Sunday, September 21, 2014

Phil attends the first annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival's Silent Autumn Event at the Castro Theatre-September 20, 2014

Greetings and salutations everybody! After taking some time off due to having major surgery, I'm ready to go back on my cinematic adventures! And the first thing I did was head on over to the Castro Theatre to attend the very first San Francisco Silent Film Festival's Silent Autumn Event! Now in the past the particular event was held in the winter, but the festival moved it to autumn. Now personally, it doesn't affect me because it gives me the chance to see all my old friends and to see some amazing silent movies. And Saturday's all-day event was nothing short of spectacular! What a perfect way for me to make my triumphant comeback to the world of film reviews!

The show started at 11am with the program ANOTHER FINE MESS: SILENT LAUREL AND HARDY SHORTS. Also known as "The Boys," the program consisted on three classic silent shorts from their time at the infamous Hal Roach Studios. The three shorts were:

SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME? (1928): When Laurel comes over to visit Hardy, hilarious hi-jinks ensues. When Mrs. Hardy tells them to go golfing, the fun continues when the boys try to impress a couple of females, only to end up in a mud fight with the other golfers.

TWO TARS (1928): The Boys are sailors on leave when they rent a car and meet with a couple of cutie dames. Soon they're stuck in a traffic jam which leads to an all-out temper tantrum with everybody commenting acts of vehicle vandalism. And by that I mean cars are torn apart. Funny stuff!!

BIG BUSINESS (1929): A staple over at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, the boys are Christmas Trees sales reps. When they go knocking on the door of a grumpy old man (played by James Finlayson), the kid gloves come off and it's an all out war as both parties destroy each others properties while a cop looks on. One of my all time favorites!! Musical accompaniment was provided by the great Donald Sosin, who did a fantastic job of bring comedic melodies to these silent comedy classics!

The second movie shown was the newly restored edition of SON OF THE SHEIK (1926) starring silent film heartthrob Rudolph Valentino and sexy Vilma Banky. Ahmed (Valentino) falls in love with the beautiful dancing girl Yasmin (Banky), but he's tricked into thinking that she was involved with him becoming kidnapped and held for ransom, he seeks out revenge and captures her.

In the film Valentino pulls double acting duty, portraying both the hot headed young Ahmed and his father The Sheik (which he previously played in THE SHEIK back in 1921). Originally he didn't want to make the film, but felt he had to to make the fans happy. It premiered in New York to rave reviews from critics and movie goers. However, Valentino unexpectedly passed away at the age of 31 on August 23, 1926, less than two weeks before it was released to theaters. This was his last film, but what a way to go out! The film was released to theaters by United Artists on September 5, 1926. The outstanding Alloy Orchestra provided an incredible score to the film!

Up next was the program entitled A NIGHT AT THE CINEMA IN 1914, which was presented by the British Film Institute (or the BFI). The program was created to show American audiences what British movie goers were watching exactly 100 years ago! This was a real treat for all of us to watch. A total of 14 short films were shown, mostly newsreels and a couple of pretty funny comedies. The great Donald Sosin provided the music. Here's what was screened:

LOOPING THE LOOP AT HENDON (March 1914): Newsreel about British pilots Gustav Hamel and Bentfield Hucks performing some stunts at Hendon airfield.

PALACE PANDEMONIUM (May 1914): Activist and campaign leader Emmeline Pankhurst is arrested Buckingham Palace for trying to go to the king himself so that women can have the right to vote.

AUSTRIAN TRAGEDY (July 1914): This newsreel showcases the Austro-Hungarian royal family and the wedding of Archduke Karl, who succeeded Franz Ferdinand following his assignation.

DOGS FOR THE ANTARCTIC (August 1914): Newsreel showing Sir Ernest Shackleton selecting his dogs for his next expedition trip to Antarctica.

DAISY DOODAD'S DIAL: A crazy comedy short starring Florence Turner as Daisy, who tries to enter a funny face making competition only to end up getting arrested for disturbing the peace.

EGYPT AND HER DEFENDERS: A brief newsreel about British Consul General Lord Kitchener (before he was Secretary of State for War) inspecting the troops.

LIEUTENANT PIMPLE AND THE STOLEN SUBMARINE: OK this short had me at hello? Lt. Pimple (whose face is painted to look like a monkey) watches over a submarine (made out of cardboard) only to let it get stolen. The props look like it came from an Ed Wood movie! So random and absurd that I laughed my head off!

SCOUT'S VALUABLE AID (August 1914): A couple of Sea Scouts stand on a cliff and look for invading fleets of Germans or something. Very short short.

GERMAN OCCUPATION OF HISTORIC LOUVAIN (September 1914): This heart wrenching newsreel showcases the German invasion Belgium and the complete destruction of the town called Louvain.

GENERAL FRENCH'S CONTEMPTIBLE LITTLE ARMY: General French is the commander of the British army in France. He beats the Germans in this animated short by pioneering animator Lancelot Speed.

CHRISTMAS AT THE FRONT (December 1914): Troops celebrating Christmas at the front, but their whereabouts are withheld for security reasons.

THE PERILS OF PAULINE: An awesome action/adventure short starring Pearl White as Pauline, who accidentally hitches a ride in a hot air balloon and then is kidnapped and trapped in a burning house!

THE ROLLICKING RAJAH: This short originally came with a synchronized sound disc, but it has been lost for ages. However, the sheet music still survives and Donald Sosin played and sang the lyrics to this interesting short that features a singing Rajah and a bunch of lovely ladies wearing the latest styles and fashions.

A FILM JOHNNIE: And of course we couldn't end this program without Britain's favorite son Charlie Chaplin. In one of his earliest Keystone shorts, Charlie heads to the cinema, where he falls in love with the stunning Peggy Pierce. He then heads over to the Keystone studio where he meets Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, and Peggy. Oh and a whole lot of shenanigans transpire.

The next film screened is a silent film classic! A silent comedy gem! And it was my first time seeing it on the Castro screen! THE GENERAL (1926) is without question Buster Keaton's masterpiece. Set during the Civil War, Johnnie Grey (Keaton) is a train engineer on the General. He also loves his girl Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack). When Annabelle and the General are kidnapped by Union spies, Johnnie must cross the enemy lines to rescue both his loves and warn the Confederate army of the upcoming Yankee invasion. And oh yeah, there's a lot of funny stuff that happens in the movie!

There is nothing that I can say about this film that hasn't already been written. It doesn't get any better than this folks! This is not only one of the greatest silent films of all time, but also one of the greatest comedies of all time. This film is ranked in the Top Five of every critics lists. It has been revered as a classic. If you haven't seen this film yet, then get off your butt and go watch it now! The movie was released by United Artists on December 31, 1926. The musical score was provided by the Alloy Orchestra, who outdid themselves with their performance!

The last film of the Autumn Event seemed only fitting since next month is Halloween, so why not start the celebrations early. THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920) is a prime example of German Expressionism at its finest. The film tells the story of a mad doctor who trains a sleepwalker named Cesare (Conrad Veidt) to kill people in order to study the effects of somnambulism. To this day the film, and its ending, still gives me the shivers.

With its distorted sets, bizarre lighting and shadows painted on canvases, and deformed spaces, the film achieves its nightmarish imagery right from the start and doesn't let you go till it twisted ending. Director Robert Wiene forever changed the face of German cinema as well as cinema itself. Many Universal horror filmmakers have cited the German Expressionism films as their inspiration for DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, and many others. The film was originally released by Decla-Bioscop in Germany on February 26, 1920. It was imported here in the states by Goldwyn Distributing Company on March 19, 1921. Donald Sosin provided the eerie musical score to this brand new 4K digital restoration!

 And so my friends that is a wrap! What a great time I had! And don't forget The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on May 28-30, 2015 so mark those dates on your calendar! Now if you'd like to learn more about the SF Silent Film Festival, and how to become a member, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Phil sees GODZILLA at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-May 16, 2014

An actor in a rubber monster suit. Decal buildings and toy cars. Flying creatures on strings. Firecracker explosions decorating the scenery. These images from my childhood conjure some many nostalgic emotions for me. For you see, I use to watch the old GODZILLA movies, and they captured my imaginations like no other! To see Godzilla battle Mothera, or team up with Ultraman, or go head to head with King Kong, these movies were incredible! Sure the budgets of these films were about $35 but who cares! They were entertaining as hell! And I loved them!!

Then came the 1998 remake film with Matthew Brodrick. My childhood died that night.

Now here we are, several years later and Warner Brothers unleashes its newest interpretation of the famed King of Monsters. And after watching it, GODZILLA is a phenomenal cinematic adventure that will appeal to diehard fans worldwide!

The film's official synopsis: A contemporary re-telling of the origin of Godzilla, based on the legendary Toho film series. In this powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, the giant radioactive monster Godzilla rises from the ocean depths to restore the balance, wreaking destruction as humanity stands defenseless and ponders the error of its way.

The movie get the Godzilla legend back on track, thanks to several people. First congratulations to its director Gareth Edward, who made a big splash with his 2010 directing debut MONSTERS. With this, his second feature film, Edwards knocks it out of the park! His style of directing fits perfectly with this legendary icon. His combinations of smooth pans, attention to details, intimate moments, simple shots, and big action sequences make the film all that much more fun to watch. And this is only his second film! As I write this review, Gareth Edwards has been hired to direct one of the STAR WARS spinoff films so congrats to Mr. Edwards and I'm definitely looking forward to his next film!

Also helping to put this legendary icon back in the spotlight are writers Max Borenstein and Dave Callaham. By combining the social commentary from the original film and with today's hot topics, along with a romantic subplot, they successfully craft a screenplay that is thoughtful, topical, as well as damn entertaining!

Another factor that makes the movie incredible is the cast. Ken Watanabe grounds the film in reality and also acts as the link to the original.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson is believable as our hero and protagonist Ford Brady, who must help save not humanity, but also his beloved wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and son Sam (Carson Bolde). Also making a memorable appearance in the film is the one and only Bryan Lee Cranston, who portrays Ford's father Joe Brody. Cranton is most famous for portraying Walter White on the AMC series Breaking Bad and the father Hal on the Fox comedy Malcolm in the Middle.

The special effects are out of this world and look so damn real! Long gone are the days of men in ribber suits. Now some people that I know are refusing to see this film, based on their old and fond memories of watching some actor in a rubber suit destroy a HO scale modle of Japan. But here's a movie that not only pays homage to the original film, but also takes it into the 21st century. Not only is it Japan that gets wrecked, but also Hawaii and none other than San Francisco! Yes sir, no longer is Los Angeles the mecca of destruction. Now NorCal is getting its time in the spotlight!

Overall GODZILLA is a engaging, insightful, and entertaining summer blockbuster that is sure to chase those summer blues away! Now the film is available to see in both 2D and 3D, so either way you need to see the movie on the big screen! it's the only way to see the King Of the Monsters as he was meant to be seen! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

GODZILLA is currently playing in both 2-D and 3-D in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Phil counts down to CREATURESCON 3 during the Big Wow! ComicFest at the San Jose Covention Center May 17-18, 2014

During the Big WOW! ComicFest at the San Jose Convention Center May 17th-18th, there will be another special convention happening simultaneously. CreaturesCon 3 is "the world's ONLY convention dedicated to the Bay Area's beloved TV phenomenon Creature Features." For those of you who live outside the Bay Area, this legendary show ran on KTVU Channel 2 in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1971 to 1984. The show was hosted by Bob Wilkins, and later by John Stanley, who took over in 1979. During the convention, we celebrate this beloved television show!

Celebrities in attendance for CreaturesCon 3 are as follows: Creatures Features host John Stanley, filmmaker and Creature Features archivist Tom Wyrsch, Strephon Taylor from November Fire, HARDWARE WARS director Ernie Fosselius, and Bay Area horror host Lord Blood-Rah. Bob Wilkins, who hosted the show from 1970-1979, passed away from Alzheimer's disease on January 7, 2009

John Stanley with Bob Wilkins in his famed yellow rocking chair.

There will be informative Programs and panels for fans to attend: "CreaturesCon 3" and the other "Remembering the Ackermansion." There will be a props area, cool Creatures Features items for sale, but the biggest event happening is that there will be a LIVE Creatures Features show hosted by John  Stanley!! That's right! I said a LIVE CREATURES FEATURES SHOW HOSTED BY JOHN STANLEY!! Now I grew up watching the show, and to see it live, it is a dream come true for not only myself, but for fans of the show! And the film that John will be screening is none other than George A. Romero's 1968 zombie classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD!

So for all you horror fans out there in the Bay Area, make sure you come out d be part of all this fun! To learn more about the CreaturesCon 3 and to purchase tickets and passes, please visit their official website at To purchase tickets and passes for the Big WOW! ComicFest, visit their official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show

Phil counts down to the BIG WOW! COMICFEST at the San Jose Convention Center May 17-18, 2014

Hey kids! What time is it? That's right! It's summertime! School's out. College graduations are commencing. And you know what else? That's right! The Big WOW! ComicFest returns to the San Jose Convention Center this weekend May 17th and 18th! Yes, San Jose's premier comic book show is back with comic book artists, gamers, filmmakers, cosplayers and costume contests, local and international celebraties and so much more!

With Hollywood's big GODZILLA remake opening this weekend, Big WOW! pulled out all the stops by having several  legendary Japanese actors appearing at the fest! First is Kenpachiro Satsuma, who first came to fame by donning the famous Godzilla suit for the 1984 film RETURN OF GODZILLA. After the film's release, he would play the famed reptile 11 more times! Joining him are actors Satoshi “Bin” Furuya, best known for being the original Ultraman, and Daisuke Ban, best known for his title roles in "two of the most iconic series of all time, KIKAIDA and INAZUMAN!" If you are a true Japanese fan, then you will want to meet these three acting icons!

There are numerous comic book personalities already signed up to appear at the convention and all are icons in the industry: Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy), Joe Linser (Cry for Dawn) Sergio Aragones (Groo the Wanderer), Michael Golden (The 'Nam, Dr. Strange), Joyce Chin (Vampirella, Xena, Guy Gardener: Warrior), Mark Badger (Spider-Man, X-Men), Arthur Adams (Superman, Godzilla, Monkeyman and O'Brian), and Neal Adams (Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow) just to name a few.

Along with comic book personal, there will be other celebrities appearing from all avenues. In the entertainment world, fans can meet local stars such as Balrok and Cave Girls Shotzi Black Heartt and Madison Hannah from the hit KOFY TV20 television show Creep KOFY Movie Time, horror hostess Miss Misery from Miss Misery's Movie Massacre, horror host Lord Blood-Rah of Lord Blood-Rah's Nerve Wraking Theatre, Strephon Taylor from November Fire, local documentary filmmaker Tom Wyrsch and legendary Creature Features host John Stanley.

As for Big WOW! celebrities, look no further than William Katt (from the TV series The Greatest American Hero, CARRIE, HOUSE), Clare Kramer (from the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BRING IT ON, and BIG ASS SPIDER), Richard Kiel ("Jaws" in the James Bond films, HAPPY GILMORE) Costas Mandylor (from the TV series Picket Fences, the SAW series), Kevin B. Grevioux (co-writer and producer of the  UNDERWORLD films), Jane Wiedlin (guitarist of The Go-Go's), and Alison MacInnis ( Dana Mitchell the Pink Ranger on the current season of Power Rangers Super Megaforce) just to name a few!

Fans will also meet some of the finest cosplayers around, including Valerie Perez (Wonder Woman),  Anthony Misiano (The Joker), Ivy Doomkitty, and Vegas Powergirl for starters. Then there's all the comic book artists at the Underground and Artist's Alley creating original works of art, the cool Anima area that includes my friend Carlyfornia, plus all the dealers, toys, comics and everything else you can imagine!

There's also cool programs and panels during the two days, including a Power Rangers panel, Top Cow Studios panel, Cosplay 101, Cultural Diversity in Comics, a Costume Contest and so much more. Plus there's also going to be a Magic the Gathering Tournaments for all you gamers out there!

Some of the big events to check out is the1st Annual Famous Monsters Film Festival, hosted by the fine folks over at Famous Monsters of Filmland, "the magazine that has inspired generations of imaginations such as Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg, and many more." The film festival will be running the entire first day and some of Sunday morning. Also worth checking out is the Batman Museum: Celebrating 75 years of the famed Caped Crusader! Witness and marvel (no pun intended) at rare original artwork, toys, games, posters and collectibles of all kinds!

So what are you waiting for? Start planing to attend Northern California's premiere comic book and entertainment event! To learn more about the convention and to purchase tickets and passes, please visit Big WOW! ComicFest's official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Phil celebrates the 34th Anniversary of FRIDAY THE 13TH-May 9, 2014

Greetings and salutations my fellow horror hounds! Today is a very special day not only in horror film history, but for film history in general. On this exact date, 34 years ago, a horror icon was born and a franchise was created. On May 9, 1980, Paramount Pictures released a small, low budget horror movie called FRIDAY THE 13th. And the cinematic world of horror was forever changed for the better.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1980)
Now if you haven't seen this film yet, or you have only seen the 2009 remake, then you really need to see this! I have seen this film an ungodly amount of times; to the point that I could recite the whole film in my sleep! This summer camp slasher classic tells the story of a group of camp counselors who are stalked and killed on the eve of the grand re-opening of Camp Crystal Lake. Look for Kevin Bacon making his film debut as Jack Burrel. Also appearing in the film is the great Besty Palmer as Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, who seems to know more about the grizzly murders than she's letting on. The ending is still one of the greatest endings in modern day horror films.

The film was directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who in 1972 teamed up with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET creator Wes Craven on the exploitation classic THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Make up legend Tom Savini supplied the gore for the film with his then cutting edge tricks and techniques. While seem tame by today's standards, these make-up effects were revolutionary at that time. Except in Italian horror films, American audiences had never seen a throat slash open and spew out blood before. Nor see arrows piercing through neck, an axe to the head, and we all have to thank Savini for all of this!

Mrs. Voorhees herself, the great Besty Palmer.
The film grossed an unbelievable $59,754,601 during its theatrical run (the film's budget was only $550,000). Paramount was so pleased with their investment that the studio immediately demanded a sequel. In fact, during the Paramount years, there were a total of seven sequels! In 1981 FRIDAY THE 13th: PART II was released, with others shortly behind: FRIDAY THE 13th in 3D, FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER, FRIDAY THE 13th, PART V: A NEW BEGINNING, FRIDAY THE 13th, PART VI: JASON LIVES, FRIDAY THE 13th, PART VII:THE NEW BLOOD (the first appearance of Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees), and FRIDAY THE 13th, PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. Due to dwindling box office receipts for each film, Paramount decided it was best to let the franchise leave.

Young Jason Voorhees portrayed by Ari Lehman.
The rights of the series reverted back to its creator Sean S. Cunningham. He then made a deal with New Line Cinema, which was the home to another horror icon Freddy Krueger of the NIGHTMARE OF ELM STREET series. With a new distributor, Sean and team cranked out two more films: JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY and JASON X. But the big reason why Sean chose New Line was to finally pit two of the greatest horror icons in one epic movie. For fans it was dream came true when on August 15, 2003 FREDDY VS JASON was released to theater nationwide, grossing an outstanding $82,556,855 million in North America and another $32,286,175 in foreign sales. With renewed interest in Jason, Sean Cunningham and his team decided it was time for a remake. Enter Michael Bay and his company Platinum Dunes, the same folks that made the THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake back in 2003.

Jason Voorhees Action Figure from PART VII.
The FRIDAY THE 13th remake combined elements from the first three films and was released to theaters on February 13, 2009. It went on to gross $65,002,019 in the states, and $26,377,032 in foreign sales. The final tally for the film was an astonishing $91,379,051. Even as I write this tribute, a sequel is currently in production.

It's hard to imagine the horror film landscape with out FRIDAY THE 13th. It launched many actors and actresses careers, brought the world of special effects center stage, and created one of the greatest legends in horror film history. Jason Voorhees is as popular, recognizable, and profitable as Micky Mouse. Action figures, costumes, comic books, posters, games, cards, even plush dolls and bobble heads bear Jason's likeness.

So today is a day of celebration! Even though it's not the 13th, it's still Friday and so it's the perfect day to go watch this horror classic. It's available on DVD, Blu-Ray and even in the ultra cool Blu_ray Tin Boxset! So there's a number of ways to watch this film. So grab a bunch of your friends, order some pizzas and sodas, kick back and watch FRIDAY THE 13th!! Just make sure that Mrs. Voorhees doesn't show up and ruin your fun!

FRIDAY THE 13th and the entire series is available on both DVD and in a special Limited Edition Tin Blu-Ray Boxset. To purchase these films, visit your local retailer. To learn more about the series, and to make purchases, visit the official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Phil sees THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 in 2D at the Cinelux Alamden Cinema-May 2, 2014

Marvel Studio's juggernaut onslaught of major blockbusters to dominate movie theaters this year continues with this past Friday's newest release. Now if you recall, I disliked the relaunch of America's favorite wallcrawler THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. In fact, I ripped that film a new one in my review and gave it only one star! In fact, the last statement I wrote in it was, "Sony Pictures wants to recapture the magic of the Sam Raimi films, but after seeing this, it looks very doubtful." Now two years later, Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field and director Marc Webb return with the latest installment of the franchise THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. And this time, the filmmakers finally got it right!

The film's official synopsis: It's great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there's no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

Right off the bat the on-screen chemistry between Garfield and Stone is much better and more believable and makes the audience care about their respective characters. Of course it doesn't hurt that Garfield and Stone are actually dating in real life. So their acting is honest and real and really quite enchanting to watch. Plus Garfield's Peter Parker looks and sounds like his comic book counterpart and Stone's Gwen Stacey is more three dimensional and sounds and looks like a real woman. Two vast improvements over their previous performances in the first film.

For the newbies in the film, really outstanding jobs all around. Jamie Foxx proves that he has ability and capability to portray a truly deadly super villain. His version and vision of Electro is a sympathetic and tragic person who embraces his inner most desire of vengeance against those who wronged him. Hey, if I had his electrical powers I'd wreak havoc all over the place! Here we get to see the evolution of the timid gaining the powers of a god and as the old saying goes, "Absolute power corrupts absolute." Foxx's Electro is a perfect example of this. My vote for Best Villain of 2014! A great performance on the part of Foxx!

Dane DeHaan's performance and his version of Harry Osborn is again another improvement of the previous incarnation, this being the James Franco version from the original Sam Raimi trilogy. Here, DeHaan's Harry is, to me, much more fleshed out and much more interesting. His background is more complete, the animosity between him and his dying father Norman, his strained friendship with Peter, and suddenly the young heir  is given the keys to the Osborn Kingdom are all interesting aspects to his character development. And his rise as the Green Goblin, Spider-Man's most deadliest foe of all time. Kudos to Dane DeHaan for making Harry a more well-rounded character and for bringing back that element of pure evil!

Once again Marc Webb steps into the director's chair and has improved tremendously. The look of the film is way more dynamic, looks like the comic book coming to life before our very eyes. Instead of imitating what Sam Raimi did (like he tried in the first film), Webb transforms the franchise and makes it his own; visually stunning and entertaining, gripping action scenes, tender moments of human emotions, and the ultimate sacrifices that capture the audiences' interests. Also congrats to screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt for crafting a smart, personal, exciting, and entertaining story, which is based on the old comic story by the legendary team of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Now the film is available in both 2D and 3D. I saw it in 2D since there was no 3D version available at that time frame. However, I am very interested in seeing it in 3D, just because these is so much action in film, I am very curious in what it looks like in 3D.

Overall THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is an impressive, all-out action packed, thrill ride of a superhero movie! It superiority over the first film is dully noted and those who didn't like that film will love this one! Hands down one of Marvel's best summer films! 4 out of 5 stars!! Recommended!!

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is currently playing in both 2-D and 3-D 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!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Phil hosts the Cult Movie Screening of OLDBOY at the Camera 3-April 17, 2014

Hello again everybody and welcome to the 2014 Cult Movie series at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose! Now for those of you who are late to the game, let me explain this cool series. In 2011 the Camera Cinemas started up the Cult Movie series (which for years had been called the Midnight Movie series). They would show one cult film twice a month (Thursday nights at 9:30 and Saturday nights at midnight) from February through November. This past Thursday night yours truly was back as the host! The series continued with the screening of Park Chan-Wook's 2003 film OLDBOY! Prizes were donated by Streetlight Records and by Time Tunnel Toys, both located here in San Jose. There were also yummy donuts to eat, courtesy of Psycho Donuts located in the lobby.

American Theatrical Poster (2003)
The film's official synopsis: An average man is kidnapped and imprisoned in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. He then is released, equipped with money, a cellphone and expensive clothes. As he strives to explain his imprisonment and get his revenge, Oh Dae-Su soon finds out that his kidnapper has a greater plan for him and is set onto a path of pain and suffering in an attempt to uncover the motive of his mysterious tormentor.

The film is the second chapter in Wook's Vengeance Trilogy. First came SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE which was released in 2002. OLDBOY was released in 2003 and the final installment LADY VENGEANCE came out in 2005.

The films were released here in the states by Tartan Asian Extreme. Eventually all three films were available DVD boxset, then it came out on Blu-ray. This film was just released in a 10th anniversary Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, the new home for the Tartan label.

Upon the film's theatrical release, it garnered positive and soon rave reviews. The website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 80% based on 133 reviews. One of those fans was filmmaker Spike Lee, who remade the film with star Josh Brolin in 2013 to less than critical acclaim.

What a great crowd we had that night!! Over 30 people showed up to see this modern day cult classic! And we're only getting started! Next month we'll be showing Walter Hill's 1976 cult film THE WARRIORS! Now that show will be sold out fast! To view the full 2014 Cult Movie schedule, visit the Camera Cinemas website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!  

Phil sees CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER in 2D at the Cinelux Plaza Theater in Campbell-April 5, 2014

Hello once again everybody! After my SoCal trip, I decided to take a break until the next big movie release. Of course that only last a week because on Friday, the release of Marvel Studio's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER came out! OK this is a big deal and I'm gonna see this one! So I along with my friends Alison and Craig headed on over to the Cinelux Theater in Campbell to see this latest installment in the Marvel Cinema Universe.

The film's official synopsis: After the cataclysmic in New York with The Avengers, the film finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), living quietly in Washington D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web in intrigue that threaten to put the world at risk. Joining forces with Natasha Romanoff aka the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off assailants sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy - the Winter Soldier.

While watching the film, my mind was remembering George Orwell's novel 1984, in it he warned us that Big Brother is watching us. Well, Big Brother was watching us, and he was making huge weapons of mass destruction. This thought occurred when Sgt. Fury (once again by Samuel L. Jackson) was showing Steve the newest weapons from S.H.I.E.L.D. The best line came from Steve when he said, "This isn't freedom. This is fear." This is a horrifying and sobering thought to process while watching a comic book movie sequel.

The film is a throwback to the 1970's spy and espionage films from America and from Great Britain. James Bond films, In Like Flint, All the President's Men are just a few that stand out in my mind. Kudos goes to screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for writing such a thrilling and compelling script, fleshing out all the major characters (especially Steve and Natasha), creating new villains like the Winter Soilder (Sebastian Stan), all new characters like Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) and Sam Wilson aka the Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Plus the story is filled with a lot of twist and turns and surprises that totally caught me off guard. And this is what I look for in a sequel: does it take all the main characters to the next level? Am I being entertained? Is it a worthy entry to the overall franchise? I say a thundering "Yes!" to all three on my criteria.

Chris Evens once again as the Cap does an impeccable job with adding more depth and humanity to his character while still kicking major ass. His on-screen chemistry with Johansson is fantastic and they play off one another very well in the movie. Of course it also helps that they're also good friends in real life. Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury is bad ass as always, but Robert Redford's acting is top notch!! He proves once again that he can take any role and make his own. And he takes the Alexander Pierce character and he not only runs with it, but scores a major touchdown! Phenomenal acting on the part of Redford!!

Stepping in the director's chair are brothers Joe and Anthony Russo. These two have directed other films like WELCOME TO COLLINWOOD and YOU, ME, AND DUPREE plus episodes of televisions shows like Happy Endings and Community. They did such a great job directing this film, that they've already been assigned to direct the next sequel.

Overall CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is a solid, entertaining and thrilling blockbuster!! This is the film that all the other Marvel films will be judged by! This is the milestone in the Marvel Cinema Universe! Go see this movie today!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is currently playing in both 2-D and 3-D 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 RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH: VOLUME 1 signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank-March 30, 2014

Boy, this was one crazy busy weekend!! Not only was I attending Monsterpalooza at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, but I was also at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica Saturday night to attend the Troma Marathon! Now on Sunday, after spending the last day at Monsterpalooza, Bobby, Michelle, and I then headed down the street to the Dark Delicacies Bookstore to checkout the RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH: VOLUME 1 signing with Lloyd Kaufman and two of its stars Stefan Dezil (Slayer) and Gabriela Fuhr (Kelly). It's been a couple of months since I was at the bookstore and I was really looking forward to going back to this excellent place where horror is alive and well!

The lovely Pat Kaufman.
Once again Lloyd's wife Pat was there managing the Troma merchandise table. While there I did a little birthday shopping for my younger siblings. For my baby sister Stephanie, I bought her a DVD copy of POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD and a poster of CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV. For my younger brother Thomas, I got him the TOXIC AVENGER Boxset and a 8x10 pic of Lloyd Kaufman. To make their gifts even more Tromatic, Lloyd personalized them all, which proves without a shadow of doubt that he truly does love his fans!

Oh I almost forgot. The previous night at the Aero Theatre, I won a RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH poster in a raffle. So I also got that and my Blu-ray copy signed by Lloyd as well as by Stefan and Gabriela!! I also saw my friend Del Howison, the owner of Dark Delicacies. I told him to keep up the great work of getting these events because I will continue to come down from San Jose to attend these!!

Lloyd Kaufman, myself, and the Toxic Avenger.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is a wrap from sunny Southern California!! Wow, what an incredible weekend!! I don't think I've had this much fun in one weekend before! First I want to personally thank Lloyd Kaufman for taking the time out to autograph all my Troma memorabilia and for chatting it up with me! Big hugs to Pat for being such a sweetheart! To all the people I got to meet at Monsterpalooza and to all my friends living in SoCal, it was great to see you all again! So far this was my third trip down here, so you know for a fact that I'll be back down here again soon for another one of my crazy adventures! And last, but not least, thank you all out there for reading my articles! I really appreciate that you take time out of your busy lives to read all my wacky reviews and trips! Till next time my friends! And don't forget, to learn more upcoming events at Dark Delicacies, business hours, and product, visit their website at To learn more about Troma, their film library, and to make purchases, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the TROMA MARATHON at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica-March 29, 2014

The Aero Theatre marquee displays the Troma Marathon.
Hello again! So while Bobby, Michelle, and I were attending Monsterpalooza, that same weekend there was a Troma Movie Marathon over at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, which was about a half hour away from Burbank. They were going to show four classic Troma movies: THE TOXIC AVENGER, CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH, TROMEO & JULIET, and it's newest release RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH: VOLUME 1. Now what made this event even more special was that Troma President and co-founder Lloyd Kaufman was there live in-person!! Now I have been a fan ever since I saw the first three TOXIC AVENGER films on the old USA Up All Night program back on a cold Saturday night in February of 1992. These three films changed my life forever, and 22 years later, I was going to finally meet my hero and idol!!

Mark Torgl and myself outside the Aero Theatre.
The theater lobby was packed with fellow Tromites (Troma fans as they are affectionately called) and for the first time, I felt like I was home. Lloyd and his wife Pat had a table set up filled with Troma merchandise: DVDs, Blu-rays, stickers, buttons, posters, comics, they had it all! Plus Toxie was there as well as other celebrities such as Mark Torgl, who played Melvin the mopboy in the first TOXIC AVENGER film and the sequel CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER PART IV. I was able to shack his hand get an autograph from him. A really cool guy who also just happens to have an Indiegogo fundraiser to help make his new project TOXIC TUTU. To learn more about this project and to make a donation, please visit the website

I also saw some old friends of mine. SpookyDan was on hand there, as well as Will Keenan from TROMEO & JULIET, TERROR FIRMER, and a film I saw at Cinequest 22 entitled THE GHASTLY LOVE OF JOHNNY X (you can read all about that infamous screening here). Also in attendance was Alyce LaTourelle, Will's co-star from TERROR FIRMER who also just happens to be his wife! How cool is that? Plus Count Smokula was there to entertain fans with his outstanding accordion skills and E. Yarber, the man who wrote tonight's program that was handed out to fans entitled 40 Years of Troma-More Than Meets the Bile. At 7:30pm, it was time for the marathon to begin!

Troma President Lloyd Kaufman and Mark Torgl.
Lloyd thanked all the Troma fans out in the audience that came out for this historic event, which was hosted by the American Cinematheque. He engaged the audience by having a Q&A session, which was being video recorded by his lovely wife and former New York City Film Commissioner Pat. Will Keenan and Mark Torgl also participated for bit. Count Smokula also serenaded the crowd. Plus making his first SoCal appearance was Stefan Dezil, who portrayed Slater in the RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH. For me, it was so great to be able to interact with Lloyd, Pat, Mark, and even Will. What I love about Lloyd and Troma is they are very loyal to their fans. I had Lloyd autograph just about everything I own and he did it without hesitation. Name one studio head that would do that? None! As long as there is a Troma, I will always be a fan! Now, let's talk about all the movies I saw on that Tromatic night!!
Theatrical Movie Poster (1984)

THE TOXIC AVENGER (1984): Meet little Melvin. He's a 98lbs loser who works at the Tromaville Health Club where he gets picked on a lot. But when a practical joke goes awry, Melvin falls into a vat of chemical waste, thus transforming him into a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength. Melvin becomes The Toxic Avenger, the first superhuman from New Jersey! Soon Toxie is fighting crime and cleaning up Tromaville, much to the chagrin of its fat corrupt Mayor Peter Belgoody (Pat Ryan). But can Toxie and his blind and beautiful girlfriend Sara (Andree Maranda) survive the wrath of the mayor's revenge?

This is the film that put Troma on the map. Originally, nobody wanted to see the film. But when it was booked at the midnight screenings at the Bleeker Street Cinema, the word of mouth spread. Soon there were lines around the block. With its gratuitous nudity, gore, the infamous head crushing scene, toilet humor, and not so special effects, the film went on to win the hearts of fans and became an instant cult classic! The film spawned three sequels to date (with a fourth one in the works), a children's cartoon show, merchandise, action figures, books, games, etc. As we speak, Hollywood is working on a big budget remake of the film. Click here to view the film's original trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1986)
CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH (1986): Tromaville High is your typical ordinary American high school, with just one exception. It's located only one mile away from the Tromaville Nuclear Power Plant! When the plant has a major meltdown, its toxic chemical waste seeps into the school's water supply, thus transforming students into Cretans! High school couple warren and Chrissy (Gil Brenton and Janelle Brady respectively) are the only ones who notice that something's wrong, but when their mutant baby becomes a chemical creature of destruction, they have no choice but to blow up their school!

This is personally my favorite Troma film. It has it all: hot naked chicks, high school pranks, mutant monsters, Cretans, teenage rebellion, destruction to private and public property, and drug usage. What's not to like about all of that? My favorite scenes were all the exterior shots, which were filmed beautifully. Troma Fun Fact: When the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, the radioactive dust from Chernobyl was blowing over the south of France (this fun fact came courtesy of Lloyd Kaufman's first book All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger which I highly recommended reading). Click here to view the film's original trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1996)
TROMEO & JULIET (1996): Body Piercing, Kinky Sex, Dismemberment. The things that made Shakespeare great! With both Will Keenan and Jane Jensen cast in the lead roles as our favorite star crossed lovers, the film takes place in the modern world where the war between the Capulets and the Ques begin to escalate. But can true love conquer hate or will Tromeo and Juliet suffer the same fate as their past incarnations?

After being in a creative slump, Kaufman bounces back with this ingenious adaptation of Shakespeare's beloved classic. The film also boasts an exceptional soundtrack with music by bands such as Motorhead, Superchunk, Ass Ponys, Supernova, The Meatmen as well as Jane Jensen herself. Troma Fun Fact: the movie was written by James Gunn, who would go on later to write the two SCOOBY-DOO films and the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake. He also wrote and directed the horror film SLITHER, the superhero parody SUPER, and the upcoming Marvel Studio blockbuster GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Hard to believe it, but it's true! Click here to view the film's original trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2014)
RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH: VOLUME 1 (2014): The newest Tromamasterpiece from Lloyd Kaufman. The Tromaville Nuclear Power Plant has been torn down to make way for the Tromorganic Foodstuffs Conglomerate. But when bloggers and lesbian lovers Chrissy and Lauren (Asta Paredes and Catherine Corcoran respectively) begin to sense that something is amiss, the Tromaville High Glee Club is mysteriously transformed into a vicious gang of Cretins! And just what is wrong with Lauren's pet Kevin the Wonder Duck? Can these two luscious lipstick lesbian loves lick this investigation?

While both equal parts a remake and a sequel, Kaufman demonstrates that he still has that magic touch. The film is filled with humor (both political and satirical), social commentary on school lunches, evil corporations, violence in schools, and gay rights. Oh, and it still has all the gore, violence, and nudity that one would expect from a Troma movie. Originally the film was one long feature until Quentin Tarantino suggested to Kaufman that he split the film into two volumes like he did with his film KILL BILL. Overall this is another worthy entry in the franchise that all of you out there should see! And guess what? The movie is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD so go out there and pick up a copy for yourself! Click here to view the film's trailer.

And folks, there you have it! One of the most amazing cinematic experiences I have ever had! Meeting Lloyd, Pat, Mark, Keenan, Toxie and the rest of the gang was awesome!! So do yourself a favor, if you've never seen a Troma film, I would recommend seeing these four movies today! All of these cinematic gems and more are available to buy on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital download. To learn more about Troma, their film library, and to make purchases, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Phil attends MONSTERPALOOZA 2014 at the Marriot Hotel and Convention Center in Burbank-March 28-30, 2014

Greetings and salutations from Burbank!! Oh, why yes, I am back down in SoCal for another one of my many adventure! But this was no ordinary adventure! No, no, no my friends! I was there attending the convention known as MONSTERPALOOZA, which was held at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. For almost three days, yours truly (along with my friends Michelle and her boyfriend Bobby) had once again the most amazing time! I got to meet cool horror celebrities, saw some amazing make up effects and designs, got a ton of autographs, bought a bunch of cool stuff.

I had the pleasure of meeting several horror actors and actresses during this weekend. Of course I don't want to brag, but here's who I got to meet: Nancy Allen from DRESSED TO KILL, BLOW OUT and the ROBOCOP series, Bela Lugosi Jr., Ron Chaney and the rest of the Chaney Family, the cast of the HELLRAISER series, Courtney Gains and John Franklin from the original CHILDREN OF THE CORN, Sara Karloff, historian Bob Burns, just to name a few. Now there was a lot to see and do for those three days! Lucky for all of you , I took an insane amount of pictures! So for all of you out there on the world wide web, sit back, relax, and have fun checking out my favorite pics from this year's Monsterpalooza!!

Outside the Marriott waiting to get in.
The guys at the Midnight Syndicate Films were on hand to offer up some excellent chills and thrills. They had several movies on hand to purchase, as well as their awesome soundtracks like the newly released MONSTERS OF LEGEND! I picked up their 3 Disc Deluxe Edition of THE DEAD MATTER. For more info check out their website at
Scares That Cares is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization that "fights the REAL MONSTERS of childhood illness, burns and breast cancer by helping families that are experiencing these extraordinary hardships cope with the financial burden." To help make a donation, please visit them at
Oh the sea of humanity!!
Me with actress Nancy Allen from CARRIE, BLOW OUT, and the ROBOCOP series.
Genie from the Bottle. How cool looking is this?
This is Christopher R. Mihm. This talented writer/director is based out in Minnesota & makes the ultra cool retro 1950's sci-fi & monster movies! I recommend them all! Check out his website
The main entrance to the Exhibit Area.
And let the draining of my bank account begin!! Look at all this cool stuff I need to buy!!
Composer  John Harrison was on hand to sign the newly released CDs of CREEPSHOW and DAY OF THE DEAD!! I of course bought DAY OF THE DEAD because it's my favorite!
Amazing detailed models and statues on display for collectors to purchase.
Awesome custom made dioramas for your action figures.
Here I am along with cult actor/director Greydon Clark! He stared in the cult classic SATAN'S SADISTS. He went on direct other classics such as SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS, JOY STICKS, FINAL JUSTICE, and ANGEL'S REVENGE. The last two films become popular on the hit TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000. Go check out his website at and pick up his new autobiography On The Cheap: My Life in Low Budget Filmmaking!
Rotten Cotton "is the best Underground Horror, Sleaze, & Exploitation T-Shirts in the Universe!" And it's based out in Antioch, CA! So check them out at And remember kids: If it ain't Rotten Cotton, it ain't shit!
Alien space babes! Why yes, I would like to mate with you!
The autopsy table with the body of the late, great Frankenstein's Monster.
Hey it's Mia from the EVIL DEAD remake. This awesome replica comes from Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights and it was made by Patrick Magee of MAGEE FX!
The Reaper wants your soul!
This is what happens when you fall asleep in a tanning bed kids.
What's scary than a freaky looking puppet? Two freaky looking puppets! Want these two to add to your collection? Then head on over to today!
Another awesome creepy looking product courtesy of the fine folks over at This of course is from the incredibly scary James Wan film INSIDIOUS.
Me again with another beautiful model who's name I can't recall. Well, this explains why I don't have a girlfriend. I can't remember beautiful women's names!
Oh Brittany! You've done it again!!
This is what happened to Snoopy during the zombie outbreak.
OK, I am trying to recall her name right now, but I cannot recall what it was. Mainly because I was so enthralled with her! I mean, c'mon! Look how hot and spooky she looks! I wanted to marry her right then and there!
Yup, it's just me hanging out with my old friends Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, and Freddy Kruger.
This was such a kick for me! To see this young girls (who was about 10 years old) got dressed up to meet her idol Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. I thought this was fantastic, especially since she wasn't even born when the film first came out!
Here's actor Russ Tamblyn autographing my original one sheet poster of the cult classic SATAN'S SADISTS. The other signature on the left is by Greydon Clark.
THIS WAS THE BEST WEEKEND I HAVE EVER HAD!! (OK I know that I saw that phrase a lot, but look at all the fun things I do!) I met so may icons in the horror genre, saw some great movies, party hard with all my friends, stayed up way too late, got up way too early, drank, ate, everyday was party!! This was such a blast! No you're all probably wondering when's the next convention? Glad you asked! There's gonna be a show called Son of Monsterpalooza and it'll be held on September 12-14, 2014! As soon as more details are released. I'll let you all know! In the meantime, to see who else was there, and to learn more about the event, check out their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!