Thursday, March 27, 2014

Phil attends Cinequest 24: Day 12-March 15, 2014

OK folks!! This is it!! The final weekend of the Cinequest 24 Film Festival! For today I saw a total of six films, so let the movie reviews begin!

The first film I saw today was the Italian comedy ZORAN, MY IDIOT NEPHEW. Paolo, an arrogant 40 year-old who spends his days between drinking sessions and an unsatisfying job. One day, his nephew shows up out of nowhere.Enter Zoran: he's 15 years old, a bit eccentric, and wears big Harry Potter like glasses. Just the idea of being an uncle makes Paolo sick to his stomach. However, when he discovers that Zoran is a master at playing darts! He always hit the bullseye every single time! This gives Paolo an idea of how to make money off of him! He takes Zoran to enter him in the world darts championship, where the winner makes off with a huge grand prize.

I was laughing so hard that I was coughing throughout the movie. Now being part Italian, I love watching Italian comedies. They're so funny and slightly off beat and absurd that it just takes me away and I'm completely engulfed with their traditions and wacky ways of living. The film has larger than life characters, beautiful shots of Italy's landscape, and loads of laughter. What's not to like abou this film? 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended viewing!!

The second film I saw today was the documentary THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK. The reason I was going to see it again was because I was going to take my brother to see this. My brother is a professional wrestling referee and has worked with many famous wrestlers as well as Lucha Libre superstars. But my brother never got back to me (damn kid) and so went and saw this again. And I loved it the second time around (You can read my original review of the film here). One of my favorite documentaries!

The third film I saw today was the midnight film from last night that I was planning to see but was way too tired. The film APP is a horror/thriller about a killer app. Yes, technology has finally been caught red handed. In this Netherlands export, the beautiful Anna (Hannah Hoekstra) is a young psychology student who downloads this new app called IRIS. What starts out as a very helpful new app begins to terrorize Anna and soon, all of her friends die from gruesome deaths. She can't delete it, or else it will take another life, maybe hers!

Now what makes this film really unique that prior to the movie, there is a disclaimer by the filmmakers encouraging the audience to download the movie app so they can participate with the film with their phone while watching the movie. This has been dubbed “First Film for the Second Screen,” and it's a pretty cool idea. It worked well with the film but overall, it mattered little to me. I was too busy watching the film, which I enjoyed very much. Hannah Hoekstra was great in the movie, the death scenes were very cool, and it was obvious that this was a big budget mainstream horror film. But because it won't likely see a release here, I'm glad that Cinequest was able to bring this clever and innovative horror film to the festival. 4 out of 5 stars!! Recommended viewing!!

Film four of the day was A SHORT HISTORY OF DECAY, which was based on an original script by director Michael Maren. Brooklyn based writer Nathan Fisher (Bryan Greenberg) is having problems writing his new book and keeping his girlfriend. In the end, his girlfriend leaves him. To make matters worse, he gets a call from Florida from his Alzheimer stricken mother Sandy who tells hm that his father just had a stroke. He flies down to be with his parents (along with his older brother) while finding the inspiration to write his book.

The movies boasts some big name talents. One of the film's producer is non-other than Academy Award-winner Milos Forman, who's directed modern day classic films such as ONE FLEW OF THE CUCKOO'S NEST, AMADEUS and MAN ON THE MOON. The mom Linda Lavin is famous for her role in the TV series Alice. Bryan Greenberg is from FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS. So there's a lot of good acting in the film and great directing. It's a sweet dark comedy that tackles some of the issues of life that we all struggle with . Overall an enjoyable movie! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended viewing!

Movie number five was preceded by a Cinequest PTP short entitled DREAMING OF THE SWEET LIFE. The short focused on a homeless mother and daughter. The mother dreams of her and her daughter living in a nice home, where her husband used to beat her. To escape from their Hell, they run away together. A really powerful short film!

THE PURPLE ONION (which is still a work in process) was named after the now defunct comedy club in San Francisco. The film focuses on Johnny Lee (actual stand-up comedian Edwin Li) who is a bus boy at a Mexican restaurant. He dreams of being a famous comedian, bur when a mysterious woman shows up at his door (now as to it's his mother, sister, or an old girlfriend is never made clear) he begins to come out of his shell and thus, becomes a better comedian because of it.

As I stated earlier, the film is still a work in process, so it's still a little rough around the edges. But the film is a very intriguing dark comedy that relies on the simplistic acts of comedy: a funny face, a strange noise, etc. Also as the film progresses, Johnny's act becomes better and funnier. I am very curious as to see what the final cut will look like. Maybe we'll see the finished film at Cinequest 25? I hope so! 3 out of 5 stars!

The sixth and final screening of the day/night was the SHORTS 5 PROGRAM: SHIFTED REALITIES. Let my reality get shifted!!

BIOGRAPHER: Sergey Krugov works at the Research Center for Personality Reconstruction. His job is to modify people's fates by changing their past. But can he make them truly happy? And can he find his own happiness?

BOX: A cool 3D experimental short with cool robotic arms that manipulate these 3D boxes.

CARGO: Stranded in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, a man sets in motion an unlikely plan to protect the precious cargo he carries: his infant daughter.

A man travels back in time to tell himself his life will get better if he cheats on his girlfriend.

GÖDEL INCOMPLETE: A time-travel romance between one of the great minds of the 20th Century, Kurt Godel, and a lonely particle physicist, Serita Cedric, a research student working at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

I'M 23 AND THERE'S A FUCKING MONSTER UNDER MY BED: A young man moves back in with his parents after college, only to discover that the monster - which tormented him as a child - is still in his bedroom.

OVER THE MOON: Heroine Connie Radar defends the moon from the USA and attempts to prevent the first moon landing.

SHIFT: A man who invents a device that lets him jump through space. Seen this like a million times already.

SORRY ABOUT TOMORROW: Baldwin's life is spinning out of control. Luckily, he's been working on a time machine with some friends and decides to take a chance to see if he can fix it.

A STITCH IN TIME (FOR $9.99): Laura Fein has an appointment at a time travel agency to have a burning question answered: Does her co-worker like her?

And that was the last day of regular screenings, which if you were counting I'm up to 56 screenings!! Tomorrow is the festival's Encore Day and the festival will be showing all the favorites as voted by the audience and the festival's jury. Plus tomorrow night is the closing night screening and party! So even though it's the last day, tickets for Encore Day and the Closing Night Gala are still available! Please visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

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