Aswang legend lives on in ‘Maria Labo’

Urban legends have a way of affecting us, and for a long time now, that of Maria Labo has elicited terror and repulsion especially in the Visayas where her story is said to have taken place.  She is the aswang from Iloilo (others claim Capiz and Sorsogon) who butchered her own children and fed them to her husband after she herself feasted on them.  To this day, many believe that she is still out there looking for victims to satiate her cravings.  Captured by this blood-curdling story, esteemed actor/director Roi Vinzon has turned it into a movie.  This November, Maria Labo is set to put viewers on the edge of their seats and stir emotions other than fear.

Maria, played by newcomer Kate Brios, is a loving wife and mother who wants to help her husband Ermin (Jestoni Alarcon) make ends meet.  Encouraged by her friend Emily (Sam Pinto), she grabs the opportunity to work as a caregiver in Dubai despite her husband’s hesitation.  She finds a friend in a fellow OFW, Nanay Leng, but falls prey to cruel, drunken foreign men.  Now mentally disturbed, Maria is sent back to the Philippines.  Worse than being insane, she has turned into a monster who devours human flesh.  As her husband looks for answers about her mysterious transformation, the town is in serious danger as she remains at large.

“Labo”, which means “to hack” in Ilonggo, is attached to Maria’s name because of what was done to her face.  The movie took the liberty in changing some details, like making Maria an OFW in Dubai, while the original tale says that she worked in Canada and it was her employer who passed on the supernatural powers to her.  Another version has it that Maria was killed by a Spaniard and it is her ghost that’s prowling the town.

Though this is Kate Brios’ first film, Director Vinzon praises her sensibility as an actress and she is able to hold her own in the company of seasoned actors, like Jestoni Alarcon, Baron Geisler, Mon Confiado, Dennis Padilla, Rez Cortez, Sam Pinto, and Rey ‘PJ’ Abellana.

Maria Labo opens November 11 in cinemas nationwide as distributed by VIVA Films. 

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Filipino-American Dave Bautista stars with Robert De Niro in ‘Bus 657’

Filipino-American Dave Bautista, a mixed martial arts and wrestler turned actor who has starred in record-breaking films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Riddick” and the upcoming Bond movie “Spectre” stars in another high-octane, high-speed chase action movie Bus 657 (also known as Heist) along with an impressive cast headed by Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Morris Chestnut, Kate Bosworth and Gina Carano.

Bautista, also a world wrestling champion is known to do his action scenes without doubles as he had done in “Spectre,” and had quite doubled the effort in his chase and fight scenes in “Bus 657,” where he takes on the role of a casino worker turned robber who took on a highly-dangerous heist job against their employer. The movie’s non-stop action speeds up when Vaughn (Morgan) a father who is in desperate need of money to save his daughter’s life was rejected by his mob boss Pope (De Niro) and turns to his psychotic co-worker Cox (Bautista) to rob the casino where they work. Although Vaughn, Cox, and an accomplice, Dante (Stephen Sepher), carefully plan out each minute of the late-night heist, Cox blows the timing, setting off alarms and a shootout with Dog and casino security.

When Vaughn, Cox and a seriously wounded Dante narrowly escape with $3 million in laundered cash only to find their getaway car is gone, the trio runs through the night and boards Bus 657. A police officer (Gina Carano) on patrol, having heard gunshots and sensing something wrong on the bus, signals for it to pull over. Cox panics, starts shooting out the bus window at the officer, and orders the driver (D.B. Sweeney) to keep moving and head for the interstate.

Now trapped on the speeding bus with only hours left until the hospital’s payment deadline, Vaughn begins to fear all of this was for nothing – he’ll never get off the bus and make it in time. As Bus 657 races west on Interstate 10, with swarms of police, helicopters, and news crews following their every move, the desperate father and determined ex-con-turned-Baccarat dealer knows he has one chance, and no choice, but to play the hand he was dealt.

Reminiscent of action thrillers such as the Keanu Reeves starrer “Speed” and great heist movies such as “Ocean’s 11,” “Bus 657” also brings back Robert De Niro in a mob boss role at the heels of his iconic portrayals from classic “Casino” and “The Godfather” movies. Taking on the role of menacing, ruthless kingpin in “Bus 657,” De Niro’s role as Pope isn’t one to let things slide when his two employees try to rob his casino and will take everything from them to get even. With its ticking clock, high-octane action, and high-stakes-heist-gone-wrong, Bus 657 had enough characters, events, and surprises to make for a thrilling, pop-crunching roller-coaster ride of a movie.

Directed by Scott Mann, Bus 657 is a star-studded non-stop thrilling action movie that will open this November 11 as released and distributed by Pioneer Films.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM PIONEER FILMS

BUS 657 poster

WATCH: ‘Finding Dory’ teaser trailer dives in

After launching the first poster art a few days ago, the teaser trailer for Disney-Pixar’s comedy adventure Finding Dory, the eagerly anticipated sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo, just dove in online and may be viewed below.

Directed by “Finding Nemo” helmer Andrew Stanton, the film reunites Dory with friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?

Ellen DeGeneres returns to voice everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang. Joining her in the voice cast are Ed O’Neill as Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Ty Burrell as Bailey, a misguided beluga whale; and Kaitlin Olson as Destiny, a kind-hearted whale shark.

“Finding Dory” also features the voices of Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy.

Opening across the Philippines on June 17, 2016, Finding Dory is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures. Follow the official social media accounts of Disney in the Philippines, namely, (FB) WaltDisneyStudiosPH, (Twitter) @disneystudiosph and (Instagram) @waltdisneystudiosph.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES