Mila Kunis teams up with single, overstressed moms in R-rated comedy ‘Bad Moms’

In the estrogen-filled comedy “Bad Moms,” Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis, “Black Swan”) has a seemingly perfect life: a great marriage, over-achieving kids, a beautiful home and a career. However, she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap.

Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms, Kiki (Kristen Bell, “Frozen”) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”), on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence –and putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her clique of devoted, perfect moms, Vicky (Annie Mumolo) and Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith).

Kunis signed on as lead character Amy Mitchell, a working mom whose myriad obligations leave her cut off from friendships, let alone the idea of fun for its own sake. Poor Amy is too busy to realize what she is missing. “Really early on in motherhood, you forget that you’re a girl and you need girlfriends,” said Kristen Bell, a reallife mother of two. “Part of the beauty of this film is that it’s about these mothers discovering friendships again.”

How in the world did the writers of the ultimate dude movie, “The Hangover,” end up making a (R-rated) girl-power tribute to the awesomeness of moms? “Bad Moms” filmmakers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore have been writing partners and friends for more than 15 years. During that time, they also became dads, as well as directors. “We write from home, sitting in front of our computers, so we see our wives bust their asses all day,” said Moore. “They’re running around, picking up kids, making lunches, dealing with all these pressures. There’s a lot of drama and fertile ground for comedy.”

Kathryn Hahn plays badass single mom Carla, and her first reaction to the script was admiration for Moore’s wife. “Scott is a dad at my children’s school. After I read the script, I looked at his wife Mary in a whole different way. She is awesome. And that’s what I love about our directors – they’re in awe of us.”

“A real mom’s first story was never about giving her kid a hug,” said Lucas. “It would be, my kid totally destroyed the house today. There’s a tone, a sharpness that a real mom has. You recognize it right away. The non-moms had a sweeter idea about motherhood, and spoke more kindly about children.”

Hahn admired the honesty. “We live in such a child-centric culture that it’s difficult not to feel that you’re failing all the time. Or that you are ever going to live up to all the books and blogs you’ve read, and all the other moms’ advice.”

Kunis feels for Amy. “She had a baby at 19 and another one at 20, and has had to hustle ever since to make it work,” she explained. “Everybody can relate to that in some form. You strive for everything to be perfect and forget that the messy parts of life are what make life happen.”

“Bad Moms” is now showing in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.

Home invasion turns into horrific nightmare in ‘Don’t Breathe’

In Columbia Pictures’ new suspense thriller “Don’t Breathe,” three young friends break into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they’ll get away with the perfect heist. They’re wrong.

Directed by Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead” 2013) and written by Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues, “Don’t Breathe” stars Jane Levy (“Evil Dead” 2013), Dylan Minnette (“Goosebumps”), Daniel Zovatto (“It Follows”) and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”). The film is produced by Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man” trilogy), Rob Tapert and Fede Alvarez.

Three young robbers (Levy, Minnette and Zovatto) invade a blind man’s Detroit home — teenagers who are targeting vulnerable properties in the city as they bid to harvest enough cash to flee the area and start new lives elsewhere. Once they enter the Blind Man’s home, however, the tables begin to turn.

Director and co-writer Fede Alvarez, who shot to international renown with his 2013 remake of the Sam Raimi-directed classic “Evil Dead,” explains his inspiration. “We wanted to make something that was very, very suspenseful,” he says. “And we thought, ‘What is one of the things that creates a lot of suspense?’ For me, it is when you have a character walking into someone else’s domain because there you are under their rules.”
In “Don’t Breathe,” when the three young robbers enter the Blind Man’s domain they find themselves very much under his rules – the house is set up in a way that suits the owner, giving him the upperhand.

don't breathe movie

“I love movies that force me to pick sides but which don’t give me the answers to the questions,” says Alvarez. “And that’s what I’m trying to do in this movie — not give the audience good guys and a villain. They all are villains. They are all doing something that is very wrong, all four of them. So it’s really up to the audience to choose whom they are going to root for.”

“The benchmark that this film tries to reach, and this is about as high a benchmark as one can get, is, of course, Psycho,” he adds. “Is Psycho a thriller or a horror film? It’s really a thriller. But also it’s somewhere in between because it has horror elements,” states Alvarez.

The filmmaker also believes that the audience is in for a groundbreaking experience. “There are some pretty f—ked up choices that we make,” Alvarez says with a smile. “You’ll see them when you see the movie. There are some things that happen that are pretty particular. They have definitely never been done before and there is a definite scene that I have never seen before. You’ll know what it is when you see it.”

Asked how the title “Don’t Breathe” came about, Alvarez points to one crucial moment in the film. “There’s a scene where one of the home invaders gets hurt so then, suddenly, he’s trying to hide, but the problem is he has hurt his ribs, so every time he breathes in, he makes this sound. So either he gets found or he stops breathing, and stopping breathing is not an option. It generates a lot of strange and fun opportunities for me.”

Opening across the Philippines on August 31, 2016, “Don’t Breathe” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Q&A with Blake Lively for survival horror thriller ‘The Shallows’

Blake Lively (TV’s “Gossip Girl,” “The Age of Adaline”) stars in Columbia Pictures’ taut thriller “The Shallows” as Nancy Adams who is surfing on a secluded beach when she finds herself in the feeding ground of a great white shark. Though she is stranded only two hundred yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude. Lively talks about “The Shallows” in the following interview:

Q: What made you say ‘yes’ to “The Shallows?”

Blake Lively: I’ve always been attracted to the idea of doing an isolation film because it’s such an acting challenge and this film in particular is not only emotionally incredibly demanding but also incredibly demanding physically and the idea of challenging myself, both inwardly and outwardly, and having to hold the screen for 99 per cent of the time, for better or for worse, was really exciting and terrifying and I know if I’m scared to do a movie then I have to do it.

Q: What was your reaction when you first read the script?

Lively: The script was such a page-turner. It was incredible how quickly it moved because immediately you put yourself in that scenario and you think ‘what would I do if I was isolated and I was being hunted by a great white shark?’ But also the idea of being only 200 yards from the shore made it that much more exciting and nerve wracking because hope is right there, it’s so, so close and that is so much more exciting to me than having her in the middle of the ocean because it gives you such a strong will to survive when you see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, there’s just no way to get there, and the only thing stopping you get to safety is a great white shark.

The Shallows movie

Q: Let’s talk about filming. You filmed on a real beach and then in the water tank…

Lively: We filmed in a beautiful place called Howe Island for two weeks and no one has ever shot there before and it will be incredible to bring it to the screen because it just looks like heaven on earth. So to get to shoot there was really special and they put a rock out 200 yards from the shore and they were doing helicopter shots and no crew members were allowed to be anywhere near me because they would be in the shot so I was out there in the middle of the ocean by myself. There were a few divers under the rocks but I really felt alone and I got a real sense of what that would be like. And then we spent the rest of the movie in a giant tank – which is basically like a giant swimming pool – at Movie World (on the Gold Coast) so there were rollercoasters all around us and I was in a tank with four foot waves and using my imagination to fill in the blanks of great white sharks and ships and buoys and you name it.

Q: Were you a good swimmer before you started the film?

Lively: I took swimming lessons for a film I did called All I See Is You so I was prepared because of that but it was really about paddling on a surf board and I had some great surf instructors help and teach me. Was I a good swimmer? I was fine. Did I improve? Definitely! I was so much faster and stronger by the end of the movie and it was so much easier. I was swimming though four foot waves in our tank every day and that was a real struggle and there were very long takes where the camera is on a big crane panning me through the water and there were take after take after take and it was really exhausting and I noticed my stamina was up by the end, I had muscles in weird places that I never had before. It was neat to hear our water safety crew go ‘wow, you’ve grown a lot stronger and you’re a much better swimmer.. ’ Also, I was a terrible diver before this film and so I learnt how to dive and that was cool. I always felt safe in the water but I was much more confident the better I got at it.

Nancy (Blake Lively) in Columbia Pictures' THE SHALLOWS.
Nancy (Blake Lively) in Columbia Pictures’ THE SHALLOWS.

Q: Why do we love movies like this? Audiences are thrilled, scared and engrossed by survival thrillers. What does that say about us?

Lively: I think we love movies like this because we immediately put ourselves in that scenario. When there are two apex predators going against each other – human versus shark or human versus nature – it’s very rare that any of us would be in that situation but we all think ‘if I was in that situation, what would I do? Would I survive?’ And I think what is incredible about human beings is that they are resourceful and they pull things out of their hat that they didn’t even know that they knew to stay alive and you put yourself in that scenario and you sort of hope that you would do the same. Even if you are ill equipped and you think you wouldn’t survive you don’t just give up – human beings don’t do that, they fight even if they are not fighters, and I think that’s what’s really cool and exciting and encouraging. And you know, this kind of movie is fun and it’s electric in a great way.

Opening across the Philippines on August 10, 2016, “The Shallows” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #FearTheShallows

Shakespeare compilation to open 10th Int’l Silent Film Festival

The British Council in the Philippines will be opening the 10th International Silent Film Festival this 25 August at Shangri-la Plaza with Play On! Silent Shakespeare, a 2016 compilation of Silent Shakespeare shorts from the British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive. Tago Jazz Collective will be doing a live musical score of the film.

Shakespeare compilation includes King John, the world’s earliest surviving Shakespeare adaptation released in 1899 and directed by William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson and Walter Pfeffer Dando. The compilation also includes extracts from early versions of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III as well as the cartoon parodies of Shakespeare’s plays by the British animation pioneer Anson Dyer—scenes from the earliest surviving Shakespeare adaptations on film with several titles untouched for decades. Play On! Silent Shakespeare, scheduled for a 19.30 screening on 25 August, pays homage to works of William Shakespeare, as the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of his death this 2016.

“We are delighted to take part in this festival for the first time and, in the year in which we are celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare’s life, to be able to share some historic early film adaptations of his work with audiences in the Philippines,” said Nicholas Thomas, Country Director of the British Council.

A still from King John (1899), the oldest surviving Shakespeare adaptation on film.
Still from The Tempest, released in 1908.

Dickson, one half of the production of King John, was a Scottish inventor who worked under Thomas Alva Edison and credited for the development of the 35mm format still in use today, by trimming and perforating Kodak Eastman’s 70mm film stock. Dickson was also known to have helped with Edison’s film productions, eventually producing some 500 films of his own. He is also credited to have produced the first-ever film with live-recorded music, dated 1894.

The International Silent Film Festival, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, will also be featuring films from eight other countries. Joining the film festival are the Philippine-Italian Association, the Japan Foundation Manila, Goethe-Institut Philippen, Instituto Cervantes, Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Embassies of the United States of America, France and Austria.

Still from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

To celebrate this important festival milestone, the participating countries will be holding a lecture and an exhibition on silent cinema as a way to further enrich the programme. The exhibition will open on 16 August at the Grand Atrium of Shangri-la Plaza which will illustrate the ten-year journey of this unique festival.

The festival will run from 25-28 August at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri-la Plaza. Admission will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

Join the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/131449097292205/

For screening schedules and other inquiries, please visit: www.britishcouncil.ph, or the official International Silent Film Festival facebook page: www.facebook.com/InternationalSilentFilmFestivalManila.

About TAGO Jazz Collective

Tago Jazz Café is the only jazz club in the Philippines today. They have hosted numerous foreign and local jazz artists and produced recordings for some of the country’s top musicians. This continuing collaboration is called “Tago Jazz Collective” where musicians showcase their skills through live performances. For the International Silent Film Festival, Tago Jazz Collective presents a quartet consisting of Pete Canzon (saxophone and flute), Ryan Villamor (keyboards and harp), Bergan Nuñez (bass) and Nelson Gonzales (drums). Pete Canzon is a living legend and has been in the music industry for over three decades. Ryan is a devout jazz pianist who is also a Harp Therapy Practitioner Intern, playing music for the sick. Bergan is a versatile session bass player who has played with artists such as avant-garde Swiss drummer Christian Bucher. Nelson is an adaptive drummer and can play across the genres of jazz, funk, to heavy metal.