Thursday, March 13, 2014

Phil attends Cinequest 24: Day 8-March 11, 2014

Welcome everybody to Day Eight of my trip to Cinequest 24! I saw another five films today; two documentaries and three feature films. So I think we should skip the introduction and start talking about all the cool movies I saw today!

The first documentary I saw today was the awesome MASTERPIECE: FRANK MILLER'S THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. This bad boy tells the complete behind the scenes story of one of the greatest graphic novels to be published by DC Comics back in the 1980's. Combining interviews with industry legends like Miller, inker of the book Klaus Janson, Dennis O'Neil, Bruce Timm, Grant Morrison, Jenette Kahn, and narrated by the one and only Malcolm McDowell, Miller talks candidly about he's early days of doing Daredevil at Marvel, then giving the free reigns to create The Dark Knight Returns, and by doing this, brought the Batman character into a whole new world.

I was there when Frank's masterpiece was released to comic book stores and it had a major impact on me. It was dark, edgy, nihilistic,  and captures 80's Regan era with such accuracy that it made me paranoid. Frank Miller became a legend after the release of The Dark Knight Returns. creating other amazing series like 300 and Sin City, both which were made into Hollywood blockbusters! This was a great doc and very informative to those who never read the graphic novel (and if you haven't what the hell is wrong with you? Go buy the damn book now!) and a nice look back at one of my childhood's most amazing period. 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended! Today was the last screening of the film, however, it is available as an all-new bonus feature in the newly released BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS DELUXE EDITION Blu-ray!! To purchase a copy, visit your local retailer or visit the Amazon website.

The second documentary I saw earlier was called THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK, which focused on the world famous Lucha Libre wrestler El Hijo del Santo, the son of the legendary El Santo. By using a combination of archival wrestling and interview footage, new interviews with family and friends, posters, movie clips and such, the story of Santo is told in all its glory for the first time ever! This is what Lucha Libre fans have been waiting for!

I grew up watching the old El Santo monster movies and yes, there were pretty bad, but always entertaining! Later on I was able to see El Santo along with his son wrestle on my local television station. What drew me to the film originally was being a Santo fan. But then when El Hijo del Santo talks about his father, the honor and legacy of theSanto name, and carrying on his father's name, the film became more about family, heritage and tradition. These three are very strong in the Mexican culture. THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK an poignant, inspiring and high flying film about one of the most important names ever in the history of Lucha Libre! If you're an El Santo fan or a fan of wrestling period, then you need to see this documentary! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended! The flm will be screened again at the Camera 12 on Saturday, March 15th at 2pm.

Film number three of the day was the very intense dark comedy/drama IT WAS YOU CHARLIE.  Meet Abner Roth. He used to be a world famous sculptor and a former college art teacher. Now all he is just a sad, pathetic little man who works as a doorman on the graveyard shift. He can't handle his family, is awkward in public places and doesn't have a lot of friends. Enter Zoe; a happy-go-lucky, free spirited taxi driver who becomes Abner's new best friend. But with all this pint up anger and guilt he's been caring around for the past three years, can Zoe change Abner's look on life or will it get worse for him?

This was a very layered film and quite dense. It does play with continuity as the film takes place over a series of three years, or more specific three birthdays for Abner. Director Emmanuel Shirinian kept me glued to my seat as I was trying to deduce the film's origin and see what was going to happen to our sad sack friend. Great acting performance by all the cast. An undiscovered gem of a film! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended! Unfortunately, today was the last screening of the movie.

The fourth film I saw was the drama BREATH IN, about a family who take in a foreign exchange student named Sophie. Her timing couldn't have been more worse. Family man and music teacher Keith fantasizes about his days as a starving artist in Manhattan and secretly wishes to move back so he can be musically inspired again. His wife doesn't share her husband's dreams. To make things worse, he secretly falls for the beautiful Sophie and both plan to leave their respective mundane worlds and start a new in the city.

Talk about your mid-life crisis film! Poor Keith! All he wants to do is live his life as he wishes! But his conformed wife doesn't encourage him. In fact, she doesn't really believe in him at all! All he wants to do is make music his life passion, not just be a music teacher. As the old saying goes, those who can't do teach, and Keith doesn't want to fall into that category. And Sophia is so young and innocent and sees so much more in him than his own wife. So to all you mid-life crisis men out there: go get crazy! Go live the life you want! Buy that corvette! Run off with your secretary! And oh yeah, the movie was really good and you should check it out! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended! Unfortunately, today was the last screening of the movie.

The fifth and final film I saw was the comedy A THIEF, AND KID, AND A KILLER. A young boy comes home to his apartment that he shares with his mother and finds a stranger in his bedroom doing heroin. Then things get really bizarre! Add his best friend who are hiding out in the kid's apartment from these two corrupt cops who were partners with the other two guys to pull off a jewelery heist that went wrong! *whew*

Yeah there's a lot of laughs to be found in here as well as some darkness. Death, suicide, drugs, violence, murder, everything you want in a kid's film! Boasting a great directing, good acting and a solid script, this was a very welcomed surprise! 4 out of 5 films! recommended!

And folks, there you have Day Eight in a nutshell! All together I've seen 37 films so far! Remember the festival ends on Sunday, March 16th so make sure you come out here to San Jose! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Phil! So glad you liked It Was You Charlie :) - Emma Fleury aka Zoe