Jesse Eisenberg adds sinister humor to Lex Luthor in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

Academy Award-nominee for his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network,” Jesse Eisenberg plays one of the most fascinating anti-heroes in cinema – Lex Luthor, in Warner Bros. Pictures’ new action-adventure “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Eisenberg infuses the character with a very sinister humor, one that arises from an illogical obsession with Superman.

“Lex Luthor has always been one of the great DC villains. And one of the most epic stories in the canon was when Batman and Superman squared off against each other,” offers producer Charles Roven. “As we sought an expansion of the universe with this film, we felt that bringing these characters together was natural.”

To carry Lex Luthor into 2016, Oscar-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio (“Argo”) recalls asking himself, “What would a capitalist gone mad look like today?” Looking for real-world inspiration from many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, he found an environment that “often cultivates eccentricity as a virtue and rewards outside-the-box innovation.”

Adding those qualities to a damaged psyche, he re-imagined Lex as “a younger, brilliant, post-modern villain aware of his own villainy who has chosen to use his wealth and power to bring down one whose own power appears limitless.”

“If you look at Lex in the comics, there’s a brilliant absurdity to his scenes,” Eisenberg offers. “He’s always trying to concoct these very complicated schemes to kill Superman; it’s funny in the way that he is so focused on this one thing. And even though he might appear pretty serious, to me he’s this clever person who uses word play and puns to talk circles around people, to condescend to them. Lex uses his cleverness to his advantage in a dark way.”

The filmmakers were really pleased with this new interpretation. “We wanted a character who conveyed exactly what a young, compelling, constantly innovating, genius entrepreneurial businessman is like,” says Roven. “Somewhat mercurial, always magnetic; someone you can’t take your eyes off. Jesse was perfect for this. His performance is truly mesmerizing. He surpassed all our expectations.”

Eisenberg enjoyed playing with Luthor’s fanatical nature. “Lex thinks of Superman as almost an existential paradox—he cannot be all good because he’s so powerful or all powerful if he’s all good,” he hypothesizes. “On the flip side, Lex wants to be the most powerful person, but for him that’s okay because he is a person, he’s earned it, whereas Superman is this horrible alien interloper who doesn’t even deserve to exist. Lex is so myopic that he views his own morality as the only correct belief system in the world, and anybody opposing him is immoral and needs to be kind of destroyed.”

A good deal of Lex’s bad traits may stem from his dad, which he alludes to in the film. “Lex has a degree of self-awareness about his own relationship with his father, who was this powerful but abusive guy, and he somehow draws a parallel to Superman that makes him automatically distrust him. Modern psychology would probably diagnose Lex as some kind of narcissistic sociopath who is funny and charming but isn’t capable of empathy. As an actor, it’s really fun because you’re able to behave in all sorts of ways that would probably get you arrested, but do it in a safe environment.”

From director Zack Snyder comes “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” starring Oscar winner Ben Affleck (“Argo”) as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent in the characters’ first big-screen pairing.

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Opening across the Philippines in IMAX, Dolby Cinema, 4D, 3D and 2D theaters on Black Saturday, March 26, 2016, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

U.N. names ‘Angry Bird’s’ Red honorary ambassador for Int’l Day of Happiness

New York, NY – March 18, 2016 – Red, the starring animated character voiced by US star Jason Sudeikis in the upcoming “The Angry Birds Movie,” was named Honorary Ambassador for Green on the International Day of Happiness today at the United Nations.

(Watch the public service announcement for the International Day of Happiness titled “Help Red Go Green” below.)

The appointment of Red is part of the #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet campaign to help the world body promote the International Day of Happiness, which is observed on March 20 each year, and encourage people to take action against climate change and its impacts.

The International Day of Happiness recognizes that Gross Domestic Product alone cannot measure the wealth and well-being of a country’s population and a more inclusive, equitable, balanced and sustainable approach to growth and development is key to being happy.

After United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Red as Honorary Ambassador for Green, the campaign was presented to hundreds of young people in the iconic General Assembly Hall of the United Nations.

The presentation included the movie’s US stars Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Maya Rudolph as well as producers John Cohen and Catherine Winder, who asked the attendees for their support to make the Angry Birds happy by doing their part to take action against climate change. They presented the “Help Red Go Green” materials including public service announcements created to support the campaign. By participating in the #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet campaign, individuals can make the Angry Birds happy and “Help Red Go Green” by posting photos and messages to show how they are protecting our planet by recycling, taking public transportation and conserving water, for example.

“The Angry Birds have entertained millions of people around the world — and now they are part of making the world a better place,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We are proud to give Red a reason to go Green. There is no better way to mark the International Day of Happiness than to have our animated ambassador raise awareness about the importance of addressing climate change to create a safer, more sustainable and happier future for all.”

“We are incredibly honored that Red from ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ has been named as the Honorary Ambassador for Green. While Red may still look angry, we know that he’s smiling on the inside. As we say in our ‘Help Red Go Green’ campaign, nothing makes an angry bird happier than a healthy planet. In partnership with the UN, we are very excited to help raise awareness of critical global issues such as climate change,” said John Cohen, producer of “The Angry Birds Movie” and “Despicable Me.”

In the 3D animated comedy “The Angry Birds Movie,” we’ll finally find out why the birds are so angry.

The movie takes us to an island populated entirely by happy, flightless birds – or almost entirely. In this paradise, Red (Jason Sudeikis), a bird with a temper problem, speedy Chuck (Josh Gad), and the volatile Bomb (Danny McBride) have always been outsiders. But when the island is visited by mysterious green piggies, it’s up to these unlikely outcasts to figure out what the pigs are up to.

Featuring a hilarious, all-star voice cast that includes Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader and Peter Dinklage, as well as Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Hannibal Buress, Ike Barinholtz, Tituss Burgess, Jillian Bell, Danielle Brooks, Latin music sensation Romeo Santos, YouTube stars Smosh, Billy Eichner, and country music superstar Blake Shelton, who co-writes and performs the original song “Friends,” the Columbia Pictures/Rovio Entertainment film is directed by Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis and produced by John Cohen and Catherine Winder. The screenplay is by Jon Vitti, from a story by Mikael Hed & Mikko Pöllä & John Cohen, and executive produced by Mikael Hed and David Maisel.

Opening across the Philippines on May 11, 2016, “The Angry Birds Movie” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

MOVIE REVIEW: Intruders (2015)

“Intruders [Shut In]” Review
Directed by Adam Schindler
Written by  T.J. Cimfel and David White

Intruders is an independent film that was called Shut In when it was still going through its rounds in the fest circuit. It started out quite promising until it deteriorates midway through the end of the film.

Anna (Beth Riesgraf) is a single young woman who still lives with her ailing brother Conrad (Timothy T. McKinney), who is dying from pancreatic cancer. What’s interesting to note is even with his predicament, he gets out more often than Anna even if it’s only up to the front porch. Anna considers going outside the confines of her home unbearable, and it’s supposedly connected to the death of her father, who she says she’ll never forgive (due to undisclosed reasons, at the time being). 

With her not being able to will herself to leave the house, the only connections she makes in the neighborhood is amiable food delivery guy Danny (Rory Culkin), and lawyer Charlotte (Leticia Jimenez), who is very adamant in making Anna sign off Conrad’s last will and testament. After Conrad dies, Danny drops by to make a food delivery, and ends up staying for a while to comfort a mourning Anna. They end up discussing leaving to deal with loss, with Anna arguing that the house is her home, and Danny not being able to leave due to financial difficulties. Anna then proceeds to generously offer Danny a paper bag full of money, which Danny respectfully declines.

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On the day of Conrad’s burial, Anna works on preparing herself to go out and attend, yet even after multiple calls from Charlotte, she never found the strength to even put one foot out of the house. As it turns out, the neighborhood has no idea of her apparent agoraphobia or extreme fear of crowded spaces or enclosed public places, which prompts J.P. (Jack Henson), his younger brother Vance (Joshua Mikel), and associate Perry (Martin Starr) to burglarize the house, expecting her to be attending the funeral.

The trio are surprised to find out that Anna is in the house, and shocked to find out that she can’t run away even if she wanted to, and that she has never left the house for ten years. Perry decides to tie her up and bring her outside, prompting her to scream in terror and wet herself, confirming she is indeed agoraphobic.

After trying to evade capture (while still being inside the house), Danny suddenly shows up and gets socked on the jaw by Perry. As it turns out, Danny has opened up about Anna’s situation (and current financial situation) to Vance, which he later on opens up to his brother, which in turn prompts the burglary. Vance corners Anna in a bathroom, and gets stabbed in the neck with a hairpin by Anna. By this point, the audience should finally realize that Anna isn’t really the best person to victimize, since she turns out to be a person who has secrets of her own. Using the sound of Vance’s body bumping the stairs as she drags his body down the basement, she effectively baits J.P. and Perry to find the source of the sound and check the basement, trapping them down after retracting the staircase (which turns out to be mechanized).

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The film soon evolves into a Saw-esque thriller, with the victim becoming the tormentor, and the men who intruded the privacy of her home learning the deep and dark secrets she and her brother have harbored for the past ten years. The house has multiple hidden entrances and exits, and has multiple holding rooms for their sex predator victims, which was the outcome of Anna’s predation by her father, and Conrad’s eventual murder of him. Anna uses a PA system to speak to the perverts, making them own up to their sins, and asks them to prove how guilty they feel: and that’s by shooting themselves in the head with a revolver that has one round, prepared in a mechanized box inside the room.

The film starts out with a lot of promise and very tight writing, with Anna’s fear portrayed wonderfully without overacting. The shock of realizing that Anna is more than what she presents herself to be could have been done better. It’s obvious that Intruders took the liberty of getting inspiration from Saw, but the expectations of grisly gore and intricately detailed, mechanized contraptions of death and torture are totally absent. What you get instead is a red room with different household tools and a noose, a stabbed neck, a dislocated knee-cap, a bludgeoned head, and a shot to the chest. None of the tools of torture found in the red room were used, and instead of a slow, painful, visceral death scene, all the deaths were almost instantaneous. If you’re a big fan of gore, you’ll be sorely disappointed; that’s really all you’re getting.

All in all, Intruders is not exactly horrid, but it could’ve been better. It had a lot of promise, but it didn’t exactly deliver.

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