Saturday, March 9, 2013

Phil attends CINEQUEST 23: Day Eleven-March 8, 2013

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 film I saw today was the Czech film IN THE SHADOWS (VIE STINU) over at the San Jose Rep Theatre. Set in the former Czechoslovakia during the 1950's, police captain Hakl investigates a jewelery robbery that leads to well known burglar. But then for some mysterious reason, he's called off the case. Nevertheless, he continues with the investigation on his own, leading him to a startling conclusion that could jeopardize his life as well as his family's.

Now I can see why this film has been winning so many awards! The film is brilliant; featuring amazing production value, superb acting, fanatic costumes, perfect musical score and great directing! My only real complaint (and it's not so much a complaint as to rather a wish) that given the time period and genre, I would have loved to see the film made in black and white. The film is a crime thriller/film noir in color. To see it in black and white would have been awesome! But that doesn't make the film any less incredible! Today was the last day to see the film, but make sure to check out the film's official website at and on Facebook as well.

Film number two was the Romania film EVERYBODY IN OUR FAMILY. Divorced dentist Marius is one his way to his ex-wife's apartment to pick up their five-year-old daughter Sofia for the weekend.When he's told that he can't take her because she's sick, Marius makes a series of wrong decisions that make the situation even more worse than it already was.

While I was watching the film, I found myself saying, "Holy crap!" A lot! I so did not expect the film to do a complete 180 degrees on me. Well I had the feeling that the film was going to get crazy, but not like that! And not that crazy! This is a very dark humored film! Make no mistake about that folks! Defiantly a dark horse contender for the audience picks for Encore Day on Sunday! Hopefully the film will get some kind of distribution here in the states! Again, today was the last screening of the film and I couldn't find an official website for the it either. If I learn anything more about the film, I'll let you folks out there know.

For my third film for today I headed back over to the Camera 12 to see LOVELESS ZORITSA (CRNA ZORICA). Zoritsa (the smoking hot Ljuma Penov) was born without a mustache, unlike the other women in her village. Because of this, the other women declared that she was cursed. However, in actuality, she is cursed! Whenever a man falls in love with Zoritsa, that man dies a horrible death. This causes a small village to become an angry mob, thirst for revenge. Big city cop Mane (Branislav Trifunovic) doesn't believe in any of these superstitions and soon falls in love with Zoritsa, but will he become her next victim or is he the one who can finally break her curse?

So this was such a funny movie to watch! The absurd humor had me laughing all throughout the film! Seeing old ladies with moustaches that I can't grow, shoes falling out of the sky, old lady villagers with shotguns, cops hiding in trees, everything about this film I loved immensely! After the screening, co-director Christina Hadjicharalambous and screenwriter Goran Mojsin participated in a fun-filled Q&A session. Today was the last screening but visit the film's official website at and Facebook page.

I made my way to the California Theatre movie palace for the fourth film of the day for me. Actually there were two films: one short and one feature length featuring two of the greatest silent film comedians of all time. The short COPS stars Buster Keaton who, through a series of mishaps, is chased by a big city's entire police force. It's a hoot! And one of Keaton's funniest shorts!

The film SAFETY LAST stars Harold Lloyd in his most famous and popular film ever. Our four-eyed friend heads to the big city to make it big, but unfortunately comes up short. He lives with his friend (Strother) and can barely eat and pay the rent. When his fiance (Davis) arrives, he pretends to be the manager of the department store he works at. Desperate for money for his wedding, he convinces his boss to pull off a publicity stunt to attract more customers to the store so he can claim the $1000 bonus. With his pal being chased by a police officer (Young), it's up to Lloyd to climb the outside of the department store! The film was directed by Newmeyer and Taylor again, and was released by Pathe on April 1, 1923. Tonight on the mighty Wurlitzer was my good friend, the incredible Dennis James!

The image of Lloyd hanging on to the clock while hovering above traffic is one of the most iconic images in not only silent film history, but of film history in general. Whenever you open up a book that talks about the silent film era, you will see this picture. Lloyd was one of the "Big Three" comedians from the silent era (the other two being Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton). Even 89 years after the film's release, it is still being played to sold out crowds (like tonight) and it can be found on many top ten lists by both critics and fans. A true comedy classic that still stands the test of time!

For film number five, I made my way back to the Camera 12 where I saw the Norwegian film THE ORHEIM COMPANY (KOMPANI ORHEIM). Jarle is 24 years-old. When a phone call from his mother in the middle of the night, telling him that his father is dead, h is filled with anger and a sense of relief. You see, Jarle's father was an alcoholic who made life in their house painful and unbearable. And with his death, he can't help his memories from come flooding back.

Knowing many friends who have struggled with alcoholism in their families, this film really hit close to home. It showcased the horror of alcoholism first hand and how it can destroy families as well as the individual themselves. A powerful film to watch! Based on Tore Renberg’s bestselling novel, the film is the last chapter in the trilogy about Jarle Klepp, which started with The Man Who Loved Yngve and I Travel Alone. The film will have one last screening on Saturday, March 9th at 6:45pm.

The sixth and final film I saw was the special midnight screening of MON AMI. Meet Teddy Ivans (Mike Kovac) and Callum McDermott (Scott Wallis). They've been best friends since childhood. They do everything together. So when they come up with a "get rich quick" scheme, they kidnap their boss's daughter Crystal (Chelsey Reist) and hold her for ransom. However, things don't go exactly as planned, and soon all Hell breaks loose and our friends find themselves in one big gigantic mess.

I have seen my fair share of dark comedies, but I don't recall seeing anything like this before! And I watch Troma movies for crying out loud! It was funny, it was crazy, it was bloody, it was sick, it was out of control, it had everything in the film, including the freaking kitchen sink! And I loved every damn minute of it! Both Kovac and McDermott were hysterical in the film! This film proves that you don't need a lot of money to make a really good movie. It's smart script, top notch acting and great directing makes this film a big time winner in my book! After the screening, writer/director Rob Grant, actress Teagan Vincze (she played Teddy's crazy wife in the film) and producer participated in a hilarious Q&A session. Tonight was the final screening, but check out the film's official website at and follow the film on Facebook and Twitter!

Another fun-filled day at Cinequest, which now brings my total screening to 50! Remember the festival ends this Sunday, March 10th 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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