Thursday, January 22, 2015

ROSE BYRNE, FROM “INSIDIOUS” TO “ANNIE”


Rose Byrne, star of the highly successful “Insidious” horror films, now appears in Columbia Pictures' new comedy musical “Annie.”

Byrne plays Grace, the trusted associate of business tycoon Will Staks, played by Jamie Foxx. Grace is the power executive who keeps Stacks Mobile up and running and never dropping a call – but she's still got a soft spot for the foster kid, Annie, who suddenly enters her boss's life.

The “Bridesmaids” and “Neighbors” star grew up loving Annie. "Annie is a fairy tale in so many ways," says the Australian actress. "I used to play it at primary school, in the playground – I always wanted to be Annie because I had curly hair. I have vivid memories of these characters – Miss Hannigan and Grace, the role I play, are firmly embedded in my mind as a child."


Though the filmmakers have given Grace a promotion – once "Daddy" Warbucks' assistant, she's now Will Stacks' most trusted VP – her soft spot for Annie remains intact. Like the other characters in the film, she is searching for something that she didn't know was missing – and that something is a family. "Grace is highly intelligent and devoted to Will and to the company," Byrne says, "but she's also a little bit lonely. She becomes a sort of a fairy godmother to Annie – meeting Annie I think really opens her up and inspires and delights her, and brings out a whole other side to her."

"For both Will and Grace, Annie brings a fun dynamic into their relationship," Byrne continues. "She brings possibility, life, energy, vitality. I think they were a little bit asleep before they met Annie."

A Broadway classic that has delighted audiences for generations comes to the big screen with a new, contemporary vision in Columbia Pictures’ comedy “Annie.” Director/Producer/Screenwriter Will Gluck teams with producers James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith & Will Smith, Caleeb Pinkett, and Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith with a modern telling that captures the magic of the classic characters and original show that won seven Tony Awards.


In the film, child wonder Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) plays 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 - 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 in. Stacks believes he's her guardian angel, but Annie's self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it's the other way around.

Opening across the Philippines on Jan. 21, 2015, “Annie” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

“TAKEN 3” TOPS WORLD’S BOX-OFFICE: RANKS # 1 IN PHILS. WITH PHP 107 MILLION OPENING WEEKEND


20th Century Fox has just delivered 2015’s first big hit when “Taken 3” muscled in a strong global haul clocking in at $161.8 million to-date.

Variety’s report states that, “Among notable markets, “Taken 3″ pulled in $5.4 million from the United Kingdom, opened with $2.5 million in the Philippines, kicked off with $2.2 million in Russia and debuted to $1.2 million in Spain.”

In the Philippines, showing in more than 200 screens, “Taken 3” grossed a massive Php 107 million during its first five-days since it opened (January 14). Hauling in almost 600,000 admissions nationwide, “Taken 3” has locked itself to be the highest grossing film of the franchise based on its five-day weekend release with the first “Taken” opening at Php 4.7 million and “Taken 2” at Php 65 million. 

“Taken 3’s” impressive Phils. box-office records have proven Neeson’s and the franchise’s unwavering commercial box-office appeal as it now stands to be the Biggest Opening Weekend for the year to-date, so far surpassing “Seventh Son’s” Php 37 million opening weekend. Likewise, “Taken 3” cracked box-office records when it landed to be the Second Biggest Opening Weekend for a Fox film, all-time, surpassing “The Wolverine’s” Php 95 million.

Currently tracking higher than estimates, “Taken 3” holds dominance over all other titles that were released the same week as it continues to play in cinemas nationwide.

The world’s well-loved father, Bryan Mills as portrayed by Liam Neeson has charmed the third time with his protective character, unrelenting to use his unique combative skills to save his family at all cost. With “Taken 3’s” novelty action scenes that upped the tempo of the genre, the movie going public flocked to the theatres in droves to check how Mills will once again face his toughest challenge yet to protect his family. 

The defining chapter of the franchise, “Taken 3’s” top 20 highest-grossing cinemas are led by Ayala Malls Cinemas’ Trinoma at number one with Php 4.66 million followed by SM Megamall that earned Php 4.21 million. Still among the top earners are SM North Edsa/The Block at third place with P3.82 million succeeded by SM Mall of Asia (P2.67M) and Greenbelt 3 (P2.64M).

Still factoring in the success of “Taken 3” where box-office highs were recorded are: Glorietta 4 (P2.63M); Eastwood (P2.23M); Alabang Town Center (P2.22M); Theatremall (P2.17M); Gateway Cineplex/Ali Mall (P2.06M); SM Cebu (P1.93M); Newport (P1.75M); Shang Cineplex (P1.74M0; Bonifacio High Street (P1.72M); Market!Market! (P1.68M); SM Southmall (P1.64M); Powerplant (P1.61M); Ayala Cebu (P1.61M); Gaisano Davao (P1.51M) and Festival (P1.47M).

“Taken 3” is still showing in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox distributed by Warner Bros.

TAYLOR LAUTNER FACES HEART-STOPPING CHALLENGES IN “TRACERS” – OPENS FEB. 4


“Twilight Series’” heartthrob hero Taylor Lautner stars in the upcoming action thriller “Tracers” in the midst of parkour’s dangerous backdrop. 

Lautner plays Cam, broke and depleted of luck trying to scrape off his debts, one day crashes into Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), a complicated stranger caught up in a gang of broken street criminals who seduces him into her dangerous world. The parkour takes him to places he has never been before and lands him a lucrative job under the gang’s leader, Miller (Rayner). Ultimately extricating himself from a world unimagined and unanticipated becomes a whole different heart-stopping challenge.

Tracers is on its surface very simple. It’s about a guy – ‘Cam’ – who finds a girl – ‘Nikki’. The girl allows him to reclaim a part of his life and a spirit in his life. At the exact same moment that happens, outside forces are pressing in on him. And that’s where Tracers takes off.

And for Tracers it was critical that the cast be as believable as possible. “So for this film,” says producer Marty Bowen, “the real challenge was finding actors that we could believe could do this work. The honest truth was, there was no other actor that could pull off the leading role of Cam better than Taylor Lautner. And frankly, there are things that even his stuntman – his stunt double who taught him to do parkour, cannot do as well as Taylor can. He’s just a truly gifted athlete.” So Tracers is that perfect marriage of a great action drama that utilizes these highly tuned physical skills as a means through which things get done quickly, efficiently, and definitely differently than we’ve ever seen before in a film. But the other extremely critical thing to note here is that Lautner is not only physically up to the challenges of the film, but concurrently he’s grown as an actor, and this role demanded real acting chops.”


“Tracers is a real Dickensian story in the vein of Oliver Twist about a young man who essentially has been orphaned; his father and mother are gone, and he’s been forced, at a very early age, to fend for himself. So Cam dreams of getting his father’s old sport car up and running and moving far, far away,” says Bowen. 

“Our story begins with Cam, a young bicycle messenger who, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, owes the wrong people money. He is trying desperately to figure out how to get them the money quickly so that he can get his father’s car that he’s working on fixed and just leave town and start a new life. But along the way he meets a girl and becomes besotted with Nikki and that changes his plans completely when she introduces him to a world that he didn’t know existed – the world of free-running, and in which he finds she and her street criminal friends and they become his new surrogate family of orphans. But along with that, there’s the underside of things going on behind the scene that are very complicated; and what these new family members are doing, under Miller’s stranglehold on them, is clearly illegal. And before he realizes it, he’s in far deeper than he expected. He realizes that in order to get out of this world, he’s got to do some drastic things,” says Bowen.


For Taylor Lautner, Tracers provided an opportunity for him to show the world that he’s an actor to be taken very seriously. He’s emerged into a talented force on screen that not only can pull of the amazing demands of a fast-paced action thriller, and is equally facile at the more character-driven connective threads that keep Tracers as a whole a fast-paced, heart-stopping drama too.

Get ready for fast-paced action from Lautner when “Tracers” opens in theaters nationwide February 4 from Pioneer Films



Monday, January 19, 2015

“GET HARD” CHARACTERS PREPARE FOR PRISON IN MAIN TRAILER


Warner Bros. Pictures has just launched the second trailer of the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard” which may be viewed below.

The movie also stars rapper Tip “T.I.” Harris, Alison Brie, and Craig T. Nelson.

In the film, when millionaire hedge fund manager James King (Ferrell) is nailed for fraud and bound for a stretch in prison, the judge gives him 30 days to get his affairs in order. Desperate, he turns to Darnell Lewis (Hart) to prep him for a life behind bars. But despite James’ one-percenter assumptions, Darnell is a hard-working small business owner who has never received a parking ticket, let alone been to prison.

Together, the two men do whatever it takes for James to “get hard” and, in the process, discover how wrong they were about a lot of things – including each other.

The film is directed by Etan Cohen, making his feature directorial debut following a successful writing career, with credits including “Tropic Thunder.”

A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation of a Gary Sanchez Production, “Get Hard” will open across the Philippines in April 2015 and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Check out the trailer below.

EMILY BLUNT GOES “INTO THE WOODS” WITH A LUMINOUS PORTRAYAL


Golden Globe®-winning actress Emily Blunt's transformative ability and versatile performances make her one of the most in demand actresses of today. Blunt rose to international prominence with her outstanding performances in films such as “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Looper” and “The Edge of Tomorrow.”

Now, Blunt plays the emotionally resonant character of the Baker’s Wife, in Walt Disney Pictures' Oscar-nominated fantasy musical “Into the Woods.”

“My character has a desperate yearning for a child,” Blunt says. “Because of the curse that has been placed on her family, she must venture into the Woods to secure a list of items given to them by the Witch, so she becomes this tenacious and determined character who is willing to go to any lengths to get what she wants.”

She continues, “Eventually we see her unravelling. She is innately a good person, but gets swept up by the Woods and their potential.”

When director Rob Marshall first approached Blunt about the film, he told her that he was not looking for a singer, but for an actress, so she went to the audition and sang “Moments in the Woods,” which is the Baker’s Wife’s big number, and got the part. She says, “From there I took singing lessons, which helped a lot, but at the end of the day I kept coming back to the idea that they really wanted me to act in the musical numbers. It was a little terrifying when we first had to sing in front of everyone, but we all knew immediately that we were all in the same position.”


Marshall had always thought Blunt would be perfect as the Baker’s Wife, but didn’t have an inkling as to her talent as a singer. “When she came in and sang, I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “By the end of the song I literally found myself crying because I was so happy that someone had all the ingredients required for the Baker’s Wife.”

Composer Stephen Sondheim wrote the song “Moments in the Woods” for the Baker’s Wife as a vehicle for the character to express her desire for romance. He explains, “Screenwriter James Lapine had this nice idea of having the Baker’s story intertwined with Cinderella’s story, and by the end of the song, she comes to terms with how important her life with the Baker is, though it is just as a Baker’s Wife, whereas she could be dallying with a Prince. She understands the difference between the two.”

“The most exciting part for me was recording it with Stephen Sondheim and the specific notes he gave us about how he likes his lyrics to be sung,” says Blunt. “So for someone like me who does not consider themself a singer, it was really reassuring to have Stephen come in and tell us to not worry about making it sound pretty, but to make it sound real. I think he really likes having actors who can kind of sing rather than singers who can kind of act, so it was just exciting and bizarrely wonderful.”

“This is probably one of the most human of all of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals,” continues Blunt, “and I like the fact that it challenges you to think. The majority of the songs we see in musicals have a rather simplistic outlook, whereas Stephen Sondheim’s songs are more like monologues or conversations in that they don’t sound too perfect or too lyrical or too melodic.”

For Blunt, the song“No One is Alone” made her cry when she first heard it, particularly given the circumstances of her character. “I think it’s a song that speaks to a lot of people who’ve lost somebody that they love and they don’t know how to move forward,” she concludes.

Opening across the Philippines on Jan. 28, “Into the Woods” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.

HILARIOUS, AMAZING “SPY” TRAILER RELEASED!


The latest “Spy” in town is on the loose, the CIA’s top analyst has a new identity! Melissa McCarthy along with a stellar cast of interesting actors including Jude Law, Jason Statham and Rose Byrne star in the latest explosive action comedy “Spy.”


Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), a shy deskbound CIA analyst, goes on a mission to help a field agent in trouble. Employing outrageous identities and fancy spy gadgets, she attempts to infiltrate the shadowy world of an alluring but dangerous weapons dealer. She leaves a trail of mayhem crisscrossing Europe, utilizing deception and false bravado to try and outwit her quarry and locate a stolen nuke.

Check out the trailer below.

“Spy” opens May 21 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

SHAILENE WOODLEY: LATEST ACTION HEROINE REPRISES ROLE IN “INSURGENT”


Golden Globe®-nominee Shailene Woodley who starred in 2014’s young adult blockbuster movie “The Fault In Our Stars” reprises her role in the most anticipated second instalment of her action starrer “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” along with returning cast headed by Academy Award®-winners Kate Winslet and Octavia Spencer, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Maggie Q and Mekhi Phifer.



Based on the is based on author Veronica Roth’s New York Times best-seller of the same name that has sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide. The film is directed by Robert Schwentke from a screenplay by Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback and produced by Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher following its first “Divergent” feature film that grossed nearly $300 million at the global box office. 


“Insurgent,” the second feature film of the action adventure franchise raises the stakes for Tris (Woodley) as she searches for allies and answers in the dystopian ruins of a futuristic Chicago. Tris and Four (James) are now fugitives highly-wanted by Jeanine (Winslet), the leader of the power-hungry erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris’ family has sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything and everything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, along with Four, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately, the future of their world.

Check out the trailer below.

Non-stop thrilling action starts when “Insurgent” opens March 19 in the Philippines.

“FAST & FURIOUS” DIRECTOR ROB COHEN HELMS “THE BOY NEXT DOOR”


Well-known for his full-throttle action sequences, director Rob Cohen (“The Fast and the Furious,” “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”) returns to helms Universal Pictures' erotic psychological thriller “The Boy Next Door.”

Jennifer Lopez leads the cast of “The Boy Next Door” which explores a forbidden attraction that goes much too far. When we first meet Claire (Lopez), she is still reeling from the betrayal of her husband nine months prior. After finding out that he was cheating on her with his much younger assistant, she has separated from him and lives with her 17-year-old son, Kevin. When a 19-year-old neighbor, Noah (Ryan Guzman), befriends Kevin and spends weeks flirting with Claire, their one intense night of pleasure turns into a series of terrifying events for her.

Producer Jason Blum shares: “Rob was one of the first directors we sent the script to. He responded quickly and had terrific ideas about how to make the film fit that perfect trifecta of thriller, sexiness and action.”


Actress Jennifer Lopez adds: “Once Rob came on and started adding more elements, it took everything to another level. With his experience on action movies, we were able to take this character-driven drama and create a roller-coaster ride of a movie that’s not only scary and disturbing, but also exciting.”

Over the past decade, Lopez has produced primarily on the TV side, but with Cohen on board and Lopez’s excitement for his vision, she decided she wanted to produce the film alongside Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas under their Nuyorican Productions banner. It was serendipitous that, years prior, Goldsmith-Thomas and Lopez had discussed making a movie in which the main character made a mistake and had to deal with the collateral damage of that error.

Goldsmith-Thomas was particularly taken with Cohen’s vision. She shares: “Rob’s absolutely a guy’s guy, but he also has a poetic heart. The mythological overtones of the script touched him: the fact that Noah, the young neighbor was somebody striving to create his own tragedy, his own story and be his own hero. At the same time, Rob was able to add a lot of action to it and imbue it with sexiness.”

Well-known to audiences as a director of big-budget studio films such as “XXX” and “The Fast and the Furious,” Cohen had long wanted to work with Lopez. He gives: “I read the script and understood exactly what they liked about it, and knowing that Jennifer would be starring was a huge draw for me. She is a completely self-made entertainer who came from the Bronx, and since `Selena,' she’s carved a series of very memorable performances that have one thing in common: a natural, emotional level.”


To make sure “The Boy Next Door” remained a realistic thriller, the filmmakers were careful with the development of Noah’s character and actions. Cohen shares: “Noah never becomes a monster in the sense of a horror film. He’s a psychotic guy, madly in love and blinded to all reality by this love, and goes off the deep end.”

Opening across the Philippines on Jan. 28, “The Boy Next Door” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.