Archive for the Musical Category

‘Cosplay Melee’ Premiere: Swing for the Fences!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So the SyFy channel is taking another stab at the fandom with the mostest, the cosplayers! You know, those insane peoples who like to make their own, often movable, skit-able, even stage and screen-ready costumes, to bring their favorite fandoms to life! One can’t even say it’s a kids or younglings game anymore, in the premiere episode one of the contestants was over 40. This is a fandom that people of all ages, genders, colors and backgrounds love, and is generally acknowledged by true cosplayers as all-inclusive, meaning no-one should ever be excluded or discouraged from cosplaying, for really any reason. (The so-called Ambassadress of Cosplay, Yaya Han, got herself some disapproval after she claimed on the short-lived SyFy show Heroes of Cosplay that cosplaying isn’t necessarily for people with larger body types. And that was the nice way of re-wording what she said.)

Cosplay is officially a full-fledged fandom these days, rather than any kind of hobby. And it would have to be, considering cosplay can now cost you would not believe how much money, often to make a single costume replication absolutely spot-on perfect, and yet still be able to wander around conventions wearing it the entire time, of course posing for multiple pictures too. Cosplayers rarely get paid (I wanted to say never but times are changing and cosplayers are being hired to advertise video games and such now), and the making of these fan-atical costumes require a ton of work, time, and energy. I think everyone should try it, but honestly not everyone can do a good Cosplay. If we’re gonna have a game show based around the ability to Cosplay, it had better be good, better, best, a passion, an obsession, a love that is almost scary. And that’s actually what this new show seems to be presenting, thank goodness.

We have a host who is also a judge, Yvette Nicole Brown, of Community fame and apparently a huge fangirl of all things geeky; LeeAnna Vamp, named as one of the “Best Comic-Con Cosplayers of All Time” and nerdy fashion model, fan-atic, and all-around jane of all things geekery; and Christian Beckman, builder, costume designer, creator, President of Quantum Creation FX, Inc., his creations have adorned movies like Tron: Legacy, Men In Black 3, and Ender’s Game, just to name a few. Basically, we have the “everyman, I love everything” Judge (Brown), the “make it pretty” Judge (Vamp), and the “make it work” Judge (Beckman); that totally works for me.

Four contestant cosplayers come in to the lab, very similar to the one they have for Face Off, they get given the theme for this contest, and then they go by rounds to get to this weeks winner. The pilot episode theme is Space Opera, and the opening challenge is to begin from the head down, with a helmet or headgear for your original character from whatever fandom you’ve chosen. On to our contestants!

Fred, the eldest at some 40+, loves him some SciFi, and of course the gateway drug to that world was inevitably Star Trek, so guess which space opera he picked for his character. Xavier is the tall and very quiet black guy, the huge Star Wars fan who’s already made a fan-film from the ‘verse and making that armor was what got him into cosplaying in the first place, so his characters theme is chosen too. Grace is a cop in real life, somehow even with that incomprehensibly long red hair, so she chooses a bounty hunter character in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe, where badass women abound, as it should be. And finally, Alicia of the mermaid hair is mildly uncomfortable in this genre, so she chooses the world of Chronicles of Riddick for her character, with their Necromonger armor as inspiration.

The first round concludes and while I didn’t agree with the judges’ elimination choice (as often happens on these kinds of SyFy shows), I stuck around to see what the remaining contestants would come up with and who would win the $10,000 prize. Round two consisted of mechanical parts being presented to the players, that they had to make some sort of flying jet-pack doohickey with as part of their characters’ costume. Hot glue, flying craft foam and mayhem ensue.

In the end, the quiet Star Wars fan who was bullied as a child took home the win, as his costume was the most cohesive and easily read as being from the Star Wars universe. The judges were all kind and helpful and reluctant to choose one over another and thereby eliminate anyone, but I felt that’s simply because they wanted to encourage the players to continue doing what they love, cosplay, and not play up any lack on their part that caused the loss of the contest.

So far it’s a fairly standard SyFy contest show, in the vein of Face Off and the like, that you could actually learn cosplay techniques from if you pay attention. Not everyone has access to giant portable heaters and hot glue guns and craft foam with designations like they came from an aircraft carrier, but the show is making sure to name at least some of the things they’re using, and sometimes suggesting cheaper alternatives. It’s a fun little show and worth giving a try at least once.

Celebrate all the fandoms and fan-atics with Cosplay Melee on the SyFy channel, Tuesdays @ 10/9c!

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2014 presents ¿Que Le Dijiste a Dios? (What Did You Say to God?)

Posted in comedy, drama, Foreign, Movies, Musical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2014 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Teresa Suarez

Review Rating: 7.5

Two young country-bumpkin maids steal some fancy clothes from their snooty employer to attend a wedding, setting off a chain reaction adventure that affects the love lives of all around them!

So Martina (Gina Vargas) and Lupita (Olinka Velazquez) are underpaid and overworked maids, slaving for Marcela (Erika de la Rosa) and her husband. The maids are allowed to live in Marcela’s fancy house, surrounded by luxury, while they live in utter penury with dreams of riches and love, always love. Marcela’s best friend, Marifer (Mar Contreras), is blissfully unaware that hey, her best friend is sleeping with her husband Santiago (Mark Tacher), while verbally taking her own husband down a peg or three and virtually ignoring her son. Marcela’s own husband declaims about his lack of getting laid, in song, in his underwear! And Marcela is such a high-nosed bitch that she informs her maids that no, they don’t get time off for a wedding out in the country, find her fancy Chanel shirt that went missing! Only the maids are aware that, well, Martina ruined the shirt. But Martina’s love interest out in the country is waiting for her! Pepe (Victor Garcia) loves Martina so very much, that of course when she tearfully phones him to say she won’t be able to make the wedding, he bursts into song! And the maids collectively decide, hell with it – borrow a bunch of the Mistresses’ clothes and gems and go to that wedding in the country in style!

But Marcela isn’t about to take this lying down. Conscripting her best friend Marifer, after a song and dance musical in the beauty parlor, Marcela is determined to find out the names, which she didn’t even know, and locations of her errant thieving maids and get her things back. But this involves kidnapping another maid who happens to know our pair and where they’re supposed to be this weekend, sleeping in strange fleabag motels, and in general being around a lifestyle to which Marcela is less than accustomed. Marifer is already beginning to suspect something is going on between Santiago and Marcela, manages to confirm her worst suspicions, and sets off another chain of unexpected reactions between the supposed best friends, both their husbands, and their poor children. Meanwhile, our maids Martina and Lupita have been off having the time of their lives in bright borrowed clothes at a friends wedding, dreaming of the day they’ll both be wed, but especially Martina dreams of being the wife of penniless Pepe! Getting hauled out of the church during the service by Marcela and Marifer puts our errant maids in a very bad light, but after observing the utter selfishness and conceit and deceit of Marcela, Marifer finds the courage to take back control of her entire life, in song!

Don’t worry, it all works out in the end. For most of the characters anyway. And for those that didn’t, they have just desserts coming anyway. The entire film is littered with joyous song and dance numbers, lamenting or touting the various ecstasies and sorrows of life. The style of musical dramedy is very Bollywood, but with a decidedly Latino slant – the girls in their country-girl blouses, bright skirts and matching waving kerchiefs; the men in Mariachi-style suits with the ubiquitous cowboy boots, stomping their way in circles as they sing; and the solos by famous singers, both male and female, that can take the top of your head off! A good deal of the music of the film was brought in by famous Mexican singer and songwriter Juan Gabriel. He even has a cameo for the final song of the film!

Movie Moxie’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 26 – Hocus Pocus

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, horror, Kids, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2013 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass


Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Kenny Ortega

Review Rating: 8

The Sanderson sisters are brought back from the dead when the black flame candle is lit by a virgin on Halloween night, to eat the lives of all the children in Salem!

Not all of Halloween needs to be dark dank and dreary. Granted these are witches who worship Satan, monster zombies and disbelieving virgins, but come on – it’s the Disney version. This means the sister witches are Bette Midler as Winifred, Kathy Najimy as portly Mary, and Sarah Jessica Parker as ditzy blonde sister Sarah; Satan and his beleaguered wife are the famous Marshalls; spirited black cats can not only talk, they get the best one-liners; and every last thing to do with magic, no matter how bad it sounds, is just adorable. Doug Jones, of the interesting contortions and roles, is Billy Butcherson, poor lost soul and risen zombie with a heart of gold (and moths). Sean Murray is the actor for and voice of Thackery Binx, the talking black cat that is the ultimate Halloween accessory. Omri Katz is main character Max, in what is fairly likely his best role to date. Vanessa Shaw is love interest Allison, and a very young Thora Birch is Max’s sister Dani. An awesomely adorable cast and even a musical number makes this very Disney tale an absolute must for every Halloween viewing party!

Movie Moxie’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 6 – VS. Fight Rocky vs. Repo!

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, horror, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by aliciamovie


No Halloween would be complete without a visit to the craziest transvestite party this side of the galaxy, the Rocky Horror Picture Show! I remember seeing it when I was young and thinking, I don’t get it. Sure we love Tim Curry in drag, with that incomparable voice and the way he struts those tights. And Riff Raff, Magenta and Columbia, Rocky himself, and of course Meatloaf! Everyone combines their various efforts into this raucous outrageous party that you just can’t help but sing along to! Even as I struggle to make sense of what plot there is, I can hear “Lets do the Time Warp again!” and my feet start moving. Rocky is such a sensation at this point, with the annual anniversary and late-late costumed showings in theaters, the fans who reenact the entire movie onstage, and the audience participation in showings that have actually been outlawed in some states! I finally figured out, Rocky doesn’t really need a plot I can get behind – we have the straight folks who get corrupted, enough singing and dancing to last me for years, and again, Tim Curry in drag! Did I mention I’m a fan?



Some years back, Repo! The Genetic Opera came out on film, and I was so floored. It’s true, there isn’t much dancing in Repo! but frankly there doesn’t need to be. The different styles of song showcased are phenomenal, given the power of voices like Anthony Head and Sarah Brightman of the legendary voice of Christine from Webber’s stage epic Phantom of the Opera, and Terrance Zdunich himself, who wrote the film and stars in it as Graverobber! A lot of people initially poopoo’d the movie simply because Paris Hilton is in it, but come on guys – you get to see her face fall off, what more can you want? Repo! happens to be a very dark and gothic future, bleak for humanity, and yet here we are, still singing and embracing the vissitudes of life. Even though for the Repo Man, that means taking back the organs from still-alive donors, that they got from GeneCo. Shilo herself delivers a fine performance too, though I’m still in love with Anthony Head’s Repo Man Nathan, and Zdunich’s Graverobber, especially him singing “Zydrate Anatomy”, that seems to be everyone’s favorite song. Repo! seems to be a Rocky for a future generation, right down to the near-cult fan base already, and did you know Repo! came from a stage play, too!

So who wins? Those wacky transvestites from Transylvania withstand the test of time, hell Rocky Horror Picture Show has been a fan phenomenon for longer than I’ve been alive!

Comic-Con International 2013

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Kids, movie news, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense, TV Movie, VG Movie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2013 by aliciamovie


Comic-Con International is one of those insane events that happens once a year, that everyone and their family looks forward to. Shwag is given out in spades, autographs are hoarded, lines are formed for miles, and cosplay is proudly displayed, often by folk who are considered completely “normal” otherwise. CCI is like it’s own world, with it’s own rules, and it helps to know them if you’ve never been to Comic-Con before. For example:


Literally right across the street from the convention center, past the trolley tracks and the hordes of fan-atics trying to cross the street, is always set up as the ads and the FREE STUFF. Often new or returning TV shows are advertised with exhibit walkthroughs and at the end, you get a FREE something with the shows logo stamped on it. Clever geegaws, FREE photos with sets as backdrops, games and trivia and hotties giving out t-shirts, oh my! Someone this year was a genius, and for the Dracula walkthrough, the FREE thing given at the end was a chair. Now I grant you, it’s just a folding piece of cardboard with ads printed on it; the thing still supported my weight during those interminable lines for more FREE STUFF, so that’s awesome. All day Thursday, all I did was wander around the across-the-street area, didn’t even go in to the convention center itself, and yet I came home with a bulging bag of FREE STUFF. There was even a place giving out free half-pints of ice cream, advertising Elder Scrolls. I do not kid.



Sometimes, not always, you can be in the right place at just the right time. I was in line for the Falling Skies trailer exhibit across the trolley tracks, when a Volunteer came out with t-shirts over one arm and announced to the line he was doing FS trivia, and asked who on the line was a fan?! …*crickets* Really? Well, I’m a fan! After gleefully giving some trivia about the latest show, I was handed the last in a lot of only 200 made, the Volunteer said, of an official Falling Skies hoodie, with a patch and a logo and thumbholes in the sleeves. This happens to me, as a rabid fan, often, and who knows, it may happen to you too!



Several years back, someone else was a genius and started giving out these high-end bags to hold shwag as part of the Comic-Con package when you pick up your badge. Everyone gets one, they usually have some sort of theme, and this year is no exception. This years CCI bag featured Warner Bros. (of course) and CCI on one side, the other side reserved for ads for shows like ARROW, Retro Batman, The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory, and many others, also featuring double arm straps so the bag could be a backpack, thank heavens. But that wasn’t the highlight of this years bag, oh no. Along with the CCI bag and it’s helpful lugging-stuff goodness, each bag came complete with a detachable ad cape. I grant you, it’s this cheapo piece of fabric with a logo screened on it and neckties, but come on. Now everyone can Cosplay at Comic-Con!

2. The LINES

In Comic-Con, there are lines literally everywhere. For the panels, for the Halls, down in the shopping mall, and don’t forget the FULLFILLMENT ROOM. (We’ll get to that.) The lines in the Exhibit Hall, where we do all the shopping and yes get more FREE STUFF, are often girded by Con security and hapless Volunteers with signs that don’t really work. Usually after Friday, the lines for the really swell FREE STUFF become impossible unless you attended such-and-such panel beforehand and received the postcard that entitled you for a FREE t-shirt advertising their movie. The Exhibit Hall frankly, has needed for years traffic signals and cattle prods, and not necessarily in that order. You were warned.



The LINES for Hall H and Ballroom 20 need to be addressed as well. It’s been years since I’ve bothered at all trying to get into either one of these rooms, and with good reason. Hall H and Ballroom 20 are the largest venues at Comic-Con and therefore have the coolest panels shown there. Hall H in particular gets insane, due to the fact that the overflow line is outside (someone finally put up tents a few years ago to shield the line from the sun, hooray) and these days people will often camp out overnight to ensure getting in to Hall H the next day. I’ve heard stories of die-hard fans camping out there three days before the Con was to open, just to see their favorite star in real life. And I think that’s why these lines are so insane: most of these people get to see a real-life celebrity once in their miserable lives, here at Comic-Con. Even the lines for the smaller roomed panels are getting interesting, so nevermind what the website says. If you want to see a panel, any panel at all, come early for the line.



CCI some years back instituted this sort of reward program that gives away yet more FREE STUFF advertising various programs shown at Con. At a lot of the panels, while you’re sitting there listening to Noah Wyle crack wise about Falling Skies or whatever, Con Volunteers will pass out along the lines of Con-goers these little faire-type tickets. What not everyone knows is to keep these tickets, they’re not for a raffle you’ll never win or anything, it’s for the FULLFILLMENT ROOM. Next door to the convention center is the Marriot Hotel, and here is where the FULLFILLMENT ROOM is set up. What they don’t tell you, is that the ROOM is set up in the very back end of the Hotel, and the place usually only has Volunteers with signs for the ROOM about halfway through the Hotel, if at all. Also, inevitably, there are lines of eager Con-goers already in the know about the ROOM. However, if you’ve kept your non-raffle tickets (I store mine in the back of my Con badge, that always works) and walked huffing and puffing all the way to the ROOM, stood in the interminable lines and tried to be nice to the harried Con volunteers, you can get yet more FREE STUFF. Bags from everywhere under the moon, posters and comics and booklets oh my, in previous years I got full-on video games with unlockable content, bracelets and pins and don’t forget the t-shirts, all with the logo of your favorite movie or show!


A lot of people go absolutely apeshit insane trying to do Cosplay for Comic-Con. I tried it once or twice a few years ago, and truly, it does not mesh with wandering the exhibit hall with a bag stuffed full of free shwag. But there are a couple of things I’ve learned about the Cosplayers and their ways. One, they always prefer to be asked before you start blinding them with a camera flash and effectively block their way to wherever they’re going by mobbing them with picture-taking. Two, very few of them actually mind if you come right out and ask where their costume is from, if you don’t know. A lot of those Anime Cosplayers can get downright obscure, and they know it, so if you don’t know, ask already. Three, after you take their picture and thank them for it, say something nice about their costume already. It costs you nothing to say, “Love the shoes” or “You look just like the Khaleesi”, even if you don’t mean it. And who knows what it cost the Cosplayer to make that costume; show some appreciation for their fan-aticism and love, if nothing else.






Comic-Con International is an event like no other in the whole world. Every year people from all over the planet come here to San Diego in massive hordes for this four-day insanity extravaganza. Yes, the lines are terrible, the crowds are massive, and the heat is stifling. Yes, there are always disappointments: I didn’t get in to the Doctor Who panel, I didn’t get that geegaw from thus-and-such retailer I really wanted cuz’ they sold out on Thursday, I missed the pirate ship walkthrough because they closed it a day early, et cetera. But what you do get in exchange for all the headaches is an experience like no other. I saw Travis Fimmel from Vikings live and in person, I came home with four free bags of shwag, I spent all the money I studiously saved just for this event in the exhibit hall on fan things, and overall I had a blast. Comic-Con brings together people from all over, who all have one thing in common: I’m a fan. In a lot of cases, we’re all insane fan-atics, and Comic-Con connects us all for those four glorious days of squees, cheers, and die-hard unabashed and unapologetic geekdom!

Ranted & Photographed by Alicia Glass





San Diego Latino Film Festival 2013 presents Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico)

Posted in comedy, drama, Foreign, Kids, Movies, Musical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2013 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio:  El Mall

MPAA Rating: R

Director:  Duncan Bridgeman

Review Rating: 6.5

Using the diversity now available in Mexican music as a framework, everything from traditional Mariachi to up-and-coming rap, the documentary approaches contemporary Mexican culture and modern and lasting issues.

The whole of the movie is basically various issues faced by Mexicans today: work, family, religion, health, etc, set in vignettes that basically shake the collective finger at the viewer, interspliced with various forms of modern Mexican music. Rap, contemporary rock, Mariachi, folk, many different forms of traditional and the like, all provide a framework to a whole bunch of apparent disapproval with which the filmmaker casts at the audiences’ modern way of life. The migrant workers who espouse that they just want to cross the border to find work in the better land, for example. Or the battle between the sexes, always an issue for the Latino community, and how the battle is unbalanced due to the sacred elevation of any woman once she becomes a mother. The issue of religion or more to the point the lack of it is addressed, though in a contradictory act, the sacred worship of the pregnant Virgin of Guadalupe is also given its’ own entire segment. Another whole segment is given to the abuse of the body by drugs, which I will grant you is worth some finger shaking, but the film goes so far as to admonish for even the use of caffeine, and that’s just unrealistic. Like pretty much the rest of the entire audience, I did not go to this movie to be chided the entire time. I went for the music, so, on to that.

I did not know there was so much diversity in Mexican music at this point. I’ve heard Latino rap before, and one can’t live in Southern California without learning a small smattering of Spanish by osmosis. The music provides a rich counterpoint to the rebukes of the film, but there is a bit of a problem. Like a good deal of any modern rap from any nation, it sounds good until you actually listen (or in this case read) to what they’re actually saying. The film dutifully provides subtitles for all the music, and a great deal of it is either lamenting their tortured history or complaining about the current situation, and yes a lot of it has to do with the United States. The audience obviously had some favorite singers they were there to support, given the cheering when certain singers were given their segments, but that was all they were there for as far as I could tell. Entirely not what I was expecting at all, the film nevertheless provides thought-provoking slices of Mexican life, all set to a gloriously diverse soundtrack.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

Posted in Action, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Historical, Kids, Movies, Musical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2013 by aliciamovie

ice age 4 movie poster-new

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Blue Sky Studios

MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier

Review Rating: 7

When Pangea begins splitting into different continents, Manny and the males of the absurd herd are separated from Ellie and Peaches, and have to fight pirates to find their way back together!

The fourth installment of the still-popular Ice Age franchise starts off featuring the poor deplorable Scrat trying to, once again, find a place to store his acorn and inadvertently causing Pangea to split off into continents. It’s a little too goofy for me for a beginning, but we’re willing to forgive it if they get better as the movie progresses. Meanwhile, Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are trying to deal with Peaches (Keke Palmer) as a willful teenager now, torn between wanting to hang with her outcast molehog friend Louis (Josh Gad) and be accepted by the other mammoth teenagers, especially Ethan (Aubrey Graham) whom she has a crush on, while Sid’s family is (briefly) returning to foist a completely bonkers Granny on him. And now we know where Sid gets his…uniqueness. Suddenly in the midst of a mammoth argument, there’s an earthquake that splits the ice floes and separates the family. Manny, Sid (John Leguizamo), Diego (Denis Leary) and oh hell Granny (Wanda Sykes) too, manage to survive a huge storm and are determinedly trying to get back to where Manny yelled for the remnants of his family to meet back up, when they get accosted by singing pirates!

Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) is a Gigantopithecus (yes go ahead and say that out loud, I’ll wait) of the floating iceberg turned pirate ship, and finally we now have a love interest for Diego, in the form of sabertooth first mate Shira (Jennifer Lopez). Captain Gutt and the rest of the crew try to press gang the men of the absurd herd into joining the ship, and when that doesn’t work insists on making them walk the plank, that annoying Granny first. Much chaos ensues that ends up sinking the pirate ship, and Gutt vows revenge. Shira gets tossed from the crew, just as Diego prophesied she would, and ends up helping the Absurd Herd, just as we knew she would. Off we go for the final confrontations! Oh and did I mention Scrat and his finding of Scratlantis? I didn’t? That’s because, well, it’s a little more ridiculous than usual, but hey that’s me.

The singing pirates help make the movie. Granny and her Precious, that helps too. And sure, Diego finally got a love interest. Peaches learned valuable life lessons, kept her friends and even got a love interest of her own. But the Ice Age franchise is becoming a bit strained. After Scrat mistakenly broke the ice age world into the continents of what-is-now Earth, there doesn’t seem to be much left. I can say, though, that this is one of the few movies where 3D actually made it more enjoyable and watchable.

San Diego Asian Film Festival 2012 presents Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

Posted in drama, Foreign, Movies, Musical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Cinediaz

Director: Ramona S. Diaz

Review Rating: 7

Website: Everyman’s Journey

The real life story of how the iconic rock band Journey went on a journey with their brand new Filipino lead singer, Arnel Pineda.

So, Arnel Pineda happens to be Filipino, and came from a really poor and low background. That’s not to say his parents didn’t try their best, of course they did, it was just circumstances of crippling poverty in Manila. Arnel ends up homeless, sleeping in the park when allowed and literally singing for his bread. He forms a band with some friends, sings Journey cover songs, and gradually delves into the underworld of drinking, drugs, and depression. Then a miracle happens. Neal Schon, longtime member of the band Journey, whose been scouring the internet of all things for a replacement lead singer for the band, finds a Youtube video of Pineda singing and invites him to L.A. for an audition. Pineda goes out, and after a few hiccups, lands the dream job touring with Journey as their new lead singer.

At this point, it really is like a rock and roll fairy tale come true. However, somewhere soon after that, the movie begins to delve (briefly) into the evolution of the band Journey and their roster of former lead singers. The original lead singer, rock icon Steve Perry, left the band in the 90’s (for good) and the film only lightly touches on him, citing the difficulty of finding a new lead singer who sounds like him. Steve Augeri, the next lead singer from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s, is also very lightly touched on, and I couldn’t help but think that his appearance and sound reminded me of Michael Bolton. Then comes Arnel Pineda, embraced by the band and a legion of blithely determined Filipino fans as the newest lead singer of Journey. I can’t help but think how ironic it is, that Pineda sounds just like Perry, and even looks like the man, with his longish straight dark hair, similar outfits under those hot performing lights, and boundless energy to run around the stage like Perry did too.

At this point, the movie takes a sharp turn to Pineda performing in the Journey road tour for weeks on end and the toll it takes on him, while Arnel reminisces about his early life in Manila and what matters most to him: his family. Little is touched on about his personal life, other than he has a wife he calls Cherry, and apparently a child, who doesn’t even get a name mention. Perhaps they want to respect what’s left of his privacy. Much to do is made about Pineda’s voice, which is totally understandable, and he’s hailed when he returns to Manila as a conquering home hero. The whole thing begins to drag a bit towards the end, but it is after all a lot to try and cram into a movie. The main bright message of the film comes across, never stop following your dreams, but remember Pineda seems to be blessed with a great deal of natural talent as well.

San Diego Film Festival 2012 — The Sapphires

Posted in comedy, drama, Historical, Movies, Musical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Goalpost Pictures

Director: Wayne Blair

Review Rating: 7

Website: The Sapphires

Four young Australian Aborigine girls and their manager brave the war in Vietnam to bring music to the troops, and learn about life along the way!

The year is 1968, and there is all sorts of uprisings, over the war with Vietnam, political and social unrest, revolution in the streets. Over in Australia, where there is both an indigenous population of white and black folk, there are now children of these mixed raced unions, unwanted and overlooked by most everyone. Three girls want very much to sing and be known and get the hell out of their forced compound, hell, out of Australia period. One disastrous audition amongst prim-lipped whites later, and the girls find themselves with a drunken manager, pick up a 4th member cousin who happens to look whiter than the rest of them, and grasp an audition for a club in Saigon. After much much work and practice and refinement, of course the girls nail the audition and begin performing in the rather sleazy club, while working up to audition to perform for the troops in Vietnam, the ultimate. Despite, or perhaps because of, the straight-laced very black woman at the military audition, the girls shine out like diamonds, and because noone can pronounce their chosen name, on a spur of the moment decision, the girls get their famous name – The Sapphires.

So off the girls troop to Viet Nam, where they’re received by the boys fighting the war with open loving arms. They encounter racism in whole new ways, learn life lessons about eachother, and let their straining spirits find wings in soul music. After making most of the journey with a military escort, because of a screwup on manager Dave’s part, The Sapphires find themselves trying to get to the big-big venue on their own, without band or aid or even weapons. Even making it to the gig and bringing down the house, neither the girls nor Dave could have predicted the base would get attacked right after that. Having found love of many different varities – of the heart, of the career, of your ancestors even – the girls struggle to hold on to that love, as they’re evacuated from the war zone.

The film rather reminded me of the Tina Turner biography movie, What’s Love Got To Do With It, especially the wonderful music. Uplifting and heartwarming, The Sapphires is a darling movie about family values, the power of heart in song, and the will to follow your dreams no matter where they lead you.

Movie Moxie covers SDLFF 2012 — Frontera Filmmakers

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Foreign, horror, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass 

No Way Home

Director: Brian Garcia

Review Rating: 8

An out in the open lesbian has to make the choice of confronting her abusive Uncle and being ostracized by her father, or not. The end, which sadly yes I am going to spoil here, where the Uncle dies and the girl is standing there with a knife in one hand and a 911 phone call in the other, debating which to use; was something I really enjoyed. I think it’s what I would’ve done.

The Modern Divide

Director: Robert Knauf

Review Rating: 6 

San Diego Futures Foundation helps Trelena Thomas, inner city single mother of three kids, with her first computer. It struck me as a giant infomercial about things I had no interest in, but it was watchable at least.

La Llorona (Weeping Woman)

Director: Alberto Rodriguez

Review Rating: 8

There are apparently a lot of these Mexican legends, about a weeping supernatural woman come back from the dead to wreak vengeance on the living for whatever reason. And this one appears more or less the same, other than what Maria does when she discovers her husband has left their family for another woman. A fairly fine portrayal of shockng storytelling, the woman who played the Weeping Woman delivers a gut-wrenching performance.


Comics Are Everywhere

Director: Niel Kendricks

Review Rating: 7

The director apparently cobbled together some great fan footage of Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez’s Love and Rockets, from last years’ Comic-Con, specifically because the Hernandez brothers and their comic happens to (apparently) be Spanish. It’s not a bad little bit, I always enjoy shots of Comic-Con.


Fatal Fetish

Director: Dexter Gareau

Review Rating: 7

An interesting piece, about fetishes and the trouble they can wreak in our lives. A little foot fetish may get your wife annoyed; a little boy fetish will apparently get your brother in a killing mood.


El Abuelo

Director: Stephen Crutchfield

Review Rating: 7

Nick is an autistic child who hasn’t spoken for some time, and only re-finds his voice when he wanders from his comfortable middle-class home to the camp in the forest of the some Mexican migrant workers and is taken under the wing of El Abuelo, or Grandfather.


Meetchu in Matchu Picchu

Director: Gabriel Soto

Review Rating: 8

A song and dance number inspired by the romantic letter a young man receives fromSouth America. It’s snappy, the dancing is wonderful, and even the tune is relatively catchy. Plus it takes serious nerve to do that no matter who you are, so good for them.


Fausta Cheats Death

Director: Magdalena Ramirez

Review Rating: 7

Fausta is this girl who really really wants to go to a concert, but she has homework and one other small problem – Death, specifically the female Mexican version, Santa Muerte, has shown up to take Fausta away. It’s a little jumbled for a short, like too many conflicting ideas or desires to toss in, but in the end I thought it was cute. It’s good to see anyone drink Death under the table.


Taxi Love

Director: Liliana Osuna

Review Rating: 6

A lonely lady and a taxi driver meet after a rough night, and spend a beautiful night together building a relationship. I didn’t quite understand the short, but the style was at least watchable.



Director: Izacalli Productions

Review Rating: 7

An older Latino man makes an upgrade to his cellphone, but apparently can only take the single phone available in that style, which happens to be – purple. And somehow, I wasn’t aware of this, purple cellphones mean you’re gay. Done in a strange black and white style that emphasizes the purple cellphone, the short struck me as an odd poster for being against prejudice and violence against gays.