FESTIVAL REPORT: Likha Adarna (2nd Sem, A.Y. 2015-2016), Day 1

The first day of Likha Adarna (2nd Semester, A.Y. 2015-2016) showcased a total of 18 of the 28 thesis films of the UP Film Institute undergraduate students at Cine Adarna, UPFI, University of the Philippines Diliman.

SUNDO

Bittersweet in its tone, it has a worthy tinge of nostalgia on the surface. Interesting to note that it was shot 16 years ago. Reviving it in the midst of current trends and techniques is valiant as it took the step to digitize the film.

KUBLI

Strong symbolic devices coupled with its quirky music keep this experimental film engaging as the real meaning of its narrative, while being kept hidden, is open for everyone’s interpretation.

PHILIPPINE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE AGENCY

This goes back to one year ago where the first output was problematic. This time around, things are still ambitious, given the limitations of its form, but it is still not able to detach itself from the storytelling of the previous version shown last May 2015.

LOVE IS THE SERVANT OF CHAOS

Tries to be affective but loses its magic with its drowsy poetry. Hypnotic many times in between as it is inventive in form. Could have been compact but serviceable on its tangible layer.

PANSAMANTALA

Its solid story is enough to make it outstanding. It has a very good screenplay that fluidly escalates the mood. What more with its well-acted performances and the kind of direction geared to perfection. I want to watch it again soon.

INDAK

A dialogue-heavy piece of meh which is a better piece of literature than a cinematic output.

DUAY-YA

Clearly the intention is to bring back all those pieces of broken memories: make it sad, make it very sad and nostalgic. But with this kind of exposition, it is hard to relate to its main character. It feels too dragging, the atmosphere too foreign, and the acting—well—terrible.

ALINLANGAN

There is an interesting juxtaposition of rotten meat infested by insects and the tension felt by a party crasher doubtful of the guests’ acceptance toward her presence. It speaks of itself through silence and alluring musical score that equally breathe life to a rather plain story.

MAIA

Has a lot of good concepts moving inside its science fiction realm but ends up incoherent in pointing out what it really wants. It begins tough in using low-quality video and explaining through its narrative a technological advancement in filmmaking, only for this founding idea to get lost as the story opts to shift from one focus to another. Despite all lost opportunities, it has a commendable rhythm that still makes it entertaining.

SOFTER BODIES

It’s a rarity among UP Film Institute undergraduate thesis to present a documentary film, but whenever it does, it manages to appealingly tackle a small issue that grows big as it gets along the discourse of women who have PCOS.

HILOM

The mixture of the storytelling is inconsistent but it keeps one guarded all throughout due to its production value and the underlying tension of a twist bound to happen.

UWIAN NA

Teeming with striking production design from end to end: well orchestrated and structured with passion. A visual feast that jives well with a soft-spoken narrative. The people behind this film are to watch out for.

SINA IGME AT GANI

Breathtaking cinematography does not always make a film as remarkable as the imagery it renders. Along the winding road it paves, the narrative turns out to be tedious with its stretched out pace. It’s a good thing the lead actors are mature in their roles despite their young age.

FISH OUT OF WATER 

May budget mag-shoot sa Korea! Yamanin! Plus Yayo Aguila! A strong contender at this year’s Cinemalaya. It stands robust and confident, boasting its grand production value and sincere depiction of Filipino-Korean life overseas.

LOLA LOLENG

A fascinating take on rotoscope animation that could be a vibrant companion film to last year’s MANANG BIRING. It works like magic as it creates its own relatable world of wartime memories. And isn’t that poster reminiscent of THE GREAT GATSBY?

PITONG DAAN AT ISA

Anchored by pain and longing, the emotional discomfort is too personal that it wards off quick connection to its audience. Could have had a clearer plot (granted there is much to be explained) but still a sad picture set in the picturesque Hong Kong all the same.

ANG HIGH SCHOOL AT SI OLIVE

A well-acted slice-of-life that depicts reality between two girls in love with each other, and the various struggles they encounter amidst social and familial norms. Terrific at its core as it stays neat and honest through and through.

TATWA

A nice exercise on the psychological thriller genre. Could have been tighter but works just as fine on the surface.

Megan Fox returns as April O’Neil in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ sequel

Known to worldwide audiences for her break-out starring role of Mikaela in the first two “Transformers” blockbusters, Megan Fox has successfully jumpstarted another beloved film franchise, the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Now, she reprises her lead character of April O’Neil in Paramount Pictures’ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” (in Philippine cinemas on June 1).

In the film, it’s been almost a year since our heroes saved the city, and in keeping with their ninja training (and their unconventional appearance), they’ve maintained a low profile. Meanwhile, April O’Neil (Fox) has gone undercover, investigating Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), a brilliant and respected scientist who may have ties to Shredder (Brian Tee).

“I think April always wanted to be the anchor behind the desk,” muses producer Andrew Form. “But I don’t know if she can give up the excitement of being on the street, breaking stories, and working with the Turtles. She loves her job, but she loves her relationship with the Turtles more. She’s basically become the fifth Turtle,” he says.
“The first movie focused on April’s ambition,” Fox says, “but in this film, her relationships with the Turtles and their survival as a family is her priority.”

“Megan has developed an incredible connection with the guys who play the Turtles,” director Dave Green observes. “Even when the cameras weren’t rolling, they were always goofing around, laughing, playing games. They really are like her brothers.”

Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael return to Philippine cinemas this season in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell).

After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.

“Earth to Echo” filmmaker Dave Green directs from a script by Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec. The producers are Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, Galen Walker and Scott Mednick.

Opening across the Philippines on June 1, 2016, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Characters go deep in Disney-Pixar’s animated film ‘Finding Dory’

“Finding Nemo’s” Dory, Marlin and Nemo embark on a new adventure—this time to the California coastline—on an uncertain search for the family Dory thinks she left behind, in Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory.”

Their journey leads them to the Marine Life Institute, where they meet a diverse array of sea creatures. “It really is a whole new chapter this time,” says director Andrew Stanton. Meet the line-up below!

Dory is a bright blue tang with a sunny personality. She suffers from short-term memory loss, which normally doesn’t upset her upbeat attitude—until she realizes she’s forgotten something big: her family. She’s found a new family in Marlin and Nemo, but she’s haunted by the belief that someone out there is looking for her. Dory may have trouble recalling exactly what—or who—she’s searching for, but she won’t give up until she uncovers her past and discovers something else along the way: self-acceptance.

Marlin may have traveled across the ocean once, but that doesn’t mean he wants to do it again. So he doesn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to accompany Dory on a mission to the California coast to track down her family. Marlin, of course, knows how it feels to lose family, and it was Dory who helped him find Nemo not so long ago. The clownfish may not be funny, but he’s loyal—he realizes he has no choice but to pack up his nervous energy and skepticism and embark on yet another adventure, this time to help his friend.

One year after his big overseas adventure, Nemo is back to being a normal kid: going to school and living on the coral reef with his dad and their blue tang neighbor, Dory. His harrowing adventure abroad doesn’t seem to have sapped his spirit. In fact, when Dory remembers pieces of her past and longs to take off on an ambitious ocean trek to find her family, Nemo is the first to offer his help. He may be a young clownfish with a lucky fin, but Nemo wholeheartedly believes in Dory. After all, he understands what it’s like to be different.

Hank is an octopus. Actually, he’s a “septopus”: he lost a tentacle—along with his sense of humor—somewhere along the way. But Hank is just as competent as his eight-armed peers. An accomplished escape artist with camouflaging capabilities to boot, Hank is the first to greet Dory when she finds herself in the Marine Life Institute. But make no mistake: he’s not looking for a friend. Hank is after one thing—a ticket on a transport truck to a cozy Cleveland facility where he’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful life of solitude.

Destiny may be a clumsy swimmer, but she has a big heart. She has a big everything, actually—whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea. Destiny resides in the Marine Life Institute, where one day an oddly familiar blue tang named Dory falls into her pool. Destiny is admittedly embarrassed by her obvious lack of grace, a product of poor eyesight, but Dory thinks she swims beautifully. And Dory is delighted to learn that her supersized friend speaks whale, too.

Bailey is the Marine Life Institute’s resident beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz. The good news—or bad news, depending on who you ask—is that doctors at the MLI can’t seem to find anything wrong with him. Bailey’s flair for the dramatic never ceases to push his neighbor’s buttons: whale shark Destiny can’t seem to get through to him, no matter how hard she tries. Maybe he’ll listen to new friend Dory, who seems to be full of crazy ideas.

Jenny and Charlie would do anything for their only child, Dory. They celebrate and protect her, striving to arm her with the skills she’ll need to navigate the world with a faulty memory. Jenny may appear cheerful and a little flighty—but she’s a protective mother and a smart role model. Charlie likes to joke around, but nothing is more important to him than teaching his memory-challenged daughter how to survive.

Opening across the Philippines on June 15, 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 and use the hashtag #FindingDoryPH.

Fimmel, Cooper, Foster lead Azeroth heroes in ‘Warcraft: The Beginning’

Three of today’s most compelling actors – Travis Fimmel (TV’s “Vikings”), Dominic Cooper (TV’s “Preacher,” “Captain America: The First Avenger”) and Ben Foster (“X-Men: The Last Stand”) lead the charge of Azeroth heroes in Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Warcraft: The Beginning” (in Philippine cinemas May 25).

In the human world of Azeroth, the pivotal role of the valiant Commander Anduin Lothar is assumed by Australian actor Travis Fimmel, well known for his portrayal of Ragnar in the blockbuster series “Vikings.”

Travis Fimmel as Commander Anduin Lothar

Lothar, a formidable soldier, has always put the interests of the realm and his king before all else. Raves producer Thomas Tull of Fimmel’s performance: “I was blown away by Travis in `Vikings.’ When he walks into a room, he commands attention. He has whatever that special essence is, and if he picks up a sword or a battle axe, you want that guy on your side.”

Thrilled to be cast in this epic adventure, Fimmel reveals that it was crucial to him that Lothar be a flawed hero. He explains: “He has a deep sense of duty and need to be a good soldier but, in doing that he neglects his family, and carries a great deal of regret regarding his relationship with his son.”

Dominic Cooper as King Llane

British actor Dominic Cooper brought his considerable acting prowess to the role of Azeroth’s King Llane. Llane is a benevolent ruler who relies on his childhood companions to help him keep the peace in his kingdom. However, the arrival of the invading orc army becomes a true test of that friendship and of his leadership.

Cooper walks us through why he chose the part: “I loved that the script wasn’t simply good versus evil.

Essentially, it’s about displaced people looking for a new land. It asks, ‘Who does this land belong to? Who is in the right?’ But the more you learn, the more you question yourself. Is there a fairer way to achieve happiness for all? It’s a game of chess and, for Llane, it’s about constantly maneuvering yourself into a position that supports your kingdom in the best way possible.”

Azeroth’s power hierarchy is further complicated by the enigmatic character of Medivh, played by multifaceted actor Ben Foster. The last great wizard from an ancient line of magical protectors known as the Guardians, he is bestowed with great powers in order to defend the realm. At one time, he was celebrated and revered among the citizens of Azeroth, but now seeks anonymity as he dwells in solitude at the tower of Karazhan.

Ben Foster as Medivh

Foster was drawn to play this role for a number of reasons, but principally for the opportunity to work with director Duncan Jones. “I had seen `Moon,’ and clearly Duncan is a very inventive filmmaker,” shares Foster. “Reading this script that is set in a world of fantasy, I recognized that it is difficult to pull off a new mythology. It’s also difficult to pull off a sense of compassion for both sides in a war. Duncan’s great magic trick with this particular material is humanizing both sides and, even though they are creatures on the opposing side, it’s a very humanistic approach. I appreciated that.”

In “Warcraft: The Beginning,” the peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home.
So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.

Directed by Duncan Jones (“Moon,” “Source Code”) and written by Charles Leavitt and Jones, the film stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Rob Kazinsky and Daniel Wu.

Opening across the Philippines on May 25, 2016, “Warcraft: The Beginning” is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WINNERS: Cannes Film Festival 2016

The 2016 Cannes Film Festival concludes Sunday, May 22 with the presentation of the awards for this year. The top prize was awarded to Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake” among the 21 films in competition.

Here is the complete list of this year’s winners at Cannes Film Festival as announced at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes:

Palme d’Or: Ken Loach, “I, Daniel Blake”

Grand Prix: Xavier Dolan, “It’s Only The End of the World”

Jury Prize: Andrea Arnold, “American Honey”

Best Actress: Jaclyn Jose, “Ma’ Rosa”

Best Actor: Shahab Hosseini, “The Salesman”

Best Director: Olivier Assayas, “Personal Shopper” & Cristian Mungiu, “Graduation”

Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, “The Salesman”

Camera d’Or: “Divines,” Houda Benyamina

Queer Palm (Feature): “Les Vies de Thérèse,” Sébastien Lifshitz

Queer Palm (Short): “Gabber Lover,” Anna Cazenave-Cambet

On the other hand, here is the complete list of winners for the Un Certain Regard competition as announced Saturday, May 21:

Un Certain Regard Prize: Juho Kuosmanen, “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki”

Jury Prize: Kôji Fukada, “Harmonium”

Best Director: Matt Ross, “Captain Fantastic”

Best Screenplay: Delphine and Muriel Coulin, “The Stopover”

Special Jury Prize: Michaël Dudok de Wit, “The Red Turtle”

Jaclyn Jose wins best actress at Cannes 2016 for Brillante Mendoza’s ‘Ma’ Rosa’

Filipino star Jaclyn Jose won Best Actress during the closing ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, May 22 for her mesmerizing performance in ‘Ma’ Rosa’ as a mother forced to sell drugs to survive before falling prey to corrupt police.

A tearful Jose described herself as “so surprised” as she received the award for her role in Brillante Mendoza’s ‘Ma’ Rosa,’ the lone PH entry to Cannes this year.

Jose’s win is the first in the history of Philippine cinema.

jaclyn jose ma' rosa cannes 2016 best actress

Watch the trailer for ‘Ma’ Rosa’ here:

 

‘Harry Potter’s’ Neville Longbottom plays jealous boyfriend in ‘Me Before You’

Best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the “Harry Potter” film series, Matthew Lewis now stars in New Line Cinema’s “Me Before You” as Patrick, the one individual who is not exactly happy about the obvious camaraderie between his girlfriend, the caregiver Louisa (Emilia Clarke) and accident survivor Will (Sam Claflin).

Matthew Lewis says, “Patrick is Lou’s boyfriend of about seven years, and it’s comfortable, you know? He’s also a personal trainer and is obsessed with fitness. He’s set up his business and he’s won this local entrepreneur of the year award twice, and that’s just spurred him on to get fitter and fitter.

He adds, “Now he’s planning to do this Viking triathlon in Norway as his and Lou’s holiday together. In his mind, and probably hers at one point, they’re going to stay in this town for the rest of their lives, get married, get a house, have kids, and everything’s going to be okay.

“When Will comes into her life,” he continues, “suddenly her eyes are open to the possibilities and opportunities in the world outside of this town…and outside of Patrick.”

The Leeds-born actor began his career at the tender age of five with several TV roles, but a speculative trip to open auditions in his hometown six years later saw him secure the much-loved role of Neville Longbottom in the most successful film series of all time. His role as the hapless, endearing and eventually heroic Neville saw him build a massive worldwide fan base.

He made his West End theatre debut in Jonathan Lewis’ critically acclaimed “Our Boys” at the Duchess Theatre, alongside Laurence Fox and Arthur Darville, in 2012.

In 2014, Lewis joined the cast of BBC3’s award-winning “Bluestone 42,” a comedy-drama about a British bomb disposal detachment in Afghanistan in which Lewis played ammunition expert Gordon House, and returned for the show’s third series in March 2015. He can currently be seen in the role of Sgt. Drum Drummond on the BBC and Amazon’s crime drama “Ripper Street,” and as Sean Balmforth in Sally Wainwright’s BAFTA-winning series “Happy Valley.”

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ “Me Before You” is based on the critically acclaimed, bestselling novel by Jojo Moyes.

The romantic drama stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) and Sam Claflin (“The Hunger Games” series), under the direction of Thea Sharrock, making her feature film directorial debut.

Oftentimes you find love where you least expect it. Sometimes it takes you where you never expected to go…

Louisa “Lou” Clark (Clarke) lives in a quaint town in the English countryside. With no clear direction in her life, the quirky and creative 26-year-old goes from one job to the next in order to help her tight-knit family make ends meet. Her normally cheery outlook is put to the test, however, when she faces her newest career challenge.

Taking a job at the local “castle,” she becomes caregiver and companion to Will Traynor (Claflin), a wealthy young banker who became wheelchair bound in an accident two years prior, and whose whole world changed dramatically in the blink of an eye. No longer the adventurous soul he once was, the now cynical Will has all but given up. That is until Lou determines to show him that life is worth living. Embarking together on a series of adventures, both Lou and Will get more than they bargained for, and find their lives—and hearts—changing in ways neither one could have imagined.

Thea Sharrock directs from a screenplay by Jojo Moyes and Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber (“The Fault in Our Stars”), based on the book by Moyes.

“Me Before You” is a presentation of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM). Set for release across the Philippines on June 15, 2016, it will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.