Sunday, February 15, 2015


Richard LaGravenese, known for his affective helming of romantic drama and comedy movies such as “P.S. I Love You,” “Paris Je T’aime,” “Living Out Loud” and “Beautiful Creatures,” as well as “Freedom Writers” adapts hit musical play to film - “The Last Five Years starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. 

“The Last Five Years” is based on the work of Tony award winning composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown and centers around the tumultuous relationship of Jamie, a writer, and Cathy, an aspiring actress, over the course of five years. While Jamie tells his story in chronological order, Cathy tells her story backwards—and the two tales meet in the middle. The musical originally opened off-Broadway in 2002, starring Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott.

In the Philippines, it was also staged in 2003 by Actor’s Actors Inc. starring Audie Gemora and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and was staged again in Manila recently (2014) by 9 Works Theatrical for the company’s 5th anniversary where Nikki Gil and Joaquin Valdes starred.

Kendrick for her part on playing Cathy shares that whatever the couple had gone through trying to save their marriage, she feels like it’s not about terrible people being together but a relationship that wasn’t meant to work out. “Obviously circumstance is always a factor, but I think they're doomed because they fall in love really young and they are sort of becoming adults really quickly. Usually, it doesn't work that way, but in their case, the money and the apartment comes before the emotional maturity, and then you sort of rush into adulthood and you're like, "Oh, I don't actually have the communication tools to work on this relationship with you," explains Kendrick.

LaGravenese further explains that, "The Last Five Years" was a musical in 2002 and it's a deconstruction of a marriage. I was thinking of it as this generation's "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" which is a French film by Jacques Demy from the late '60s, it was part of the New Wave and it was all sung—although that was more of an operatic dialogue singing whereas "The Last Five Years" has individual songs—but it too is sort of a love affair, an examination of it. Because I have the characters sing to each other as opposed to the audience in monologue style, the backward and forward chronology changed a bit. It's probably a bit more clear that all the girl's songs go from the end to the beginning [of their relationship] and all the guy's songs go from the beginning to the end when it's on stage. But for me the movie was more of a mosaic as opposed to linear backward and forward. It really is "scenes from a marriage" with music.

A love affair to remember, “The Last Five Years” will open February 18 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and New Line Cinema have just released the teaser trailer of its upcoming comedy “Hot Pursuit,” starring Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. The trailer may be viewed at

In “Hot Pursuit,” an uptight and by-the-book cop (Witherspoon) tries to protect the sexy and outgoing widow (Vergara) of a drug boss as they race through Texas, pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.

Anne Fletcher (“The Proposal”) directs from a screenplay written by David Feeney (TV’s “New Girl”) & John Quaintance (TV’s “Ben & Kate”) and Dana Fox (“What Happens in Vegas”) & Katherine Silberman (TV’s “Ben & Kate”). John Carroll Lynch (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.”) and Rob Kazinsky (“Pacific Rim”) also star.

Set for release across the Philippines on May 7, “Hot Pursuit” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.


DreamWorks Animation brings a unique highly-appealing animation starring seven-time Grammy Award winner Rihanna, “Big Bang Theory’s” four-time Emmy Award winner Jim Parsons along with Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin in the intergalactic animation family comedy “Home.”

“Home” takes a friendly alien race known as Boov towards Earth where they use the planet to hide from a long time enemy. When Oh (voiced by Parsons) accidentally notifies the enemy of their whereabouts, he was suspected to be siding with the enemy and tries to run away only to cross paths with a teenage girl named Tip (Rihanna). Starting off on unfriendly terms, Oh and Tip embark on a comical adventure to correct the wrongs where Oh eventually learns what it means to be human.

The Boov are hive-minded beings who value conformity and think true happiness is achieved through the healthy suppression of individuality. Their hobbies include worshipping their leader Captain Smek, and believing in their moral and cultural superiority over all other beings. Oh, a natural-born purple Boov is smart and hard-working but on his blossoming friendship with Tip, he realizes he’s really more of a human being stuck inside the body of a Boov. Farther within the planet Earth is Lucy (Lopez) who was separated from her daughter Tip, although fearful at first for her daughter, she is still comforted by the thought that her daughter is no ordinary kid and that she is a real fighter and survivor.

Both Rihanna and Parsons make their animated feature debut in “Home” directed by Tim Johnson in which the director calls it the first post-apocalyptic, alien invasion buddy comedy, road trip, animated movie.” But above all, says Johnson, HOME is about two characters who don’t fit in their respective worlds, but together find the true meaning of acceptance and ever-surprising commonalities. “It’s very much a buddy movie, and it’s also about a clash of cultures coming to an incredible understanding and blossoming into a fun and beautiful friendship between Oh and Tip,” he elaborates.

HOME takes Oh, Tip – and the audience – on a worldwide journey, from the United States to France to China, and finally to Australia. It’s an epic expedition encompassing millions of Boovian spaceships, and technology that switches off gravity across the entire planet. An enormous Gorg mothership also lends impressive scale. “The goal from the start was to make HOME a big global adventure,” says Johnson. 

Warm hearted, exciting and funny, infused with fantastic music, “Home” a DreamWorks Animation feature opens very soon this March 26 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.


From Neill Blomkamp, the director of “District 9” and “Elysium,” comes the futuristic action-thriller “Chappie” starring Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, with Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman.

In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.

In his films “District 9” and “Elysium,” filmmaker Neill Blomkamp invited viewers to reimagine our world. In those films, Blomkamp combined pulsing action with a social conscience that made the films unforgettable. In his new film, “Chappie,” Blomkamp is at it again.

Set just a few years from now, the world is under the thumb of autonomous, robotic police droids, called Scouts. “They can’t be reasoned with, they can’t be negotiated with, they cannot be swayed,” says Blomkamp.

With the entire city under the so-called “protection” of the police droids, in comes an entirely new creation – Chappie, the first robot that can think and feel for itself. Once a police droid, Chappie is stolen and put to entirely different purposes.

There are those, like Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman), who see a thinking robot as the end of mankind – after all, when a machine can think, what does it need a human for? But others, like Chappie’s creator, Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), see Chappie as a living, breathing, and entirely human form of life – and the last hope for humanity, even if he isn’t human himself.

“The idea was to take something as unhuman as a robot – especially a police robot – and give him complete human characteristics, to the point that he becomes more emotional than the human characters,” says Blomkamp. “That’s the backbone of the irony of the movie – a police droid becomes sentient, and begins to display characteristics that are more moral, ethical, and conscientious than human beings tend to.”

In the film, Blomkamp tells the story of a young, impressionable mind – the robot, Chappie – who falls in with the most unlikely of influences. “Chappie is quickly pulled into the seedy, crime-ridden underworld of Jo’burg, and he’s raised by two parents – one good, and one bad,” says Blomkamp. From here, Chappie is caught between powerful forces – and when those forces face off, an entire city hangs in the balance.

Simon Kinberg, who produces the film with Blomkamp, notes that “Chappie” fires on all cylinders because Blomkamp does what he does so well: the film combines the big ideas that obsess the filmmaker with an action-packed, highly entertaining story unlike any other. “He’s made an action movie that is also a dramatic character story that is also an intellectual study about what it means to be human, what it means to have intelligence. The most important thing in the film is that the audience falls in love with Chappie, that their hearts break when Chappie is hurt and are excited when he is victorious. You root for this robot. The movie does a lot of different things in a way that only Neill can do.”

Opening across the Philippines on March 05, “Chappie is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.


The first two photos and first trailer of “Poltergeist” (3D) have just been revealed by 20th Century Fox. Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi (“Spiderman,” “Evil Dead”, “The Grudge”) and director Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and hold the youngest daughter captive, the family must come together to rescue her before she disappears forever. Starring Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris and Jane Adams.

"Whenever someone approaches material that's so beloved, there's a reflexive reaction to be worried," says Kenan in recent interviews. "It's a responsibility we take very seriously. We're working to make a Poltergeist film that lives up to the original's legacy."

Mirroring the key aspects of the original has been a major consideration of Kenan and producer Sam Raimi. The reboot features a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist David Lindsay-Abaire and is led onscreen by Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt as the parents.

The Bowen family finds itself in a paranormal world of hurt when they move into a suburban fixer-upper, which is in worse need of spiritual cleansing. Kenan says he found his key central girl, Madison, in 8-year-old Kennedi Clements, whom he calls "a force of nature." Like the original, television is a conduit from the spirit world. But in 2015, the screens are bigger, packing more menace. And there are screens throughout the house.

"Unlike the traditional horror film, I wanted to put together a cast to give weight and reality to these characters. It's the way to anchor the family," says Kenan. "It's such an emotional story at the core. Parents fighting to get their child back from the beyond."

"The original film commented on how we've let television get out of control, babysitting our kids," says Raimi. "It's only gotten worse with the handheld portable devices. Screens are everywhere."

Once the spiritual invasion overwhelms, the Bowens seek help from a respected supernatural researcher and clairvoyant (Jared Harris). But they really come together and rely on each other.

"The thing that keeps them a family is what they have to draw on, to stay sane, and also to win Madison back," says Kenan. "The film is super-scary. And it's scary on its own terms. I am excited to finally be able to share that with the world."

"Poltergeist" (3D) invades theaters in the Phils. this July 23 from 20th Century Fox. Trailer link here:


Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”) directs Disney’s “Cinderella,” a live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, bringing to life the timeless images from the studio’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually-dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation.

The film stars: Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett as the wicked but misunderstood stepmother; Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) as the loving and kind-hearted Ella, a young woman whose spirit can’t be broken; Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) as the dashing and thoughtful Kit, who initially hides his true identity as the Prince from Ella; and two-time Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter as the Beggar Woman and Ella’s fabled guardian, the Fairy Godmother.

Kenneth Branagh is a multi-faceted artist and one of the most respected filmmakers working today. In addition to his acclaimed skills as a director (a Best Director Oscar® nomination and Best Director BAFTA Award for “Henry V”), he is a talented actor, writer and producer as well. But it was his passion for story-telling and his ability to find humanity in every situation which made him the ideal choice to bring this story to life.

“I had never considered directing a fairy tale,” he says, “But I was captivated by the power of the story and thought I was in sync with the visual artistry that was being developed.” According to producer Allison Shearmur, “’Cinderella’ is the ultimate story of good triumphing over despair and tragedy, and that is something to which we can all relate.”

Writing a screenplay which would effectively balance the essence of the animated film while making it appealing and relevant to today’s audiences, lay in the capable hands of screenwriter Chris Weitz. Like Branagh, Weitz is also an accomplished actor, producer and director, and was intrigued with the prospect of giving audiences a glimpse into the backgrounds and motivations of each character, showing them to be more complex.

“We’re not doing a revisionist version of ‘Cinderella,’” says Weitz, “She does what the character did in the fairy tale, but for a modern audience it’s very hard to figure out why she doesn’t run away and go to social services or something like that. The question was how to embody what we thought was great and beautiful about the story and the heroine, and for us it was a tremendous sense of purpose and honor and fortitude that you don’t see often in heroes these days.”

Branagh continues, “In the script, we tried to make absolutely clear that we were presenting a girl whose life would not be dependent on or defined by a man arriving.

Her life would not be dependent on or defined by glamorous or expensive things arriving. Also, this girl would not be defined by having some easily available magical or supernatural force, like a fairy godmother, as an omnipotent, omniscient agent who would take care of everything. The Fairy Godmother helps of course, but as in life, things are mostly up to the individual. Cinderella rises to the challenge.”

“Cinderella” will be released in the Philippines on March 12, through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.


British thespian Felicity Jones is one of five Oscar Best Actress nominees this year, and she accomplishes this feat with a magnificent portrayal of real-life character, Jane Hawking, in Universal Pictures' “The Theory of Everything.”

Also starring fellow Academy Award-nominee Eddie Redmayne, the film is an inspiring biopic of renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student, Jane.

To portray Jane Hawking, the filmmakers needed an actress who would face less physical challenges but any number of psychological ones, incarnating the emotions of a pillar of strength.

Jones admired the script's "empathy for human beings. As an actor, I was glad to have the opportunity to play a character across many years."

Screenwriter and producer Anthony McCarten notes, "Felicity built a deep characterization of Jane, treading a precarious path between frailty and strength."

Poring over both script and memoir, the actress made a point of meeting with Jane Hawking early on. "She is someone who never gave up," offers Jones. "She dedicated her life to Stephen but at the same time retained her own sense of identity. It was important for her to be recognized in her own right, which is why she continued on with her studies while caring for him and raising a family. What this woman accomplished!"

McCarten notes, "Jane met with Felicity several times, and I know that impacted her portrayal. Felicity would convey how much Jane had going on just under the surface the rich, roiling internalized emotions. For her to do such scenes over and over again got her into the mindset of Jane's powerful ability to hold things together.

"I feel that Felicity captured the Jane I have come to know. There's an authenticity and a discipline to her portrayal that mirror Jane's own strengths."

The love between Jane and Stephen is at the heart of the movie, and the effectiveness of the latter half of the story is enhanced by the glow of the initial romance, particularly the May Ball sequence which is the film's beautiful centerpiece. Marsh explains, "Their marriage later gets complicated, so we have to believe how madly in love Stephen and Jane were from the start. There had to be great vulnerability and tenderness on both sides."

Jones states, "I believe there was an immediate sexual attraction between Stephen and Jane, but at the same time there was a meeting of the minds. I think they challenged each other as well; there was a competitiveness between them, which often happens between two people who are quite intelligent and quite different and all of that helped bond them together."

“The Theory of Everything” is nominated five times in this year's Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking (Redmayne) received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane (Jones) fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed.

“The Theory of Everything” will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide starting February 25. The film is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.


Coming off a universally applauded performance as the voice of Olaf the Snowman in Disney's “Frozen,” comedian Josh Gad is out to make audiences laugh again in Columbia Pictures' outrageous comedy “The Wedding Ringer.”

Gad plays Doug Harris, a lovable but socially awkward groom-to-be with a problem: he has no best man. With less than two weeks to go until he marries the girl of his dreams, Doug is referred to Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), owner and CEO of Best Man, Inc., a company that provides flattering best men for socially challenged guys in need. What ensues is a hilarious wedding charade as they try to pull off the big con, and an unexpected budding bromance between Doug and his fake best man Jimmy.

Casting Doug required finding a sympathetic, lovable loser, since Doug is someone who puts all his time into his work, has no male friends, and a fiancee pushing him to give her the names of his best man and groomsmen.

"Doug is a little bit neurotic. No, strike that, Doug is very, very neurotic," says a laughing Josh Gad about his character. "He's in a little bit over his head as he is getting married to a type A personality, and his fiancee tells him that basically she's going have seven bridesmaids and he'd better have a groomsman to match every bridesmaid. He soon realizes that he doesn't have any friends who he can call, because he's never really made any close friends in his life. But he doesn't have the guts to tell her this and ruin her perfect wedding."

Producer Will Packer says, "Doug has tried to call people as far back as elementary school to ask them awkwardly to be in his wedding party. His fiancee doesn't know that, so he makes up some very interesting names for the groomsmen and of his best man."

Gad says the screenplay's reputation as a sidesplitting bro-centric comedy was a familiar one over the years. "This script was legendary in the circles that I was in," informs Gad. "I kept hearing about it for many years and how funny it was. I loved `The Break-Up' and thought the script that Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender wrote was brilliant. Then one day I got a phone call saying they'd wanted me to come in and read alongside Kevin Hart for the film. I could immediately tell from the read-through that this was just one of those rare scripts that is so funny on the page."

"I've been a fan of Josh Gad for a really long time," says director Jeremy Garelick. "I was so psyched when we cast him. He's so smart and funny. He is a great balance to Kevin and I felt that we had a new, great comedic pairing when we cast the both of them."

"Josh is cool," exclaims Kevin Hart. "He's a funny guy and great actor. In fact, he is a trained thespian and this is a guy who's put years and time into his craft from Broadway to television and now he's doing it on the big screen."

Gad returns the praise about Hart. "He is one of the funniest human beings I have ever met in my life. He's always, always, always making me laugh. Even when he shouldn't be making me laugh! So we ruin a lot of takes generally."

Garelick says a new silver screen partnership was born when Hart and Gad were put together to bring his crazy premise to life for “The Wedding Ringer.” "When you boil the script down, it really is a buddy comedy between Jimmy and Doug so we need audiences to love seeing Kevin and Josh together," says Garelick. "I think after this film audiences are going to fall in love with a new comedy team and laugh their ass off."

Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 11, “The Wedding Ringer” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.


Warner Bros. Pictures has just unveiled the first trailer to “Magic Mike XXL” starring Channing Tatum, which may be viewed below.

The original stars joining Tatum in the sequel are Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez and Gabriel Iglesias. Featured in brand new roles are Elizabeth Banks, Donald Glover, Amber Heard, Andie MacDowell, Jada Pinkett Smith and Michael Strahan.

The new film is directed and produced by Emmy Award winner Gregory Jacobs (“Behind the Candelabra”), who served as a producer on “Magic Mike,” as well as numerous features in a long-running collaboration with Steven Soderbergh.

Picking up the story three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, “Magic Mike XXL” finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel. But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blow-out performance in Myrtle Beach, and with legendary headliner Magic Mike sharing the spotlight with them. On the road to their final show, with whistle stops in Jacksonville and Savannah to renew old acquaintances and make new friends, Mike and the guys learn some new moves and shake off the past in surprising ways.

Opening across the Philippines on July 08, 2015, “Magic Mike XXL” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.


Vince Vaughn stars alongside Dave Franco, Tom Wilkinson and Sienna Miller in a comedy that brings back his eccentric brand of humor in “Unfinished Business.”

In “Unfinished Business,” Vaughn plays a businessman and has just landed a big deal that will haul in the riches he had since been aiming for. But it’s not without a challenge as his ex-boss is up for a very tough competition.


With a very promising edgy, adult humor to boot, “Unfinished Business” deals on a business trip gone wrong composed of the most unlikely group of business associates ever assembled that have unplanned stops in a massive sex fetish event and in a global economic summit that will have the audience root for these underdogs.

“Unfinished Business” will open very soon this March 5 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.


Disney has just released the first images from the animated short “Frozen Fever.”

The upcoming “Frozen” sequel short—which will play in front of the live-action “Cinderella” — has Elsa (Idina Menzel) trying to throw a big, birthday bash for Anna (Kristen Bell). However, it turns out the cold can bother Elsa, and the way she experiences the symptoms is different than everybody else. “Elsa doesn’t get a cold in the usual way,” co-director Jennifer Lee tells USA Today. “She’s special. Surprising things occur that wreak a little havoc.” Lee and co-director Chris Buck promise other surprises as well.

Olfa (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and Sven will also be coming back for the festivities as they’ve become part of this unusual family.

And if you were just starting to get “Let It Go” out of your head, consider yourself warned: Oscar-winning composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez have written up another catchy tune.

A live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, “Cinderella” brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually-dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation.

The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her.

And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an apprentice at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit. Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand, and a kindly beggar woman steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin and a few mice, changes Cinderella’s life forever.

“Cinderella” will be released in the Philippines on Thursday, March 12, through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.


Winner of the Arizona Underground Film Festival and nominated at 2015’s International Fantasy Fim Award (Fantasporto 2015), “Wolfcop” is the latest animal hybrid cop movie ever produced. cited that “Wolfcop” is a movie that knows exactly what it is and basically winks at the audience the entire time. The movie sees alcoholic cop Lou Garou blacks out and wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings and things started to take a strange turn. Crime scenes seem oddly familiar. Lou's senses are heightened, and when the full moon is out, he's a rage-fueled werewolf. As introduced, Lou Garou is a small town police officer with a drinking problem who is haunted by his past. Though he once had ambitions of being a good police officer, he has settled into a routine of failure. Also, he's a werewolf.

“Wolfcop” opens this February 25 from Crystalsky Multimedia is one cop's quest to become a better transformation at a time.


He received wide acclaim as the tenacious young Greek soldier in the global box-office hit “300: Rise of an Empire.” Now, Jack O'Connell gets his biggest breakthrough role as the Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini in the Angelina Jolie-directed epic drama, “Unbroken.”

The critically acclaimed film follows the incredible life of Louis “Louie” Zamperini who survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash during World War II—only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a series of prisoner-of-war camps. 

Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s (“Seabiscuit: An American Legend”) enormously popular book, “Unbroken” brings to the big screen Louie Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about triumph over tribulation and the resilient power of the human spirit. 

First and foremost among the casting challenges facing Jolie was discovering the film’s Louie. Who would be able to embody all of the elements required of a young actor to play this extraordinary man? “It was such a very difficult task,” Jolie recounts. “We had to find somebody who not only had a physical resemblance to Louie, but someone the audience would want to go on this journey with…someone who looked like he belonged in the period of the movie and didn’t look too modern.

“He also had to be someone you would believe as an Olympic athlete, someone who could survive a plane crash and the most intense deprivation, first adrift in the ocean in a raft for 47 days and then, for the remainder of the war, endure physical and mental abuse in several Japanese POW camps,” the director continues. “We had to have someone who’d be able to do all these things physically and also have a strong spirit.”

It was a daunting process, she admits. Lightning did strike, however, in the person of Jack O’Connell, a then 23-year-old British actor who made a deep impression on all involved. O’Connell made his feature debut in the feted British independent film “This Is England,” appearing subsequently in several other low-budget features. He gained prominence with the U.K. television drama “Skins” and was last seen in fearless performances in the prison drama “Starred Up” and the action-adventure “300: Rise of an Empire.”

“At the end of his audition, when I heard his real accent, I was intrigued,” recounts Jolie. “Then I saw footage of some of the work he’d recently done and I saw this fire, a sense of someone who could understand the greater meaning of the film. When I finally met Jack, I couldn’t stop smiling because there was something about the way he carried himself, and the way he talked about his life and his family, that connected to Louie and the story. I could see that he was a fighter. I knew at 23 it might be difficult for Jack to understand and bring to life the universal themes of the story—the level of sensitivity required to understand love, loyalty, faith and forgiveness doesn’t always come with a fighter. But the more we spoke, I saw that Jack understood the themes of the story and would love and respect Louie.”

For his part, the performer was certain that he was the man for the job. “I felt so excited and honored when I heard about the film and asked to audition,” O’Connell relays. “I was absolutely astounded when I learned I had won the part. It is definitely the biggest honor of my life to be able to portray someone whom I have, hand on heart, no guilt in calling a legend. There’s no doubt it was a big, big challenge. It’s difficult to comprehend the physical and mental endurance of this man, let alone have to portray it.”

O’Connell dived into his preparations, immersing himself in Louie’s life and Hillenbrand’s book, listening to period-specific music and watching films from the era, the very first steps in what would be an unforgettable, life-changing journey.

Opening across the Philippines on February 18, “Unbroken” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.


Two-time Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman teams up with Adam Sandler in the heart warming comedy-drama “The Cobbler” directed by acclaimed and Oscar nominee Tom McCarthy (“Up”). 

Max Simkin (Sandler) repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family

for generations from his father (Hoffman). Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon an heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Sometimes walking in another man's shoes is the only way to find out who you really are.

Set in New York’s Lower East Side where the central character’s story has spent his youth and adult life. A character in itself, the setting, the diversity of New York and the history of the Lower East Side play heavily in the story. The movie starts in 1903 in a tenement building such it owes a lot to the history of that particular neighbourhood, something that’s constantly referenced in the movie, right up to the very last scene. 

The movie’s production designer Steve Carter, has created a place that felt like it had been there for one hundred and fifty years. “We had people walking in while we were shooting trying to drop off shoes, which I think is always a good sign. He really made a place that felt everyday and magical. And beyond that, we had so many different worlds that Steve had to create. And some of them more fantastical than others but always rooted in our reality. So there was a balance between the worlds.

While Melissa Toth, our costume designer, had to come up with outfits for Adam that sometimes 10, 11, 12 different characters would also wear. It was fun to see that happening,” related director McCarthy on the film’s location and production.

“The Cobbler” opens this February 25 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.


Thinking she’d lost everything, Cheryl Strayed walked out of her broken-down life and into the deep wilderness on a 1,100-mile solo hike that would take her to the edge. Strayed’s experiences became the beating heart of an inspirational, best-selling memoir that was about more than just an inexperienced hiker’s crazy, grueling experience walking from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific Northwest via the rugged Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). With its mix of punk spirit and vibrant honesty, it also became something rarely seen: a portrait of a modern, messed-up woman coming-of-age by embracing the call of the wild in her own way. On the trail, Strayed faced down thirst, heat, cold, feral animals and all of her worst fears, but even more so, she faced up to change: pushing through to carve her own path out of grief and a haunted past.

Now Strayed’s acclaimed book comes to the screen directed by Academy Award® nominee Jean-Marc VallĂ©e (“Dallas Buyers Club”), adapted by critically lauded best-selling author and Oscar®-nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby (“An Education”) and starring Academy Award® winner Reese Witherspoon, who optioned the book as soon as she read it. Together, they set out to capture a story that unfolds largely inside one woman’s head –a flood of memories, fears, ideas, songs, poems, anger and awe – but travels a vast distance.

From the beginning it was clear that “Wild” had to be shot on the road and trail to capture both Cheryl’s disorienting immersion into the wilderness and her journey towards embracing all its revelations and unknowns. In many ways the production would come to echo her rites of passage.

Witherspoon notes that while Cheryl took a lot from the solitude she found, she took just as much from the people she met along the way, encounters that become key to the film. “I love how all kinds of different people come into her life on this solo trek,” she says. “It reminds me a little of Bergman’s “Wild Strawberries,” where she’s on this journey and she keeps meeting people who bring up something she needs to address in her life.”

Throughout production, Witherspoon’s feet were chewed up, her body left aching and, much like Cheryl had, she passed through some dark and fearsome interior places but was constantly invigorated by the hard-won transformation she was projecting. “It was never easy, but it was the kind of thing where when you get to the end of the day, you just feel like you’ve accomplished something,” she concludes. “I felt so lucky to be able to tell a story like Cheryl’s.”

Ultimately, as she entwined deeper and deeper with the character, Witherspoon found that Cheryl’s infamously weighty backpack and ramshackle boots became a part of her own soul. While the backpack is often a source a comedy in the film, it also became a metaphor for Cheryl learning to shoulder the weight of the past and keep walking on. The boots and backpack became a part of me,” Witherspoon notes. “The backpack came to feel like it was my arm or leg. Sometimes I would forget between scenes it was even on my body. Sometimes the prop master would have to say ‘you can take it off.’ As Cheryl says in her book, there’s something amazing about realizing that everything you really need in life you could carry on your back. It is so liberating. It's a beautiful idea.”

“Wild” opens February 4 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox distributed thru Warner Bros.


Henry Cavill (“Man of Steel”) stars as Napoleon Solo opposite Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”) as Illya Kuryakin in director Guy Ritchie’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” a fresh take on the hugely popular 1960s television series.

Catch the film's teaser trailer here at which has just been revealed by the studio.

Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” centers on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E” also stars Alicia Vikander (“Anna Karenina”), Elizabeth Debicki (“The Great Gatsby”), with Jared Harris (“Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows”), and Hugh Grant as Waverly.

The screenplay was written by Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, who previously collaborated on re-imagining the classic detective Sherlock Holmes in two hit films. The story is by Jeff Kleeman & David Campbell Wilson and Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, based on the television series “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”

Set for release across the Philippines on Aug. 13, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Monday, February 9, 2015


Two relatively unknown actors – Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson – portray the much-coveted roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Focus Feature's film adaptation of the runaway bestseller, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” And both found overnight stardom in the process as the film is expected to be a global blockbuster.

Rated R-18 (Strictly for Adults) by the MTRCB, the film will be shown without jump cuts but several frames will contain blurs and blocks, covering delicate body parts.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” explores the burgeoning relationship between enigmatic 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and sexually uninitiated college senior Anastasia Steele. It is a love story, but a provocative one that also deals with limits, and particularly, sexual limits—setting them, respecting them, overstepping them—and all of the exploration that can take place therein.

Author E L James knew that two characters had to be just perfect. When asked what it was that drew her to Dornan as Christian Grey, she reflects: “You only have to see Jamie on screen to know the answer to that question. He has a real brooding intensity and presence. And he’s kind of easy on the eye, which helps.”

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson was quite moved to see the actors’ connection and knew she’d found the perfect Christian to her Ana. (Johnson had originally been paired with Charlie Hunnam, but the actor departed the film prior to the start of principal photography). The director says: “Jamie Dornan is a fantastic, perfectly pitched Christian Grey. He brings a lot to this role—an elegance to the character, but he also brings exactly what Christian is, which is that slight one-step-removed mystery. That’s because Jamie has that innately in him already. He’s an extraordinary actor, and he plays Christian Grey exactly as he should be played.”

Dornan boils it down to the task before him: “As an actor, you are looking for parts that will be challenging and different. I’ve never played anyone like Christian before. He’s a very intriguing character with a lot of layers, a lot of depth, and that’s what you want: to portray him in a truthful way on screen.”

For her part, Dakota Johnson reveals that when she found out who was behind the production, she “thought that it sounded promising. I read the books to see if it was something that I could believe in, and if I could find some connection with the story. Then, about a year later, when the time came for the audition, I asked if I could go in for it. After my first audition, I read a few more times, and I was offered the part of Anastasia. There was a sense of wanting to find someone who could bring a bit of lightheartedness and humor to such dramatic material. I think that’s why it worked out for me.”

Johnson’s director explains why her leading lady was so right for the role: “I knew the moment we met Dakota that we found our Anastasia. She provided us the perfect balance of vulnerability, sass, beauty and courage. She has the wit and charm and intelligence of Ana and brings life into that character like I can’t imagine anyone else doing. She is a phenomenal actress and it felt like I was given a gift of being able to present her to the world.”

As the pair entered preproduction, both Johnson and Dornan would have to ready themselves to portray the type of relationship required. Describing the bond that Christian customarily seeks, Dornan states: “The only type of relationship he has ever had is a dominant/submissive one, where he has a partner sign a contract so that he can treat her in the way they have both agreed to. There have always been clear-cut rules, negotiated and signed before any kind of physical relationship begins. Until he meets Anastasia.”

Ana is both a typical and an atypical college senior: She’s a studious, clever English literature major who still parties, but is physically inexperienced because she’s not found the right partner. Johnson reflects on Ana’s developing singular tastes: “Her reaction, when Christian reveals the type of relationship he’s interested in pursuing, is something that’s surprising. Normally, you’d think that a girl who has never been exposed to any of that sort of relationship would run away, thinking that he’s the most messed-up person she’s ever met. But, Ana doesn’t. Instead, her reaction is to try and understand it.”

Christian rushes to assumptions about Ana when they meet, when Ana steps in for her ill roommate to interview him for her campus newspaper. She is less than prepared, for either the interview or the reactions she elicits from this enigmatic billionaire. Dornan explains: “Ana’s uncomfortable and awkward. He’s all about control and precision, but she turns all of that on its head. He’s attracted to her, but she affects him in a far more profound way and much deeper than he’s experienced before. Essentially, the story is about two people who have fallen in love and face massive hurdles that are stopping them from having a ‘regular’ relationship.”

Johnson reveals what millions of readers have discovered and devoured: “The danger of it, and I think this is exciting, is that the story has all of the components of a thriller; you don’t know what’s going to happen. Is she going to be okay with this difficult thing to grasp? Will she be able to reconcile herself to it for Christian? Will she be able to change that much and love him despite this? Will he be able to do the same for her?”

Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 11, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. The film has been classified Rated R-18 (Strictly for Adults) by the MTRCB.


This movie was classified as is and in its entirety with noticeable BLURS and SCREEN BLOCKS introduced by the film producer prior to its submission for review.

The public is advised of some scenes of nudity, strong and/or sexual language, and sexual aberrational behavior with elements of bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism.


From horror masters who produced “Insidious,” “The Purge” and “Sinister” come the latest terrifying thriller in their roster – “The Lazarus Effect” starring an interesting cast lead by Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Evan Peters, Donald Glover and Sarah Bolger.

Olivia Wilde’s character, Zoe, is brought back from the dead when a group of research students pushed the boundaries of knowledge when after a successful experiment wherein they brought back an animal to life, they pursued to perform it on a friend who was electrocuted in a freak accident. Coming back to life, as Zoe’s strange new persona reveals itself, the team quickly becomes stuck in a gruesome reality. They are no longer faced with the question of whether they can bring someone back to life- but rather, the wrath of her return.

As an actress and an activist, Olivia Wilde effortlessly transitions from sharing the screen with renowned actors to working alongside devoted doctors and teachers in Haitian refugee camps. Wilde’s impressive list of movies include “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” as the female lead opposite Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey, “Third Person” opposite Liam Neeson, “People Like Us” with Chris Pine, “The Change Up” opposite Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, “Alpha Dog” with Bruce Willis and “Bickford Schmeckler’s Cool Ideas.” She is also well-known with audiences for her role in 2010’s 3D futuristic blockbuster, “Tron: Legacy,” starring opposite Jeff Bridges. In addition to her work on the big screen, in 2007 Wilde joined the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning House as standout characters, Dr. Thirteen, in the most watched television program in the world.

“The Lazarus Effect” opens February 25 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films. Trailer link here: