Bruce Willis stars as crime boss in action heist movie ‘Precious Cargo’

Bruce Willis plays merciless crime boss in the gritty action heist movie “Precious Cargo” also starring Claire Forlani and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. In “Precious Cargo” Eddie (Willis) hunts down the seductive thief Karen (Forlani) who failed him. In order to win back Eddie’s trust, Karen recruits her ex-lover and premier thief Jack (Gosselaar) to steal a cargo of rare precious gems. But when the job goes down, allegiances are betrayed and lines are crossed as Jack, Karen and Eddie face off in a fateful showdown.

At the helm of the movie is writer-director Max Adams who keeps the audience guessing in his feature-length directorial debut. Since his arrival in Hollywood a few short years ago, the former Army officer and battalion commander, who also has a Master’s degree in film production, has risen swiftly through the ranks to become an in-demand action screenwriter known for his humorous, brisk dialogue, cleverly constructed plot twists and ability to write realistic action and fight sequences. But the story for “Precious Cargo” was written long before Adams arrived in Hollywood and while he was a graduate student at Florida State University’s film school.

With his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema, action films and real-life action experiences after serving for six years in the Army, Adams quickly established himself as “the action director” after enrolling in Florida Stat University’s graduate school in 2006. A couple years later when it came time to make a short film for his Master’s Thesis, Adams wrote, directed and edited “Precious Cargo,” a story set in the world of multi-million dollar heists and double-crossing professional thieves. A short time later, while working on HBO’s acclaimed “Boardwalk Empire” the show’s writer-producer Terence Winter and writer-director-executive producer Timothy Van Patten encouraged Adams to write a feature-length version of the short, which he did.

The cast and crew filmed “Precious Cargo” along the picturesque Mississippi Gulf Coast, inlets and waterways around the Gulfport-Biloxi area during an action-packed 17-day shoot—much of it in the sweltering early summer heat of May-June 2015. According to the cast and crew, with thunderstorms, oppressive humidity and temperatures soaring into the hundreds, Adams proved to be every bit the cool, calm focused leader that saw him elevated to a commanding officer in the 3rd Army Infantry in Iraq.

“For his first shot at being a director I can’t imagine a more daunting task,” said Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who plays con man and professional thief Jack. “This was a very ambitious script that he wrote and an ambitious schedule and Max did an amazing job – getting everything together, being a leader on set, making a great film and allowing us to have an amazing onset experience. He’s the guy we followed and will continue to follow.”

“I had the most fun making this film,” said Claire Forlani, who plays femme fatale Karen Colson. “It has been one of the most fun sets I’ve ever been on with such a brilliant level of humor. And when you’re working these hours in this race to get a film made, to have that attitude, it comes from the top. And that’s Max. It’s been a really tight schedule and a lot to do, and he’s not only done it, but he’s done it brilliantly. I adore him. I think he’s really accomplished something admirable and fun with this film.”

“Precious Cargo is a good mix of comedy with an intense blend of action and drama happening behind that,” said Gosselaar. “I like that there’s a light touch to this film, a comedic element throughout. I always like to see an action film that has a comedic element and doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is that kind of movie where you can sit down for 90 minutes, eat popcorn and enjoy the ride.”

“Precious Cargo” opens May 11, 2016 from OctoArts Films International. Click for the film’s trailer here:

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ offers visually ambitious cinematic experience

Set a decade after the events of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” the latest “X-Men: Apocalypse” that will open on May 18 in Philippine cinemas finds the mutants in 1983 living their own lives. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has his school for gifted youngsters up and running, and has some promising new students he’s guiding as they figure out their lives. Erik “Magneto” Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) is living a quiet family life in Poland, while Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) is eschewing her mutant side, worried that humanity still doesn’t completely accept them. Their world is thrown into chaos when an incredibly powerful, ancient mutant named Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) awakens and decides that the world has taken a turn for the worse and decides to destroy civilization and create it again in his own image.

Taking the cinematic experience to the highest level this time, “X-Men: Apocalypse” will also be available in 3D and IMAX screens where director Bryan Singer brings the X-men in an epic showdown with their most powerful unstoppable enemy.

Given Apocalypse’s vision of global destruction, it’s no surprise that this is the most visually ambitious of X-Men pictures. “We’re not only traveling the world, we’re talking about the potential end of the world, and perhaps the end of the universe,” says director of photography Newton Thomas Sigel, who previously collaborated with Singer on DOFP, X2, and X-MEN, among other films. Adds Oscar Isaac, who plays the seminal figure: “The stage is set for an epic mutant versus mega-mutant war. The battle between the X-Men and Apocalypse is insane!”

Apocalypse’s 5,000-year slumber began when civilization was at its peak; his sleep ends when it’s arguably at its nadir. Having grown up in eighties, producer Simon Kinberg understood how it was marked by excess, as seen in the hair styles, fashion, and automobiles. “In 1983, Apocalypse rises from the perfection of ancient Egyptian culture into an over-populated, polluted, nuclear-threatened culture,” he says. “So his motivation is understandable, though his methods and goals are extreme.”

Oscar Isaac, who took on the role of Apocalypse following his star turn as the heroic pilot Poe Dameron in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the avant-garde artificial intelligence creator in “Deus Ex Machina” calls the character nothing less than “the creative/destructive force of this earth. When things seem like they’re no longer evolving—like they did in the 1980s—he destroys those civilizations.”

The character’s makeup effects included a forehead piece, a nose and cheek piece, a jaw and chin piece, a headpiece, a neck piece and even a helmet. “The only body part that wasn’t covered was Isaac’s eyeballs,” jokes specialty makeup designer Brian Sipe. “With a head dress and neck piece, as well as a twenty piece costume, the entire process was “like a giant jigsaw puzzle,” he adds. One of the prominent features in the Apocalypse design is the metallic-looking “dreads.” The challenge was making the suit “look heroic on a normal man’s body while allowing the actor to maintain mobility and conform,” says Sipe. They also had to keep Isaac cool in hot and humid Montreal summer weather. “We used a system called Cool Shirt,” Sipe continues. “It’s a cooling system similar to what race car drivers use; Oscar was plugged into ice water whenever he wasn’t filming to maintain a comfortable temperature.”

Prepare for a war like no other when “X-Men: Apocalypse” opens May 18 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.