Monday, December 31, 2012

Phil sees DJANGO UNCHAINED at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-December 29, 2012

When one sees a Quentin Tarantino movie, always expect the unexpected and always now you're gonna be entertained as Hell! His films are never boring, full of movie references, always melding several different types of genres, and are always causing some sort of controversy. He continues this tradition with his newest film: the highly entertaining, over the top violent, spaghetti western entitled DJANGO UNCHAINED.

The film's official synopsis: In the pre-Civil War South, Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and promises to free Django and re-unite him with his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) in return for his assistance in tracking down his bounty. They soon learn that Django's wife is under the hands of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who just happens to be a ruthless plantation owner.

Now normally I would go on and write my critique, but I'm going to do something that is not normal. I'm just going to say this: The movie was badass!! And now I'm going to repeat it over and over again: The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! The movie was badass!! Did I mention it was badass?!?

The only real fault in the film is when Quentin Tarantino appears in the film as one of The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employees and he spoke with a horrible accent. I think he was trying to do an Australian accent but it came out really, really bad. So I'm taking off half a star because of this. Also look for Samuel L Jackson in the film and look out for the controversial N-word. But what'd you expect from a Tarantino film?!?

DJANGO UNCHAINED is a one of Tarantino's best films, and it's already been nominated for 5 Golden Globes!! So stop reading this, get your ass to you local theater and see this movie!! 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!! Highly badass and recommended!!

DJANGO UNCHAINED is currently playing at select theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show

Phil sees SILVER LINIINGS PLAYBOOK at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-December 23, 2012

I have a soft spot for the romantic comedies, but there haven't been too many good ones so far this year. However, I did see one that was blurring the lines of the genre, melding it with drama to create a funny, sad tragic, and hopeful romantic comedy that was very satisfying to watch. Based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, the film SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK was a complete and utter joy to view.

The film's official synopsis: Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything -- his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) and father Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) after spending eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain. Determined to rebuild his life, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, and things get complicated. She offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he'll do something very important for her in return.

The movie was written and directed by David O. Russell, the man responsible for such films as THREE KINGS, I HEART HUCKABEES, and THE FIGHTER. Russell does a tremendous job of keeping the film even balanced between the comedy and the tear jerking drama. We laugh when we're supposed to, and we are emotional the next. Like his previous films, the directing is precise and moves along well without it dragging. It's always tricky adapting a novel to the big screen, but in Russell's hands, the film really takes the novel to the next level.

The cast itself turns in a phenomenal job. Bradley Cooper steps out of his comfort zone and tackles one of his best roles ever. To portray a bi-polar character who suffers from severe breakdowns, emotionally unstable at times is already challenging enough. But to wear his heart on his sleeve to show us that Pat is sensitive, vulnerable, and means well really says something about Copper's acting ability. Jennifer Lawrence is brilliant as Tiffany and it was refreshing to see her take on such a complex adult role. Her performance is on par with her Ree character from WINTER'S BONE, but she's more known for portraying Katniss Everdeen from THE HUNGER GAMES series. However the first time I saw her was in last year's film LIKE CRAZY. She had a small part in that film, but I knew that she was a talented actress and she shows it off here. Of course, I cannot forget Robert Di Niro as the superstitious, Philadelphia Eagles obsessed father Pat Sr. I think that this was one of his best roles and he was fantastic.

All in all SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is a blast of fresh air to the romantic comedy genre. Full of laughs and tears, this is a film that you should take a date to go see. 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is currently playing at select theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Phil attends the "THE NIGHTMARE WE CALL CHRISTMAS" Show hosted by Peaches Christ at the Castro Theatre-December 15, 2012

Happy Holidays to one and all! So this past Saturday I had the pleasure to cover "THE NIGHTMARE WE CALL CHRISTMAS: A TIM BURTON HOLIDAY REVUE" over at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco! Hosted the the fabulous Peaches Christ, this holiday extravaganza was one for the ages, especially since she was screening a 35mm print of the amazing film EDWARD SCISSORHANDS! After having dinner at my favorite burger joint in the Castro District Sliders Burgers, I made my way back to the theatre so I could take in all this Peachy holiday goodness.

Beetlejuice, Marya E. Gates & Lydia.
Upon entering the theatre, the air was filled with love, laughter, and holiday cheer. As I was mingling with my fellow cinematic thrillseekers, I ran into a couple of good friends of mine in the lobby. Samantha Sullivan, who was part of Peaches' stage crew for the night, is a talented filmmaker and is a member of the ultra cool indie film co-op company Scary Cow Productions. I also saw the hip Ms. Marya E. Gates, a fellow cinema lover who I met last July at the SF Silent Film Festival. She also happens to have an amazing film blog called Cinematic Fanatic so definitely check it out! When the clock struck 8pm, everybody left the lobby and made their way inside to find their seats.

Peaches Christ dancing up a storm!
Going in, I knew that the show was going to be big, but I had no idea that it was going to be HUGE!! As soon as the theatre lights were turned off, the multi-colored spotlights from the stage decorated the place. Then the one, the only, Peaches Christ came out with her fellow performers as they all danced and lip synced the opening song. All the ladies came out dressed as the suburban wives from EDWARD SCISSORHANDS! Joining in on the fun was Edward himself, who came out of a enormous Christmas box! After their opening number, the crowd roared with screams and applause. Then Peaches welcomed the audience and thanked them for coming out. She and Edward were trying to get the house ready for the holidays but needed some help. Well since this was a Tim Burton Revue, the stage was bombarded with several characters from his films!

Peaches, Edward, & Beetlejuice.
First up was Pee-Wee Herman from Burton's first film PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, who then entertained the audience by doing his trademark dance steps to the song "Tequila." Next up was the scary Mrs. Lovett from SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, who sang a beautiful, haunting song to Edward. Then things got spooky, thanks to the one and only BEETLEJUICE, who along with the lovely Lydia sang Elvis Prestly's "Blue Christmas." Hard to believe but it got even creepier, especially when Alice from ALICE IN WONDERLAND showed up and had one helluva psychedelic trip, thanks to drinking a water/piss filled vase, courtesy of Beetlejuice. Then Peaches flubbed one of her lines, which caused director ED WOOD to come out and he and his cast of zombies, cops, and alien did a little song and dance. Also Ed was sporting his trademark angora sweeter. Then the whole cast came out for a big closing number, but all were killed by the crazy Martin Girl from the overlooked Burton film MARS ATTACKS!! After that, the whole crowd rose to their feet and screamed and yelled, whistled and hollered; it was without a doubt the loudest standing ovation I have ever heard at a PC show!!

Next up on the night's agenda was the popular staple costume contest. Helping Peaches judge this was the awesome gay Tim Burton and the stunning Miss Honey Mahogany, who will be the first San Francisco queen to appear on RuPaul's Drag Race Season V!! When it was all said and done, it was a tie between a redneck with his reindeer wife and dog and a women who dressed up as Mary Hooker! It was fantastic!!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1990)
After all this twisted Yuletide fun, it was time to watch the holiday film classic EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Released by 20th Century Fox on December 9, 1990, the film stars Johnny Depp as Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands (created and designed by the late F/X wizard Stan Winston). After the death of his creator (the late, great Vincent Price), he lives alone in a Gothic castle, incomplete. Edward is taken in by a suburban mom and Avon caller Peg (Dianne Wiest) and her family. He soon falls in love with their teenage daughter Kim (Winona Ryder), much to the chagrin of her boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall). Also appearing in the film are Kathy Baker, Robert Oliveri, Conchata Ferrell, Caroline Aaron, O-Lan Jones, Dick Anthony Williams, and Alan Arkin.

It's been a while since I've seen this film, and I had forgotten just how wonderful and heartfelt it was. Burton was riding high from his previous film, the summer blockbuster BATMAN, and with this film, he cemented himself as one of Hollywood's most imaginative and gifted directors. The film's budget was about $20 million and it went on to gross a staggering $86,024,005. The film would go on to win the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film.

Peaches Christ & her cast. Photo courtesy of PC's Facebook.
This was the BEST PC show ever!! Now I've been attending her shows since July of last year, and each show gets bigger and better. But this show was massive: the number of cast members, the props, the crew, the choreography, the costumes, everything about the show was extravagant! But what made the show so great was the fact that Peaches was able to bring a community together to share not only laughs and good times, but love and holiday cheer. After the tragic events that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, it was Peaches who brought us all together, to remind us that it was OK to laugh, to have a good time, and to enjoy a crazy holiday show filled with drag queens, costume contests, and a modern holiday classic. For this, I would personally like to thank Peaches for making me smile, laugh, and giving me the best night of my life. I hope you make this a yearly holiday spectacular!

For those of you who missed out on all the fun, fear not my friends. The next PC show will be on Friday, February 8, 2013 at the Castro, where she will be screening Todd Solondz's 1996 film WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE! And as an added bonus, the film's star Heather Matarazzo will be there live in-person! So make sure you come check that show out! If you are interested in becoming a fan of Peaches Christ, or want to view her upcoming shows, visit her website at To view the Castro Theater's film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Phil's B-Movies Madness: Phil reviews VIRGIN HUNTERS (1994) from Full Moon Features-December 14, 2012

Starring: Morgan Fairchild, Ian Abercrombie, Brian Bremer, Christopher Wolf, Sara Suzanne Brown, Don Dowe, Michele Matheson
Written by Kenneth J. Hall
Produced by Charles Band, Jerry Goldberg, & Karen L. Spencer
Directed by David DeCoteau (as Ellen Cabot)
Originally released by Torchlight Entertainment
Re-released by Full Moon Features

Welcome back to another installment of Phil's B-Movie Madness! Continuing from BEACH BABES FROM BEYOND, today's review is another film that came from Full Moon's short lived Torchlight Entertainment line. The movie VIRGIN HUNTERS is fun sexy romp that I loved to watch when I was younger and it still holds up to this day.

The film's official synopsis is as follows: The year is 2019 and corporations have taken over the world. Sex and thoughts of lust are outlawed and the only form of pro-creation is via test tube babies. With the help of their history professor (Abercrombie) and their voluptuous classmate Reena (Brown) two 21st-century teens Naldo (Bremer) and Vin (Wolf) travel back to 1994 in hopes of preventing the sex-hating woman named Camella Swales (Fairchild) from enacting her frosty schemes. Arriving at a modern day all girl school, they begin to carry out their mission but can they complete it in time before they are captured by the Lex 500 cyborg (Dowe) that the corporation has sent back in time?

TEST TUBE VHS Cover (1994)
This was the second release under the new Torchlight Entertainment banner and it was once again directed by David DeCoteau. VIRGIN HUNTERS was the original title of this movie, but at the time it was to be released, Paramount (which were the distributor of Charles Band's Full Moon releases) felt that the title was too controversial and had the name changed to "Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000," as well as commissioning less explicit poster art. Now that Full Moon has the rights to the film, they have re-released it with the original title and artwork.

Like all of Full Moon releases, the movie came with a installment of their VideoZone; a video magazine that contained behind the scenes making of, spotlight interview, trailers, and ordering cool collectibles. Actress Sara Suzanne Brown was the host Torchlight's VideoZone and it is included on this release in its entirely. Now like the BEACH BABES FROM BEYOND DVD, the transfer isn't that great, but considering that the VHS is long out of print and can fetch between $20-$30 on eBay, I can't complain. It's been over 18 years since I've seen this film and it's great to have it on DVD.

The Torchlight line didn't last long unfortunately. However, it was relaunched in 1996 and rechristened Surrender Cinema, which released a plethora of softcore erotica films such as FEMALIEN 1-2, LOLIDA 2000, PETITECOAT PLANET, VIRTUAL ENCOUNTERS 1-2, and PLEASURECRAFT.

VIRGIN HUNTERS is another sexy, light-hearted, feel good B-movie that puts a big 'ol smile on my face! Another great blast from the past release from Full Moon Features! Loads of humor, action, and naked girls, I miss these films because they were innocent and didn't take itself too seriously. It's a fun-filled low budget classic! 5 out of 5 stars!! Recommended!!

VIRGIN HUNTERS is currently available on DVD. To purchase a copy, visit the Full Moon website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Phil's B-Movie Madness: Phil reviews BEACH BABES FROM BEYOND (1993) from Full Moon Features-December 13, 2012

BEACH BABES DVD Cover (2011)
Starring: Sarah Bellomo, Tamara Landry, Nicole Posey, Michael Todd Davis, Ken Steadman, Michael Roddy, Linnea Quigley, Joe Estevez, Albert Andrukaitis, Burt Ward, Joey Travolta, Don Swayze, Jackie Stallone
Written by Alexander Sachs
Produced by Charles Band, Jerry Goldberg, & Karen L. Spencer
Directed by David DeCoteau (as Ellen Cabot)
Originally released by Torchlight Entertainment
Re-released by Full Moon Features

Hello there my faithful followers and welcome to the return of Phil's B-Movie Madness! It's been a long time since I reviewed one of the many classic B-movies that I used to watch when I was younger. Now tonight's film is in my Favorite Top Ten B-Movies of All Time. Featuring an impressive ensemble cast, sophomore humor, cool special effects, and scantily bikini-clad girls, BEACH BABES FROM BEYOND has all the markings to make this a true B-movie classic for the ages!

The film's official synopsis is as follows: An intergalactic babe named Xena (Bellomo) borrows her dad's T-bird ship to do a little planet hopping with her two friends Luna (Landry) and Sola (Posey), but they run out of fuel unexpectedly, and must land on earth. They land on the California coast and run into Dave (Davis), Jerry (Steadman), and Ziggy (Roddy), where they have fun and a few close encounters at the beach. Dave's Uncle Bud (Estevez), who just wants to meditate and hang out, is being threatened with condemnation of his beach house unless he puts some money into repairs. The alien babes offer to enter the local bikini contest with their way-out designs to try and win the money he needs, but they are hampered by garment designer Sally (Quigley) who will stop at nothing to win.

Making cameos in the film are Don Swayze (younger brother of Patrick Swayze) and Jackie Stallone (Sylvester Stallone's mother) playing Xena's parents Gork and Yanna, Burt Ward (Robin from the 1960's TV show Batman) as suntan lotion king Mr. Bun, and Joey Travolta (younger brother of John Travolta) portrays scientist turn vegan snack shack owner Dr. Veg.

Original Promotional Poster (1993)
The film was the first release under the new Torchlight Entertainment banner, a line conceived by Full Moon founder Charles Band, which produced softcore films for the adult market. Band is an icon in the horror film world, having creating the PUPPET MASTER series, the SUBSPECIES series, and the TRANCERS series for Full Moon. His previous company Empire Pictures released such cult classics like GHOULIES, RE-ANIMATOR, TROLL, and FROM BEYOND. In the 1990's Band also created the family oriented company Moonbeam Entertainment to produced films aimed at kids and tweens. Torchlight Entertainment was just another way for Band to tap into a specific type of audience and entertain them the only way he knew how.

The film was directed by David DeCoteau, who was one of the Top Three B-movie directors during the 80s (the other two being Rick Sloane and Fred Olen Ray). DeCoteau has directed several low-budget classics from the 80s, such as CREEPOZOIDS, NIGHTMARE SISTERS, and DR. ALIEN. DeCoteau would also go on to direct films for Full Moon Entertainment: PUPPET MASTER III (1991), THE KILLER EYE (1999), and newest installment of Full Moon's flagship title,  2010's PUPPET MASTER: AXIS OF EVIL. All together, DeCoteau has directed over 80 films in his career!

At the end of every single Full Moon movie, there was a new instalment of Full Moon's VideoZone; a video magazine that contained behind the scenes making of, Spotlight interview, trailers, and ordering cool collectibles. BEACH BABES had it's own as well entitled Torchlight's VideoZone and it was very similar to Full Moon's. Now the VideoZone on the DVD here is different than the original that was seen on the VHS tape. The one on the DVD was the original version, but host Sara Suzanne Brown didn't like the way it was shot and complained to Band, thus having to reshoot her segments. While it was cool to see the original VideoZone, it would've been nice for Full Moon to have the VHS version included on the DVD as well. The transfer of the film isn't that great either, but seeing that this is the only way to watch the film now that the VHS copy is long out of print, I can't complain too much.

All in all, BEACH BABES FROM BEYOND is a cult classic that I hold near and dear to my heart! I rented the film when it first came out back in 1993 and I've held on to my old, beat up VHS tape for all this time. It's great to see it again on DVD. So if you're looking for some light, silly, sexy, B-movie fun, then look no further! 5 out of 5 stars!! Recommended!!

BEACH BABES FROM BEYOND is currently available on DVD. To purchase a copy, visit the Full Moon website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil counts down to the Peaches Christ show of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and the "NIGHTMARE WE CALL CHRISTMAS" at the Castro Theatre-December 12, 2012

Happy Holidays everybody! Say are you looking for that special gift for that certain someone who has everything? Well then give that person tickets for this Saturday's Peaches Christ Extravaganza entitled THE NIGHTMARE WE CALL CHRISTMAS: EDWARD SCISSORHANDS at the Castro Theatre! Yes my friends, the one and only Peaches Christ returns to the majestic Castro to once again bring the Spirit of Christmas to the masses, and boy does she have a night lined up for us!

The night begins at 8pm with a spectacular and Tim Burton Holiday Revue called “The Nightmare We Call Christmas." The show stars all your beloved Tim Burton characters: Beetlejuice, Pee Wee, Violet Beauregard, Ed Wood, and more. Peaches hosts as “Peach Boggs” and is joined by flawed and tragic sidekick “Martiny Scissor-claws” for this seasonal send-up. There's also going to be a Holiday Macabre Costume Contest as well, so make sure you come dressed up in your most Gothic and sexiest festive costume you can find!

All this pre-show goodness leads up to the screening of Tim Burton's film EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, and the late great Vincent Price, who passed away shortly after the completion of the film. Originally released by Twentieth Century Fox on December 9, 1990, this year marks the 22nd anniversary of the film and what better way to see the film that at the Castro Theatre!

So what are you waiting for? Seats are going fast for this show, so don't miss out on all this Peachy fun! An evening of dark holiday magic awaits you and yours. To purchase standard and VIP tickets please visit But hurry, these bad boys are going fast! So don't be left out in the cold! Come get warmed up with Peaches Christ this Saturday night at the Castro Theatre!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Phil attends the midnight screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the Albany Twin Theater-December 8, 2012

So I have been attending Barely Legal's midnight screenings of THE ROCK HORROR PICTURE SHOW for well over a year now. However, I've only attended the screening at the Camera 3 here in Downtown San Jose. They've also been having shows at the Albany Twin Theater in Albany for a while now as well. So while having breakfast with Barely Legal co-founder Bridgid McHavoc at our Post-ROCKY  hangout (the IHOP on First Street in San Jose) last week, she informed be that I had to go to the show in Albany on December 8th for several reasons. The first being was that this was the last show at the Albany Twin for 2012. Second; it was a holiday themed show. And third, Bridgid was playing none other than the infamous Dr. Frank-N-Furter. So I told my good friend Leslie about the show and she invited her whole family to join in! Plus as an added bonus; her oldest daughter Oceanna's birthday was this month. What better way to spend her Bday, right? So we all traveled up to Albany to check out the show!

The Albany Twin Cinema Theater
The Albany Twin Theater was built in the 1970's and it's a really big theater. It had a good size screen and an impressive, real life stage! I mean it was a legit stage, used for performances and shows! It was really cool to see! Now being that we were in the East Bay, there were some differences between this show and the one put on in San Jose. The most obvious was that the crowd was much more louder, livelier, and way more vocal. Plus their commentary and the jokes are just slightly different than San Jose's but it was interesting to hear them.

The night started off with a sexy, Burlesque type number with the luscious ladies of Barely Legal seducing Santa Claus to Eartha Kitt's rendition of "Santa Baby." Yup, I knew that this was going to be fun-filled, holiday show!!

Inside the Albany Twin Theater
Afterwards our emcee Nate McHavoc (aka Riff Raff) whipping the audience into a frenzy! After his introductions he then handed the mic over to Bernie Bregman, a former member of the shadowcast called Sins of the Flesh. He was in charge of humiliating out group of "virgins" which was HUGE!! There must have been over 50 virgins up on the stage! So after he eliminated everyone that was under 18 years-old, he then picked out five girls and boys to participate in what he called, "Bernie's Embarrassing Pre-Show Game." Basically he had all the girls spread their legs like a porno star and he had the guys present their junk through their boxers. This was a riot! Now back in my day, the shadowcast use to embarrass the hell out of the virgins and had them do really fucked up shit, which was done in the good name of fun!! So this was a fun flashback for me.

BL's Bridgid McHavoc after the show
After the games were over, Nate got back up stage to introduce the cast for the show. Again, being in the East Bay, there were a lot more crew members, on both the technical side as well as actors and actresses. So most of the cast were people I have never seen before, and with Bridgid as Frank, it was a totally new show and I loved it! The "new" cast members were awesome, the audience was so into it, and Bridgid was fantastic as Dr. Frank-N-Furter!

As with the Fourth of July, everyone was sporting holiday costumes, which included Santa hats, bells, red and green outfits, X-mas lights, and a certain someone dressed up in a snowman costume! Yes Virgina, there really is a talking snowman!! Also, since it was Oceanna's Bday, she was picked to play Betty Munroe Hapschatt!! Our little girl has grown up into a beautiful bride!!

What an amazing night! This was by far one of my favorite Barely Legal shows ever! And I've seen a year's worth already! So in case you missed out on all this midnight fun, fret not my friends! There is still one more show left and it will be their last show for 2012. The next show will be on Saturday 29th at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose. It will also be a holiday themed show so I know you all want to come check it out now after reading this article! And as a reminder, Barely Legal are looking for new members so if you've ever wanted to be a star, now's your chance! To learn more about Barely Legal, their schedule, and how to become a member, visit their website at Also look for them on Facebook as well! Also visit the Camera Cinemas website at So what are you waiting for? Come out on the 29th and join in on all this ROCKY HORROR fun! You'll be glad you did!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Phil attends the Midnites for Maniacs "NO PAIN, NO GAIN" Triple Feature at the Castro Theatre-December 7, 2012

Hello again from the City by the Bay! That's right I'm back up here in San Francisco to attend the Midnites for Maniacs triple feature at the historic Castro Theatre. Hosted by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, the theme for the show was titled "No Pain, No Gain." The theatre screened three modern day films that showcased this perfectly. Plus all three movies were the original 35mm film prints! As always, Jesse handpicked some awesome trailers to show, but he had a major surprise for us tonight, as he screened several Jean-Claude Van Dam's best movie trailers! So let's waste anymore time! Let the pain begin!!

Theatrical Movie Poster (2000)
The first film of the night was the coming of age, cheerleading teen comedy flick BRING IT ON. The film stars Kirsten Dunst as senior Torrance Shipman, who has just become the captain of her cheerleading squad. With the addition of new transfer student Missy Pantone (the sexy Eliza Dushku), the Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego looks to dominate nationals once again. But soon a problem arises as Torrance discovers that their routines were stolen from the East Compton Clovers by their former captain. The Clovers new captain Isis (the beautiful Gabrielle Union) looks to expose them for the frauds that they are. Soon there's a mad scramble as they must come up with an entirely new and original routine. Things get even more problematic for Torrance as she falls in love with Missy's older brother Cliff (Jesse Bradford) even though she already has a boyfriend named Aaron (Richard Hillman).

I remember seeing this movie in the theaters when it first came out and I thought it was hilarious as well as cutting edge. The film was queer positive, racially progressive, filled with teen angst, and provided a positive message that you cannot fail if you believe in yourself. Now believe it or not, the film spawned five sequels (they were all straight to video releases) and it also became a celebrated Broadway musical in 2011. The film was originally released by Universal Pictures on August 25, 2000. The 35mm film print that was screened came from the fine folks at Universal. Three trailers for the next M4M show was screened before the film: 1992's WAYNE'S WORLD, 2001's FREDDY GOT FINGERED, and 2008's STEP BROTHERS.

Click here to view the film's original trailer.

Original Movie Poster (1988)
Film number two was the classic John Waters' film HAIRSPRAY. The film marked the acting debut of Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad, a 'pleasantly plump' teenager who achieves her dream of becoming a regular on the Corny Collins Dance Show. Now a teen hero, she starts using her fame to speak out for the causes she believes in, most of all integration. In doing so, she earns the wrath of the show's former star, Amber Von Tussle (Colleen Fitzpatrick), as well as Amber's manipulative, pro-segregation parents (Sonny Bono and Debbie Harry). The rivalry comes to a head as Amber and Tracy vie for the title of Miss Auto Show 1963. Aiding Tracy in her cause are her best friend Penny Pingleton (Leslie Ann Powers), her boyfriend Link Larkin (Michael St. Gerard), and her parents (Ben Stiller and the legendary Divine, who passed away shortly after completion of the film).

Like the previous film, I saw this when it first came out and it too was cutting edge. It had a short, chubby teen with big hair who gets the guy at the end, addressed racism and equality, and it was the first John Waters film to receive a PG-13 rating, which at that time was unheard of. The film was released by New Line Cinema on February 26, 1988, earning a modest gross of $8 million. However, it managed to attract a larger audience on home video in the early 1990s and became a cult classic. Then in 2002, the film was adapted into a Broadway musical of the same name, which won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 2003. A second film version of HAIRSPRAY, an adaptation of the stage musical, was also released by New Line Cinema in 2007. John Waters makes a cameo appearance in that film as, what else, a flasher. Several later John Waters trailers were screened before the movie: 2004's A DIRTY SHAME, 1998's PECKER, and 1990's CRY-BABY.

Click here to view the film's original trailer.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1989)
The last film of the night was KICKBOXER, starring the great martial arts actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. In the film Van Damme is Kurt Sloane, brother of Eric (Dennis Alexio), the top kickboxer in the United States. Tiring of the generic competition of his native soil, he travels with his brother to Bangkok, where he hopes to dethrone the current champ Tong Po (Michel Qissi), who has a reputation for fighting dirty.  Eric takes quite a beating in the ring but a series of illegal blows cripples him for life. Vowing revenge, Kurt trains for the fight of his life with the help of Xian (Dennis Chan), a kickboxing trainer who lives in a remote area of Thailand.

Probably the most famous of Van Damme's early work, it has some awesome kick ass fight scenes, plus some interesting moments showing the difficulty of training and trying to achieve your best while not losing your focus. Even though it suffers from some cheesy acting, dialogue, music, and a highly disturbing dance scene that must be seen to believe, it still holds up after all these years. The film was originally released to theaters on September 8, 1989. Before the film, Jesse screened seventeen, count 'em, SEVENTEEN Jean-Claude Van Damme trailers, ranging from 2012's THE EXPENDABLES 2, 2008's JCVD, 1994's STREET FIGHTER, and 1992's UNIVERSAL SOLIDER. Yes folks it was indeed a sight to see!!

And another Midnites for Maniacs show has come and gone! The next show will be on January 11, 2013 so mark this date on your calender 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 To view upcoming shows at the Castro Theatre, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Phil sees LINCOLN at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-December 2, 2012

Just in case you didn't know, our 16th President Abraham Lincoln has appeared in the movies since the silent film era. Great directors such as D. W. Griffith and John Ford have told the story of this great leader. Earlier this year audiences were "treated" to a secret, alternative biography of Lincoln in the form of ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER. Now acclaimed director Steven Spielberg and Academy Award winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis bring to the screen one of the greatest presidents in America's history and one of the most important events in history that changed our country for the better. The film LINCOLN is a great American movie!

The film's synopsis is as follows: In 1865, as the American Civil War winds inexorably toward conclusion, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln endeavors to achieve passage of the landmark constitutional amendment which will forever ban slavery from the United States. However, his task is a race against time, for peace may come at any time, and if it comes before the amendment is passed, the returning southern states will stop it before it can become law. Lincoln must, by almost any means possible, obtain enough votes from a recalcitrant Congress before peace arrives and it is too late. Yet the president is torn, as an early peace would save thousands of lives. As the nation confronts its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, Lincoln faces his own crisis of conscience -- end slavery or end the war.

Spielberg jettisons the traditional biopic; meaning the whole life of out 16th president is forgone, instead the film focuses on one specific part of Lincoln's life. He also jettisons his usual style of directing for a more simplistic and personal storytelling: using just simple set ups and little pans of the camera here and there he effectively creates a  way of telling the story of Lincoln's struggle to get his Thirteenth Amendment passed by Congress to free the slaves of America. Spielberg puts the camera in front of his cast and lets them do what they do best, which captures some of the greatest acting ever captured.

Daniel Day-Lewis embodies Lincoln like no other actor has done before. Wise, compassionate, at times very humorous, and also determined to end slavery in America. When you watch the film, you don't even see Day-Lewis at all, there in only Abraham Lincoln. Let's face it, the man actually and physically looks like Lincoln. The resemblance is truly uncanny! His performance is worthy of an Oscar nomination all the way!

Also giving stellar performances is Sally Field, who bounces back from her poorly miscast role as Aunt May in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN film. Here she portrays the first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, who is also tough and compassionate and has a little spitfire to her personality. The great Tommy Lee Jones portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens is sure to nab him a Best Supporting Actor nomination for next year's Oscars. Also appearing in the movie are James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (making this his third film this year that he has appeared in), Jackie Earle Haley, John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, Jeremy Strong, David Warshofsky and Jared Harris.

Since this is a historical drama, there are no big actions scenes. We get to see some of the Civil War, but the real fighting takes place in Congress, where we witness first hand that some things never change. We watch in horror the bickering and idiocy that the Congressmen demonstrate. This fight for equality and acceptance mirrors the topics of today, mainly the fight for gay rights and gay marriage. Sometimes I wonder if we as a nation and as a race will ever learn from the mistakes made in history.

LINCOLN get my nomination for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Director for 2012!! This is a great American film telling one of the greatest presidents in American history. Go see this film today!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly

LINCOLN is currently playing at select theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Phil sees SKYFALL at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-December 1, 2012

Now when I was younger, I was a big fan of the James Bond films starring Roger Moore and Sean Connery. Then I got more into watching horror films and so Mr. 007 fell by the wayside. Several years later a dashing and intense actor by the named Daniel Craig became the new James Bond and my curiosity peaked again. After CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE, we come to the next chapter of the James Bond franchise: the very personal and transcending SKYFALL.

In this chapter, Bond becomes more fleshed out, more three-dimensional, more human.  After being accidentally shot in the line of duty and pronounced dead, he enjoys his "retirement" for several months before returning to London to investigate that attack on his former employer M16 (British Intelligence) by former operative Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). He has a personal vendetta with M16 head M (Judi Dench), which puts Bond's loyalty to her to the test as he must protect her from her past.

Here we learn what makes Bond tick: his origin, where we was raised, and how human he is. For years we, the movie-going audience, have been shown Agent 007 as a larger than life, action adventure, super spy. With SKYFALL, we are finally treated to the revelation of Bond as a man; a man who is broken, older, but still a force to be reckoned with. Craig once again proves that he has the acting chops to play Bond, as well as the physical prowess. Plus he gets to bring more depth to the character with this installment; he comes to grip with his mortality, and learns that sometimes you have to come home to remember your roots. Kane had his Rosebud, Bond has Skyfall.

What pushes the film is the awesome casting of Javier Bardem as out main villain: flamboyant, vindictive, with a pinch of psychotic for good measure. His portrayal of Silva is fanatic and he is one of the best Bond villains in the franchise's history! Of course Judi Dench once again brings class to her role as M. Another stellar performance by Dench!

The film was directed by Sam Mendes, who has made some eclectic films like AMERICAN BEAUTY, JARHEAD, and AWAY WE GO (a personal favorite of mine). Mendes proves that he can both direct small, intimate films and hi-octave roller coaster blockbusters. He keeps the film moving forward and a great pace and shows off his ability to showcase big-time action sequences. 

Overall SKYFALL is a worth entry to the Bond series and is the perfect winter blockbuster! At 50 years old, it looks like there's no slowing down for our favorite spy. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars! Highly Recommended!!

SKYFALL is currently playing at select theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Phil sees ARGO at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-December 1, 2012

After a long and rough November at my regular job, I finally got around to seeing movies once again! So I headed back down to the Camera 7 in the Pruneyard Campbell to see a couple of films. The first film I saw was the new film ARGO directed by Ben Affleck.

On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. In the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, the Canadian and American governments ask the CIA to intervene. The CIA turns to their top “exfiltration” specialist, Tony Mendez (Affleck), who devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer.

Also appearing in the film are Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Tate Donovan, Nelson Franklin, Victor Garber, Taylor Schilling, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, Clea DuVall, and  Kerry Bishé.

Based on true events, Ben Affleck demonstrates that he is a better director than he his an actor. He tells this story uniquely with his own cinematic art and style. The events that transpire are part of history, and we know what happens. But the way Affleck creates tension in the film, especially towards the end, this viewer found himself at the edge of his seat, wondering what's going to happen. With this film, we see Affleck's true calling: a fantastic a gifted director. While his previous films GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN only showed a glimpse of his talents, ARGO announces the arrival of a major Hollywood director.

The film's A-list cast does a fantastic job of bringing these real life characters to the big screen. The biggest treat in this film are brilliant and a lot of time funny performances from John Goodman and Alan Arkin. These guys really bring all the Hollywood aspect to the film to life while delivering Oscar worthy performances that will hopefully be recognized. Also make sure you stay in the theater to watch the credits. You'll see some real photographs and clips that mirror Affleck's film and actors.

Besides evoking the late seventies' dorky fashions of ubiquitous mustaches, long hair, and large glasses, Argo recreates the volatile environment of world affairs when relief from Vietnam did not mean relief from rogue governments like Iran's, as the condemnation of Salman Rushdie has taught well. Every Iranian bureaucrat and soldier carries a hidden threat in beards and bearing. The end of the film involving the airport check points will no doubt remind us the world we live in now post 9/11.

Containing brilliant directing, acting, story and some fun sci-fi references throughout, ARGO is one of the best films of 2012. Look for this film to be nominated for several Oscars next year! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

ARGO is currently playing at select theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!