Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig get ‘Zoolander 2’ character banners

The villains of Paramount Pictures’ comedy sequel “Zoolander 2” – Mugatu (Will Ferrell) and Alexanya (Kristen Wiig) get their own fashion-themed character banners.

“Zoolander 2” is the sequel to the 2001 hit comedy starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, who are both reprising their roles of Derek and Hansel, respectively. Stiller also served as director of the original, and has likewise returned to helm the sequel.

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The cast includes Kristen Wiig as a big-time fashion mogul; Benedict Cumberbatch as All, an androgynous super model; Penelope Cruz as secret agent Valentina who needs Hansel and Derek’s help to track down a group that is killing off beautiful people, such as Justin Bieber; and, Will Ferrell returning to play Zoolander’s main villain, Mugatu.

Opening across the Philippines on February 10, 2016, “Zoolander 2” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

GUIDE: Spring Film Festival 2016

Spring Film Festival 2016 will run from January 29 to February 7, 2016 at Shang Cineplex, Shangri-La Plaza Mall. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis.

spring film festival 2016 schedule

Now on its tenth year, the Ateneo de Manila University’s Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies together with the Cultural Section of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Confucius Institute, Film Development Council of the Philippines, and Credit Suisse, and the cooperation of Ateneo Celadon and Shangri-La Plaza, once again brings the Spring Film Festival to the Filipino audiences.

The film festival is organized every year to promote Chinese language and culture in mainstream Philippine society, particularly among young Filipinos, so that they may become bridges between the Philippines and China.

Free tickets are distributed at the ticket booth 30 minutes before every film screening. Screening schedules to be finalized Tuesday.

spring film festival 2016 poster

Coming Home

Running Time: 1:49

Acclaimed director Zhang Yimou is back once again with “Coming Home”. This drama stars Gong Li and Chen Daoming. Zhang Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming) and Feng Wanyu (Gong Li) were a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu was arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner, while his wife got injured in an accident. Released during the last days of the Cultural Revolution, he finally returned home only to find that his beloved wife had amnesia and barely remembered her past. Unable to recognize Lu, she patiently waited for her husband’s return. A stranger alone in the heart of his broken family, Lu Yanshi was determined to recover their past life together and also his wife’s memory.

Angel Vera

Running Time: 1:25

This film is adapted from the real experience of Liu Jiada (Vera), an 8-year-old Italian girl who becomes addicted to Beijing opera after visiting China with her mother. She later makes friends with female martial arts actress YuRemove featured image Xiaoqi and students from an arts school, including Koko (Guogou), Kubi, and others. With the encouragement of her friends, this determined young girl braves many difficulties, and gains entrance to the school, finally realizing her dream, and also helping her friends and her teachers to attain their dreams. In her performance, Vera stages a great opera performance as a normal student from the school and becomes a Beijing opera performer.

Qiu Xi

Running time: 1:42

The story takes place in wartime Guangzhou before the country’s liberation by the Communist Party of China in 1949. A young woman named Qiu Xi is a “boat person”, or Tanka, living in the coastal area of Guangdong Province. Qiu Xi, played by actress Jiang Yiyan (Nanking, Nanking), becomes a servant to Yan Haiqing, played by actor Guo Xiaodong (Summer Palace, An Empress And The Warriors). She finds herself falling for the undercover communist agent who works with the Kuomintang regime that ruled China until 1949. The story unfolds as the two fall for each other but are kept at distance because of the wartime situation.

Wild Horse from Shangri la

Running Time: 1:18

Geza runs like the wind. In his village on the Tibetan Plateau, friends and family call him “Wild Horse”. But Geza’s little sister was born with a congenital heart disease, and the doctor says that she will die without an operation. Unfortunately, the medical expenses are astronomical for Wild Horse’s poor family. By chance, Wild Horse learns that a marathon is being organized in the province’s capital city. The champion will win a prize that could help save his sister’s life. The competition will take place in four days, but the village where Wild Horse lives is almost 800 kilometers away from the capital city. For the sake his sister, Wild Horse decides to run to the city. On his way, he encounters great dangers, but he also encounters kind people who help and encourage him. After many twists and turns, Wild Horse finally runs in the competition. Although he fails to win the championship, his wish comes from true.

East Wind Rain

Running Time: 1:50

This film stars international star, Fan Bingbing. This period drama is set in Shanghai during the 1940s. Communist spy An Ming (Liu Yunlong), learns through his Japanese source, Nakanishi Masahiro (Miura Kenichi), a fellow communist, that Japan is to attack Pearl Harbor. However, following the assassination of two members of his unit, An Ming has no way of transmitting the unbelievable information to his superiors. Nakanishi subsequently receives confirmation of the attack in a coded weather broadcast on Japanese radio (“East wind, rain”) and also hears that a roll of film containing major information is secretly on its way to him from a fellow high-level sympathizer, Ozaki Hidemi (Dong Cheng), in Tokyo. On the night of 7 December, Nakanishi is arrested, the roll of film goes missing, and the Japanese declare war on the U.S., next day taking over the whole city. In the subsequent weeks, a battle of wits ensues between Japanese intelligence head Fujiki Yoshio (Takemoto Takayuki) and An Ming and his colleague Hao Birou (Li Xiaoran), a teacher at a refugee hostel, as both sides try to trace the roll of film. An Ming also comes under pressure from his new liaison officer, Fang Qianmo (Yu Rongguang), and from his girlfriend, nightclub singer Huanyan (Fan Bingbing), to leave Shanghai, but he refuses until his job is done.

At That Summer

Running Time: 1:30

Tan Yan was a kind and honest young man. He lent his house to his cousin Li Quoqiang. Li wa, an ignorant and incompetent man. He gathered a group of people at Tan Yang’s house to gamble, making a number of troubles. To avoid being caught by the police and the loan sharks, Li Quoqiang ran away. Tan Yang had no choice but to look after Liu Liu, the pregnant girlfriend of Li Guoqiang. Tan Yang and Liu Liu solve many difficult problems with combined efforts. As time passes, they eventually fall in love with each other.

Full Circle

Running Time: 1:45

This comedy-drama is about a group of rebellious senior citizens. The setting is a town in Ningxi, Northern China. Ge (Xu Huanshan) is a retired bus driver in his mid-70s whose son by his first marriage (Han Tongsheng) doesn’t talk to him, and whose second wife, who died six months ago, willed their flat to her own son. Forced to move out, Ge goes to stay with his old friend Zhou (Wu Tianming), another retired bus driver, who shares a room with the crazy Jin (Niu Ben) at Guanshan Nursing Home. Depressed at how his life has ended up, Ge contemplates suicide, but is given hope by the other elderly people of the nursing home. Zhou has recruited some of them into performing a comic sketch he hopes to use when joins a Japanese TV competition, which is situated in Tianjin. During their rehearsal, one of their members was injured, and the nursing home’s head (Yan Bingyan) forbids them to go to Tianjin. But Zhou is not dissuaded so easily, so he and Ge, along with friends, plotted a secret plan to “escape”.

Lost in Thailand

Running Time: 1:45

Director Xu Zheng follows the success of Raymond Yip’s Lost on Journey with this rambunctious sequel that became China’s highest-grossing film of all time. It traces the rivalry between two ambitious business managers in competition for a revolutionary new technology. Having recently played a crucial role in developing a new fuel called “Supergas”, energy-company executive Xu (Xu Zheng) seeks to patent his creation before his crafty associate Bo (Huang Bo) beats him to the punch. But in order to do so, Xu will first need to gain control of the stakes being held by elusive chairman Zhou, who’s currently on vacation in Thailand. Meanwhile, Bo, too, has managed to track down Zhou, and he’s determined to reach Thailand first. And he might just succeed, because when overzealous cook Wang (Wang Baoqiang) becomes Xu’s unlikely traveling companion, his obsessive quest quickly becomes an outrageous comedy of errors.

Back to 1942

Running Time: 1:46

A North Henan landlord in China embarks on a pilgrimage to Sha’anxi province during the 1942 famine, struggling to survive as war with Japan looms on the horizon. His house beset by starving villagers, Landlord Fan (Zhang Guoli) endeavors to calm the crowd by preparing a feast. But his house is burned down in the chaos, prompting Fan, his teenage daughter Xingxing (Fiona Wang), his servant Shuanzhu (Zhang Mo), and his tenant Huazhi (Xu Fan) to embark on a treacherous journey south. Along the way, encounters with an American journalist (Adrien Brody), and a priest (Zhang Hanyu) who has lost his faith reveal the true depth of the despair that grips the country. All of these hardships prompt Fan to make some devastating sacrifices that leave him a broken man. Meanwhile, the Japanese government attempts to turn the Chinese people away from their government by offering them sustenance, while the Chinese government finds themselves forced to choose between feeding their troops or the masses.

Say Yes

Running Time: 1:44

Movie setting is in Shanghai, the present day. Star Taiwanese cellist Yeh Shun, played by supermodel Lin Chi-ling, is set up by her best friend, bridal dress-shop owner Taozi (Qin Hailu), on a blind date with a rich businessman, Zhao (Wang Xun). By mistake, however, she meets blue-collar handyman Huang Da (Huang Bo), who is separately on a different blind date, to meet a woman called Tan (Chen Ran). After they resolve their misunderstanding, each meets their planned dates – still in the same restaurant, where it turns out that Huang Da already knows Zhao. A person who turns out still owes him over RMB100,000 (US$16,000) for construction work on his mansion. When Zhao’s suspicious wife (Jiang Xiwen) suddenly turns up, Yeh Shun pretends that Huang Da is her date. While driving him home, she learns that Huang Da was on his 99th blind date: he’s almost given up trying to find a partner. When Yeh Shun urges him to keep trying and to believe in himself, Huang Da falls for her on the spot. How will this odd partnership develop into something more meaningful?

For more information, please call Ateneo de Manila University Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies at 426-6001 locals 5208, 5209, 5280 and 5284. For tickets, please call Shang Cineplex at 633-2227.

Celebration continues in ‘Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie’

The festive celebration goes on this as “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” continues to run in Philippine cinemas nationwide.

At its core, “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” is about everyday anxieties we encounter while growing up, going to school, and dealing with the perceptions people have about one another. “We took that theme and changed the overall tone of the movie, which resulted in a stronger message, one that both adults and children can relate to,” says Craig Schulz, son of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz.

The universal appeal of all Peanuts characters—encompassing Charlie Brown’s eternal underdog status, Linus’ heart, Franklin’s philosophy, Marcie’s introspection, Lucy’s crabbiness, Sally’s unrequited affection for her Sweet Babboo Linus, and Snoopy’s many personas— is the reason the strip and its characters have remained relevant as Peanuts celebrates its 65th year.

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The story’s always been in the pen… Charles Schulz drew the most popular and influential comic strip of all time, which was read everyday by 355 million people in 75 countries. On October 2, 1950, Charles M. Schulz introduced the characters of Charlie Brown, Shermy and Patty in just seven newspapers, launching a 50-year journey for the cartoonist that forever changed the landscape of popular culture and humor that would be known as the Peanuts Gang. Schulz’s comic strip was hailed as one of the greatest of the twentieth century, and his characters launched a bona-fide industry, while providing a much-needed voice for the underdog, via Charlie Brown.

As production geared up on adapting Schulz’s Peanuts on the big screen, “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” wherein Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved PEANUTS Gang make their film debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron.

PEANUTS

From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the “Ice Age” films, “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” will prove that every underdog has his day.

At the helm of “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” is Steve Martino, highly regarded pioneer in the field of computer animation who along with Michael Thurmeier, directed the global blockbuster “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” Martino had a particularly memorable conversation with Craig Schulz (son of Charles): “Charles M. Schulz had a profound impact on me as a child and as an artist,” says Martino, “and in one of our initial meetings, Craig stopped me and said, ‘All of my dad’s friends referred to him as Sparky, so if we’re going to be on this journey together, that is what you should call him.’ That was such a great honor.”

PEANUTS

Additionally, the look of “Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie” is a testament to the legacy of Charles M. Schulz. “I immediately fell in love with the film’s design,” says producer Paul Feig. “It doesn’t challenge your perception of what PEANUTS should be like, but rather, it adds to it.”

A warm, nostalgic and fun-filled movie for the whole family, “Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie” will open January 8, 2015 in Philippine cinemas nationwide as released by 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros. 

snoopy and charlie brown the peanuts movie poster

Bob Ong’s best-selling novel ‘Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin’ gets epic film adaptation

VIVA Films greets the new year, 2016, with a big bang as it presents the much-anticipated film, Bob Ong’s “Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin,” dubbed as the epic trilogy to end all trilogies, come January 13.

Based on Bob Ong’s best-selling novel of the same title, “Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin” is a comedy, action, romance, horror and drama film rolled into one.

It stars some of local filmdom’s biggest stars including Maricel Soriano, Herbert Bautista, Cristine Reyes, Benjie Paras, Candy Pangilinan, Paolo Ballesteros, Jayson Gainza, Antoinette Taus and teen sweetheart Shy Carlos.

The trilogy is a rib-tickling spoof of the commercial filmmaking in the Philippines, under the able direction of three of today’s well-respected filmmakers, Mark Meily, Andoy Ranay and Chris Martinez.

Group 1

Direk Mark is at the helm of episode one, “Bala sa Bala, Kamao sa Kamao, Satsat sa Satsat,” featuring Benjie and Candy in lead roles.

It tells the story of a guy who is one of only two survivors in a massacre, which occurs right after his church wedding. Along the way he meets and falls in love with a famous actress, who unwittingly leads him to the drug lord who masterminded the massacre.

Group 3

The second episode, meanwhile, Direk Andoy’s “Shake, Shaker, Shakest,” marks the first team up of Diamond Star Maricel Soriano and QC Mayor Herbert Bautista on the big screen.

“Shake…” talks about a middle class family that gets stranded in a haunted house and experiences all sorts of horrific adventures/misadventures during their stay. The family must race against time to find the cursed object, which they unknowingly brought with them at the start of their journey.

Group 2B

On the other hand, Direk Chris handles episode three, “Asawa ni Marie,” which is a soap opera-comedy about the love quadrangle among poor farm girl Marie (played by Cristine), the two brothers who own the farm and the girlfriend of one of the brothers who makes life miserable for poor Marie.

Moviegoers need not go far to experience action, romance, comedy, horror and drama in just one seating. Bob Ong’s Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin promises to serve every cineaste’s craving in generous proportions.

“Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin” opens January 13, 2016 in theaters nationwide. Rated PG by the MTRCB.

For more info, visit VIVA Films social media accounts:
Facebook : VIVAFilms
Twitter : @VIVA_Films
Instagram : viva_films

Lav Diaz’s 8-hour ‘Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis’ to compete in Berlinale 2016

Lav Diaz’s eight-hour Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby for the Sorrowful Mystery) has been officially selected to compete in the Main Competition section of the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival.

In black and white and running at 482 minutes, Hele marries history, literature, and mythology as it follows an interconnected narratives during the Philippine Revolution of 1896-1897 against the Spanish.

Diaz’s film is said to have the largest cast ensemble in current Philippine cinema history, with lead stars John Lloyd Cruz and Piolo Pascual. Also included in the cast are are Cherie Gil, Angel Aquino, Bernardo Bernardo, Alessandra De Rossi, Hazel Orencio, Susan Africa, Joel Saracho, Ely Buendia, Sid Lucero, Ronnie Lazaro, Menggie Cobarrubias, Bart Guingona, Jean Judith Javier, Sheenly Gener, Paul Jake Paule, Noel Sto. Domingo, Matt Daclan, Melo Esguerra, Bianca Balbuena, Moira Lang, Bradley Liew, Kristine Kintana, Karenina Haniel, Sigrid Bernardo, Rcee Tenefrancia, and Kuya Manzano, among others.

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The world premiere of Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis is set for February 18, with the awards on February 21 with with award-winning Hollywood actress Meryl Streep as the jury’s president.

Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis is up against 14 other movies from around the world. Berlinale is considered as one of the biggest film festivals apart from Cannes and Venice.

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