Saturday, March 2, 2013

Phil attends CINEQUEST 23: Day Four-March 1, 2013

Hello my faithful readers and welcome to Day Four of the Cinequest Film Festival! Now today I saw three films, including a midnight screening of mindbending shorts. Now originally, my plan was to see four films today, but I ended up working late so I missed my screening. However, I made my way over to Cafe Stritch on South First Street, the official hangout for Cinequesters like myself. I visited the Cinequest Souvenir Stand where I bought three cool T-shirts and seven neato pins! Then I sat down and had a big 'ol plate of chicken and waffles! It was absolutely delicious!! After having dinner, it was movie time!

I made my way across the street to the California Theatre to attend the world premiere of SPARKS. The film was written and directed by Christopher Folino, who based the film on his own cult comic book. Set in the comic world of the 1940's, this cool superhero/film noir thriller is about a man named Ian Sparks (Chase Williamson from JOHN DIES AT THE END), who has no superpowers but becomes the costumed superhero Sparks after losing his parents in a horrible car accident. Upon arriving to the big city, he meets other superheroes and soon falls in love with female superhero Lady Heavenly (Ashley Bell from THE LAST EXORCISM). But after the duo meet with the villainous Matanza (William Katt from CARRIE), the results are so traumatizing that it sends Ian Sparks on the deep end, living a life of regret and self destruction. Can he rise up once again and save his beloved Lady Heavenly from the hands of the dreaded Matanza? Also making appearences in the film are Clancy Brown, Jake Busey, Marina Squerciati, and the legendary Clint Howard!!

This was such a fantastic film that it literally blew my mind! The film had everything going for it: an amazing cast, awesome special effects, great story with nice twist and turns, tragedy and redemption. The plight that Ian Sparks had to suffer was so tragic that you had to feel sympathetic, which makes you root for him as he picks himself back up to once again become the hero that he is. Chase Williamson was great as Sparks. Ashley Bell was superb as our Lady Heavenly, bringing strength, class, and vulnerability to her role. William Katt as the evil Matanza was just that: evil! Katt gets my vote for the most evilest villain in a comic book based film! After the screening, the entire cast and crew came up onto the stage while the audience stood up and cheered! This is so far one of my favorite films at Cinequest! You need to see this film people! The movie will be screened again on Saturday, March 2nd at 2pm and again on Tuesday, March 5th at 4:45pm. Also visit the film's official website at Also follow the film on Facebook and Twitter.

The second film I saw was the romantic comedy TWENTY MILLION PEOPLE, which was having its own world premiere at the festival! In here, writer/director Michael Ferrell portrays Brian, a cynical twenty-something who believes that all relationships are doomed from the start, especially watching a screening of the cheesy, romantic comedy film "Future Perfect." However, he gets thrown for a loop when he meets the adorable and equally cynical Ashley (Devin Sanchez). Their one night stand turns in a series of casual sex, with them hanging out all the time. Soon Brian falls in love with her, but states repeatedly that this is just casual sex. After Ashley disappears without any reason, Brian is hurt and begins to miss her deeply. With the help from his best friend Edward (Chris Pine) and the imaginary characters from the "Future Perfect" film, he sets out to find her and tell her how he really feels.

This is a romantic comedy that is real: it's set in the real world, features real people, deals with real heartbreak, and real love that only comes once in a lifetime. Both Ferrell and Sanchez have great on-screen chemistry which gives the film that essence of relatability and believability. It's not overly cheesy or sappy at any point in the film. It's real, flawed characters who all have a had time expressing how they feel to one another. Who can't relate to that? I sure did, and I feel in love with the film! My other favorite film at this year's festival! After the screening, Michael, Devin, and Chris participated in a fun and informative Q&A session. The film will be screened again on Sunday, March 3rd at 9:30pm and again on Friday, March 8th at 12pm. Also visit the film's official website at and check out the film's Facebook page as well.

Next up I attended the SHORTS PROGRAM 5: MINDBENDERS. And boy these were mindbenders to the max! During this program I saw seven very different short films: 

ANAMNESIS: When Adam wakes up in a childhood memory, he figures he must be dreaming. But as his girlfriend leads him deeper into his subconscious, he begins to realize the truth.
DOKTOR FANG: Brilliant Scientist Fang overhears Freud and Jung arguing about the nature of dreams: Freud thinks one thing, Jung another. When Fang suggests a third possibility they beat him up and steal his wallet. Than night Fang creates a machine to prove his theory, but returns from the patent office to discover his assistant murdered, the machine gone, and two assassins trying to kill him.
MALODY: Set inside a roadside diner, a sick woman meets herself as a little girl in the reflection of a mirror. The diner 'set' is built within a large wooden wheel and is literally rolled through a studio. As the world turns upside down, the changing gravitational pull creates chaos and sets off a fateful chain of events.
THE WOUND: A woman is recovering from abdominal surgery. However she soon discover that her wound is alive.....and hungry for human flesh. My favorite short in this program!
MIMIc: Tim Collins seeks shelter from the massive rain storm in an abandoned motel and just when things couldn't get worse, he discovers an old, black & white television that sees 15 seconds into the future, which contains horrifying results.
THE HINDSIGHT BIAS: Set in the future, billionaire Morgan Nash spends his days tending to his dying wife Amy. An eccentric scientist builds a machine that sends Nash back in time, regaining his youth but keeping all memories so he can relive his life with Amy again. However, to make this work, Nash needs to murder his other self.

Another night of movie magic here at Cinequest! Remember the festival will be running till March 10th so there's plenty of time for you to join in on the fun here in San Jose! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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