Saturday, December 31, 2016

Phil Gets Tromatized: CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH (1986) from Troma Entertainment - December 15, 2016


Starring Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton, Robert Prichard, James Nugent Vernon, Gary Rosenblatt, Brad Dunker, Gary Schneider, Théo Cohan, Mary Taylor, Pat Ryan
Written by Richard W. Haines, Mark Rudnitsky, Lloyd Kaufman, Stuart Strutin
Cinematography by Michael Mayers
Edited by Richard W. Haines
Produced by Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman, James Treadwell, Stuart Strutin
Directed by Richard W. Haines, Lloyd Kaufman (as Samuel Weil)
Released by Troma Entertainment
Originally released on December 12, 1986

Welcome back to another installment of Phil Gets Tromatized!! Today's entry is a special one because I am celebrating the anniversary of one of Troma's greatest films ever and my personal favorite! Combining over the top violence, high school hijinks, teen sex, peer pressure, drug use, social commentary and environmental issues, CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH is one of the classics from the Troma library!

The film's official synopsis: Created by the same lunatics who brought you the smash cult classic THE TOXIC AVENGER, CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH takes place in the radioactive halls of Tromaville High School, where a dangerous leak turns great minds into great mutants. Expose yourself to outrageously awesome doses of science fiction, horror action and bizarre humor. This nuclear age movie has something for everyone... and everything. Your entertainment level will shoot right off the meter!

Phil sees ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY in 3D from Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures - December 16, 2016

With the release of last year's holiday blockbuster STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, Lucasfilm and Disney revitalized the STAR WARS franchise and showed that there was a new generation of fans out there who may have never seen any of the movies before. While Episodes VIII and XI are scheduling to be released in 2017 and 2019 respectively, between these installments are special stand alone movies that focus on a particular story set between the much beloved episodic entries. The first one out of the gate was the recently released ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY in 3D and yours truly was there for the opening night screening.

The film's official synopsis: This prequel to the very first Star Wars movie tells the thrilling story of how a ragtag band of freedom fighters -- including a former soldier-turned-prisoner (Felicity Jones), a Rebel Alliance insider (Diego Luna), a Jedi (Donnie Yen), and a sentient robot (voiced by Alan Tudyk) -- worked together to steal the Death Star's secret blueprints. Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, and Jimmy Smits co-star.

Expanding on the mythos of the STAR WARS saga, the film is a very much welcomed story that really shines a light of the untold story of this band of brave rebels, who against all odds, must complete this very important mission the could shift the tide towards the burgeoning Rebel Alliance. But while it looks and feels like a STAR WARS film, it's actually a war movie, and it's one of the best war movies I've seen in a long time.

Filmmaker Gareth Edwards does a phenomenal job directing this incredible and moving film. His style has gradually matured since his two previous films: his 2010 debut MONSTERS indicated that he was going to someone important, while 2014 GODZILLA really pushed him into the spotlight. His set-ups, compositions, sweeping camera pans and his intimate close-ups really brings forth the characteristics of our lead protagonists and the beauty and ugliness of war. Truth be told, Edwards gave us fans the prequel we've been waiting for since 1999. Credit also goes to writers Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll and Gary Whitta for delivering a smart and emotional script that deals war, belief and fighting for what's right. It is both political and social commentary story that is very poignant in today's world.

The entire cast was fantastic in the movie! First props to Felicity Jones' intense performance as our heroine Jon Eros. She's just amazing to watch up on the screen as she battles with the film's main antagonist and all around evil Orson Krennic, played by Ben Mendelssohn. Alan Tudyk's K-2SO is my new favorite droid in the STAR WARS franchise as he had the best and funniest lines in the whole movie. Martial artists and Hong Kong action superstar Donnie Yen (from the IP MAN franchise) portrays Chirrut Îmwe, who single handily created a new catchphrase with his, "I am one with the Force. The Force is with me." So far I've seen several T-shirts with this one them already. My only real complaint is that I wish we had more of Forest Whitaker's character Saw Gerrera. His character ties to the computer animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and I wanted to see more of his story and where has he been since then.

Another aspect I really enjoyed about the film is the use of real locations, practical special effects and sets that had to be built from the ground up. It looks more closely to the original trilogy rather than George Lucas' overblown, CGI heavy, prequel trilogy. Now there comes a time when CGI is used correctly and the final battle scene between the Rebellion versus the Empire looks spectacular! The space battle as well as the battleground on the surface, the quick editing, the musical score creates a magical third act that will thrill STAR WARS fans worldwide!

By now, the whole world knows about the CGI inclusion of Grand Moff Tarkin, which was played by the late, great Peter Cushing from the original 1977 film. I really enjoyed seeing the inclusion of this iconic villain and it serves the film purposely, as it connects directly with A NEW HOPE. And with the CGI Princess Lea, it really ties into the original film.

And last, but not least, the return of Darth Vader to the silver screen. Fans of this legendary character were really pissed off at the way Lucas had him at the end of REVENGE OF THE SITH. Now, he's a bad ass again. An evil, vicious, ruthless bad ass! Basically, we got our Darth Vader back!!

ROUGE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY is one of the greatest STAR WARS films of all time, one of the greatest science fiction films of all time and one of the greatest war films of all time!! This is, without question, the prequel film fans have been waiting for period! And I for one cannot wait to see it again!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

ROUGE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY is currently playing at a theater near you. Check your local listings to see where it's playing in your area.

Thanks for reading, and my the Force be with you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Phil sees SAUSAGE PARTY from Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures - December 18, 2016

Every now and then I'll see a movie that completely takes me into another world that I've never seen before. Others introduce me to exciting and interesting characters that I've never met before or show  me stories and lives that I haven't lived yet. And then there another film's that make ask myself, "What the f*ck to I just f*cking Watch?!? Seriously, what the f*ck was that?!?" Yup, this happened to me recently when I finally sat down to watch SAUSAGE PARTY from Sony Pictures.

The film's official synopsis: In this R-rated CG-animated movie, one sausage leads a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store. The film features the vocal talents of some of today’s best comedy stars – Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek.

Ok, I'm forgoing my usual review and just doing something completely different. Was this an original film? Yes. Was it funny? We're the voiceover actors great? Yes. Did it have funny characters? Yes. Was it politically incorrect? Yes. Was it racist? Yes. Was it misogynistic? Yes. Was it highly offensive? Yes? Was it way over the top? Yes? Was it made for adults? Yes. And lastly, was I entertained? Yes I was!!

I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like this before! Ever! And I've watched some crazy shit in my lifetime!! I mean for crying out loud, I watch Troma movies!! But this was something all together new. And the end of the third act?!? Holy shit I did not see that coming at all!! All I can say is that that shit never happened when I worked at Safeway back in the day!!

SAUSAGE PARTY is one of the most f*cked up, disturbing and hilarious animated comedies I have ever seen!! And it's also the best comedy film of 2016!! The filmmakers really pushed the envelope with this movie! It's not what you'd expect. It's something more, way more than you can possibly imagine. So, if you want to politically and socially offended, then go see this movie!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

SAUSAGE PARTY is still playing in select theaters across the country. The movie is also available on Blu-Ray and DVD. It is also available on iTunes, Video On Demand, Netflix and Redbox.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Phil sees DOCTOR STRANGE in 3D from Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures - December 8, 2016

In 1964, writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko (the creators of Spider-Man) unleashed a new and different type of superhero, one that would have a huge impact on the Marvel Universe. With this one character, a whole new universe opened up and the world of magic was unleashed, bringing with it the concept of multiverses. Now over 50 years later, this iconic and legendary comic book character has finally joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So let's chat about me seeing DOCTOR STRANGE in 3D this past weekend!

The film's official synopsis: Marvel's "Doctor Strange" follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City's Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilising a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I have one word to say about the movie: WOW!! When Marvel released CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOILDER, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the bar was set very, very high to the point that I didn't think it would be possible to surpass these high acclaimed films, let alone have it even come close. But remember, this Marvel we're talking about here. Needless to say, this latest chapter in the MCU is one of their very best films!

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the finest actors out there today and this role was taylor made for him. First, he's speaking with an American accent, which is just weird but cool to hear. Second, he brings a lot of  depth and humility to Doctor Steven Strange. When we first meet him, he is a gifted but very arrogant, conceded and selfish individual. It isn't till after the accident that he becomes worse. For him to come back from and become the hero is a massive undertaking. Cumberbatch brings his A-game and the embraces the character completely. Don't bother looking him in the movie you won't be able to find him. All you will see on the big screen is Doctor Strange himself.

Joining Cumberbatch on this marvelous (get it!) journey into this newly opened part of the MCU is Rachel McAdams, who plays Strange's co-worker and love interest Christine Palmer. Strong, devoted and a woman you don't want to piss off, I'm hoping we see more of her in upcoming films. While I loved her character, I think they didn't utilize her enough so here's to keeping our fingers crossed. Tilda Swinton was fantastic as Strange's mentor The Ancient One and I was very impressed on how devoted she was with portraying this beloved Marvel character. Benedict Wong's character Wong was hilarious and bad ass, so let's see more of him. Finally there's Mordo, played by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. He's The Ancient One's right hand man and one incredible being. A gifted sorcerer, Mordo plays off Strange well and the two have great on-screen chemistry but things might not be alright with him.

As you can see, I'm trying not to reveal any spoilers if you have not seen this movie yet (and if not why the hell are you reading this?). But I will tell you that there are the standard two end credit scenes so no big surprise there. However, these two scenes also set up two major events that will be revealed in upcoming MCU films! So, heck yeah I'm super excited to see where all this goes!

While it's a superhero movie, it's all about the magical and mystical side of Marvel that most people do t even realize yet. With this movie, a new doorway has been opened and it leads to other worlds, other realms, other dimensions that have yet to reveal themselves. The MCU is about to become an even bigger world thanks in large part to not only Doctor Strang, but to Lee and Ditko for creating one of the most important characters in comic book history.

DOCTOR STRANGE in 3D is one of the best Marvel films that you will ever see on the big screen! With all of Marvel Studios films, you need to see it on the big screen! And yes definitely see it in 3D!! It will totally blow your mind wide open!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

DOCTOR STRANGE is currently playing in both 2D and 3D in theaters nationwide. The movie is also being shown at select IMAX theaters as well. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you.  

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Phil sees BAD MOMS from STX Entertainment - December 8, 2016

Now as some of you might now, I'll watch any kind of movie out there. Even the so-called "Chick Flicks" that most men will dread taking their female companion to. But there's been a recent trend that has taken Hollywood by storm: raunchy chick flick comedies. Seriously, the films are funny as hell and can rival their male counterparts! So another excellent edition to this genre is the film BAD MOMS from the folks at STX Entertainment.

The film's official synopsis: Amy (Mila Kunis) has a seemingly perfect life - a great marriage, over-achieving kids, a beautiful home and a career. However, she's overworked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she's about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities - going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence - putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

Writer/director Jon Lucas and co-writer Scott Moore pull off of the funniest comedies I've seen in a while. The script is both huge on laughs while wears its heart and feelings on its sleeve. Their characters looks and sound like real moms who basically do it all: having a career, being a parent, drive the kids to and from school, running errands, do the cooking and the house cleaning, laundry, etc. I've always said that mom's are our superheroes and they don't get enough credit for all that they do for us. Also keep in mind they also carried us around for nine months, so remember that everyday is Mother's Day. Lucas also finds that perfect balance of comedy and emotion with his directing. He has clean medium and wide shots and compositions so we can see every single sight gag, every joke said, every tear shed and every moment of all these incredible moms and all the bullshit that they deal with everyday.

Leading the bad moms crew is actress/sex symbol Kunis, who is just outstanding as our frustrated, stressed out, overwhelmed and under appreciated mom Amy. Once she reaches her breaking point is where the fun begins and we see how her decision of quitting at being a mom both re-energizes and re-discovers of who she is. Kristen Bell's Kiki is one of her best roles she's ever done. She goes against type and plays Kiki had thus soft spoken, naive, low self-esteemed stay-at-home mom who is pushed around and dominated by her asshole husband. But there's a lot of growth with Kiki and Bell's performance is awesomely funny! Rounding out the group is bad girl Carla, portrayed by the hilariously raunchy Kathryn Hahn. I loved her character Carla. She had the best one-liners, is  tough as they come and is just drop dead sexy! I love this woman! Together, these three actresses have great on-screen chemistry and they are freaking funny as hell. Don't believe me? Just watch the grocery store scene and try hard not to laugh your ass off!!

As with all movies, your hero is only as good as your villain. In this case, Amy's main antagonist is the wicked bitch from the west Gwendolyn, played by Applegate. This woman is one evil bitch: she's a rich wife,  she's head of the PTA, she's rich, she bosses everybody around including the school staff and she comes off as the perfect mom who can't do wrong. When she bumps heads with Amy, all hell breaks loose. Gwendolyn, along with her cronies Stacy (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and Vicky (Annie Mumolo) go after Amy, her kids and her reputation as a mom while she and her bad moms crew retaliate and the results is pure comedy gold!!

Now maybe it's just me, but my opinion is that America is a pretty up tight place. Or maybe they think that women aren't funny. Whatever the case may be, the film received a lot of negative feedback, was panned by critics and was just trashed by audiences. I know what you're gonna say people. Everybody's a critic, but remember, film's are a form of entertainment. They are designed to enlighten you, enrich you, open you're eyes to the problems of the world, or they're just there to entertain you and offer you an escape from the real world for about 90 minutes. This film wasn't to be taken seriously. It was supposed to entertain you and make you laugh your ass off. And that's just what it did for me! It accomplished both endeavors and it was great!! And despite the negative reviews, it went on to gross $179.4 million worldwide! Not too bad considering the film's budget was only $20 million.

BAD MOMS is one of the funniest movies of 2016!! If you're a mom, then you will love this movie! If you love raunchy comedies, then this is right up your alley! This is one helluva funny movie and you definitely need to see this!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

BAD MOMS is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD. The movie is also available on iTunes, Video On Demand, digital download and Netflix.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!