Friday, September 21, 2018

Phil attends the GREATEST HITS BY CLUB FOOT ORCHESTRA at the Castro Theatre - September 15, 2018

Greetings from San Francisco! I'm back up here in the City by the Bay to partake in another great silent film event, presented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. This incredible event was called GREATEST HITS BY CLUB FOOT ORCHESTRA! According to their Facebook biography: The Club Foot Orchestra is a music ensemble founded in 1983 by Richard Marriott. After a brief career playing dramatic, complex music in San Francisco clubs, they became known for their equally dramatic and complex scores for classic silent movies. The ensemble got their name from a performance art nightclub called the "Club Foot" which flourished in the Bayview district of San Francisco. Marriott, who lived upstairs, formed a house band that came to be called the "Club Foot Orchestra". As you probably guessed, I was super pumped for this event!! Never before have I ever heard of one band doing an entire silent film event. As you read from previous posts from my silent film trips, there's usually multiple musicians or orchestras providing musical accompaniments, but this would be the first time I've ever heard of just one orchestra doing the whole thing! As I arrived to the Castro Theatre, I made my way to the front row to take in all this excitement! At one o'clock, the lights dimmed and the show began!

The afternoon started with the silent comedies. First was a Felix the Cat cartoon entitled FELIX WOOS WHOOPEE (1928). In this animation short,Felix is up all night at the Whoopee Club, having a hell of a time, overindulging himself with drink, and dancing about with another inebriated friend. Meanwhile, at home, his angry wife Kitty is pacing up and down in front of the clock, which reads 3 a.m. Finally leaving the nightclub, Felix drunkenly tries to make his way home without Kitty finding out. He encounters scary apparitions- weird monsters and other vivid figments of his imagination- on his way home. Finally, Felix sneaks home and into bed, but he continues to fight his monsters, only to find that he is fighting his pillow in the midst of a nightmare. This was a trippy cartoon, way ahead of the norm of seeing the usual pink elephants. After that, it was time for some classic Buster Keaton shorts!

Buster Keaton & Sybil Seely in ONE WEEK (1920)
The first short screened was ONE WEEK (1920): Buster and Sybil Seely play newlyweds that attempts to build a do-it-yourself house kit. However her jealous ex sabotages the kit's component numbering, thus the house is less than perfect when completed! Next up was THE BLACKSMITH (1922): Buster clowns around in a blacksmith's shop until he and the smithy get in a fight which sends the smithy to jail. Buster helps several customers with horses, then destroys a Rolls Royce while fixing the car parked next to it. The last short shown was one of my favorites! COPS (1922) is a funny, funny, funny film! In a series of mishaps that plague our poor Buster, it all ends with him being chased by every single policemen in town! And I mean EVERY policemen!! It also boasts appearances by Joe Roberts, Virginia Fox, and Edward F. Cline as a hobo. The film was written and directed by Keaton as well as Cline. It was produced by Joseph M. Schenck Productions and released by First National in March of 1922.

Conrad Veidt & Lil Dagover in THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920)
The second film of the day was one I've seen many times, but still enjoy.  THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920) is a prime example of German Expressionism at its finest. The film tells the story of a mad doctor who trains a sleepwalker named Cesare (Conrad Veidt) to kill people in order to study the effects of somnambulism. To this day the film, and its ending, still gives me the shivers.

With its distorted sets, bizarre lighting and shadows painted on canvases, and deformed spaces, the film achieves its nightmarish imagery right from the start and doesn't let you go till it twisted ending. Director Robert Wiene forever changed the face of German cinema as well as cinema itself. Many Universal horror filmmakers have cited the German Expressionism films as their inspiration for DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, and many others. The film was originally released by Decla-Bioscop in Germany on February 26, 1920. It was imported here in the states by Goldwyn Distributing Company on March 19, 1921. The film is available on a special edition Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.

Brigitte Helm in METROPOLIS (1927)
Up next was a film that I had the pleasure of watching here at the Castro Theatre several years ago during the SFSFF 2010, one whole year before I started this blog. METROPOLIS (1927): In the future, the society of Metropolis is divided in two social classes: the workers, who live in the underground below the machines level, and the dominant classes that lives in the surface. The workers are controlled by their leader Maria, who wants to find a mediator between the upper class lords and the workers, since she believes that a heart would be necessary between brains and muscles. Maria meets Freder Fredersen, the son of the Lord of Metropolis Johhan Fredersen, in a meeting of the workers, and they fall in love for each other. Meanwhile, Johhan decides that the workers are no longer necessary for Metropolis, and uses a robot pretending to be Maria to promote a revolution of the working class and eliminate them.

Again, seeing it back in 2010 was extraordinary! The stunning resurrection of Fritz Lang’s futuristic film to its epic original cut, a version believed forever lost, began in a modest Buenos Aires cinema museum in the spring of 2008, when a rusted film can turned out to contain a 16mm negative of the entire 150-minute silent film. Spliced together with the 35mm nitrate film, it's now the most complete version of the film ever! It was released on a special edition Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.

Ma Shreck in NOSFERATU (1922)
After a quick dinner break, I was back in the front row, awaiting the final movie of the day! NOSFERATU (1922): The story of the film goes as follows: a real estate agent named Knock sends his assistant Hutter to Transylvania to have some paperwork signed by his new client Count Orlok, who just happened to purchase the old, deserted house right across the street from Hutter. However his innocent wife Ellen senses danger on his journey, and she is correct. From the moment he arrives at the Count's castle, strange occurrences unfold, and when Orlock leaves for his new home, the shroud of death follows him across the sea and to his final destination; Wisbourg, Germany. It is here where the lovely Ellen realizes that only she can put an end the Count's reign of terror.

With his rodent-like face, long spider fingers, and soul piercing eyes that will make your skin crawl, Max Shreck's performance as Court Orlock has become an icon in not just silent horror films, but for the horror genre in general. Few can come close to achieve his personification of dread and evil, a creature devoid of humanity and pathos. While the vampire itself has evolved, thanks to actors such as Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman, Klaus Kinski (who stared in the 1979 remake), and Willem Dafoe (who portrays Max Schreck in the 2001 film SHADOWS OF THE VAMPIRE), none have come close to capture the feel of death and darkness  as Schreck achieved back in 1922. The film was released on a special edition Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.

And that my friends is a wrap! What a great time I had!! And major props to the Club Foot Orchestra for doing an amazing job providing music for all the films!! I can't wait to come back here to the Castor Theatre for the SFSFF's  A DAY OF SILENTS, which will take place on Saturday, December 1st! Also, mark your calendar for the SFSFF 2019 on May 1st through the 5th!!  Now if you'd like to learn more about the SF Silent Film Festival, and how to become a member, visit their website at www.silentfilm.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Phil sees THE PREDATOR at the Cinelux Almaden Cafe & Lounge - September 14, 2018

In 1987, the film PREDATOR, starring former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, and Shane Black, hit theaters and became a huge blockbuster. Combining action, science fiction, and horror, it has become a classic among fans. Then came PREDATOR 2 in 1991. It was OK, but not great. Then came ALIEN VS. PREDATOR and ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM in 2004 and 2007 respectively. They both sucked ass. And then came filmmaker Robert Rodriguez's 2010 sequel PREDATORS. It was OK too. It seemed like fans of the franchise were never going to get a film that would be on par with the original. Enter actor Shane Black, who starred in the first film, who teamed up with co-screenwriter Fred Dekker to give us THE PREDATOR, which I saw on opening day over at the Cinelux Almaden Cafe & Lounge.

The film's official synopsis: From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. Now, the universe's most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

OK, first things first. DO NOT COMPARE IT TO THE ORIGINAL! Nothing will be better than the first PREDATOR!! NOTHING!! So don't go into the film think it's gonna be a masterpiece of fine cinema, because it is so not. But, if you like your movies filled with blood, violence, raunchy and vulgar language, big explosions, and Olivia Munn running around looking all sexy, then this is right up your alley.

Black keeps the action, humor, and violence fast as lightening with very little emphasis on character development. As I said earlier, he co-wrote the screenplay with the legendary Fred Dekker, the man responsible for two of the greatest 80's films of all time: THE MONSTER SQUAD and NIGHT OF THE CREEPS! Legend has it that both Dekker and Black have been friends for decades and Black recruited his long time friend to help craft the script, filled with generic one-liners, clichés, over-the-top bloodshed, and for some stupid reason, it fucking works.

The cast itself does a nice job of trying to give their respective characters some depth and personality, but the real reason we want to see the movie is the Predators! And in this film, we get not one but two of them! Both look awesome, especially the Mutant Predator! But also, Olivia Munn looks so damn sexy playing nerd doctor Casey Bracket, who also knows how to shoot shotguns and assault rifles. Hey, wait just a second! How the hell does she know how to use a gun? I don't remember the movie explaining this! Oh, forget about it! Just watch Olivia Munn look all sexy and nerdy while she shoots at the Mutant Predator.

So far, the movie hasn't been performing well at the box office. As I am writing this, the movie has only earned $56.6 million worldwide. This isn't good news, since the film's budget was about $208 million, which included advertisements. The film's producer, John Davis, says this movie would set up two more sequels that he hopes Shane Black will direct. Let's see if this comes to fruition.

THE PREDATOR is an entertaining, action packed sci-fi flick that hardcore fans of the franchise will enjoy! But in the end, it's just another typical Hollywood popcorn movie! I was just expecting something more to it is all! 3 out of stars! It's worth a look!


THE PREDATOR is 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 16, 2018

Phil sees THE NUN at the Pruneyard Cinemas Dine-In at the Pruneyard Campbell - September 13, 2018

When the Camera 7 Cinemas closed in the Pruneyard Campbell back in 2017, a piece of me died. This was my home away from home. Even before I started this blog, I practically lived there. I fully supported the Camera Cinemas for years. When it was announced that the theater was going to be closed for a complete remodel, I was hesitant. I knew that when it would reopen, it wasn't going to be the Camera 7 I knew and loved. When it did finally reopened as the Pruneyard Cinemas Dine-In, it felt like a slap in the face. The Camera Cinemas were now extinct, and all I have are the memories. But I was very curious about what it looked like. So, I finally broke down and went to see a movie there. Of course, the first movie I see there would be a horror film. Did you expect anything less of me? After work on Thursday, I went and saw THE NUN, the latest installment of THE CONJURING universe.

The film's official synopsis: When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order's unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in THE CONJURING 2, as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned.

The setting of the abbey gave the movie an eerie feel of atmosphere and dread. This was the perfect location to tell the story. It felt like a meld of a Hammer Horror film and a Lucio Fulci Italian movie. This was a my favorite part of this fright flick. The other was the acting.

Our heroine Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) brought that innocence and naiveté that helps our character to grow and become a stronger, powerful instrument of God. Farmiga was the perfect casting choice for bringing character development and depth. And in case you were wondering, yes, she is the younger sister of Academy Award nominee Vera Farmiga. Her on-screen chemistry with lead actor Demián Bichir as Father Burke were great, but it's the final showdown with the nun herself, Bonnie Aaron, that proves that she's got the acting chops to be a lead actress. Also, Bichir is one of the scariest freaking nun I've ever seen in a movie before!

Director Corin Hardy got his start making a series of video shorts before making his feature film debut with the 2015 indie horror flick THE HALLOW, which garnered decent reviews. Here, he looks like he takes command of the movie; combining chills, supernatural scares, and atmospheric dread. The only real complaint is the script, which falls into the laps of screenwriters Gary Dauberman and James Wan. I felt like the script needed to be more tightened up, better character arcs, not have the nun appear almost throughout the film, her backstory could've been more imaginative, and better dialogue because, in some scenes, they were a little cringe worthy. Seriously.

As I sit and write this review, the film has already garnered $228.7 million worldwide! And the film's budget was only $22 million! Quite an impressive feat since it only came out on September 7th. This proves that there is an audience for these types of movies. The horror genre has a proven track record; that they can make a studio a lot of money on shoe-string budgets. We as fans want to see horror films, but make sure that there good horror films! And with the success of this movie, it proves that fans are still interested in THE CONJURING universe, so let's keep the fans happy here folks.

THE NUN is a supernatural fright film that will satisfy fans of the THE CONJURING universe! While not a perfect film, it was an entertaining, atmospheric, thrilling ghost story with some truly creepy scares that will chill you to the bone! 3 1/2 out of 5 stars! It's worth a look!


THE NUN is playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Pruneyard Cinemas Dine-In here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.pruneyardcinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Phil's Shudder Picks: FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701's GRUDGE SONG (1973) - September 12, 2018

Well folks, this is it! What is it I'm talking about? Well, on today's edition of Phil's Shudder Picks, I'm going to review the final film in the FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION series! Yes my friends, all good things do come to an end. So let's not waste another minute, and let me tell you all about the final chapter of this immensely beloved franchise entitled FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701's GRUDGE SONG.

Original Japanese Poster (1973)
The film's official synopsis: The final film in the series, FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701's GRUDGE SONG (from director Yasuharu Hasebe; RETALIATION, MASSACRE GUN), shows a gentler side of Scorpion. When Nami falls in with Kudo, an ex-radical suffering from physical and psychological trauma caused by police torture, the pair become political rebels.

The film surprised me in several ways. The first being that we see a side of Nami that we haven't seen before. Actress Meiko Kaji brings a vulnerability to Nami that we really haven't seen since the first film, However, this doesn't last long, and at the end of the film, she becomes the Nami that we know and love!

Now, I'm debating on telling you how this movie ends. I'm not a big fan of spoilers, but the movie is 45 years old. If you haven't seen these films yet, for shame. Anywho, Nami kills the corrupt cop and Kudo. There, I said it! But it's pretty fucking sweet how it all went down!

As I said in my previous post, director Shunya Itō meant the franchise to be a trilogy. After he completed , he walked away from the series, even though the studio Toei Company had different ideas. Enter director Yasuharu Hasebe. Here, he gives a nice conclusion to the journey of Nami, even showcasing some cool exploitation compositions and set-ups that have become the trademark for Japanese grindhouse films of the 1970's. The overall effect is one that satisfies the hardcore fan of these type of genre films.

The Toei Company released the movie in Japan on December 29, 1973. What a way to close out the year!! The film wouldn't be available here in the states until Tokyo Shock released it on DVD in 2005. And then UK company released a 2K scan of the film as part of the Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection boxset.

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701's GRUDGE SONG is a awesome conclusion to the original series of films!! While other companies have released their own film to the franchise, the original four films have earned their place in the annuls of cinema history! Now in the 21st century, old time fans and newbies can watch them all over again in the comfort of their home! 4 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended!!


FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701's GRUDGE SONG is now streaming exclusively on Shudder. To view it, sign up on its website at www.shudder.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror! 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Phil's Shudder Picks: FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE (1973) - SEPTEMBER 12, 2018

So, I would like to know who the hell comes up with these titles?!? As you may have noticed from my previous two posts, I've been making my way through the series on Shudder, and I am just amused by the title for this one. First there was FEMALE PRISONER: #701 SCORPION . Then came FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41. And now, the third film of the series and today's review entitled FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE! Yeah, that's a fucking crazy title, and so is this movie!

Original Japanese Poster (1973)
The film's official synopsis: The 3rd Female Prisoner film, the Gothic horror-inspired FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE finds Nami branded public enemy #1. She soon finds refuge with a sympathetic prostitute, but is on the run from a local gang, her ex-prison mate and a cop whose arm she hacked off (hell yeah).

The look of the movie is totally different than the previous two chapters. Director Shun'ya Itô abandons his arthouse meets grindhouse, supernatural lighting, sound stage sets look of the last film in favor for a more creepy looking, Gothic style movie. There's a lot of blues and greys in the film, almost melodramatic. It's a visually depressing representation of the environment of our old friend Nami is, now in another hell-hole women's prison. Itô also jettisons the European style directing in favor of a more straight forward exploitation found here. Overall, I missed the directing style of JAILHOUSE 41, but he, once again, delivers the goods and creates another classic flick, filled with nudity, violence, bloodshed, and a incestuous relationship between a sister and her fucked-up-in-the-head brother. What more could anyone ask?

Meiko Kaji proves once again that she is, without a shadow of doubt, the most beautiful and deadliest woman alive! Good grief, I love this woman!! I mean, how can you not?!? She's gorgeous, looks sexy as hell in her trademark black hat and outfit, and can kill you a hundred different ways!! I would love to see her in a movie today! But alas, she has long since retired from the silver scree, and as she puts it, she wants her fans to remember her the way she used to look in her films.

Now, this was supposed to be Shun'ya Itô's final film of the trilogy, and was written as the finale of the FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION series. And the way it ends, it does feel like a logical conclusion to the franchise, all wrapped up in a nice big bow. But when Toei Company released it to theaters in Japan on July 29, 1973, it was another huge blockbuster. However, this was the last FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION that Shun'ya Itô would be involved in.

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE is another Japanese exploitation classic in the franchise that fans will want to see over and over again! While not as visually stunning and experimental as FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41, there's still plenty for audiences to go crazy for! So grab some popcorn, grab some drinks and then watch this movie!! 4 out of 5 starts! Highly recommended!


FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE is now streaming exclusively on Shudder. To view it, sign up on its website at www.shudder.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror! 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Phil's Shudder Picks: FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41 (1972) - September 11, 2018

Welcome back to another installment of Phil's Shudder Picks! Today's movie is the first sequel in the FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION franchise. Again, I was able to check out the film on the Shudder App, which has been awesome! So, ladies and gentlemen, let's discuss the 1972 sequel FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41.

Original Japanese Poster (1972)
The film's official synopsis: Scorpion returns. Nami and six other female prisoners are on the run in this 2nd FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION film, a visually stunning jailhouse escape spectacle.

Once again, actress Meiko Kaji returns as our heroine Nami, who is both bad ass and beautiful beyond description!! And like the first film, she barely says a word in this one too. If anything, I believe she had one line, maybe two. But then, she doesn't need dialogue to express herself. The way she moves, her glaring eyes, the expression on her face when she's sad, angry, and when she's cutting a bitch up! She looks indescribably breathtaking while looking like a prisoner being hosed by the cops in her cell or in her trademark black hat and matching outfit!

Kaji isn't the only one to return to the series. Co-writer/director Shun'ya Itô also returns to helm the movie, and holy shit it's batshit crazy!! The movie is leaps and bounds more visually stunning than the first chapter of the series. Itô showcases his maturity for set designs, mood lighting, sweeping on-location shots, and dynamic set-ups and compositions. Now remember, this film came out in 1972, five years before director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi's film HOUSE, which looks like it copied the look from this movie!! Coincidence? I think not!!

The film was originally released to theaters in Japan on December 30, 1972 from the legendary Toei Company. It was another success, but it didn't get discovered here in the states till years later. Thanks to the VHS boom of the 1980's, the movie achieved a cult-like status unheard of at that time. Eventually, the movie (as well as the rest of the entries of the series) were released on DVD, but the source material were on the rough side; the picture and sound quality weren't all that great. But then in 2016, British company Arrow Video released Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection in a stunning Blu-Ray/DVD boxset! Arrow did a brand new 2k restorations of all four films, bonus features, and a booklet!

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41 is my favorite film of the FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION franchise! It's the perfect blend of arthouse movie, experimental film, and Japanese exploitation cinema!! Fans of the series have been raving about this film for decades, and now you can enjoy it in the comfort of your home! What more do you need to know!! Go watch this movie now!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41 is now streaming exclusively on Shudder. To view it, sign up on its website at www.shudder.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Phil's Shudder Picks: FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION (1972) - September 11, 2018

Welcome back my fellow horror hounds to a new installment that I call Phil's Shudder Picks. If you are not hip to what the kids are watching, let me break it down for you: Shudder is an online horror streaming service that features the largest library of horror films. Backed by AMC, their catalog ranges from horror classics to indie darlings, silent films to cult classics, foreign fright flicks to Shudder exclusives not found anywhere, they have become the go-to app for horror fanatics. Recently, they've added a beloved Japanese exploitation series that I've been a huge fan of. So for today's review, I'll be talking about the grindhouse classic FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION.

Original Japanese Poster (1972)
The film's official synopsis: When young Nami is framed and falsely imprisoned, she must find a way to escape and exact revenge upon the man who betrayed her. Meiko Kaji (LADY SNOWBLOOD) leads the 1st ferocious film in director Shun'ya Itô's stylish must-see FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION saga.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Japanese sure can make some awesome 70's exploitation classics! What makes it so much fun to watch is Meiko Kaji's stunning perfromance as Nami. She carries the film without hardly any dialogue. It's her mannerism, her body language, her facial expressions, and her ability take the audience with her on her journey. We sympathize with her; we want her to get revenge on those dirty bastards that put her in jail, the women that try to kill her, and those who want her to die. Kaji just radiates off the screen and grabs us by the throat and she doesn't let go until the very end of the film!

No only is Meiko Kaji a talented actress, but she is an amazing singer! Yup, she sing's the film's main theme song"Urami-Bushi", which became more well known when Quentin Tarantino used it for the soundtrack in his KILL BILL films. If that isn't cool, then I don't know what is? And yes, the song is available through iTunes, Spotify, and other musical platforms.

Credit for the movie's visuals and stylistic violence  goes to the outstanding Shun'ya Itô, Believe it or not, this was his feature film debut! He started out as a chief assistant director on the 1968 film ZOKE OTOSHIMAE before getting his big break directing this film. He also wrote "Urami-Bushi" for the film as well. While he did a great job making the film, he really matured by the time he directed his second film, which was the first sequel of the franchise FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41, which I will discuss further in my review of that film.

Now, a warning for the faint at heart. There is A LOT of carnage, rape, violence, bloodshed, gore, and nudity in the movie! If you're familiar with the genre, then you have already come to expect this. But there might be some of you out there that have never seen the movie, let alone a Japanese exploitation from this particular era. They don't shy away from any of this, and the camera longingly captures all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION is a true, bona fide, 1970's Japanese exploitation cult classic that is regarded viewing for all horror hounds!! It's influence on western cinema is far reaching, and continues to attract fans and haters alike!! So make sure you watch this and see how what movies were like back then! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 


FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION is now streaming exclusively on Shudder. To view it, sign up on its website at www.shudder.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Phil's Netfix Picks: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS (2014) - August 1, 2018

In the 1980's there was one studio that dared to be different, bold, and daring by releasing some of the most bizarre, inept, batshit crazy, out-of-this-world films of all time: Cannon Films. During this decade, they released WTF films like THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN, OVER THE TOP, NINJA III: THE DOMINATION, MISSING IN ACTION 1&2DEATH WISH 2-5, BREAKIN', MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, DELTA FORCE, and CYBORG just to name a few. Though no longer with us, those of us who came of age in this time period have a soft spot for Cannon Films. All of this nostalgia leads me to my Netflix Pick of the Week for the awesome documentary ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS and why you should watch it!

Official Theatrical Poster (2014)
The film's official synopsis: A documentary about Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus - two movie-obsessed cousins whose passion for cinema changed the way movies were made and marketed - and the tale of how this passion ultimately led to the demise of the company they built together.

I found myself relating to Menahem and Yoram because I'm just like them: I love movies. They transport us to different places, different times, telling us stories that we lived and ones that we haven't lived, etc. From the silent films to modern blockbusters, films have the power to take us on fantastic, magical rides. Menahem and Yoram did just this, only taking us more on a low budget ride on coach.

Writer/director Mark Hartley is no stranger to this subject of filmmaking, having made the incredibly awesome 2008 documentary NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF OZPLOITATION! and the phenomenal 2010 documentary MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED! Here, Hartley does the same thing: providing the audience with some of the most outrageous stories about Cannon Films from those who were there like actresses Sybil Danning, Martine Beswick, Catherine Mary Stewart, Lucinda Dickey and Bo Derek, actors like Elliott Gould, Alex Winter, Michael Chambers, Michael Dudikoff and Richard Chamberlain. Also contributing to the documentary are industry veterans like Michael Hartman, John G. Avildsen, Mark Rosenthal, Tobe Hooper, Greydon Clark, and Charles Matthau just to name a few.

As a young kid and teenager coming up in the 1980's, I was there at my local theaters watching first hand these insane films that were being churned out by Cannon Films. I remember seeing BREAKIN', MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, OVER THE TOP, MISSING IN ACTION and SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE. They weren't all that great, but they were somewhat entertaining and I found myself just wondering how the hell these were even made to begin with! Well, now I know, thanks in large part to the documentary.

What I took away from this documentary was the passion that Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus had for films. They lived and breathed movies twenty-four hours and day, seven days a week. It's a shame that they split up and stopped talking to one another, and then Menahem was diagnosed with cancer. Lovingly known as the "Go-Go Boys", when Mark Hartley asked them to be part of this project, they declined, and instead, made their own documentary entitled THE GO-GO BOYS: THE INSIDE STORY OF CANNON FILMS. It was released four months before Hartley's film. Sadly, Menahem Golan passed away on Tel Aviv, Israel at the age of 84.

ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS is a loving tribute to both Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and the legendary Cannon Films!! If you're a die hard fan of 80's cinema and you went and saw these films in the theaters, then you'll have a fun-filled traveling down Memory Lane as you are transported to that decade of decadence. And if you missed out on all the fun, then watch this film and then go seek out those cinematic gems that have become cult classics! This is one of my favorite documentaries discoveries of this year on Netflix and you should definitely check it out!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 


ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS is now streaming exclusively on Netflix. To start your subscription, visit their website at www.netflix.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Phil’s Horror Watch: THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1982) from Scorpion Releasing - July 22, 2018

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW Slipcover
THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW
Starring Kathryn McNeil, Eileen Davidson, Janis Ward (as Janis Zido), Robin Meloy, Harley Jane Kozak (as Harley Kozak), Jodi Draigie
Written by Mark Rosman and Bobby Fine (additional dialogue)
Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Paul Trejo and Jean-Marc Vasseur
Directed by Mark Rosman
Originally released by Artists Releasing Corporation (through Film Ventures International)
Released by Scorpion Releasing

Today's film comes to us once again from the early 80's. The film is a genre classic. In fact, it's so popular that it was remade in 2009. And the film has been released over and over again in various formats; mostly DVD and Blu-Ray. The latter leads me to the newest and latest release of this beloved horror treasure. Today's film is none other than the 1983 horror slasher film THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW.

The film's official synopsis: Flirtatious young sorority sisters who are days away from graduation set out to throw one last decadent celebration. Unbeknownst to them, the strict matron of their house hides a horrendous secret thought long buried. A gruesome accident is witnessed by a hideous fiend, hidden within the once nurturing dwelling, which triggers a rampage of death and destruction. Before the end, the peril faced by this sisterhood will push them to the brink of annihilation. And rivers of blood will drown all who enter ... The House on Sorority Row.

Original Theatrical Poster (1983)
The film was released in US theaters on January 21, 1983, and took in $617,661 in its opening weekend. It would go on to gross a whopping $10,604,986! On November 14, 2000, Elite Entertainment released the movie on DVD. Then was re-printed and released again on November 18, 2003. Then it became out of print, but was once again re-released on January 12, 2010 as a special 25 year special anniversary edition. Soon this edition became out of stock as well. Then in 2011, Scorpion Releasing released a 2-disc remastered edition on DVD and Blu-ray, this time adding Katarina Waters's Nightmare Theater to it. All this leads up today.  Scorpion Releasing and Code Red released a new Blu-ray edition on May 11, 2018, featuring a new 2K scan of the original master negative with a slipcover and newly commissioned artwork. This new edition is only sold exclusively online and limited to 1,600 units, which is where I purchased my copy of the film.

Special Features include: New scan of the original internegative, New 5.1 Surrond Sound, Isolated score, Watch in Katrina's Nightmare Theater Mode, Interviews with stars Eileen Davidson, Kate McNeil, Harley Jan Kozak, director Mark Rosman, composer Richard Band and producer Igo Kantor, Audio Commentary with cast and director, Audio Commentary with director Mark Rosman, Alternate Ending Story Boards, Still Gallery, Trailer, and Reversible Cover. 

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is a great 80's horror slasher classic! The movie still holds up after all these years, and still attracts new fans year after year after year. There's a reason that the film still lives on, and the reason is that it's that's damn good and entertaining! And it's never looked this good before! So do yourself a favor tonight. Make some popcorn, turn off the lights, and have a good time watching this movie! But don't watch it alone, especially on a college campus! 4 1/2 out of 5 stars! Highly Recommended!!


THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is available on Blu-Ray from Scorpion Releasing. To purchase a copy, visit roninflix.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Phil attends the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS: DAY THREE event at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 15, 2018

Welcome back to the third and final day of the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS here at the Edison Theater, home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! Hard to believe that the fun was coming to a close. But before I say goodbye to Charlie, let me tell you all what was happening on the last day of this celebration!

The fun began in the late morning with our Sunday Afternoon Matinees, which screened Chaplin's Essanay films and was divided up in two parts. Here's what happened in the first part:

A NIGHT OUT (1915): After a visit to a pub, Charlie and Ben Turpin cause a ruckus at a posh restaurant. Charlie later finds himself in a compromising position at a hotel with the head waiter's wife. The film was shot on location in Oakland and San Jose.

THE CHAMPION (1915): Walking along a street with his bulldog, Charlie finds a "good luck" horseshoe just as he passes the training camp of an enormous fighter named Spike Dugan, which states he is seeking sparring partners "who can take a take a punch." The movie was filmed in Niles and around the Essanay Studio.

Then it was time for the museum to show the now classic entitled Google's CHAPLIN DOODLE. Originally released on April 16, 2011 on the Google website, the short was made to celebrate Chaplin's 122nd birthday on that same day. The short was filmed here in Niles and was a real treat to see it on the big screen again. Then the museum held its annual Chaplin Look Alike Contest, which was amazing to see both young and old impersonating Chaplin. After that, it was time for part two of the Sunday Afternoon Matinees:

IN THE PARK (1915): A tramp steals a girl's handbag, but when he tries to pick Charlie's pocket loses his cigarettes and matches. He rescues a hot dog man from a thug, but takes a few with his walking stick. When the thief tries to take some of Charlie's sausages, Charlie gets the handbag. The handbag makes its way from person to person to its owner, who is angry with her boyfriend who didn't protect her in the first place. The film was shot in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Original Theatrical Poster (1915)
A JITNEY ELOPEMENT: (1915): Edna Purviance's father wants her to marry wealthy Count He-Ha. Charlie, Edna's true love, impersonates the Count at dinner, but the real Count shows up and Charlie is thrown out. Later on Charlie and Edna are chased by her father, The Count, and three policeman. The pursuers drive off a pier. The film was shot in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

THE TRAMP (1915): Chaplin's the little Tramp finds the girl of his dreams and works on a family farm. He helps defend the farm against criminals, and all seems well, until he discovers the girl of his dreams already has a boyfriend. The movie was filmed in Niles, Niles Canyon and around the Essanay Studio.

WHEN THE MOVIES CAME  FROM NILES (1964): This hour long film was narrated by Bill Cato: a real life cowboy and actor who worked at the Essanay studio and was also Broncho Billy's occasional riding double. We hear Cato recalling how much fun it was making these films for the studio and how mush pride they had making them. We also hear the voice of Anderson as well.

The weekend long celebration concluded with SHOW & TELL WITH JASON ALLIN.

This was such a fun filled weekend! And I can't wait till next year's Charlie Chaplin Days! In the meantime, there are plenty more excitement happening at the museum. We have a weekly Saturday Night shows, including the extremely popular Comedy Shorts Night. Plus in August the museum will have their annual Bronco Bill Film Festival! So don't delay! Come on down to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, where silent films live forever!!

To learn more about Charlie Chaplin, visit the official website at www.charliechaplin.com. To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, how to become a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at www.nilesfilmmuseum.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS: DAY TWO event at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 14, 2018

Hello again and welcome back to Day Two of the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS here at the Edison Theater, home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! There was a lot of activities on Saturday, so let's not waste any time and get right down to it!

WALKING TOUR OF NILES: Led by David and Rena Kiehn, the tour consisted of visiting various locations and landmarks in Niles that the Essanay Film Studios used for their films. From the old building that used to be original location of the studio itself, David and Rena gave a fun and informative tour! Those in attendance also received a Walking Tour of Niles booklet.

BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDITS SECRET (2012): In 2012, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum produced a two-reel silent western to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company arriving in Niles. This inspired our museum curators to create a film as special as our little hamlet. Using equipment and techniques from the silent era and locations that are much like they were over 100 years ago, the film presents a fictionalized account of Gilbert Anderson's arrival in Niles, and how the town sheriff joins forces with the movie gunslinger to bring a group of bandits to justice.

WINDOWS TO THE PAST (2017): A 40 minute behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDITS SECRET. Fun Fact: The documentary runs at 40 minutes, which is 10 minutes longer than the film itself.

Then it was time for the Saturday Afternoon Matinees, a series of Chaplin short films, documentaries and a lecture.

Original Theatrical Poster (1915)
THE CHAMPION (1915): Walking along a street with his bulldog, Charlie finds a "good luck" horseshoe just as he passes the training camp of an enormous fighter named Spike Dugan, which states he is seeking sparring partners "who can take a take a punch."

ONE A.M. (1916): After a night on the town, Charlie comes home to the house where he is staying, drunk and unable to find his key. For the next twenty minutes he staggers into, out of, and through the house in an inebriated confrontation with the house itself.

PRESENTATION: CHAPLIN AS A DIRECTOR: Conducted by Professor John Fawell, this informative symposium featured examinations on some of Chaplin's films, including THE KID, THE GOLD RUSH, and MODERN TIMES, his style of filmmaking, comedic timings, and the heart of his films and why they are regarded as not just classic silent films, but works of art in cinema's rich history.

THE MOVIES GOES WEST (1974): a PBS short film hosted by former Essanay actor Hal Angus, who was well in his 80's when he appeared in the film. Angus took us back in time when movies were still being made in Niles while recalling some great information about not only Anderson, but of the Essanay studios and all the fun they had making these silent film classics. We even got to see the old Essanay barn (their first studio in Niles before the state of the art studio was built) before it was condemned and torn down. The old barn door was saved and now it's part of a museum exhibit somewhere.

THE TRAMP (1915): Chaplin's the little Tramp finds the girl of his dreams and works on a family farm. He helps defend the farm against criminals, and all seems well, until he discovers the girl of his dreams already has a boyfriend.

CHAPLIN LOCATIONS IN HOLLYWOOD AND THE BAY AREA: Moderated by Marc Wanamaker and John Bengtson, this was a fun and interesting talk about some of the areas that Chaplin shot his films for the Essanay Studios in Northern and Southern California. Also discussed where the shooting locations for the films THE KID, THE CIRCUS, and CITY LIGHTS.

Then later that night, it was time for the centerpiece of the celebration with a Chaplin classic:

THE KID (1921): The film stars our favorite Tramp who happens to find an abandoned baby on his morning stroll. He cares for the baby and raises him as his own. Jackie Coogan plays the Kid, who was just five years old when he made the film. Chaplin discovered Coogan on the theater stage and casted him on the spot. Years later Coogan would also be known as Uncle Fester on The ADDAMS FAMILY television show. Purviance also starred in the film as the mother who abandoned her son and regretted her mistake. The film was released to the world on February 6, 1921. The film is highly regarded as on of the finest films ever made in cinema's history. The film was also introduced by Chaplin cameraman Rollie Totheroh's grandson David Totheroh!!

David Totheroh talks about his grandfather cameraman Rollie Totheroh and Chaplin.
Another fun-filled day at the museum for our CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS event! And there was still more fun to come the next day!! To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, how to become a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at http://www.nilesfilmmuseum.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the opening night of the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 13, 2018

Hello silent film fans and welcome to the Opening Night of the Charlie Chaplin Days here at the Edison Theater, home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! During the year of 1915, the world of cinema was making history. D.W. Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION  changed the landscape of cinema forever. Producer/distributor William Fox founded the new Fox Film Corporation. Also in the small town of Niles, California, a little comedian came into town, made about five films in three months, and then left. However, those five films helped paved the way for Charlie Chaplin's signature character The Tramp to become one of cinema's most beloved icons. This past weekend, the town of Niles, as well as the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, celebrated its most famous actor with its annual CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS, which took place this past weekend!

The festivities kicked off Friday night with a symposium entitled AN EXPLORATION OF PHYSICAL COMEDY. It included a panel of distinguished individuals who know a lot of this paticular subject. The panel was moderated by funny man Dan Kamin, Paul Mular, Jeffrey Weissman, Jason Allin, John Fawell. They discussed the comedic style and methods of not only Charlie Chaplin, but other comedians from the silent film era, including Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and the often forgotten Lupino Lane. Also, there was a short video of Steve Massa talking about the comedic timings of Chaplin and others. The crowd for that night's symposium were very much into the topic and there was a Q&A with them!

(L-R) Dan Kamin, Paul Mular, Jeffrey Weissman, Jason Allin, John Fawell.
Overall, it was a great night and a great way to kick off the weekend!! And there was more fun events to come at the museum! To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, on how to become a member, and to view their weekly film schedule, visit their website at http://www.nilesfilmmuseum.org./ 
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Phil sees ANT-MAN AND THE WASP at the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD - July 13, 2018

While the world is still reeling from the aftermath of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Marvel Studios has released their newest film ANT-MAN AND THE WASP to theaters. Usually, I like to celebrate Friday the 13th with a horror movie marathon, but since my girlfriend and I were out and about doing errands, we decided to take in a movie. And since were in Fremont, the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD was close by. And were were going to see it in the luxurious XD theater with the Luxury Loungers and XD Dolby Atmos surround sound!! Yeah, we were going to have a good time today!

The film’s official synopsis: In the aftermath of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he's confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangaline Lilly)  and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

The first ANT-MAN was such fun-filled action packed superhero romp, I had high expectations for the sequel. Needless to say, it lived up to the hype, and more. Paul Rudd does a great job as Scott Lang again, bringing his haplessly heroic loser to life once again. But he steps it up immensely, as he’s Hank’s and Hope’s only hope of defeating their newest adversary: Ghost (played spectacularly by Hannah John-Kamen). Both Michael Douglass and Evangaline Lilly return as they lay their emotions out for all to see, as they both discover something (or someone) that they thought was lost forever. And Lilly kicks some major ass in the film! Also returning are Scott’s loveable and goofy friends Luis, T.I., and Kurt. Making his MCU film debut is Lawerance Fishburne as Dr. Bill Foster, an old colleague/rival of Hank’s from his days at S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, Fishburne is known for portraying Perry White in the DC Extended Universe films like MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.

Peyton Reed returns to the directing chair for this sequel, continuing what he started in the first film. He finds the right balance of action, humor and character development that pushes the film's story to a satisfying conclusion. But here's the kick: the villain survives (as far as we know) and she may not be a villain in the upcoming MCU films, that is if she survived from Thanos' eradicating half of the universe. Reed is an awesome director, and I hope he stays with the franchise for a very long time!

And since this is a Marvel Studios film, there are two bonus scenes: the mid-credits scene (which ties in directly to AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR) and one at the end of the credits, which I found cute. But this last scene isn't required viewing. And if you have to use the restroom, then go after the mid-credits scene is over.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is another MCU action-packed, hilariously funny, superhero popcorn flick that will have audiences and kids rushing to their local theater on these hot summer days!! It's awesome to see what the future holds for this franchise, but let's not forget that we haven't seen the last of Ant-Man, as we now enter the MCU post Thanos, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is currently playing in both 2D, RealD 3D, and XD in theaters nationwide, including at the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at http://cinemark.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Phil sees THE FIRST PURGE at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge - June 6, 2018

I recall seeing THE PURGE (the first film) at a special advance screening at the Cinemark Century 20 Oakridge way back in 2013. While I sincerely enjoyed it, I thought it would be a one-off film. Never did I imagine that it would become a horror franchise, and now a television mini series on the USA Network this fall. So this past 4th of July, Blumhouse and Universal Pictures released the latest chapter of the series. Or should I saw prequel. Yes my friends, I went and saw THE FIRST PURGE over at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge.

The film's official synopsis: After the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, an experiment is conducted, no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does.

Ok, so let me say this about the film. It is, without a doubt, the most ghetto ass horror film of the series!! And I don't mean "ghetto" because the movie takes place in the ghettos of Staten Island, nor because it's cast is mostly African Americans, or that it contains a hip hop/rap soundtrack. None of this means it's "ghetto." I'm calling it "ghetto" because it is one of the most lazy, disenchanting, hollow, horror film I have seen in a long time!! Now, let me explain my disposition.

Given the political and social climate the country is currently in, I am completely shocked that the film doesn't address the issues that are plaguing America today. We are on the verge of a revolution, fighting against the tyranny of the Trump Regime. We are facing trade wars, alienating our closest allies, families being ripped apart, children being kept in cages, environmental polices being undone; this country is coming apart at the seams. Now, with the previous three installments, there was some form of political and social commentary, especially with PURGE: ANARCHY and PURGE: ELECTION YEAR. However, there wasn't any of that in this movie. None whatsoever!! How the hell do you make a PURGE movie and not have any commentary about the state of the country currently?!? To me, that is offensive! Whenever the country falls into despair or when it is under conservative control, horror films have been there to offer not only escapism, but comment on what is wrong with the world. From addressing racism in George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to commenting on AIDS in David Robert Mitchell's  IT FOLLOWS, there has been a conscience voice within our films. Whether you agree with the filmmakers or not, you have to respect them for voicing their concerns and opinions! This movie doesn't have a voice!! And that pissed me off!! But wait, there's more!!

The other reason I called it "ghetto" was that it offers nothing to the series, nor to its fans. Screenwriter James DeMonaco's script totally sucked shit; containing no real attributes to help make this movie relatable. The story was awful, there was no real character development and all of them were just basic stereotypes, and the story lacked any real sense of threat or danger. It's hard to believe that this is the same guy that wrote all the other PURGE films, but it felt like he only did this to get a paycheck. It showed in every single frame of the film!

Even more grotesque is director Gerard McMurray's set-ups and compositions, which looked unimaginative, sloppy and amateurish at best. Granted this is only his second feature length movie and his fourth film he's directed (he made two shorts prior to making features), it looked so damn bad that I was completely taken out of the movie almost right at the start. Of course, DeMonaco's lackluster script helped speed up my checking out. How McMurray got the job to direct is beyond me, but his style is still very green.

Overall, THE FIRST PURGE is a total piece of shit, waste of my time type of movie!! I was so looking forward to watching this movie, only to regret my decision immediately after the opening credits!! That's how early I knew that this was going to suck, and how painful it was to sit through the whole damn thing!! So stick with the first three films, and just forget about seeing this in theaters!! But if you really want to see it, then just watch the trailer! 1 out of 5 stars!! It sucked shit!!


THE FIRST PURGE is 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!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Phil sees AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR for the fourth time at the AMC Saratoga 14 - June 20, 2018

So it’s official; I have seen AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR four times now. This historic event encapsulates my love of this movie. And since it will be coming out on Blu-Ray and DVD before you know it, I thought it would be nice to have my girlfriend finally see it, even though she was way behind seeing all the other MCU films.

So before I took her to see the movie, I had her watch some of the key films that lead into the third installment of the series: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, DOCTOR STRANGER, and THOR: RAGNAROK. I was disappointed that she didn’t get to watch BLACK PANTHER, but we ran out of time, and since we hardly ever have time alone, we had a very small window to go out to the theaters. Plus, she had gift cards to the AMC Theaters, so we headed over to the AMC Saratoga 14 to watch this soul crushing installment of the MCU.

*HEADS UP! SO I DIDN’T TELL MY GIRLFRIEND ANYTHING ABOUT THE MOVIE. SO, SHE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. FOR MOST OF THE FILM, I WAS WATCHING HER FACIAL EXPRESSIONS AND ENJOYING HER BITTER HATRED FOR THANOS.*

When the movie ended and the screen went black and the credits started to roll, my girlfriend just sat there in her seat, repeating this phrase, "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!! SHUT UP!! THAT’ S HOW THE MOVIE ENDS?!? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?" Needless to say, she was quite upset, especially since I had her watch all those other MCU films so that she can get to know the characters, storylines, and references. So I think she felt like she was cheated.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is playing in 2D, Real 3D, and in IMAX in theaters nationwide, including at the AMC Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.amctheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Phil sees AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR for the third time at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge - May 21, 2018

Yes, I saw AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR for the third time! You would think I'd be tired of seeing it. Well then, you don't know me very well. I'm the type of person that can watch the same movie over and over and over again. Yup, I'm weird!

Another reason I wanted to see it again was that this past weekend Disney announced the release date for the Blu-Ray for the film! Already!! It's been in theaters for only a month for crying out loud!! Sure, the movie made a shitload of money, but still?!? WTF!! That's why I went to see it again. However, I am planning on seeing it several more times before it's gone for good. So keep an eye peeled here as I'm planning to see it at other theaters, like for example, the brand new Pruneyard Cinemas, formerly known as the Camera 7! I still would like to see it in an IMAX theater too!

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is playing in 2D, Real 3D, and in IMAX in theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cineluxtheatres.com.

Phil sees DEADPOOL 2 at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge - May 18, 2018

I was a big fan of Deadpool long before the first film came out. He was one of the most unique, funny, and original characters in the Marvel Comics Universe (which is ironic because he was a rip off of the DC Comic's character Deathstroke). So when DEADPOOL was released to theaters, I was also one of the first ones who saw it an immediately became one of my favorite films of that year. Fast forward to today and I'm back at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge to see the highly  anticipated sequel DEADPOOL 2.

The film's official synopsis: After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry's hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the Yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor - finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World's Best Lover.

Dude, seriously, this was a hilariously fucking awesome movie! The jokes come fast (pun intended) and funny, the action is a hybrid of THE MATRIX and JOHN WICK, and it builds off what the first film established. It does what a sequel should do, and all this comes courtesy of screenwriters Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds (yeah, that surprised me too) and the film's director David Leitch, who also helmed ATOMIC BLONDE and is the uncredited co-director on JOHN WICK. So, good job fellas. You guys made a lot of fanboys and fangirls very, very happy.

As for our players, they all knocked it out of the park! Reynolds brings his "A" game to out favorite "Merc with the Mouth", but this time, old Deadpool has some pathos and sympathy to go along with his wise cracking, fowl-mouthed, fourth wall breaking, ass kicking shenanigans. Josh Brolin IS Cable: the look, the voice, the mannerism, and is a badass all the way! Newcommer Zazie Beetz shines as the lucky mutant Domino, and does quite a bit of ass kicking herself. Returning actress Brianna Hildebrand is back as our favorite X-Men Negasonic Teenage Warhead, but now has a super awesome girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna), who has a super cute friendship with Wade Wilson. Also back are Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Weasel (T.J. Miller), Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), Dopinder (Karan Soni), and Stefan Kapicic as the voice as Colossus.

So, as always, there are end credit scenes, cause it wouldn't be a Marvel Film without end credit scenes. However, these are mid-credit scenes. There are two of them, and are fucking hysterically, gut busting fantastic!! After that, then leave the theater so you can go pee! There, I saved you five minutes of doing the "Pee-Pee Dance" in your seat.

DEADPOOL 2 is wickedly funny, outrageously funny, action packed, superhero comic book movie sequel you've been waiting for!! So shit your pants and call in sick for work, then change your pants and go see this bad boy before it comes out on Blu-Ray next week!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


DEADPOOL 2 is playing in 2D, Real 3D, and in IMAX 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!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Phil's Cult Classics: THAT'S SEXPLOITATION (2013) from Something Weird Video/Severin Films - May 14, 2015

As some of you might know, I'm a big fan of the old exploitation films, and I've been an avid fan of Something Weird Video, home of the largest library of exploitation films ever from the 1930's to the 1970's. Founded by Mike Vraney in 1990, the company has released thousands of films from all subgenres: Nudie Cuties, Roughies, Nudist Camps, Roadshow Rarities, Burlesque, Horror, Drive-In Classics, and Sexploitation. Before Vraney passed away in 2014, he along with filmmaker Frank Henenlotter teamed up with the "King of Exploitation" David F. Friedman to make the documentary THAT'S SEXPLOITATION, "The Untold Story of American Cinema from the 1920s to the 1960s!"

Original Theatrical Poster (2013)
The film's official synopsis: From director Frank Henenlotter (BASKET CASE, BRAIN DAMAGEand co-producer Mike Vraney (the late founder of Something Weird Video) comes the epic documentary critics call “fascinating” (Video Watchdog), “titillating” (Time Out Los Angeles) and “jaw-dropping” (Seattle Weekly): Henenlotter and legendary exploitation monarch David F. Friedman – in his final film appearance – are your hosts for this eye-popping expedition through the world of pre-code peekaboos, stags, sex-hygiene films, goona-goonas, nudie-cuties, roughies, druggies, white-coaters and more, featuring thousands of spicy, steamy and downright sleazy slips from the SWV archives.

This was a very insightful, and fun documentary that sheds a bright spotlight on these overlooked and forgotten within film history. Friedman is our ringmaster; guiding us through the hills and valleys of exploitation's vast library of subgenres and movies. Highlights are the early Roadshow Films of the 1930's and the sex hygiene movies of the 1940's: BECAUSE OF EVE, MOM AND DAD, CHILD BRIDE, SECRETS OF A HIGH SCHOOL GIRL, and WAGES OF SIN are personal favorites of mine. I own them and have watched them repeatedly. It's so amusing at what was so controversial back then is so tamed by today's society (however CHILD BRIDE is still hard to watch today). I would have loved to see these movies play in theaters back then! All the balleyhoo, posters, lobby cards, fake doctors selling sex hygiene books, it all sounded like so much fun! And people like Friedman laughed all the way to the bank.

Henenlotter shows up from time to time in the movie to give us some information about the changing times in America, what and how each decade was defined by the exploitation movies that were made, and how the filmmakers, producers, and distributors stayed on step ahead to make sure their product was bringing in the cash. Henenlotter is also a great historian in his own right, and would love to meet him one day and just pick is brain. I mean, his first film BASKET CASE actually played in a grindhouse theater on 42nd Street! That's bragging rights till the end of time!

THAT'S EXPLOITATION Blu-Ray
Last person I would like to talk about is the late, great Mike Vraney, who produced the documentary. Vraney. He and Something Weird Video has released thousands of films, not only Friedman's movies, but also films from Harry Novak, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Doris Wishman, and many others. He championed these films and made them available for all those people who were into seeing something new and different. Mike Vraney died after a lengthy battle with lung cancer on January 2, 2014. He was just 56 years old. We owe this great man a debt that will never be able to pay back.

This was also David F. Friedman final film appearance. On February 14, 2011, Friedman died in his home in Anniston, Alabama at the age of 87. There will never, ever be another "King of Exploitation." But rest assured, both Friedman and Vraney are reunited somewhere out there.

Besides looking fantastic, the Blu-Ray also contains an audio commentary with Frank Henenlotter and Lisa Petrucci  (Vraney's widow who's now in charge of Something Weird Video), film's trailer and over "3.5 hours of Sexploitation Shorts from the Something Weird Archives!"

THAT'S SEXPLOITATION is a highly entertaining, wonderfully absurd and informative documentary that diehard exploitation fans will love and new viewers will get an education on these outrageous films!! I've been a fan for decades, and it's incredible to have this movie for us to watch over and over again!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


THAT'S SEXPLOITATION is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD from Something Weird Video and Severin Films. To purchase a copy visit www.somethingweird.com or severin-films.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!