Oscars 2016: Full list, Academy Awards winners

The winners of Oscars 2016 were announced at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony as presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) on February 28, 2016 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Actor Chris Rock hosted the show for the second time, having previously hosted the 77th ceremony in 2005.

Here is the list of winners for the 88th Academy Awards:

Best picture:
WINNER: “Spotlight”
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

Best actor in a leading role:
WINNER: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Best actress in a leading role:
WINNER: Brie Larson, “Room”
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Best director:
WINNER: Alejandro Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”

Best actor in a supporting role:
WINNER: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Best actress in a supporting role:
WINNER: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”

Best animated feature film:
WINNER: “Inside Out”
“Boy and the World”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”

Best foreign language film:
WINNER: Son of Saul”
“Embrace of the Serpent”
“A War”

Best adapted screenplay:
“The Big Short,” Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn,” Nick Hornby
“Carol,” Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian,” Drew Goddard
“Room,” Emma Donoghue

Best original screenplay:
“Spotlight,” written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
“Bridge of Spies,” written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
“Ex Machina,” written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out,” screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Straight Outta Compton,” screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Best original score:
WINNER: “The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone
“Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman
“Carol,” Carter Burwell
“Sicario,” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

Best cinematography:
WINNER: “The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Carol,” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight,” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale
“Sicario,” Roger Deakins

Best production design:
WINNER: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration:  Lisa Thompson
“Bridge of Spies,” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl,” Production Design: Eve Stewart ; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“The Martian,” Production Design: Arthur Max ;Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant,” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Best visual effects:
“Ex Machina,” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian,” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant,” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Best original song:
WINNER: “Writing’s on the Wall,” “Spectre,” Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
“Earned It,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray,” “Racing Extinction,” Music by J. Ralph; Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song 3,” “Youth,” Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til it Happens to You,” “The Hunting Ground,” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

Best documentary feature:
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Best costume design:
WINNER: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan
“Carol,” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella,” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado
“The Revenant,” Jacqueline West

Best makeup and hairstyling:
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared,” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Best live action short film:
WINNER: “Stutterer”
“Ave Maria”
“Day One”
“Everything Will Be Okay”

Best animated short film:
“Bear Story”
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”
“World of Tomorrow

Best documentary short subject:
WINNER: “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”
“Body Team 12”
“Chau, beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
“Lasy Day of Freedom”

Best film editing:
WINNER: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel
“The Big Short,” Hank Corwin
“The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight,” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Best sound mixing:
WINNER: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“Bridge of Spies,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Best sound editing:
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian,” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario,” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Real-life champs star in hip-hop movie ‘Born to Dance’

Born to Dance is a movie about Auckland teenagers with dreams of hip-hop dance stardom, and its shot through with dance sequences that tell the story of their desires in vivid, explosive fashion.

Director Tammy Davis, making his feature debut, says he was drawn to the script of Born to Dance because of the way it showed “young Maori and Pacific Island kids aspiring to be the best they can be”. Yet he freely admits that he didn’t know how much dance talent was in his home town, ready to take on the world.

Much of this energy comes from a dynamic young dancer-choreographer, Parris Goebel, whose credits include choreography for Janet Jackson, Cirque du Soleil and Nicki Minaj, and the development of her own ferocious dance style that she calls Polyswagg. Her talents are most recently shown in a wonderful video that she created and danced in, alongside female members of her Royal Family crew, for Justin Bieber’s Sorry. It has had more than 63 million YouTube views.

“When I first met Parris and the kids,” Davis says, “they were just amazing, and they blew me off my feet. I had no idea they even existed.” Goebel choreographed the film, and also makes an appearance leading a terrific face-off dance sequence in a club.


Born to Dance stars Tia Maipi as Tu, dreaming of a career as a dancer, who hopes that his crew, 2PK, can make its way to the national championships. He’s also drawn to the possibilities offered by K-Crew, world champion dancers who are auditioning for new members.

His loyalties are torn. He continues to practice with his friends, yet in secret he’s taking part in the long-drawn-out auditions, and he’s attracted to Sasha (Kherington Payne) a K-Crew member who’s the girlfriend of its overbearing leader, Kane (Jordan Vaha’akolo). With all this and more, going on, something’s got to give.

The casting process for Born to Dance involved not only finding the best dancers, Davis says, but also finding people who were a good fit, dramatically, for a range of roles. To play Tu, Davis says, “We needed someone who had self-belief”. Yet he didn’t want this to be too prominent. “Tia was only 17 turning 18 when he shot the film, he was very shy. And I liked that about him, it was like he hadn’t fully realised his potential, which was so similar to the plotline of the film. So I tried to harness that, and not push him too far from what he really is.”

Working on a movie, Davis says, “I always find my relationship to the script, because that’s really important. For me, it was Tu, I’ve been that kid before, I was Tu and I still am, making this film was a dream of mine.”

born-to-dance hip hop

When Davis was Tu’s age, he says, he hadn’t found out what he wanted to do. “I had left school and was working on a farm, driving tractors. Then I went up the mountain putting chains on cars and snowboarding every day.” He’d had contact with the film world, however, through a family connection, his half-brother, Julian Arahanga, who played Nig in Once Were Warriors, and Apoc in The Matrix.

He went to drama school at 19, but still hadn’t really thought about acting. “My brother had friends who were gaffers and grips and I thought I’d go that way, but then I started performing on stage and I thought, oh, this is cool too.”

Davis’ film roles include Whale Rider and Black Sheep, and he’s been in a host of New Zealand TV series, most notably in the long-running Outrageous Fortune. Right now, he’s focusing on working behind the camera.

“I’ve written five one-hour dramas I’m pitching at the moment that I want to make, and then I’ve got another feature, based on Ebony Society, a short film I made.” Ebony Society, which was selected for Sundance and Berlin, is a disarming tale of two boys who find more than they bargained for when they take part in a house break-in over Christmas. There’s talk of a second Born to Dance film, he says, but his own projects are his priority right now.

“Born to Dance” opens this May 2016 in Philippine cinemas as released and distributed by Captive Cinema.

born to dance movie poster

Olympics’ triumphant underdog soars in ‘Eddie the Eagle’

Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton, recently seen in an impressive lead performance in “Kingsman: The Secret Service” team up in the upcoming highly-inspirational true-to-life comedy in “Eddie The Eagle.”

Inspired by true events, “Eddie The Eagle” is a feel-good story about an underdog with a never say die attitude, Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself – even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

Eddie’s story is inspirational. Although he was never athletically gifted, from an early age he dedicated his life to achieving one goal: to become an Olympian. Eddie tried his hand at various sports and disciplines, before settling on downhill skiing. Having narrowly failed to make the British team at the Winter Olympics in 1984, he recalibrated and switched to ski jumping.


Edwards’ exploits were solitary. Largely shunned by the ski jumping community, he would either train himself or go through a string of short-lived coaches. For the film however, Vaughn and Fletcher wanted to create a character to join Eddie through every step of his journey. “We needed someone we can relate to, a participant we can imagine ourselves to be,” says Fletcher. “Our attitude towards Eddie would be that he’s mad, but we’re won over by his inspirational enthusiasm and approach.”

It actually took almost thirty years. One night, towards the end of 2014, Matthew Vaughn – director of “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “X-Men: First Class” – sat down to watch a film with his children. The film was “Cool Runnings,” the comedy about a Jamaican bobsled team that defied all the odds to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. “My kids were loving the film,” says Vaughn, “and I started thinking, ‘Why does nobody make movies like this anymore?’ I wanted to make a movie that you could watch and just come out feeling inspired. And I wanted to do a film I could show my kids!”

Perhaps spurred on by the remarkable coincidence that the Jamaican bobsledders and Eddie Edwards competed at the same Olympics, Vaughn turned his thoughts towards The Eagle. Fifteen years or so earlier, Vaughn and his then directing partner, Guy Ritchie, had been sent an Eddie The Eagle screenplay with a view to turning it into a movie. That deal hadn’t worked out, but something about it resonated with him. “I thought it was charming, and worth making. Loads of people had bought it since, but nothing had happened,” Vaughn explains. “I tracked down the script, said I wanted to buy it, and three months later we were filming.”

It now seems almost impossible for someone to replicate Eddie’s achievements. As detailed in the film, the standards required to qualify for the ski jump were almost immediately increased by the International Olympic Committee. Eddie never qualified for the event again, although he was selected as a torchbearer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Yet the film was devised by Fletcher and Vaughn as a testament to the unshakeable faith that Edwards possessed. “He’s a hero,” says Vaughn. “Eddie literally risked his life with every jump. He was being bloody brave. The word ‘no’ is not in my vocabulary, and it wasn’t in his, either. That’s for sure. I admired Eddie.”

“Eddie The Eagle” opens April 6, 2016 in theatres nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Po becomes teacher of Furious Five in ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

The student is now a teacher in “Kung Fu Panda 3” where Po (voiced by Jack Black), the dragon warrior had been tasked by their master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) to take on the responsibility of further training the Furious Five. As Po faces the insurmountable challenge of training his idols, the “best of the best” Kung Fu warriors in all of China – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (David Cross) and Mantis (Seth Rogen), he then meets his biological father Li Chan who made his way to the Valley of Peace looking for his long lost son.

“Kung Fu Panda 3” brings Po in full circle as he continues his evolution as a hero, leaving his comfort zone to become a teacher and finally become the Panda he was meant to be – bringing together his biological family and his kung fu family to become a master of the past and the future.

As Po attempts to instruct his idols – Tigress, Monkey, Viper, Crane and Mantis – in the finer points of kung fu, chaos reigns in the Training Hall, a place of discipline, honor and sacred practice. “The Five have become positive and optimistic about their friend Po, but they have serious doubts about his abilities as a teacher. And for good reason!” says Lucy Lui.

According to Jack Black, who once again voices the iconic role, that scene points to the fact that “Po is no Shifu, let’s be honest. He’s freaking out and doesn’t think he’s up to these new responsibilities, which are weighing him down even more than the countless dumplings he consumes.”

It is Shifu who first recognized and channeled Po’s passion for kung fu, and, now, once again pushing Po to the next level, insists he become a teacher. “Shifu knows Po must face the challenge of becoming a teacher, but he also knows it’s not going to be easy,” says producer Melissa Cobb.

kung fu panda 3 movie

Short of stature and, sometimes, of patience, Shifu is a fun and complex character. Oscar® winner Dustin Hoffman returns to voice the role, to which he brings four decades of experience as one of the world’s great actors, as well as world-class comedy chops.

Unlike Shifu, the Furious Five have serious doubts about Po’s ability to teach kung fu. These protectors of the Valley of Peace take their art form very seriously and have always had the best-of-the-best instructor – Shifu – keep a weather eye on them. Now, they have to take instruction…from Po?

The victims of Po’s instruction are Monkey (voiced by the legendary Jackie Chan), whose mischievous and playful nature masks a cunning martial arts ability; Crane (David Cross), the pragmatist of the group; Mantis (Seth Rogen), the smallest and most temperamental of the Five; Viper (Lucy Liu), the team’s “mother hen”; and Tigress, the strongest and boldest of the Furious Five.

Po’s cluelessness as a teacher reminds us of the character we met and fell and love with in KUNG FU PANDA. Po has no bigger fans than the filmmakers who have brought him to life. Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who’s been with Po from the very beginning of his journey, notes: “The trait I love most about Po is his boundless enthusiasm. It’s a pleasure to spend time with Po, because he’s just so passionate about everything.”

“The fact that he discovers what makes him special and uses that to become the best he can be, is also something we can all identify with,” Yuh Nelson continues. “Everybody wants to learn what makes them unique and to use that information to become a better person. I think that’s great for kids and adults to hear – and it’s important for us, the filmmakers, because we certainly don’t fit into any kind of mold!”

“Kung Fu Panda’s” theme of being the best you, you can be, clearly resonates with Jolie Pitt. “It’s telling us we don’t need to emulate others; we should focus on who you are and your personal growth,” she explains. “That’s relatable to everyone. We’re always trying to find our best selves and our center.”

“Kung Fu Panda 3” opens March 9, 2016 in cinemas (2D, 3D and IMAX 3D) nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

‘Miracle from Heaven’ book now an inspiring family film

Based on the non-fiction book by Christy Beam, Columbia Pictures’ faith-affirming drama “Miracles from Heaven” brings to the screen the incredible true story of the Beam family. The film is directed by Patricia Riggen, from a screenplay by Randy Brown, and stars Jennifer Garner, Martin Henderson and Queen Latifah.

When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution.

After Anna has a freak accident and falls three stories, a miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

Knowing her daughter’s miraculous healing was too significant to keep to herself, Christy Beam decided to put Anna’s amazing story into a book. She compiled all the notes and journal entries she had written during her daughter’s recovery to help her recall important facts. The result was Miracles From Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and Her Amazing Story of Healing.

In the following interview, Christy Beam spoke about her book, her daughter’s courage, and how it has affected her family for the better.

Q: Did you believe in miracles before Anna fell from the tree and was cured?

Christy Beam: I did. I did believe in miracles. You always feel like that is something amazing and wonderful that can happen to someone else, not necessarily something that would happen to me. I believed it and I knew they happened and I knew people in our church who had experienced amazing miracles in their lives but I hadn’t necessarily thought about it applying to my life.

Q: Does she still surprise you with new details about her experience in Heaven?

Beam: Yes. I just remember sitting there and all I could say was, “Really?” All was just a silence, I was shocked. The way that she shared it so matter-of-fact. That was it, that was all she had to share at that time. Then later she would trickle in little bits of information and it would be at the most random times. It was almost when her heart was ready to share, on her terms. It was usually when I wasn’t expecting it. I had to redirect my thinking and think, “What in the world is she saying? That is amazing.”

Q: How does Anna feel about all the media attention?

Beam: She is such a humble child. She has such a sweet heart. Her desire truly is for others to gain hope and faith from her story. She just feels that God blessed her. She truly believes and says, “God blessed me with this story and I feel like I need to use my story to encourage and give others hope.” Her biggest thing she says is, even though she’s 12, she says “I want people to understand that you have to have faith and you can’t ever give up. You have to keep praying. Just because you pray today for God to take your headache away or make your stomach stop hurting, it doesn’t mean that He’s going to answer that prayer today or tomorrow, but it doesn’t mean that He’s not. We don’t ever know and that’s why you have to keep praying and have hope and be faithful.” Her biggest funny thing, the only thing she really says that is media-related, “I sure hope I meet Selena Gomez one day.”

Q: How do you feel about her story being made into film? How does Anna feel about it?

Beam: I am excited. It’s a little weird to wrap my brain around someone trying to portray all that we went through and all that I endured and to give that over and say, “Okay this is my life, this is what we did,” and trust them to do it justice. That’s a little scary, but I know that these people are amazing people. I feel strongly they’re going to do it quite well. I’m not concerned that the portrayal will not be accurate. Anna again, she thinks it’s wonderful and she hopes it changes lives, bring people closer to Christ.

Q: How has your family’s relationship with God changed since Anna’s fall and miraculous recovery?

Beam: There was just this dramatic reality who God was. But we have always been strong believers and being faithful to our relationship in Christ and how faithful Christ is to us. We were pretty fervent to begin with before it all started. But, my biggest “aha!” moment was really how I looked back and I could count the moments of faithfulness when He was faithful to us. It really challenged my heart. “How are you responding to faithfulness in Christ? Can you count the ways your faithful every day to Him?” That’s really challenged me to make those active acts of faithfulness. As opposed to just saying, “I’m praying and being faithful,” where are you physically moving forward in your life and being faithful?

Opening across the Philippines in March 16, 2016, “Miracles from Heaven” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Meet the returning and new cast of action-packed animation ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

One of the most successful animated franchises in the world returns with its biggest comedy adventure yet, “Kung Fu Panda 3” that will open March 9 nationwide (2D, 3D and IMAX 3D screens). The film marks the return of the plump black-and-white bear who has only one aspiration – to become an expert in a martial art that requires agility, mental prowess and lightning-fast reflexes. It was a formidable, if not impossible quest. But then Po doesn’t know the word “impossible.” He’s always striving to be the best he can be…to be his own hero.

As Po attempts to instruct his idols – Tigress, Monkey, Viper, Crane and Mantis – in the finer points of kung fu, chaos reigns in the Training Hall, a place of discipline, honor and sacred practice. Po’s cluelessness as a teacher reminds us of the character we met and fell and love with in KUNG FU PANDA.

Before heading on to watch the most anticipated family outing of the year, let’s review and meet returning and new characters and cast in “Kung Fu Panda 3.”

PO (Jack Black)
Plucked from his duties as the apprentice noodle maker at his dad’s shop, Po is now the legendary Dragon Warrior, and he’s already saved the world a few times. But despite all the adulation, Po is the same humble panda.

SHIFU (Dustin Hoffman)
Kung Fu master Shifu is very good at his job as trainer to the “best of the best” Kung Fu warriors in all of China. He’s a strict, difficult to please teacher who pushes his students ever harder to achieve the achievement of unachievable perfection.

OOGWAY (Randall Duk Kim)
This warrior and spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace dedicated his life to protecting the small and vulnerable. Though he has moved on from our realm, he has left his Kung Fu legacy in the trusted hands of Shifu, Po and The Five.

TIGRESS (Angelina Jolie Pitt)
Master Tigress is the strongest and boldest of the Furious Five. But underneath her stoic, iron-jawed (and iron-hand, and iron-feet, pretty much iron-everything) exterior is a warm compassion that others seldom see.

VIPER (Lucy Liu)
Master Viper is the “mother hen” of the group. But don’t let her gentle nature fool you. Viper is a lightning fast warrior capable of taking down the most intimidating foe.

MONKEY (Jackie Chan)
Mischievous, playful and enthusiastic, Master Monkey likes a good joke, but his easy-going attitude masks cunning martial arts ability. Monkey is an unpredictable prankster who is as fierce as he is clever and funny.

CRANE (David Cross)
Master Crane is the pragmatist of the group. He’ll try to avoid a fight if at all possible, but if he can’t avoid it, Crane will do everything he can to win it.

MANTIS (Seth Rogen)
Master Mantis may be the smallest of the Five, but he’d never admit it. The little guy has a textbook Napoleon complex: strong, fast and tiny, he possesses a mean temper and is ready to “throw down” at the slightest insult.

MR. PING (James Hong)
Mr. Ping may have lost his best, and only, employee to kung fu greatness, but he couldn’t be more proud of his panda son, Po. Like any parent left at home, Mr. Ping worries about being forgotten.

LI (Bryan Cranston)
Think about who Po would be if the discipline of Kung Fu had never entered his life – and that’s Li. Po’s old man is a loud exuberant party loving panda always out for a good time, whether that’s eating and napping or napping and eating.

MEI MEI (Kate Hudson)
In a village of easy going pandas who would literally rather roll than walk, Mei Mei stands out as a rare, results-oriented panda. Once she sets her mind on something, she’ll get it no matter what.

KAI (J.K. Simmons)
Long ago, the fearsome and power-hungry warrior Kai found a way to take chi from others, until he was banished to the Spirit Realm for all eternity. Now, Kai has returned to earth, where his appetite for power and revenge leads to an incredible showdown and battle with Po.

Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ to touch new generation in new Disney film

Disney’s “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan, who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera, and the free-spirited bear Baloo. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa, a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie, who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories, “The Jungle Book” is inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, with an approach all its own. “We embrace the mythic qualities of Kipling in the more intense tonal aspects of the film,” says director Jon Favreau,“but we left room for what we remember from the ’67 film, and sought to maintain those charming Disneyesque aspects.”

“Kipling’s stories follow Joseph Campbell’s ‘hero with a thousand faces’ view of mythic storytelling,” adds Favreau. “You have the rise of the hero—a young boy coming of age in the jungle in this environment with all of these archetypal characters. As a filmmaker I find this as very fertile soil.”

Kipling’s stories have been adapted several times in the 12 decades that followed their publication. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animated movie, “The Jungle Book,” was overhauled when Walt Disney felt that early drafts, which retained the darker tone of Kipling’s stories, were too serious. Released on Oct. 18, 1967, a year after Disney’s death, the film became a beloved classic. With iconic songs like Terry Gilkyson’s “The Bare Necessities” and the Sherman Brothers’ “I Wanna Be Like You,” the film’s soundtrack still inspires instantaneous humming and toe-tapping today. Disney’s “The Jungle Book” was released theatrically two more times, as well as in-home video, DVD and Blu-ray releases, earning fans across generations and rooting Mowgli and his animal friends and foes in hearts around the world.

“The bond between Mowgli and Baloo made a very strong impression on me as a kid,” says Favreau. “It reminded me of my own relationship with my grandfather, who was a big part of my life. I really like that Mowgli is rambunctious, always getting into trouble. He isn’t the standard well-behaved kid, but a bit precocious—a ‘Dennis the Menace’ type. He isn’t intimidated by these big wild animals, in fact, he’s completely at home among them. He’s a tough kid but also very vulnerable emotionally, especially with Baloo.

“There was a fun quality to Disney’s classic animated version of ‘The Jungle Book,’” continues Favreau. “I loved the music and I remember having vivid dreams about the characters. The scenes that made a big visual impression on me—that I am carrying over to this version of film—are images of Mowgli going down the river on the belly of Baloo, the python Kaa with its hypnotic eyes, and the majesty of those elephants marching by.”

The wild adventure swings into Philippine theaters in 3D on April 6, 2016. “The Jungle Book” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Follow the official social media accounts of Disney in the Philippines, namely, (FB) WaltDisneyStudiosPH, (Twitter) @disneystudiosph and (Instagram) @waltdisneystudiosph and use the hashtag #JungleBookPH.

Robert Pattinson returns to big screen via ‘Queen of the Desert’

Robert Pattinson, best known for his role in the highly-successful young adult blockbuster “Twilight” films, essays a more mature role starring with Nicole Kidman and James Franco in the true-to-life story of trailblazing woman in “Queen of the Desert” directed by award-winning Werner Herzog.

Nicole Kidman plays Gertrude Bell aptly referenced as the “Queen of the Desert,” bring to the big screen the true-life story of Bell, who was a British political officer and archaeologist but ultimately a trailblazer on her terms. The story details the extraordinary adventures of Bell wrestling with the conflicts of love and tragedy, enemy and friend, and foreign and familiar as she sought to understand and unify people from different cultures.

Gertrude Bell, a real-life British woman who was alternately a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century. While only a commoner herself, Bell was nonetheless a kingmaker, helping found the modern states of Iraq and Jordan and installing their first rulers, King Abdullah and King Faisal.

Another legendary character that appears in this film is T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, played by Robert Pattinson. His role as T.E. Lawrence is a British Army officer whose writing earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, on whom David Lean’s 1962 classic blockbuster movie epic is based. Lawrence was a good friend to Bell over the years, as the duo helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in Jordan and Iraq. “I needed an Englishman, who still has the air of a schoolboy, but who is very intelligent. He plays Lawrence of Arabia, but at age 22, on an archaeological site. Pattinson is very good in this role. He is an intelligent man and the choice was quite natural”, says Herzog of casting Pattinson.

Pattinson says landing the role was “just crazy”. “I’ve been a fan of Herzog since I was 16. I met him for that job three years ago; I thought it was never going to happen and when it finally did, it was amazing. Riding around Morocco on a camel, it was pretty great,” says Pattinson in his previous interviews.

Of working with the director, Pattinson says, “It’s insane because he wrote the script as well and it’s one of the most difficult scripts I’ve ever read. Werner’s great. He’s exactly what you’d expect. He’s got so many amazing stories. He’s got insane confidence as well. I think that’s where all his creativity comes from. He’s got 100% belief in himself.”

From Axinite Digicinema, “Queen of the Desert” opens March 2, 2016 exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas.

‘Kung Fu Fanda 3’ sneak previews in PH cinemas Feb 29, Mar 1

Invading cinemas earlier than expected, “Kung Fu Panda 3” will have sneak previews (whole day) on February 29 (Monday) and March 1 (Tuesday) nationwide in the Philippines, in 2D and 3D screens.

The latest and third instalment in the global phenomenal franchise, “Kung Fu Panda 3” ruled the US box-office for weeks and is tracking almost US$200 million to-date. The latest kick-ass and hyper-action family-oriented animation brings back Jack Black as the loveable Po along with the Furious Five, Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie Pitt), Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Crane (David Cross) and Monkey (Jackie Chan) with their Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) who now brings the franchise into full-swing action mode as he takes on to be the Furious Five’s master.

Po, considered as the Dragon Warrior is now tasked by Master Shifu to take on the role of being the teacher to the Furious Five, a task Po is not so ready to take on, not initially at least. Making the transition from student to teacher isn’t the only upheaval in Po’s life. His long-lost biological father, Li Chan, has made his way to the Valley of Peace and to an emotional and hilarious reunion with Po. Acclaimed “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston joins the franchise to lend his voice to Li.

Meanwhile, Po and the Furious Five have yet to encounter their ultimate nemesis, Kai (voiced by J.K. Simmons), once brothers-in-arms with Po’s father figure mentor Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), the ancient tortoise who now lives in the spirit realm. In the Spirit Realm, Kai has taken the chi from thousands of masters, collecting them as jade amulets on his belt. With this accumulated power, he defeats Oogway, breaks free from the Spirit Realm, and arrives on Earth. The only one who can defeat Kai is a master of chi, and the only teachers of chi are pandas – or so Li tells Po.

Black embraced the opportunity to revisit one of his most treasured movie characters and found it easy to reclaim his inner-Dragon Warrior. “I just go back to a younger me, when I was starting my career,” he explains. “That’s how I see Po – as young lover of kung fu. My love was rock and roll and acting, but Po and I share that unreserved passion. I, too, was a young Dragon Warrior,” he jokes.

“Kung Fu Panda 3” kicks in full blast in cinemas on its regular opening day on March 9 in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D screens nationwide from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

MOVIE REVIEW: Zoolander 2 (2016)

“ZOOLANDER 2” Review
Co-written and directed by Ben Stiller

Zoolander 2 is the disaster sequel that should not have been. Dressed as the sequel to the 2001 film Zoolander, it offers nothing fresh as it ridiculously tries to exude the same wackiness of the original’s satirical inspection of the fashion industry and fails all the time.

Its story makes the perfect excuse to separate the two fashion icons in Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson) and setting them not just in seclusion but also in the brink of retirement. The reunion could have sparked interest and a few laughs, knowing how it would be riotous to keep them together, but remains on one side of a plateau ready for a downfall. With the inclusion of a sexy police in Penélope Cruz’s Valentina and a comical fashion maven in Kristen Wiig’s Alexanya Atoz, there is something else to notice other than the trip-inducing appearance of Will Ferrell as Mugatu.

After receiving a special invitation to join a major world fashion event in Rome, Italy, Derek and Hansel have the best trigger to redeem themselves and bring back the glory that they rightfully achieved in the 2001 film. When they are put on the runway, they both expect the same glory as before. However, much to their shame, they are presented with the words “Old” and “Lame” across their outfits. Those adjectives should have just stayed throughout the film even until they are recruited to save the fashion world to add more spice to the already bland story.

Zoolander 2 overwhelms itself with the cameo participations of a number of stars, adding reality to the kind of comedy that gravely attempts to be either self-aware or funny. The trailers could have been nice enough to take these surprises off the meters but these could actually entice the audience to give the film a chance.

Introductions to the bit players are good enough to serve the film a good means for short laughters (and ultimately a distraction every once in a while) but nothing more. As an opener, Justin Bieber sprints and parkours as he gets away from an operative, only to be cornered and gunned down in the most dramatic way possible—a much-feared picture for the fans and much-awaited dream-come-true for the haters. As if the multitude of gunshots are not enough to make him faint, Bieber pulls out his phone to take a selfie, channelling Zoolander’s trademark pose, and spends time in choosing a filter in Instagram before sharing it online. A surprise in the limelight is Benedict Cumberbatch as a gender-fluid model with long, straight, black hair that would make one scream “Whatever happened to Sherlock Holmes!” Also featured are Susan Boyle giving a middle finger at the Rome airport, a nagging and rumormongering Sting, and Kiefer Sutherland in desertland. Playing bit roles as well are fashion icons Anna Wintour, Valentino, Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang and Tommy Hilfiger, who are all on the lookout for the fountain of youth.

Director, co-writer, co-producer, and lead star Stiller appears to have been too engrossed in the idea of creating a follow-up, granted the reception of the original comedy 15 years since. All those years could have been spent in other materials and that idea could have just remained as is: an idea never to be realized for the sake of the world’s sanity. Zoolander 2 just turns out as one unrehearsed show in a colorful and vibrant and blazing runway, teeming with capable supermodels that awkwardly lose their balance at the crack of lame jokes and silly sketches. More than just an unforgettable film all in all, this sequel is simply a mish-mash of outmoded ideas—unfashionable and centuries too late.