Vin Diesel plays human world guardian in ‘The Last Witch Hunter’

Global action hero Vin Diesel heads an impressive cast of actors in the non-stop action film The Last Witch Hunter, a gorgeously rendered, explosively physical and thoroughly original fantasy adventure. The will propel audiences into a complex mythological universe packed with intense battles, unthinkable treachery and unforgettable characters. Set in a world never before seen on screen, the story spans over 800 years of one man’s quest to keep an army of vicious supernatural creatures determined to wipe out humanity at bay.

Diesel takes on the role of Kaulder, the centuries-old guardian of the human world who has lost his family, friends and perhaps even his hope in the battle against the dark forces. The inspiration for Kaulder and his story came from Diesel’s days as an avid gamer—particularly his more than 20-year fascination with the popular fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. His dedication to the game is so complete that he was asked to write the forward for the book, 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons.

“The Last Witch Hunter” exposes secrets of the ancient world into the present day. The modern world holds many secrets, but by far the most astounding is that witches still live among us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world and putting an end to the human race once and for all. Armies of witch hunters have battled this unnatural enemy for centuries, including Kaulder, a valiant warrior who many years ago slayed the all-powerful Witch Queen, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the Queen cursed Kaulder with immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter. Today, Kaulder is the last living hunter who has spent his immortal life tracking down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost family. However, unbeknownst to Kaulder, the Witch Queen has been resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer, leading to an epic battle that will determine the survival of mankind.

The cast of The Last Witch Hunter has deep roots in the action-fantasy genre, featuring alumni of “Games of Thrones” as well as the Lord of the Rings, Dark Knight, Hobbit and Riddick franchises. “I believe no one has ever put together a cast that features so many heroes of other mythological adventures,” says producer Mark Canton, who also produced worldwide blockbusters such as “300,” “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Immortals.”

First and foremost, of course, is Diesel. His muscular charisma is crucial to Kaulder, the last surviving fighting member of The Axe and Cross, the fellowship dedicated to keeping sorcery in check. Kaulder has been accompanied on his long journey by a succession of priestly advisors, all known as Dolan. Members of the Axe and Cross, the Dolans whom Michael Caine (“The Dark Knight” trilogy) and Elijah Wood (“Hobbit”) are a part of, have documented Kaulder’s activities throughout the ages in handwritten journals that are passed on, so each Dolan is intimately familiar with his history. Rose Leslie from “Game of Thrones” plays Chloe, Kaulder’s unexpected new ally in his quest, a modern-day witch who runs a Memory Bar, a bohemian paradise hidden behind a magic door. Rounding out the cast are Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, HBO’s “True Detective”), Julie Engelbrecht (The Red Baron, Rumpelstilzchen), Isaach de Bankolé (Casino Royale), Joseph Gilgun (Lockout), and Rena Owen (Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones). Also appearing are Lotte Verbeek (The Fault In Our Stars), Michael Halsey (Ticker), Inbar Lavi (Fox’s “Gang Related”), Sloane Coombs (“Cleveland Abduction”), and Armani Jackson (Cooties, “Grey’s Anatomy”).

The Last Witch Hunter opens on October 21, 2015 in Philippine cinemas nationwide as released and distributed by Pioneer Films.

‘Knock Knock’ spots fatal attraction in social media age

Knock Knock is a psychosexual thriller not intended for the faint of heart and easily disturbed. In the upcoming Keanu Reeves starrer, critically acclaimed horror director Eli Roth takes fear notches higher as he pits a married man Evan (Reeves) against two irresistible seductresses Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas) who initially knocked on his door for help on a rainy night eventually turning his dark fantasies into his worst nightmare and his life a living hell.

ana de armas & lorenza izzo KNOCK KNOCK

The movie comes in a world where everyone has seen everything and nothing shocks anymore, an entire generation of kids strive for attention and validation through social media, each one trying to get more likes than the next. Evan, a devoted father and husband was left alone for one weekend with nary an idea that he is being stalked by unlikely predators waiting for the perfect time and pin him down at his loneliest. “With Knock Knock, I wanted to show just how fragile the world we spend a lifetime building actually is. What if you did everything right – you went to a good school, you dated nice people until you met the right person, you settled down, you built a good life for yourself…and still, you have the sinking feeling you’re missing out on something. What if you wanted to tempt fate just for one night thinking you could get away with it? I wanted the audience to sympathize with Evan, our main character, and to secretly make the same choices he would make. Evan tries to do the right thing, and yet, he can’t ever truly say no to these girls who show up at his door and seduce him. Evan constantly thinks he’s in control, and that’s his fatal flaw. People in their 40’s have no idea the damage one can cause with social media, because they’ve never had to think defensively in that way. Teenagers today have grown up with the threat of someone ruining your life over a picture or a text message, so as a result they know how to destroy someone. It’s a skill you have to develop as a teenager today, but it’s not one that would even be in a character like Evan’s consciousness,” says director Roth.

ana de armas, keanu reeves KNOCK KNOCK

Artwork plays a major role in the film. The director’s mother being an artist, grew up with her paintings all over their house. Roth shared that “I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is to create, and what it takes to fill an empty canvas with imagination and soul. In fact, my mother in many ways is my biggest influence on my own career as a writer/director. Yet art, at the core of it, might simply be a concept that does not exist. Proving the existence of art is like proving the existence of God. The evidence is everywhere, yet it only exists because someone labels it as art. To one person a sculpture might be a priceless work of art, yet to another it might just be colored plaster. I am well aware of my reputation for bodily harm and dismemberment, and with Knock Knock wanted to substitute chopping off the sculpture’s limbs for a human’s. I find the destruction of art much more painful, because the idea that no matter what we create it’s completely worthless to another person is a very real and terrifying one. Everything we find sacred in a work of art could mean absolutely nothing to a complete stranger, who would destroy it all with a swing of the hammer without a second thought. I saw the artwork as a metaphor for Evan’s relationship, for his family, for the life he built, and once he lets in a dangerous force, he risks losing everything.”

Knock Knock opens October 21, 2015 in Philippine cinemas nationwide as released and distributed by OctoArts Films International.

‘Kong: Skull Island’ set for 2017, ‘Godzilla 2’ for 2018, ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ for 2020

Burbank, CA – October 14, 2015 – Following Legendary’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ 2014 success with the global reinvention of the Godzilla franchise, the companies have come together to create an epic, new shared cinematic franchise. All-powerful monsters become towering heroes for a new generation, revealing a mythology that brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new. Monarch, the human organization that uncovered Godzilla in the 2014 film, will expand their mission across multiple releases.

The announcement that the reinvention of monsters continues was made today by Legendary CEO, Thomas Tull, and Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. The initial trio of films are 2017’s KONG: SKULL ISLAND; GODZILLA 2 in 2018; and then GODZILLA VS. KONG, arriving in theaters in 2020. While Legendary maintains its new home at Universal Pictures, the GODZILLA films remain in partnership with Warner Bros., who will now also distribute KONG as a part of this franchise. Production on KONG: SKULL ISLAND begins October 19th.

Warner Bros. and Legendary released Godzilla in May 2014 with an agreement to release Godzilla 2 on June 8, 2018. Both films feature the human Monarch organization. Shortly following Legendary’s pact with NBC Universal, Legendary acquired rights to additional classic characters from Toho’s Godzilla universe, including Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. This paved the way for developing a franchise centered around Monarch and anchored by Godzilla, King Kong, and other famous creatures.

When Legendary announced films centered on Godzilla and Kong, fans all over the world speculated these two characters might one day meet in the same film. Classic Toho monsters including King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan, as announced at Comic-Con 2014, may also join the Legendary pantheon of giant monster mayhem going forward.

“Audiences really responded to Godzilla,” stated Tull. “Today, I’m excited to reveal that film was only the beginning of an epic new entertainment universe. As a lifelong fan of these characters, I’ve always wanted to see the ultimate showdown, and today we’re pleased to be announcing that and more.”

“Working with our partners at Legendary, we enjoyed tremendous creative and commercial success with `Godzilla,’” said Tsujihara. “It’s great to be able to revisit these characters and help create a franchise with so many creative possibilities for filmmakers. Fans love these big, globally iconic films and it doesn’t get any bigger than this.”

KONG: SKULL ISLAND stars Tom Hiddleston, Sam Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Tian Jing, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, and Toby Kebbell. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, and Derek Connolly, KONG: SKULL ISLAND will fully immerse audiences in the mysterious and dangerous home of the king of the apes as a team of explorers ventures deep inside the treacherous, primordial island. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni will produce with Mary Parent. Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod will executive produce. Warner Bros. will distribute the film in 3D and IMAX 3D on March 10, 2017.

GODZILLA 2 will be written by Max Borenstein and directed by Gareth Edwards. Legendary is producing with Mary Parent, and Alex Garcia will executive produce. The film is set to be released by Warner Bros. on June 8, 2018.

GODZILLA VS. KONG will be released in 2020.

MOVIE REVIEW: Crimson Peak (2015)

CRIMSON PEAK (2015, US)
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain,  Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins

crimson peak movie

Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a watchable gothic fantasy romance teeming with marvelous production design and a strikingly self-aware tale that laughs at its own tropes while making sure that every detail is highlighted even if put into the background.

The horror it creates is something that we have seen before: ghosts lurking in a haunted house, but the craft in making all these things more than what they appear is an aspect not to be taken out of consideration. Every shot and every movement are intricate as if there is no more breathing space for ad lib.

Crimson Peak tells the story of young Edith (played by the gorgeous Mia Wasikowska) as she marries the seductive aristocrat, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who brings her to his remote gothic mansion in the English hills. Also residing in the ancient house is his attractive sister, Lady Lucille (Jessica Chastain), who has the best kept secrets on the family’s roots. Edith has the power to communicate with the dead and so she attempts to uncover the mystery of her new home. She is able to see visions that points to the ghastly embodiment of the mansion itself.

Del Toro is able to showcase yet again the vibe of Pan’s Labyrinth–without the costumes and prosthetics–only this time it is more gruesome and more horrifying, all through a satisfying buildup that makes up for a large impact by the end. Having also directed Hellboy and Pacific Rim, there is much advancement to the creepiness that sinks in deep with every swift of the camera, which essentially makes Crimson Peak worth the ridiculous bloodbaths.

When the phrase “visually stunning” does not suffice for gore, we can all just refer to this alluring film.

Crimson Peak movie poster