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Showing posts from July, 2016

MARVEL'S “DOCTOR STRANGE” CASTS SPELL WITH NEW POSTER

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Marvel's "Doctor Strange" has unleashed its new international, payoff poster and a second trailer which may be viewed at HERE..

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, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel cinematic universe.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, “Doctor Strange” stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Michael Stuhlbarg with Mads Mikkelsen and Academy Award® winner Tilda Swinton.

Based on the Marvel comic character who first appeared in “Strange Tales” Issue #110 published in July 1963, Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” continues the lineage of epic big-screen adventures chronicled in Marve…

THE JOKER LOVES HARLEY QUINN IN “SUICIDE SQUAD”

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Oscar-winner Jared Leto and Margot Robbie play the world's ultimate dysfunctional couple The Joker and Harley Quinn in Warner Bros. Pictures' wickedly fun action-adventure “Suicide Squad.”

While most complicated people try to keep their weaknesses a secret, former psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Robbie) wears hers on her sleeve. She openly expresses her love for the Joker, a man she was once assigned to psychoanalyze at the notorious Arkham Asylum prison, but for whom she now brands herself with tattoos that bear his name and symbols. Her transformation into Harley Quinn—Joker’s lover and the target of his twisted affections—was the result of the tables turned by a master manipulator.

But Harley has been separated from her true love by the thick walls of Belle Reve Federal Penitentiary, which is designed to hold the “worst of the worst.”

Harley’s love for her boyfriend initially troubled Margot Robbie, who was tasked with bringing the harlequin to life. “Why does she love this …

ULTIMATE TRIBUTE TO MOTHERS IN NEW COMEDY “BAD MOMS” - OPENS AUGUST 3 IN CINEMAS

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The latest badass comedy “Bad Moms” brings together an ensemble of extremely talented group of filmmakers starting from the writer/director duo, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who also penned the outrageous worldwide hit “The Hangover,” along with producer Suzanne Todd, a multiple Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominated producer whose movies have grossed more than two and a half billion dollars worldwide such as “Austin Powers” trilogy, “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Boiler Room” and “Memento.”

With a wide array of adjectives to choose from - tiger moms, soccer moms, perfect moms, fed up moms, you name it, they’re all here in “Bad Moms,” the ultimate tribute movie about the awesomeness of mothers starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate and Annie Mumolo with Jay Hernandez, Oona Lawrence and Emjay Anthony.

It’s war between the good and the mean in “Bad Moms,” contemporarily set in a world where there’s simply an overload of information – high tech …

AYALA MALLS CINEMAS’ LATEST ROCKING REVEAL IN THE NORTH U.P. TOWN CENTER’S 4DXTM, RECLINER SEATS AND POWERFUL DOLBY ATMOSTMTECHNOLOGY

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Buckle up, sit tight and rediscover movies as Ayala Malls Cinemas’ U.P. Town Center (along Katipunan Ave., QC) opened the first 4DXTM screen in the city at its recent launch (July 15) of its multiplex of cinemas that also houses luxurious recliner seats and the latest in Dolby Atmos technology.       Responsive to the needs of the community, Ayala Malls Cinemas’ U.P. Town Center intensifies the cinematic experience notches higher with its four (4) state-of-the-art cinemas – (1)Recliner seats equipped in Dolby AtmosTM , (2) Dolby digital theatres and (1) 4DXTM cinema.        
                Be in the movie by using all of your senses with U.P. Town Center’s 4DXTM cinema, the first of its kind in northern Metro Manila.  Stimulating not just the eyes but the rest of the senses too, 4DXTM has indeed transformed the experience of watching movies.   Its 4DXTM motion chairs are equipped with bottom and back shakers and leg ticklers - tilts forward, backward, side to side and nudges in the ba…

REVIEW | Jason Bourne (2016)

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After nine years, Paul Greengrass returns to direct the fifth film in the Bourne series, and this latest installment is beautifully shot; the camera's frequent unsteadiness gives a more realistic feel to the chaos, the chase, and the violence that permeate the movie.
It's the present day and a depressed-looking and significantly aged Bourne (Matt Damon), a former CIA assassin suffering from amnesia, is off-the-grid, earning from underground fighting in Athens. When clues about his past, as well as Treadstone, his former CIA program, return to haunt him again, he becomes determined to dig deeper.

Meanwhile, CIA director Dewey (Tommee Lee Jones) and CIA super hacker Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) chase after our hero—with their own hidden agendas.


Jason Bourne is a coherent action-packed adventure deliciously devoid of CGI effects. The skillful editing and urgent camerawork capture the characters' stress in the midst of chaos, fights, and violent car chases. The road chases a…

REVIEW | Anino sa Likod ng Buwan / Shadow Behind the Moon (2015)

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The trailer of Jun Robles Lana's Anino sa Likod ng Buwan, which is dark, grainy, somewhat static and capturing the humdrum of a domestic life, doesn't reveal much. Yet proceeding to watch the full movie will reveal a tense, exciting, and riveting chamber piece, making this one of the best films in recent history.

Set in the early 1990's, during an armed conflict between the military and the rebels in the remote province of Marag Valley, we are taken to the dilapidated house of an internal refugee couple, Emma (LJ Reyes) and Nando (Anthony Falcon), entertaining their kindly soldier friend, Joel (Luis Alandy). The story takes place only one night, during a rare lunar eclipse, and like the earth's shadow covering the moon, the three characters are shadowing secrets of their own.

Shot in one continuous take, in a boxed 4:3 aspect ratio in low light, it feels like watching an old VHS home-video from 1993, or acquiring access into the CIA video archive, complete with hardco…

“KING ARTHUR” GETS ACTION-PACKED TREATMENT IN “LEGEND OF THE SWORD” TRAILER

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Guy Ritchie (“Sherlock Holmes”) brings his dynamic style to an original King Arthur epic in Warner Bros. Pictures' sweeping fantasy action adventure “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” starring Charlie Hunnam. Watch the film's first trailer (launched at the recent San Diego Comic-Con).

Starring with Hunnam are Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Oscar nominee Jude Law, and Eric Bana. Ritchie directs the film from a screenplay by Joby Harold and Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, story by Joby Harold.

The bold new story introduces a streetwise young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium with his gang, unaware of the life he was born for until he grasps hold of the sword Excalibur—and with it, his future. Instantly challenged by the power of Excalibur, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the peop…

“WONDER WOMAN” FIRST TRAILER DEALS WITH CHARACTER’S FASCINATING ORIGIN

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“Wonder Woman” hits movie theaters around the world June 2017 when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins. Watch the film’s first trailer at which was unveiled during the Comic-Con panel Saturday.






“Wonder Woman” marks the character’s first time headlining a feature.

 Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

The film also stars Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor, Robin Wright Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya and Lucy Davis.

“Wonder Woman” is based on characters created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic b…

“KONG: SKULL ISLAND” FIRST TRAILER TEASES THE MONSTER KING

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Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Kong: Skull Island” reimagines the origin of the mythic Kong in a compelling, original adventure from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Watch the film's first trailer here (unveiled during the recent San Diego Comic-Con).



In the film, a diverse team of explorers is brought together to venture deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific—as beautiful as it is treacherous—unaware that they’re crossing into the domain of the mythic Kong.

“Kong: Skull Island” stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar winner Brie Larson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly. The international ensemble cast also includes Tian Jing, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Thomas Mann, Shea Whigham, Toby Kebbell and Eugene Cordero.

Vogt-Roberts directs the film from a screenplay by Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy and Derek Connolly. “Kong: Skull Island” is produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni with Mary Parent. The executive producers are…

DAD BECOMES CAT IN MAGICAL FAMILY MOVIE “NINE LIVES”

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From the director the worldwide blockbuster action comedy film “Men In Black,” filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld brings together a cast of actors in his latest family movie “Nine Lives” led by Kevin Spacey with Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell, Malina Weissman, Christopher Walken and Cheryl Hines.

In “Nine Lives,” an immensely successful businessman who has built an empire at the expense of any sort of true human connection, Tom Brand (Spacey) is surrounded by good people who love him in spite of his skyscraper-sized flaws. But it isn’t until he finds himself with four paws and a tail that Tom realizes how lucky he’s been.

A unique mix of heartwarming family fare, supernatural mystery and slapstick comedy, “Nine Lives” also delivers the thrill of seeing one of the most talented actors of our time inhabiting the body of an adorable cat named Mr. Fuzzypants. Hearkening back to films as diverse as It’s a Wonderful Life, Big and Freaky Friday, it’s a c…

ALICIA VIKANDER VOWS TO BRING IN ROGUE AGENT “JASON BOURNE”

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Oscar® winner Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”) stars in Universal Pictures’ new action thriller “Jason Bourne” as Heather Lee, a prodigy hacker in the CIA, whose talents lie in her ability to analyze and predict, through social media, possible conflicts in different parts of the world—and then to exert influence or even control them.

“Heather is a young woman who went to Stanford and was recruited by many organizations,” says producer Gregory Goodman. “She could have chosen the private sector and made millions, but it’s clear she’s a smart person who’s made a specific choice about what matters in her life. It’s not just that she’s ambitious, she also wants to be effective; she feels she’s going to make her mark by bringing Bourne back in. We needed to cast an actor of some power, to be going up against Tommy; their relationship is definitely one of spirited conflict.”

An expert in counterinsurgency and drone strikes—and an operative who has high-value targe…

COMIC-CON TRAILER OF “FANTASTIC BEASTS” EXPLORES NEW ERA OF MAGIC

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Warner Bros. Pictures has released the official Comic-Con trailer of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” which may be viewed here.



“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is an all-new adventure returning us to the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling.

Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne stars in the central role of wizarding world magizoologist Newt Scamander, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” blockbusters.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident … were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” also stars Katheri…

MODERN DAY MOTHERHOOD QUIRKS IN HILARIOUS “BAD MOMS” MOVIE

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In the latest totally relatable movie for mothers all over the world, “Bad Moms” brings together three overworked and under-appreciated moms who ditch conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence when pushed beyond their limits.

The most hilarious authentic comedy of the year, “Bad Moms” stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell (played Anna in “Frozen”) and Kathryn Hahn, written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who also penned the highly successful “The Hangover” film series. The movie is produced by blockbuster maker Suzanne Todd, who is behind worldwide hits such as “Alice In Wonderland” and “Austin Powers” movies.

“Bad Moms” sees Amy (Kunis), leading a seemingly perfect life - a great marriage, overachieving kids, beautiful home, stunning looks and still holding down a career. However she's over-worked, over committed and exhausted to the point that she's about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other moms, Kiki (Bell), a sta…

“WANTED” DIRECTOR PUTS A NEW TWIST ON THE EPIC ADVENTURE “BEN-HUR”

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From Timur Bekmambetov, the director of “Wanted” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” comes the epic action-adventure “Ben-Hur,” based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

(Watch the new “Ben-Hur” clip)

“Ben-Hur” is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title and separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption

When Timur Bekmambetov was first approached to direct a re-imagining of one of cinema’s most beloved films, he was hesitant. "The 1959 `Ben-Hur' is not just a film, it’s a phenomenon that greatly affected the culture of the 20th century," Bekmambetov explains. “That’s why when I was offered to direct its reincarnation, my initial thought was ‘absolutely not.’ Luckily pr…

GET TO KNOW THE BADDIES AROUND THE “SUICIDE SQUAD”

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You've met the members of “Suicide Squad” last week, now get to know the baddies around them in director David Ayer's epic, mad adventure “Suicide Squad” (in Philippine cinemas August 04).

AMANDA WALLER (Viola Davis). A hard-as-nails career U.S. intelligence officer who makes bad things happen to bad people, Amanda Waller is the secret commander of the Suicide Squad and cares only about the operation at hand—everyone is expendable when serving the greater good. She puts the inaugural Squad together in order to attempt an impossible mission, ensuring herself easy patsies to take the blame and zero personal accountability if things go wrong.

COLONEL RICK FLAG (Joel Kinnaman). Amanda Waller’s second-in-command, Colonel Rick Flag is the best Tier One Shooter the armed forces has produced, which makes him even more suspicious of a homegrown cannon like Deadshot (Will Smith). A military man through and through, Flag is in charge of keeping this disparate group in line.

THE JOKER (Jared…

NEWCOMER RUBY BARNHILL WALKS TALL WITH “THE BFG”

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The central heartbeat of Disney and Amblin Entertainment's new fantasy adventure “The BFG” is the relationship between the Big Friendly Giant and young girl, Sophie.

Director Steven Spielberg has selected newcomer Ruby Barnhill to play Sophie, the curious and compassionate young orphan who is whisked out of her bed and taken to Giant Country.

The character of Sophie, who was named after author Roald Dahl’s first granddaughter, can't be pushed around. “She is one of the strongest female characters I think I have ever had in one of my films,” says Spielberg. “She gives so much hope and encouragement to the BFG.”

For six months the filmmakers looked at thousands of girls varying in age and experience, but when the director saw 9-year old Barnhill, a school girl from Knutsford in Cheshire, England, her audition stopped him dead in his tracks. “There was just something about her,” Spielberg says. “She is fascinating and incredibly talented, and just perfect for this role.”

The filmmake…

CREATING THE LETHAL SHARK IN “THE SHALLOWS”

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Columbia Pictures’ suspenseful tale “The Shallows” presents the breathtaking story of Nancy (Blake Lively), a surfer who finds herself in the feeding ground of a great white shark.

(Watch the TV spot The Shallows: Best shark Movie Since `Jaws'.)

In creating the shark, director Jaume Collet-Serra wanted to create a worthy adversary that would keep audiences on the edge of their seats. “I wanted the shark to be a presence for half the movie,” Collet-Serra says. “I wanted to reveal it slowly, then have it be a force of nature. My reasoning was that if Nancy doesn’t get a good look at the shark, then the audience shouldn’t get a good look at it, either.”

For all of the obvious reasons, the film’s great white shark would be created digitally. Great whites are a threatened species, and they generally do not survive well in captivity. And that doesn’t even get into the danger of filming a movie near an unpredictable, wild animal.

Collet-Serra teamed with the art department for the design of …

DENZEL, PRATT INVITE FANS TO WATCH “THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN” NEW TRAILER

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Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt went out of their way to engage fans as they introduce the new international trailer of Columbia Pictures' upcoming action-adventure “The Magnificent Seven” which may be viewed HERE.




Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ and Columbia Pictures’ “The Magnificent Seven.”

With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.

Opening across the Philippines on September …

UNTITLED “BLADE RUNNER” SEQUEL UNVEILS FIRST-LOOK CONCEPT ART

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Columbia Pictures has just revealed the first-look concept art for its Untitled Blade Runner Sequel starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

Denis Villeneuve (“Sicario,” “Prisoners”) is directing and principal photography is scheduled to begin this month. The film will be released by Warner Bros. in North America and Sony Pictures Releasing International will distribute in all media for all overseas territories.

“I’ve always been attracted to science-fiction films with strong visual signatures that lead us into unique parallel worlds and the original ‘Blade Runner’ is by far the best of all time,” said Villanueve in a statement. “Ridley Scott had the genius to blend science-fiction and film noir to create this unique exploration of human condition. The new ‘Blade Runner’ is an extension of the first movie a few decades later.”

The sequel is set several decades after the 1982 original, with Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role as Rick Deckard. The film is written by Hampton Fancher and…

HAPPY WORLD UNLIKE ANY AWAITS IN “TROLLS”

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From DreamWorks, creators of highly successful animation such as “Kung Fu Panda,” “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Madagascar” comes “Trolls,” the most smart, funny, irreverent animated comedy of the year.

“Trolls” takes the audience to a colorful, wondrous world populated by hilariously unforgettable characters and discover the story of the overly optimistic creatures (Trolls), with a constant song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomach. “Trolls” features the voice of Anna Kendrick as Poppy, the optimistic leader of the Trolls, and her polar opposite, Branch, played by Justin Timberlake. Together, this unlikely pair of Trolls must embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond the only world they've ever known.

Leading the happy bunch of Trolls is Poppy (Kendrick), a relentlessly upbeat — if slightly naive — Troll whose father King Peppy saved his subjects from the Troll-h…

SINISTER SIDE OF SOCIAL MEDIA EXPOSED IN “NERVE”

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Emma Roberts and Dave Franco star in “Nerve,” a timely edge-of-your-seat thriller and a razor-sharp examination of the seductive power of social media.

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, best known for their work on “Catfish” and the “Paranormal Activity” series, who have created an action-packed urban adventure that also offers keen insights into online behavior.

Based on the popular young-adult novel by Jeanne Ryan, the game of “Nerve” introduces a pool of young thrill-seeking players who accept increasingly risky dares from anonymous watchers to win valuable rewards. As small-time pranks ramp up into dangerous, sometimes acts, fans watch the action captured live on smartphones.

In “Nerve,” when Staten Island high-school senior Vee Delmonico (played by Emma Roberts) is challenged by her best friend to take part in the game, it launches a series of life-changing events. Each game of Nerve lasts only 24 hours; then a winner is declared and it moves on to the next challengers.…

ROALD DAHL'S BELOVED BOOK “THE BFG” COMES TO LIFE

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Disney and Amblin Entertainment, in association with Walden Media, present the fantasy adventure film “The BFG,” the first-ever motion picture adaptation of Roald Dahl’s resonant tale of childhood, the magic of dreams and the extraordinary friendship between a young girl and a big friendly giant.

Roald Dahl’s seminal tale of the friendship between a young girl and a mysterious giant seemed perfectly aligned with director Steven Spielberg's own body of work, and while it may have seemed destined that Sophie and the BFG would one day find their way into Spielberg’s care, it would be decades following the book’s publication before the journey would actually begin.

Dahl’s “The BFG” was first published in 1982, the same year Spielberg’s own story about an unusual and transformative friendship, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” captured the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike. The British author is one of the world’s most creative, mischievous and successful storytellers, som…

FOR “STAR TREK BEYOND,” J.J. ABRAMS TRANSFERS DIRECTING DUTIES TO JUSTIN LIN

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“Working on Star Trek was one of the luckiest experiences of my life,” says producer J.J. Abrams, the man responsible for bringing new life to the beloved science fiction franchise, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. “Gene Roddenberry created this incredible world that we’re thrilled to revisit again and again.”

After two films in the director’s chair, 2009’s “Star Trek” and 2012’s “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” Abrams and his team selected director Justin Lin, a veteran of the Fast & Furious franchise, to bring the new film, “Star Trek Beyond,” to life.

“Justin has proven himself again and again as an incredibly strong storyteller,” Abrams explains, “but what struck me more than anything was his genuine love of Star Trek. I knew he’d be able to handle the action sequences, but what got me most excited was hearing him talk about these characters if they were people he knew. He’s really the perfect fit.”

Growing up in the 80s, Lin remembers Star Trek reruns becoming a regul…

REVIEW | Ma'Rosa (2016)

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It is Brillante Mendoza’s strong suit—a social realist drama set in a squalid and congested area in Manila, his hand-held camera giving us an uncensored and intimate view of a depressing truth. And in Ma’Rosa, Mendoza focuses on police corruption, taking us to the backroom where the bribery takes place.

The titular character (Jaclyn Jose) is a hardened mother of four who owns a tiny convenience store in a poor urban neighborhood. In her cramped and impoverished world, every day is a regular cycle of debts, loans, minding her store, gambling—and peddling crystal meth on the side. Her husband Nestor (Julio Diaz) snorts ice in the upstairs of their dingy shack, and it’s a very much accepted lifestyle.

Rosa’s routine of survival is interrupted when one rainy night the police raids her home and arrests her and her stoned husband for illegal possession of prohibited drugs. And so we watch how the police conduct their illegal proceedings.

Ma’Rosa is not a thriller. There is no suspense, no a…

REVIEW | Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

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The slew of negative reviews might be a repellent, but is Alice Through the Looking Glass really that bad? I didn’t think so.

The sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, with James Bobin (The Muppets) at the helm, we are reunited with Alice (a very tired-looking, makeup-free Mia Wasikowska)—now a highly skilled merchant sea captain. But an unexpected trip back to Underland through a looking glass forces Alice into a wild mission: save the dying Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp)—and this means hijacking time and history. Meanwhile, her Back-to-the-Future-esque trips also reveal the Red Queen’s (Helena Bonham-Carter) sad origins.


Alice may be too impulsive and careless by dangerously manipulating Time (who is a fascinating blue-eyed German or Austrian male in the form of Sacha Baron Cohen), but her determination does make her Friend of the Year. Cohen is darkly funny as the tick-tocking victim of Alice's quest, and his minions, the “seconds,” are ingenious add-ons.

The movie’s original story …