Saturday, February 25, 2017

REVIEW | Hidden Figures (2016)

It’s in the early 1960s and a group of African-American women are working as human computers in NASA’s West Area Computers division—far removed from their white colleagues. However, three sassy ladies stand out: math genius Katherine (Taraji P. Henson), acting supervisor, Dorothy (Octavia Spencer), and...[READ FULL REVIEW HERE].

Friday, February 24, 2017


Burbank, CA – February 23, 2017 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Cloverfield”) has been set to direct “The Batman.” Reeves will also serve as a producer on the new standalone action adventure centering on one of DC’s most enduringly popular Super Heroes. The announcement was made by Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Emmerich stated, “We are thrilled to have Matt Reeves taking the helm of Batman, the crown jewel of our DC slate. Matt’s deep roots in genre films and his evolution into an emotional world-building director make him the perfect filmmaker to guide the Dark Knight through this next journey.”

Matt Reeves noted, “I have loved the Batman story since I was a child. He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply. I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen.”

Batman was created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.

“The Batman” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. (PR)


With barely three weeks before Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast bows on the big screen, the studio has released the official descriptions of the beloved fairy tale's characters.

And when searching for talent to bring the beloved animated characters to life on screen, the filmmakers canvassed the worlds of film, television, music and theatre to find the performers best suited for each role.

BELLE (Emma Watson) is a bright and spirited young woman who dreams of adventure, romance and a world far beyond the confines of her French village. Fiercely independent and keeping to herself for the most part, Belle wants nothing to do with the town’s arrogant and boorish rogue Gaston, who relentlessly pursues her. When her father is imprisoned in the castle of a hideous Beast, Belle trades her own freedom for his and quickly befriends the former staff who have become household objects as result of a curse placed on the castle. The Beast, while surly and ill-mannered, can be generous and chivalrous and knows how to make her laugh, and Belle soon begins to sense the kind heart of the Prince within.

THE BEAST (Dan Stevens). Once a dashing young Prince who had grown to become cruel and self-absorbed before being transformed by an enchantress into a hideous Beast, he is trapped in the castle until he can learn to love another and be worthy of their love in return, thus breaking the curse. When the Beast catches Maurice trespassing and takes him prisoner, his beautiful and headstrong daughter Belle takes his place, and the Beast develops feelings for her, slowly beginning to come back to life.

GASTON (Luke Evans) is the arrogant and shallow villager intent on marrying Belle. A former War hero, he holds court in the village tavern and has every eligible woman in town wrapped around his finger. Smitten with Belle, who is strong-willed and impervious to his charms, Gaston becomes consumed by rejection and jealousy and leads a mob of villagers to the Beast’s castle to rescue Belle and kill the Beast.

LEFOU (Josh Gad), Gaston’s sidekick, is not the brightest bulb in the box. He worships Gaston, who has no regard for him whatsoever and makes him the brunt of his jokes, but soon comes to realize that beneath Gaston’s handsome exterior lays a heart that is much darker.

MAURICE (Kevin Kline), Belle’s father, is a reclusive artist who specializes in beautiful one-of-a-kind music boxes, which to Belle represent the world beyond the confines of Villeneuve but to Maurice are a way to protect his daughter while preserving perfect memories from his past. When Maurice stumbles upon the Beast’s castle and is taken prisoner, Belle comes to plead for his release, eventually trading her freedom for his. Now it is up to him to convince the villagers of Belle’s imprisonment and to find a way to set her free.

LUMIÈRE (Ewan McGregor) is the Prince’s proper French valet who becomes a gilded candelabra as a result of the spell. While frequently at odds with Cogsworth, the mantel clock and besotted with Plumette, the feather duster, Lumière is charming and sophisticated, and can turn an ordinary meal into a musical extravaganza.

COGSWORTH (Ian McKellen). The castle’s fastidious and tightly-wound head butler who is transformed into a mantel clock by the curse of an enchantress, Cogsworth detests any kind of disruption, preferring things to run like clockwork.

MRS. POTTS (Emma Thompson) and CHIP (Nathan Mack). The castle’s former housekeeper, Mrs. Potts, is now a teapot with her Cockney brogue still in place. Her son Chip, who has been transformed into a teacup, is trapped in the castle with her and the other castle staff. It is Mrs. Potts who takes Belle under her wing and who convinces the Beast to try and woo their new houseguest, hoping that she may be the one to capture the heart of the Beast.

PLUMETTE (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is the castle’s former maid turned cheeky, yet graceful, feather duster who has captured the heart of the candelabra, Lumière.

MADAME DE GARDEROBE (Audra McDonald) is the renowned Italian opera diva performing for the Prince when the spell is cast, becoming an enormous wardrobe. She resides in Belle’s room at the castle, and in addition to dressing Belle, has a flare for the dramatic and a proclivity for frequent naps.

MAESTRO CADENZA (Stanley Tucci). Now a harpsichord (with a considerable number of broken keys) following the curse of an enchantress, Maestro Cadenza is husband to – and accompanist of – the celebrated opera diva Madame de Garderobe, who, along with his wife and their dog, Froufrou, are trapped in the castle awaiting the lifting of the curse.

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, March 16, Beauty and the Beast is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International. Like us on Facebook, WaltDisneyStudiosPH; follow us on Twitter, @disney_phil; follow us on Instagram, and use the hashtag #BeOurGuestPH. (PR)


Closing Arts Month celebrations, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) is set to launch the first edition of “Xperimento Pelikula,” a series of events centered on experimental cinema, by screening a program by The Kalampag Tracking Agency (KTA) on February 28, 2017, 7p.m., at the FDCP Cinematheque Centre Manila.

The KTA, a program of Filipino avant-garde film and video over the past 30 years, is an ongoing curatorial initiative between artist-curators Shireen Seno of Los Otros and Merv Espina of Generation Loss (GEN_LOSS). It features works by a diverse array of Filipino artists across generations and continents, including Miko Revereza, Melchor Bacani III, Rox Lee, Ramon Jose "RJ" Leyran, John Torres, Yason Banal, Tad Ermitano, Raya Martin, Tito & Tita, Martha Atienza, Jon Lazam, Cesar Hernando, Eli Guieb III, and Jimbo Albano.

For the first time in the presentation of the KTA, certain works are to be projected in their original 16mm and 35mm formats.

Through exhibiting rare films in experimental cinema and artist film and video, the KTA aims to bring to light and advocate for the archiving, restoration, circulation, and critical discourse of such works.

Recently, the National Film Archives of the Philippines (NFAP), under the auspices of the FDCP, collaborated with the KTA to push forward this archiving initiative by digitally transferring three 16mm films that were in the KTA's original program, namely "Bugtong: And Sigaw ni Lalake" by RJ Leyran, "Kalawang" by Cesar Hernando, Eli Guieb III & Jimbo Albano, and "Minsan Isang Panahon" by Melchor Bacani III.

These films, which were deposited into the NFAP, were created during the Mowelfund Film Institute and Goethe Institut Manila's experimental film workshops in the 80s and 90s. The NFAP scanned the 16mm films in 2K resolution and has included the digital copies as part of the overall preservation of the films. In the screening program, the new digital transfers will replace older versions that originated from crude video.

The FDCP-NFAP continues to work with the KTA and push forward the advocacy of film archiving by digitally transferring more titles from the Mowelfund collection and other rare experimental works for greater public access and future editions of the KTA program.

The FDCP, under the Xperimento Pelikula series, plans to exhibit the KTA program in a nationwide cinematheque tour to Baguio, Iloilo, Davao, and Zamboanga this coming March.

Shireen Seno is a lens-based artist whose work addresses memory, history, and image-making, often in relation to the idea of home. She has had two solo exhibitions in Manila and received international recognition for her feature Big Boy (2012), shot entirely on Super 8. Her photo zine Trunks has been exhibited at MoMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Tokyo Art Book Fair.

Merv Espina is an artist and organizer. He is co-founder of the institute of Lower Learning (iLL), an experimental art and education initiative based in Saigon and Manila; program director for Green Papaya Art Projects, the oldest artist-run creative interdisciplinary platform in the Philippines; and cook-janitor of WSK, a media art kitchen and festival for the recently possible.

Statement from the curators:

Overcoming institutional and personal lapses to give attention to little-seen works—some quite recent, some surviving loss and decomposition—this programme collects loose parts in motion, a series of bangs, or kalampag in Tagalog, assembled by individual strengths and how they might resonate off each other and a contemporary audience. Featuring some of the most striking films and videos from the Philippines and its diaspora, this is an initiative that continues to navigate the uncharted topographies of Filipino alternative and experimental moving image practice.

They say it always starts with a bang. Or a series of bangs.

Like the tiny explosions in your brain that rattle you to take action, it could be something simple and small, not necessarily earth-shattering. The act of capturing the fleeting moments, ideas and visions and down both entail a certain slippage of forms and time, something that tends to elude us but cannot be ignored, something which we liken to kalampag, a Tagalog word that roughly translates to a ‘bang’; the act of tracking them something of an alert, a warning that something may worsen or interrupt the journey, versus the stable engine hum of a giant system, a well-oiled machine; like the rattling of loose parts that collide while in motion.

This is a collection of loose parts in motion, a series of bangs, assembled by individual strengths, and how they might play off each other in the context of a screening program. Featuring works from the Philippines and its diaspora, it is here that we present some of the most singular, fragile, and striking moving image works by Filipinos over the past thirty years. It could have been from forty years, or more. But we are limited by time and resources, and what we have current access to.

This is by no means a representative program. This selection is personal, subjective. Like the works assembled here, the act of assembling this program is itself informed by a certain agency, by an independent urge to act on one’s will.

With no small amount of detective work to address the institutional and personal gaps of proper cataloging, archiving and storage, we tracked down individual people and individual works, from the nooks and crannies of several libraries and collections, to tiny islands in the Visayas, to the Los Angeles sprawl.

With a variety of formats, techniques and textures; from 8mm and 16mm to HD and cellphone video; from found-footage and optical print experiments to ethnographic documents and video installations; this is a collection of works assembled not by theme, history, medium or other arbitrary concerns: this is a confluence of uncanny juxtapositions and pleasant contradictions, an experience not unlike revisiting a familiar place in a new light. But before you get to where you’re going, you hit a speed bump or a pothole and you hear a loud rattling coming from your car. Sometimes you think something’s amiss; sometimes it’s the sound of it that comforts you.

This program would be impossible to put together without the kind support of the individual artists, the Mowelfund Film Institute, UP College of Mass Communications, UP Film Institute, Ateneo Art Gallery, Green Papaya Art Projects, Terminal Garden, and the National Film Archive of the Philippines.

The screening prints of the 8mm and 16mm films created in the 80s and 90s that are featured in the Kalampag Tracking Agency are mostly missing or completely decomposed. Some of the lucky ones have negatives and/or preservation copies left. The screening versions of the films in this screening program come from crude U-Matic, VHS and Betamax transfers. The Agency is still in the process of tracking down the surviving prints.

Organizational notes:
Based in Manila, Peliculas Los Otros is a film and video production house dedicated to supporting films with unique personal voices. It has produced the films of John Torres and Shireen Seno, including Todo Todo Teros (2006), Years When I Was A Child Outside (2008), Refrains Happen Like Revolutions in a Song (2010), BIG BOY (2012), and Lukas Nino / Lukas the Strange (2013). Los Otros also works with experimental film initiatives from abroad to bring artists such as Iimura Takahiko, films such as Sensory Ethnography Lab's Leviathan, and programs such as Hors Pistes Tokyo(オール・ピスト東京) and Images Festival, to Manila.

Merv Espina started Generation Loss (GEN_LOSS) in 2012 as a formal extension of his research-based arts practice to investigate histories, experiments, alternative strategies, current trajectories and expanded practices in the moving image and audiovisual culture. It looks particularly in the context of the Philippines, and comparatively with Southeast Asia and elsewhere. (PR)


Responding to the fever-pitch anticipation of Hugh Jackman’s “Logan”, the most eager of cineastes who want to see it first can finally catch the movie on its midnight screenings (12:01am) set on March 1, Wednesday in Philippine theatres nationwide (check your nearest favorite theatres).

Starring Hugh Jackman in the title role, “Logan” is directed by James Mangold that also stars a powerhouse of a cast that includes Patrick Stewart, Boy Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant and newcomer Dafne Keen. A standalone story that sees Jackman in the final chapter of his Wolverine alter-ego, the movie brings the iconic hero at a crossroads that will finally define his destiny.

The film takes place more than 50 years after the events depicted in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and is its own standalone tale that plays more like an intimate family journey but is also packed with high-stakes action scenes. When the film opens, Logan is in a vulnerable and broken state, the curse of his immortality wearing heavy on him as he cares for a weakened Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in a derelict smelting plant at the edge of an abandoned oil field. They’re joined there by a third mutant, Caliban (The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant), sheltering in obscurity at a time when the world believes mutants have passed into history.

But Logan’s days of drinking in relative solitude are interrupted when he finds himself the reluctant guardian of a young girl, Laura (Keen) who has powers remarkably like his own, from her hands as well as her feet spring the same adamantium claws as Wolverine’s. Not that he’s exactly eager to accept this newfound responsibility—he’s far too weary to play the hero once more.

Tasked with protecting her from the murderous cybernetic criminal Donald Pierce (Holbrook), Logan and Professor X set out to cross hostile territory to ferry Laura to a place called Eden, where young mutants are said to enjoy safe haven. But Pierce and his fearsome army of cyborg Reavers are determined to return the girl to the custody of Dr. Zander Rice (Grant), the sinister geneticist behind Alkali who triggered her mutations through a series of inhumane experiments in the hopes of creating a child super-soldier.

“Logan” further unleashes its claws a few hours after its midnight screenings (with more screens) on March 1 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. Also available in IMAX (2D) screens. The movie is rated R-16 by the MTRCB. (PR)

Theaters with midnight screenings:
  1. Century 2D
  2. Eastwood 2D
  3. EVIA MX4D
  4. Fishermall 2D
  5. Gaisano Davao 2D
  6. Gaisano Tagum 2D
  7. Gateway ATMOS
  8. Glorietta 4 2D
  9. Greenbelt 3 2D
  10. Newport 2D
  11. Powerplant ATMOS
  12. SM Aura 2D & IMAX
  13. SM BF 2D
  14. SM Cebu IMAX
  15. SM Clark 2D
  16. SM Fairview 2D
  17. SM Light Mall 2D
  18. SM Mall of Asia IMAX
  19. SM Megamall IMAX
  20. SM North Edsa IMAX
  21. SM Pampanga 2D
  22. Starmall Alabang ATMOS
  23. Starmall EDSA 2D
  24. Starmall Las Piñas 2D
  25. Starmall San Jose ATMOS
  26. Trinoma 2D
  27. Vista Bataan ATMOS
  28. Vista Pampanga ATMOS
  29. Vista Sta. Rosa ATMOS
  30. Vista Taguig ATMOS

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

REVIEW | My Ex and Whys (2017)

Cathy Garcia-Molina is the studio’s hot-shot rom-com director, and she directs the latest studio effort “My Ex and Whys,” starring the hit LizQuen: Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. It lightly explores gender stereotyping: men are all cheaters, breaking their promises...[READ FULL REVIEW HERE]


Meet the latest teen superheroes as they embark in their high-octane journey on screen in the all-new “Power Rangers” movie.

Saban’s “Power Rangers” follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove — and the world — is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

Saban’s Power Rangers, re-envisions the Power Rangers as five ordinary high-school teens who discover they have acquired unique super powers and must join forces to save the world. To play the iconic Power Ranger roles, the filmmakers assembled a diverse ensemble of emerging young stars who share many characteristics with their characters, and their predecessors in the roles, says director Dean Israelite.

Jason, the Red Ranger (played by Dacre Montgomery) was a football legend in his small town of Angel Grove until one fateful mistake. When we first meet Jason, he is in need of redemption and is struggling to find himself. But soon he is given a chance to lead a new team made up of an unlikely group of teenage superheroes and must find it in himself to rise to the challenge.

Kimberly, the Pink Ranger (Naomi Scott) used to be Queen Bee of Angel Grove High, but has been cast out of the popular clique and is now struggling to find her identity. She has a new rebel-without-a-cause, edgy attitude, but this front is hiding a secret that makes her feel deeply vulnerable.

Billy, the Blue Ranger (RJ Cyler) has always been challenged in his abilities to communicate and interact socially. Whip-smart and sweet, he is the most pure-hearted of the group. Billy has never really had any friends, so finding teenagers that he is comfortable with is a big deal, and soon he begins connecting with people in a way he’s never been able to do before.

Trini, the Yellow Ranger (Becky G) is mysterious but extremely bright. Her parents constantly move for work, making her the perpetual new girl to any school. A loner who owns it, Trini is self-sufficient and contemplative, but always observant. All she wants is to find her gang of friends, but she’ll never admit it — least of all to herself.

Zack, the Black Ranger (Ludi Lin) is filled with bravado and swagger. He is tough and cool on the exterior but has many layers beyond his fearless appearance. Zack advertises everything about himself, except the truth, which makes him feel deeply inferior to all his peers.

“Power Rangers” opens March 22 at your favorite theatres nationwide from Pioneer Films. (PR)

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