Wednesday, September 16, 2015

[Movies] The Pope Francis Story

The life of Pope Francis, Roman Catholic church’s 266th Pope who was elected in March 2013 will soon be unveiled in Philippine cinemas on September 30 in the upcoming film “Papa Francisco: The Pope Francis Story” also known as “Francis: Pray For Me.”

Based on the book “Pope Francis: Life and Revolution” by acclaimed journalist Elisabetta Piqué, a close friend of the Pope and a correspondent in Italy and the Vatican for La Nación, Argentina’s main newspaper, Pique offers an intimate, in depth portrait of Pope Francis, drawing on interviews with over 75 individuals including lay people, priests, bishops, cardinals and the Pope s family and friends, as well as her relationship with the Pope as a close family friend.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

[Movies] The Walk Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt


An impossible, but true story, the new film from Robert Zemeckis, “The Walk” is a live-action, PG-rated entertainment for all audiences, ages 8 to 80. A love letter to the World Trade Center, the film is a 3D and IMAX® visual experience, unlike anything audiences have seen.

On August 7, 1974 – the day before Richard Nixon announced he would be resigning from office –Philippe Petit, a French aerialist, surprised the city of New York with a high-wire walk between the towers of the almost-completed and partially occupied World Trade Center. Passersby without a moment to spare stopped in their tracks and looked up. They saw the impossible: a man dancing high in the sky, seemingly in the thin air.

Now, forty years later, Zemeckis – one of cinema’s most accomplished filmmakers at integrating technology in the service of emotional storytelling – is putting moviegoers in Petit’s shoes. “The Walk,” an epic, big-screen cinematic spectacle, gives moviegoers the chance to go where only one man has been or ever will be – 110 stories in the air, on a wire, walking between the towers of the World Trade Center.

“When I first heard this story, I thought, ‘My God, this is a movie that A: should be made under any circumstance, and B: should be absolutely presented in 3D,” explains Zemeckis. “When you watch a wire walker, you always have to watch by looking up at him. You never get the perspective of what’s it like to be on the wire. Our film will follow Petit’s story but will ultimately put you on the wire, walking with Philippe, and by presenting it in 3D, it is going to be spectacular and very emotional.”

Spectacular, emotional – and exciting, with a driving plot of near-misses and almost-catastrophes as Petit and his ragtag team pull off the impossible. “I love the idea of a guy – a performance artist – who pulls off this great caper,” says Zemeckis. “The caper is illegal, it’s dangerous, but it doesn’t hurt anybody. It seemed like something out of another time – you don’t really see stuff like that anymore. It was almost like a fable.”

“Philippe saw the two towers and he literally drew a pencil line between them and said, ‘I’ve got to put a wire between those towers; I’ve got to walk.’ In his mind, those towers were built for him to create that performance,” says Zemeckis. “What’s amazing about Philippe, and why I think his story is unique but universal, is that’s what happens to all artists. If you ask an artist, Why did you paint this painting? Why did you write this music? Why did you make this movie? – there’s never any answer. Anyone who pursues an unlikely dream will identify with that feeling that was inside of Philippe – that he had to do this, no matter what the cost.”

Not only does the film show who he was before and how he came to be on that wire (his growing up, his surrogate father, etc.), but for the first time, moving images of the walk itself – not only from the observers’ point of view, but Petit’s. “The only recorded evidence of the walk is a handful of still photos,” explains Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Petit in Zemeckis’s film. “The photos are incredible, but it’s different than seeing and experiencing it unfold. To me, making a movie where you actually get to be inside the character of Philippe when he lives that moment, and all the hopes and fears and imperfections that led up to it, is unique. Getting to actually witness that in a movie, and be up there with the character, seeing what he saw, is just a vastly different experience.”

Reminiscent of his use of “Forrest Gump’s” own, unusual, voice to augment the narrative in that film, Zemeckis has Petit himself narrate moments in “The Walk” to add insight—especially to his inner thoughts on the wire. The slightly surreal use of the Statue of Liberty (like Petit, a French gift to America) device for this helps lend a fable-like quality to the PG-rated film. “This is a true story, “ says Zemeckis, “down to all its details, but it also has a ‘once upon a time’ feel to it – a lost time and place – and I wanted to combine the literal with the figurative.”

In this way, “The Walk” transports moviegoers to a moment in time when the towers – or, at least, our perception of them – was reoriented. “At first, nobody liked the Twin Towers. While they were being built, everybody in New York thought they looked like filing cabinets. After this walk had happened, people loved the towers. They had a personality. When Philippe Petit walked between them, they suddenly became poetic and were transformed.”

“The Towers are very much present in the film as characters,” adds Zemeckis. “This is one glorious and human moment that happened. That’s something that’s important to remember.”

Throughout his legendary career, Zemeckis has made films that have most successfully used cutting edge technology in the service of storytelling. For Zemeckis, it’s all about the latter: technology is a tool, like any other technique, that the filmmaker can use at his disposal. “The secret of any magic is to mix it up,” he says. “Every great magician uses more than one technique to create the illusion. It’s the filmmaker’s task to do that as well, to use all of the tools that we have and keep mixing it up, so the audience can’t see the trick.”

Opening across the Philippines in October 14, “The Walk” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The first book-turned-movie in James Dashner’s “The Maze Runner” series was fully embraced by its legions of fans that introduced a whole new set of young actors that immediately catapulted to worldwide attention -including Korean actor Ki Hong Lee, whose palpable characterization of Minho has also attracted an impressive following. 

In “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” the next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers along with Minho (Ki Hong Lee) face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD (World Catastrophe Killzone Department). Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all. 

Ki Hong Lee portrays the protective Minho: “Minho springs into action when he needs to. He’s a very reserved guy who only speaks when he absolutely has to. Minho is the ‘muscle’ of the group. He’s the most physical and the strongest. His role now is to protect everybody and make sure there is always a way out, because the Gladers always seem to get stuck in bad situations.”

Filming on the set of “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” was a trial for the actors. Ki Hong Lee, who suffered a minor fracture of his knee running up the sand dunes, confirms that, “This movie is tougher than the first. We’re running for the entire story – running away from Cranks, running away from WCKD, running up sand dunes. What’s more, I have to be the fastest, the strongest, and the most badass of the team!”

The actors spent days acclimatising to the chilly Albuquerque winter and its raised elevation. They trained in the desert with the film’s stunt team, who prepared them for the rigours of the shoot. “I’m still running,” jokes Ki Hong Lee, who plays Minho. “There’s no escape. The action is non-stop and there are Cranks – infected people – chasing you down an abandoned street or a mall. That’s been my life for this past month.”

Ki Hong Lee reprises his role as Minho, the lead runner of “The Maze Runner.” Ki Hong recently appeared in the film “The Stanford Prison Experiment” alongside Billy Crudup and Ezra Miller. On television, Ki Hong can be seen as the beloved character Paul in ABC Family’s “The Nine Lives of Chloe King.” He appeared in the film adaptation of Yellowface from the Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang.

While Ki Hong has recently stepped away from the stage to be in front of the camera, his love for theater remains strong. His theater debut was in Los Angeles at the East West Players in a play called “Wrinkles,” which will always have a special place in his heart as it was the first time his father was able to see him perform.

Although he was raised in different cultures, in locations from Seoul to Auckland, Ki Hong considers himself to be a Californian at heart, as he could not continue life without good Mexican food in regular doses. A graduate of UC Berkeley, he served in student government throughout his schooling, which has grown his passion for people, education, and good causes. Ki Hong’s acting career started at an early age. While performing in church skits, he realized his love for being on stage. You can also find Ki Hong at his YouTube channel at

“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” opens September 9 in almost 300 screens in the Phils. nationwide (ahead of its U.S. release) from 20thCentury Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

[Movies] Iconic Characters Come Alive in "PAN"

Meet the characters from director Joe Wright's (“Atonement,” “Pride & Prejudice”) re-imagining of “Pan,” a live-action feature presenting a wholly original adventure about the beginnings of the beloved characters created by J.M. Barrie.

PETER (Levi Miller) is a smart and rebellious 12-year-old boy who has spent his whole life at the bleak orphanage – the Lambeth Home for Boys – believing in his heart that some day his mother will come back for him. But one incredible night, his life is changed forever when he is swept into the sky and spirited off to Neverland – a fantastical world of pirates, warriors and fairies. There, he embarks on a magical adventure where he fights life-or-death battles alongside his new friends, the warrior Tiger Lily and the roguish James Hook, to save Neverland from the ruthless pirate Blackbeard and discover his true destiny – to become the hero who will forever be known as Peter Pan.

JAMES HOOK (Garret Hedlund). With mysterious origins and the swagger of a pirate-in-the-making, James Hook is among the captive dust miners at Blackbeard’s camp in Neverland. Working alongside Peter, he observes the boy’s unique abilities and together they stage a daring escape that propels them into the adventure of a lifetime deep into Neverland.

BLACKBEARD (Hugh Jackman) is the pirate all pirates fear, the most formidable presence in all of Neverland, and master of a vast mining camp in the sky. At times grand, at others diabolically cruel, Blackbeard kidnaps children from other worlds to mine for the priceless pixie dust with properties Blackbeard has reason to covet. Blackbeard himself fears only two things: the increasing scarcity of the pixie dust and a prophecy that tells of a boy who will vanquish him – a boy who can fly.

TIGER LILY (Rooney Mara) has extraordinary skills as a warrior and will do everything in her power to protect Neverland from Blackbeard. When Peter and Hook are captured and taken to her multi-ethnic native village, Tiger Lily’s suspicion of the interlopers gives way to the hope that a long held prophecy has come true – that a boy who can fly will emerge to save the world she loves. Peter himself is not so sure, but Tiger Lily believes in him and becomes his fierce protector in his journey to fulfill his destiny.

MERMAIDS (Cara Delavingne). As Peter, Hook and Tiger Lily venture through Neverland, they arrive at the Mermaid Lagoon, where the beautiful, glowing Mermaids swim playfully. They are the only creatures capable of keeping at bay the enormous Never-Crocs that lurk nearby as they are capable of stinging the predators with their luminous, electrified tails.

The NEVER-CROCS are massive, dangerous crocodiles that lurk just beyond the Mermaid Lagoon. With their incandescent, electrified tails, the Mermaids are the Never-Crocs’s worst fear and greatest foe.

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, October 8, “Pan” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

[Movies] She's Funny That Way Exclusive at Ayala Malls

From renowned director Peter Bogdanovich, “She’s Funny That Way” is a screwball comedy featuring the interconnected personal lives of the cast and crew of a Broadway production. Celebrated and acclaimed director Peter Bogdanovich has assembled a stellar ensemble cast, headed by Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Kathryn Hahn, Will Forte, Rhys Ifans, and Jennifer Aniston all working together at the top of their form.

“She’s Funny That Way” rolls when established director Arnold Albertson (Owen Wilson) casts his call girl-turned-actress Isabella “Izzy” Patterson (Imogen Poots) in a new play to star alongside his wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn) and her ex-lover Seth Gilbert (Rhys Ifans), a zany love tangle forms with hilarious twists. Jennifer Aniston plays Izzy’s therapist Jane, who is consumed with her own failing relationship with Arnold’s playwright Joshua Fleet (Will Forte), who is also developing a crush on Izzy.

“She’s Funny That Way” is a classic style romantic comedy, with touches of the equally classic screwball comedy, in the best sense of those words. Although completely modern in its characters, situations, and settings, it’s a film that harkens back to the landmarks of the genre from Hollywood’s heyday of the 30s and 40s, with sparkling wit, charm, and sophistication amidst the craziest and zaniest of premises and situations.

The movie also marks the long awaited return to the big screen of Peter Bogdanovich, one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of his generation. After a fifteen year absence, during which he directed films for television, the documentary “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down a Dream,” acted, and wrote about the movies, Bogdanovich also returns to the comedy genre, which he was so adept at with his early classics, the critically acclaimed, box office hits “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Paper Moon,” as well as the cult favorite, “They All Laughed.”

“The cameos in the film are really terrific,” says producer Holly Wiersma. “We were in New York and we wanted She’s Funny That Way to really be a New York movie, so it was great to call people the day of or the day before and say, ‘Hey, come be in our movie. Help us sell New York. This is a movie about Broadway and famous people. Let’s use that to our advantage and put fun people into the cameos, even if they don’t say anything on screen. So we started with Graydon Carter, as Owen Wilson’s limo driver, who’s one of the first people you see when we flashback from Isabella’s interview to New York a few years earlier. With Graydon, it doesn’t get any more New York than that. And then Owen Wilson walks into the hotel and there’s a friend of mine, an actor who lives in California and New York – Jake Hoffman, Dustin Hoffman’s son. We’d run into him in the Bowery and said, ‘Come, be in the movie.’ And then Owen Wilson walks to the hotel desk and there’s the amazing artist and designer, Scott Campbell, who’s walking by. And the one who is walking with him is Erin Heatherton, the Victoria Secret supermodel. We wanted to open the first New York scene with famous New York faces.”

“She’s Funny That Way” opens exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide on October 7.