Sunday, March 18, 2018

Phil attends Cinequest 28: Day 5 - March 3, 2018

Welcome everybody to Day Five of my trip to Cinequest 28! Today I ended up seeing six films today. Yup, I'm going to be tired when all this is over. OK folks, let's talk all about the films I did see today!

I started off over at the Hammer Theatre for the shorts program entitled SHORTS FILM PROGRAM 7: SOMETHING FUNNY and holy crap was it funny!! Here is the list of shorts that was screened:

Bigfoot's Love Slave: The short that played on Opening Night. Funny then and still funny now!!

Fuck Everything: A funny music video starring The Hairy Soul Man singing life's main mantra!!

Graham's Mate: Looking for a car part with your mate has never been this funny!!

Mixtape Mauraders: Two stoners talk about the days when you made a mixtape for the girl you love like one of them did....who then says that she's dating some drummer in some stupid band!  

Multiverse Dating for Beginners: With just a flip of her scarf, a young woman tries to create the perfect way of being asked out on a date!

Must Kill Karl: A bunch of friends try to come up with killing their annoying friend Karl. Yeah, he's that annoying and stupid!

Positive: A man receives a call from his doctor telling him he has herpes. He meets a girl who also has herpes. They have sex. Man receives a call from his doctor saying that there was a mix-up and he actually doesn't have herpes. He does now!

Space Butthole: A animated sci-fi short about a group of scientists trying to figure out how to plug up a space butthole before it shits all over the galaxy!

The Spectacular Summer of Weredog and Amy: Amy has sexual relations with he dog when he becomes a human male once a month! And she looks hot when she's wearing a strap-on! 

We Know Where You Live: What would you do when the house of your dreams is rented out to another couple? Yes, that's exactly what you would do!

We Summoned a Demon: Oppsie!! We summoned a demon!

For my second film of the day I jammed on over to the 3 Below Theater to see the adult drama ENTHUSIASTIC SINNERS. The film's about a police officer who comes to the home of a widower about receiving reports of gunshots there. From there, the two embark on a lust filled 24 hour adventure of sex and fun, but ending up falling in love with each other. However, as the day ends, so does their fantasy world and both must face their real world personas.

What I really loved about the film that it was a film about adults having sex, enjoying sex and treating it as a human emotion, rather than something that is used for comedic purposes or treated with such disrespect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sex, but for some reason, we are so hung up on it. Writer/director Mark Lewis treats sex with honesty and care, showing us that it's an emotion, much like love. His movie is on par with the European films from the 1960's, the Dogma 95 movement and LAST TANGO IN PARIS, in terms of storytelling, visuals and the idea of shutting out the world but for only a short time. Actress Maggie Alexander bares not only her body, but her soul and emotions as she bring vulnerability, humor and longing to her character Shelby. Her performance is so raw and captivating that she commands the audiences' attention. Same can be said of her male co-star Christopher Heard's performance as Officer Bruce Durant. 5 out of 5 stars!!

Film number three for me today was the KAISER PERMANENTE THRIVE AWARD WINNER: PICK OF THE LITTER at the California Theatre. The documentary follows a litter of puppies from the moment they're born and begin their quest to become Guide Dogs for the Blind, the ultimate canine career. Cameras follow these pups through a two-year odyssey as they train to become dogs whose ultimate responsibility is to protect their blind partners from harm. Along the way, the dogs meet a community of dedicated individuals who train them to do amazing, life-changing things in the service of their human. The stakes are high and not every dog can make the cut. Only the best of the best.

I can see why the documentary received the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Award! I enjoyed this film so much! I found this so interesting and fascinating! I learn so much about the process of training on becoming a Guide Dog, but how it also affects the humans that travel along with these dogs. Of course, the dog that I was rooting for was named.....what for it......Phil!! Yup, there was a dog with my name! And I was so happy to see Phil go on to have so much success!! Way to go Phil!! 5 out of 5 stars!!
My fourth movie for the day was being shown at the Hammer Theatre Center. A retelling of the Louisa May Alcott classic, LITTLE WOMAN follows the lives of four sisters - Meg (Melanie Stone), Jo (Sarah Davenport), Beth (Allie Jennings), and Amy March (Elise Jones as child and Taylor Murphy as adult)- detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood. Despite harsh times, they cling to optimism, and as they mature, they face blossoming ambitions and relationships, as well as tragedy, while maintaining their unbreakable bond as sisters.

Directed by Clare Niederpruem, I found the film very lighthearted and fun to watch while it addresses modern day scenarios and themes. Niederpruem did a great job of directing. Lead actress Sarah Davenport was fantastic as Jo, but my hats goes off to Allie Jennings for performance as the sweet but ill Beth. I loved seeing Lea Thompson as the girls' mom Marmee. After the screening, the cast and crew participated in a fin Q&A session. Overall, this was a great retelling of a literary classic! 4 out of 5 stars!!

Film numero five was the world premiere of the drama LOCATING SILVER LAKE. Upon graduating college, a brokenhearted aspiring writer named Daniel (Josh Peck), without a dime or connections, packs his bags and heads to Los Angeles in the hopes of finding a new beginning. He quickly gets immersed into two very different worlds - one young, provocative and alluring, the other rooted in diversity, community and loyalty - both with their own unique appeals, advantages and dangers.

It's been fun watching Josh Peck grow as an actor for the past couple of years. He's acting was great and very humorous and sad, which sums up his character perfectly. Finn Wittrock of American Horror Story fame is deliciously evil as Seth, who is both a friend and an enemy. Caught in the middle is Talya (Aubrey Peeples), who must decide what she wants in her life, more specifically whom. After the screening, writer/director Eric Bilitch, producer Deborah Del Prete and Peck were on hand to conduct a Q&A with the audience. Another great film that I hope to see again in the future! 4 out of 5 stars!

The sixth and final film I saw on Saturday was the midnight film TELL ME YOUR NAME! Troubled teen Ashley (Sydney Sweeney) moves to live with her Aunt Tanya (Jessica Barth) after the tragic death of her mother. Bu when Ashley starts to think that her mom is trying to contact her, she along with her friend Hannah (Madison Lintz) performs a séance that ends with horrifying results. Soon, it's up to Reverend Michael (Bruce Davison) and Pastor John (Matt Dallas) to help save Ashley's soul from the demon that now possesses her.

Holy hell was this a fucking wickedly scary ass movie!! First off, hats off to co-writer/director Jason DeVan for making a horror film that is both a nod to horror film of the past like THE EXORCIST, THE OMEN, SUSPIRIA and injecting new ingredients to the tired formula. He along with Dylan Matlock and his wife Heather DeVan crafted a smart, intriguing and batshit terrifying film!! Second, kudos to Sydney Sweeney for one of the best acting performances in an indie horror film!! She is an example of an actress taking on a role and going all the way into the deep end to have it come out phenomenal! After the screening, the cast and crew were there to pass out T-shirts, signed posters and do a Q&A with the audience. My favorite horror film of the festival!! 5 out of 5 stars!!

And that was Day Five of my cinematic trip to Cinequest 28. My new total now is 23 films in 5 days! So far so good! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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