Keira Knightley personifies Love in ‘Collateral Beauty’

Two-time Oscar-nominee Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice, The Imitation Game) is the epitome of Love, in New Line Cinema’s heartwarming drama, Collateral Beauty.
In the film, Howard (Will Smith), a successful New York advertising executive retreats from life after suffering a great tragedy. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. But it’s not until his notes bring unexpected personal responses that he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived, and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.

Howard’s most recent letter to Love said simply, “Goodbye,” and it’s now incumbent upon Keira Knightley’s character, Amy, to make him realize that giving up on love is not an option. Quite the contrary; this is when love matters most. Says Knightley of the role, “She’s highly empathetic to Howard’s grief, empathy being a part of love, and talks to him in emotional terms that he can feel. But she wants him to understand that love isn’t just the part where everything is great; it’s also the unbelievable pain you feel when something is taken away, and that in no way diminishes it or ends it.”

“It’s such an intriguing idea, and how can you say no to being the personification of love?” she asks.

The actress was enjoying a rare bit of down time and not actively seeking a film role when Collateral Beauty came her way. “I have a very young child and had come to the end of a grueling job and didn’t really want to work at the time,” she remembers. “I gave the script to my mom, mostly so she would say ‘No, don’t do that, stay at home with the baby and chill out.’ But she read it and phoned me in tears. She said nothing had made her feel like that for a long time. I think it speaks to something that we’re all frightened of and yet there’s an incredible feeling of relief and optimism within that. What people will experience individually I don’t know, but I was very moved by it. Plus, I didn’t know where it was going, and that was exciting.”

Now playing across the Philippines, Collateral Beauty is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

‘Passengers’ marks first visually-stunning film of the year

“It’s always good when you can create your own world,” says director Morten Tyldum, who creates a new vision of space travel in Passengers, touted to be the first visually stunning film of 2017. “I’m a huge sci-fi fan, and I also have such respect for the genre, so I wanted to try to do something that had never been done before.”

In the film, Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) and Jim (Chris Pratt) are two strangers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early. Jim and Aurora are forced to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction as the ship teeters on the brink of collapse, jeopardizing the lives of the passengers on the greatest mass migration in human history.

To achieve the film’s extraordinary look, the filmmakers – in Tyldum’s words – had “to both look forwards and backwards.” Looking to the future, they created a spaceship with an intricate design that uses the centrifugal force from spinning blades to create gravity, and contains the robots, holograms, and other technology that the future has in store. To that, Tyldum marries what he calls a “nostalgic design,” inspired by Art Deco, classic Hollywood, and World War II uniforms. “The past is with us – the past inspires us – and I wanted to have the past to be very present in the film. At the same time, it has robots, it’s a smart ship, it has screens, it has AI. By combining this, on a pure aesthetic level, a visual level, I think it’s unique. It feels very sci-fi, but also very grounded, very belonging to our world.”

To make this vision a reality, Tyldum turned to Guy Hendrix Dyas, an Oscar® nominee and BAFTA winner for his work with Christopher Nolan on Inception, and the designer of such varied films as Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Steve Jobs, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Dyas feels he was born to design Passengers; in fact, he was the only designer that Tyldum interviewed for the job.

Since childhood, Dyas had dreamed of building a spaceship inside and out, and Passengers made that dream a reality. The result was a series of enormous, hugely memorable sets that brought the spaceship Avalon to life.

“We wanted to build as much as possible, because this is a character-driven movie, not a movie that is driven by special effects,” says Tyldum. “We have a lot of big spectacle scenes, some mind-blowing effects, but the driving force is the characters and the performances. To get those performances, I didn’t want Jen and Chris to act against green screens – I wanted to build as much as possible so they can actually feel and understand the space they’re in. I think it pays off because it feels more real.”

Producer Ori Marmur recalls, “No one involved in this movie has ever seen anything like these sets. One person walked on and said, ‘People are going to think your set is CG; they’re not going to believe you guys actually built this.’”

Now playing across the Philippines, Passengers is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Use the hashtag #Passengers

‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ reveals new posters

Columbia Pictures has unveiled the new poster artworks for its eagerly anticipated action thriller Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the sixth and final installment in the astoundingly successful film franchise adaptation of Capcom’s hugely popular video game series, having grossed over $1billion worldwide to date.

Check out the one-sheet posters below and watch Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in Philippine cinemas February 1, 2017.

Among the diverse group of acting talent are returning stars, Milla Jovovich reprising her starring role as Alice, Ali Larter (Resident Evil: Afterlife), as Claire Redfield, Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: Afterlife), as Albert Wesker, and Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Resident Evil: Extinction) in the role of Dr. Alexander Isaacs, and newcomers to the franchise include Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black), Irish actor Eoin Macken (The Night Shift), Japanese television personality and model, Rola, as Cobalt, South Korean actor, Lee Joon-Gi (My Girl) as Commando, British actor, Fraser James (Law & Order), with Latin American actor, William Levy (Term Life).

Writer, Director, Producer and franchise veteran, Paul W.S. Anderson returns to helm the project reuniting with his long-term producers Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer and Samuel Hadida and Victor Hadida are executive producers.

The creative production team includes Director of Photography, Glen MacPherson (the Resident Evil franchise); Production Designer, Edward Thomas (Doctor Who); Costume Designer, Reza Levy (10 000 B.C.); Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Berardi (Fight Club; TRON: Legacy), and Editor, Doobie White (Crank: High Voltage).

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is distributed by Columbia Pictures, the local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Fantasy adventure ‘The Great Wall’ imagines what lies beneath

Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures, along with China Film Co., Ltd. and Le Vision Pictures, present The Great Wall, an epic action-adventure depicting a monstrous threat hidden for centuries behind one of the greatest manmade wonders of the world.

Directed by Zhang Yimou, The Great Wall stars Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.

Set in an alternate vision of ancient China (circa 1100 A.D., during the Song Dynasty), the story imagines that The Wall was built to defend against a mythical Chinese creature called the Tao Tei (historical spelling, “Taotie”), a malignant species and gargoyle-like figure from Chinese mythology that rises every 60 years from the heart of the Jade Mountain to attack in vast, swarming armies and feed on humankind.

“I remember being told when I was young that the magnificent Great Wall of China was the only manmade object one could see from space,” says producer and Legendary CEO Thomas Tull. “True or not, I never forgot that, and when I set out to create a company known for its monster movies, I wanted to make one that combined my love of the genre set against this magnificent structure.

“I always wondered what was so important and compelling to have a country build a structure that big, that incredible,” Tull continues. “At Legendary, we like monsters, so my geeky brain went to work on the idea of a country building this wall to keep monsters out.”

As Tull developed the idea with The Great Wall’s story and screenplay writers, he discussed the idea of a European soldier of fortune wandering Asia in the Middle Ages who comes upon a magnificent structure that covers the entire horizon. When the mercenary approaches, he is told that the guardians are preparing for the attack.
“During the course of developing the screenplay, Western writers actually discovered the Chinese legend of a monster called the Taotie [historical spelling],” adds producer Peter Loehr, who has spent the last 25 years of his career working in China. “The Taotie is actually quite well known in China.

“There’s a fantasy book called the ‘Shan-hai Jing,’ which dates back 2,500 years,” Loehr continues. “In the book, they set out different types of monsters, goblins and demons, and the Tao Tei (our spelling) is one of them. The Tao Tei, in the fantastical ‘Shan-hai Jing,’ as well as historical records, are portrayed as gluttonous. They eat incessantly, so much so that when there’s nothing left to eat, they eat their own bodies.”

Producer Charles Roven, who is known for his indelible print on blockbusters from The Dark Knight trilogy (alongside Legendary), Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to the much-anticipated upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League, was brought onto the production by producers Tull and Jon Jashni. He walks us through his initial involvement in the film: “Alex Gartner and I were invited into the project by Thomas and Jon; thereafter, we were part of the original story development.”

Roven reflects on his intrigue at the premise of The Great Wall: “At the time period of our story, the Chinese were among the greatest societies…creating things the West had never seen. The gunpowder they’d invented motivates the mercenaries in our story, who are Western savages initially only out for themselves. When they come across this secret society that is trying to preserve humanity, it makes them reevaluate everything.”

Producer Jashni explains that the production team long aimed to acknowledge and honor both a bygone historical period and a long-ago era of filmmaking—one in which the sets were built to scale. “These structures were built, both then and now, to incite awe and respect,” he notes. “We knew we wanted to depict the inner workings of The Wall as practical. One might think of it as going inside a clock. It seems to do something fairly simple from the outside, but what allows it to appear so simple is rather complex. The audience might rightly assume that The Wall is merely capable of defending—by virtue of its height and its impenetrability—that which is protected behind it. We wanted to surprise them by also having The Wall be able to ‘fight back’ in clever and unexpected ways.”

Opening on January 25, 2017, The Great Wall is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.