Sunday, December 31, 2017

Phil sees THE DISASTER ARTIST at the AMC Easridge 15 - December 29, 2017

When one thinks of modern day cult classics, there's one film that rises above them all: THE ROOM. Written, produced, directed and starring Tommy Wiseau, his infamous 2003 work of art is both hilariously awful and deeply personal. It is considered one of the worst films ever made, which sparked midnight screening all across the country. It has gained an almost mythical cult classic status in the last ten years, propelling Tommy Wiseau into a mythical character. To this day we still don't know who he is, how old is he, where does he come from and where he got the money for the movie. It was only a matter of time before Hollywood became interested in this mystery man, and the one responsible of tackling this subject was none other than James Franco. Along with his younger brother Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Paul Scheer, and Alison Brie, his latest film THE DISASTER ARTIST tells the tale of the making of THE ROOM and all the drama that went on behind the scenes.

The film's official synopsis:  With THE DISASTER ARTIST, James Franco transforms the tragicomic true-story of aspiring filmmaker and infamous Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau—an artist whose passion was as sincere as his methods were questionable—into a celebration of friendship, artistic expression, and dreams pursued against insurmountable odds. Based on Greg Sestero best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy's cult-classic disasterpiece THE ROOM (“The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made”), THE DISASTER ARTIST is a hilarious and welcome reminder that there is more than one way to become a legend—and no limit to what you can achieve when you have absolutely no idea what you're doing.

This was such a great movie!! James was so believable as the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau! In fact, I only saw Tommy Wiseau; I couldn't find James Franco at all!! Not only was performance was fantastic, but he's directing was absolutely incredible!! His re-creation of several key scenes from THE ROOM was spot-on perfect!! Not only that, he is able to keep the laughs coming while injecting drama within the movie frames. Franco has become a force to be reckon with within the Hollywood community. His resume is very eclectic and personal, taking on roles and projects that really reflect his diverse interests of subjects.

And I cannot forget to mention his younger brother Dave Franco, portrays Tommy's best friend and fellow actor Greg Sestero. Now I have to admit that when I first saw him on the ninth season of the tv series Scrubs, I thought he was a decent actor, but he wasn't as talented as James. Now all these years later, Dave killed it as Greg! He's vulnerable, sympathetic and unsure of himself at times. Dave really nailed all these faults as well as all of Greg's attributes. Together, both James and Dave brought a sence of realism and absurdity to the film, which elevates it from great to Oscar worthy!!

So far the film has grossed $22 million worldwide against it's budget of $10 million. It has garnered acclaim from both critics and fans, especially fans of THE ROOM. It's been nominated for several awards, which is again ironic since we're talking about a film that is about the making of one of the worst films ever made!

THE DISASTER ARTIST is one of my favorite films of 2017!! The film just sucks you in and doesn't let go until its beautiful conclusion! If this film wins any awards this coming year, it would be richly deserved and poetically ironic since THE ROOM won't win any!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE DISASTER ARTIST is now currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the AMC Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Phil's Horror Watch: ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017) from New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Pictures - December 27, 2017

Starring Anthony LaPaglia, Samara Lee, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Brad Greenquist, Mark Bramhall
Written by Gary Dauberman
Cinematography by Maxime Alexandre
Edited by Michel Aller
Produced by James Wan, Peter Safran
Directed by David F. Sandberg
Released by New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Pictures

When filmmaker James Wan made THE CONJURING back in 2013, little did he realize that we was about to create an entirely new universe that horror films have grown to love. So far, there are four films within THE CONJURING Universe, with more on the way. Today's film is the fourth film and a prequel to the whole series. Overall, ANNABELLE: CREATION is a worthy entry in this shared world!

The film's official synopsis: Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife (Miranda Otto) welcome a nun (Stephanie Sigman) and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker´s possessed creation, Annabelle.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2017)
The first thing I thought while I was watching was this is sooooo much better than the first film! Originally director David F. Sandberg didn't want to make  the film because of his distain for horror sequels. But he changed his mind when that the film would be standalone prequel and he wasn't really obligated to connect the film with the rest of THE CONJURING Universe. This allowed him to really expand one the concept and bring in some genuine scares, chills and thrills. He directing was spot-on perfect and really elevates the idea of what a big time studio horror film could look like. It looks absolutely beautiful, his compositions and sweeping camera shots are incredible and he knows when to scare the audience, just like he did with his previous film LIGHTS OUT.

The entire cast in the film is great, but the one actress that I want to spotlight is actress Lulu Wilson. She was absolutely fantastic as Linda! I became aware of this young actress when I saw her in the 2014 film DELIVER US FROM EVIL. But it was her breakout role as the possessed Doris Zander in OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL, which was another prequel movie and was released to theaters back on October 21, 2016. She is a force to be reckoned with because she is that damn talented. She has three projects coming out next year so keep an eye out for those!

The film was released on August 11, 2017 and garnered acclaim from horror fans and critics. It went on to gross $306.5 million worldwide, against its budget of only $15 million! Again, it proved to the mainstream that 2017 was a banner year for the horror genre, with other notable titles like SPLIT, GET OUT and the Stephen King remake IT.

ANNABELLE: CREATION is a nightmare infused horror thriller that will add another dimension to THE CONJURING Universe! Make sure your check out this frightful flick with your fellow horror hounds tonight!! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

ANNABELLE: CREATION is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD. It is also available on Digital HD, iTunes and VOD.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Phil sees STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI for the third time at the Cinemark Century 20 Oakridge Mall - December 27, 2017

Yup, I saw STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI for the third time today! This time, I took my old friend Dina to see the film. We've been friends for over 25 years, and she is a huge STAR WARS fan! She hadn't seen the movie yet, so I thought it would be fun to take her to the Cinemark Century in Oakridge Mall. We also saw it in their special XD theater with the soft, comfy chairs too! Yeah, it felt real nice to sit in those reclining leather chairs!

After the screening was over, I asked her what her thoughts and opinions on the film. She basically said the same thing as Stephanie did: it was awesome, action packed and the story was amazing!! Since this was a third time watching it, I was able to pick up things that I missed the previous two times. In my original review, I said that the film's story is a dark one; born out of annihilation and darkness and ends in hope and light. I was completely blown away by the film's script as it took me on a very different path that I thought I was going to travel on, based on how the last film ended. This is all true but somehow I totally missed the message in the movie: hope! 

It was referenced all throughout the film. The main line, "We are the spark that will burn the First Order down." is about hope. The ending of the film offers us that hope will rise again throughout the galaxy. And that hope will bring the end to the First Order. It is a powerful message; one that reflects on what has happened in this country since Trump took over the White House and ushered in his reign of tyranny over America. But now there has risen a Resistance to this regime of white supremacy, corporate sell outs, misogyny, homophobia, climate change and this Resistance will not stop until those who will cause us harm has been removed from office. If you don't see this, then I'm sorry but you're not paying attention.

The day I saw it was also the one year anniversary of actress Carrie Fisher's passing. It's hard to believe that it's already been a year, yet watching the movie it felt like she was still here with us. The universe is still reeling from her untimely death, and fans from all over the world miss out beloved princess Lea.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Century Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Phil's Top Ten Favorite Christmas Horror Films of All Time - December 26, 2017

With the holidays almost over, what better way to conclude this wonderful time of year than to watch some really awesome Christmas themed horror movies! During this yuletide time, I thought it would be not only fun but informative to share with you some of my favorite Christmas themed horror films. This is something that I've been doing for a couple of years now, due to the amazing plethora of titles that are available to watch. Some of these are classic horror staples, while some are newer releases that truly deserve your time and attention.

This list contains MY favorite movies that I have enjoyed and only titles that I have seen! So that is why you won't see other acclaimed and worthy titles like RARE IMPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE, STIRRING or SANTA SLAYS on this list. However, they are on my to-watch list so maybe they'll appear on next year's compilation. So my faithful readers, here is my Top Ten Favorite Christmas Horror Films of All Time!

Theatrical Movie Poster (2012)
10) SILENT NIGHT (2012): I'm gonna start off this list with a controversial entry. A loose remake of the classic 1984 slasher film SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, the plot centers on the police force of a remote Midwestern town in search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve. Directed by Steven C. Miller and starring Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Courtney-Jane White, Ellen Wong and Rick Skene, the movie is a slick, sick slasher flick that will appeal to horror fanatics. Miller is no stranger to the horror genre, after helming AUTOMATION TRANSFUSION (2006), SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE (2011) and UNDER THE BED (2012). Also, this was King's third remake of a 80's slasher film, having starred in the 2009 MY BLOODY VALENTINE and 2010 MOTHER'S DAY remakes. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
9) KRAMPUS (2015): When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family's home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive. Filmmaker Michael Dougherty is well known to horror fans as the writer/director of the beloved anthology TRICK 'r TREAT and is in post-production of the upcoming film GODZILLA: KING OF MONSTERS for Warner Bros. Pictures. At the time of me writing this piece, it was announced that Dougherty will finally be making the long awaited sequel TRICK 'r TREAT 2, which I have been waiting for since the first movie came out! Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1980)
8) CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980): When he was a boy, Harry idolized Santa Claus, but one Christmas Eve, he witnessed something horrifying that forever shattered his innocent understanding of Santa. Now an adult, Harry wants to embody the pure Santa Claus he grew up loving. He works at a toy factory and keeps records of who’s been naughty and nice, but the spirit of Christmas isn’t what it used to be and he can’t take it. So, garbed in his red suit, Harry decides that the only thing he can do is to become Santa himself and make all of the naughty townspeople pay…in blood! Originally released as You Better Watch Out, the film predates SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT by four years! Troma Entertainment originally released the movie on VHS in 2000 in an unrated director's cut. Then in 2006, Synapse Film's gained the rights to release it on DVD before finally getting a Blu-Ray/DVD combo from Vinegar Syndrome in 2014. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

Promotional Movie Poster (1997)
7) JACK FROST (1997): On his way to be executed, the vehicle containing notorious serial killer Jack Frost collides with a hazardous chemical truck, turning Jack into a snow covered mutant and unleashing him on the unsuspecting town of Snomonton, ‘The Snowman Capitol of the Midwest’. Jack immediately takes advantage of his newfound freedom and blizzardy abilities to seek revenge on the bungling Sheriff, played by Christopher Allport (TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.), that accidentally ended his cross-country killing spree. On his way to the Sheriff, Jack terrorizes the snow-man themed town and murders its residents in a variety of winterized ways. The movie was recently released as a Blu-Ray/DVD combo by Vinegar Syndrome after being out of print for years. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
6) A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015): It’s the season of joy, peace, and goodwill… unless you live in Bailey Downs. Last Christmas Eve, two teens came to a grisly end in a school basement. Now, one year later, a new set of horrors has come to town. As three friends explore the site of the massacre, a malevolent spirit is determined to keep them there forever. One of the first cops to the scene of the bloody murders has new complications as his seven-year-old son exhibits terrifying and violent behavior. And when a local family seeks reconciliation with an estranged aunt for the wrong reasons, they suddenly find themselves running in terror from Krampus, the demonic anti-Santa Claus. Not even St. Nick is immune to the terror as he fights back against a horde of zombie elves. This is destined to be a holiday no one will ever forget. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1993)
5) THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993): Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, longs to spread the joy of Christmas. But his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere! I don't care what people think or say, this is a horror film disguised as a children's film. Created by the legendary Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick, this stop motion musical contains some delightful scares and eerie imagery that horror fans have come accustomed to with Mr. Burton's cinematic world. And the cinematic world has never been the same since. Since its original release, the film has gone on to become a true animation classic, spawning toys, games, clothes and all kinds of merchandise. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2016)
4) BETTER WATCH OUT (2016): This holiday season, you may be home, but you’re not alone... In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion horror, babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) must defend her young charges Luke (Levi Miller) and his best friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould ) when intruders break into the house one snowy night – or so she thinks. Originally titled as SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD, the film made a big splash when it was screened at the Fantastic Fest in 2016. It went on to garner acclaim at other film festivals before being picked up for distribution by Well Go USA Entertainment. This is one of the most original, entertaining and sick Christmas themed horror films I have seen in a very long time! Fun fact: both DeJonge and Oxenbould played siblings in M. Night Shyamalan's 2015 thriller THE VISIT. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1984)

3) GREMLINS (1984): A small town is besieged by some furry and not-so-cute little creatures after a young man ignores the warnings of a wise elder regarding their care and feeding. Before anybody says anything, the film takes place during Christmas time, so that is why it's on my list. Written by Chris Columbus, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Joe Dante, the film stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Keye Luke, Corey Feldman, Dick Miller and with Howie Mandel providing the voice of Gizmo. The film was so successful that it became the fourth highest-grossing film of 1984 (GHOSTBUSTERS, BEVERLY HILLS COP and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM were the other three films), grossing a staggering $148.1 million against its meager $11 million budget! A sequel was eventually made and released in 1990. Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1984)
2) SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984): The film is the heartwarming story of little Billy Chapman who was traumatized by his parents’ Christmas Eve murder, then brutalized by sadistic orphanage nuns. But when grown-up Billy is to dress as jolly St. Nick, he goes on a yuletide rampage to "punish the naughty! ", Santa Claus is coming to town ... and this time he’s got an axe! Robert Brian Wilson and Scream Queen Linnea Quigley star in this jaw-dropping horror classic that a nation of angry mothers still cannot stop! Community leaders tried to stop the release. The P.T.A. fought to ban it. In 2017, Scream Factory, an imprint of Shout! Factory, released the film on Blu-Ray in a new high-definition and fully restored from the original vaulted film negative. Still considered controversial to this very day, the film spawned four sequels along with the 2012 remake that came in at number ten. Click here to watch the film's theatrical trailer.

Theatrical movie Poster (1974)
1) BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974): The grandaddy of all Christmas horror films! The college town of Bedford is receiving an unwelcome guest this Christmas. As the residents of sorority house Pi Kappa Sigma prepare for the festive season, a stranger begins to stalk the house. A series of obscene phone calls start to plague the residents of the sorority and it becomes clear that a psychopath is homing in on the sisters with dubious intentions. And though the police try to trace the calls, they discover that nothing is as it seems during this Black Christmas. Over 40 years after its initial theatrical release, the movie still holds up and still inspires screams from audiences today! It predates HALLOWEEN by four years and it's sited as launching the slasher genre. A remake with the same name came out in 2006 and Scream Factory released a two-disc special edition Blu-Ray set earlier this year! Click here to view the film's theatrical trailer.

And there you have it folks! My Top Ten Favorite Christmas Horror Films of All Time! I hope that this list inspires you to watch some of these films, or if you're a die hard horror fanatic, it will make you want to revisit these festive cinematic gems! Since many of these movies are available to watch on Blu-Ray, DVD, VOD or on streaming services like Netflex, Hulu and Shudder, there is a plethroa of ways for you to watch them. So put out those milk and cookies, turn on your Christmas tree lights, pop some popcorn and set back and watch these films with your family today! Just make sure you save a seat for Santa, or he'll leave a lump of coal in your stocking....if your lucky!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays to you all!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Phil sees STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (again) at the Cinemark Century 20 Oakridge Mall - December 19, 2017

Well, I didn't wait long to see STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI again. This time I took my girlfriend Stephanie to see it at the Century 20 Theaters in Oakridge Mall, located here in South San Jose. So after seeing it on Monday after work, I told her all about it (spoiler free of course) and that I need to take her to see it. So we went the very next day and caught the 11:45am screening of the film.

Over two hours later, we exited the theater and I asked her what she thought of the film. All she could say was, "That was so awesome!" I sensed she was a little overwhelmed and was still trying to process the movie. Having seen it a second time, I caught more details that I missed the day before. As I said in my original review, Johnson has deliberately taken the franchise into uncharted territory. There is so much happening in the film that it requires multiple viewings, which I was planning to do anyway. 

So as I am writing this, the film has now grossed $791.7 million worldwide! It had the 5th biggest worldwide opening of all time, the 2nd biggest worldwide IMAX opening of all time and the 2nd highest Thursday night gross ever (the first was THE FORCE AWAKENS). The film is estimated to gross over $800 million by the end of the year.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Century Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge - Dec. 18, 2017

On December 23, 2015, I saw STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, which was a the first new STAR WARS film to be released since Disney bought LucasFilm from its creator George Lucas in October of 2012. The film became a huge blockbuster, thanks in large part to director J.J. Abrams. After viewing the movie, I thought to myself as to where the story would go in the next installment of this cherished sci-fi franchise. After all, writer/director Rian Johnson is an accomplished filmmaker, having title like BRICK, THE BROTHERS BLOOM and LOOPER in his resume, I knew that he would take these characters and make something revolutionary with them. Low and behold, I was right in my guess, having seen it with my own two eyes. Now, the long two year wait has ended and I finally saw STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI this past opening weekend.

The film's official synopsis: Rey (Daisy Ridley) develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance, lead by General Lea Organa (Carrie Fisher), prepares to do battle with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order.

Also appearing in the film are John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix) along with newcomers like Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Holdo) and Benicio Del Toro (DJ), with special guest appearances from Lupita Nyong'o (Maz Kanata) and Frank Oz (Yoda).

Since there are still a number of you out there that haven't seen the movie yet, I will be making this a SPOILER-FREE REVIEW! So I will be mostly talking about my opinion of the film as a whole rather than dissecting it like I usually do. Basically, this will be kind of a generic review because I don't want to ruin the movie for any of you (which begs the question why are you reading this and not going out to see the movie?).

This was unlike any other STAR WARS film that has come before it. Johnson has deliberately taken the franchise into uncharted territory. The STAR WARS Universe, as a whole, has forever changed and whether you like it or not, the line in the sand has been drawn. This film marks the turning point in the franchise and will forever alter the course for all future chapters. And I, for one, am very excited to see where this will lead.

Johnson also does something unique with his film: he doesn't answer any of the questions that Abrams set up in the previous installment. We don't know how the First Order came to power, we don't know the origins of Supreme Leader Snoke, we never really learn who Rey's parents are, we basically never get any questions answered from THE FORCE AWAKENS! Instead, Johnson takes us on a personal journey for several of our characters and how their actions will affect the entire galaxy! The film's story is a dark one; born out of annihilation and darkness and ends in hope and light. I was completely blown away by the film's script as it took me on a very different path that I thought I was going to travel on, based on how the last film ended. Congratulations to Rian Johnson on helming one of the best STAR WARS film ever made!!

Because of the powerful screening the film had with the Disney executives, LucasFilm  announced on November 9, 2017 that Johnson had signed on to create an all-new STAR WARS trilogy. He will also be writing and directing the first film of the new trilogy. No word yet on what the series will be about but I cannot wait to see them!

But I can't end this review without mentioning the late, great Carrie Fisher, who passed away on December 27, 2016. This would be her last on-screen appearance as General/Princess Lea Organa. Words fail me to express how hard it was to watch her in the movie, knowing that this was her last role ever. While THE FORCE AWAKENS centered on Han Solo and THE LAST JEDI focused on Luke Skywalker, Episode IX was going to feature Lea as a key character, completing the original cast from the original trilogy. But with her passing, those plans fell apart. There was talk about using footage of Fisher left over from this film and even creating her digitally like they did in ROUGE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY. However, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced in January of this year that they would not digitally generate Fisher in the next movie, nor will she be in it at all. We can only wonder what her role might have been. And our hearts will forever mourn the loss of our beloved princess.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is, without question, my favorite film of the series since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!! The movie is just that damn incredible!! I am planning to see this movie over and over again in the theater before it comes out on Blu-Ray because there is so much happening in the movie, it needs to be seen on the big screen!! So stop whatever it is that you are doing and go see this film!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is currently playing in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!