Friday, September 29, 2017

Phil pens "TEN LESSER KNOWN HORROR COMEDIES YOU SHOULD WATCH ASAP" article for Blumhouse.com - September 29, 2017

Hello again my faithful reader! So back in February of this year, I wrote a fun and interesting article entitled, "TEN LESSER-KNOW HORROR COMEDIES YOU SHOULD SEE ASAP." Here, I listed my personal favorite horror comedies of all time - films that I find myself watching on a frequently regular basis.

The horror genre has seen some outstanding and hilarious horror comedies over the decades — from the 1948 Universal classic ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN to 2004’s SHAUN OF THE DEAD, these films have become beloved titles, and in many cases box-office blockbusters. But several other horror comedies flew beneath the mainstream radar — independent films that most audiences don’t even know exist. Sure, most audiences know about YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, SCARY MOVIE and STUDENT BODIES, but there’s a whole other cinematic universe where some lesser-known but still hysterical horror comedies exist.

While these films aren’t quite household names yet, they are required viewing for those of you seeking something new to watch. A lot of blood, sweat and laughter went into making these movies — and for this, they deserve your attention. After all, as the old saying goes, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” So, I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading my article.

Be on the lookout as I'll be posting my links to my articles here in the very near future! To learn more about Blumhouse.com, visit their website at www.blumhouse.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Phil sees SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING at the AMC Eastridge 15 Theaters - Sept. 21, 2017

With the dismal returns from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, Sony Pictures proved that they no longer had the ability to make any good Spider-Man movies. Then the unthinkable happened: Sony struck a deal with Marvel Studios and allowed our favorite wall crawler to become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The result of this extraordinary deal lead to Spider-Man appearing in last years summer blockbuster CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. For this third incarnation, Marvel Studios recruited English born actor Tom Holland to don the red and blue spandex suit and both critics and fans were enthusiastic with this decision. They also returned Peter Parker to his comic book roots: that of a 15 year old high school student who had to deal with ordinary everyday teenage issues. Now Sony Pictures, Marvel Studios and Tom Holland return to theaters with SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, which I finally got around to seeing this week!

The film's official synopsis: A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, begins to navigate his new found identity as the web-slinging super hero in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING.  Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

Fans have finally got the Spider-Man movie that we've all been waiting for! Tom Holland was absolutely perfect as our Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He was able to capture the character's personality perfectly. He looks and acts like a teenager; dealing with all the issues that a teenager faces, such as school, being picked on and put down, having a secret crush on the school's most popular girl and hanging out with his best friend. But add on his responsibilities as our Wall Crawler and his desire to become an Avenger and trying to thwart the super-villain Vulture. The casting of Holland has totally revived the franchise!

Speaking of the Vulture, who else can bring this beloved character to the big screen other than the great Michael Keaton? He was phenomenal as our antagonist and brings a lot of layers to his character; a criminal worthy of Spider-Man's attention but adds a touch of madness and evil that elevates him to one of the greatest villains in the Spidey Universe. Also by adding Downey as Peter's mentor and hero Tony Stark/Iron Man, Tony's lovable Happy Hogan (played once again by actor/director Jon Favreau) and Marisa Tomei as our new Aunt May, everything came together beautifully!

Credit also goes to Jon Watts, who did an incredible job of directing the film. Watts captured the look and spirit of the comic book while providing moviegoers a visually satisfying film complete with amazing set-ups and compositions, sweeping camera pans and nice close-ups to give us the ability to get in touch with the films' characters. This was Watts third feature film and the man knocked it out of the park! He has signed on to direct the sequel and I hope he'll be able to capture lightening twice!

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is the best Spider-Man film of all time!! I can't even get over on how much fun the movie was!! Sony, along with Marvel, have brought the character back to his comic book roots and fans are enthusiastic about this!! This is what we have been wanting and now we finally have it!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is now currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the AMC Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at http://www.amctheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Phil sees IT at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge Theater - September 14, 2017

In 1990, I saw the TV movie series STEPHEN KING'S IT and it scared the hell out of me! Starring Harry Anderson, Annette O'Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Richard Thomas and the iconic Tim Curry as the infamous Pennywise, the two-part mini series became a huge hit! Fast forward to this past weekend and I'm sitting inside the Cienlux Almaden Theater getting ready to watch the new terrifying version of King's book. And IT was scary as hell!!

The film's official synopsis: In the Town of Derry, the local kids are disappearing one by one, leaving behind bloody remains. In a place known as 'The Barrens', a group of seven kids are united by their horrifying and strange encounters with an evil clown and their determination to kill It.

This was, without a doubt, a truly horrifying film! What makes the film work is the incredible cast that it contains. Stepping in Pennywise's shoes is Swedish born actor Bill Skarsgård (ATOMIC BLONDE, SIMPLE SIMON and TV shows Hemlock Grove and the upcoming Castle Rock). Skarsgård's performance is, without question, amazingly disturbing! His voice, his facial expressions, his mannerism, it's all there wrapped up in a delightful red balloon. I would like to go on record that his Pennywise rivals that of Curry's in the original. Yes friends, he's that damn good!!

Now you can't forget the outstanding child actors that appear in the film. Lead Jaeden Lieberher (ALOHA, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, THE BOOK OF HENRY and the Showtime series Masters of Sex) portrays Bill Denbrough, the leader of group of kids known as "The Losers Club" that help look for Bill's baby brother Georgie (played by Jackson Robert Scott). His group of friends include fowl-mouthed Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard of Netflix's Stranger Things fame), the shy kid Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor from 42 and ANT-MAN), outsider Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs from the TV series Hawaii Five-O), hypochondriac kid Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer from TALES OF HALLOWEEN, SCALES: MERMAIDS ARE REAL), Jewish Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff from the GUARDIAN OF THE GALAXY franchise) and tough girl and bad ass Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), who could be Bill's first love. Together, these young actors have amazing on-screen chemistry with one another and all bring a lot to their respective characters: they're scared, they fight with one another, they have hang ups and they have to help each other to rise up against the evil Pennywise. Bravo to these extraordinary actors!!

Originally, the studio projected that the film would make $50million in its opening weekend, but they were so very wrong! The film ended up grossing a staggering $123.4 million, setting the records for largest opening weekend for both a September release and a horror film. As I am writing this, the film set another record, bringing in an additional $60 million in its second weekend! The film's 10-day domestic total has reached $218.7 million (which is unheard of for both a horror film and a R-rated film) and it looks like the film will continue to scare moviegoers long after it leaves the theaters!

IT is thus far both my favorite horror film and my favorite film of 2017!! If you haven't seen this movie yet, then you need to go to your local theater now and see this horror masterpiece!! The film is making cinematic history as I speak so why wouldn't you participate in it? 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


IT is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cineluxtheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Phil pens "PRESENTING THE TEN GREATEST SCREAM QUEENS OF ALL TIME!" article for Blumhouse.com - September 17, 2017

Besides writing for my blog, I've been very fortunate to write for other publications, both physical media (magazines and newspapers) and online websites. One of those websites is Blumhouse.com, which, "contains a mix of original stories and the scariest content from around the web, including the latest news on upcoming films, TV, books, games, and more in the horror and thriller genres. Blumhouse.com also takes readers behind the scenes of films in production, giving fans special access to people who create their favorite movies."

A couple of months back I contacted an old friend of mine, who just happened to be the editor-in-chief of the website. I have known her for years, going all the way back to our Fangoria days, which I also wrote that website as well. I sent her some samples, and the rest is history.

My very first article for the website was "PRESENTING THE TEN GREATEST SCREAM QUEENS OF ALL TIME!" was published back in December 27, 2016. Here, I listed my favorites from my past in alphabetical order and soon, it was being shared by the actresses themselves through several social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I was honored to have had my article shared by these talented women. Now, I thought it was time to start sharing them here with you fine readers as well.

Be on the lookout as I'll be posting my links to my articles here in the very near future! To learn more about Blumhouse.com, visit their website at www.blumhouse.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Phil Gets Tromatized: B.C. BUTCHER (2016) from Troma Entertainment - Sept. 13, 2017

B.C. BUTCHER DVD Cover
B.C. BUTCHER
Starring Leilani Fideler, Natasha Halevi, Molly Elizabeth Ring, Devyn Leah, Parker Love Bowling, Miranda Robin, Kato Kaelin, Kadeem Hardison, Rodney Bingenheimer, Dwayne Johnson
Written by Kansas Bowling and Kenzie Givens
Cimematography by
Edited by Robby DeFrain
Produced by Lloyd Kaufman and Kansas Bowling
Directed by Kansas Bowling
Released by Troma Entertainment

Welcome back to another edition of Phil Gets Tromatized! Today's film has been long overdue. As you may recall, I conducted a series of interviews (click here to read them) with the stars of the then upcoming Troma film B.C. BUTCHER. It was the feature film debut from Kansas Bowling, who made the film at the young age of 16. Since then, the film has become a huge cult classic and garnered acclaim from critics and fans alike. Bowling was kind enough to mail me an autographed screener of the film, which I've been wanting to watch for the past year. Well, like the old saying goes, "better late than never." So let me tell you why B.C. BUTCHER rocks my world and why you must see it!

The film's official synopsis: When a tribe of cavewomen imparts cruel justice on one of their own their fate takes a turn for the worst. After discovering and falling in love with the corpse sacrificed by the girl-gang, a lone wandering giant of pre-historic mythos is inspired to homicide. Consequently the cavewomen are menaced by the heartbroken and bloodthirsty cave-brute with a grudge, and the prophetess among them is ignored when she predicts the tragic outcome. “BC Butcher” is hailed as the first pre-historic slasher film to ever be made. Shot on brilliant 16mm film, the film features actor Kato Kaelin, a cameo from Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ Radio and a performance by Southern California rock group “The Ugly Kids”.

One of the aspects that I loved about the movie was the actresses were incredible! Leilani Fideler's Neandra is such a spiteful and vindictive antagonist that she will lie to cover her own mistakes, even if it costs everyone else in her tribe their lives. Natasha Halevi's Anaconda is the smart, practical one who calls Neandra on her shit and is my favorite character in the film. The fun and bubbly Poppy, portrayed by Molly Elizabeth Ring, is the cave girlfriend we all want. Bamba is blind but has the gift of sight, and is played amazingly by Devyn Leah. Add special appearances by Kato Kaelin and Rodney Bingenheimer and the rest of the incredible cast, you've got yourself an awesome B-movie classic!

The directing was superb and Kansas Bowling definitely has that auteur eye for directing! Her set-ups and compositions hearken back to those glory days of exploitation cinema: handheld, fast and in-your-face gore and beautiful actress fighting monsters. The look of the film lend also lend it to those days as well, having the movie shot on 16mm film stock! It looks fantastic and has that grainy look that can't be replicated with today's technology. Bowling has continued with this mindset, as she has been making a series of music videos and their all on 16mm. I can't wait to see what this talented filmmaker will produce for us next!

B.C. BUTCHER is my favorite new indie horror/cult classic film of 2017!! If Doris Wishman directed ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. it would look exactly like this! Fans of Troma movies and classic grinhouse films will have a blast watching this! Easily one of the best films in the Troma library!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!



B.C. BUTCHER is currently available on both Blu-ray and DVD at your local retailer
nd on 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!

Phil attends the Sinister Creature Con at the Stockton Arena June 10th & 11th, 2017 - September 13, 2017

I normally don't like to talk about my personal life at all, but due to some personal setbacks and relocating back to my hometown of San Jose, one of the things that was put aside was my coverage of the SINISTER CREATURE CON that I attended back in June of this year. I had every intention on finishing this, but as I stated earlier, life has a way of throwing obstacles in your path. However, I am now able to share with you my amazing experience of this extraordinary event that hit the central valley. To all those I met at the con, sorry for the tardiness and hope to see you all again soon. Thanks for understanding and enjoy my post!

Now one of the advantages of being a popular film blogger is that I get to cover many film events throughout California: film festivals, conventions, special events, etc. It's been a long time since I've attended anything like this but this past June 10th and 11th, I had the honor and opportunity to cover the SINISTER CREATURE CON (Northern California's SFX, Mask, Makeup, & Horror Culture convention) at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, California. The convention is put on by the Sacramento Horror Film Festival and the also do The Rocky Horror Picture Show events at the Colonial Theatre with the Amber Sweets shadowcast. This was a big weekend for horror fans in the valley and yours truly was there to see it all!

There was a lot of celebrities in attendance that weekend, including the AMERICAN MARY Reunion panel featuring Katharine Isabelle, Tristan Risk and the Twisted Twins themselves, filmmakers Jen and Sylvia Soska. Another reunion taking place that weekend was the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS with Heather Langencamp, Ken Sagoes, Jennifer Rubin, Ira Heiden and Rodney Eastman. The convention also had ROCKY HORROR guests Barry Bostwick & Nell Campbell were there as well as filmmaker and creator of the PHANTASM franchise Don Coscarelli, actors Tom Atkins (Creepshow, Night of the Creeps, Halloween III), Daeg Faerch (Rob Zombie's Halloween), actresses Diane Franklin (Better Off Dead, Amityville II, TerrorVision), Brooke Theiss (Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Just the 10 of Us) and Amanda Wyss (Nightmare on Elm Street, Better Off Dead) just to name a few. Also Ve Neill, Walter Welsh, Alan Carnes, from Face/Off and Dutch Bihary Alison Kenyon from Skin Wars were there plus all the cool exhibitors, dealers, cosplayers and more!
The Sinister Creature Con Crew setting up their main booth.
Hello and welcome the Sinister Creature Con Stockton 2017!
The awesome layout of sellers at the Sinister Creature Con.
Scary Clown Girl, Freddy Kruger and Wednesday Adams welcomes you all to the con.
One of the awesome folks I meet at the convention was cartoonist Paul Allen. He is the man behind the Hypno-Skull Comics. One terrific guy that you should buy comics from! Check out his website at a hypnoskullcomics.wordpress.com and buy his comics and art!
These fine folks represent the incredible MONSTERS IN MODESTO! They are part of the CEMETARIUM HAUNTED HOUSE group that includes PSYCHO CIRCUS, ZOMBIE HEIGHTS and a few others. They're a haunted house attraction that you should definately check out! To learn more about them and their October schedule, check out their website at www.monstersinmodesto.com/home.html.
Also in attendance were my good friends from BARELY LEGAL PRODUCTIONS! They are a ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW Shadowcast that I've been friends with for years! They have shows in San Jose and Albany. To learn more about them and their schedule appearances, visit their website at barelylegal.rhps.org.
These cute couple work for the horror news website iHorror. It's a great website with a plethora of horror news for you to sink your fangs into. Visit them at ihorror.com. You can also download the app onto your smartphone from either the Apple App Store or from Google Play.
Now here's a couple you need to know! This lovely lady is the one and only Krystal Shay aka Kushbunnyy, the hottest bunnyy in the world! Words fail me to describe her, but she is one of the sweetest, kindest and sexiest woman I know! Make sure you check out the website at kushbunnyy.com and check out all her social media outlets while your there! Now the handsome stud next to her is Drew Marvick, filmmaker extraordinaire! This Las Vegas based auteur is the write/director of the ultra-cool slasher film POOL PARTY MASSACRE, which yours truly will be doing a review of it soon! One talented filmmaker and an awesome guy to hang out and talk movies with. To purchase a copy of the movie as well as sweet memorabilia, visit his website at poolpartymassacrestore.com.
This is one of my friends Carlyfornia Love. I've seen her at numerous conventions up and down the West Coast! From MONSTERPALOOZA to the SINISTER CREATURE CON, it's always a pleasure seeing a familiar face. Her booth has some fantastic and hard-to-find movies so if you see her, definitely check out her booth!
This is one bad ass muther fucker right here! The name's Stephen Biro and he is the CEO/Owner of UNEARTHED FILMS! His label is notorious in the horror genre, releasing some of the most gut-wrenching, vile and controversial films of all time. His infamous film franchise is the AMERICAN GUINEA PIG series, which has garnered acclaim and disgust from critics and fans alike. To learn more about label and their film catalog, visit their website at www.unearthedfilms.com.
Canadian filmmakers and identical twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska aka The Soska Sisters aka The Twisted Twins burst onto the scene with their 2009 indie film DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. The latter received critical acclaim for their 2012 film AMERICAN MARY. Soon the twins added SEE NO EVIL 2 and VENDETTA to their list of films. They are currently working on the David Cronenberg remake of RABID. To learn more about the Soska Siters and their projects, visit their website at twistedtwinsproductions.net.
One of the highlights from that weekend was meeting the legendary filmmaker Don Coscarelli. He is the creator of the PHANTASM franchise as well as other cult classics like THE BEASTMASTER, BUBBA HO-TEP and JOHN DIES AT THE END. We had a great conversation and is just a really wonderful, down-to-earth kinda guy! Really had a pleasure meeting this horror icon. You can follow Don Coscarelli on both Facebook and Twitter.
This is a Weeping Angel from the BBC show DOCTOR WHO. They scare the hell outta me! 'Nuff said!!
Another friend I saw that weekend was the incredible Melissa Laroue, who was there signing autographs. She is a local celebrity, having been on the much beloved KOFY TV20 local show CREEPY KOFY MOVIE TIME as one of the Cave Girls. A former US Marine Corps, she's gone on to become a model, an actress and is a Bay Area treasure! I am very lucky to call her my friend! You can follow Melissa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

This was the first horror convention in the Stockton area in a long time and I must say that this was an unprecedented success! There were so many celebrities, so many vendors, so many booths and so much fun was had by all! The next Sinister Creature Con will take place on October 14th and 15th, 2017 at the Scottish Rite Center in Sacramento, CA. Some of the celebrities attending the con will be Ted Raimi, Danielle Harris, Kevin Tenney, Uwe Boll, Lita from the WWE, Marky Ramone from the legendary punk band The Ramones, and so much more! To learn more about the convention and to purchase tickets, visit their website at www.sinistercreaturecon.com. To learn more about the Sacramento Horror Film Festival, visit their website at www.sachorrorfilmfest.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Phil's Horror Watch: ANTIBIRTH (2016) from IFC Midnight/Scream Factory- Sept. 2, 2017

ANTIBIRTH Blu-Ray Cover
ANTIBIRTH
Starring Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Meg Tilly, Mark Webber, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Emmanuel Kabongo
Written by Danny Perez
Cinematography by Rudolf Blahacek
Edited by Aden Bahadori
Produced by Cole Payne, Roger M. Mayer, Natasha Lyonne, David Anselmo, Justin Kelly
Directed by Danny Perez
Originally distributed by IFC Midnight
Released by Scream Factory

I've seen some pretty bizarre horror films during my tenure here on planet Earth. While entertaining, I've often found myself scratching my head and asking myself, "Why the hell am I still watching this?" It's a question I'm sure you've all asked yourselves quite often when you're watching a movie that is utterly and completely batshit crazy. Whether it's a Troma movie, an Edward D. Wood Jr. masterpiece, or a Roger Corman cult classic, there are some movies that are so far out there, you would need a telescope to fine the plot. Case in point, the movie that I just saw entitled ANTIBIRTH, that truly falls in that "batshit crazy" category that I mentioned earlier.

The film's official synopsis: Hard-drinking, pill-popping, bong-ripping Lou (Natasha Lyonne) and her best friend Sadie (Chloë Sevigny) spend their days adrift in a drug infused haze. But one wild night out becomes a bad trip that never ends when Lou wakes up with symptoms of an unexplained, highly abnormal pregnancy. Who—or what—is growing inside her? As her due date approaches with alarming swiftness, the fear, paranoia, and conspiracy theories begin to pile up. Spiked with blasts of hallucinatory color, surreal shocks, and subversive comedy, the audacious feature debut from Danny Perez is a no-holds-barred descent into delirium.

Original Theatrical Poster (2016)
Watching the film was the equivalent of taking a handful of acid while drinking the leftover Kool-Aid from Jonestown. It's a madhouse of trippy colored lights and filters, incoherent plotline and acting that borders on spastic avant garde and high school play. So yeah, it was a batshit crazy movie to watch.

I loved watching Natasha Lyonne in the movie though. She's always been an underrated actress in my humble opinion. Having seen her shine in the 1998 indie film SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS, she quickly became popular and starred in films like DETROIT ROCK CITY, BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER, SCARY MOVIE 2 and the AMERICAN PIE series. Today's filmgoers will recognize her from the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black as Nicky Nichols and from the IFC series Portlandia. The film captures her eccentric and eclectic style of acting as Lou, who is balls out crazy and funny as hell. It's almost as if she's playing herself, which is like watching a brilliant trainwreck unfold before your naked eyes. Chloë Sevigny is the best friend that you love to hate cause of all the stupidly bad decisions that she makes. Together, these two fine ladies have great on-screen chemistry and bring their chaotic friendship to the big screen.

Writer/director Danny Perez isn't your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, wannabe Hollywood filmmaker. Oh no, that would be too boring and predictable. Nope, our guy wrote a script that is completely out of this world; landing somewhere between Ingmar Bergman and a John Waters storyline. It's wonky and bizarre with lighting and compositions straight out of a Dario Argento film. It's irrelevant, incomprehensible and just fucking weird. So it was pretty interesting for all the wrong reasons.

The film premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2016 and was picked up by IFC Midnight shortly thereafter. It was given a limited theatrical release before being distributed on Blu-Ray and DVD by Scream Factory in February of 2017.

ANTIBIRTH gets my vote for Best Cult Classic Film of 2017 award! If you find yourself questioning you place in the world and have difficulty accepting the sad state that your life is currently in, then this movie is right up your alley! 3 1/2 out of 5 stars! Worth watching!


ANTIBIRTH is currently available on Bu-ray and DVD. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit your local retailer or order it from Scream Factory by visiting www.shoutfactory.com. To learn more about IFC Midnight and their film library, visit their website at www.ifcfilms.com.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

Phil Goes Bollywood: Phil attends the 15th anniversary screening of DEVDAS at the Cinemark Century 20 Oakridge Mall - September 2, 2017

It's been way too long since I went and visited the magical world of Bollywood! What brought me back to this wonderful wonderland was that Fathom Events was having a special 15th anniversary screening of the critically acclaimed award winning film DEVDAS, which was originally released back in 2002. The opportunity to see this magnificent film on the big screen was something that I could not miss! So I headed on over to the Cinemark Century 20 Oakridge Mall where the Fathom Events screening was.

American Theatrical Poster (2002)
The film's official synopsis: The son of Zamindar Narayan Mukherjee, Devdas (Shahrukh Khan) was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He grew up in the lush village of Taj Sonapur, where he spent his childhood with his playmate Paro (Aishwarya Rai). They grew up sharing a special relationship. Oblivious of all the differences of status and background, a bond that would never break grew between them. Soon, Devdas is sent to London for his education. Years later Devdas returns. Devdas besotted by Paro's stunning beauty longs to marry her. But Devdas' father meets Paro's mother with condescending arrogance. It causes a rift between the families and even though Devdas tries to convince his father, his father doesn't relent. Paro then enters into a chaste marriage with a wealthy, much older man, Zamindar Bhuvan, while a shattered Devdas walks towards anguish, alcoholism and Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit), a stunning courtesan, who passionately loves him. Meanwhile, Paro, on the other hand, performs her worldly duties sincerely, but inside her, she can never forget Devdas. Strange was the fate of Devdas. Intensely loved by two women, who were never meant to be his. One whom he could never love and one whom he could never stop loving.

Over the years, I have only seen pieces of the film online or read about the film. I was totally unprepared how outstanding the film was! It truly does live up to its reputation as one of the very best Bollywood films of the modern age! From its colorful costumes, towering sets and musical numbers, every single frame of the movie is a beautiful cinematic masterpiece of epic proportions!

What makes it so amazing is the strong performances by its three leads. Shahrukh Khan is one of the finest actors in Bollywood today. His portrayal Devdas is relatable: he's an arrogant, spoiled and flawed individual who later realizes that he had taken the love of Paro for granted. His loss sends him straight to the bottom of a bottle as he tries to forget the ache of his broken heart. Aishwarya Rai is one of the most stunningly beautiful actresses to ever grace the silver screen! Her performance is wonderful to witness as her character is a strong, defiant and loving woman who wishes to be with her beloved Devdas. Last, but certainly not least, actress Madhuri Dixit's acting is just spectacular. We feel for her as she tries over and over again to win the heart of Devdas, only to have him reject her heart repeatedly. The musical number with both Rai and Dixit was one of the film's highlights for me. They both displayed amazing on-screen chemistry and reminded us that it doesn't matter where you come from, it's about who you are as a person and what lies within your heart.

The film was released to theaters in India on July 12, 2002 and instantaneously received praises from both critics and fans alike. It went on to win ten awards at the 2002 Filmfare Awards, five awards at both the 2002 National Awards and the 2003 Star Screen Awards. It was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars in 2003 and that same year won a staggering sixteen awards at the 4th Annual IIFA Awards. It was also the highest grossing Bollywood film of 2002.

DEVDAS is one of my favorite Bollywood movies of all time!! This would be a great introduction for those who have never seen a Bollywood film before! With its high production values, grand directing, amazing songs and stellar acting, it's gone on to become a benchmark within the genre! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


DEVDAS is currently available on DVD and VOD from Eros International Pictures. To purchase a copy for yourself, and to learn more about Eros and their film library, visit their website at erosnow.com. To learn more about Fathom Events and their upcoming schedule, visit their website at www.fathomevents.com.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Phil sees LAKE NOWHERE from The Ravacon Collective/Ursidae Parade -September 1, 2017

I love horror films. You've probably heard me mention that on more than one occasion. Can you blame me? Having being raised on the Bay Are show Creature Features and the birth of VHS and video stores, there was a mountain of horror films that I had access to watch! Now in the 21st Century, we know have awesome streaming services that provides us the convenience to watch them anytime we want. Plus, it's another platform for young up and coming filmmakers to showcase their films. A perfect example of this indie spirit is the film I saw on Shudder entitled LAKE NOWHERE and it was totally awesome!

The film's official synopsis: From the vaults of the golden age of slasher films comes LAKE NOWHERE, a raucous, bloody romp which resurrects the thrill of gory midnight movies for an hour-long plunge into the depths of horror. Inspired by the dusty days of VHS, LAKE NOWHERE is preceded by original trailers & commercials, replicating the experience of watching a long lost bootleg tape. When a group of friends arrive at a desolate lakeside cabin, they are stalked and murdered by a Masked Maniac, whose lust for blood transcends our world. This age-old tale of senseless slaughter quickly spirals into the realm of supernatural horror and classic monster movies, as we learn the true power that lies within LAKE NOWHERE.

This was a very pleasant surprise! The film is a love letter to the days when VHS, video stores and cable stations ruled the world. Aesthetically pleasing, the film's appeal is that it looks as if it was recorded off of TV. We see a fake beer commercial (Wolf White Beer) and a cool fake trailer for an Italian giallo movie (HARVEST MAN). And as an added bonus to make it feel more authentic, we can see what was recorded over during the film! Yup, who didn't re-record and reuse the same VHS tape over and over again! This sick guy used to do that all the damn time!

The film itself is, "all thriller, no filler!" Clocking in at a lean, mean 51 minutes, directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy capture the look and feel of classic 80's slasher movies perfectly. Forgoing the standard character development and origin story, the movie contains the very basic ingredients: sex, blood and awesome kills! The visuals, combines with the radical synth soundtrack, the viewer is instantly transported back to the heydays of the slasher and VHS craze!

Since the release of GRINDHOUSE back in 2007, there has been a plethora of retro-styled movies that hearken back to the days when 42nd Street ruled New York. Once the VCR came into the mix, people began frequenting their local mom & pop video stores to rent these things called VHS tapes and watched them in the privacy of their home. The movie reminds me those good 'ole days of renting movies with my brother every weekend.

LAKE NOWHERE is a fun loving tribute to 1980's slasher movies, VHS tapes and late night cable channels!! This movie deserves to be seen by more people! So go support independent cinema and buy this movie so you can watch it over and over again! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!



LAKE NOWHERE is currently available on both Blu-Ray/DVD Combo and VOD. To purchase the movie as well as posters, visit the film's official website at www.welcometolakenowhere.com. The film is also streaming on Shudder. To view it, sign up on its website at www.shudder.com.

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