Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Phil attends the CINEQUEST 28 FILM FESTIVAL Opening Night Extravaganza - February 27, 2018

It's that most amazing time of the year! Tonight was the opening night of the 28th Annual Cinequest Film Festival!! Tonight also marked my return to the festival, having last attending it back in 2014. Now that I've return in San Jose, I could not wait to once again cover the greatest film festival of all time! I am expecting to see some of the very best in independent, foreign, and documentaries here for the next thirteen days! Once again I got to see some of my old friends like Jason Wiener from Jason Watches Movies as well as Christopher Garcia, Terra Wood-Taylor, Michael Rabehl, and a few others. At this year's festival I hope to once again make new friends and as well as new memories. Back in 2014, I set an all-time personal record by attending 60 screenings in 13 days! Let's see if I can even bet that record this year!!

The opening night was held once again at the beautiful California Theatre on South First Street. There was the traditional red carpet with numerous filmmakers talking about their films to the press and posing for the cameras. Soon I found my way towards the front of the stage, bouncing in my seat with excitement. Then at 7:15pm, the lights slowly dimmed and the show began!

Now this year's festival started off with a short music video, and it was freaking hilarious! BIGFOOT'S LOVE SLAVE starts off with actress Alice Lee roaming in the forest, lost and confused. With voice over narration, she recalls meeting the legendary Bigfoot - played by Darren Bluestone - and that's when the music kicks in as she sings the most sexually explicit lyrics of all time!! Good lord this was such a funny short! The crowd was laughing hysterically, and it perfectly set the tone for the rest of the night! Click here to view the short!

After the short, Cinequest director and co-founder and Halfdan Hussey came out and greeted everyone and thanked all our sponsors. He then had the theatre screen this year's festival trailer (which I saw at the Cinequest Media Launch Party last month), which was done by SF Bay Area production company Guerrilla Wanders. The audience also got to watch a Cinequest trailer regarding their Picture the Possibilities program and their new VR Experience Lounge.

Afterwards Halfdan then introduced NBC Bay Area News Anchor Charter Boats to introduce the festival's opening night film KRYSTAL.

Rosario Dawson as Kystal in William H. Macy's KRYSTAL.
Directed by the one and only William H. Macy, the film stars Nick Robinson as Tyler Ogburn, your normal, average teenager who has heart condition that pretty much doesn't allow him to live a normal average teenager life. Because of his condition, he lives a pretty sheltered life, but fate steps in when he meets the beautiful Krystal (Rosario Dawson), a recovering alcoholic, drug addict, stripper. She's trying to get her life together for her son Bobby (Jacob Latimore), who's in a wheelchair. He falls head over heels for her, Tyler does whatever it takes to get to know her more, even joining an AA group! Add in Macy as his dad Hyatt, Felicity Huffman as his mom Poppy, Grant Gustin as his annoying older brother Campbell, William Fichtner as the crazy Dr. Farley, Kathy Bates as his friend and mentor Vera, and you have one of the funniest indie comedies I have ever seen!!

Credit goes to screenwriter Will Aldis, who wrote one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud script ever! Filled with eclectic and eccentric characters, romance, and the idea of hope, the script will tickle your funny bone while tugging on a couple of your heart strings. Two big thumbs up for Macy, who did a wonderful job of bringing Aldis' script to life. His compositions and pacing fit the story perfectly. And when you have an all-star cast like this acting in the movie, there's a reason why indie films are so important to the world of cinema. These movies offer something different than the films coming out of Hollywood. Indie films take chances, contain original ideas, pushes the envelope with subject matters that are relevant to today's society, but most importantly, they are made by filmmakers who are passionate about making movies because they love movies. So for those reasons, the film received a thunderous applause from the audience!

After the film, Cinequest President & Co-Founder Kathleen J. Powell came out on stage and introduced William H. Macy and producer Rachel Winter to partake in a intimate interview. The two talked about the making of the film (which was 14 years in the making), how amazing the cast and crew were, how Macy find the balance between acting in the film and directing it as well, Winter's funny stories of her humble beginnings in the film world, and how the movie was a labor of love for them. It was a very informative, funny, and charming interview. Best part of the night was when I was able to shack hands with William H. Macy! Yup, that was the highlight of the evening for me!

After the screening, we all headed over to the lavish after party, which was held over at The Farmer's Union on 151 W. Santa Clara and Sushi Confidential at 28 N. San Pedro Street, where they was plenty to eat, drink, and music to dance to all night long! Drinks were once again provided by Tito's Vodka!! The party was completely off the hook!!

KRYSTAL was the perfect film to kick off Cinequest 28! And there's still 12 days of movie watching left! So what are you waiting for? Now you can partake in this very important film festival event. To view film schedules, information about the festival, and to purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil's Horror Watch: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) from The Criterion Collection - February 27, 2018

Today's horror film needs no introduction. It is regarded as one the most important films in not just the horror genre, but within cinema history. I have lost track of how many times I have seen this movie, and it just keeps getting better and better thought the decades. And now, the fine folks over at the Criterion Collection has just released the definitive version of the movie. Now, let us bask in the moonlight of George A. Romero's iconic 1968 horror movie masterpiece NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Original Theatrical Poster (1968)
The film's official synopsis: Shot outside Pittsburgh on a shoestring budget, by a band of filmmakers determined to make their mark, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, directed by horror master George A. Romero, is a great story of independent cinema: a midnight hit turned box-office smash that became one of the most influential films of all time. A deceptively simple tale of a group of strangers trapped in a farmhouse who find themselves fending off a horde of recently dead, flesh-eating ghouls, Romero’s claustrophobic vision of a late-1960s America literally tearing itself apart rewrote the rules of the horror genre, combined gruesome gore with acute social commentary, and quietly broke ground by casting a black actor (Duane Jones) in its lead role. Stark, haunting, and more relevant than ever, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is back.

There isn't anything I can say that hasn't been said before. There isn't anything I can write that hasn't already been written before. This is the definition of DIY independent filmmaking at its finest. It truly doesn't get more perfect than this!

The Criterion Collection has once again outdone themselves with this release. Listed below are the special features that are on this jammed packed 2-Disc Blu-Ray Set:

New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director George A. Romero, co-screenwriter John A. Russo, sound engineer Gary R. Streiner, and producer Russell W. Streiner, New restoration of the monaural soundtrack, supervised by Romero and Gary Streiner and presented uncompressed, NIGHT OF ANUBIS, a never-before-presented work-print edit of the film, New program featuring filmmakers Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, and Robert Rodriguez, Never-before-seen 16 mm dailies reel, New program featuring Russo on the commercial and industrial-film production company where key NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD filmmakers got their start, Two audio commentaries from 1994 featuring Romero, Russo, producer Karl Hardman, actor Judith O'Dea, and others, Archival interviews with Romero and actors Duane Jones and Judith Ridley, New programs about the film's style and score, New interview program about the direction of ghouls, featuring members of the cast and crew, New interviews with Gary Streiner and Russell Streiner, Newsreels from 1967, Trailer, radio spots, and TV spots, PLUS: An essay by critic Stuart Klawans.

Back in October 2017, Mill Creek Entertainment released a sub par, poorly transferred, bare bones Blu-Ray of the film. This caused no end of rage among fans of the not only the film, but its beloved director. So do yourself a favor and ignore that piece of crap. THIS is the version of the film you want in your film library!

While it is amazing to see the film in a brand new, crisp and clear 4K digital restoration, part of me felt guilty because Romero never got the chance so see it. Granted, he helped supervised with the transfer, but George Romero passed away from lung cancer in Toronto, Canada on July 16, 2017. He was only 77 years old. His passing left a vast void in the cinema world that will never, ever be filled.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is one of the greatest, timeless, and trailblazing film ever made! Romero created an entire sub-genre within the horror world, and will forever be known as the Godfather of the Zombie genre. From movies like SHAUN OF THE DEAD and 28 DAYS LATER to television shows like The Walking Dead and Z Nation, Romero's influence stretches far and wide, across generations and time itself. This was his gift to us, and for that, I thank you George A. Romero!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer as well as on iTunes. The film is also available on the Criterion Collection website. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit www.criterion.com.

Thanks for reading, and long live George A. Romero!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Phil sees BLACK PANTHER at the Cinelux Plaza Theatre Campbell - February 20, 2018

Marvel Studios has been on an unstoppable winning streak for the past several years and they continue their MCU juggernaut at theaters this past weekend. It goes without saying that not even Satn Lee or Jack Kirby could've predicted that their creation would become so successful and becoming already a pop culture phenomenon. With the release of BLACK PANTHER, Marvel Studios and Wald Disney have released on hell of a film!!

The film's official synopsis: After the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, King T'Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader. However, T'Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.

I never thought that I would see a film like this: an African cast, filled with African clothing, African beliefs and traditions, and the lead is an African superhero. When "The King" Jack Kirby and Stan "The Man" Lee unleashed the Black Panther in The Fantastic Four back in 1966, little did they know that they were making history. He was the first black superhero to appear in mainstream American comics. That is something truly revolutionary. This year marks T'Challa's and his superhero alter ego 52nd anniversary, and for this special occasion, Marvel Studios has brought us his solo movie.

Everything in the movie is perfect! Absolutely perfect! Chadwick Boseman returns as our hero who brings class, intelligence, and dignity to the role. His adversary Erik Killmonger is played by the talented Michael B. Jordan, who's resume includes RED TAILS, FRUITVALE STATION and CREED. Marvel fans will also remember him as Johnny Storm in the infamous 2015 movie FANTASTIC FOUR. Like Ryan Reynolds and Chris Evans before him, Jordon is given a second chance and is redeemed in one of his best performances! Killmonger is the best MCU villain since Tom Hiddleston's Loki!! Vicious, ruthless, and brilliantly evil, I sincerely hope we get to see this character again!

Another aspect that sets this movie apart from the competition is the strong female cast! Angela Bassett shines as the captivating and regal Ramonda, mother of T'Challa. Letitia Wright portrays T'Challa's little sister Shuri, who gives Tony Stark a run for his money as she's supremely intelligence and an uncanny inventor and scientist. Lupita Nyong'o's character Nakia is not only T'Challa's love interest, but is a former Dora Milaje who became an international spy for Wakanda. She is both beautiful and dangerous! Lastly, there's Danai Gurira who plays Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje regiment. Fans know her well as Michonne from AMC's The Walking Dead. To put it bluntly: Okoye would kick Michonne's ass completely!! Okoye is one of the toughest women I have ever seen in any of the MCU films!! She is fearless in the role and is just awe inspiring!!

The film was directed by Ryan Coogler and was co-written by him and Joe Robert Cole. Coogler made a name for himself with the 2013 indie film FRUITVALE STATION, a true story about "Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008." The film (as well as his lead actor Michael B. Jordan) became a sensation, which led him to his next project CREED. Starring Jordon and Sylvester Stallone, the film received critical acclaim, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Stallone, but won four awards at the African-American Film Critics Association! Coogler has been tapped to direct the much anticipated sequel CREED 2.

BLACK PANTHER IS THE BEST MARVEL STUDIOS FILM OF ALL TIME!! For a long time my favorite MCU movie was the Russo Brothers' CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE WINTER SOLDIER, but know it has been moved to my #2 position. With its fast paced action, beautiful cinematography, entertaining script, larger-than-life characters, talented and diverse cast, and fantastic directing, the movie is now the measuring stick for all other MCU films to follow, not to mention movies from Hollywood! Here is a black cast, directed by a black director, is one of the highest grossing films of all time!! It's time to wake up Hollywood and smell the change!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

BLACK PANTHER 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!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Phil sees WINCHESTER at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge - February 12, 2018

Being born and raised here in San Jose, I grew up with hearing about the history of the most infamous haunted house in all of North America: The Winchester Mystery House. I am one of those who has taken a tour there - even their Halloween flashlight tour, which terrified my friends that I went there with. Its owner Sarah Winchester believed she was being haunted by ghosts, therefore, she continuously kept adding rooms to her home, housing the spirits that were taken by her family's rifles. Her life and legacy is tied to the history of San Jose, becoming a local folklore and legend. It was no surprise that Hollywood became interested in making a movie based her and her historical mansion. And thus, I went to the Cinelux Almaden Cafe & Lounge to see WINCHESTER and witness the story of Sarah Winchester unfold on the big screen.

The film's official synopsis: Inspired by true events. On an isolated stretch of land 50 miles outside of San Francisco sits the most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester, (Helen Mirren) heiress to the Winchester fortune, it is a house that knows no end. Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To the outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman's madness. But Sarah is not building for herself, for her niece (Sarah Snook) or for the brilliant Doctor Eric Price (Jason Clarke) whom she has summoned to the house. She is building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts, and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters.

Helen Mirren carries the movie with her outstanding performance as Sarah Winchester. She brings class, vulnerability, and  strength to her role, elevating the movie to a higher level. The other contribution comes from Jason Clarke, surprisingly. He does a fine job of bringing Doctor Eric Price to life on screen, giving him faults and demons that we want him to overcome as to help Sarah with her supernatural situation. Sarah Snook portrays Sarah's niece Marion Marriott and is decent in the role. Truth be told, these three individuals helped being humanity and realism to their respective characters and raises the film beyond its PG-13 rating.

The film was directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig, aka The Spierig Brothers. Coming off from last year's Halloween horror film JIGSAW (which you can read my review here), the brothers beautifully direct the film with grace, style, and fear. They do a wonderful job of combining character development with gothic thrills, much like the old Hammer Horror films from yesteryear. The brothers also co-wrote the film along with screenwriter Tom Vaughan. Though I liked the story, to me, it felt a little bit rushed and wasn't structured more soundly.

While I enjoyed it for the most part, and I did like the story and characters, something was missing. And all throughout the screening I couldn't figure out what the hell was missing. Then it occurred to me: the house itself wasn't represented very well in the film. While locals may know the life of Sarah Winchester, the only thing we know very well is the Winchester Mystery House itself. Fans and tourists of the mansion have been coming here for decades, taking the tours and seeing first hand how amazing and mesmerizing it truly is. The house is a character and should have been more predominate since it's now all we have to explore.

WINCHESTER is an entertaining ghost story, but lacks the necessary ingredients to make it a supernaturally thrilling film! With so much history, both Sarah Winchester and the Winchester Mystery House deserved more than just a run-of-the-mill, scary,  PG-13 ghost fright flick. The acting was great, but that was about it. I hope Sarah won't be too mad about how the movie turned out. 3 out of 5 stars! It's a future rental at best!

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

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Phil's Horror Watch: THE SAND (2015) from Monarch Home Video - February 12, 2018

I have a soft spot in my heart for cheesy, low-budget and hilariously bad horror flicks. Now, they don't start out that way, but somehow they end up like that. A lot of hard work goes into making a horror movie, and those involved should be shown respect for their contributions to the genre. But as I stated, the movie still ends up cheesy. And they are fun to watch! Case in point, look no further than the film THE SAND, which I saw not that long ago.

Original Promotional Poster (2015)
The film's official synopsis: After an all-night graduation beach party, a group of hung-over twenty-somethings awake to a beating sun, and a seemingly carnivorous beach that devours anything with a heartbeat that touches the sand.

The movie looks and feels like a typical SyFy flick, filled with bad acting, traditional stereotypes, cheesy looking CGI, and tasteless nudity. So this movie was right up my alley. But to my surprise, the film was part of the FrightFest Presents banner and it was shown on Showtime Extreme under the title BLOOD SAND, which is why it took me a little bit to track it down.

Writers  Alex Greenfield and  Ben Powell give us a plot that can be described as sheer goofiness on a scale of 9. They take the premise of killer sand and take it to a whole other level. It's sheer lunacy and has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. But because the idea is so silly, it makes the film fun. I was waiting to see who would be the next victim and see them get "eaten" by the sand. I found myself laughing a lot, but then that's what the film's goal was: to entertain me! Sometimes we, as horror fans, forget to laugh and just need to remember that not all horror films are created equally. At times, I just want to switch off my brain for a bit and just enjoy a movie that's really dumb and funny! Kudos to Greenfield and Powell for accomplishing this in spades!

THE SAND DVD Cover (2015)
The cast is young, dumb, and look sexy as hell while being eaten alive! My personal faves include lead actress Brooke Butler as Kaylee, who's seems to be the only person with a brain that tries to keep her hungover friends alive while looking gorgeous. Genre fans will recognize her as Tracy Bingham from the 2013 film ALL CHEERLEADER DIE. Nikki Leigh's Marsha is the first victim of the sand and is killed topless. Yup, that was a hot looking death. Fans will remember her as Sheila from Charles Band's film UNLUCKY CHARMS from Full Moon Features. Cleo Berry plays Gilbert, who's stuck inside a trash can for most of the movie. He was the token black gut who gets killed but he was damn funny. We also get a special appearance from the one and only Jamie Kennedy as Beach Patrol Alex. Boy, I wonder how much the filmmakers paid to have him appear in this film? But, it was nice seeing him die.

Director Isaac Gabaeff does a fairly good job of setting up fear and chills with this, his second feature film. He's mostly known for working in the art department for TV shows like Queer Eye, Boardwalk Empire, The Following, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mr. Robot, and Gotham. His style is a combination and shaky hand held and stedi-cam. It works for what the film, which is a nod to those old 1950's B-movies from AIP and Roger Corman.

Now I don't know if this was intentional or not, but the premise of the film is very similar to the 1980 film BLOOD BEACH. In that movie, something is attacking people one by one on the beach and mutating some but most of them are sucked into the sand. Yeah, I thought it sounded familiar too. So maybe this film is a remake of that?

THE SAND is a stupid, funny, cheesy, Grade-B horror movie that will satisfy that SyFy original movie heart of yours! If your a fan of SHARKNADO, CAMEL SPIDERS, and DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR, then you're gonna love this movie! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended viewing!

THE SAND is currently available on DVD at your local retailer. The film is also available on Amazon Prime, iTunes and VOD.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Phil attends the LAUREL & HARDY TALKIE MATINEE VALENTINE EDITION at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - Feb. 11, 2018

On the second Sunday of every month, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum hosts a Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee show, hosted by the Sons of the Desert gang. The museum has been doing this for years, and it was the first show I've attended in a very long time. Because of Valentine's Day falling on Wednesday of this week, the show was dubbed the LAUREL & HARDY TALKIE MATINEE VALENTINE EDITION, with all the films dedicated to the two biggest emotions of them all: love and laughter. And there was plenty of laughs!!

HEARTS AND THUMPS (1937): A classic Our Gang short! It's Valentine's Day at school and all the boys and girls are giving cards to one another. Except Spanky, Alfalfa, and Buckwheat, who form the He-Man Woman Haters Club. That lasts for about three seconds for Alfalfa when his sweetheart Darla comes and takes him away. So Spanky and Buckwheat ruin their Valentine's Day lunch with soap.

I remember seeing this all the time on TV when I was a kid. There was a Little Rascals show that showed all of the old OUR GANG shorts that were originally shown in theaters. A fun-filled one-reel short! The film was produced by Hal Roach studios and was released to theaters by MGM on April 3, 1937.

MAIL & FEMALE (1937): All the boys, lead by Spanky, form the He-Man Woman Hater Club (again) because they were not invited to one of the girl's parties. They make Alfalfa their leader, but he may not be it for too munch longer when the boys fine out he sent a love letter to Darla.

Again, another short I saw on TV when I was a kid. FYI: there is nothing more funnier than seeing Alfalfa dressed up as a girl and flirting with Spanky and Spike. This gag would be used regularly years later in the Bugs Bunny cartoons. The film was produced by Hal Roach studios and was released to theaters by MGM on November 13, 1937.

MEN O' WAR (1929): The boys are sailors on leave and meet a couple of lovely ladies (Anne Cornwall and Gloria Greer) in the park and invite them to have a glass of soda with them. However, they don't have enough money to pay for all their sodas, but they score big on a slot machine and then rent a boat and hijinks ensue.

This was only the third Laurel & Hardy talkie short. Hal Roach had beat MGM to the talkie market and soon Roach was making all his films with sound. Also known as MAN O' WAR, the film was released to theaters on June 29, 1929.

THE PIP OF PITTSBURGH (1931): Charley Chase helps his roommate out by going out on a blind date. Because his last date didn't turn out so great, he goes out of his way by being messy, gross looking slob. However, when he meets his date (the beautiful Thelma Todd) he regrets his decision immediately.

I've been a huge Charley Chase fan since I first saw his films back in 2006. It's unfortunate that he's not as remembered as his peers, such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. This is because Chase never made the transition from short films to full length features. He did appear in a couple of Laurel & Hardy films, but he died of a heart attack in 1940. He was only 46 years old. Fortunately, his films still remain and we are lucky to see them here at the museum and on DVD. Charley's brother James Parrott directed the short as well as other shorts for Hal Roach. The film was produced by Hal Roach Studios and released by MGM to theaters on March 21, 1931.

TWICE TWO (1933): Laurel & Hardy are married to each other's sisters and thus plan a dinner party to celebrate the wedding anniversaries together. What could go wrong? Well, a lot can go wrong....and it's funny! Mostly cause Laurel & Hardy are dressed in drag to portray the sisters.

This film was new to me and boy, was it funny! Over the years I've seen all of their silent films, but I'm still fairly new to their talking films. Another film I can scratch off my bucket list! The short was directed by James Parrott, produced by Hal Roach Studios, and distributed by MGM to theaters on February 25, 1933.

Well, there you have it folks! Another fun-filled cinematic adventure here in Niles!! And I can't wait to come back for more silent film and talkie comedies! The museum is open for tours every weekend from 12pm-4pm and every Saturday night there's a silent film show starting at 7:30 (doors open at 7pm). So if you would like to learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, becoming a member, to view their film schedule, and purchase DVD copy of the film, visit www.nilesfilmmuseum.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Phil's Netflix Picks: DEATH NOTE (2017) - February 9, 2018

Today's Netflix Pick has its roots in Japanese manga folklore. Based on one of the most popular titles of all time, the manga "Death Note" was created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It became such a huge sensation that it was adapted into a series of live-action films starting with the 2006 release of DEATH NOTE (which I saw at the then San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival). Three more movies were made afterwards. Then on April 30, 2009, Variety reported that Warner Bros. Pictures - who distributed the original Japanese films here in the states - had acquired the rights to do a remake. I witnessed the end results when I finally saw DEATH NOTE this past week.

The film's official synopsis: Light Turner (Nat Wolff), a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook from a spirit named Ryuk (Willem Dafoe and Jason Liles) that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself and his girlfriend Mia Sutton (Margaret Qualley) pursued by a famous detective known only by the alias L (Lakeith Stanfield).

The film was written by Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides, and Jeremy Slater. They had the unimaginable task of taking the original Japanese source material and adapting it for American audiences, which is not an easy task. The manga is so dense that it is impossible to make it into a 101 minute movie. Plus with its Japanese mythology, folklore, and beliefs, it's translation would be lost on Americans who aren't familiar with the manga. Because of this, many American remakes lack that certain aspect that makes the J-Horror films amazing -  remakes like THE RING, PULSE, and THE GRUDGE come to mind. They do their best as to cram the bullet points that make the series so popular and, for all intents and purposes, they do a pretty good job. We have a decent three story arc, interesting characters, and a great climax that ties up most of the loose ends. But it is an Americanized film, so it's missing that Japanese flare.

Director Adam Wingard is no stranger to the horror genre. At age 19, he made his feature length debut with his film HOME SICK. He then went on to direct some great films like A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE, YOU'RE NEXT and last year's BLAIR WITCH as well as directed segments for THE ABCs OF DEATH and both V/H/S films. Wingard knows the genre and has a visual look that complements it. His compositions are always filled, the camera lingers and pans feverishly, and fits the mood of the film very nicely. He is a very accomplished filmmaker and really enjoyed the look of the movie. He'll be directing the much hyped GODZILLA VS. KONG movie in 2020.

As far as the cast goes, you gotta give it up to Willem Dafoe for his performance. The man looks and sounds like a nightmare come true. The actor's face was motion captured and then digitally placed on actor Jason Liles' body. Together, they make a truly terrifying Ryuk! Nat Wolff does a decent job of portraying moody teenager Light Turner, but I thought Margaret Qualley was awesome as
Mia Sutton. She is so twisted and conniving that half the time I didn't know whether to like her or hoping someone would slap the hell outta her, which is all part of her charm. The weak link was Lakeith Stanfield as the mysterious detective L. I just found his character annoying and lacked any real threat to Light. But then again, I'm not an actor so what the hell do I know, right?

When Netflix made the film available for streaming on August 25, 2017, it received mixed and negative reviews. Granted, some were legit while others were just mean. Now it's not a perfect film, I feel like it was a decent remake. While it's not on par with the other American remakes, it's not that bad either. Even Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata liked the movie, so there's that.

DEATH NOTE is an interesting, thought provoking, teenage angst killer of a movie! It provokes that idea of what would I do if I had the power to take someone's life, and I would I handle that power and responsibility? It digs deep into what's it like to control death, only to discover that you can't control it at all. I think horror fans and fans of the manga should check it out! As I stated, it's not a perfect film, but it definitely has potential to be something more! 3 1/2 out of 5 stars! Definitely worth watching!

DEATH NOTE is now streaming exclusivley on Netflix. To start your subscription, visit their website at www.netflix.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Phil's Netflix Picks: THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018) - February 6, 2018

During Super Bowl LII, while football fans were watching the Philadelphia eagles battle the New England Patriots, Netflix dropped one of the biggest announcements of all time, which caused a tidal wave of responses all over social media! People were shocked and surprised. The announcement was this: the streaming service provider would be showing THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (the long rumored third film of the franchise) right after the conclusion of the Super Bowl! It took me a couple of days to get around to seeing it, but I finally made time to watch this surprised gift from Netflix.

The film's official synopsis: Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.

Sooooooooo.............yeah, I didn't really care for it. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't that great either. The special effects were awesome, and that was about it.

My opinion is that if it wasn't part of the CLOVERFIELD Universe, I probably would've enjoyed it more. I think it should've been a stand-alone film, then it would've stood a better chance.

The film takes place in the future and is the beginning of the whole franchise. Now the film does set-up the events of the first film. In fact, on Facebook it was just discovered from a fan that if you play the first CLOVERFIELD movie right when the crew of the new film is transported to the alternate universe, it syncs up perfectly. Whether this was intentional or a happy accident by the filmmakers still remains a mystery, but leave it to the hardcore fans to shed light on some helpful information.

Directed by Julius Onah  and written by Oren Uziel and Doug Jung, the film fails to achieve that level of originality and terror among the stars. How many times have we seen the "astronauts trapped in space" scenario. It's been done to death, and it's been done by much better by other filmmakers. It feels like it was too rushed and we didn't get a chance to comprehend the life or death situation of their predicament.

Also, the character development was two-dimensional and I wasn't fully engaged with them. The film boasts a stellar cast that include Daniel Brühl, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O'Dowd, and  John Ortiz for example, but their characters didn't make me feel like I wanted to get to know them. I didn't care if they lived or died, nor did I care about them personally, which is a very bad thing to have in a movie. If you don't have interesting characters that make you emotionally invested in, then you don't have a movie.

The film's production is more interesting than the film itself. I was originally announced in November of 2012, under the title GOD PARTICLE, and produced once again by J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions. The film's script was written by Oren Uziel and had the main plot of the space station crew, but it wasn't connected to CLOVERFIELD universe at all. It was only during production did Abrams decide to link the film to the first film (which is why I felt it should've been its own movie). The film was renamed, suffered from several delay releases, and then Netflix stepped in to pick up the film from Paramount for a whopping "more than $50 million" for the film rights. Needless to say, I think they overpaid for it.

Overall, THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX is a boring, lackluster, failed sci-fi movie that didn't bring anything new to the franchise. I hate to say that, especially after the incredible 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. So how did we come from that film to this one? I wish I knew the answer to that one. Instead, we're left scratching our heads and wondering why. 2 out of 5 stars! Only watch if you're really bored!

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX is now streaming exclusivley on Netflix. To start your subscription, visit their website at www.netflix.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil's Netflix Picks: THE BABYSITTER (2017) - February 6, 2018

Hello again and welcome to another installment of Phil's Netflix Picks! Yup, I found another movie to watch, and it's a Netflix Exclusive! And it's a horror comedy!! Originally, the film was produced by New Line Cinema before Netflix acquired the distribution rights to the film. I have heard many great reviews form critics and fans withing the horror community, so I was excited to finally see THE BABYSITTER.

The film's official synopsis: Cole (Judah Lewis) loves his babysitter (Samara Weaving) Bee. She's hot, funny, and popular. One night, in a moment of defiance, Cole secretly stays up past his bedtime to discover she's actually a cold-blooded killer who's in league with the Devil. He now must spend his night evading Bee's band of killers who will stop at nothing to prevent Cole from spilling their dark secret. It's up to Cole to survive the night (and blow up a few people along the way).

Big round of applause to screenwriter Brian Duffield, who wrote of the most ingenious stories ever!! Holy crap was this a smart, ruthless, and hilarious movie!! It has the perfect balance of laughs and horror! The characters are very relatable and sympathetic. I mean, c'mon, who didn't have a crush on their super hot babysitter when they were kids?!? Now, add in some awesome gore, bloodshed, and hysterical hijinks and you have yourself on hell of a film!! It follows along the lines of recent horror comedies like SHAUN OF THE DEAD, TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, and BETTER WATCH OUT. It's such a clever and witty script and I was completely blown away by it!

Director McG started off making music videos for artists like Sublime, The Offspring, and Sugar Ray. He then transitioned into directing Hollywood movies like the CHARLIE'S ANGEL films, WE ARE MARSHALL, TERMINATOR: SALVATION, and THIS MEANS WAR. McG brings that hyper-stylized, polished look to the movie. His compositions and set-ups are very in your face and has a flare for making gore fun to watch! He's a very accomplished filmmaker and has a special and unique way of telling a story. His visuals compliments Duffield's script perfectly and really hones in on the character's development throughout the course of the movie!

And speaking of characters, the cast is just awesome! Highlights include our two leads Judah Lewis and Samara Weaving, who have a amazing on-screen chemistry with one another that it's flawless. She looks and sounds like a real babysitter, who just so happens to be a cold-blooded psycho-killer who is smoking hot! Lewis is all of us - just a regular 12 year old who is in love with his babysitter but is too shy and nerdy to think that she would love him back. At the heart of the film, it's a coming-of-age story that will have viewers emotionally invested with these two.

THE BABYSITTER is one of the most outrageous, blood stained, batshit crazy, bonkers as hell, flat out gross out horror comedies of all time!! I freaking loved this movie. Horror fans have another binge-worthy movie to watch for all time!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE BABYSITTER is now streaming exclusivley on Netflix. To start your subscription, visit their website at www.netflix.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Phil's Netflix Picks: GLOW: THE STORY OF THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING (2012) - February 5, 2018

Hello my faithful readers and welcome to a new segment entitled Phil's Netflix Picks! The reason I decided to start this was because there are a plethora of movies that never really received a theatrical release or were only seen at film festivals. Because of this, some find audiences on Netflix-either becoming a Netflix exclusive or just debuting on the streaming service provider. One of these films I watched was a documentary on one of my favorite shows from the 1980's. I grew up watching wrestling throughout this decade, and what set this apart from the WWF and NWA was that it was all about women's wrestling. Now, I can relive those fun-filled days and learn all about this revolutionary show in the 2012 documentary GLOW: THE STORY OF THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING.

Original Theatrical Poster (2012)
The film's official synopsis: The year is 1986. Mike Tyson has just won his first title, the Chicago Bears are super bowl champs and unlikely rap-stars, and Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) is about to burst onto the scene as the first ever all-female wrestling show on television. Like its then sole competitor/frequent imitator, the World Wrestling Federation, GLOW was a prime-time wrestling series, complete with elaborate characters, costumes, skits, personalized raps, and, of course, wrestling. Week after week, women like Mountain Fiji, the Samoan giant with a heart of gold, and Matilda the Hun, the evil German with a taste for raw meat, battled it out for the GLOW crown. By 1989, the GLOW girls were an international phenomenon, attracting over seven million viewers worldwide, touring the nation, and making big bank for the show's producers. One year later, GLOW was gone.   

GLOW: THE STORY OF THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING chronicles the rise and fall of this once successful television show through the stories of those who lived it. From the initial open-call auditions, to the grueling training with wrestling legend Mando Guerrero, to over-night success and global recognition, to the show's sudden and unexpected cancellation in 1990, the GLOW girls recall their time on the show with a mixture of heartfelt nostalgia and tearful regret over injuries and the loss of friends. For some, the show was a brief foray into acting and a short-lived adventure on the way to a normal life. For others, that time in GLOW would impact and influence their lives for years to follow. For all of the women, working on GLOW was a unique and exciting experience that will bond them forever.

Director Brett Whitcomb really gives the audience an in-depth look at how the show was created and all the craziness that went on during its production. Many of the women who participated in the film provided some really interesting stories and aspects of the show while reminiscing on just how much they all had. What they didn't realize was at that time, they were pioneers - trailblazing in uncharted territory. There have been women wrestling for years, but a show centered on women's wrestling and making it a weekly show, that had never been done before.

Whitecomb was able to get some interesting and hilarious stories from several of the wrestlers, including Mt. Fiji, (Emily Dole), Little Egypt (Angelina Altishin), Ninotchka (Lorilyn Palmer), Tina Ferrari (Lisa Moretti, better known as Ivory to WWE fans) and Babe the Farmer's Daughter (Ursula Hayden) just to name a few. Others interviewed include series director Matt Cimber, trainer Mondo Guerrero aka Armando Guerrero (of the legendary wrestling dynasty Guerrero Family), but unfortunately show creator David McLane refused to participate in the documentary. I feel that this was a real shame because his input would've been very important to the story of GLOW and what his opinion of the show's legacy.

As soon as it appeared on our televisions, the show was abruptly cancelled without warning in 1990, due to the backers withdrawing their funding of it. This blow left the ladies without saying goodbye to one another, as they were forced to move on. But because of the filming of the documentary, Hayden - now owner of GLOW - decided to organize a reunion with her fellow friends. The highlight of this was Mt. Figi - who was residing in a nursing home due to health issues - shedding tears of joy as she is once again reunited with her friends.

Because of the popularity of the show and the positive response to the documentary, Hayden teamed up with Netflix to produce a series about the creation of the show. Naturally, the show is called GLOW and became a smash hit for the streaming service. No word yet as to when the second season will premiere.

However, fans of the original show recently received some heartbreaking news. On
on January 3, 2018, Emily Doyle, the beloved Mt. Fiji, passed away in Orange County, California due to health issues. She was just 60 years old. There will never be anyone like you Emily. All your fans, including myself, want to say "Thank you" for entertaining us for all these years. We will remember you and will miss you always.

GLOW: THE STORY OF THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING is a no-holds barred, emotionally charged, informative, hysterical and moving documentary about one of the greatest wrestling shows of all time!! I was so invested in the film that I watched it for three days straight! That should indicate you on how much I loved this film! If your a wrestling fan, or just a curious bystander, then you owe to yourself to see this! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

GLOW: THE STORY OF THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING is now available to view on Netflix, along with the series. The movie is also available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and Google Play. The movie is also available on DVD. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit the film's website at www.glowthemovie.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Phil's Cult Classics: ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES (1978) from MVD Entertainment Group - February 4, 2018

Hello again and welcome to another installment of Phil's Cult Classics! Today's film truly lives up to that moniker. It was a head of its time, with it's nod to classic 1950's sci-fi films, random humor, fourth wall breaking, absurd story and man-eating fruit, it's no wonder the film has become a fan favorite for all these years. Now, MVD Entertainment has released a new brand spanking new Blu-ray/DVD combo of ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES!

Original Theatrical Poster (1978)
The film's official synopsis: UFOs! Bigfoot! Communists! The government has swiftly dealt with many a crisis... But can it survive the diabolical ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES? Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the supermarket, you're face to face with terror so bold, so frightening it has never been seen on-screen before or since (not until the sequel, anyway). After a series of bizarre and increasingly horrific attacks from pulpy, red, seeded fruit, Mason Dixon (David Miller) finds himself leading a ''crack'' team of specialists to save the planet. But will they be quick enough to save everyone? To save you? You can't run! You can't swim! There's nowhere to hide! THE KILLER TOMATOES ARE EVERYWHERE!

It's been a while since I've sat down watched the movie. I forgot just how random, stupid, and hysterical it was! Directed by John De Bello and written by De Bello, Costa Dillon, and J. Stephen Peace, the film is as goofy then as it is now. Plus with a cast that includes David Miller, George Wilson, Sharon Taylor, and also Dillon and Peace as Lt. Wilbur Finletter, it's astounding that they were able to keep a straight facing during the making of the movie.

The film was released to theaters October 8, 1978 by NAI Entertainment. Their budget has been estimated between $90,000-$100,000. It grossed roughly $567,000, but what's even more amazing is that the film spawned three sequels, a Saturday morning cartoon show, a line of toys, a novel, and three different freaking video games! All from a movie that was called one of the worst movies ever made by critics. Yeah, what the hell do critics know! But at the end of the day, De Bello and the gang ended up having the last laugh, and they laughed all the way to the bank and into cinema immortality!

The folks over at MVD Entertainment Group did a great job of restoring the film, and releasing it under their MVD Rewind Collection label. The film received a new 4K digital transfer and looks the best as it ever has. While there is still some film grain (which I love by the way), the colors like bright and crisp, sound is great, and overall it's a fine upgrade. Most of the special features are carried over from the 25th Anniversary DVD Release from Rhino Video (which I still own). The special features include the following: Audio commentary from writer/director John DeBello, writer/co-star Steve Peace, and ''creator'' Costa Dillon, 3 Deleted scenes, Seven featurettes: ''Legacy of a Legend'' is a collection of interviews, including comments from John DeBello, Costa Dillon, film critic Kevin Thomas, fans Kevin Sharp and Bruce Vilanch, future Tomatoes mainstay John Astin and actors Steve Peace, Jack Riley, and D.J. Sullivan - ''Crash and Burn'' is a discussion about the famous helicopter crash that could have killed everyone because the pilot was late on his cue - ''Famous Foul'' is about the San Diego Chicken and his role in the climatic tomato stomping ending - ''Killer Tomatomania'' is a smattering of interviews with random people on the streets of Hollywood about the movie - ''Where Are They Now?'' fills viewers in on what the cast and crew have been up to over the past couple of decades - ''We Told You So!'' takes a hard-hitting look at the conspiracy of silence surrounding the real-life horror of killer tomatoes, ''Slated for Success'' featuring Killer Tomato Slate Girl.

Other special features include ''Gone with the Babusuland'' - the original 8mm short that inspired Attack of the Killer Tomatoes with optional audio commentary, ''Attack of the Killer Tomatoes'' - the original 8mm short film with optional audio commentary, Production design photo gallery, Radio Spots, Original Theatrical Trailer, and a Collectible Poster. Also there's an Easter Egg on the Blu-Ray: On the opening page of the “Chapters” menu, highlight “Next”, press down, and a tomato will appear on the left side of the screen, which will lead you to their Super 8 version of an intermission. It's actually quite funny and was shot in someone's kitchen.

Overall, ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES is one of the best cult classics of all time!! MVD Entertainment did a wonderful job of restoring the movie and getting it out there for those who may have never seen it before! The film was long overdue for this type of release. Now a new generation of film lovers of bad, camp, and cult movies will be able to add this to their library! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES is available in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo at your local retailer as well on online retail websites like Amazon and Diabolik DVD. To order a copy for yourself, visit www.diabolikdvd.com. To learn about MVD Entertainment Group, visit their website at mvdvisual.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Phil's Horror Watch: JIGSAW (2017) from Lionsgate FIlms - February 2, 2018

In 2004, moviegoers and horror fans witnessed the birth of a new franchise in the form of a film called SAW. Directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell, the movie ushered in a new horror icon Jigsaw (played by the great Tobin Bell) as well as a genre that would be known as "torture porn." The movie became a surprised smash hit for Lionsgate, and cranked out six consecutive sequels during the month of October, making it a Halloween tradition for horror fans. Then in 2010, the studio released SAW 3D: THE FINAL CHAPTER, marking the end of the series. It looked like the games were finally over.

Or so we thought.

Lionsgate announced in October 2016 that production had begun on SAW: LEGACY, the film's original title. The studio confirmed that Bell would also return as John Kramer. I wondered how in the hell they were going to pull this off? Kramer died in SAW 3, but was used in flashback sequences in the remaining entries. So maybe that was how they were going to bring him back. But who would be playing the games? Who would take over Kramer's legacy? What twisted deaths will we see in the movie? All these questions and more were answered when I finally saw JIGSAW!

Original Theatrical Poster (2017)
The film's official synopsis: The legacy of terror continues in the latest bloodcurdling installment of the SAW series. After a series of murders bearing all the markings of the Jigsaw killer, law enforcement finds itself chasing the ghost of a man dead for over a decade, embroiled in a diabolical new game that’s only just begun. Has John Kramer, the infamous Jigsaw Killer, returned from the dead to commit a series of murders and remind the world to be grateful for the gift of life? Or is this a trap set by a different killer with designs of their own?

It's been seven years since the last film and I wondered if Lionsgate would be able to recapture the spirit, the magic, and the gruesomeness of the series all these years later? Would fans of the franchise be satisfied with the end results? Speaking as a fan, I would like to answer these questions with a profound and positive YES!

I so thoroughly enjoyed the movie! First, the script was very well written and felt more like the original - more of a who-done-it thriller with excellent gore and bloodshed. Screenwriters Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger spent two years on getting the opportunity to propose their idea for the new entry. Once Lionsgate approved their vision, pre-production went underway. Soon, brothers Michael and Peter Spierig (UNDEAD, PREDESTINATION, DAYBREAKERS) were signed on to direct the film. These four individuals would have the dubious honor of resurrecting the franchise and presenting to modern audiences who may have not seen the previous installments. As I stated, it falls more in line with the original SAW movie, with more of a focus on the characters, the games, and the who-is-the-killer mystery. In the end, it everything I could have wanted in the film, including the great twist in the third act that we as fans have come to expect. Congratulations gentlemen on making me a fan once again!

The movie was released on October 27, 2017, just in time for Halloween. It made $1.6 million from Thursday midnight screenings alone (not too shabby). But, it went on to gross an impressive $102.9 million worldwide, against its budget of $10 million! Of course, the studio announced that there would be a sequel, however, it would not be directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, which is a shame. They have such a clear vision as directors and they brought a lot to the film that made it more unique. I want to wish them the best of luck with all their future projects and, hopefully, they will return to the franchise again.

JIGSAW is a welcomed addition to the SAW series and one fans will die for! It's a gore-filled thriller sequel that will make you scream for joy! For horror fans, it will entertain the hell out of you! For the regular moviegoer, be prepared to witness the bloody brilliance of John Kramer! 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

JIGSAW is currently available on both Blu-Ray and DVD from Lionsgate Fims. The film is also available on Digital HD, iTunes and VOD.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Phil sees COCO at the Cinemak Century Oakridge 20 - February 1, 2018

Pixar Animation Studio is one of the finest animation studios of all time! With films like TOY STORY, CARS, WALL-E, FINDING NEMO and UP, the studio has released some of the most awarding winning and critically acclaimed movies of all time, and in the shortest amount of time. Today, I went and saw their latest endeavour, and it marks as one of my new favorite movie from them. All I can saw is that COCO is destined to be one the studio's very best!!

The film's official synopsis: Despite his family's baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.

The film features the talented voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Edward James Olmos, Jaime Camil, Renée Victor, Gabriel Iglesias, and Cheech Marin for starters.

Being Hispanic American, I was completely moved on how much Pixar honored our heritage, our traditions, and how much family means to us. The norm is that Hollywood will fill theater screens with stereotypes and caricatures and they have relied on this for way too long. Finally, I saw a film that honored the Mexican community with intelligence, respect, and strong characters that we are emotionally invested in.

The movie was directed by Lee Unkrich, who's Pixar credits include co-directing TOY STORY 2, MONSTERS, INC., FINDING NEMO, and then directing TOY STORY 3 solo.  Joining him his his co-director Adrian Molina, whose writing credits include MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and THE GOOD DINOSAUR. Together, these two gentlemen have made one of Pixar's best films ever! The compositions and set-ups and excellent, the camera pans blend in with the film and they let the emotional scenes linger to accentuate the story. And let me tell you, this was such an emotional film!

Since this is a computer animation movie, I can't forget to mention it. The studio has come a long way since the release of TOY STORY. Holy cow!! The animation looks freaking amazing!! There is so much details in every single frame!! From the golden leaves to The Land of the Dead, it was a spectacular sight to behold!! An I thought the animation in CARS 3 was impressive!! The amount of detail is extraordinary!! 

What I loved most about the movie is the story. It's a story based in Mexican traditions and folklore. All the characters are a representation of me, my family, and friends. For the first time, I felt proud seeing my people shown in a positive light, and at the heart of the story is family. Family comes first always, and everything else will fall into place.

COCO is one of the best family films of all time and Pixar's best to date!! You have never seen a film like this before!! And FYI, you will cry during the film, especially at the end! I cried. Twice. Maybe three time. Anyway, I loved this movie!! So take the family to your favorite theater and go see this movie!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 

COCO is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Cinemark Century Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at http://cinemark.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!