Monday, September 30, 2013

Phil attends a HORROR TRIPLE FEATURE at the Castro Theatre-September 30, 2013

What a beautiful Saturday morning up in San Francisco. It's the perfect weather to......stay inside the historic Castro Theatre and see classic horror movies!! Yup, this is my definition of the "Perfect Saturday." So the theatre was showing two classics: HOUSE OF WAX and THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, both in eye popping 3D! And as an added bonus, they were going to show a local documentary about the legendary KTVU Channel 2 television show Creature Features! And hosting this night of horror was none other than the host of Creature Features John Stanley!

Around noon John came out and greeted the audience and told them they were for a real treat The theatre screened local filmmaker Tom Wynch's  2008 documentary WATCH HORROR FILMS, KEEP AMERICA STRONG: A JOURNEY INTO CREATURE FEATURES. The documentary chronicles the history one of the greatest local television shows of all time: Creature Features. The show ran from 1971 to 1984 and was Channel KTVU Channel 2's (located in Oakland, California) most popular programs. The show's original host was the late, great Bob Wilkins, who didn't look like your typical horror film host. While most were dressed up like vampires and ghouls and whatnot, Bob was dressed in a suit, wore thick black framed glasses, smoked cigars while sitting in a bright yellow rocking chair. Yup, he certainly looked different! All the while he was attracting fans every week. He hosted the show from 1971 till 1979 when he passed the torch to his good friend John Stanley, who had been appearing on the show since almost the beginning. John hosted the show from 1979 till 1984.

The film contains some really excellent interviews with both Bob and John, as well as with the show's producer Bob Shaw, Bob Wilkin's wife Sally and their son, and local filmmaker Ernie Fosselius, the creator of the hilarious STAR WARS spoof entitled HARDWARE WARS. Combining archival interview footage, new interviews, clips from the show, and behind the scenes footage, the film really captures the magic of the show. I grew up watching this and seeing this extraordinary film, it made feel like a was a kid again. 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended for all Creature Feature fans out there!! You can purchase a copy of the DVD at

Now the other two films screened I had already seen. Now in case you missed it, I saw both HOUSE OF WAX 3D and CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON 3D at the World 3D Expo III at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood earlier this month. So I why did I see these films again? Are you kidding me?!? Really?!? Seriously?!? Remember who you are talking to here! I am a serious horror fanatic! I love watching horror movies! And since I was given the opportunity to see these two legendary films again, but this time see them on the HUGE Castro screen, I was not going to pass this up!! And yes, the films looked AWESOME in 3D on the Castro screen!! Yup, this was the perfect way to spend my Saturday!! Both films are available on Blu-ray 3D and can be purchased at your local retailer or on the Amazon website.

And there you have it! A great day of watching two of the greatest horror films of all time! There's a ton of cool films being shown here at the Castro Theatre, so if one day you find yourself in the city by the bay and you're looking for something fun to do, definitely come here and see a movie! It will change your life forever! To view the Castro Theater's film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the Comedy Shorts Night at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-September 21, 2013

You know, it's been way too long since I visited my friends over at the Edison Theatre, home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. So this past Saturday night, I ventured back out to Downtown Niles to attend their monthly Silent Comedy Night. Joining me on this fun-filled adventure was my good friend Amanda and out best friend's daughter Katie. After having dinner over at Broncho Billy's Pizza Palace, it was off to the movies!

THE IMMIGRANT (1917): Charlie Chaplin stars in this short as an immigrant on a very rocky ship that's sailing for America. He meets a beautiful girl on the boat ride, Edna Purviance. They part ways but meet up again at a eatery with Eddie Campbell as the waiter/bouncer who serves them. And poor Charlie is broke!

This was one of films Chaplin made for the Mutual Film Company, which he signed with in early 1916 after leaving the Essanay Film Manufacturing Film Company. Mutual offered Chaplin a $150,000 signing bonus and his own production company called Lone Star Corporation. This is one of my favorite shorts from the Chaplin/Mutual era. The film was released on June 17, 1917.

NEIGHBORS (1920): Buster Keaton and Virginia Fox play young lovers who live next door to each other, but their fathers despise each other with a passion. With only a wooden fence separating the families, Buster uses it as a prop to perform some hilarious slapstick comedy. But will true love triumph over adversity?

The film was directed by Keaton and his long-time collaborator Edward F. Cline, and was produced by Joseph M. Schenck. Schenck would go on to produce some of Keaton's most beloved classics such as STEAMBOAT BILL JR. and THE GENERAL. NEIGHBORS was released on December 22, 1920.

After a brief intermission, the show continued with...

GET OUT AND GET UNDER (1920): Harold Lloyd accidentally oversleeps and wakes up late for the big amateur play that is happening that afternoon. He takes his brand new car to get their but unfortunately there's a lot of obstacles in his path: his angry neighbor whose plants that Harold ran over, his car keeps stalling and chases it up and down hills, and there's a lot of cops chasing after him. His tardiness compels his girlfriend/leading lady (his future wife Mildred Davis) to replace him in his role with his rival (Fred McPherson), so Harold must get to the theater fast!

The film was directed by the King of Comedy Hal Roach. Roach is a legend who has launched many comedians such as Charley Chase, Our Gang series aka The Little Rascals, and Laurel and Hardy. The film was released to theaters on September 26, 1920.

LIBERTY (1929): Yup, the boys are in the house! Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy portray escaped convicts.While trying to get dressed in the regular clothes in the back of their escape car, they realized that they are wearing each others pants. So they spent the entire movie trying to get their pants off, which leads them to the top of a skyscraper that is under construction! Uh-oh!!

To achieve the amazing looks of the boys dangling from the top of a skyscraper, the crew went to the top of a building and built a fake skyscraper about 10-15ft off the ground. And shot in perspective, it created the illusion of height. Harold Lloyd used this same trick in his 1923 silent movie masterpiece SAFETY LAST. The film was released on January 26, 1929.

What a great night for silent comedies! Remember 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, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil hosts the Camera Cinema's Cult Movie Screening of RESEVOIR DOGS at the Camera 3 Downtown San Jose-September 19, 2013

Hello again everybody and welcome to Month Nine of the 2013 Cult Movie series at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose! Now for those of you who are late to the game, let me explain this cool series. In 2011 the Camera Cinemas started up the Cult Movie series (which for years had been called the Midnight Movie series). They would show one cult film twice a month (Thursday nights at 9:30 and Saturday nights at midnight) from February through November. This past Thursday night we screened Quentin Tarantino's 1992 cult film RESERVOIR DOGS. Once again yours truly was back as the host for tonight's screening. Prizes were donated by Streetlight Records and by Time Tunnel Toys, both located here in San Jose. There were also yummy donuts to eat, courtesy of Psycho Donuts located in the lobby.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1992)
This was the film that put Quentin Tarantino. It not only changed the landscape of the film world, it completely changed the independent film world. It also totally flipped the way we see independent films. Before they were art-house type films, but after the film was released, it changed our perspective and the idea. Here was a film that was cool, slick, filled with fowl language, violence, gore, something that we hadn't seen before.

The film also put both Miramax and the Sundance Film Festival on the map in the film world. Sundance became the festival to get your film into. Miramax (then owned by founding brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein) became the biggest of the independent film distributors and they really gave the Hollywood studios a run for their money. The Weinsteins became notorious at future Sundance festivals, spending outrageous amounts of money in order to outbid the majors for film that they thought would win them awards. Their plan worked and soon their films were winning Oscars left and right. 

Some of the now cliches we see in Hollywood films, like the slow motion walk, rapid fire delivery of dialogue, excess of violence, all that came from this film. Soon everybody was trying to duplicate the film's success, but they never could for this one simple reason: there is only one Quentin Tarantino. The film was released to theaters on October 23, 1992.

RESERVOIR DOGS is considered one of the greatest modern independent films ever made! It's funny how much the world of filmmaking has changed since the film has made What we see now can be traced back to this iconic piece of cinema! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly Recommended!!

RESERVOIR DOGS is now available on both Blu-ray and DVD. To purchase a copy, visit your local retailer or go online and visit the Amazon website.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees DEAD BEFORE DAWN 3D at the Camera 12 Downtown San Jose-September 15, 2013

After seeing INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 over at the Camera 12 in downtown San Jose, I saw they were also showing the indie horror comedy DEAD BEFORE DAWN 3D! And since I just saw some awesome 3D films down in LA last week, I was more than excited to keep my horror and 3D movies theme going!

The film's about a shy college student named Casper Galloway (Devon Bostick) who watches his grandfather's (Christopher Lloyd) occult shop while he's away. But when a group of Casper's friends accidentally break an ancient urne, they unleash a horrible zombie-demon ("zemon") curse and everyone who makes eye contact with them kills themselves. Then they come back as a zemon, hellbent on killing Casper and his friends by giving them hickeys. To add even more pressure and stress, they must break the curse before sunrise or else all the people in their small town will stay as zemons.

The movie was shot in 20 days in and around the Niagara Falls area of Canada in 3D. It was made by the dynamic duo of director/producer by April Mullen and writer/producer by Tim Doiron. The pair have gained a lot of notoriety due to the fact that 1) It was Canada's first live-action 3D feature film. 2) That it was also the first 3D film made outside of the studio system. 3) Mullen became the youngest and the very first female to direct a stereoscopic 3D film. So lookout Hollywood cause Canada is creeping up behind you!

Bostick is most famous for his role as Rodrick Heffley from the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID Trilogy. He's also appeared other films such as SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, SAW IV & VI, and THE ART OF THE STEAL. Martha MacIsaac, who plays Bostick's love interest, as been in such films as SUPERBAD, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake, and THE THAW. Of course, Mr. Christopher Lloyd needs no introduction. The man's a legend!

I found the film to be really funny and entertaining; never taking itself too seriously. It contains the perfect blend of big laughs and big scares. The entire cast does a great job of bringing their respected characters to life and the directing and production values are amazing given the film's low budget. But this proves that the independent world can produce some interesting films that can rival those coming out of Hollywood.

DEAD BEFORE DAWN 3D is a hilarious, gore-soaked fun-filled ride full of laughs and bloodshed! If you're a tweener and are sick and tired of all the TWILIGHT ripoff crap that's been plaguing your local theater, give this film a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised on how awesome the film is! 4 out of 5 stars! Recommended this Halloween season!

DEAD BEFORE DAWN 3D is still playing in select theaters, and it was just released on DVD. To purchase a copy, visit your local retailer or visit the Amazon website.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the joy!

Phil sees INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 at the Camera 12 Downtown San Jose-September 15, 2013

After my awesome trip to Hollywood, I was ready to head back to my favorite theater chain: The Camera Cinemas! And what luck, they were showing the new horror film INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2, the second installment of the series directed by James Wan. So I went to the Camera 12 in downtown San Jose to see this fright flick!

The film's official synopsis: The haunted family Lambert have moved into the home of dad Josh's (Patrick Wilson) mother Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey), after he plunged into the eerie netherworld The Further to pluck back his son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) from the clutches of the infernal Mother Crane. But wife Renai (Rose Byrne) believes that her husband did come back and thinks something else has possessed Josh. Now they seek to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.

James Wan has done his homework, lifting the good ol' thrills and chills from classic horror films from the past, specifically from Universal and Hammer. The movie continues to showcase his ability to really creep the audience out with simple things such as eerie sounds, long pauses of silence, and scares that will get under your skin. Much like the first film and as with THE CONJURING, Wan proves that he has what it takes to scare the hell outta you.

Once again the entire cast turned in terrific performances, leading with Patrick Wilson, who makes his third appearance in James's films. The man is to James Wan as Robert De Niro was to Martin Scorsese. Just a solid actor who really goes the extra length to pull some great scares as well as show sympathy. Rose Byrne continues to show that strong and intelligent women in horror films are still alive and well. Also returning is the beloved Lin Shaye as the medium Elise Rainier. And as another fun treat, the film's co-writer Leigh Whannell returns as the character Specs.

Words cannot begin to describe just how creepy and scary the film is. However, I think THE CONJURING was a bit more scarier, mostly I think was because that film was based on a real couple and incident. But this shouldn't discourage you into not seeing the film. Unlike most horror sequels, the script is solid, the acting is fantastic, and the production value is top notch!

Overall, INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 is a worthy entry of the franchise, and sure to satisfy all you fans of the first installment! Plus, horror hounds will also appreciate the film as it proves that you don't need excessive blood and gore to get the audience terrified. All you need are some bumps in the night. 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil attends the World 3D Film Expo III: JAWS 3D-Spetember 7, 2013

So as Mo and I were getting ready to leave after seeing the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, we ran into our old friend Pat Jankiewicz, writer for the horror magazine Fangoria. He's also a published author; his two books "Just When You Thought It Was Safe: A JAWS Companion" and the recently released "You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: A Hulk Companion" are available online to order. He was there along with his good friend Heather from I-Con Entertainment to see the next screening at the World 3D Expo, which just happened to be the 1983 cult classic JAWS 3D! So Mo and I decided to head back into the theater and see the gem of a film!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1983)
Set at SeaWorld in Florida, the film follows Michael Brody (Dennis Quaid) and Sean Brody(John Putch), the sons of former Amity police chief Martin Brody (the late Roy Scheider) from the first two films. The brothers, along with Michael's girlfriend and dolphin trainer Kathryn Morgan (Bess Armstrong), must save the park from a killer 42ft mother shark that's on a rampage since her baby died there. Oh and Louis Gossett Jr. is in this film for some reason. Why, I don't know.

I saw this film when it first came out and I thought it was bad back then! Now seeing it 30 years later, it's still pretty damn bad, but now it's so bad it's good! The camp factor is way off the charts, the acting is really not that great, and of course, the shark still looks fake. But when you take all of these ingredients together and put it in a 3D blender, you've got yourself all the makings of a cult classic!

The only really redeeming factor in the film is that it has Lea Thompson in it and she looks hot! Damn hot! There's a scene where she and Sean go down by the shore and she gets naked and goes skinny dipping! Yup, 30 years later and that is still damn hot! Now this was her big screen debut! She would appear in other 80s classics like ALL THE RIGHT MOVES, RED DAWN, SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL, HOWARD THE DUCK, and of course, the BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy.

The film was originally released by Universal Pictures on July 22, 1983. The film's budget was $18 million (which was pretty pricey back then) but it took in a staggering $42.2 million dollars! That's right, people actually went and saw this flick on purpose! Eventually the film was released on VHS, and then DVD. However, it has yet been released in its original 3D glory.

JAWS 3D is a perfect example of cult classic! If you are ever brave enough to see this piece of crap, I can guarantee that you're in for one hell of a treat! 4 out of 5 stars! Watch if you're brave enough!

JAWS 3D is available only on DVD in the standard 2D formant. To purchase a copy, visit your local retailer or visit the Amazon website.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil attends the World 3D Film Expo III: THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON in 3D-September 7, 2013

Well hello there my fellow cinemaniacs and welcome to Day Two of my trip to the World 3D Film Expo III. Once again Mo and I went to the legendary Grauman's Egyptian Theatre to see another 3D film. This time we saw the classic Universal Monsters horror film THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON!! And in attendance at the screening was the film's star Julie Adams!! Oh yeah, I was excited!!

A small group of scientists go on an expedition down the Amazon River in search of a prehistoric creature that is half man and half fish.Upon arriving at the infamous Black Lagoon, they not only discover that the creature actually exists, but it also has his fishy eyes on female scientist Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams). Soon guns are being fired and the creature is captures Kay, but can her nerdy but good looking, scientist boyfriend Davis Reed (Richard Carlson) save her and stop the Creature from the Black Lagoon?

This was the last film of the famed Universal Classic Monsters. The film made such a splash at the boxoffice (pun intended) that it spawned two sequels. Of course, having the film made in 3D also helped push tickets, but it's one of the best classic horror films to come out of the paranoia 1950s.

Also having Julie Adams in that sexy white one-piece swimming around in the lagoon in 3D probably helped drive more tickets. At the screening that Mo and I were at, fans were whistling and making noise when Mrs. Adams took off  her robe and dived into the lagoon. While she had a double do all those cool underwater moves, the vision of seeing Julie in her one-piece probably made many pre-pubescent boys very, very happy. It sure did for me when I was a young lad!

The film was released to theaters on March 5, 1954 ans was a huge success. Over the years the film has been released on both VHS and DVD, but, at last, in 2012, the film was released in all its glorious 3D as part of the magnificent Universal Classic Monsters Blu-ray boxset!

After the screening, Julie Adams participated in a fun and informative Q&A session. Afterwards, she was signing copies of her autobiography "The Lucky Southern Star: Reflections from the Black Lagoon." Yours truly got a copy of her book signed as well as a HUGE reproduction of the film's poster! Yup, I LOVE Hollywood!!

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON is a true horror film classic that is still beloved by fans from all around the world! It has been quoted written, and referenced all throughout pop culture! Almost 60 years after its release, there is no slowing down for this famous Gil-man!! So for all of you out there who have young kids that love horror films, get them turned on to this and watch them get scared and excited!! 5 out of 5 stars!! True Horror Classic!!

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON is now available on both DVD and 3D Blu-ray. To purchase a copy, visit your local retailer or visit the Amazon website.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil attends the World 3D Film Expo III: THE HOUSE OF WAX 3D-September 6, 2013

Boy, did I luck out or what?!? While I was attending the Cinecon 49 Film Festival at the historic Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, I found out that starting on Friday, September 6th, the theatre would be hosting the World 3D Film Expo III!! How cool is that?!? Yup, you gotta love Hollywood! The festival runs for about two weeks and shows classic and cult 3D films! Back in the 1950s, that new fanged contraption called television was keeping people home and they weren't going out to the movies. One way to lure them back was the 3D craze. This festival celebrates this short lived fad and recreates that excitement of going to the movies and seeing a film in 3D! So of course Mo and I walked on over to the theatre on opening day to see the 1953 horror classic HOUSE OF WAX starring the iconic Vincent Price!

Set in 1890's New York, the film has Mr. Price portray Professor Henry Jarrod, a master wax sculptor whose amazing wax exhibit is unfortunately burned to the ground by his business partner, Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts), along with the professor! However, Jarrod does survive the fire, and 18 months later he opens a new wax exhibit catering to the macabre and showcasing both historical crimes and recent ones. Determined to recreate his Marie Antoinette masterpiece that was destroyed in the fire, Jarrod finds his inspiration in the form of the lovely Sue Allen (Phyllis Kirk), an friend of his new assistant Scott Andrews (Paul Picerni). Coincidentally at the same time of Jarrod's new House of Wax is opened, a series of deaths occur. First Burke is murdered and then Sue's friend Cathy Gray (Carolyn Jones) is found dead. And in Jarrod's exhibit, Sue notices that his Joan of Arc sculpture looks a lot like Cathy. Unfortunately, Jarrod and his deaf-mute sculptor Igor (Charles Bronson) have plans for Sue, and it ain't pretty!

Director André De Toth did a great job of really hyping the 3D gimmick by treating it like a gimmick, therefore setting up his shots to compliment the 3D effects which were used to perfection! A perfect example of this the "paddle ball" scene where a man standing outside the House of Wax is playing with a paddle ball and he has the ball come out to the audience! The effects worked today just as it did back in 1953!

Besides Mr. Price, the film boasts some new actors that would go on to become famous superstars. The obvious is Charles Bronson, who would be a huge star in the 1980's appearing in the DEATH WISH series. Though she's unrecognizable because of her blonde hair, Carolyn Jones would swap it for straight jet black when she took on the role of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family television show. She also appeared in the 1956 sci-fi classic INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

The film was remade by Warner Brothers in 2005. The plot of that film had nothing to do with this film. It was part of the endless wave of horror remakes that Hollywood keeps pumping out. And it's very good at all. Well, seeing Paris Hilton killed in that film was pretty cool. But I digress.

The film was originally released Warner Bros. Pictures on April 25, 1953. When it was sold to television, it was shown in 2D. Soon, it was released on VHS and DVD, but still only in 2D. Finally, it was announced that the film would be released on Blu-ray in 3D on October 1, 2013, just in time to celebrate its 60th anniversary!

The HOUSE OF WAX 3D is a true horror classic and one of Vincent Price's most popular titles! In this day of age where the gorier the better, it's awesome to see this film once again prove that they did it better back then! One of my all-time horror favorites! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

The HOUSE OF WAX 3D is now available on 3D Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. To purchase a copy, visit your local retailer or visit to buy one today!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil sees PLANES 3D at the El Capitan Theater-September 4, 2013

It's been two years since I visited the El Capitan Theatre located in the heart of Hollywood. The last film I saw there was BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D. So while hanging out and walking around in Hollywood, my good friend and filmmaker Mo Whelan, her best friend Julia Lee decided to see the new Disney film PLANES 3D that was playing there.

Before the feature, they screened a new Disney short film entitled GET A HORSE and it's a hybrid short: it's a black and white/color 3D hand drawn and computer animated film. It also features old archival voice recordings of Walt Disney portraying his famous creation from. The film has the whole gang back together as Mickey, Horace Horsecollar, and Clarabelle Cow have an ol' fashioned musical wagon ride while going to pick up Minnie. However things go bad when Peg-Leg Pete spoils their fun and tries to run them off the road. This is when the cool 3D computer animation kicks in and it's really amazing. The short was directed by Lauren MacMullan who, believe it or not, is the first woman director to solo direct an animated Disney film! Crazy, right? To get the cool retro 1928 look, the animators used ageing and blur filters to achieve this effect. The short was really a preview for us because it's going to be released with their  film FROZEN coming out this November 27th, so keep your eyes peeled for it!

Set up as a spinoff in the same world as their CARS franchise, PLANES 3D is about a young cropdusting plane named Dusty (Dane Cook) who fantasizes about being a racer and competing in the famous Wings Across the World race. The problem: he has a severe fear of heights. But thanks to the coaching and training from his old friend Skipper (Stacy Keach), Dusty sets off to chase after his dream. But standing in his way is the treacherous and conniving 3-time winner plane Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith) who plans to destroy Dusty's long time dream!

While the film looks like a Pixar film, it isn't, but it was co-written and executive produced by its creative officer John Lasseter. The film was directed by Klay Hall, who has many years of directing many television episodes of classic animated shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and King of the Hill.

I found the movie thoroughly funny, entertaining, heart warming, action packed, and contains a really strong and positive message that will no doubt inspire kids. Despite your shortcomings, never stop believing in yourself. You can achieve all your dreams by always believing in yourself. By doing that, you can inspire others all around you. I think that's a pretty good message to have for kids.

Oh, and the 3D effects were just awesome! This film deserves to be seen in 3D because it contains some very cool flying scenes that literally leap off the screen and right in your face! It's super cool!

In the end PLANES 3D has all the making of becoming another modern Disney classic! It's super fun for the whole family, so make sure you see this on the big screen! And don't forget to bring your flying goggles! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

PLANES 3D is now playing at theaters nationwide, including at the El Capitan Theatre. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil sees KICK ASS 2 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters-September 3, 2013

Since I was in Hollywood for the week, I decided to visit some of the more famous movie theaters. After all, what the hell else I'm gonna do, right? So, I walked on over to the newly re-named TCL Chinese 6 Theaters (formerly known as the Mann Chinese 6 Theaters) to see KICK ASS 2, the newest chapter in the franchise.

Dave Lizewski and Mindy Macready (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz respectively) are back as Kick Ass and Hit Girl, partners in keeping their fare city safe from crime. But when Mindy's new adopted father Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut) forbids her to ever become Hit Girl again, Dave is forced to carry on his crime fighting duties alone, However, he's soon asked to join a brand new superhero team lead by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). At the exact same time, Dave's old nemesis Chris D'Amico aka The Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) returns as the newly renamed super villain: The Mother F*cker, and he's also put together a super villain team. It all leads to an all out war, but will Hit Girl return to join in on the fight?

The tone of the film is a lot darker than the previous installment. Sure there are still laughs found within the frames, but the overall tone is a lot darker. It almost feels like it leads towards recent superhero films like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and this summer's mega hit MAN OF STEEL. Which in a lot ways is a good thing. The last thing you don't want to do is to just repeat the same damn thing over and over and over again, which is what a lot of Hollywood films are doing. Prime example is THE HANGOVER series. The sequels were just filled with rehash jokes from the first film. With this film, the characters grow, become more tangible, more realistic, therefore, the consequences are more extreme. Dave is faced with one of the biggest opponents ever and it cost him severely. Mindy's childhood was stolen from her father (see Nicholas Cage aka Big Daddy from the first film in case you missed it), so as the result, her new father is forcing her to abandon her old life to embrace the idea of what is it like to be just a normal, average teenage girl. Then there's Chris, who blames Kick Ass for killing his father, thus taking away his male role model and fueling hatred and vengeance towards his adversary.

The cast does an fantastic job of creating such a colorful pallet of colorful superhero characters. Of course Aaron, Chloë, and Christopher all do a...well...kick ass job of taking their respective characters to the next level. Jim Carrey is great in the film, bringing some darkness and some laughs with his portrayal of Colonel Stars and Stripes. Now I won't go into all the drama that Carrey has been in, regarding his refusal of supporting the film due to all the violence. But I will state that he was very good in the film.

Oh, in case you didn't know, the film is ultra violent. Really, really, really ultra violent. Ok, moving on now...

For those of you out there that are pure comic book fans, you might not like the film because it is different from the comics. I might even say it's a lot different. In fact, I will like to go on record that the film's ending is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the comic! I was shocked by that! There were numerous other differences that I won't go into because it'll take way too damn long! Now I'm not gonna gripe because that's part of life. Everybody knows that the book is always going to be different than the film. So for those out there who's been complaining, just get over it. Life goes on.

Overall KICK ASS 2 is a worthy entry into the series! It's an action packed, comic book thrill ride that will entertain the hell outta you! If you're craving for some superhero action, then this film is right up your alley! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

KICK ASS 2 is now playing in theaters nationwide, including at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters. To view showtimes, checkout their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil attends the final day of CINECON 49-Spetember 2, 2013

Greetings and salutations everybody and welcome to the fifth and final day of the Cinecon 49 Film Festival at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in the heart of Hollywood! I saw another seven films on Monday, which was a great way to spend my Labor Day! So let me talk about all the films I saw!

WET AND WARMER (1920): This silent comedy short film stars Billie Ritchie as the "Mysterious Stranger", Charlotte Dawn as May Time, and Albert Ray as Billy Poste. The film was directed by Henry Lehrman who was at one time one of the biggest comedy producers of the Teens. This short was one of only five films he produced for his own company Henry Lehrman Comedies ans was released in December of 1920. 

CASTLES FOR TWO (1917): According to the Cinecon program, "American heiress Marie Doro (Patricia Calhoun) returns to the old sod to find the fairies and the leprechauns of her grandmother's stories. There she meets Elliot (Brian O'Neil), who thinks she's poor and falls in love. But Elliot's sisters remind him that they need a real pot of gold to save the family estate from foreclosure. In order to avoid being pursued for her money, Marie has her maid play herself. But in the end, true love come through."

This silly and heartfelt silent film was written by Beatrice DeMille, mother of legendary director  Cecil B. DeMille and his brother director/writer William C. DeMille. Director Frank Reicher is most famous for his role as Capt. Englehorn from KING KONG and its sequel THE SON OF KONG (both from 1933). This film was released by  Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company on March 5, 1917.

THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1929): The man himself Det. Sherlock Holmes (Clive Brook) comes out of retirement to solve his last, and greatest, case ever! Involving murder kidnapping, double cross, and a secret weapon that could alter the balance of power, Holmes's investigation leads him face to face finally with his old adversary Professor Moriarty (Harry T. Morey).

This was the very first talking Sherlock Holmes film. And this was a fascinating film to see and hear! Clive Brook is a fantastic Sherlock Holmes, showcasing intelligent, stamina, ingenuity, confidence, everything the made this legendary detective famous for. H. Reeves-Smith was really good as Dr. Watson and Harry T. Morey portrayed Holmes's nemesis with unfathomable evil. The film was released by Paramount Pictures on October 26, 1929.

After our lunch break, it was time to see the last four films of the day...

SPRING PARADE (1940): The film's official synopsis: an Hungarian woman named Ilonka Tolnay (Deanna Durbin) who attends a Viennese fair and buys a card from a gypsy fortune teller which says she will meet someone important and is destined for a happy marriage. Soon after the woman gets a job as a baker's assistant and meets a handsome army drummer Corporal Harry Marten (Robert Cummings) who dreams of becoming a famous composer and conductor, but is held back by the military which discourages original music. Wanting to help the army drummer, the woman sends one of his waltzes to the Austrian Emperor with his weekly order of pastries, which leads to the tuneful and joyous fulfillment of the gypsy's prediction.

What I loved about the film was its sheer innocence. It was a romantic comedy that really had heart. Both Durbin and Cummings had great on-screen chemistry which elevates the film to become a classic. Really a great joy to see! The film was originally released to theaters by  Universal Pictures on September 27, 1940.

CHINA (1943): The film's official synopsis: Shortly before Pearl Harbor, American opportunist Jones (Alan Ladd) and partner Johnny (William Bendix) are in China to sell oil to the invading Japanese army. Cynical about the sufferings of the Chinese, Jones meets compassionate teacher Carolyn Grant (Loretta Young) while traveling cross-country to Shanghai. Sparks fly between these strong-willed characters, neither budging an inch. But when Jones witnesses a Japanese atrocity, his feelings toward his customers (and Carolyn) begin to change.

Now here was a really interesting film to discover. While the plot does sound like a poor man's CASABLANCA, here we see Mr. Ladd give one of his best and underrated performances he ever gave! Miss Young really does a stupendous job of being the "light of understanding" as Ladd's Jones does an complete 180 degrees. The film was made during the early years of World War II, so one can see this as a propaganda piece, but the acting and the directing (courtesy of John Farrow) really makes it a must-see rediscovery! The film was released to theaters by Paramount Pictures on April 21, 1943.

FIFTY ROADS TO TOWN (1937): Official synopsis: A man named Peter Nostrand (Don Ameche) hides out in the country to avoid testifying in his friends' divorce. A girl named Millicent Kendall (Ann Sothern) shows up and he thinks is a process server while she thinks he's a gangster. So do the sheriff and his men when they mistake Peter with kidnapping Millicent.

The film is another product of the times, featuring African Americans in a negative light. This time it's good ol' Stepin Fetchit stepping in as the lazy and mumbling hotel employee Percy. Both Ameche and Sothern have a lot of fun with their respected characters, and we see their feeling for one another bloom while in contrast to the unforgiving snow storm that has trapped them in the cabin in the woods. Director Norman Taurog made an amazing 181 films, dating back to the silent film era! His most famous films are the Elvis Presley ones: GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! G.I. BLUES and BLUE HAWAII, but he also helped direct one of the most famous films ever! That would be 1939's THE WIZARD OF OZ! Yup, he directed several scenes for that film as well! This film was released by 20th Century Fox on June 14, 1937.

HI, GOOD LOOKIN'! (1944): An usher at a radio station studio pretends to be an executive at the station in order to help a pretty girl become a singer. That's all I can remember right now, but it was a pretty funny from what I can recall. I'll update this one later on once I can remember. I was pretty tired by this film, which was released by Universal Pictures on March 22, 1944.

And ladies and gentlemen, there you have it! My first Cinecon Film Festival since 2011. I had a blast at this festival, to see so many classic Hollywood films from the silent era, pre-code, and musicals! It was also nice to see a lot of my friends down here. Overall, I can't wait to come back again next year! And I encourage you all to make a trip down here to check out this awesome film event! To learn more about the Cinecon Film Festival, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil attends CINECON 49: Day Four at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre-September 1, 2013

Hello folks and welcome back to my trip to Hollywood! I was back for Day Four of the Cinecon 49 Film Festival at the historic Grauman's Egyptian Theatre! There were a lot of films to see on Sunday, so sit back, relax, and let the fun begin!

TURKISH HOWLS (1927): Also known as Wisecrackers #2: Turkish Howls, the short takes place at a hotel where they are visited by a Royal Turkish King. However, they staff finds that the king is an impostor and they help the real king take his rightful place on his throne. This was part two of the Wisecrackers series from the Film Booking Offices of America and was released on February 13, 1927.

EVE'S LEAVES (1926): Now here's a cute and funny silent film! Eve Corbin (Leatrice Joy) is a young girl who was raised by her father as a boy who then finally discovers that she's a girl when she falls in love with a man named Bill Stanley (William Boyd). But when Eve's father's boat is taken over by the ruthless Chang Fang (Walter Long) and his crew, it's up to Eve and Bill to regain the ship and save the day.

Director Paul Sloane does a great job of balancing the comedy with the action. Boyd is great as our hero, but Joy is the star here and she steals every scene that she's in. Outstanding comedic timing and just an all around great actress! Yet another film by DeMille Pictures Corporation, it was released to theaters on June 13, 1926.

SUTTER'S GOLD (1936): This supposed biopic tells the life of the one and only Californian pioneer John Sutter (portrayed by Edward Arnold). It chronicles his entire adult life: from leaving his family in Switzerland (which bugs me that he never had an accent) to his conquering of California and the discovery of gold, thus ushering the Gold Rush.

The film ran waaaaay too long, the script was underdeveloped and the filmmakers to liberty with Suter's story. This was the most expensive film that Universal Pictures made up until that time (a whopping $2 million dollars), and it completely bombed at the box office. It was because of this financial disaster that founder and president Carl Laemmle and his family were booted off the lot forever. The film was originally released on March 1, 1936.

After an hour and a half lunch break, the festival continued with...

A THRILLING ROMANCE (1926): A silent two-reeler short is about an aspiring writer (Wanda Wiley) who chases after a couple of thieves who stole her purse, which sets off a chain reaction of comedic yet thrilling situations! A fun short film to watch! It was released by Century Film on July 14, 1926.

OH MARY, BE CAREFUL (1921): This film should've been called OH MARY STOP BEING A FLIRT! Mary Meacham (Madge Kennedy) is a college student who flirts with every single man in town. Seriously, she does! She lives with her man hating aunt Miss Myra, who has these weird test to see if a man is worthy of marriage. Well, Mary meets a handsome young tree surgeon named Morgan Smith (George Forth). She puts him thru some tests, and then tells her auntie that he's the one she wants to marry.

According to the Cinecon program, actress Madge Kennedy only made 27 silent films and only a handful survive, with this being one of them. Now supposedly that the film was made a number of years prior to 1921. It was produced by Goldwyn Pictures and released by the Pioneer Film Company on September 1, 1921.

APRIL LOVE (1957): Chicago troubled youth Nick Conover (Pat Boone) is sent by his mother to live with his Aunt Henrietta Bruce (Jeanette Nolan) and Uncle Jed Bruce (Arthur O'Connell) on their horse farm in Kentucky. Soon Nick meets the neighbors, the Templetons, and their younger daughter Liz (Shirley Jones), who takes a liking to Nick right from the get go. However he has his eyes on her older sister Fran (Dolores Michaels), but she has a boyfriend already. The four of them spend time together, eventually leading Nick to the charms of Liz, especially she coaches him in the big horse race at the country fair.

Filmed in color and full of singing and dancing, this was one of my favorite films of the festival. Boone was great, but Jones was just amazing! She sang well but she was quite a looker back then! OK she was cute and hot at the same time! But the movie was a real joy to watch! Unfortunately it's not on Blu-ray or DVD yet! Boo! After the screening, both Boone and Shirley participated in a fun and informative Q&A! Afterwards Shirley Jones was signing copies of her book in the theatre lobby! And in case you were wondering, of course I bought a copy!

After a hour dinner break, it was back to the theatre to see...

BOTTOMS UP (1934): The film's about a promoter named 'Smoothie' King (Spencer Tracy) who helps a Hollywood extra actress Wanda Gale (Pat Paterson) con her way into a movie company and soon towards stardom with the help of his "associates" as well: Spud Mosco aka Reginald Morris (Sid Silvers) and Limey Brook aka Lord Brocklehurst (Herbert Mundin). However, she begins to turn away from Smoothie as she falls in love with her leading man Hal Reed (John Boles).

Spencer Tracy was the man. He really was one terrific actor. Here, we kinda see a softer side to him, as he portrays Smoothie with sympathy and love for Wanda. But he still talks a mile a minute, and he still sounds like a gangster, but he just commands your attention when he's up on the screen. And the film itself was a hoot to watch. Really enjoyed this film, which ran for just under a hour and a half. It was released by the  Fox Film Corporation on April 13, 1934.

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE (1956): This Fox musical is about two songwriters Buddy De Sylva (Gordon MacRae) and Lew Brown (Ernest Borgnine) who are joined by piano player Ray Henderson (Dan Dailey) to form a successful musical show writing team. With their friend and sometime leading Kitty Kane (Sheree North), the team goes from Broadway to Hollywood. But when Buddy begins to follow his personal ambitions, they rest of the guys feels left out and soon it looks like the end for this amazing songwriting team.

I found the film overall to be entertaining, but it went on a bit too long, but then again, that was the way films were made back then. Studios were going against television, so to lure people away from their sets, they offered them lavish movies with amazing dance numbers and cool soundtracks. This being a product from that  time, it reflects those ingredients. The acting was great, the music okay, but I felt the script could've been more tighter. Now the film would go on ti receive an Oscar nomination and also turned a profit, despite its mixed reviews from critics. The film was released by 20th Century Fox on September 28, 1956.

There was another film screened at 10:50pm, but I was so tired that I headed back to Mo's place. But overall, I saw some amazing and wonderful films! They sure knew how to make them back then! I still had more films to see on Monday, so come back for those! To learn more about the Cinecon Film Festival, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil attends CINECON 49: Day Three at the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre-August 31, 2013

Hello and greetings from Hollywood!! Yup, I'm back in Tinseltown once again for my vacation and I'm also staying with my very good friend and filmmaker Maureen "Mo" Whelan while I'm here for the week. I arrived into town early Saturday afternoon. After I got settled in at Mo's place, I made my way to attend the 49th Annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival, held at the world famous Grauman's Egyptian Theater in the heart of Hollywood! The festival started back on Thursday, so I missed a couple of days as well as some of the films from earlier Saturday. However, I did see a lot still, so let's get the show underway!

The film I saw was TRANSIENT LADY (1935). The film's official plotline: Nick Kiley, Chris Blake and Dale Cameron set up a transient roller-rink in a small town in the American south, filled with red-necks and louts, most of which are related to each other. One of the Baxter boys makes some crude suggestions and remarks reference Miss Cameron, which results in a squabble. One of the rink-partners shoots one of the Baxter rubes quite dead, and blows town. The dead Baxter is the son of State Senator Hamp Baxter, who takes a dim view of transients who come to town and shoot one of his sons. The rink-partner who stayed behind is blamed for the killing, and lynch mobs are on the horizon. Local attorney Carey Marshall, in love with Dale Cameron, takes on the task of defending the innocent man.

OK, this was THE MOST RACIST FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN!! Holy crap!! And I thought BIRTH OF A NATION was racist! The way African Americans were portrayed was appalling, it upheld the idea that Southern folks are ignorant, redneck idiots (OK maybe that may still be true), and it was full of other stereotypes. But you have to remember, this was where society was back then. This was the status quo and it's hard to fathom that today. We've progressed so much since then. The film was interesting to watch to say the least. The film was originally released by Universal Pictures on March 4, 1935.

Next up was the silent film MARE NOSTRUM (1926) and it's about a young Spaniard named Ulysses Ferragut (Antonio Moreno) who is seduced by the beautiful (and German spy) Freya Talberg (Alice Terry) into helping her by using his boat (the Mare Nostrum) to help refuel a German U-boat. However, Ulysses tells the captain of the U-boat that they must not sink any passenger ships. Unfortunately, they do fire on a passenger boat and kill everyone on board, even Ulysses' son Esteban. Stricken with grief and hatred, he curses Freya's name, but when they meet again, their reunion is short lived.

The film was based on the novel of the same name by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez. It was directed by Alice Terry's husband, actor, producer, and producer Rex Ingram. The film itself is a beautiful and tragic drama, and I was really impressed with it! The film was thought to have been lost, but thankfully, it was rediscovered and restored so it could be shown here! The film was originally released by MGM on February 15, 1926.

After a hour and a half lunch break, the festival continued with:

THEIR FIRST EXECUTION (1913): This short comedy is about a prison that just installed their first electric chair and are about to execute their first prisoner. Unfortunately he escapes and the two bungling guards who let him escape are on his trail along with two other detectives. When one puts on the prisoner's coat and hat, the two dumb guards knock him out and put him in the electric chair! Yup, this was a very sadistic film! The short was released by Keystone Film Company on May 15, 1913.

Next was the hilarious comedy SUDDENLY IT'S SPRING (1947). Husband Peter Morley (Fred MacMurray) meets his returning wife Captain Mary Morley (Paulette Goddard), WAC marital-relations expert, to ask her to sign their divorce papers so he can marry his new girlfriend  Gloria Fay (Arleen Whelan). However, Mary is still in love with Peter and is determined to save her marriage, even though Peter's client Jack Lindsay (Macdonald Carey) is determined to help end their marriage so he can make Mary his girlfriend!

This was one of the funniest films I have ever seen! First off, the chemistry between the four leading actors is stupendous! However, both MacMurray and Goddard were just outstanding in their respected roles! Second, Mitchell Leisen's directing was fantastic, capturing the serious and the hilarity. Third, the production value was excellent, but what would expect anything less from a studio like Paramount Pictures? Truly a Hollywood classic! The film was released by the fore mentioned Paramount Pictures on February 13, 1947.

The last film I saw was the comedy HOLD 'EM YALE. Beautiful socialite Helen (Jeanette Loff) is romanced by the suave Latin lover Rod La Rocque (Jaime Emmanuel Alvarado Montez ), who, along with his monkey, follows her all the way from South America to Yale! (Can you say stalker?) Determined to win her heart, he studies hard and joins the Yale football team where he becomes a big star, but can he win her heart forever?

The film was produced Cecil B. DeMille and was based on a 1906 play called AT YALE by Owen Davis. It was a joint effort between DeMille Pictures and Pathe. Jaime Emmanuel Alvarado Montez was very good and funny in the movie and Jeanette Loff was a very striking woman! The film was cute, sweet, funny, and enjoyable to watch. The film was released by Paramount Pictures on May 14, 1928.

What a day I had! And there's more films to watch for the next two days!! Yup, this is what being on vacation is all about! To learn more about the Cinecon Film Festival, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!