Friday, August 30, 2013

Phil sees YOU'RE NEXT at the Cinelux Morgan Hill-August 28, 2013

This past Wednesday night I finally got around to seeing the new horror film YOU'RE NEXT, which has received quite a lot of hype prior to its release. Now the movie was actually filmed in 2011 and it toured on the festival circuit and received numerous praises (which is where I first heard about the film), but it didn't a wide release till this month. So after waiting patiently for the last two years, I went and saw it. What did I think of it? Glad you asked.

So here's the plot in a nutshell: The Davison family heads out to a beautiful remote home near the woods for a wedding anniversary/family reunion. But when they come under attack by a vicious gang of masked killers, it's up to an unlikely family guest to take them all down.

The film is basically a slasher film disguised as a crime thriller. But let me just state that, in my humble opinion, the movie doesn't try to be scary at all. Rather, it's very reminiscent of the old 80's slasher films I used to love to watch. First off, the film has some really great kills, some of which I have never seen before. Want an example? OK how about seeing someone get their head bashed with a blender, then turning it upside down, sticking it on top of said head, then plugging it in and turning it on, thus making a very bloody brain shake! Yup, that was a new one for me!

Second nod to the 80's horror films was the ultra cool retro soundtrack! In the beginning, the soundtrack is classical, with strings and whatnot. Then by the second half of the film, it sounds like someone brought in an authentic 1986 Casio keyboard! Soon I found myself rocking out to it!Seriously, I didn't see that one coming either!

Third, the film didn't take itself too seriously. Unlike the other home invasion horrors like THE STRANGERS and this year's THE PURGE, the movie became somewhat funny, a little campy, but in the end, it was fun too watch! There were numerous parts in the film where I found myself laughing because I was amused with its absurdity. But credit goes to its female lead and heroine Sharni Vinson who plays it straight and serious while being surrounded by all this fun and crazy death. Also, she's hot, sexy, and I love her Australian accent!

Overall, YOU'RE NEXT is not a serious, scary, horror film that the trailers and commercials make it out to be. Rather, it's a fun, cool, gory, and entertaining flick that it's OK to see! So this is definitely a movie to see in the theater, and I predict that this will be really popular when it comes out on the media outlets. Three out of fun stars! Worth a look!

YOU'RE NEXT is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the 16th Anniversary screening of SHOWGIRLS hosted by Peaches Christ with special guest Rene Riffel at the Castro Theatre-August 24, 2013

This past Saturday night at the historic Castro Theatre I attended my very first Sweet 16 celebration! And no, it wasn't one of those annoying, silly, pink frilly parties with sixteen year old girls talking about Justin Beiber all night. Oh no! This was the 16th Anniversary screening of the cult classic SHOWGIRLS hosted by the one and only Peaches Christ!! And returning to San Francisco was none other than Rene Riffel!! Joining me on the momentous event was my very good friend and make up extraordinaire Michelle Snyder. Upon arriving at the theatre, we saw an enormous line that wrapped all the way around the block! The show had completely sold out, so I knew we were for a one helluva party!

Since this was my birthday weekend, Michelle bought me my ticket for tonight's festivities. We had VIP passes, which meant we were let in early, and we also had two free drink tickets. Now usually I don't get this drunk, but bless these bartenders! When Michelle and  I asked for four vodka cranberries, this is how they made them: 85% vodka and 15% cranberry juice! By the time I finished my first drink, I was already buzzing. By drink number two, I was drunk. By the third drink, I was pretty much wasted! Oh what fun I had! Plus I was also getting drunk off the electricity from the crowd! The front lobby was packed and there wasn't one empty seat in the theatre! The crowd was getting rowdy, people were screaming, I was getting wasted, and by 8 o'clock rolled around, the show finally began!

Like last year's event, the show opened with Peaches (once again as the evil Crystal Christ) coming out of that iconic volcano and she dancers with her ladies, then Rena is carried though the theatre and she leaps onto the stage, with the audience screaming their lungs out. But that's where the similarities end. Right away, Peaches accuses Rena of trying to steal the show from her like last year. Then the show shifts gears as we see Peaches having dinner in the posh restaurant like in the film with Lady Bear. Then both begin to eat a can of dog food!! Now, I don't know whether or not they were eating real dog food, but they sure acted like they were! It was pretty damn gross, and I loved it! Once again the preshow was excellent!

Afterwards Peaches held the annual contest for best costume. At the conclusion of the that, 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 Showgirl 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. By this time I was just completely hammered and I was having fun! Michelle was laughing so hard. Remember, this was her first time at SHOWGIRLS, so I don't think she knew exactly what she was going to see! But she was having a ball!! After it was all over, it was time for the movie to begin!

The film 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.

Right when the film began, Michelle and  I made my way back up to the mezzanine and waited in line to meet both Rena and Peaches. I bought some pics and posters for both of them to sign. Michelle had Rena sign her SHOWGIRLS 2 DVD! After the movie, Michelle and I had brinner (breakfast for dinner) over at Orphan Andy's. Overall, we had an awesome time that night!

Another fantastic Peaches Christ show has come and gone! But don't you fret my friends! There's plenty more fun ahead! Her next show is GREY GARDENS and it will be on Saturday, October 12th at the Castro Theatre! So make sure you come check that show out! And 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!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Phil's Top Three Film Picks from CAAMFest San Jose-August 19, 2013

After the final screening of the CAAMFest San Jose at the Camera 3 Cinemas, I ran into Masashi Niwano, the festival and exhibitions director in the theater lobby. He asked me what were my favorite films during the weekend, to which I responded. Now since I have severe OCD, I had my favorites listed by category: narrative, documentary, and what I call undiscovered gem, which is a film that catches me by surprise. Masashi liked my choices and appreciated my feedback. While driving home I thought to myself, "Hey! I should post that for my blog! What a great idea!" So ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present to you all my Top Three Film Picks from the inaugural CAAMFest San Jose!!

From the opening scene from Arvin Chen's film, I knew I was seeing something really special. Equal parts romantic comedy, drama, and queer cinema, Chen's film also has that distinctive feel of a Wes Anderson movie; which only elevates the film to new heights. Funny, sweet, heart warming, as well as touching, introspective, and surreal, this was an easy pick for me! One of the finest films I've seen in a long time! To learn more about the film, check it's official website and "Like" the film on Facebook!

Truly one of the most inspiring documentaries ever captured onto film! This simple story about a group of over 80 senior citizens traveling on a 13 day motorcycle tour around the island of Taiwan is a testament to the human spirit, showing us that life doesn't have to slow down when you get older. And as I said in my original review, this film should inspire you to live every single day of your life to the fullest! I found myself getting choked up during the screening because I was so touched my these people! My favorite documentary at the festival! The film will be the very first Taiwanese documentary to be released theatrically here in the states, so I encourage you all to see this once it's released! In the meantime, please visit the film's official website at

OK, I did not see this film coming. While reading the film's synopsis in the schedule, you really don't get the full brilliance of it. Here's a girl buddy road trip film, mixed with an apocalyptic disaster film, and you get one of the most intriguing and fascinating films ever! It really did caught me off guard because it was so different and original! Plus the stars of the movie wrote and directed the film and it was shot on glorious super 16mm film stock! All these factors make this an undiscovered gem of a film! Highly recommended!! Check out the movie's official website at

And folks there you have it! My Top Three Film Picks from CAAMFest San Jose! So be on the lookout for any of these films in your local theater, on cable, or VOD, or any other media outlet! Also, if you would like to learn more about CAAM, their mission, and how to make a donation, please visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Phil attends CAAMFest San Jose at the Camera 3: Day Three-August 18, 2013

Hello again everybody and welcome to the third and final day of the CAAMFest San Jose Film Festival at the Camera 3 Cinemas! Hard to believe it's all over! But before I say goodbye, let me talk about the last four film I saw on Sunday!

The first film I saw was the French-Belgian export APPROVED FOR ADOPTION, a true story/narrative/documentary/animation movie. It's about a 45 year old comic book artist named Jung who travels back to Seoul, Koera for the first time since he was abandoned there by his mother at five years old and was found by a policeman. He was just one of thousands of abandoned Koreans that was adopted after the war. He eventually was adopted by a loving French family. Told in animated sequences conveying his childhood, he see Jung's early years unfold as he struggles with who he is and his search for an identity.

The movie is based on a graphic novel by Jung and was directed by Laurent Boileau and Jung. This was a very personal film to watch. We have all at one point in our lives struggled with an identity crisis that leaves us questioning everything that we do. Jung was brave enough to first put it in comic form, and then translate it for the big screen. A very brave move on his part. The film was thoughtful, poetic, and amazingly animated that pulls on your heartstrings. A wonderful work of art that Jung should be very proud of! To learn more about the film, visit its official website at as follow the film on Facebook too.

Film number two was the documentary HARANA, the long lost art form of when a Filipino man would serenade to the woman he was in love with under her window. Returning home to the Philippines for the first time in over 12 years, classically trained guitarist Florante Aguilar sets out to find the last three remaining masters of the Harana: Celestino Aniel, Felipe Alonzo, and Romeo Bergunio. Together, these four men set out to revive this forgotten music by recording an album and going on tour; to once again bring the Harana music to the people.

I have never heard of Harana music before, and now after seeing the documentary, I can't wait to tell all my friends about it, and the film as well! Director Benito Bautista and Florante did a tremendous job of not only finding the original Harana keepers, but do get them in the film and in the studio to record this incredible music! This film should be required view for music lovers worldwide! It's as if Florante and his friends serenade us though the duration of the film! It's truly a captivating film to watch!

For those of you living here, the film will have several more Bay Area screenings so make sure you check this film out. To learn more about the film and the other screenings, please visit and check out its Facebook page. 

The third film of the day was the crazy and eccentric New York based film LET'S BE OUT, THE SUN IS SHINING. A shy, twenty-something, Indian-American woman named Diya (Lipica Shah) meets and falls for good looking but jerk Brooklyn bartender Paddy (Scott Lyman). Believing everyone is disposable, he ditches her to Diya to and runs away to Miami with smoking hot blonde cougar Sophia (Madeleine James). Feeling rejected, she befriends a small group of struggling actors and musicians in Bushwick, Brooklyn, much to the disapproval of her protective older brother. During this time she explores who she is, her feelings and thoughts on life and love, and what's important to her.

Director Bornila Chatterjee captures the raw energy and youthful rebellion of New York as we watch Diya come out of her shell and becomes a totally different person at the end of the film. The combination of a good script with hand held cinematography really sets the film apart and gives it its own distinctive personality. The entire cast was great but Lipica Shah was amazing in the film, bringing a sense of innocence and strength to her role as Diya. Really a terrific performance! At the 2012 New York Indian Film Festival, the film won the Audience Choice Feature Film Award and Lipica Shah also received a Best Actress nomination!

After the screening, Bornila Chatterjee came up on stage and gave a fun Q&A session with the audience. You can follow the film on its Facebook page and Bornila on Twitter.

The fourth and final film of the festival was the documentary CROCODILE IN THE YANGTZE, which tells the story of the man known as "Crazy" Jack Ma, a former school English school teacher who went on to become China's first Internet entrepreneur. The documentary explores the early years of his company, the Alibaba Group, and his fierce battle with the powerful US company eBay for dominance in China.

The film was written, produced, and directed by Porter Erisman, who was one of Ma's first employees and had front row seats of this rags t riches tale. From its humble beginnings in Ma's small apartment to a massive company employing 16,000 staff, Porter documents Ma's story from culling nearly " 200 hours of archival footage filmed by over 35 sources between 1995 and 2009." What's really remarkable was that Ma gave Porter his blessing to make the film, showcasing some personal moments and stories that most CEOs wouldn't allow. But by doing this, Porter's film shows the real Jack Ma, a regular human being who had a dream and dared to chase it.

Porter was in attendance at the screening and conducted a Q&A with the audience. To learn more about the film, visit the official website at and also follow the film on Facebook.

And that ladies and gentlemen is a wrap of the very first CAAMFest San Jose! I had a blast this weekend and I cannot wait for next year's festival! So if you would like to learn more about CAAM, their mission, and how to make a donation, please visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Phil attends CAAMFest San Jose at the Camera 3: Day Two-August 17, 2013

Welcome back to Day Two of my trip to the CAAMFest San Jose Film Festival at the Camera 3 Cinemas!! Saturday was a busy day for me! I saw four films and one shorts program, so let's get started shall we?

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! To learn more about the film, visit the official website at

Film number two of the day was the FUTURE'S CALLING SHORTS PROGRAM. The program consisted of Bay Area filmmakers showcasing their short films about who they are, their communties and their roots.

DISTANCE: A black and white film about a young couple facing a crisis in their relationship. A young Chinese girl's boyfriend asks her to join him as he is being relocated to Hong Kong because of his job. Told in a voiceover narrative, she explains the distance she feels not only with her boyfriend, but also within herself.
TULE LAKE: This amazing animated short takes place in the dead of winter at Tule Lake segregation camp during the Japanese-American internment of World War II. It focuses on a young mom there who leaves her family for one night, but not to escape. The film was beautifully animated by the students at the San Jose Sate University animation department and directed by Michelle Ikemoto! A visually stunning short film!
GRAVE GOODS: Directed by Leslie Tai, this documentary short tells the story of her deceased grandmother who was buried with some of her personal belongings so she could take them with her to the afterlife. Leslie examines what was left behind, and discloses personal stories about them and what they mean to her. Very touching short film!
INDIAN SUMMER: Another doc short, it's about a group of Indian children attending the Hindi Heritage Summer Camp where they learn their roots, traditions, and culture. The film was directed by Mridu Chandra.
LADY RAZORBACKS: Shot in East Palo Alto, this black and white doc focuses on a group of female Pacific Islander rugby players. The short was directed by Laura Green.
PERFORMING GIRL: Directed by Crescent Diamond, the film focuses on the life of D'Lo, a queer, transgender, Tamil Sir Lankan American, actor, artist, comedian, director, and music producer who discusses his upbringing in Lancaster, California. A truly inspiring film!

After the screening, directors Crescent Diamond, Leslie Tai, and Michelle Ikemoto participated in a Q&A session with the audience.

The third film I saw was the powerful documentary STATELESS. Directed by Emmy award winner Duc Nguyen, the film follows the lives of Vietnam War refugees who are living in the Philippines, and have been waiting for over 16 years to be granted interviews in order to come to the United States. The documentary closely examines and tells their stories of hurt, betrayal, sacrifice, and their hope of having a place to call home.

This is one of the reasons I love watching documentaries. They tell stories that I never knew existed and this is one of them. I never knew that there were still over 2,000 boat people still left from the Vietnam War. And all they want is the chance to start over here in America and to finally to not only have a home, but to be free. Nguyen's film portrays the plight of these people and we cannot help feel sympathetic to their cause! Truly an outstanding documentary (six years in the making!) and one that people should definitely see!

After the screening, Duc Nguyen participated in a Q&A with the audience. He also mentioned that he's still seeking help for the film because it is not completely finish, and you can help contribute to its fundraising. To learn more about the documentary and to make a contribution, visit the film's official website at

Film number four was the festival's centerpiece presentation (and another fantastic documentary) called GO GRANDRIDERS. This inspiring film chronicles a group of senior citizens (majority are over 80 years old) as they embark on the greatest adventure of their lives: a 13 day motorcycle tour around the island of Taiwan! As the film progresses, we get to know these people; their background, their family, and their own personal philosophies about life as they travel Taiwan, stopping at nursing homes to inspire other elders to keep on living life to its fullest!

What a wonderful film! I could not stop smiling the entire time I was watching it! It's so inspiring, so touching, and so fantastic to watch that it brought a tear to my eye! OK, it brought a lot of tears to both my eyes! The film proves that just because your old doesn't mean you have to stop living your life. Quite the contrary, it should inspire you to live life to the fullest every single day! These so-called "old people" have lived a very long life, filled with many stories and adventures. And now, in their twilight years, they have added one more to their storybook!

After the screening, director Hua Tien-Hau was there along with ten of the original Grandriders to participate in an awesome Q&A session! To see them live and in-person was so amazing! Afterward, everybody went over to the Fahrenheit Restaurant and Lounge for a reception. The film will be the very first Taiwanese documentary to be released theatrically here in the states, so I encourage you all to see this once it's released! In the meantime, please visit the film's official website at

The fifth and final film of the day was BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. The film follows best friends Harriet (Brea Grant) and Reba (Vera Miao) as they embark on a road trip from LA to Austin, Texas. At the exact same time, LA and three other cites are wiped off the face of the earth from a nuclear  attack. The apocalypse has just been ushered in, forcing both Harriet and Reba to re-examine their lives and their beloved friendship.

This film caught me off by surprise! It features a terrific script, solid acting, awesome directing, and as a bonus, it features one helluva curve ball: a female buddy road trip story wrapped around an apocalyptic disaster story! Genius! Absolutely genius! Also adding more bonus points, the film was female made. Grant directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Miao, who was also one of the producers along with Stacey Storey, a former Miss Alaska USA turned filmmaker who also has her production company called Storeyteller Films. And speaking of film, the movie was shot on super 16mm film print! How cool is that? A true gem of a film! Check out the movie's official website at

What a great day of film watching! Six screenings in two days, and there's still more to see on Sunday! To learn more about Center for Asian American Media and the film festival, and to make donations, please visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Phil attends the CAAMFest San Jose Opening Night Gala at the Camera 3-August 16, 2013

Friday night I attended the inaugural CAAMFest San Jose Film Festival! Formerly known as the San Francisco International Asian America Film Festival and usually held in March, this year marks a new name for the festival and a new month. But it's still held at the Camera 3 Cinemas here in Downtown San Jose! Before the screening of the opening film, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) executive director Stephan Gong thanked all their sponsors and partners, without whom this festival would not happen. Stephen also talked about having this festival separate from the fest in San Francisco and their goal is to hopefully grow this to a week long festival, which I would love to see! After all the introductions, writer/director Arvin Chen was called up to introduce his film to the audience and thanked us for coming out to see it on this warm, summer night. Then it was time to watch the South Bay Premiere of the film WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW?

Meet Weichung (Richie Jen). He's an optometrist who was just promoted to manager, is married to the beautiful Feng (Mavis Fan), and they have a son. Life should be good for him, but when he runs into marriage planner Stephen (Lawrence Ko), an old friend from from his gay past, he begins to question his sexual orientation, especially now that his wife wants to have another child. Things begin to get even more complicated when he meets good looking flight attendant (Wong Ko Lok). To make things even more problematic, his younger sister Mandy (Kimi Hsia) has a pre-wedding panic attack and dumps her bland fiance Sen-Sen (Stone) at a department store. Yup, life's not boring for Weichung.

The film was sweet, heart warming, and laugh-out-loud hilarious! Arvin Chen did an incredible job with crafting a story that was fantastic, filled it with believable and relatable characters, and combining surreal and realistic settings and situations that are just beautiful. The film is honest, funny, and is like a breathe of fresh air! I absolutely loved the film! This is what I would call a perfect film! Now I originally wanted to see the film when it was playing during the Frameline 37 Film Festival, but I couldn't make it to the screening. I am very happy that I now got to see this incredible, enchanting, and wonderful film, especially here in San Jose! After the screening, Arvin participated in a fun and informative Q&A session with the audience.

After the screening, we all went to the gala afterparty which was held at the San Jose Museum of Art. There was plenty of food, drinks, and wine to enjoy. Music was played and people were having a very good time! Also the museum had some very cool exhibits to coincide with the festival: Questions from the Sky: New Work by Hung Liu and New Stories from the Edge of Asia: This/That.

What an amazing night, and this was just the beginning! The festival continues for the rest of this weekend so come out to the Camera 3 and partake on the fun! To view the film schedule and to purchase tickets, visit the CAAM website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Phil attends the Rifftrax Live! Broadcast of STARSHIP TROOPERS at the Century 20 Oakridge-August 15, 2013

Hello again everybody! So this past Thursday night, my sister Stephanie and I attended the live RiffTrax broadcast of STARSHIP TROOPERS, a true sci-fi cult classic from the 1990's! So the both of us couldn't wait to see this show!

So if you don't know what a Rifftrax is, let me give you all a quick definition. Rifftrax "are downloadable audio commentaries featuring comedians Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett heckling (or riffing) films in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a TV show in which Nelson was the head writer, and later the host. The RiffTrax commentaries are sold online and delivered by digital download," according to the website Wikipedia. But all this is just a fancy way of saying, "it's funny as hell!" Now Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett do the occasional live shows from one venue that is broadcast to hundreds of theaters all across the country, courtesy of teaming up with NCM Fathom Events. The closest theater that was participating in the live broadcast was the Century 20 Theaters in Oakridge Mall. So all of us headed over there to catch this awesome cinematic event!

Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, & Michael J. Nelson
After making their introductions, the guys began riffing on the sci-fi classic STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997). The film stars Casper Van Dien (Johnny Rico), Denise Richards (Carmen Ibanez), Dina Meyer (Dizzy Flores), Neil Patrick Harris (Carl Jenkins), Jake Busey (Ace Levy), and Michael Ironside (Jean Rasczak). The film's about the human race trying to survive from eradication from an invasion of giant, mutant insects. With the plot sounds like a AIP B-Movie flick from the 1950's, there's more going on here than meets the eye. Director Paul Verhoeven has helmed other classics such as ROBOCOP (1987), TOTAL RECALL (1990), and BASIC INSTINCT (1992), but with this film, Verhoeven satires on war, patriotism, propaganda, and perverted idealism of the Utopian American dream.

Of course, Mike, Bill, and Kevin made the impossible possible as they just tore through this Hollywood creation! With jokes like, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles" when the gigantic bugs come walking on screen, to taking shots at Jake Busey's big teeth and Denise Richards as "the worst Bond Girl ever!"

This was an awesome RiffTrax event! Now just in case you missed it, there will be an encore screening of the event on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 7:30pm! To purchase RiffTrax downloads of audio commentaries, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, visit their website at To learn more about Mystery Science Theater 3000, visit their website at To learn about upcoming Fathom Events coming to your town, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees LOVELACE at the Camera 12 Downtown San Jose-August 11, 2013

On June 12, 1972, the adult film DEEP THROAT premiered at the World Theatre in Times Square in New York City. And the world hasn't been the same since. It helped coin the phrase "Porno Chic" and ushered in what has been called "The Golden Age of Pornography," which lasted between 1972-1984. This little film that was made for a mere $25,000 went on to gross allegedly between $100,000 and $600,000 and gave Hollywood a run for it's money. It also transformed a young unknown girl named Linda Boreman into the international porn star Linda Lovelace. However, she was the first to pay the price for all this fame and notoriety. All her struggles, pain, and humiliation she suffered with in her life during this time period are chronicled in the new film LOVELACE.

Actress Amanda Seyfried, (MEAN GIRLS, MAMMA MIA!, LES MISERABLES) portrays Linda in three different phases of her life: the shy, naïve girl who meets her future husband, the infamous Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), her rise to stardom after the success of DEEP THROAT, and her crusade against the porn industry. Then the film back tracks to these events and examines more closely the violent and horrifying relationship with Traynor. The regular beatings, pimping her out to men, being forced to do porn by gunpoint, and the controlling her overall career so he can milk her for all her worth.

The film actually opens on a ravaged Linda Lovelace taking a polygraph test to prove that her story is authentically correct. At the end, her book Ordeal is released and she's on the old Phil Donahue Show telling her sad story and survival. The movie ends with a happy like ending, but in reality, it wasn't even like that. After she divorced Chuck, in 1974 she married Larry Marchiano and had two children: Dominic and Lindsay. After she divorced him in 1996, she claimed that Larry was an alcoholic who was verbally abusive to their children and was violent towards her. According to those who knew her personally, Linda always played the victim, never really taking any kind of responsibility on her part.

The film was made by directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who are more famous for their award winning documentaries such as THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, THE CELLULOID CLOSET and PARAGRAPH 175, along with the Allen Ginsberg biopic HOWL. While the film was entertaining, I felt that it was two-dimensional, filled with caricatures of those involved with DEEP THROAT, and Linda was somewhat under-developed. Now Amanda's performance of Linda was excellent, bring the iconic porn star to life is no small feat giving the complexity of the character, but it felt as if there was more to her that was left out. Granted, the film is told from Linda's perspective, but it left out a lot of details of her life.

The main focus of the film was her relationship with the abusive Traynor, which was played with such intensity by Sarsgaard. His performance was unbelievable. It's a well known fact that Chuck Traynor was the biggest schmuck and asshole to have ever lived, but seeing him in the movie only establishes it even more.

Linda Lovelace (1949-2002)
Also turning in memorable performances are Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone as Linda's parents John and Dorothy Boreman. However, the caricatures I mentioned earlier were by Hank Azaria's performance of Gerry Damiano and Adam Brody's Harry Reems, the other star of DEEP THROAT. I was appalled by their portrayals of both Gerry and Harry. They made them look like idiots and lacked any real personality! In real life, Harry was a smart, sweet and funny guy who almost went to jail for acting in the film. Gerry was very intelligent who after DEEP THROAT went on to make the other classic adult film THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES, which was owed more to European art house films. And like most filmmakers of that era, Gerry never made any money from his films, thanks in large part of the industry being controlled by the mob. These two men also paid a high price of fame as well, and I felt they should've been portrayed my realistically and honestly.

The film drew quite a bit of controversy before it was even released. On January 22nd of this year, the AVN (Adult Video News) website ran a story about how Harry Reems was unhappy that, "the filmmakers didn't see fit to consult him while writing the script." Then on August 8th, AVN ran another story about "the lawsuit that Arrow Productions owner Raymond Pistol has filed against The Weinstein Company and several other corporate and individual defendants for their alleged infringement of Arrow's copyrights and trademarks to the classic 1972 adult movie DEEP THROAT and its star, Linda Lovelace."

On April 22, 2002, Linda died from injuries sustained in a car accident. Then on October 28, 2008, Gerard Damiano died from complications from a stroke he suffered a month before. Finally, Harry Reems passed away on March 19, 2013 from pancreatic cancer. Whether they like it or not, these three individuals will forever be remembered for making DEEP THROAT and for creating the multi-billion dollar porn industry we know today.

Overall LOVELACE is an interesting film, but it's far from being historically accurate and with its grotesque depiction of real people, it falls flat in my eyes. I love movies, and I love researching about movies, even those films in the porn genre. I know the stories about the making of DEEP THROAT and about Linda Lovelace, and there's much more to the story that is being shown here. 3 out of 5 stars! Mediocre at best and more of a rental!

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

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Phil is quoted in the new advertisment for the indie film THE CITIZEN-August 9, 2013

Last Friday while at my meeting at the office, my good friend and fellow blogger Jason Wiener (Jason Watches Movies) posted something very special on my Facebook wall. Now before I go any further with this story, let me take you back to March of this year. It was Day Ten of the Cinequest 23 Film Festival and I had the privilege to see the amazing film entitled THE CITIZEN, starring Khaled Nabawy, Agnes Bruckner, Cary Elwes, William Atherton, and Rizwan Manji. In case you didn't get the chance to read it, here's what I said in my review:

"The second film I saw was the political drama THE CITIZEN. The film focuses on Ibrahim Jarrah (Khaled Nabawy), an Arab immigrant who five years ago won the green card lottery which allows him to became an American citizen. He arrives in America on September 10th, 2001. On his first day he's held at the airport for security reasons, then he checks into hotel where the meets Diane (Agnes Bruckner), who hides her from her abusive boyfriend. The two strike up a friendship and she shows him around New York. Then the next day, the world changes. He is then detained for six months by the government for no reason other than he's from the Middle East. Once released he's faced with racism, his friends being beaten and nearly shot; in short he's forced to see the ugliness in America, the country that he still wishes to be a citizen of. Five years later, Ibrahim receives a letter that threatens to take away his dream of becoming an American citizen.

What I loved about the film that it doesn't shy away from the themes it's addressing: racism, fear, intolerance, injustice, but more importantly, never giving up on your dreams. It's very easy to take things in life for granted, especially if you were born here. Those who come here have to try so much harder than I do, and are faced with so many obstacles that it's staggering. This was the feature film debut by director Sam Kadi, who did a tremendous job of telling this story that was "inspired by many true stories." The entire cast turned in outstanding performances, making this film a must-see!"

So now back to my story. Jason posted on my wall an advertisement that the filmmakers had posted on Facebook. It was a screen shot from the film featuring Elwes, Bruckner, and Nabawy, and right there in the middle of this shot was MY QUOTE!! I couldn't believe it!! This was such an honor!! And again in case you didn't get to see it, here it is!!

I am so honored to have my quote attached to this prestigious and incredible film! If for some reason you have not seen this yet, I strongly encourage you all to see it! This is what I love about independent films! They take chances and break the constraints of what a movie should be. They inspire you, they challenge you, they are literally works of art that deserve your time and attention! If you're tired of seeing the barrage of brain dead schlockbusters coming out of Hollywood (and don't tell me you aren't), do yourself a favor and see this film, as well as other indie films. You'll thank me later for this!

THE CITIZEN was one of my favorite films at Cinequest 23 and it was nominated for the Audience Choice Award! The film has played at several other film festivals, such as the Tri Media Film Festival, the Hollywood Film Festival, and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. This past May the film was picked up for distribution by Monterey Media! Look for the film to be playing in select cities nationwide this summer and then on DVD and VOD in October. To learn more about the film, visit (you can also see my quote there as well). Also don't forget to follow the film on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Phil attends a special screening of Miss Misery's A NIGHTMARE TO REMEMBER VOL. 1 Red Carpet Premiere at the Clay Theatre in San Francisco-August 3, 2013

Hello again from San Francisco! Last Saturday night I was at the Clay Theatre over in the Filmore District to check out the special midnight screening of A NIGHTAMRE TO REMEMEBR VOL. 1, the first installment of Miss Misery's series of DVD releases showcasing the very best of indie horror short films! There was a lot of excitement that night as well as special guests, like director Mo Whelan and her good friend and model Julia Lee. Also in attendance were directors Bo Campbell and Gino Oddone as well as John Gillette and Adam Richardson from the Bay Area metal/punk band Dammit! After mingling with the filmmakers in the lobby, we all made our way into theatre for the show. Miss Misery welcomed the audience and soon, the lights dimmed and the horror shorts began!

The A NIGHTMARE TO REMEMBER DVD is hosted by Miss Misery and has her introduce each of the seven short films. The first short up was COMPANION, written and directed by Tonjia Atomic. The film takes place in a fairy-like world of the past and is about a woman who must travel through a haunted forest to save her dying father. There she meets a demon spirit that wants to make a bargain that will affect her and her unborn child's lives forever. A very unique and original film! To learn more about this film and all her other films, visit Tonjia Atomic's website at

The second short shown was EVERYTHING I WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ZOMBIES I LEARNED FROM THE MOVIES! The film was directed by Sherezada Kent and it's about a three co-workers that are hiding out in their office basement from an army of zombies. When they figure out a plan, they make a startling revelation about the zombies! And it's hilarious! The short film was made back in 2008 and has appeared at numerous film festivals. You can follow Sherezada Kent on Facebook.

Our hostess Miss Misery.
Film short number three was entitled HELP WANTED and was directed by Waylon Bacon. The film's about a college graduate who gets hired at a large warehouse company, where they kill off hookers, homeless people, degenerates, minorites, etc. Almost sounds like working for the government! A lot of social commentary can be found in this short film, which I would love to see more of! To learn more about the director and his films, visit his official website at

The fourth film of the night was LADY IN THE KITCHEN. Directed by Bo! Campbell and Gino Oddone, the film stars Victoria Gauthier and is supposedly set in the 1980's (check out that aerobics attire and those big earrings). While cooking up something in the kitchen, she hears a strange sound coming from the kitchen sink. Is the garbage disposal backed up, or is it something else? Something demonic? This very short film (a whopping two minutes!) was quick, fun, and cool, with a nice blood soaked homage to FLASHDANCE at the end!

Fifth film shown was Dave Reda's MY UNDEADLY. In the film a woman is being stalked by an undead zombie, but this awesome horror/comedy has a fun twist ending that made the audience laugh! For those who wish to spice things up in the bedroom, take notes from this film! Reda wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the film along with scream queen Michelle Tomlinson. A cool bonus trivia: the film was shot in the original Michael Myer's house that was used in the original HALLOWEEN! Overall a great short film! To learn more about Reda and his production company Elftwin Films, visit their official website at

Director Mo Whelan, myself, and model Julia Lee.
The next short screened was Mo Whelan's A SIN THAT CANNOT BE FORGIVEN. This interesting film involves a man alone in his apartment where he killed his girlfriend earlier. The film is very much like an Edgar Allen Poe poem come to life; complete with rhyming dialogue, death, and guilt. Truly outstanding piece of art! I can't wait to see what her next film will be! So make sure you look for more films from this amazingly talented director soon! To learn more about Miss Whelan and her work, visit her production company Probell Films' website at

The last two short films were both directed by the fantastic Reyna Young. First up was LITTLE MISS MUFFIN; a black and white silent film about Little Miss Muffin eating a muffin, then a big ass spider ripping her throat out! Classic!! Loved it!! The second short UNDER THE BED tells the story of a young girl who makes the mistake of looking under her bed! Naughty, naughty girl!

Overall the screening was freaking awesome!! And I for one cannot wait for Volume 2!! For those of you who wish to learn more about Miss Misery, visit her website at To learn more about her company Last Door Productions, and all her future projects, please visit

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Phil's DVD Review: GAYBY (2012) from Wolfe Video-July 24, 2013

Starring: Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Mike Doyle, Alycia Delmore, Jack Ferver, Jonathan Lisecki, Charlie Barnett, Alex Karpovsky, Sarita Choudhury, and Adam Driver.
Cinematography by Clay Liford
Written and Directed by Jonathan Lisecki
Distributed by Wolfe Video

When I attended last month's Frameline 37 Film Festival, I saw some of the very best queer films I have ever seen. These films were funny, touching, shocking, educational, but above all, they were made by some of the most talented filmmakers out there. Today's movie review had the pleasure of being the Closing Night Film at last year's festival, and it's been distributed by the fine folks over at Wolfe Video (located right here in my hometown of San Jose). While comedic and heart warming at the same time, GAYBY also touches upon a subject that is very relatable regardless of sexual preference.

Straight yoga instructor Jenn (Harris) and gay comic book store owner Matt (Wilkas) have been best friends since college. Now being in their 30's, they're starting to feel old, especially Jenn, who really wants to have a baby. Problem is that she has no boyfriend and no potential suitors. Matt is also single and still trying to get over his ex-boyfriend. In the end, Jenn proposes to him their old plan of having a baby together....the old fashioned way! While preparing for parenthood, they both continue dating in an attempt to try to find love and happiness, but will it ruin their plans of having a baby together?

Both Harris and Wilkas have great on-screen chemistry together, playing off one another with precise comedic timing and flawed vulnerability which makes them relatable and believable. We know people like these in our everyday lives. They work with us, they're our friends and neighbors, and our relatives. Harris's Jenn looks, talks, and acts like a normal woman who is desperate to have a child of her own. Also, Ferver and Lisecki as Jenn and Matt's gay best friends bring so much comedic relief that I almost died laughing everytime they came on screen! These guys are hilarious!!

Now the film is based on a short that Jonathan Lisecki did a couple of years ago. Here, we see the continuation of that short, expanding the characters and the situation that ties everyone together. Here is a film that is both funny and romantic, but I wouldn't label it as a romantic comedy. It transcends the normal formality of labeling and really distinguishes itself as a uncategorized movie. It's queer, it's funny, it's silly it's romantic, it's sad, it's topical, it's everything that you the audience projects into it. Therefore, you cannot label the film; by doing so, you're limiting its potential and visibility as a crossover film.

The film has been screened at numerous film festivals, such as the Los Angeles Film Festival, SXSW, and of course Frameline 36. It has also won several Best Film awards, including from Out On Film Atlanta LGBTQ Festival and Boston Independent Film Festival.

The DVD has some cool bonus features: audio commentary, deleted scenes, previews, and the original GAYBY short I mentioned earlier.

GAYBY is one of my favorite DVD releases of 2013 thus far! It's wildly entertaining, full of interesting and believable characters, laugh out loud funny, and touching as well. This is one of the best LGBT films I've seen in a while! 5 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended!!

GAYBY is currently available on DVD at your local retailer. You can also purchase a copy at the Wolfe Video website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!