Showing posts from 2014


Who's that girl who moves with the rhythm of a busy NYC? Who's the foster kid who sees the good in everybody - even her foster mom, the queen of mean, Miss Hannigan? Who Hearts New York - and finds out that New York Hearts her right back? Just one kid - it's “Annie!”

The youngest person ever nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who's also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything's about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) - advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) - makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her …


Walt Disney Studios Philippines will release nine movies in 2015, led by Marvel's “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the live-action “Cinderella” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the first Star Wars installment since 2005.

Disney's opening film for the new year will be Rob Marshall's “Into the Woods,” already a December blockbuster in the U.S. and stars Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine and Emily Blunt. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel — all tied together by an original story.

In March, “Cinderella” will get the live-action treatment, the way Disney brought fantasy characters like “Maleficent” and “Alice in Wonderland” to the bigscreen. “Cinderella” is directed by Kenneth Branagh and features Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) and Cate Blanchett.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” will start its box-office campaign in April. The sequel will once again feature the team-up of superheroes Iro…


Chris Kyle might have been just one of the millions of veterans who have served were it not for a statistic. He emerged from the war in Iraq as the most lethal sniper in the history of the U.S. military, but the filmmakers of Warner Bros. Pictures' “American Sniper” knew it was equally if not more important to explore the man behind the numbers.

Director/producer Clint Eastwood offers, “I have done war stories before, but this was exciting to me because it was a cross between Chris’s exploits in combat and the personal aspects of his life, which made him even more interesting. It shows the toll war takes on a person but also the pressure it puts on the whole family. It’s good to be reminded of what’s at stake when people are sent into war and to acknowledge the sacrifices they make, so I thought that made it an especially significant story to tell.”
The screenplay for “American Sniper” is based on the book of the same name, co-written by Kyle (with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice). Ho…

REVIEW | Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo (2014)

Andres Bonifacio's colorful character is exciting material for cinema. A passionate and compulsive revolutionist who met a tragic end, a brave man who fought for the Filipino freedom but ultimately suffered from the hands of his own race, Bonifacio is a national hero whose history and legacy continue to captivate us.

After Richard Somes' visually pleasing but utterly passionless Bonifacio in 2012's Supremo  (read my frustration here), we are, with great relief, presented with a passionate fighter in Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo, with action star Robin Padilla in the titular role.

Directed by Enzo Williams, and screenplay penned by him, Carlo Obispo, and Keiko Aquino, the film delivers a solid, clear, and compact retelling of the story of the founder of Katipunan, which would engage Filipinos of all ages and background—from the most hardcore historical nut down to your regular high school student.

With the opening scene of the horrific death sentence of the GOMBURZA (Mar…


The wait is almost over, as “Love, Rosie” opens in cinemas this January 8 in local (Phils.), where two of today’s most loved young actors Lily Collins and Sam Claflin star as Rosie and Alex, best friends since they were five. When it comes to love, life and making the right choices, these two are their own worst enemies. But one awkward turn at 18, one missed opportunity...and life sends them hurling in different directions. Could they be the one true love for each other after all?

Based on Cecelia Ahern’s bestselling novel “Where Rainbows End”, LOVE, ROSIE is a sassy, heart-warming, and utterly modern comedy-of-errors tale posing the ultimate question: Do we really only get one shot at true love? “How do you adapt a book that’s all texts and emails,” says producer Simon Brooks of one of the

project’s biggest challenges – the novel’s epistolary structure, composed around the emails, letters and text messages which Alex and Rosie exchange. “How do you make that into a movie?”

In dir…


Walt Disney Pictures' “Into the Woods,” the contemporary retelling of the classic fairy tales, has been nominated for major Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Actress for Emily Blunt who plays the Baker's Wife, and Best Supporting Actress for Meryl Streep for playing the Witch.

Rob Marshall, producer and director of “Into the Woods,” reacted to the nominations thus, "On behalf of my fellow producers, John DeLuca and Marc Platt, I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for this wonderful honor. I am so proud to have been a part of bringing Stpehen Sondheim and James Lapine’s beloved and profound work to the screen, and equally proud of the extraordinary cast who brought it to life with such passion and heart."

For her part, Emily Blunt has issued this statement: “Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press for embracing the Baker's Wife and recognizing this film that I am so proud to be a part of. Playing this part made me s…


Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges stars as grizzled demon-slayer Master Gregory in Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures' fantasy adventure “Seventh Son.”

For Master Gregory, explains producer Basil Iwanyk, the filmmakers needed an actor who “could play grumpy and taciturn and irascible, aged but still lively and youthful, charming when he wants to be and has a great physicality.” They felt that Jeff Bridges fit that bill. “He’s always been one of the best American actors, and he’s a true box-office draw, having established those credentials with films like `TRON: Legacy' and `True Grit.' There are a lot of actors who feel very familiar in movies in this genre and we knew Jeff would bring his own spin to this, which he has. He created this incredible character.”

“Master Gregory is somebody who has got a lot of miles on him and is very weary,” elaborates producer Jillian Share. “He has the burden of keeping the forces of evil at bay, yet without the appreciation of those …


20th Century Fox, avant-garde studio behind breakthrough concepts in filmmaking such as the immersive 3D technology in “Avatar,” the better-than-ever sequels of franchise films such as “Ice Age” and superheroes such as “X-Men” films, non-stop heart-pounding action flicks and phenomenal book-to-film adaptations of “The Fault In Our Stars,” “Life of Pi” and “Maze Runner” welcomes 2015 with unforgettable and highly-entertaining movies poised to set new box-office records.

Ben Stiller and the his magical friends and new ones are back in the third and final instalment of “Night at the Museum” franchise, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.” The adventure begins when Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) discovers that the iconic historical heroes, seems to be out of control – fighting, brandishing guns and causing chaos at the Museum of Natural History, where Larry runs the extraordinary ‘Night Program’ and must find a way to keep the magic alive.

“Taken 3” will prove that Brian Mills is u…


Twelve years ago, following the phenomenal success of the big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical “Chicago” (which won six Academy Awards®, including Best Picture), director Rob Marshall sat down with Stephen Sondheim and expressed an interest in directing a film version of one of the legendary composer’s stage productions. At the top of Sondheim’s list: “Into the Woods,” one of his most acclaimed – and poignant – works, and one which he thought would be a perfect fit for Marshall.

Marshall and his producing partner, John DeLuca, had been fans of Sondheim and James Lapine’s landmark musical since it opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre in 1987. In describing the piece Marshall says, “The story seamlessly intertwines Sondheim’s emotional, funny and brilliant score with Lapine’s intricate and masterful book, which is a modern twist on several beloved fairy tales, and is entertaining, while examining complex themes like the consequences of wishes, the parent/child relations…


Warner Bros. Pictures has just revealed the main poster, character banners and the new trailer for Will Smith's con artist movie “Focus.” Watch the trailer here at HERE.

“Focus” also stars Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Rodrigo Santoro (the “300” films) and Gerald McRaney (TV’s “House of Cards”).

Smith stars as Nicky, a seasoned master of misdirection who becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess (Robbie). As he’s teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame—now an accomplished femme fatale—shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of the high stakes racecar circuit. In the midst of Nicky’s latest, very dangerous scheme, she throws his plans for a loop…and the consummate con man off his game.

“Focus” is written and directed by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.”).

Opening across the Philippine on February 25, 2015, “Focus” is distributed by Warner…


Chris Hemsworth (the “Thor” films) tries to stop a mysterious cybercriminal in the latest trailer for Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures' thriller “Blackhat” which may be viewed at HERE.

The film, whose topic is as timely as the current headlines, is directed and produced by Michael Mann (“Collateral,” “Public Enemies”).

Set within the world of global cybercrime, “Blackhat” follows a furloughed convict (Hemsworth) and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.

The film also stars Viola Davis, Tang Wei and Wang Leehom, and it is written by Morgan Davis Foehl and Mann. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni produce alongside Mann, while Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod serve as the executive producers.

Opening across the Philippines on January 21, 2015, “Blackhat” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. (PR)


The new trailer for Ron Howard's “In the Heart of the Sea” starring Chris Hemsworth, has just been released by Warner Bros. Pictures and may be viewed at HERE.

In the winter of 1820, the Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. “In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

“In the Heart of the Sea” stars Chris Hemsworth (“The Avengers,” “Rush”) as the vessel’s veteran first mate Owen…


From Will Gluck, the director of the acclaimed comedy “Easy A,” comes the new, contemporary vision of the Broadway classic with Columbia Pictures’ comedy “Annie” starring Oscar-honorees Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx.

Director, writer and producer Will Gluck says that in approaching a new vision for Annie - the classic show that won seven Tony Awards on Broadway and went on to become a heartfelt movie classic for 1980s kids who are now parents themselves - he was excited by the chance to work on a film that captures the magic of family.

"When we were filming, my daughter was the exact same age as Annie - 10 years old," he says. "I wanted to be a part of a movie that I could share with my family. I wanted to be part of a movie that would make everybody happy. This is a movie that puts a smile on your face at the beginning and keeps it there all day."

Working with a classic is no easy task, but it's one that Gluck, along with the producers, approached with equ…

REVIEW | New Wave Shorts - Metro Manila Film Festival (2014)

Ang Soltera (2014)

A depressed spinster from the past (depressed, right, but admirably makes a great effort in wearing heavy makeup and a wig every single day) and an overly optimistic out-of-school peddling boy's paths cross.

The boy is intrigued by the mysterious woman upstairs who buys his ti-q, banana-q, sundot saging. And we are, too. Who is that woman? Is she an aswang? A tterminally cill patient? A mental patient? No, she's just depressed, and after a little argument over the use of social media on tablet, coupled by the boy's presence and his words of wisdom, and an ancient telephone, the spinster's view of life dramatically changes.

Horrible performances (except for the boy who provides acceptable performance).

1 out of 5 stars

Siyanawa (2014)

A self-conscious exhibition that made me suffer visually and internally. A desperate attempt at experimental artsy fartsy auteur. Like a deranged man preparing a meal and throwing anything into the bowl, and the more gross…