Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick star in R-rated comedy ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Date’

It all started with a Craiglist ad that became viral when real life brothers Mike and Dave Stangle are looking for dates to bring to a wedding – sounds crazy but it really happened. Their story reaches the big screen in the hilarious and aptly titled “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” starring Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, Adam Devine and Aubrey Plaza.

Mike (Devine) and Dave Stangle (Efron) are young, adventurous, fun-loving and, some would even say, obnoxious. The “some” would include other members of the Stangle family. So when their sister Jeanie announces she’s getting married, the family holds an intervention, demanding that Mike and Dave bring respectable dates. To fulfill their family’s request Mike and Dave turn to the best source of decent, respectable girls they can think of: Craigslist. They place an ad promising that their selected companions will receive an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii and the chance to participate in all of the Stangle family wedding-related activities.

Along with its R-rated humor, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” has unexpected moments of heart. Jake Szymanski, who makes his feature directorial debut after helming hilarious short form comedies on “Funny or Die,” says: “The Stangle family is very tightly-knit, even when they disagree. They’re very proud of being Stangles, so they’re just trying to have one family event that doesn’t get completely screwed up by Mike and Dave.”

When tuning in to their back-and-forth banter, it becomes clear that the Stangles’ primary interest is entertaining each other. If anyone else thinks they are funny too, well, so much the better. Before long the idea of a book emerged. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (and a thousand cocktails) continues with the same volley of dialogue and ideas; Mike does a chapter, then Dave does a chapter and so on.

Whatever their differences, Mike and Dave are tight. “They have a symbiotic relationship,” says Efron. “They can’t exist without one another. They’re as much best friends as they are brothers.”

Mike and Dave certainly know how to rock a room, but they’re small-timers compared to their dates. As background to Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza), director Szymanski observes that they “have a history of misadventures that have taken them around the world. They can travel around the globe with only a couple of backpacks, and have stories to tell for ages.”

“The characters were great inventions of our writers,” notes Ready. “Tatiana is a mix of danger and sexuality, and everything she does is pretty extreme. Alice is a wild child who is always unpredictable. They are in such different places in their lives, and yet these wedding dates are just what they need.”

The burgeoning brotherly bond between Devine and Efron was facilitated by the opportunity to spend considerable time together on location. Says Devine: “Zac and I arrived in Oahu two weeks before production started, and we didn’t know anyone else there. Who else am I going to hang out with? So we obviously were just going to hang out with each other every day and that was great planning on Fox’s part, because we became the best of buds. By the end of production, he says with a laugh, “we finished each other’s sentences in a weird way.”

Rated R-18 by the MTRCB, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” opens September 14, 2016 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Daniel Radcliffe goes undercover cop in ‘Imperium’

Daniel Radcliffe, who rocketed to worldwide stardom in the phenomenal “Harry Potter” films, stars anew in the intense action thriller “Imperium.” Inspired by real events, the movie is directed by Daniel Ragussis and also stars Toni Collette, Tracy Letts, Devin Druid, Pawel Szajda with Nestor Carbonell and Sam Trammell.

In “Imperium,” Radcliffe takes on the role of Nate Foster, a young, idealistic FBI agent who goes undercover to take down a radical right-wing terrorist group. The bright up-and-coming analyst must confront the challenge of sticking to a new identity while maintaining his real principles as he navigates the dangerous underworld of white supremacy.

“Imperium” co-writer Mike German has the kind of pedigree that commands respect: he served in the FBI for 16 years, 12 of them as an undercover agent tasked with infiltrating dangerous white supremacy groups in order to prevent domestic terrorist attacks. German successfully embedded himself with extremist groups on multiple occasions, leading to criminal convictions. German’s real life experiences infiltrating homegrown white supremacist terror cells intent on starting race wars, form the basis of the “Imperium” screenplay.

Setting the movie in the present day was something German and Ragussis quickly agreed on, believing the film could better address important law enforcement and terrorism prevention issues that have dominated the national conversation. Therefore, the film brings attention to the FBI’s seldom discussed racial-ethnic mapping program, in which American Muslims and other minority populations are controversially targeted.

“Imperium” also explores the challenges faced by FBI agents working with limited resources to prevent domestic terrorism from white supremacists and other right-wing extremist threats. With the government prioritizing the fight against the Islamic terrorist threat, FBI agents working on battling domestically cultivated perils often must fight for funding and proper support.

In the end, Mike German expressed admiration for Ragussis’s efforts to create a film of thematic and emotional integrity true to what he experienced in the field, commenting, “Daniel’s unique vision and dedication to telling this story in an accurate, non-sensationalistic manner impressed me from day one. The final product depicts the inner workings of the FBI and undercover agents in particular, more accurately than any film I’ve seen. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

“Imperium” opens September 14, 2016 in cinemas nationwide from OctoArts Films International.

Meryl Streep inspires with true story of ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’

From Stephen Frears, the director of “The Queen” and “Philomena” comes an unforgettable heartwarming and funny story that will bring the audience to tears in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” the inspiring true story of the eponymous New York heiress who obsessively pursued her dream of becoming a great singer. Starring two of the best loved actors worldwide, Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, the film celebrates the human spirit, the power of music, and the passion of amateurs everywhere.

The voice Florence (Streep) heard in her head was divine, but to the rest of the world it was hilariously awful. At private recitals, her devoted husband and manager, St. Claire Bayfield (Grant) realized he had perhaps bitten off more than he could chew.

“Florence Foster Jenkins’” score is composed by Alexandre Desplat (“The Queen,” “The King’s Speech”) who incorporates wonderful music from popular songs to golden classics.

“Florence Foster Jenkins” opens August 24, 2016 from OctoArts Films International.

Viral true-to-life ad turned movie in ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’

Based on the real story of brothers Mike and Dave Stangle, who posted the following ad on Craigslist stating their need for wedding dates for their cousin’s wedding: TWO MEN NEED WEDDING DATES : My brother and I are looking for wedding dates. We’ve been told by the bride that bringing dates is “mandatory” so we “won’t harass all of my friends all night” and “stay under control.” Rather than ask some fringe women in our lives to go and face the inevitable ‘does this mean he wants to take it to the next level!?’ questions, we’d rather bring complete strangers and just figure it out. Still reading? In anticipation of your questions we’ve developed an FAQ section below.

The ad became a viral phenomenon in hours, and the story soon spread from the internet to media outlets the world over. It also displayed a remarkable prescience; the boys estimated an 85% chance of their story becoming a movie, though they said, “we refuse the right to let Ashton Kutcher play either one of us.”

Well, as luck would have it, their story is now a movie – “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” and there isn’t a Kutcher in sight. In the movie, the titular Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave (Zac Efron) are also brothers, warned by their family to smarten-up their hard-partying ways before their sister’s wedding, and to bring two respectable girls as dates. But the girls they end up choosing, played by Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza, aren’t quite as wholesome as they expect. And as the real Stangles explain, some artistic license has been taken to turn the film into this year’s hottest R-rated comedy.

The core of the film’s comedy and much of its heart is the brotherly bond between the two guys. “Mike and Dave are close,” states director Jake Szymanski. “They’ve grown up together, still live together, work together, party together, and ultimately learn some lessons together.”

“Mike and Dave adore their sister,” confirms Efron. “Their mantra is: ‘We’re doin’ it for Jeanie! Everything we do is for Jeanie!’ They protect and love her and have put her on a pedestal. She forgives them for all the mischief they do.”

To make this wedding go smoothly for Jeanie, Mike and Dave are told they must bring dates to the nuptials. “So, Mike and Dave come up with a ‘foolproof’ plan to find respectable dates,” says Devine. “They troll for them on Craigslist—where they can also find lawnmowers and stuff.”

While the filmmakers strove to capture specific aspects of the siblings’ personalities, the physical differences between the real and reel Stangles were striking. “I want to say that Mike and Dave are around 11 feet tall,” Devine notes. “They made me and Zac Efron [who plays Dave] feel like little elf people.”

And what did (real) Mike and Dave make of this whole “Hollywood” experience? “They got guys to play us who are not as good looking as us, or as tall, but they are better actors,” says Dave. “I’ll give them that. And Stephen Root, who plays our dad, seems to like us more than our real dad.”

This year’s hottest R-18 comedy date movie – “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” will open in cinemas nationwide on September 14, 2016 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

‘Don’t Breathe’ tops U.S. weekend box office with $26.1-M

August 29, 2016 – Columbia Pictures’ gripping suspense thriller “Don’t Breathe” – which Variety hails as “a muscular exercise in brutal, relentless peril” – spooked the U.S. box-office with a chilling $26.1-million, easily opening at No.1 for the Aug. 26-28 weekend.

It joins a long list of recent horror films such as “The Purge: Election Year,” “The Conjuring 2,” “Lights Out” and “The Shallows” that have all found success with audiences.

“Don’t Breathe” cost less than $10 million to produce, but it more than doubled its production budget in a single weekend, after rolling out across 3,051 locations. The film follows a trio of friends breaks into the house of a blind recluse confident of an easy score only to find themselves in a terrifying life-or-death struggle.

“This film is going to be a big moneymaker for us,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution chief. “We knew we had something special here. This is a film that’s all about keeping people jumping out of their seats and holding onto the person next to them.”

The No.1 launch of “Don’t Breathe” in the U.S. bodes well for the thriller’s box-office prospects in the Philippines as the film rolls out in local cinemas starting Wednesday, Aug. 31.

The Filipino audience are great horror fans, and the film’s favorable R-13 rating from the MTRCB will likely boost the attraction core genre moviegoers.

“Don’t Breathe” created a thunderstorm of excitement and wild buzz when it premiered at the recent South By South West (SXSW) film festival, with some critics describing it as “the best suspense thriller in the last decade.” Now, Philippine audiences will discover why the film has driven reviewers at the edge of their seats.

John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter writes, “the lean and mean pic offers scares aplenty and at least a couple of game-changing twists.”

Meanwhile, Edward Douglas, of the New York Daily News underscores that the film “takes you into far darker territory than anticipated.”

“Don’t Breathe” stars Jane Levy (“Evil Dead”), Dylan Minnette (“Goosebumps”), Daniel Zovatto (“It Follows”) and Stephen Lang (“Avatar”). Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead”) directs from a script co-written with Rodo Sayagues (Evil Dead). Producers are Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Fede Alvarez.

In his sophomore feature, Alvarez goes for the jugular with an unapologetically brutal and twisted horror-thriller that pits a trio of thieves against an unexpectedly dangerous adversary. Shocking and enthralling, Alvarez’s masterful, visually stunning thriller maintains a frenzied pace to the last chilling minute.

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

Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’ casts spell with new poster

Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” has unleashed its new international, payoff poster and a second trailer which may be viewed below.

Marvel’s Doctor Strange follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel cinematic universe.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, “Doctor Strange” stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Michael Stuhlbarg with Mads Mikkelsen and Academy Award® winner Tilda Swinton.

Based on the Marvel comic character who first appeared in “Strange Tales” Issue #110 published in July 1963, Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” continues the lineage of epic big-screen adventures chronicled in Marvel’s “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Ant-Man,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” (May 5, 2017) and “Thor: Ragnarok” (November 3, 2017).

Explore the mystical world of “Doctor Strange” when it hits Philippine theaters on November 2, 2016. Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” will be distributed in the Philippines by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures.