lost in another character, and his Irving is a character you love to hate. Well, hate is too strong of a word, but he is very sleazy! Bale turns in an awarding performance that will no doubt make the folks over at the Academy stand up and notice.

Amy Adams does it again; giving another Oscar-winning performance as Irving's love interest and partner Sydney Prosser. Here Amy goes in deep, pretending to be English and talking with an English accent (which by the way is so damn hot!) and has great on-screen chemistry with Bale. Now a lot of people will be talking about Amy's low, low low, low neck, cleavage revealing dress that she wears at the governor's party. Yes it's very risque. Yes, it's very sexy. And yes, she looks absolutely breathtaking in it that, if you're like me and wear glasses, they will fog up on you!

Another sexy siren actress showing what she's got is Jennifer Lawrence as Irving's lovable and clueless wife Rosalyn. Again she gives a performance that will no doubt earn her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She's funny, sassy, annoying, and down right sexy! Her white evening gown for the fore mentioned governor's party is just stunning. And her on-screen kiss with Amy's Sydney has been the talk of the town. I'll just end it right there.

Bradley Cooper keeps on surprising me with his acting chops. Here his portrayal of FBI agent Richie DiMasois ambitious, self-righteous, and naive. He really brings a lot of depth to the character throughout the course of the film. Even in the scene when he's having dinner with his family and he has those little pink curlers in his hair, he still pulls it off with a straight face and doesn't make it too tongue-in-cheek. Now that's acting people!

AMERICAN HUSTLE is flat out an amazing film to see from start to finish! This is what great American cinema should be! Go see this film over and over again!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


AMERICAN HUSTLE is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Phil sees DALLAS BUYERS CLUB at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-Dec. 21, 2013

It's interesting when discussing the career of Matthew McConaughey. After achieving cult status with the 1993 film DAZED AND CONFUSED, he went on to appear in, shall we say, less memorable features such as TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION, CONTACT, THE WEDDING PLANNER, SAHARA, and FAILURE TO LAUNCH. But then in 2011, he starred in legendary director's William Friedkin's KILLER JOE. After receiving rave reviews for his performance, McConaughey went on to star in MUD and THE PAPER BOY. Now he gives his best performance ever in the new drama DALLAS BUYERS CLUB.
The film's official synopsis: Based on the incredible true story of real-life Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, an ordinary man who found himself in a life-or-death battle with the medical establishment, big pharmaceutical companies, and the U.S. government. In 1986, the volatile, free-wheeling Woodroof was blindsided by being diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. With the U.S. still internally divided over how to combat the virus and restricting medications, Ron banded together with an unlikely community of outcasts and tracked down alternative treatments from all over the world, by means both legal and illegal.

McConaughey is just utterly amazing and riveting in the film! His portrayal of Woodroof is sensitive, sincere, funny, and touching. To prepare for his role as the AIDS stricken Woodroof, McConaughey lost an astounding 50lbs! Now that is some dedicated method acting! Also worth noting is that the Ron changes before our very eyes. Here's a macho, tough, rodeo loving homophobic redneck to a thoughtful, sensitive, anti-establishment activist. His acting deserves an Oscar! And there's no doubt that he might very will win one!

One of the outcasts that Woodroof meets and befriends is Rayon (Jared Leto), a transgender woman and a patient of AZT, an early drug experiments that doctors thought would stop the AIDS virus. Like McConaughey, Leto literally transformed himself into the role of Rayon, who adds a lot of fun, flare, and is the perfect antithesis to Woodroof's redneck ways. But the two odd couple strike up a business partnership that morphs into one of the most beautiful friendships I have ever seen in a film. And like McConaughey, Leto lost a total of 30lbs for his role! And look for him to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards show!

Also making a memorable appearance in the film was Jennifer Garner as Dr. Eve Saks, the only doctor who not only befriends both Ron and Rayon, but also supports them and helps them fight against the Food and Drug Administration. Here Garner is going against the type of roles she's known for; that being the romantic comedies. Ironically, both McConaughey and Garner both starred in the romantic comedy GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST. Again, another Oscar winning performance!

Director Jean-Marc Vallée does a superb job of crafting the film; creating real drama and light comedy while showcasing real human emotions and real world events. In fact, there are snippets of real television footage of the fight against the AIDS epidemic and how the gay community protested against the government's lack of interest in finding a cure.

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is one of the best films of 2013! This is why I go to the movies and this is why you should go to the movies! This is a perfect film! You need to see this! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Phil's Horror DVD Review: THE BLACK DAHLIA HAUNTING (2012) from Phase 4 Films-December 12, 2013

BLACK DAHLIA DVD Cover (2013)
THE BLACK DAHLIA HAUNTING
Starring: Devanny Pinn, Britt Griffith, Noah Dahl, Alexis Iacono, Jessica Cameron, Brandon Slagle
Written by Brandon Slagle 
Cinematography by Jean-Pierre Lefevre
Directed by Brandon Slagle
Released by Phase 4 Films, LLC

Greetings Horror Hounds! Now just because it's Christmas time doesn't mean we still can't celebrate Halloween and all things scary! So I recently purchased a DVD copy of filmmaker Brandon Slagle's indie horror film THE BLACK DAHLIA HAUNTING. I had the privileged of seeing the film last year at Miss Misery's Days of Terror Convention. With the release of his film on the home market, I felt it was time I reprinted my original review of the film for those who missed reading it the first time.

The film's about a young woman named Holly Jenson (Devanny Pinn) who's investigating the murder of her father by her blind younger brother Tyler (portrayed by Noah Dahl). During her investigation, she accidentally awakens the spirit of Elizabeth Short (Alexis Iacono), who is better known as the infamous Black Dahlia. Soon Tyler's physician Dr. Brian Owen (Britt Griffith) begins to suspect something different about Holly, which triggers a deadly secret from his past. Also making a cameo appearance in the film is actress Jessica Cameron portraying a young Norma Jean and Slagle himself as the disturbed Malcolm.

Original Film Festival Poster (2012)
Unlike many of the Hollywood versions of the story, Slagle's take on the famous crime feels like a breath of fresh air. Giving it a supernatural spin, it still stays faithful to the facts about Elizabeth Short, while simultaneously making her and her death even more frightening. Pinn does a fabulous job portraying Holly, combining a hard ass attitude while giving her a sense of vulnerability. Reality star Griffith also deserves credit for his performance as Dr. Owen, who somehow makes us wonder who is exactly and whether or not he can be trusted. Now playing a blind person is enough of a challenge pulling it off and making it believable is even more challenging. So my hat goes off to Dahl's acting chops for making me forget that he was acting. Iacono's performance as Elizabeth Short is scandalous, mysterious, hideous, and demented that I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Now it's a know fact the Short didn't exactly hang in out with the right kind of people, but she did have some decent friends. Iacono's scene with Cameron's Norma Jean was very sweet and gave depth to Short's personality.

Shot in 10 days, Slagle's directing is stupendous, giving the ridiculous short time frame he had (he basically made the film on weekends!). There are some terrific shots and set ups that drive the film. One scene I recall that was very effective were the scenes shot in the cave with Holly "talking" to herself. This scene is a simple scene to shoot, but with Pinn's powerful acting combined with Slagle's directing style, it's one of the most effective and disturbing scenes in the film (there is an even more disturbing scene that unfortunately I cannot disclose. But let me say this: it's not for the faint of heart).

All in all THE BLACK DAHLIA HAUNTING is a great indie horror gem that all of you should definitely see! It makes an excellent Christmas gift for any die hard horror fanatic! So track down this film and help support great indie horror films such as this! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE BLACK DAHLIA HAUNTING is currently available on DVD at your local retailer. You can also purchase a copy at the Amazon website at www.amazon.com. Also look for it in RedBox and iTunes as well.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

Phil Attends the midnight screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the Camera 3 Downtown San Jose-Dec. 7, 2013

When the clock strikes midnight, that's when the crazy, freaking, scary people come out! And where are these ill-mannered, foul mouthed hooligans go to hang out? At the midnight screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE show at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose of course! To bring this cult classic to life, my good friends from Barely Legal Productions were there to act out along with the film! And once again my friend Sara was there with me to join in on this 37 year old midnight tradition! And it was also a special holiday themed show as well! What better way to say "Happy Holidays" than with transvestites and fishnet stockings!!

The night started off with a sexy, Burlesque type number with the luscious ladies of Barely Legal seducing Santa Claus to Eartha Kitt's rendition of "Santa Baby." Yup, I knew that this was going to be fun-filled, holiday show!! Oh-la-la!!

As always, Nate McHavoc (our Riff Raff) was our emcee for the night. He whipped up the crowd and got us all excited about the show. He introduced us to the cast members for that night's show and also subjected the "virgins" to the infamous butt dance. Once again there were a lot of virgins in the house! After picking out six victims....uh.....virgins....Nate subjected them to his embarrassing games and we all had a big laugh at their expense! It was awesome! After the games, the audience started sing Happy Birthday to cast member Lizzie Bernard who plays MAgenta! However, as some of you may know, we sing it quite differently. So the whole audience started singing, "Happy Birthday F#ck You!" It brought a tear to my eye!

As with the Fourth of July show, everyone was sporting holiday costumes, which included Santa hats, bells, red and green outfits, X-mas lights, and a certain someone dressed up in a snowman costume! Yes Virgina, there really is a talking snowman!! The Barely Legal cast turned in another fantastic performance once again, and the crowd had a blast! Sara and I had so much freaking fun!!

What an amazing night! Now just in case you missed out on all this midnight fun, fret not my friends! There will be another show here at the Camera 3 on January 4, 2014!! It's the first ROCKY show of the year people!! And as a reminder, Barely Legal are looking for new members so if you've ever wanted to be a star, now's your chance! To learn more about Barely Legal, their schedule, and how to become a member, visit their website at barelylegal.rhps.org. Also look for them on Facebook as well! Also visit the Camera Cinemas website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the RiffTrax Live! Broadcast of SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTINS at the CineArts Theater-December 5, 2013

Happy Holidays everybody!! It's starting to get bit colder outside, days are shorter, and folks are busy shopping at the mall. What a better time to check out the latest RiffTrax Live! show over at the CineArts Theater over in Santana Row here in San Jose! To celebrate this festive season, they were riffing the sci-fi, holiday stink bomb SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTINS . Now it was originally riffed on the old MST3K show back in the early 1990s, but this was an all-new riff! Accompanying me to the screening was my good friend (and longtime MST3K fan) Alison. After picking up some refreshments, we made our way to our seats and waited for the show to begin!

For those you don't know what a RiffTrax is, let me clue you in. According to their website, "RiffTrax are hilarious commentaries that you play along with a DVD, or are merged with movies and classic shorts that you can watch on-demand or on DVD. Written and performed by the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000, RiffTrax features the unique humor of Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) and Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot)! We riff on Blockbuster Movies, Educational Short Films, and feature- length Cheesy B-Movies that you can watch instantly. It's like watching movies with your funniest friends!"

They guys broadcast the event from the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee to hundreds of movie theaters across the country courtesy of the folks at Fathom Events. After some funny intros, they guys got down with doing what they do best!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1964)
The film SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTINS is just awful. Just really, really, really awful. Now I've seen the film several times but seeing it with the RiffTrax crew made the pain more bearable. The plot goes something like this: Two lethargic martin kids (one of them is ten-year old Pia Zadora) are watching Earth television about the exploits of Santa Claus. This causes their parental units to be very concerned. Their father (and martin leader) Lomas takes a small crew to Earth to capture Santa. However, they also capture a couple of kids who spotted them: siblings Billy (Victor Stiles) and Betty (Donna Conforti). Soon they and Santa (John Call) are captured and are taken back to Mars. Eventually the martins all fall in love with Santa, that is all but the evil, grumpy martin Voldar, who plans to take out Santa and the kids! But in the end, Voldar is defeated, the martin children are full of Christmas spirit, and Santa, Billy, and Betty return to home just in time for Christmas Eve.

Ok so where do I begin with this film? Well for starters, I can't believe this was even made!! And people actually made money to see this!! It ranks slightly below Ed Wood's masterpiece PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE as the worst movie ever made! The sets are just atrocious, the acting barely believable, and that annoying theme song "Hooray for Santa Claus"  will get stuck in your head! Thankfully, Michael, Bill, and Kevin were there to make the film funny!

The RiffTrax crew had no problem tearing this film a new one. Like I stated earlier, the film was made fun on Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in the early 90's. When that episode originally aired, Kevin was on the show as Tom Servo. Michael was the head writer and Bill wasn't even on the show till Season 8. So this was an amazing and hilarious all- new riff with brand new jokes and Alison and I laughed so hard during the show!

This was such an awesome RiffTrax Live! event! And guess what? You too can experience the awesomeness of the guys of RiffTrax! To purchase RiffTrax downloads of audio commentaries, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, visit their website at www.rifftrax.com. To learn more about Mystery Science Theater 3000, visit their website at www.mst3k.com. To learn about upcoming Fathom Events coming to your town, visit their website at www.fathomevents.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Phil sees BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-November 9, 2013

The recently released foreign film BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR has been receiving a lot of controversy since its win at the Cannes film festival this May. Now with this in mind, I couldn't wait to see what the hoopla was all about. Now I thoroughly enjoy viewing foreign film because they are much more sophisticated and more mature; meaning their outlook on love, life, sex, and humor are treated with respect and splendor. So with all of this hype surrounding the film, I ventured over to the Camera 7 to see this latest French export.

The film's official synopsis: Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos), a 15-year-old girl dreaming of experiencing her first love, has an unsettling erotic reverie with a handsome male classmate that upsets the romance before it even begins. Adele fantasizes about Emma (Lea Seydoux), a mysterious, blue-haired girl she encounters in the street, and soon the confident older art student enters Adele's life for real, making way for an intense and complicated love story that spans a decade.

Based on the 2010 French graphic novel Le Bleu est une couleur chaude by Julie Maroh,the film has that look and energy of the French New Wave movement from the 1960s: filmed mostly hand held, shot on real locations, and portraying love and life as a celebration. This is something I believe that most American films lack: the spirit of human soul. The celebration of being alive and living in the moment.

Director Abdellatif Kechiche (he also wrote and produced the film) really crafted an amazing picture that really shows us that love knows no boundary and doesn't care if you're straight, gay, black, white, etc. Kechiche shot the film almost like a documentary, in that we see everything that happens to these two girls; the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly.

Kudos goes to both Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux for their award-winning performances as the two star-struck lovers. However, they go far beyond that, as they bare it all in one of the most passionate and explosive lesbian love scene that has ever been captured on film. Now I have seen my far share of queer love scenes, but this was just so graphic, raw, and realistic. I think the screen that I was watching it on began to melt because of the heat coming from the scene! It really was the most intense love scene I have ever witnessed.

So this is where the controversy comes in to play. Both lead actresses expressed disdain for Kechiche, saying they felt exploited during their love scene, complained about his behavior during the film's shooting and said that they would never work with him again. Several other crew members  accused him of "harassment, unpaid overtime and violations of labor laws." The film's been banned in several locations and theaters across the country.

Despite all this negativity, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR is the most beautiful, breathtaking, poetic film about love that I have ever seen in my entire life! And let me just say this to those who only see the film as a lesbian/gay film: it is not a queer film. It's more than that simple definition. It's about your first love, and all the wonderment that comes with it. Who doesn't remember their first love? I still do and it still has the same affect on me now as it did when I was a young man. This is my pick for best movie of the year. So do yourself a favor and see this film while it's still playing in the theaters! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR is currently playing at select theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Phil sees THOR: THE DARK WORLD 3D at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-Nov. 8, 2013

Do hear that? The clouds are rolling in. The thunder is getting louder. The lightening more frequent. You know what all this means? That's right! The God Of Thunder has returned! So I headed over to the Camera 7 in the Pruneyard Campbell to check out the film THOR: THE DARK WORLD 3D, the sequel to the 2011 film and the eighth in Marvel's film universe.

The film's official synopsis: Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Mighty Avenger, battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself, and restore order across the cosmos ... but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and his devious brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

The film is not only a sequel, but a continuation from last year's mega blockbuster THE AVENGERS. Like IRON MAN 3, it's a continuation of the bigger picture, meaning like the comic books, whereas there's an incident that happens in one book, it gets referenced in another. Same goes for this movie as well. So the film is another chapter in the massive story of the Marvel Universe.

What's interesting about this film is it builds up its characters and fleshes them out more. Hemsworth's Thor is more relateable; expressing more of an array human emotions and is more a well rounded character than in the first film. Portman's Jane is the victim that needs saving, but she really doesn't play it up, especially at the end where she helps Thor out. Their romance is what brings out the humanity in Thor, and it's his love for Jane that will transform him throughout the film.

The villainous Malekith is a worthy adversary for Thor: ruthless, intelligent, and without mercy. Eccleston's acting is simply bone chilling! Here we have a perfect example of ultimate evil; one that spells complete doom for the Nine Realms and it's really an outstanding performance on Eccleston's part. And speaking of evil, Loki returns once again, but what side is he really on? Once again Hiddleston brings his "A Game" and gives us comic fans a character we love to hate. Or do we?

Alan Taylor steps in the director's chair, replacing Kenneth Branagh, who directed the first film. This is Taylor's third full length feature (his other two films are1995's PALOOKAVILLE and THE 2003 IFC film KILL THE POOR). He's mainly known for directing television shows, and he has directed many episodes for amazing shows such as Oz, Sex and the City, The Sorpranos, Mad Men, Nurse Jackie, and Game of Thrones. Here Taylor does a fine job of balancing big action scenes with emotional content. Since he's directed episodes of the aforementioned Game of Thrones, you can tell he's comfortable in directing big battle scenes and he does a great job at it! Plus he ups the ante and the stakes are even higher, which makes it a better film than the first.

As I mentioned earlier, I saw the film in 3D and it really looked spectacular! The action literally leaps off the screen and lands in your popcorn! Now it is also in 2D so if you get really bad headaches from 3D, then this version is for you. But if you can, see it in 3D! Also, since this a Marvel film, there is a bonus scene at the end. Actually, there are TWO bonus scenes: one after the main stars credit, and one after the actual credits end. The first bonus scene will no doubt cause many comic book fans to wet their pants.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD is a worthy follow up and is this fall's best action packed extravaganza! Fans of the Marvel Universe will have a blast at seeing this and don't worry, The Mighty Thor will return again in THE AVENGERS 2. In the meantime, catch this film before it's gone! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended!!



THOR: THE DARK WORLD is currently playing in both 2D and 3D in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Phil attends a special screening of INFINITY AND CHASHU RAMEN at the Camera 3 Downtown San Jose-Nov. 3, 3013

I am a big supporter of local indie films. It's so amazing to see people like you and me getting out their and telling their stories for all of us to enjoy. And this past Sunday I had the honor of once again see the great local film INFINITY AND CHASHU RAMEN at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose. To make the screening even more important, filmmaker Kerwin Berk and several of the actors were there to partake in a Q&A sessions and to sign autographs. The screening was sponsored by C.A.T.S., the Contemporary Asian Theater Scene. There were two screenings of the film: at 1pm and at 3:15pm. I attended the 1pm screening.

I had the privilege of seeing the film back in August at the inaugural CAAMFest Film Festival, which was held also at the Camera 3. In case you missed my review or it the first time around, here's what I wrote about the film:

"The first film I saw was INFINITY AND CHASHU RAMEN. Written and directed by local filmmaker Kerwin Berk, the film takes place in San Francisco's Japantown and follows two spirits: a wise but mischevious 400 year old man named Tenshi (Hiroshi Kashiwagi) and young naive woman from the 1940's named Lucy (Wendy Woo). Together, these two very different spirits help guide the lives of a dozen people in Japantown, as told in six interwoven vignettes.

This is a perfect example of the flourishing local independent movie scene here in the Bay Area. Berk really captures not only this independent spirit, but also captures the spirit of Japantown. The combination of a cleverly written script with very good acting makes this a winner in my book! The entire cast is great in the film! Both Woo and Kashiwagi play up the odd couple scenario perfectly, giving us some true laughs and sentiment. It's their on-screen chemistry that makes the film so much fun to watch. Definitely worth checking out!!" 

After viewing the film again a couple of months later, it was wonderful to see the film play to a large audience! People were laughing at the funny parts and were somber at the serious parts. Overall, the screening was a complete success!

After the screening, Kerwin came out along with several cast members and conducted a very breif Q&A with the audience. Afterwards, we were all in the theater lobby, hanging out with each other, buying DVD copies of the film and getting autographs. I congratulated Kerwin on all his success and then I left on such a high note that I went back home and watched my DVD copy of the film.

Now if you're interested in seeing the film, you're in luck! There is one more screening left (and it might be its last theatrical screening ever) and it'll take place on November 21st at 7pm at the California Theater in Berkley. So make plans to see this homegrown, locally made indie classic!

To purchase tickets for this screening, click here to get them before the sell out! To purchase a DVD copy, visit the film's official website at http://infinityandchashuramen.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the midnight screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the Camera 3 Downtown San Jose-Nov. 2, 2013

Yes friends, after many, many months away, I returned to the Camera 3 to once again partake in a midnight tradition. Saturday night was my triumphant return to the monthly midnight screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, the ultimate cult classic and original midnight movie! And as always, my friends from Barely Legal Productions were there to bring the film to life! However, Saturday's show was no ordinary show, oh no! It was the first ever "Tacky Horror" show! The guys played the girl's parts and the girls played the guy's parts! Or as they BL crew called it, "It's genderbenderiffic!" The show was presented by The Camera 3 Cinemas and by Psycho Donuts as well!

The was a huge crowd for the event, and our host was the always magnificent Nate McHavoc, who informed that crowd that he and his wife, the lovely and sexy Bridgid McHavoc, were at their friend's wedding and had a lot of champagne (and in Nate's case some tequila as well). These contributing factors made his intro all the more fun! He had all the virgins come up and do the butt dance (there were quite a lot of virgins), and then sent everyone under 18 years old back to their seats. Those who remained had to answer a his traditional contest which involves taking a basket, "And putting it between your legs." Yup, that never gets old! After humiliating the virgins, it was time to meet our cast!

Bridgid McHavoc & Lizzie Bernard.
I'm not gonna lie, it was freaking hilarious to see cast dressed up in each other's clothes!! This was the first time that my friend Lizzie Bernard (who mostly portrays Magenta at the shows) made her debut as the one and only Dr. Frank-N-Furter and she was awesome!! She really played up her performance and rightfully so. Lizzie is so full of energy that you cannot contain it. So she really went for it and made it so much fun to watch!And to make it even more fun, Lizzie's mom and sister were in the audience. Whenever Lizzie made a funny face or did something sexually provocative, her mom just smiled and said, "That's my girl!"

Another worthy performance that night was by Christy Robinson Mila, who portrayed handyman Riff Raff (a role done my Nate) and she was spot on! He behavior, he mannerism, she was Riff Raff and she was excellent!

After the show was all over, I was talking with Bridgid and I mentioned that this should be an annual event. So, it looks like it'll be back again nest year! But in case you can't wait till then, there is one more "Tacky Horror" show and it'll take place Saturday, November 9th at the Albany Twin Landmark Theater. So make plans for that show! In the meantime, The Barely Legal gang will return to the Camera 3 on Saturday, December 7th!! So come out next time and join in on all this ROCKY HORROR fun! You'll be glad you did! To learn more about future shows, and how you can become a cast member, visit their website at barelylegal.rhps.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Phil attends the CREEPY KOFY HALLOWEEN HANGOVER SHOW at the Michaan's Theater-November 2, 2013

The San Francisco Bay Area has been the home to some truly unique and original local television shows that simply cannot be replicated or reproduced. Back in my youth, I grew up with the beloved KTVU Channel 2 show Creature Features, hosted by the late, great Bob Wilkins and the legendary John Stanley. These two individuals helped turn a whole generation of kids like myself into hardcore horror fans. When the show ended in 1984, there was a void that, for a very long period of time, was left unfilled. That all changed a couple of years ago when the KOFY TV20 station out in San Francisco unleashed upon an unsuspecting television audience Creepy KOFY Movie Time. Hosted by LIVE 105 deejay No Name and the demon called Balrok, the show features house band The Deadlies, the sexy Cave Girls, science wiz Dr. Scott Weitze, Webberly the Fact Rat, Slob, comedians, burlesque dancers, magicians, local bands, and other cool stuff while showing some of the best and worst horror films and trash pics of all times. Over the past couple of years they have made Saturday nights at 11pm a mandatory viewing. And this past Saturday night, they brought their show to the Michaan's Theater in Alameda for the first ever CREEPY KOFY HALLOWEEN HANGOVER SHOW! For this historic live event, they screened the 1964 stink bomb  crime thriller THE STRANGLER!

This was my first ever time visiting the Michaan's Theater and I have to say this was one beautiful looking theater. It's used to be the former Alameda Naval Air Station movie house out on Fort Mason. That night, the place was packed with CKMT fans, who where all dressed up in Halloween costumes (we CKMT fans celebrate Halloween all year round) and the energy level was high! Many friends of the show were there like the very cool folks from November Fire, who had lots of cool DVDs, posters, stickers, patches to sell. NF is owned and operated by the awesome couple Heather and Strephon Taylor. Also at the event were Jim Cravens Jr. and his fiance Catherine Benefield de Dood, the owners of the incredible Heroes and Villains Comics out in Pleasanton. And last, but certainly not least, the legendary John Stanley was in the house!

The show had everything that fans wanted and more. The Deadlies rocked the house with their sets! Jim Sweeny was there with three lovely burlesque dancers from the Hubba Hubba Revue! There was standup comedy by the very funny Anna Seregina! Also Dr. Scott was there with another informative Science Time! The Cave Girls looked fabulous and sexy as always!! And our hosts Balrok and No Name kicked ass always! And then, there was the movie!
Theatrical Movie Poster (

THE STRANGLER is about a fat, lonely, fat, sweaty looking lab technician named Leo Kroll (Victor Buono) who has serious mommy issues and loves to collect dolls. He strangles several female nurses as a way to cope with his overbearing mother, who is sick in the hospital. While the police is trying to identify this mysterious serial killer is, Leo falls in love with a young girl named Tally Raymond (Davey Davison), who works at one of the amusement park booths where he wins his dolls. Things go from bad to worse for poor, sweaty Leo, and soon the police are hot on his trail, but not before he pays his sweet Tally a visit!

The film was inspired by the killings of the Boston Strangler, who made headlines during the early 1960s. However, after watching the movie, it's clear that director Burt Topper and screenwriter Bill S. Ballinger took inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece PSYCHO. It's all right there: and overbearing mother, a son with serious mommy issues, doesn't have great repoire with the ladies, a real loner, and likes his mother's clothing. Oh and he likes to kill too!

Actor Victor Buono appeared in a number of films such as WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE, and THE MAD BUTCHER. But he's really well known for his role of King Tut on the 1960's Batman television show. Davey Davison has appeared in a slew of daytime and regular television shows like Bonanza, Days of Our Lives, The F.B.I., The Virginian, Cannon, and The Streets of San Francisco to name a few.

What a night that was!! It was so much fun!! I got see all my friends again, saw some sexy ladies, heard some great music, took lots a pics, drank a few beers, and saw a bad movie! It was the perfect Saturday night! And speaking of Saturday nights, make sure you check out Creepy KOFY Movie Time at 11pm on KOFY TV20 on Channel 13 here in the Bay Area! It's a party for your TV!!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Phil wants you to check out the new horror short film M IS FOR MISCARRIAGE for the ABC'S OF DEATH 2 contest-November 1, 2013

Hello again my fellow horror hounds! As you may or may not know, there was contest that was held just last month in search of the 26th director for the film ABCs OF DEATH 2, the next installment of the series. According to the official website:

"THE ABCs OF DEATH became one of the most talked about genre films of 2012/13. Hugely ambitious and immensely challenging, it was unlike anything fans had ever seen. Many loved it and a hell of a lot detested it - but the film was such a creative and financial success that Timpson Films, Drafthouse Films and Magnolia Pictures set forth on the creation of a sequel. The producers signed up 25 of the most exciting and innovative genre directors from around the globe... but there are 26 letters in the English alphabet - and once again, we find ourselves searching far and wide to find… THE 26TH DIRECTOR! One lucky winner will become the ABCs OF DEATH 2"s 26th director, receiving five thousand dollars cash and having their work included in the finished feature film alongside some of the world"s best talent. But even if you don't win, you could be discovered through this competition! Every submitted short will be featured on the ABCs OF DEATH 2 website to intrigue, sicken, terrify and crack up audiences across the globe. Also, a selection of the audience favorites will be included on the DVD/Bluray."

The contest has inspired many genre fans to create some truly amazing short films, which according to the rules must begin with the letter "M." Two of these talented people are Reyna Young (late TV horror hostess Miss Misery of Miss Misery's Movie Massacre) and Maureen "Mo" Whelan (director of the short film A SIN THAT CANNOT BE FORGIVEN).  Together, these ladies have made the surreal and horrifying film M IS FOR MISCARRIAGE. Pulling no punches, the film deals with one of the most devastating incidents that can ever happen to a woman who is pregnant.

The film deals with a very serious issue which will no doubt hit the viewer in the gut with the force of a sledgehammer. The film was written by Young, and both she a Whelan share directing duties. Young also acts in the short along with Marv Blauvelt. It's the first joint venture between Young's Last Doorway Productions and Whelan's Modragonfly Productions.

To watch the film, click on the link here and to vote for it, click on the "Like" button. Voting ends on November 14th so act now before time is up!


Horror fans are extremely excited about the latest installment of this new, promising horror anthology. Now you can make one inspiring horror filmmaker's dream a reality. So go vote now and help make horror film history!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Phil attends the RiffTrax Live! Broadcast of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD at the Century 20 Oakridge Mall-October 25, 2013

Hello again everybody! So this past Thursday night, I headed on over to the Cinemark Century 20 Theaters in Oakridge mall in south San Jose to attended the RiffTrax Live! broadcast of the 1968 George A. Romero horror classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. To actually riff such a landmark film in the horror genre takes a lot of guts (pun intended), but remember these guys are professionals! If anybody could riff on the grandfather of zombie films, it would be the RiffTrax guys!

So if you don't know what a Rifftrax is, let me give you all a quick definition. According to their official website, Rifftrax "are comedic MP3 tracks that you play in-sync with your favorite movies. Written and performed by the stars of the award-winning TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, RiffTrax brings the unique humor of "Satellite of Love" partners Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett to Hollywood's hit movies."

They guys broadcast the event from the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee to hundreds of movie theaters across the country courtesy of the folks at Fathom Events. After some funny intros, they guys got down with doing what they do best!

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is one of the most revered and one of the most important horror films of the 20th Century. The movie is found in the Top Five most influential horror films and is considered the alpha and omega of the zombie genre. Directed by horror icon George Romero, the film spawned five sequels, numerous remakes, re-imagines, and parodies and homages.

Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, & Michael J. Nelson
Kevin, Bill, and Michael had no problem pointing out the faults of the film and riffing the hell outta them. It's funny, because of the film's legacy and how it's so beloved by horror fans, we fail to see some of the faults to be found within its frames. Luckily, the guys had the audience in stitches! Yes, the RiffTrax crew pulled no punches on the film, and had the us eating out of the palm of their hands! Making fun on a classic is by no means an easy task, but the guys managed to pull off the impossible, and made Halloween a little less scary in the process.

This was such an awesome RiffTrax Live! event! Now just in case you missed it, you're in luck! The gang will be back just in time for Christmas as the riff that awful holiday classic film SANTA CLAUS VS. THE MARTIANS! Tickets are now available for that event, which will take place on Thursday, December 5th at 7:30pm, so make that date on your calender!


To purchase RiffTrax downloads of audio commentaries, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, visit their website at www.rifftrax.com. To learn more about Mystery Science Theater 3000, visit their website at www.mst3k.com. To learn about upcoming Fathom Events coming to your town, visit their website at www.fathomevents.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees CARRIE at the Camera 12 Downtown San Jose-October 20, 2013

OK, now my reviews follow a specific formula. First I usually make a grand entrance in the first paragraph, then I give the film's official synopsis, talk about what I thought of the film, give some interesting trivia about it, and then my conclusion. That's my thing. I always to that. However, after seeing the remake of CARRIE, starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, and directed by award winner Kimberly Peirce, I decided to forgo my usual M.O. and just cut to the chase.

I didn't like the film. At all.

There. I said it. Why didn't I like it? Did you see Gus Van Sant's remake of PSYCHO? Remember how much you hated it because it didn't bring anything new to the table and it was a complete waste of your time and was totally an unnecessary remake? 

That's what I thought while I was watching this movie.

I liked the trailer best. It told the whole film under two and a half minutes. But all it was was just a rehash of the original and vastly superior film.  So stick with Brian de Palma's classic and don't even bother with seeing this one.

CARRIE is a pointless remake of a horror classic. And further its blah, blah, blah, blah, yatta, yatta, yatta, yatta, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle. phhht, phhht, phht film. So do yourself a favor and skip seeing this film. And yes, I'm not going to even rate it. It hurt me that really, really bad.


CARRIE is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees MACHETE KILLS at the Camera 12 Downtown San Jose-October 20, 2013

In 2010, director Robert Rodriguez released the full length film MACHETE, which was based on the fake trailer that he made for his and Quentin Tarantino's loving tribute to exploitation films; 2007's GRINDHOUSE. Featuring an all-star cast including Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro, Michelle Rodriguez, and Steven Seagal to name a few, MACHETE received positive reviews and grindhouse fans loved the over-the-top violence, sexual innuendos, and seeing a Mexican as the hero for once. Three years later, I'm over at the Camera 12 in Downtown San Jose to see the latest installment of the series MACHETE KILLS.

The film's official synopsis: “Machete Kills” is an action-packed thrill ride about the adventures of legendary secret agent Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo). In his latest mission, Machete is recruited by the U.S. President (Carlos Estevez) to stop a crazed global terrorist (Mel Gibson) from starting a nuclear war. With a bounty on his head, Machete faces death at every turn from an all-star cast of deadly assassins. Breaking all the rules, visionary director Robert Rodriguez leads this star-studded ensemble on one of the wildest adventures to save the world ever captured on film!

After watching the film, I can honestly say (and agree) that it really is one of the wildest adventures to save the world ever captured on film!

The film opens actually with a fake trailer (or possible sequel?) for MACHETE KILLS...IN SPACE! Now it plays like an old 1970's Roger Corman type trailer (think STAR CRASH or BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS), filled with cheesy special effects, coarse language, sci-fi violence, and sexy space babes. So please Robert, make this into a real movie!! I will pay you big bucks for this!! Actually, I don't have a lot of money, so I promise to buy a ticket to see this when it comes out!!

Now the main film itself is filled with so many classic grindhouse cliches that I had a blast watching it. Now what's really interesting is just how complex and involved the plot is. There's at least three different subplots interweaving with the main plot point. Writer Kyle Ward wrote the screenplay for the film, which was based on the story by Robert and his brother Marcel Rodriguez. Major points go to these three individuals who took Machete and his universe to the next level.

Actor Danny Trejo looks bad ass in the film (but he always does anyway), and also returning to help aid him on his mission is the foxy Michelle Rodriguez, back once as Luz. Now two very interesting casting choices were made for the film:

1) Charlie Sheen as Mr. President. Yes the guy who excels at "winning" is cast as the President of the United States. In the film he's billed as Carlos Estevez, which in case you didn't know, is his real name! Watching him as the president was just so damn cool!

2) Mel Gibson as the vilianous Voz. The film marks the first time that Mel has played a villain since 1998's PAYBACK. After all the crazy shenanigans that Mr. Gibson has done in his personal life, it's great to see him in a role that was custom made for him, and he nails his character perfectly!

Also stick around during the end credits. There are not one, but two bonus scenes at the end and are a fun treat to watch!

For some reason, the film hasn't been doing very well at the box office and I really don't understand why? Maybe Robert waited to long to make this sequel? Maybe people forgot about the original? Or maybe the exploitation craze is over? Who knows, but it really is a shame that not a lot of people are seeing this movie.

Overall, MACHETE KILLS a glorious over-the-top exploitation classic that will thrill fans of the original! Let's face it, a lot of Hollywood films take themselves way too seriously. Here's a film that is the antithesis to all those so-called Academy Award contenders. This film right here is the real deal! Accept no substitutes!! 4 out of 5 stars!! Recommended!!


MACHETE KILLS is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the one-night-only screening of THE NEW BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR with stars Broklyn Lee, Dana DeArmond, and Steven St. Croix live in-person at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre-October 19, 2013

On December 17, 1972, the adult film BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR was released to theaters nationwide and was herald as an instant classic. It was the first feature film by the Mitchell Brothers (Jim and his younger brother Artie) to be screened in theaters other than their own, the infamous O'Farrell Theatre in San Francisco. The film transformed its star Marylin Chambers into an icon and household name. Now, 41 years after its release, director Paul Thomas and Vivid Entertainment has just released their latest remake/sequel film entitled THE NEW BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, starring Brooklyn Lee, Dana DeArmond, and Steven St. Croix. To promote this new film, the O'Farrell Theatre held an open screening to the public and had all three stars there in-person to sign autographs. Yours truly was there to witness this historic event!

Upon purchasing my ticket for tonight's event, I met the theatre's marketing honcho John Michels. We immediately went into the next room where I saw some amazing artifacts from the past. There were framed original posters of BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR and RESURRECTION OF EVE. There were pictures of the late Marilyn Chambers (she passed away on April 12, 2009), along with a picture of her on the Ivory Soap box. There was also a pictorial shrine to Artie Mitchell (who was shot by Jim on February 27, 1991). There John and I were discussing the films of the Mitchell Brothers and he was quite impressed with my film knowledge. Then, out of the blue, he gave me a quick behind the scenes tour of the theatre. We passed through the majestic wooden door and climbed up a flight of stairs and I witness all the of history the theatre stored. There were drawings on the wall by the legendary underground artist Robert Crumb, pictures of the visionary Hunter S. Thompson, dozens of pictures of Marilyn Chamber performing onstage back from the 1970s. I also got to see some of the lovely ladies that were performing tonight. It was really extraordinary to witness all this history that the average attendee doesn't get to see!

After the tour, I went back downstairs, enjoyed some awesome dancing onstage, and had an incredible lap dance by the breathtaking Gemma Hart! (My favorite dancer there!) Around 10pm, I made my way to the Cine Stage Theater to see the film.

The event was hosted by the man himself Johnnie Keyes, who co-starred with Chambers in the original 1972 classic. He entertained the audience with some fantastic stories from back in the day when it was illegal to make pornographic films, how he was sent to jail by the police, his friendship with Jim and Artie who also put a million dollars to keep him out of prison. He brought out the film's stars Lee, DeArmond and Croix, and each one gave a "quick thank you" speech. Keyes then introduced the O’Farrell’s strippers, who performed an all-new production made especially for the film. After the performance, Keyes came back out, thanked the ladies, and then introduced the film.

The film's official synopsis: Hope (Brooklyn Lee) is desperate to find her birth parents. Almost broke, homeless and alone, the seedy underbelly of the city offers up a solution that Hope never thought she'd take. Shot on the streets of San Francisco, the home of the original "Behind the Green Door," master director Paul Thomas' sequel explores the dark side of human nature through the iconic character that Marilyn Chambers etched indelibly into our collective erotic imaginations 40 years ago. With a special guest appearance by original cast member Johnnie Keyes, and bonus footage with Marilyn Chambers' daughter McKenna Taylor.

The film is a reminder of when adult films were more like films. The production value is top notch, the cinematography is excellent, the script is great, and the acting is amazing, and the sex is volcanic! This is how adult films should be made.

This is the fourth of the "classic" films that Paul Thomas has remade. He started off in 2005 with his THE NEW DEVIL IN MISS JONES, then followed that up with 2007's DEBBIE DOES DALLAS AGAIN. In 2009 he made THROAT: A CAUTIONARY TALE which was a remake of the 1972 landmark film DEEP THROAT.

Paul Thomas (or P.T. as he's called in the industry) has once again done an incredible job of paying homage to the original while simultaneously making it fresh and new. His directing is very smooth and fluent, spotlighting the raw human emotions of love, belonging, and sex. My favorite scenes are when we see Hope out and about in San Francisco. Here, Thomas demonstrates his ability to capture the beauty of the city and of his stars, who look and sound authentic and real. This is his strongest effort yet, and in my humble opinion, his best work since the remake of JONES. Plus it also helps to have an amazing script to work off of, and thanks to screenwriter Phil Noir, Thomas is able to accomplish another masterpiece of eroticism.

This is easily Brooklyn Lee's best performance. She has a very natural approach to acting, and she really nails it here in the film. Here character Hope is a flawed person; lost, spoiled, confused, and lonely. She's on a mission to discover who she is by finding who her mother is. This is classic text book psychology, and we witness it before our very eyes. In between Hope getting on with some studs, we see her shine on the beach in San Francisco with an old flame, degrade herself for money, and then the revelation of who her mother was, and who she now has become. Lee's acting is superb and really deserves to be acknowledge!

Also, her sex scenes are indescribably intense! Her threeway sex scene is so hot and smoldering, it fogged up my glasses. Her scene rivals Marilyn's from the original (in fact we see the original film playing during this paticular scene)!! Hope learns who she is through the discovery of her sexuality as well. We the fans get to have the best of both worlds: an performer who can act and have hot sex. Hopefully in January, when the AVN Awards Show comes, she will win Best Actress for this role!

The film also marks Lee's last appearance in an adult film. In May 1, 2013, at the height of her popularity, she announced her retirement from the adult industry, citing to "focus on her education and because she was in a relationship and no longer wished to have sex with anyone besides her boyfriend" according to the AVN news website. If this is the case, Brooklyn Lee should be very pleased that she is going out on a very high note! A truly riveting performance!!

Also turning in some great performances is Steven St. Croix, who's acting is once again awesome! He's acting abilities are legendary and so is his "tool." Croix is a legend in the adult film world, a world he's been in since 1992! Also the lovely Dana DeArmond charms her way into Croix's pants and their sex scene is hot and nasty! (And yes, my glasses fogged up during that scene as well) To make a long story short, DeArmond is fucking amazing in the film! James Deen is the guy you love to hate. He's a deadbeat, he's a cheater, and he has sex with not only Lee, but with Ash Hollywood and Penny Pax, and then becomes Kylie Ireland's (in a non-sex role) new boy toy. So yeah, I hate the lucky bastard!

Now, I do have one, small, little complaint about the film. It's called THE NEW BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, however, there is no green door! Really! I have watched my DVD about 10 times now, and I keep looking and looking for that mysterious green door! But there isn't one!! Did somebody forget to make a green door? I mean, there was one in the original, so why not here? I need answers!! OK, I'm done with my venting. Let's continue with my review.

The Lady in Red: Brooklyn Lee.
After the screening, John Michaels gave me a DVD copy of the film and I made my way over to meet the stars. I gave Johnnie Keyes a big handshake and I thanked him for all the sacrifices he made for us to be able to watch these films. I meet Croix and told him how great he was in the movie. Dana was so much fun to talk to and she was full of energy and just a really cool person to chat with. With Brooklyn, I mentioned to her just how much I enjoyed the film, how amazing she was in it, and I wished her the best with her boyfriend and her education. She was such a sweetheart: kind, funny, and beautiful. She and Dana were playing off of one another and this was a fun for me to witness this. I had them all autograph my DVD, said my thank yous and goodbyes one last time, and then made my way back home. It was one of the best nights of my life.

THE NEW BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR is one of the best adult films of 2013! If you like your porn films with great acting, solid directing, good story, and hot sex, then this is for all you couples out there. This is not your average porno flick. This is a film that offers so much more that you can't help but be impress by it. 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE NEW BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR is available online at the Vivid Entertainment website as well as at Adult DVD Empire. To learn more about the Mitchell Brothers O"Farrell Theatre, their business hours, and upcoming special events, visit their website at www.ofarrell.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!