Monday, May 23, 2016

Phil sees THE WITCH from Lionsgate - May 22, 2016

When I first saw the trailer for today's review I was super excited. It looked very scary, absolutely terrifying really. And all the reviews for the film were positive and glowing. Finally, a horror movie that was going to scare the hell out of me! And so I finally got to see the film THE WITCH and I have to say the movie didn't even come close to living up to the hype.

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. 'The Witch' is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own fears and anxieties, leaving them prey for an inescapable evil.

So instead of doing my usual film review, I've decided to just list the pros and cons of it. Now, let me explain the pros of the movie: the cinematography was gorgeous and eerie. Acting was believable. Costumes looked very authentic. Location and production values were top notch. Actress Anya Taylor-Joy was phenomenal as our main protagonist Thomasin.

Now the cons of the movie: it wasn't scary. All the good parts were in the film. It dragged in certain parts. Those twins were annoying as hell. You barely saw the witch at all. The ending was anti-climatic. And it wasn't scary at all.

THE WITCH was one of the biggest horror movie letdowns for me so far this year. I was so looking forward to seeing this and in the end I was so damn disappointed. It had so much potential of becoming one of the scariest horror films of all time and unfortunately it did not deliver. 2 out of 5 stars! It's barely worth the time and the rental!


THE WITCH  is still playing in select theaters nationwide. The movie is also available on Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer as well as on Video On Demand, Netflix and Redbox plus digital download.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Phil Gets Tromatized: THE CHOSEN ONE: LEGEND OF THE RAVEN (1998) from Troma Entertainment - May 19, 2016

THE CHOSEN ONE DVD Cover (1998)
THE CHOSEN ONE: LEGEND OF THE RAVEN
Starring: Carmen Electra, Shauna Sand, Debra Xavier, Dave Oliver, Tim Bagley, Conrad Bachmann, Leslie Hunt, Billy A. Fox, Lawrence Lanoff, Priscilla Taylor, Charles Santore
Written by Sam Rappaport & Khara Bromiley
Cinematography by Robert C. New
Edited by India Rose & Thomas Teltser
Produced by Lawrence Lanoff, Hoke M. Rose, India Rose, Corey Kiefer & James Velasquez 
Directed by Lawrence Lanoff
Distributed by Troma Entertainment 

Welcome back to another edition of Phil Gets Tromatized where I'll be reviewing the films from Troma Entertainment's vast library. Today's film review is one of several films that Troma has released to feature a future Hollywood star. In one of her earliest starring roles, singer/model/actress Carmen Electra would go on to star in television shows and major Hollywood movies as well as grace the pages of Playboy Magazine. But before all the fame, fortune and notoriety, she starred in the Redsploitation Troma film THE CHOSEN ONE: LEGEND OF THE RAVEN directed by Lawrence Lanoff.

The film's official synopsis: Sexy superstar Carmen Electra (star of TV’s Baywatch and MTV’s Singled Out) explodes onto the screen in her feature film debut as McKenna Ray, THE CHOSEN ONE: the ultimate warrior in the battle between good and evil. When her sister Emma (Playboy Playmate Shauna Sand Lamas, star of TV’s hit series Renegade) is viciously murdered, McKenna, a cynical young lady, enters a world which she left long ago. Guided by her shaman father and Emma’s spirit, McKenna discovers that she holds the key within her to prevent the apocalypse. Carmen Electra is THE CHOSEN ONE, a powerful beautiful avenging force of purity who’s sole purpose is to defend the weak and destroy the wicked.

Original VHS Box Cover (1998)
I saw this movie when it was first released on VHS and I loved it right from the start for several reasons. First, Carmen Electra was in it and I had a mad crush on this woman. Second, she had a cool costume and looked hot in it. Third, it had an interesting plot that was equal parts of THE CROW and classic exploitation cinema, which I enjoyed. Fourth, it was just an awesome B-movie to sit back and watch. It's really that simple people.

With this being her film debut, Electra did a great job and showed the world that she wasn't just another pretty face (which she still has and looks absolutely stunning). Her Indian ceremonial dance she did in the that outfit was so damn sexy. But there was one thing that did bother and that was she had a body double for her sex scene. This still baffles me to this day. She posed nude for Playboy for crying out loud but she had a double for the sex scene. The only logical conclusion I came up with was maybe she was nervous to do the scene with her male co-star Dave Oliver, who played Henry her love interest in the film. Posing nude and doing a sex scene in a movie are two totally different things I suppose, but I thought her acting was great.

Another Playboy Playmate  to appear in the film was the former Shauna Sand Lamas, who at the time was married to Lorenzo Lamas, star of the hit television show Renegade. Sultry, sexy and her running in the forest in the beginning of the film is the stuff every teenage boy's fantasy, Sand's acting is as legendary as her breasts. Not saying she can't act because she can a little bit. But to be honest, she is eye candy in the film, but her wardrobe in the movie more than makes up for her acting abilities.

The last actress I wanted to mention was Debra Xavier, who portrayed Nora/The Wolf in the movie. Better known from the steamy television series Red Shoe Diaries, her performance was really good and let me just say, she can play crazy like no other. Oh, and look for the director in here as well playing Serial Killer Bob. He's just as psychotic as she is!

THE CHOSEN ONE: LEGEND OF THE RAVEN is another fine B-rated Troma classic that you have to see to believe! It's so bad it's good motto fits this movie like a glove, but it really is a decent little movie! And it's pretty hot and sexy as well! So go see this late 90's flick and have fun watching it! 3 1/2 out of 5 stars! Worth checking out!


THE CHOSEN ONE: LEGEND OF THE RAVEN is currently available on DVD at your local retailer. The film is also available at the Troma website. To purchase this film as well as books, posters and Blu-Rays and DVDs, visit www.troma.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Phil's Horror Watch: AVENGED (2013) from Uncork'd Entertainment - May 17, 2016

AVENGED DVD Cover (2015)
AVENGED
Starring: Amanda Adrienne Smith, Rodney Rowland, Marc Anthony Samuel, Tom Ardavany, Brionne Davis, John Charles Meyer, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Kyle Morris
Written by Michael S. Ojeda and Deon van Rooyen (additional diolague)
Cinematography by Michael S. Ojeda
Edited by Michael S. Ojeda
Directed by Michael S. Ojeda
Distributed by Uncork'd Entertainment

The landscape of the independent horror film world as seen some of the most interesting, unique, unconventional and original entries within the genre. Films like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE TOXIC AVENGER, RE-ANIMATORTHE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT challenged society and the status quo with their frank depiction of violence, gore, sexuality and social commentary. These movies revolutionized the genre and in the process both shocked and terrified audiences. In this new century, we have seen a plethora of outstanding indie horror films that have both horrified and entertained fans and critics alike such as HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, FATHER'S DAY, STARRY EYES and WE ARE STILL HERE. Another fine example of this trend is the film AVENGED released by Uncork'd Entertainment.

The film's official synopsis: Traveling cross country, Zoe (Amanda Adrienne Smith), a deaf mute woman, is brutally savaged and left for dead after trying to save a Native American youth from a gang of rednecks. When a Native shaman finds her clinging to life in a shallow grave he attempts to save her - but something goes horribly wrong. The awoken spirit of a bloodthirsty Apache warrior takes possession of Zoe's dead body. Now she walks amongst the living, hell-bent on getting revenge. One by one she slaughters the men who murdered her, while the clock ticks away on her quickly decomposing body.

The movie perfectly blends the elements of several different genres to create a very entertaining and grotesque movie. Its ingredients come from horror and action films to the rape/revenge genre and exploitation, more specifically Redsploitation. Now if that last one doesn't sound familiar, let me explain what this term means. In the exploitation genre, there are several different subgenres. One of these is Redsploitation, where the main protagonist is a Native American who extracts revenge on those who wronged him or her, usually white oppressors. Films like BILLY JACK, SCALPS, and THE MANITOU are perfect examples of Redsploitation cinema. 

Promotional Poster w/ Original Title (2013)
Writer/director Michael S. Ojeda pulls no punches and hides nothing from us. The movie is the work of a genius and, dare I say, the voice of an authentic auteur. The movie is absolutely his vision, crafted and carried out with such conviction and focus. With a bare minimum budget, Ojeda accomplishes more than his Hollywood counterparts with bigger budgets. The story is one we've seen before from films like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE to THE CROW but he spins it around to the point of being refreshingly different and clever. His framing of compositions is wholly his own, borrowing from all those great directors who came before him but making his style and vision all his own. Without question a brand new voice to the horror film world has arrived.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't say somethings about the film's lead actress Amanda Adrienne Smith. The role requires a strong actress who can portray a deaf and mute woman who comes back from the dead to take her vengeance on those who violated her in such gruesome displays of retaliaton, let alone make it look so damn convincingly real. Not since Camille Keaton have I seen an actress go above and beyond in a role that commands respect, conviction and guts. Major applause goes to this extraordinarily talented young woman.

The film premiered at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea back in October 2013 under its original title SAVAGED. It went on to play at several other festivals such as the Screamfest Horror Film Festival, the Glasgow Fright Fest and the Fantasporto Film Festival before it was picked up for distribution by Uncork'd Entertainment. The film was then retitled when it was released on DVD in April of 2015.

AVENGED is a fantastically wicked, mind blowingly graphic, socially charged, down and dirty slice of exploitation horror cinema!! For all those who think they've seen it all, you haven't seen this one yet! This is movie will stay with you long after the credits have rolled! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


AVENGED is currently available on DVD at your local retailer or online at the Amazon website. It is also available on Video On Demand, digital download and Amazon Prime. To learn more about Uncork'd Entertainment, their films and upcoming releases, visit their website at www.uncorkedentertainment.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Phil interviews writer/director Kansas Bowling from the upcoming film B.C. BUTCHER from Troma Entertainment - May 15, 2016

Writer/Director Kansas Bowling (Picture from IMDb)
For the past several months, I have had the pleasure of interviewing several of the actresses from the from the upcoming Troma Entertainment film B.C. BUTCHER. Today my series concludes with my interview with the co-writer and director of the film herself: Kansas Bowling. From living in Topanga Canyon to walking the red carpet at the Egyptian Theater, read all about this amazing young filmmaker's journey who became the first inductee into the Tromaville Institute for Gifted Youth and was recently listed as one of W magazine's 42 up-and-comers.

Phil Castor: Let me start off by saying congratulations with all the success your film B.C. BUTCHER has received. When you first made the picture, did you ever thought it would become this popular and garner all these rave reviews and fans?

Kansas Bowling: Thank you so much! I had no idea what would happen with this movie. It started off just something a friend and I wrote in high school and then I started making it with no plans for distribution or anything... I was just going to see what would happen. But I didn't think it would be as big as it has become. And if you would have told me back then that Lloyd Kaufman would attach himself as an executive producer I would have fainted!

PC: Back in March your film had it's big Hollywood premiere at the world famous Egyptian Theater. Describe seeing the movie on the big screen being played to a sold out crowd?

KB: It was so much fun. Well... watching it with that big crowd was kind of scary. Just because you want to make sure everyone is laughing at the funny parts and not falling asleep or anything. But I had the best time that night. I couldn't believe how many people came - it really blew me away.

PC: I understand that there was a Red Carpet Gala before the screening of the film. Tell me what was that experience like?

KB: So, so fun! This really wonderful organization Women Underground who promotes women in horror helped put the event on. And they made sure everything was professional and made it a legitimate thing. So many interesting people were there for the red carpet... Kathleen Hughes, who was the star of It Came From Outer Space; so many cool bands like Them Guns, The Fontaines, Kill My Coquette, and the Death Valley Girls; Priscilla Presley; and then after the film Count Smokula played accordion and Ron Jeremy played harmonica. We had girls dressed as cavewomen too. It was just so fun!

PC: So take us back to the beginning. What was your upbringing like? Where were you born and raised?

KB: I moved around a lot when I was a kid. I lived in the city at first and then Topanga Canyon. Topanga Canyon is in the Santa Monica mountains and it pretends to be this hippie community, but in reality it's so not. It's a strange world that I got out of, because I moved back into the city when I was 14. My childhood and especially my teen years (well, early teen years? I'm still a teen) focused solely on watching movies. I just watched so so so so many movies. And I knew that when I got out of school, things wouldn't be so dull. And I was right!

PC: What was school like for you? Did you excel in certain subjects that appealed to you?

KB: I hated school. The public schools in this country are such a joke. I had terrible teachers that were cruel and lazy and didn't give a damn about anything besides their paycheck. It was so miserable. I figured out some way to graduate early by taking extra classes on the side and somehow did my junior and senior year at the same time and graduated when I was 16. 

PC: I read that you were a big fan of low budget, exploitation films and its directors like Doris Wishman, Russ Meyers, Roger Corman and John Waters. How were you introduced to these films and what do you like about them?

Molly Elizabeth Ring & Kansas Bowling. (Photo from Facebook)
KB: I was never really introduced to these films. But I always watched films as a kid that my parents would show me, but they were never that obscure. But movies became so important to me and once you obsess over any film, you go back and find their influences. And when I did things like that, it would spiral into new obsessions. I discovered a lot of it just on my own, reading about actors and directors and being curious about their work. 

PC: It was during your high school years that the idea for B.C. BUTCHER came about. What was your inspiration for the film?

KB: We came up with the idea in a matter of seconds. I just brought up how we should make a movie and we could have cavewomen in it. And Kenzie said, "How about a cavewomen slasher film?" And then we began writing it!

PC: Now you and your friend Kenzie Givens co-wrote the script together correct? How did you two meet?

KB: Yes! We met in high school when she opened up her locker and she had a photo of Jack Nance on the inside and I came up behind her to tell her I loved Jack Nance, but I accidentally frightened her and she screamed. And then we made plans a couple days later to see Andrzej Zulawski's "Possession" at Cinefamily.

PC: What filmmaking experience did you have up until the making of the movie?

KB: None. Well, sort of. I made little movies with my sister and stuff growing up, but nothing ever professional.

PC: Explain to me the pre-production process of making B.C. BUTCHER? What were some of the difficulties you had to overcome?

KB: Well, raising the money was the hardest part. I bussed and waited tables at a Vietnamese restaurant for 8 months to raise enough money to make B.C. BUTCHER. 

PC: What was the shooting schedule for the film like? What was it like working with all these talented actresses, actors and crew members?

KB: We shot over a period of nine days and the days usually lasted from 8 am - 8 pm. It was so great to work with everyone. I'm so happy I found such great people to work with. It could have been a total nightmare, but I got really lucky. 

PC: One of the biggest distinctions is that you shot the movie on 16mm film? Why did you decide to shoot on film rather than using digital cameras?

KB: I am very particular with a lot of things... especially how things look. I wanted the film to have saturated colors like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. And I just wanted the project to have integrity as well. And I feel that's much harder to accomplish when you're shooting digital, or "faux-film". 

PC: After production wrapped, how long did it take to edit the film?

KB: A lot longer than it took to film. I had a really great editor, Robby DeFrain, and he was working on a project for Comedy Central at the time, so editing was kind of like a weekend project. He's really talented and helped a lot with comedic timing and we worked together putting in the funny sound effects and everything that made the film cartoonish.

PC: Tell me how did you meet Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma Entertainment? Were you a fan of Troma prior to having them distributing your film?

KB: I was a Troma fan since I was 12. When I was in high school I even sent Troma a script to read. When I finished shooting the movie, I sent Lloyd Kaufman an email, not even expecting a response, and I got a response the next day saying he was interested in the film and wanted to have a meeting with me! So I had a meeting with Lloyd and the rest is history!

PC: What's it been like meeting all your fans at conventions and at screenings? Did you ever imagine having such a huge fan base for you and your movie?

Parker Love & Kansas Bowling. (Photo from Facebook)
KB: It's so surreal! I love how people like my movie and it's so cool to talk to people about it. I was just at the Days of the Dead convention in Burbank signing autographs and it was just so weird how I had actual fans. I used to go to these things as a fangirl. Two years ago, I went to Monsterpalooza and bought an autograph from Camille Keaton. This year at Days of the Dead she asked for mine! 

PC: What's next for you now? Do you have any new projects that you're currently working on?

KB: Yes! I'm doing a lot of music videos coming up for some really amazing bands. And I also have a script which will hopefully soon be in production. It's in the hands of some producers right now and I'm just waiting to see what will happen! It's all so exciting.

PC: What advice would you give to all aspiring and upcoming female talents who want to break into the film industry, especially those who wish to bring diversity and a feminine voice to the overpopulated male dominated Hollywood?

KB: Here is my advice: I know there are societal disadvantages, but whatever it is you want to do, just do it! It's so much more effective to create change by just going out and making a film as a woman than it is to sit and complain about how things are unfair. 

At that ladies and gentlemen, wraps up my interview series with the cast and director from the film B.C. BUTCHER. At this time, I would like to thank all these talented, gifted and amazing women for taking time our from their very busy schedul to participate in this series. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to say a big "Thank You" to Leilani Fideler,  Natasha Halevi, Molly Elizabeth Ring, Devyn Leah, Parker Love Bowling and Miranda Robin for allowing me the honor and privilege of interviewing you all. Special thanks to Kansas Bowling for helping me get that chance to interview her cast. I wish you all the best of luck with all your future endeavors and I cannot wait to see where life takes you. Thank you all again for your time, you generosity, your kindness and also, thank you for your friendship! I hope to meet you all someday soon!

To learn more about Kansas Bowling, visit her website at kansas-bowling.com and be sure to check out her Instagram account. To learn more about Troma and their upcoming release of B.C. BUTCHER, visit their website at www.troma.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Phil sees CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR in 3D from Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures - May 13, 2016

Marvel Studios has finally unleashed their newest film which will kick off their Phase Three of their Marvel Cinematic Universe. But let's travel back in time real quick. In 2014, filmmakers Anthony and Joe Russo aka The Russo Brothers directed one of the best Marvel film's up to that point with CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLIDER. It would go on to be come one of the biggest films ever and the most critically acclaimed film in the MCU. When I first saw it, I thought there was no way the next film could be as good or better than this. I am very happy to say that the Russo Brothers have proven me wrong. To make a long story short CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR will go down as the best Marvel Studios film ever made.

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Anti-Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a heroes actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges.

What can I say that already hasn't been by the press, by the media and by the fans? This is a fantastic film filled with action, intrigue, betrayal and Spider-Man!! Yes!! About damn time that our friendly neighborhood web swinger swung his way into the MCU!! See Sony, THIS IS HOW YOU DO SPIDER-MAN!! 'Nuff said!! Let's move on, shall we?

Once again the Russo Brothers show off their insane talents as writers and directors as they fulfill every one of Marvel Studios' insane requirements like: Have both Captain America and Iron Man share enough screen time even though it's Cap's movie, work in the Winter Soilder backstory, introduce both the Black Panther and Spider-Man, have the story tie-in to the AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON movie and also sets up the AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR films, make the big Avengers fight scene be totally off the charts, make Ant-Man become Giant-Man, set up the SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING movie, and last but not least, make an entertaining, thought provoking, complex but easy to follow action adventure film that will shatter boxoffice records and secure your job statuses on working for Marvel Studios for the next couple more years. So, no pressure at all really.

Chris Evens once again proves that he is Captain America and that not even Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man can take away his screen time because it's his movie damn it! And like in the trailer, Cap is sticking with his childhood buddy Bucky Barnes and basically telling Tony Stark and the United States to f*ck off cause he and his companions aren't going to be working for them and he's gonna be saving the world on his terms. Yup, stick it to the man Cap!!

But Stark still has a couple of aces up his sleeve. First there's the Black Panther, who blames Bucky for the death of his father. Then he recruits the teenaged Peter Parker because of all the crazy stunts he saw Peter do on YouTube. Yes, the Internet can be a helpful tool when trying to find recruits for Team Iron Man. Plus, it'll help you to get Tony Stark to provide you an awesomely cool superhero costume.

As you can see I'm trying to make this a "spoiler free" review I still believe in going to the movies, getting caught up in the storyline, become emotionally involved with the film's characters and simply enjoy the cinematic experience with those people around. Now, it's all about leaked plots and characters, location findings and costumes. Where's the element of surprise? Don't you want to walk into a movie screening and not know what is in store for you? To be honest I miss those days and unfortunately, because of the world we live in, it's harder and harder not to know everything about the movie before you go see it. So that's why I'm not revealing hardly anything here. Just a common courtesy that I think most critics, bloggers and reviewers are forgetting to do these days.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is one of the best summer blockbusters of 2016!! The film definitely lives up to the hype and once again proves that the Russo Brothers can do anything!! So go see this movie today and see what a superhero movie can be!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is currently playing in theaters nationwide. The movie is also being shown at select IMAX theaters as well. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you.  

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE from Warner Bros. Pictures - May 12, 2016

In 2014, director Zack Snyder's MAN OF STEEL was released to theaters and became hugely successful despite the mix reviews from fans and critics. However, little did we realize, the film would be the precursor of what was about to come. With their announcement of their new film BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, Warner Brothers would be finally setting the stage to begin establishing their own DC Cinematic Universe to combat the rival Marvel Cinematic Universe. Soon afterwards, both Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot would be cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman respectively as well as Henry Cavill reprising the role of Man of Steel and his alto ego Clark Kent. 


Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante Batman (Affleck) takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior Superman (Cavill), while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

The major difference between DC movies and Marvel movies is that DC movies are way more serious and way more intense. Not saying or implying that Marvel movies aren't serious or intense. It's that there's very little humor to be found in a DC movie. Plus, there's also an element of uncertainty that creates tension and a high level of risk. In this film, Bruce Wayne witnessed first hand how powerful Superman is and he sees him as a potential threat to mankind. In his mind, the last son of Kypton must be destroyed. However, unbeknownst to him, Lex Luthor has come to the same conclusion, but has a different idea of how to take Superman down.

Ben Affleck portrayal of the Caped Crusader is different from previous interpretations. While the other films looked at his early days of crime fighting, this Batman has been protecting Gotham City for the past 20 years. He's older, bitter and cynical, having lost so much over the years. His distrust in Superman propels him to take matters in his own hands, even though his faithful butler Alfred (Jeremy Irons) thinks he's not their enemy. It was refreshing to see this version of The Dark Knight and Affleck did a fine job of portraying both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

Henry Cavill is once again great as the Man of Steel and has a more somber presence in the film. First, he has the world debating whether or not if he's here to save humanity or to enslave it. Fear is predominately dominate throughout the film and is also one of the themes felt in the film. We have  habit of fearing the unknown which causes us to act violently. Superman must deal with humanity's fear of him, since they half of them blame him for the destruction of half of Metropolis from the first film. Plus there's the issues that Clark Kent has to deal with like his relationship with Lois Lane (Amy Adams again), his mother Martha (Diane Lane), his work at the Daily Planet where he's been clashing with his editor Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) because of his desire to report on Batman.

The film also introduces the big screen debut of the one and only Wonder Woman, played by the talented Gal Gadot. I don't know why it took so damn long to bring this beloved comic book character to the silver screen but it was damn well worth the wait. Even though we don't get too much of her in the film (after all the film's title says it all) Gadot did an incredible job of bringing the famed Amazon to life. We get a small taste of her which is fine by me. It just makes me that more anxious to see the WONDER WOMAN movie next year!

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is an all-out action packed superhero movie event of the year! While not perfect, it's defiantly a major step in the evolution of the DC Cinematic Universe! And it deserves to be seen on the big screen! So stop reading this and go out and see this movie! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is currently playing in theaters nationwide. The movie is also being shown at select IMAX theaters as well. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you.  

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees THE 5th WAVE from Sony/Columbia Pictures - May 12, 2016

I don't know about you, but it seems to yours truly that Hollywood loves making sci-fi films where an unknown alien race arrives to Earth and annihilates the human race, enslaves the remaining individuals and plunders our environmental resources to replenish theirs. It's an all too familiar story that was been told time and time again. And even though it has been repeated, we still go see that same story in theaters when we see the trailer for it. Sometimes it's good and sometime it's bad but with THE 5th WAVE, we get a new spin on the story and a new heroine in the sci-fi genre and the results are somewhat mixed.

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: Four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth in ruin. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother Sam (Zackary Arthur). As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal fifth wave, Cassie teams up with a young man named Evan (Alex Roe) who may become her final hope - if she can only trust him.

Ok, usually I would talk about the movie, its director, actors and actresses, what I thought about the movie and so forth. But to make a long story short: it was just OK. It falls into the standard stereotypical trappings you would come to expect from a Hollywood teen sci-fi film. You have the typical popular teen girl who's caught in a love triangle with two boys, one is a good guy and the other is a mysterious dark guy, adults are taken over by the brainwashing aliens which is a metaphor of never trusting adults period, we never get to see the aliens themselves, illogical plot holes, etc.

While the film started off pretty interesting and intense, I started to lose interest after the first 30 minutes. Seriously, all I thought about was why in the hell did Chloë Grace Moretz agreed to make this movie. She's been in some great films like HUGO, IF I STAY, DARK PLACES and the awesome KICK-ASS films. But then again she did the awful CARRIE remake and the stupid DARK SHADOWS adaptation. So I guess you got to take the good with bad apparently.

So yeah, THE 5th WAVE wasn't all that it was promised to be. It had a cool set up, a great 30 minutes, but then it fell on its face. Now if you've got a mad crush on Chloë Grace Moretz and love watching all her movies, then by all means I sincerely hope you enjoy this one. It's not her best but there's nothing we can do about it, other than not watching it. 2 out of 5 stars! It's a rental at best!


THE 5th WAVE is still playing in select theaters nationwide. The movie is also available on Blu-Ray, DVD as well as on Video On Demand, Netflix and at your local Redbox and retailer.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil's Sci-Fi Theater: BATTLE FOR SKYARK (2015) from Lionsgate - May 11, 2016

BATTLE FOR SKYARK DVD Cover (2016)
BATTLE FOR SKYARK
Starring: Caon Mortenson, Taylor Coliee, Garrett Coffey, Charlene Tung, Luke Davis, Riley Jane, Chantal Thuy
Written by Simon Hung, Guy Malim
Cinematography by Hiroyuki Haga
Edited by Chris A. Peterson
Produced by Simon Hung, Peter Huang, Guy Malim, Igor Kovacevich, Wayne Lau, Wen-Han Shih
Directed by Simon Hung
Released by Lionsgate

Welcome once again to another thrilling installment of Phil's Sci-Fi Theater! Today I'll be reviewing a very interesting indie science fiction film that tries to be more than its generic cover artwork appears. With its themes of abandonment, destiny and fighting for the common good, BATTLE FOR SKYARK is another fine example of an exceptional indie movie that sets out to accomplish more than the films coming out of Hollywood.

The film's official synopsis: When a mysterious race of creatures takes over a desolate Earth, humanity must take refuge in SkyArk, the city in the sky. After the rebellion against a corrupt leadership fails, the wealthy doom the rebels' children to live on the ruins of the old Earth. The rebel leader's son, Rags, must lead his fellow exiles against the monsters in order to have a chance to return to SkyArk, but he soon finds that he has a much greater purpose in saving humanity.

What I love about independent films is that they ignore the Hollywood cliches and stereotypes that have plagued the world of cinema since its inception. They sometimes take more risks and chances to tell their story and some cases the envelope gets pushed to its limits. With this film, with its notacibly low budget, the filmmakers make they most to what's available and concentrate on character development and story structure. Although the special effects look fantastic considering what they had to work with.

Promotional Movie Poster (2015)
Director Simon Hung makes his feature length debut after making some short films for the past five years. He makes the most of his cast, his crew and his locations. He, along with co-screenwriter Guy Malim, keeps the story very tight and specific, having events unfold to as they should be without giving away too much of what will happen next, especially with its unique and solid ending. His set-ups, pacing and framing are well executed and is an example of a director having a vspecific vision of how and what the film should look like. A major new talent to keep an close watch on!

As for the actors and actress, the major stand outs for me are Caon Mortenson, Taylor Coliee, Garret Coffey and Charlene. All four bring a freshness and depth to their respective roles. Mortenson's Rags is our lead hero, but is lacking on how to be both and must learn fast. Coliee's Lily is sweet, lovable and brave and isn't afraid to show her anger. Tung's character Ash is simply a bad ass chick you can easily kill you before you realized that you're dead. With Coffey's character Rusty, he is both leader and mentor but it doesn't go well for him during the film, leading to a confrontation that Rags wasn't prepared for. 

The film is obviously geared more for teens who are into franchises like THE HUNGER GAMES series, THE MAZE RUNNER series, and the INSURGENT series. However, this film looks more real and genuine. These actors and actresses aren't pretending to be young kids and teenagers. They really are young kids and teenagers which lends to the film a feeling of authenticity. Now it's nowhere near perfect or polished and it's very low budget and needs some fine tuning, but overall it's a film that has a lot of heart and passion in it.

BATTLE FOR SKYARK is an entertaining film that is worth your time and attention. For fans of independent films, sci-fi movies and teen action movies, this very well might right up your alley. Go watch this movie. 3 out of 5 star! Worth the viewing!


BATTLE FOR SKYARK is currently available on DVD at your local retailer. It's also available on Redbox as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Google Play and Video On Demand.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Phil's Horror Watch: ZOOMBIES (2016) from The Asylum - May 5, 2016

ZOOMBIES DVD Cover (2016)
ZOOMBIES
Starring: Ione Butler, Andrew Asper, LaLa Nestor, Kim Nielsen, Marcus Anderson, Brianna Joy Chomer, Aaron Groben, Kaiwi Lyman
Written by Scotty Mullen
Cinematography by Bryan Koss
Edited by James Kondelik
Produced by David Michael Latt, Paul Bales & David Rimawi
Directed by Glenn Miller
Released by The Asylum

Those crazy people at The Asylum are at it again. For those of you who may not be familiar with them, The Asylum is an independent movie studio that focuses of making really bad, generic horror movie knockoffs of major Hollywood films. From SNAKES ON A TRAIN to TRANSMORPHERS, their movies have been dubbed "mockbusters" by those in the press. However, they hit the big time when their film SHARKNADO premiered on the SyFy network back in 2013. The movie had one of the biggest ratings ever on the channel and soon there were two more sequels, a television show called Z Nation (also on the SyFy network) and even more films. The tagline for their latest movie ZOOMBIES is "It's Jurassic World of the Dead." It's kind of a stretch, but it' not a bad movie either.

The film's official synopsis: When a strange virus quickly spreads through a safari park and turns all the zoo animals undead, those left in the park must stop the creatures before they escape and zombify the whole city.

Yes, they're not denying it that this is their take on JURASSIC WORLD. Hell, even their titles is in the same font and design as last year's summer blockbuster! It takes place at a safari park that looks very similar to the one seen in JURASSIC WORLD. The only differences is that it's safari animals instead of dinosaurs and there's a virus that's turning them into crazy, killing zombie animals. As cheesy as it sounds, it's actually a very silly and entertaining movie.

The man responsible for directing the movie is Glenn Miller. If that name doesn't sound familiar, that's because it shouldn't. Miller had only directed half a dozen films including the family film SANTA CLAWS, the horror/comedy THE COED AND THE ZOMBIE and THE BELL WITCH HAUNTNG. However, you may have seen in act in a couple SyFy movies like MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID, MEGA SHARK VS. CROCOSAURUS as well as other Asylum flicks like AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO, 2012: ICE AGE and the formentioned SANTA CLAWS. Miller does a good job of keeping audiences glued to their seats with....ahhh who am I kidding......we're glued to our seats because we can't believe what the hell we're watching! The obscurity and ridiculousness is off the charts! There are zombie giraffes that are eating people! Zombie giraffes!! And there's these bad CGI monkeys at the beginning of the film that look so fake. Then to top it all off, they go old school at there's a man dressed up in a gorilla suit! Nice there's parts where it's a CGI gorilla but then it cuts to the rubber gorilla suit wearing guy! It's crazy to see something like that is today's world where everything is done in the computer. However, it was kinda cool to see that again. 

ZOOMBIES is a laugh-out-loud, low budget mockbuster masterpiece that will leave you sitting in your nacho cheese infested couch and thinking to yourself, "Why in the hell am I watching this stupid piece of crap?!?" Well, I'll tell you why little Jimmy! It's entertaining! It's funny! It's stupid! It's a "so bad it's good" type of movie, but then I expected nothing less from The Asylum! So if you're looking to totally switch your brain off for the next 90 minutes, then this movie is for you! 4 out of 5 stars!! Hilariously entertaining!!


ZOOMBIES  is currently available on DVD at your local retailer. It's also available on Redbox as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Google Play and Video On Demand. To learn more about The Asylum and their movies, visit their website at www.theasylum.cc. Also checkout their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter as well.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Phil sees THE FOREST from Gramercy Pictures - May 2, 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a promising year for horror films. One of the first films to be released this year was also one of the best horror films to be released in January, which as you may or may not now, is usually the dumping ground for studios to release films that either were plagued with productions problems or weren't that good. Which is a shame because THE FOREST was one of the better horror films to have come out in January in a very, very long time.

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: A woman named Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) goes into Japan's Suicide Forest to find her twin sister Jess, and confronts supernatural terror.

One of the main aspects that I look for in a horror movie is the atmosphere. Is it creepy? Is it spooking? Is it giving me chills? Is it suspenseful? Thankfully, a resounding "yes" to all of these requirements and more!

Actress Natalie Dormer does a phenomenal job portraying twins Sara and Jess Price. She gives both of them their own body language, mannerism and their own personality. Sara is more grounded and Sara seems lost in the world. However, both can feel if the other is in trouble and it's Sara who flies out to Japan to find out what happened to Jess. While in the forest, Dormer gives a terrifying performance that plays with your mind and emotions. Without wanting to give away any of the film's plot or reveal spoilers, let me say that Natalie Dormer is one of the best actress to appear in a horror film in a very, very long time. Caring, determined and vulnerable, she gives Sara a real world feel to her character and makes us become involved in her search for her missing sister. Congrats to Miss Dormer and I hope to see her in more films in the future.

Director makes his feature length debut, having directed several shorts before directing this film. He gets the right blend of thrills and horror right at the start of the film. The beginning of the movie reminds me a lot of Dario Argento's classic SUSPIRIA. The opening with Sara arriving at the airport in Japan is stylized and captured beautifully, much like Argento's film. Zada compositions captures both the tranquility and the horror of the Suicide Forest. He definately has an eye for detail and each frame of the film is filled with something that means something to both the characters Sara and the story. The film's script was written by the trio of Nick Antosca, Sarah Cornwell and Ben Ketai and all three should be applauded on writing such a fine story. It examines how frail the human spirit can be to the point that one has the will to commit suicide. That to me is true horror, feeling that life can be so difficult and hard to live in and the only means of escaping is to end your own life by your own hands. If that isn't horrifying then I don't know what is.

The film's forest is actually based on Aokigahara, known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees. Located at the north-west base of the famous Mount Fuji in Japan, "the forest has an association with demons in Japanese mythology, and is a common suicide site." Unbelievable as this may sound but there's a sign at the start of the main trail urges suicidal visitors to contact a suicide prevention association. Now tourists, visitors and hikers have reported seeing strange things in the forest, some have even stumbled upon human remains of those who had committed suicide. Maybe not the romantic getaway for couples, but if you are a fan of the supernatural, disturbing and down right spooky things that go bump in the night then this is a place that you may want to add to your itinerary.

THE FOREST is a supernatural thriller that creeps up on you and makes the hair on your arm and neck stand up! It's a deeply creepy, unnerving film that will make you have nightmares in the daylight! Even the film's poster is scary looking! One of the best horror of films of 2016 thus far! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


THE FOREST is still playing in select theaters nationwide. The movie is also available on Blu-Ray, DVD as well as on Video On Demand, Netflix and at your local Redbox and retailer.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Phil sees SISTERS from Universal Pictures - May 1, 2016

The term "Chick Flick" carries a certain stigma to it. Whenever a man hears this term, they automatically think about dramatic, tear jerking, overblown, estrogen hyped love stories that test bonds of sisterhood and finding and losing that one true love. Granted, some if that is true, however there has been several films that's broken that stereotype recently. Films like BRIDESMAIDS and TRAINWRECK took this standard cliched formula and turned it on its head. Because of this, there has been a shift in opinion on what a "Chick Flick" now represents. Case in point, the new film SISTERS starring Saturday Night Live alumnus Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Theatrical Movie Poster
The film's official synopsis: Sisters Kate (Fey) and Maura Ellis (Poehler) are summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house, much to their dismay. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates, which turns into the cathartic rager that a bunch a ground-down adults really need.

Also appearing in the film are Ike Barinholtz, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, John Leguizamo, Madison Davenport, WWE superstar John Cena, as well as SNL alumnus Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch and Bobby Moynihan.

Both Fey and Poehler have fantastic comedic timing and chemistry that makes them a formidable tag team of laughs. Now usually Fey plays the straight character while Poehler is known for the essentric ones but here it's reversed. Fey's Kate is the loud, foul mouthed, party hard, balls to the wall forty-something adult who's going on seventeen. Her life is a complete mess, has a daughter who doesn't want to live with her and will take advantage of any situation as all as it benefits her in someway. Poehler's Maura, on the other hand, is the responsible one. She has a good paying job, is responsible, always checks up on her parents and is, quite honestly, pretty boring. She's never been able to cut loose and have fun because she was always the responsible one and take care of her older sister, who was the party animal. So it was hilarious to see these two comedic actresses play against type and the results were side splitting hilarity.

The film was written by the talented Paula Pell, who just also happens to be one of the writers for Saturday Night Live and has been writing for them since 1999. Pell brings a woman's voice as well as a woman's point of view to the comedy genre. Who says women can't be rude, crude and raunchy as their male counterparts? Pell gives our leading ladies plenty of screen time to be funny but also have character development and growth. But one of my favorite scenes is when Kate and Maura do a drug buy with Cena's Pazuzu. Holy crap that was one funny scene!

The film's director Jason Moore made a big splash when he made PITCH PERFECT back in 2012. But did you know the man has directed several episodes of popular televisions shows such as Dawson's Creek, Everwood, Brothers & Sisters and Trophy Wife? Now, I have to admit I do feel bad for the guy because of this reason: his film opened up the same weekend as STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. Crazy, huh? While the film didn't do too poorly at the box office, it didn't that well. But Moore did a marvelous job of directing and doing what he was supposed to do. It's a damn funny movie!

SISTERS is another great cinematic example that breaks the mold of the typical chick flick and shows us yet again that women can be funny or funnier than men! I enjoyed the hell out of this film! So for all you ladies out their, if you guy wants to watch a hysterical comedy, then pick this film to watch together! 4 out of 5 stars!! Recommended viewing!!


SISTERS is now available on both Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer. The movie is also available at your local Redbox as well as on Netflix and Video On Demand.   

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!