Reese Witherspoon plays mother to 25 piglets in ‘Sing’

Rosita is a selfless homemaker and mother of 25 piglets who wants to remember what it feels like to be something other than a mother and wife. Oscar Best Actress winner Reese Witherspoon is Rosita’s talking and singing voice in Universal Pictures and Illumination’s musical comedy Sing.

Witherspoon proved to be the production’s ideal Rosita. Once a very promising singer, Rosita longs to recapture the feeling of being celebrated for her talents and to challenge herself in front of a live audience. Witherspoon first shocked the world with her singing talents in Walk the Line, in which she portrayed legendary artist June Carter. Praises Illumination founder Chris Meledandri: “Not only is Reese a brilliant actress and humanitarian, she has an inner fortitude that simply gives flight to Rosita. You root for Rosita at every step of the way because of the steely determination and maternal compassion that Reese gives this surprisingly complex character. She’s simply riveting in the role.”

In the singing competition, Rosita will be partnered with a Scandinavian pig named Gunter who instantly sees her inner diva and makes it his mission to unleash her incredible gifts. Their final performance will leave her family slack-jawed and appreciating her for the amazing talent that she is.

Sing stars Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Seth McFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal—some might even say delusional—optimist who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Five lead contestants emerge: Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse who croons as smoothly as he cons; Meena (Kelly), a timid teenage elephant with an enormous case of stage fright; Rosita (Witherspoon), an overtaxed mother run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Egerton), a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; and Ash (Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo.

Each arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. And as Buster coaches each of his contestants closer and closer to the grand finale, he starts to learn that maybe the theater isn’t the only thing that is in need of saving.

Opening across the Philippines on January 4, 2017, Sing is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. #SingMovie

WATCH: New trailer for ‘The Great Wall’ reveals structure’s secret

Global superstar Matt Damon leads humanity’s greatest fight for survival in the fantasy, action-adventure The Great Wall, from Legendary and Universal Pictures. Check out the new trailer below and watch the film when it opens in Philippine cinemas on January 25, 2016.

In the film, when a mercenary warrior (Damon) is imprisoned within The Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the greatest wonders of our world. As wave after wave of marauding beasts, intent on devouring the world, besiege the massive structure, his quest for fortune turns into a journey toward heroism as he joins a huge army of elite warriors to confront this unimaginable and seemingly unstoppable force.

Directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero, House of Flying Daggers), the action-fantasy marks his first English-language production and the largest film ever shot entirely in China. To create The Great Wall, Yimou has assembled a formidable cast and filmmaking team that represents the best of East and West in a unique global production that delivers unmissable spectacle on the grandest scale.

the great wall movie matt damon

Also starring Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau, the thrilling adventure comes from an original screenplay by the writing duo Carlo Bernard & Doug Miro (Prince of Persia, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) and Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, The Bourne Legacy). It is based on a story by Max Brooks (World War Z) and Edward Zwick & Marhsall Herskovitz (The Last Samurai).

The film is produced by Legendary CEO Thomas Tull (Godzilla, Jurassic World), Charles Roven (American Hustle, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy), Jon Jashni (Pacific Rim, Warcraft) and Legendary East CEO Peter Loehr.

“The Great Wall” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WINNERS: Metro Manila Film Festival 2016

Here is the complete list of winners of the 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival as announced December 29, Thursday night at Kia Theater in Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Irma Adlawan, ORO
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Paolo Ballesteros, DIE BEAUTIFUL
Best Picture: SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Special Jury Prize: Rhed Bustamante, SEKLUSYON

Best Ensemble Cast: ORO
Best Supporting Actress: Phoebe Walker, SEKLUSYON
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bables, DIE BEAUTIFUL

Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award: SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Best Director: Erik Matti, SEKLUSYON
Best Screenplay: SEKLUSYON
Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence: ORO

Male Celebrity of the Night: Ronnie Alonte
Female Celebrity of the Night: Rhian Ramos

Best Cinematography: SEKLUSYON
Best Editing: SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Best Production Design: SEKLUSYON

Best Original Theme Song: “Dominus Miserere” – SEKLUSYON
Best Musical Scoring: SAVING SALLY
Best Sound Design: SEKLUSYON

My Most Favorite Film awardee: DIE BEAUTIFUL
Children’s Choice: VINCE & KATH & JAMES • SAVING SALLY • SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Best Float: DIE BEAUTIFUL

Best Short Film: EJK
Short Film – Special Jury Prize: MANILA SCREAM
Short Film – Best Screenplay: MITATANG
Short Film – Best Work for Children: PASSAGE OF LIFE
Best Short Film Director: Jarell Serencio, MGA BITOON SA SIYUDAD

Michael Fassbender stars in game-to-movie adaptation of ‘Assassin’s Creed’

The action-packed and breathtaking game-to-movie adaptation “Assassin’s Creed” starring Michael Fassbender follows dual characters Callum Lynch and Aguilar de Nehra in the modern day and 15th Century Spain respectively. In the 15th Century, Aguilar is joined by Maria, a more experienced Assassin than him, who is his most trusted ally. In the modern day, Cal finds himself at the Abstergo facility with a rag-tag bunch of fellow inmates who are all suffering from the effects of prolonged exposure to the Animus, and have their own ancestral Assassin legacies.

From the onset, director Justin Kurzel was adamant about filming as much of “Assassin’s Creed” as possible without relying on green screens and computer-generated imagery.

As one of the video gaming industry’s most popular and beloved franchises, “Assassin’s Creed” is famous for its heart-pounding action sequences. The series was among the first to prominently feature Parkour as a major gameplay element, with Assassins breathlessly vaulting over the rooftops of cities including Jerusalem, Florence, Paris and London.

“We’re shooting a lot with real people, in real locations, on top of real churches with real light,” Kurzel said. “We’re building a lot of the sets to make something that is real and cinematic.”

“There’s very little green screen in this, which is highly unusual in these films,” adds Fassbender. “We have stunt guys jumping across buildings in [Maltese capital] Valletta. We’ve got (stunt man Damian Walters) doing a 120-foot leap of faith, without any rope, into a bag, so it’s pretty incredible to see.”

assassins-creed-movie

For his big-screen adaptation, Kurzel sought to amplify that dizzying style with thundering carriage chases, elaborate sword fights, and close hand-to-hand combat. The director also realized the film had to prominently feature the Leap of Faith, a signature Assassin’s Creed move in which Assassins leap from the edge of buildings and plummet gracefully to the ground below, landing on their backs in water or bales of hay. “What happens if you do a real Leap of Faith?” Kurzel asked. “What would happen if you actually saw Assassins jump from building to building? The great thing about cinema is that you can bring that human element into it, where the audience responds and reacts to the idea that they are watching real human beings actually put the effort and danger in doing those things.”

Kurzel and his team tapped some of the top Parkour talents to determine how to stage the action of Assassin’s Creed without relying on extensive CG trickery. The production then travelled to some of the most visually stunning corners of the globe in the hopes of capturing one-of-a-kind sequences that would offer viewers an immersive—and realistic—experience.

“I never wanted the film to feel like superheroes,” Kurzel says. “I wanted you to look at it and think, Wow, there are human beings doing that and they are doing it like Olympians, as opposed to filming on a parking lot with green screen. You can feel that artifice. That is probably why we went toward a more old-school approach, to make the whole film feel more human and more intimate.”

“Assassin’s Creed” opens January 4, 2017 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Zoe Saldana captures the heart of Ben Affleck in ‘Live by Night’

Known to global audiences as Gamora and Uhura in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Trek franchises, respectively, Zoe Saldana now portrays the exotic Graciela in Warner Bros. Pictures’ new gangster film Live by Night.

Directed by Ben Affleck, Live by Night tells the story of Joe Coughlin (Affleck), a WWI vet who’s a self-proclaimed anti-establishment outlaw, despite being the son of the Boston Police Deputy Superintendent. Joe’s not all bad, though; in fact, he’s not really bad enough for the life he’s chosen. Unlike the gangsters he refuses to work for, he has a sense of justice and an open heart, and both work against him, leaving him vulnerable time and again—in business and in love.

Joe signs on with the Italian mob and is dispatched to Tampa, Florida where he almost immediately encounters Graciela. He is instantly intrigued, even more so when he learns that she and her brother control something integral to the success of the rum business: molasses.

live-by-night-movie

Saldana’s Graciela is a Cuban living in Ybor, a multi-ethnic, multi-racial community of hardworking immigrants, known for the production of cigars. “Joe’s been working with barbaric, violent criminals his whole life, so there’s an integrity to the people, Graciela’s people, that Joe finds appealing,” she suggests. “And Graciela is unlike other women he’s known. She’s educated, she’s traveled and studied music and art. She’s very cultured and also very smart when it comes to her family’s business.”

Perhaps what sets Graciela apart from the women in Joe’s past is what she really wants out of life. “I don’t think Graciela woke up in Cuba and said to herself, ‘I want to date gangsters, I want to live on the dark side,’” Saldana adds. “I think she wants a full life with a good man, a home, children. The more time she spends with Joe, the more she realizes that she could have all that with this man. She sees who he really is, who he could be, if he could wash away all the bad that he does at night by doing good during the day. She sees his redemption.”

live-by-night-movie

Affleck states, “Zoe was amazing. She was able to convey all the strength and confidence and elusiveness of the character that draw Joe in, but it’s Graciela’s expectations of him that give him something to strive for, which Zoe played so quietly yet powerfully.”

Producer Jennifer Todd concurs, “We were lucky to get Zoe because she has all these beautiful qualities, a lightness and grace, that suit Graciela so well, and she already speaks Spanish, but she applied an exquisite Cuban accent to her dialogue.”

Opening across the Philippines on January 18, 2017, Live By Night is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Matthew McConaughey bursts with optimism as koala showman in ‘Sing’

Oscar Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey provides the voice of the optimistic koala Buster Moon who is determined to save his struggling theater despite dwindling audiences, in Universal Pictures and Illumination’s Sing.

While anyone else would have faced reality and switched careers, Buster has an unrelenting drive to succeed, by any means necessary. Well-intentioned, he does have a habit of stretching the truth, which usually widens the hole into which he’s digging himself. Nonetheless, he has an irresistible charm because his passion and optimism are utterly contagious.

For the role of Buster Moon, director Garth Jennings found one name immediately came to mind: Matthew McConaughey, whose career has spanned roles ranging from the deeply dramatic Interstellar and Dallas Buyers Club to the absurdly humorous Dazed and Confused. “Matthew realized quite quickly that in order for his character to work, his optimism had to be infectious,” Jennings states. “He had a way of making Buster incredibly endearing and incredibly relatable.”

“At the very beginning of the movie, you meet Buster Moon as a six-year-old koala,” Jennings discusses. “He is taken to the theater for the first time by his father, and it completely blows his mind. This experience has a transformative effect, and he grows up desperate to be part of the theater world. We then meet present-day Buster, and he owns the theater that he fell in love with.”

As Jennings and Illumination founder Chris Meledandri developed and shaped the character of Buster Moon, each inevitably found himself inspired by this showman who—through sheer force of will—was attempting to accomplish the nearly impossible. Armed solely with a singular passion to imagine and execute an event that would truly connect with audiences, young and old, Buster is the ultimate creator.

Sing stars Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Seth McFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal—some might even say delusional—optimist who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Five lead contestants emerge: Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse who croons as smoothly as he cons; Meena (Kelly), a timid teenage elephant with an enormous case of stage fright; Rosita (Witherspoon), an overtaxed mother run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Egerton), a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; and Ash (Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo.

Each arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. And as Buster coaches each of his contestants closer and closer to the grand finale, he starts to learn that maybe the theater isn’t the only thing that is in need of saving.

Opening across the Philippines on January 4, 2017, Sing is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. #SingMovie

‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ launches colorful character posters

Heroes and villains get their due spotlight in the newly released character one-sheets for Warner Animation Group’s upcoming adventure comedy The LEGO Batman Movie.

Check out the character posters below of Batman, Robin, The Joker, Alfred, Batgirl and Harley Quinn and watch the film when it opens in Philippine cinemas on February 9, 2017.

In the irreverent spirit of fun that made The LEGO® Movie a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble – LEGO Batman – stars in his own big-screen adventure. But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

Will Arnett reprises his starring role from The LEGO Movie as the voice of LEGO Batman, aka Bruce Wayne. Zach Galifianakis (the Hangover films) stars as The Joker; Michael Cera (Superbad) as the orphan Dick Grayson; Rosario Dawson (TV’s Daredevil) as Barbara Gordon; and Ralph Fiennes (the Harry Potter films) as Alfred.

The LEGO® Batman Movie is directed by Chris McKay, and produced by Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Roy Lee, who worked together on The LEGO Movie. The screenplay is by Seth Grahame-Smith and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Jared Stern & John Whittington, story by Seth Grahame-Smith, based on LEGO Construction Toys and based on characters from DC Entertainment. Batman was created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger; Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Jill Wilfert, Matthew Ashton, Will Allegra and Brad Lewis serve as executive producers.

The new film’s production designer is Grant Freckelton, returning from The LEGO Movie. Also returning is editor David Burrows, along with editors Matt Villa, and John Venzon. The music is composed by Lorne Balfe.

The LEGO Batman Movie is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Chris Pratt plays different kind of galactic guardian in ‘Passengers’

He has firmly secured himself as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men with smash hits as Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World and The Magnificent Seven. Now, Chris Pratt headlines Columbia Pictures’ new futuristic thriller Passengers opposite Jennifer Lawrence.

“Passengers is about two people who were supposed to be on the trip of a lifetime – the 120-year journey to a new planet – when they get woken up 90 years too early,” says Pratt. “But it turns out there’s a reason they woke up early. They have to solve the mystery of the malfunction, and fix a ship that is quickly failing, if they are going to survive and save the lives of the passengers on the greatest mass migration in human history.”

Pratt’s character, Jim, decides to give up his life on Earth for very practical reasons. “He’s kind of a throwback,” says Pratt, “very much a working class guy. He’s considered a desirable trade, as a mechanical engineer, because he’ll be helping to start a civilization. If something breaks, he’ll be there to fix it.”

When Jim and Aurora wake up 90 years before reaching that destination, those skills kick into high gear. “He’s a problem solver by trade, so he’s trying to figure out how to get back to sleep or contact somebody for help. And then, it turns out that there’s something very wrong with the ship.”

“Chris is very different than Jim,” says Lawrence, who plays his fellow awakened passenger, Aurora. “Jim acts like he’s never really had a girlfriend, and he doesn’t really know how to behave around women; that’s charming and sweet, but it’s not like Chris at all, who’s married and funny. It was interesting to watch him go from Chris Pratt to a shy, insecure, romantic person.”

Director Morten Tyldum says that it was apparent from the beginning that Lawrence and Pratt would be the perfect actors to bring Aurora and Jim to life. “It’s great that they are the biggest stars in the world, but first of all, I wanted to make sure that they were the right actors for these roles,” he says. “I had to get the feeling that they were going to click, that they would have chemistry. They’re very smart people who had a clear understanding of what they wanted the character to do. They really understood the choices, the motivations, the life these characters have to go through – so that made me feel that they really got it.”

“Passengers is an epic, in that it really has everything in one movie,” concludes Pratt. “It’s adventure, it’s romance, it’s a thriller, it’s scary, but it’s emotionally resonant. There are great moments of humor and spectacle.”

In 2015, Pratt headlined Jurassic World, which is the fourth highest grossing film of all time behind Avatar, Titanic, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He will reprise his role of Owen Grady in the second installment of Jurassic World, set for a 2018 debut.

2014 was truly the year of Chris Pratt. He toplined Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which was one of the top three grossing films of 2014 with over $770 million at the global box office. He will return to the role of Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is scheduled for a May 2017 release. Plus, Pratt lent his vocal talents to the lead character, Emmett, in the enormously successful Warner Bros. animated feature The Lego Movie, which made over $400 million worldwide.

Opening across the Philippines on January 4, 2017, Passengers is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #Passengers

Mark Wahlberg stars in ‘Patriots Day,’ based on true events from Boston Marathon bombing

From acclaimed director Peter Berg (“Deepwater Horizon,” “Lone Survivor”) and Academy Award® nominee Mark Wahlberg (“The Departed,” “Lone Survivor”) comes “Patriots Day,” a riveting powerful film based on true events of a community’s extraordinary courage in the face of adversity.

“Patriots Day” relives the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing, the tension-packed dramatic thriller chronicles in detail one of the most sophisticated and well-coordinated manhunts in law enforcement history.

The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing shattered lives and tested the fabric of the American spirit. But in its wake, an entire city came together to bring the perpetrators to justice before they could inflict further damage. Rather than give themselves over to panic and fear, the citizens of Boston banded together, choosing solidarity over divisiveness in pursuit of a common enemy.

The story of “Patriots Day” is drawn from real-life accounts including those of the first responders, the law enforcement investigative team, and government officials that worked tirelessly to track down the bombers in record time, and the actual survivors.
A testament to the city of Boston and its inhabitants, the timely message is that, through dedication and individual acts of bravery, the city – and the country – were able to emerge from the crucible stronger and more united than before, and show the world that love always triumphs over evil.

Joining Wahlberg is an all-star ensemble of actors including Kevin Bacon (“Black Mass,” “Mystic River”) as FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, John Goodman (“10 Cloverfield Lane,” “Inside Llewyn Davis”) as Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash,” “Juno”) as Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese and Michelle Monaghan (“True Detective,” “Gone Baby Gone”) as Wahlberg’s wife Carol Saunders.

“Patriots Day” opens this January 11 from Pioneer Films in cinemas nationwide.

Aaron Eckhart uses science to evict demons in supernatural horror film ‘Incarnate’

Acclaimed actor Aaron Eckhart (“Erin Brokovich,” “Sully”) teams up with talented Carice Van Houten (“Game of Thrones”) in the chilling horror movie “Incarnate.” The horror begins when eleven-year-old Cameron (David Mazouz) alarms his single mother Lindsay (Houten) when he experiences isolating himself on the floor of his dark room, speaking in ancient languages and displaying other symptoms of demonic possession. Alerted to the situation, Vatican representative Camilla (Catalina Sandino Moreno) recruits wheelchair-bound scientist Dr. Seth Ember (Eckhart) to extract the evil spirit from the boy.

A non-believer who drinks, smokes and prefers to think of his work as “eviction” rather than exorcism, Ember sets up shop with high-tech assistants Riley (Emily Jackson) and Oliver (Keir O’Donnell). Strapped into a life-support system, he enters Cameron’s subconscious mind, where the demon holds the boy captive in an imaginary dream world by appealing to his deepest desire: to be reunited with his estranged father Dan (Matt Nable).

Driven by tragic events in his own traumatic past, Ember engages in a fierce battle with the crafty spirit. Ever mindful that the demon, known as “Maggie,” travels from one victim to the next through physical contact, Ember knows that his desperate attempt to save Cameron’s soul could make him the demon’s next host. A chilling supernatural horror tale that unfolds at the intersection of family dysfunction, modern science and the spirit world, Incarnate offers a fresh take on the enduring exorcism subgenre.

Directed by Brad Peyton (“San Andreas”) written by Ronnie Christensen (“Passengers”), “Incarnate” ponders on exorcism without a priest. “I wanted to write an exorcism movie that you hadn’t seen before. Usually it’s based on holy water and people saying ‘I compel thee,’ but I thought, ‘How cool would it be to take somebody who wasn’t a cliché priest and have him go into the victim’s mind to fight the demon on that battlefront?,” Christensen says.

Eckhart has successfully combined rugged leading-man looks with the chameleon-like talents of a character actor in a career encompassing such varied fare as “The Dark Knight,” indie drama “In the Company of Men” and contemporary satire “Thank You for Smoking.” “Incarnate” offered the versatile actor yet another challenge. “I thought ‘Wow, it’d be interesting to play a guy who doesn’t really have anything to live for except this one task, trying to kill the demon that destroyed his family,’” he recalls. “I also liked that Ember’s in a wheelchair, damaged and disheveled, and that he’s a smoker and drinker initially — a gruff guy who says whatever he wants.”

Ember’s outward appearance notwithstanding, Eckhart sees him as a hero. “I look at my character as a first responder,” he says. “Ember has the kind of personality where he’d put himself in burning buildings or get himself in front of a wildfire. He has that devil-may-care attitude allowing him do the kinds of things that other people just won’t do. He’s clean cut, he’s studly, he can fight — just the opposite from when he’s in the chair. For me, it was fun to play both sides.”

“Incarnate” opens January 4, 2017 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.