Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Phil sees THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-November 10, 2012

It's been a very long time since I ventured out to theCamera 7 in the Pruneyard Campbell. There were several films there that I've been wanting to see. So I cleared out my schedule and made the theater my home last weekend! The first film I saw was the amazing indie film THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

Isolation, lonliness, anxiety, and friendship are just some of the emotions and topics one can expect from the film. Some of us (including me) had a difficult time adapting to serious changes. However, nothing is more nerve racking than being a freshman in high school. Let the pain begin.

Set in Pittsberg in the late 80's, the film focuses on 15 year-old freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman from PERCY JACKSON and 3:10 TO YUMA). Charlie is your typical, shy, awkward teenager who's slow on making friends, with the exception of his English teacher Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd in a rare non-comedic role). He's soon adopted by a couple of seniors who are on the fringe with the rest of their class: the charming and eclectic Sam (Emma Watson from HARRY POTTER series) and her charasmatic gay stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller from WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN). Charlie eventually becomes enfatuated with Sam, even though she is already seeing someone, but we learn that she has a history and habit of making bad romantic choices. But that doesn't stop him from loving her, as he learns that they have more in common than they will ever realize.

The film was written and directed by Steven Chbosky, and based on his own popular 1999 novel of the same name. Right away, we know that this was a labor of love for Chbosky. Every scene was about him, or a memory, or an incident that forever changed his life. Some of my favorite scenes are when Charlie, Sam and Patrick and all of their friends take part in acting out THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. Now in case you forgot (and shame on you if you did), I attend regular monthly screenings of this paticular movie over at the Camer 3 in Downtown San Jose. It's so much fun to see my friends from Barely Legal acting out along with ROCKY. This hit home with me and it was so cool to see this represented in the film and see Charlie graduating from being a spectator to becoming a Rocky! Very cool to see!

But it's not all fun and games for Charlie. Because he's so quiet and trusting, all the seniors in the group begin telling him their secrets that causes him a great deal of pressure. Add that he's also dealing some very deep personal trauma and you have one kid that is ready to explode.

The film also touches on some of the more traditional subject matters that teens can relate to: sex, drugs, music, crushes, mixed tapes, and just being young and in love. It's hard to imagine that there's life after high school. I thought I'd be there forever (only because it felt like forever). Now when I look back I laugh at all the things that I thought were so important. "OMG that girl I like just found out that I like her and now what am I going to do now that she knows!" Yup, to be young and naive. Glad that part is over and done with.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is touching, poetic look at teen agnst and young love set to the David Bowie song "Heroes." It just doesn't get any better than that folks. This was an amazing cinematic experience for me because I could totally relate to it. And I bet all you people out there will too. 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is currently playing at select theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Phil sees WRECK-IT RALPH in 2D at the Cinelux Theater Campbell-November 4, 2012

Hello again! So my good friend Amanda's son Brian celebrated his 12th birthday back on October 30th. So for his B-Day present, I took him and Amanda to see the new Disney computer animated family film WRECK-IT RALPH over at the Cinelux Theater in Campbell.

Meet Ralph (John C. Reilly) who is the main villain of the arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr., a popular game in Litwak's Arcade. The hero Felix (Jack McBrayer) is loved by the citizens in the game, and Ralph is treated like dirt (poor buy sleeps on a pile of bricks in the dump). Tired of being the bad guy, he jumps from game to game in hopes to win a medal and gain respect among the people of Fix-It Felix. However, his actions causes major ramifications that could spell the end for not only his game, but for all the games in the arcade as well!

The film is a love letter to the video games and arcades of the past. Those you are old enough to remember going to the arcades (like myself) and spending your entire allowance on video games and hanging out with your friends, those were the best of times of your life. The film manages to captures that nostalgic feeling and present up on the big screen for all of us to enjoy!

A tip of the hat goes to the folks at Disney, for they have done their homework for this movie. Like the TOY STORY series, there are several trademark characters that you video game fanatics will recognize; such as arcade icon Q-Bert, Clyde the orange ghost from Pac-Man, Doctor Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog, and Bowser from Super Mario Bros.

Reilly does a great job with Ralph, bringing depth, humor, and pathos to the character. You feel sorry for Ralph and we go along with him on his journey of self-respect and dignity. Of course this leads him to some far out video games, like Hero's Duty, where he is told that when you win the game you get a medal. Here we meets tough, no nonsense Sergeant Calhoun, whose voice is provided by none other than Jane Lynch, star of the Fox TV show Glee. Lynch owns this character, and I can't think of any other actress who could've pulled off better than her! But let me take a moment and point out another great actress lending her voice to the film. Sarah Silverman does a magnificent job of bringing her character Vanellope von Schweetz to life. Combining a spunky attitude and determination, with a touch of sadness for good measure, we can relate to her because, like Ralph, she's an outcast among her peers in her own video game. The two form a powerful friendship that radiates and mirrors our own lives. At one point, some of us were outcasts; those who didn't quite fit in with the rest of the crowd. Try not to see a little bit of yourself in these 8-bit characters!

Overall WRECK-IT RALPH is my vote for Best Family Film of 2012! This is what the movie BRAVE should have been! Full of action, adventure, romance, and comedy, this is one film that has it all! 5 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended!!

WRECK-IT RALPH is currently playing in both 2-D and 3-D 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, November 5, 2012

Phil attends the Barely Legal's 17th Birthday show of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the Camera 3 Cinema-November 3, 2012

Once again I attended the midnight screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose. Joining me on this midnight tradition was my very good friend Leslie and her daughter Oceanna. Now Saturday night's show was a very special event. It was Barely Legal's 17th Birthday Show! Yup, the guys are now 17 years old and still barely legal!! Hide your booze!!

As always, Nate McHavoc (our Riff Raff) was our emcee for the night. He whipped up the crowd and got us all excited about the show. He introduced us to the cast members for that night's show and also subjected the "virgins" to the infamous butt dance. Once again there were a lot of virgins in the house! After picking out six victims....uh.....virgins....Nate subjected them to his embarrassing games and we all had a big laugh at their expense! It was awesome! After the games, the audience started sing Happy Birthday to the cast. However, as some of you may know, we sing it quite differently. So the whole audience started singing, "Happy Birthday F#ck You!" It brought a tear to my eye!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1975)
The Barely Legal cast turned in another fantastic performance once again, and the crowd had a blast! And there was cake served during the show! Afterwards Leslie, Oceanna, and I continued the party over at the local IHOP down on First Street. Also having breakfast there were some of the members of Barely Legal. As we were leaving, Christy (who plays Janet) and Bridgid pulled up and we all started chatting it up in the parking till about 3am! Yup, this IHOP is now the official post-ROCKY hangout spot!

What a night this was! I had the best time and so did my friends! Now if you wish join in on this midnight tradition of fun, you are in luck! Their next show is this coming Saturday, December 1st so make sure you come out and attend this momentous event! To learn more about future shows, and how you can become a cast member, visit their website at http://barelylegal.rhps.org/.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Phil attends the Midnites for Maniacs "CELEBRATE THE END OF DAYS" Triple Feature at the Castro Theatre-Nov. 2, 2012

Hello again folks from San Francisco! Yup, I'm back up here to attend the Midnites for Maniacs triple feature at the historic Castro Theatre. Hosted by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, the theme for the show was the appropriately titled "Celebrate the End of Days." The theatre screened three classic films that showcased the end of mankind as we know it. Plus all three movies were the original 35mm film prints! As always, Jesse handpicked some awesome trailers to show. So let the apocalypse begin!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1991)
The first film shown was the groundbreaking 1991 sci-fi/action film TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY. Written and directed by James Cameron (TITANIC, AVATAR), the film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger  as our favorite terminator model, the T-800, who travels back in time to protect the young John Connor (Edward Furlong), who will become the destined leader of mankind in the year 2029. Along with John's mom Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), they must prevent Judgement Day from happening, all the while dogging the lethal, shape shifting T-100 terminator (Robert Patrick).

I saw the film when it first came out. I was only 18 years old and the film was nothing like I've ever seen before! First off, the special effects were very cutting edge, thanks to the folks at George Lucas' Industrial Lights and Magic. The T-100 could do anything: it could walk through bars, take the form of anything it touches, form cool and deadly knives and other stabbing weapons! Now back then, computer graphics and effects weren't the norm back then. When a scene calls to blow up a building, they blew up a real building! Nowadays that would be a CGI shot! Not back then, when filmmaking was at times very dangerous! Real people doing death defying stunts, like driving a motorcycle through a second story glass window heading towards a hovering helicopter! But what also made it a hit was Cameron's script! While action packed, it also contained a deep and personal message of family, friends, and the belief of goodness and hope in mankind. Also you can find in the script a message of importance, that no matter who you are now, you can make a difference in the world. The film was to theaters by Tri-Star/Carolco Pictures on July 7, 1991. The film's budget was an astounding $94,000,000, but it went on to gross a staggering $519,843,345!! This beautiful 35mm print came from Ficks own personal collection!! He also screened the trailer for the film that was originally part of the show but had to cancel: Kathryn Bigelow's 1995 film STRANGE DAYS.

Click here to view the film's original trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2010)
Film number two was director Christopher Nolan's 2010 mind bending action/thriller INCEPTION. The film's about Dom Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio), a highly skilled thief in the art of extraction: stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state. This has caused him to become an  international fugitive which has caused him to flee the states and leave behind his family. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. This one last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception: he must plant an idea in the mind of corporate business Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) to dispve his family's company. With the help of his team members Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Ariadne (Ellen Page), Eames (Tom Hardy), Yusuf (Dileep Rao), and the man who hired him Saito (Ken Watanabe), he must successfully complete the job so he can return home to see his children.

With special effects straight out of the MATRIX trilogy, Nolan uses it to help tell his story, instead of letting it control the film. In order to enter the the different levels of the subconscious, Nolan creates his dream realms with the notion that, while it's only a dream, the ramifications can be as deadly as the real world. His philosophy is to respect the dream, because no matter what you're trying to bury deep within, it will always resurface in your dreams. The dream and the subconscious are bound together, forever in a circle that will either a positive or negative chain reaction. The film was originally released by Warner Brothers on July 16, 2010. Before the film, Ficks screened the trailers for next month's M4M show: 1988's HAIRSPRAY, 2000's BRING IT ON, and 1989's KICKBOXER.

Click here for to view the film's original trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1982)
The third and final film of the night was the underrated and amazing HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH. In the film Tom Atkins plays Dr. Daniel 'Dan' Challis, who suspects the "Silver Shamrock" company (the makers of the hottest selling Halloween masks) after a man is murdered in his hospital. Soon his daughter Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) and Dan take a trip to the town where the factory resides and find out much more then they could have bargained for, especially when Dan meets the president of the company Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), who revels to Dan the true purpose for his masks.r

The film was completely bashed when it came out. For one thing, it had nothing to do with the previous films and there was no Michael Myers in it. After the ending of the second film, the producers decided to keep the name and go ahead with the series making each new installment a different story revolving around the Halloween season. Now that was a very cool idea, one that could theoretically work these days. However, at that time the movie was a complete failure because it was a HALLOWEEN film with no Myers. This is a real shame because the film is entertaining as hell. Atkin's Dan character is a doctor who specializes in love, since he's the biggest and oldest flirt ever. Seeing him in bed with Nelkin is enough to give you nightmares. Plus this is the only film where a womanizing doctor can be a alcoholic and still be the "Good Guy!" O'Herlihy is great as our villain, who also represents the 80's corporate greed mentality and the fear of Big Brother is watching you. The film was released to theaters by Universal Pictures on October 22, 1982. The movie was just recently released on Blu-Ray and DVD by the folks over at Shout Factory! So do yourself a favor and check out this film! It's definitely worth watching!

Click here to view the film's original trailer.

And another Midnites for Maniacs show has come and gone! The next show will be on December 7, 2012 and it will be the last show for 2012! So mark this date on your calander and come on out to the City by the Bay and join in on this movie magic and fun! To learn more about Midnites for Maniacs, visit their website at www.midnitesformaniacs.com. To view upcoming shows at the Castro Theatre, visit their website at www.castrotheatre.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Phil's Breaking News: Legendary Adult Director Kirdy Stevens Dies at 92-November 2, 2012

So after my month long horror film marathon in October, I was ready to begin to review all the latest films that are currently in theaters. However, as I logged on to the internet to search what's playing, I came across this startling headline, "Legendary Director Kirdy Stevens, of "TABOO" Fame, Passes at 92."

Photo Copyright/Courtesy of Standard Digital
According to the AVN (Adult Video News) website Stevens, "died of pneumonia on October 20 at the age of 92. Although he made just 14 feature films during a career in pornography that lasted more than 25 years, several—especially his TABOO series, of which he directed five volumes—remain among the best-selling adult movies of all time."

The article went on to cover how Stevens got his start in the adult industry, his career as a director, and so forth. My sincerest condolences go out to Steven's wife Helenen, to the rest of his family, and to the adult industry for their loss. Thank goodness that we still have his films to enjoy. In remembrance, I'll be reviewing some of his films here in the very near future.

To read the full length AVN article, please visit their website at www.avn.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!