From ‘Ice Age’ director Chris Wedge comes family adventure ‘Monster Trucks’

From the director of Ice Age, Chris Wedge, comes Paramount Pictures’ new family adventure Monster Trucks starring Lucas Till (X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Apocalypse) and Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe).

Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp (Till), a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend.

Melding cutting edge visual effects and state-of-the-art CGI, Monster Trucks is an action filled adventure for the whole family that will keep you on the edge of your seat and ultimately touch your heart.

Chris Wedge opens up what drew him to Monster Trucks. “What appealed to me about it was that it was just nothing but fun, big, gigantic, silly fun. The intention of the movie was always to make something gigantic and weird and fun. And it was never supposed to be anything but. Well, what the film does, I believe, is for kids just to see something fun, and for adults to remind us of the movies that we liked when we were kids.

Comparisons to iconic family films like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and the live-action Disney films of the ’60s and the ’70s, weren’t lost of the director. “Yeah, I get it. I grew up watching Herbie, the Love Bug and E.T. hit me at a formative time. And all of those Amblin movies, like Gremlins. They’re all movies where there are kids at the middle that happen to know more than the adults do, and they’re doing the right thing and the adults are trying to stop them. That’s basically where the fun of this comes. And then, there’s some completely unexpected relationship between a weird creature and a truck, and the kid that wants to help it. What I kept thinking it was, as we were making it, was E.T. meets Fast and Furious with trucks.

In addition to the high fun quotient, Monster Trucks boasts of an environmental subtext that doesn’t feel like heavy-handed. “I wanted just enough to get in the dramatic tension in the story, but not to make it a gigantic message film,” explains Wedge. “I just wanted to setup enough to make the story entertaining, and I happen to think that the guys that frack are the bad guys, and that the people that are trying to stop it are the good guys. And putting a little civilization of creatures under there that we hadn’t discovered, and so, we dug that deep down into shale rock. It seems like an appropriate way to bring some attention to it.”

Opening across the Philippines on February 1, 2017, Monster Trucks is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Kristen Stewart hunts ghosts in psychological thriller ‘Personal Shopper’

Kristen Stewart stars in the hair-raising horror drama “Personal Shopper” as an American in Paris working as a model’s assistant while trying to contact the spirit of her dead twin brother.

The film’s director, Oliver Assayas won as Best Director for his work in the film in last year’s Cannes Film Festival. From the same festival within the same year that Philippines’ Jaclyn Jose also won as Best Actress for her role in “Ma’Rosa.”

From the acclaimed movie “Clouds of Sils Maria,” director Assayas and Stewart are reunited in “Personal Shopper” where Stewart displays a mysterious and darker character who struggles to repress grief while trying to move on after her brother’s death.

From his recent win at the film festival, Assayas shared his award with all of his crew, “To say that I’m moved is putting it mildly. Cannes has given me so much, and has rewarded me this year with a prize that I’m sharing with a filmmaker I admire: Cristian Mungiu. Directing a film is a collective endeavour. I feel I’ve created a group that is being awarded the prize; a whole family with whom I developed a cinematographic language.”

In a review by Guy Lodge (Time Out), the writer praised Stewart for her performance, “Amid all the shifting mirrored surfaces and hazy ambiguities of Olivier Assayas’s bewitching, brazenly unconventional ghost story, this much can be said with certainty: Kristen Stewart has become one hell of an actress.”

Along with Kristen Stewart, “Personal Shopper” also has an impressive supporting cast that includes Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz, Anders Danielsen Lie, Ty Olwin, Hammou Graïa and Benjamin Biolay.

“Personal Shopper” opens February 15, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

HK superstar Andy Lau plays war strategist in ‘The Great Wall’

After starring in Zhang Yimou’s dazzling, award-winning romantic adventure House of Flying Daggers in 2004, Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau now reunites with the director for Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ epic fantasy The Great Wall.

Lau is one of Hong Kong’s most commercially successful film actors, performing in more than 140 projects since the 1980s. Voted the No. 1 box-office star of Hong Kong for decades, he truly deserves the moniker of superstar of the Chinese cinema.

In the filml, when a mercenary warrior (Matt 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.

Lau plays Strategist Wang, perhaps the smartest guy in the movie. “He’s got these incredible inventions and is the brains behind The Nameless Order,” remarks co-star Matt Damon. “He’s somebody that my character, William, cottons to, and has a great deal of respect for.”

That respect was also evident between the two actors who had never met before the five-month shoot, but who had a professional connection in their prior work. Turns out that they played the same character in two different movies—Lau as the corrupt police inspector in the 2002 Hong Kong crime thriller Infernal Affairs, and Damon as the devious undercover cop in The Departed, the 2006 English-language adaptation. It was something the actors joked about during some of their casual chats on the set during breaks in filming.

“I told Matt that he was cleverer than me because he got paid more for his movie,” the veteran of more than 150 films jests. “Matt told me that I’m cleverer than he is because he dies in that, and I lived to do two sequel movies. I enjoyed working with Matt and feel he has become a good friend. I’m looking forward to working with him again.”

Lau describes Strategist Wang as “a scientist spending his life doing the research about the enemy and trying to fight against them. During the Song Dynasty, the society was quite open, so lots of Chinese culture was well developed and many great thinkers and inventions were founded. That’s why I think they (chose) Song Dynasty as the background for this movie.”

As for the challenge of the bilingual role, Lau confesses that “it’s really hard for me to practice speaking English. I got the script a month before shooting and it took me two weeks to fully understand the story. Then it took me another two weeks to remember all the lines. Luckily, we had dialogue coaches on set, who coached me in a very good way. I also have to say thank you to Matt and Willem [Dafoe] because they gave me very good suggestions while I was performing. Willem was like a teacher of mine, trying to polish my performing to make me feel great in front of camera. Matt was also a team player, always considerate to everyone’s place on the set.”

“Andy Lau is one of the best actors in China,” Zhang hails. “He has been popular in China for 40 years. There was a lot of English dialogue for him, even more than the foreign actors. Though he speaks English well, he wanted to tell the world Chinese actors speak English well, and he practiced hard.”

Opening across the Philippines in IMAX and regular cinemas on January 25, 2017, The Great Wall is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Milla Jovovich summarizes ‘Resident Evil’ films in two minutes

As Alice and Umbrella Corporation’s battle is coming to an end with the release of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in Philippine cinemas on February 1, Columbia Pictures has shared a “rewind” video featurette, explaining everything that’s happened so far.

The video recap features Milla Jovovich as she talks the viewer through every fun highlight of the last five Resident Evil films. Watch the featurette below.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter picks up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, in which Alice (Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

The film also stars Ali Larter (Resident Evil: Afterlife) as Claire Redfield, Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Resident Evil: Extinction) in the role of Dr. Alexander Isaacs, Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: Afterlife) as Albert Wesker, Australian actress Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black) as Abigail, Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Doc, Cuban-American actor William Levy, as Christian; Fraser James (Law & Order: UK) as Michael, and Japanese model and TV personality, Rola, as Cobalt.

Opening across the Philippines on February 1, 2017, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is distributed by Columbia Pictures, the local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.