Sunday, March 9, 2014

Phil attends Cinequest 24: Day 5-March 8, 2014

Welcome everybody to Day Five of my trip to Cinequest 24! So I was originally going to attend seven screening but because  one film went on a lot longer than I anticipated, I ended up seeing only six films today. But having that little break made me get caught up on some rest, so I can't complain. OK folks, let's talk all about the films I did see today!

I started off over at the Camera 12 to the drama film entitled NEVER. Set in Seattle, the film follows two twenty-somethings as they forged an unlikely friendship. Denim (Zachary Booth) is the new guy in town who falls in love with his new best friend Nikki (Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin Williams) a struggling lesbian singer-songwriter who is still trying to make it in music. Together they learn how to open up their minds and hearts and learn to love life and themselves.

This was the screen debut of Miss Zelda Williams, and I thought she did a marvelous job in her role as Nikki. She was sweet, vulnerable, and an incredible singer! If she ever releases an album, I'll be all over it! Zachary Booth brings that lovable new guy to life with a hint of naivete and sensitivity. Together these two have great on-screen chemistry and bring that turmoil period called your "early 20's" to life. Boasting a strong script and solid directing, the film is very impressive and I look forward to seeing it again soon! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended! The film will be screening on more time on Monday, March 10th at 3:00pm at the Camera 12.

For my second film of the day I made a dash over to the California Theatre to see the locally made documentary called THE RUGBY PLAYER. This doc focuses on the life of Mark Bingham, one of the heroes aboard the United Flight 93 on 9/11. The film talks about his early life, his time as a rugby player for Cal Berkley (Go Bears!!), his coming out as a gay man, and his act of heroism that inspired a nation. Told through candid interviews by those who knew him and personal video footage shot by Bingham himself, the documentary tells the real story of a local man who became a hero.

What a fantastic documentary! It's local history that I knew a little about, but now thanks to the film, many more people will come to know of the courage of Mark Bingham, who has now become a local hero and an inspiration to many. For coming out gay, he broke the common stereotypes that are acquainted with being a gay man. He was a successful business man, a rugby player, a son, a friend, and now a national treasure. After the screening, director Scott Gracheff, producer Chris Million, and Mark's mother came out to participate in a Q&A session. This is my favorite documentary at this year's festival!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! The film will be screened one more time on Saturday, March 15th at 4:45pm at the California Theatre.

Film number three for me today was the oddball comedy A IS FOR ALEX. The film features real-life couple Katie and Alex Orr (BLOOD CAR from Cinequest 2007) portray cinematic versions of themselves as they are about to welcome their first child into the world. Problem is this causes Alex to suffer from high stress and anxiety issues, causing him to cry a lot. Like face first in their bed. Or crying in the bathtub. Oh, and there's this problem regarding these robotic killer bees that he created, which are taking over the town. Oh, and his mom is arrested on charges of possessing and downloading child pornography onto the Internet.

Prior to the movie, there was a short film screened entitled THE SHOEMAKER, a funny and informative documentary about a 91-year-old New York shoemaker who's been in the same shop for over 50 years.

I've had the pleasure of knowing Alex and Katie since 2007 with their first film BLOOD CAR, and it was awesome to see them again last year's festival with CONGRATULATIONS, which Alex produced. You can always on these two for coming up with some truly unique and original cinematic features. After the screening, Alex and Katie along with shorts director Dustin Cohen participated in a fun-filled Q&A session. This crazy comedy will leave you with a big smile on your face! 4 out of  stars! Recommended! The film will be screened again on Sunday, March 9th at 6:30 PM and again on Friday, March 14th at 4:45pm. Both screenings will be held at the Camera 12.

I stayed at the Camera 12 for my next feature entitled SEX(ED): THE MOVIE which was having its world premiere! This wild and crazy documentary tells the true history of everybody's favorite school subject matter: sex education! The film documents all the weird, sexist, bizarre, and bewildering sex ed films that we used to see back when we were in school! Using clips these old relics, combined with new interviews with modern day sexperts, as well as high school and college students, the film reveals some of the most hilarious moments ever captured on film, but at the same time exposes the gross incompetence on the subject matter.

I remember being taught sex ed back in the 5th grade. In fact, the films I had to watch were in this film!! Damn I feel old!! Anyway, this was a great documentary that really brought home the truth about sex ed. At times it was very sexist and misleading. At times the information that was given were sometimes incorrect. Plus it also gave the notion that sex was a bad thing and something you shouldn't even think about. The sheer stupidity and ignorance stems from the fact that there wasn't enough information or education back then. Nowadays, even though we have the Internet to look at all the sex we want, kids today are not being taught sex ed. And that is a shame! Director Brenda Goodman did a marvelous job of creating a very funny yet very educational documentary! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended! The film will be screened again on Sunday, March 9th at 4:45pm and once more on Tuesday, March 11th at 5:00pm. Both screenings will be held at the Camera 12.

Film numero five was the world premiere of the greatest 80's tribute films of all time ETERNITY: THE MOVIE! The film tells the story of Todd and BJ (Barrett Crake and Myko Olivier repectively), two inspiring R&B singers who want to make the best music ever created. Soon this dynamic duo is known as Eternity, the greatest 80's R&B band ever! But their friendship is put to the test as they both fall in love with the same woman (the beautiful Nikki Leonti). Can the guys survive this or will Eternity will be nevermore?

Holy crap this movie was so much fun to watch!! The big hair, the god awful 80's music, the clothes, the cars, the styles, everything screamed the 1980's! The production values were top notch! The directing looked amazing! The story was perfect! Both Crake and Olivier were awesome in their roles and had perfect on-screen chemistry. The gay innuendos were too much for me to handle! I was laughing so hard I thought my guts were going to explode! After the screening several members of the cast and crew participated in a fun-filled rousing Q&A session. ETERNITY: THE MOVIE is the greatest 80's film never to have been made in the 80's! And it's also my FAVORITE film of the festival! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! The film will be screened again on Sunday, March 9th at 9:15pm and once more on Friday, March 14th at 4:45pm. Both screenings will be held at the Camera 12. Also make sure to like their Facebook page,  follow the film on Twitter, and check out their official website at

The sixth and final film I saw on Saturday was the midnight film LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONSTERS! Sisters Carla (Marissa Skell) and Marla (Gena Shaw) are on their way to the cheesy tourist trap “Uncle Slavko’s All-American Family Lodge” to surprise Carla’s fiancé, Johnny. But when he and his co-workers fall into a toxic chemical waste spill over in a nearby creek, these guys transform into hideous monsters dressed up in Big Foot costumes a.k.a PsychoMonkeys!! Soon the lodge is overrun by these PsychoMonkeys, and Carla, Marla, and the rest of the staff and guests must find a way to defeat them and save Johnny.

Wow what a fucking awesome movie this was! It had it all, blood, boobs, Kan Hodder, boobs, mutated killer squirrels, boobs, hot chicks cover in blood, boobs, a mutated moose....did I mention the boobs yet? OK just making sure. Director Matt Jackson did one helluva job of making this film funny, fast paced, and bloody as hell! The entire cast did a stupendous job! The production value was off the charts! After the screening several members of the cast and crew participated in a hilarious and informative Q&A session. Overall, this film has something for everyone! If you like THE TOXIC AVENGER and NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION, then LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONSTERS is right up your alley!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! The film will be playing again at the Camera 12 on Monday, March 10th at 9:30pm and once more on Saturday, March 15th at 9:15pm. Visit the film's official website and follow the film on Facebook too.

And that was Day Five of my cinematic trip to Cinequest 24. My new total now is 22 films in 5 days! So far so good!! Remember the festival will be running till March 16th so there's plenty of time for you to join in on the fun here in Downtown San Jose! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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