‘We’re the Millers’ director helms action comedy ‘Central Intelligence’

With the hit comedies “Dodgeball” and “We’re the Millers” to his credit, Rawson Marshall Thurber, director of Universal Pictures’ new action comedy “Central Intelligence,” was looking to expand his filmmaking repertoire by incorporating a run of action in his next film.

“I’ve loved action movies my whole life and I’ve been wanting to make one since I was about, oh, eight years old,” Thurber says. “This has been a lot of fun.”

“Rawson really understands tone and timing,” Kevin Hart says. “It’s not just the rhythm of the action, it’s how everything meshes. The segues are seamless, the writing is smart, and there were small moments that we were allowed to make big moments because we had a great cast to work with and Rawson gave us the room to play.”

Opening across the Philippines on June 15, “Central Intelligence” follows a one-time bullied geek who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent (Dwayne Johnson), coming home for his high-school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of the former “big man on campus” (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into, it’s too late to get out, as his increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than he can count.

Thurber also wrote the film’s screenplay, with Ike Barinholtz & David Stassen.

As the movie opens, Johnson’s character is introduced in flashback as a hopelessly uncool high schooler with the unfortunate moniker of Robbie Weirdicht. A supersized kid with a gentle soul, he’s easy prey to campus bullies, and is forced to drop out after the irreparable humiliation of being hurled, naked, into center court at a school pep rally.
At the same time, Hart’s character, Calvin – aka The Golden Jet – is Central High’s top athlete and all-around reigning superstar, a guy for whom the sky was the limit and everybody’s best bet for most likely to succeed.

Twenty years later, no one is cashing in on that bet. A risk-averse accountant stuck on the middle rung of the corporate ladder and commanding zero respect from his colleagues, Calvin takes harsh stock of himself as his high school reunion looms: a dead-end job, a marriage on life support and a humdrum existence that hasn’t lived up to its promise. Meanwhile, the doughy loser everyone wrote off as Weird Robbie appears to have successfully reinvented himself as Bob, a confident charmer with a rock-hard physique, the skills and instincts of a CIA operative, and an exciting life that Calvin can only imagine.

In truth, they were never really friends. But that’s how Bob remembers it, based on Calvin’s single act of kindness at that awful rally – offering his letterman jacket for Bob to cover up – and it’s a fine point that nice-guy Calvin is certainly not going to press now that they’re adults and Bob invites him for a beer a couple of days prior to the big reunion. What harm could it to do to spend an evening catching up?

Within hours, Bob’s seemingly casual request for Calvin to analyze some financial data takes a suspicious turn, leading his former classmate into a labyrinth of underground transactions, and a high-stakes plot over stolen encryption codes for the U.S. spy satellite system that could threaten global security.

While his superiors believe Bob is behind this scheme and are trying to bring him in, Bob claims to be tracking the real villain, code-named Black Badger. And despite Calvin’s vigorous denials that he has anything to do with any of this, his home and office are soon invaded by gun-wielding agents; he’s threatened, chased and shot at, and suddenly his life depends upon how fast he can move and how close he can stick to a guy he now wishes he’d never laid eyes on.

Opening on June 15, 2016, “Central Intelligence” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Sia provides ‘Unforgettable’ music for ‘Finding Dory’

Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory” welcomes back to the big screen Dory, friends Marlin and Nemo—and composer Thomas Newman. “To me, he was one of the cast members of ‘Finding Nemo,’” says director Andrew Stanton. “We formed a close relationship ever since, and now that he is behind the score for ‘Finding Dory,’ it fees like the last member of the family has arrived at the reunion.”

According to Stanton, scoring a film like “Finding Dory” with a composer like Newman takes the films to places he has yet to imagine. “It forces me to have to really explain out loud what my intentions are. It can lead to very intense conversation between the two of us. But I get so much out of it. I end up understanding my movie ten times better—it’s almost therapy for me. We just click.”

“There was no way I could not do “Finding Dory,” says Newman, who was nominated for an Oscar® for his work on “Finding Nemo” and won a Grammy® (best song written for motion picture, television or other visual media) on Stanton’s “WALL•E.” “It’s ironic that a movie about fish—some in aquariums, some in open water—has such a huge range of emotive possibilities—from the hysterical to the deeply profound and primally frightening. That’s exciting to ponder musically.”

According to Newman, the score is designed to support the film’s big themes of loss and the characters’ efforts to conquer their individual shortcomings. It also showcases the deeper, less sunny side of Dory’s personality. “Dory’s theme has a certain amount of quirkiness and a certain amount of sadness built in,” says the composer.

The goal, says Newman, is to complement the story. “If there’s humor or pathos, I want to bring it out, but I don’t want to re-describe it. I just want to underline it. I want to make it more of what it already is.

“I liken music to makeup on a face,” continues Newman. “At its worst, it’s garish and overdone. At its best, you don’t notice it and it brings out the best qualities.”

Singer-songwriter Sia is on board “Finding Dory,” performing the film’s end-credit song, “Unforgettable.” (Watch Sia sing “Unforgettable” for the first time at http://youtu.be/fMVlYk6uNB0).

American songwriter Irving Gordon wrote the song in 1951, and in 1992 won a Grammy® for it when Natalie Cole included the tribute to her late father on her album of duets. “Unforgettable” remains revered worldwide today.

Five-time Grammy® nominee Sia agreed to sing the song when the voice of Dory herself made the request. “Dory’s story makes me teary,” says Sia. “When Ellen asked me, I couldn’t refuse!”

Director Andrew Stanton has long been a fan of the native Australian performer. “In the same way Robbie Williams did his own unique twist on a classic song for ‘Finding Nemo,’ Sia captures the soulful truth of the Nat King Cole classic ‘Unforgettable,’ and makes it all her own,” said Stanton. “They are a perfect complement to one another, just like the two films.”

Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” finds Dory living happily in the reef with Marlin and Nemo about a year after their life-changing adventure. When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, she recruits Marlin and Nemo for a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute (MLI), a rehabilitation center and aquarium.

In the effort to find her mom and dad, Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank, a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey, a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark.

Deftly navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.

“Finding Dory” swims into Philippine theaters on Thursday, June 16, 2016. The film 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.

‘The Conjuring 2’ marks Patrick Wilson’s fourth film with James Wan

Boasting two James Wan horror film franchises – “Insidious” and “The Conjuring” — in his belt, Patrick Wilson marks his fourth collaboration with the master director with New Line Cinema’s “The Conjuring 2” opening in Philippine cinemas June 9.

“I’ll do anything with him,” Wilson affirms his admiration of Wan. “He has such a passion for filmmaking. James knows I demand the most of myself – that I’m not going to just walk through a scene; I’m going to push myself. I think that gives him energy as well. I think that’s one of the reasons I love working with him.

“The Conjuring 2,” with James Wan once again at the helm following the record-breaking success of “The Conjuring,” brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga).

Wilson explains, “There was not one part of this story that felt like we were retreading old ground; we were pushing ourselves to do something different, while still giving the audience the elements that made the first film work, and that was really important to me.”

Farmiga and Wilson reprise their roles as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

Producer Peter Safran says, “Ed and Lorraine are truly a couple in love, two people who have found each other and are exactly right for each other… soulmates. That comes through in the writing, but even more in the way that Patrick and Vera play the characters; they give us the touchstone around which everything else revolves. Lorraine herself was on set during shooting and kept commenting on how they captured her relationship with Ed so perfectly.”

Though Wilson never got to meet Ed Warren, who passed away in 2006, the actor says, “I’ve been able to spend time with Lorraine so I know him through her eyes, and through Judy and Tony Spera, their daughter and son-in-law, as well as DVDs, audio recordings and so forth. On this one we were even more proactive about finding those character-defining moments in his life that we could put on screen.”

One such character trait found its way into the first scene Wan wrote for the film, which became known as the “Elvis scene,” a lighter moment in which Ed sings a song to the Hodgsons. Wilson explains, “Ed was a jokester and he loved to whistle, he loved music. Lorraine was happy I was going to sing in the movie because she said the spirit of Ed is there, he was always the first one to lighten the room. He would walk into a séance and say, ‘I’m hungry. Anybody got any milk and cookies?’”

The “Elvis scene” was just one of the differences Wilson appreciated about this film. “What I love about this case is that, from a dramatic point of view, we didn’t tread the same ground,” he says. “With any exorcism, you’re going to go with your Bible and crucifix, but Ed and Lorraine are dealing with something very different here, and that’s maybe not going to work. As an actor, it was interesting to play, it was a different beast. And even the humor, the romantic stuff, things that spin the genre around a bit…that was exciting to me.”

In the first “Conjuring,” Wilson’s character was the protective one, but Wan likes that the tables have turned for the second go-round. “Now it’s flipped, it is Lorraine who’s fearful and protective of what might happen to Ed, and I love their dynamic and the way Patrick plays this practical, almost fearless guy who’ll do anything to protect his wife and to help this family.”

And it just might take everything he’s got. The entity is a strong one; the Enfield case will take a good deal of work and leave quite a mark on both Ed and Lorraine, as well as the Hodgson family.

Opening on June 9, 2016, “The Conjuring 2” is a New Line Cinema presentation and is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.