New superheroes unite in Russian action movie ‘Guardians’

In the end of 1945, after Germany and Japan have fallen in the WWII, an incredible team of mutant superheroes rise to stop the world’s smartest and deadliest villain in the latest non-stop blockbuster Russian action movie “Guardians” aka Zaschitniki.

“Guardians” are borne from the genetic experiments performed by Nazi doctors who were trying to create a super soldier. The German doctors carried on with their experiments to the territories Germany occupied during the war – France, UK, Spain, Poland and USSR. Meanwhile United States intelligence reported that there are definitely traces of superhumans in the States. Dictator Stalin has no choice but to create “Patriot” – a super secret defence and research organization, so secret and dear to him that he has his right hand – Lavrenty Beria – helming it.

Time went on and “Patriot” proved to be non-viable economically hence Beria’s recommendations to shut the whole thing down. But Stalin was not the one who was giving up that easily. However he did not live long enough to see the first results. Spring of 1953 he dies after a long lasting illness. Nikita Khruschev, a simple man of simple ideas, takes charge and it was only natural for him to shut down “Patriot”, which he would’ve done if the news from the Moscow lab wouldn’t have saved the whole program.

Professor Dobronravov was able to complete several successful experiments which resulted in creation of Khan (played by Sanzhar Madiyev) whose main weapon are his blades and who has superhuman strength and moves fast enough to make it appear that he is teleporting; Ler, aka Rockneto is played Sebastien Sisak, who manipulates rocks to make him levitate; Arsus (Anton Pampushnyy), whose power is to transform into a half-man, half-bear and Ksenia (Alina Lanina) who has the ability to manipulate water and can even become invisible. For years, the heroes had to hide their identities, but in hard times they must show themselves again.”

“Guardians” opens in cinemas on March 8, 2017 from Purple Media to be released by Axinite Digicinema.

Emma Watson captures heart as Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Known to global audiences as the spunky and smart wizard Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise, Emma Watson is now poised to be fondly remembered as Belle, the shrewd villager who yearns for adventure, in the live-action retelling of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

For over a decade, the British actress has charmed audiences playing the quick-witted and tenacious Hogwarts student in the Potter films and in films including The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah and The Bling Ring. In addition, she has a highly-visible role as a human rights activist and global goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, something which has become her life’s calling.

Of all the female characters in all the Disney films, she has always been drawn to – and most identifies with – Belle.

“I have loved ‘Beauty and the Beast’ since I was four years old,” she says. “I remember Belle as this feisty young woman who spoke her mind and had these ambitions and was incredibly independent and wanted to see the world. And she had this relationship with the Beast where they were just toe to toe and that, to me, just seemed like such a terrific dynamic and interesting kind of relationship that I’d never seen before in a fairy tale.”

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Prior to 1991, most female characters in animated films were viewed as passive and somewhat one-dimensional, but Belle broke the mold. She is interested in literature, has thoughts of her own and is not easily intimidated, and quickly became an empowered role model for girls around the world and the first contemporary feminist heroine in an animated film. “Belle is someone who doesn’t really care about becoming a princess,” says director Bill Condon. “She’s more interested in seeing the world and figuring out who she is than in finding a man and getting married.”

Not only does Belle herself love reading, but she also loves sharing her passion for books. Says Condon, “We all know how intelligent and worldly and sophisticated Emma is, and while that doesn’t describe Belle, it is what Belle aspires to be, and it is the innate intelligence that Emma brings to the role that is such a crucial element when you’re doing a live-action film.”

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About BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, a live-action adaptation of the studio’s animated classic featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, including: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Hattie Morahan and Nathan Mack with Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

Directed by Bill Condon and based on the 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast, the screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Alan Menken provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. The film is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman, p.g.a. and Todd Lieberman, p.g.a with Jeffrey Silver, Thomas Schumacher and Don Hahn serving as executive producers.

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, March 16, 2017, Beauty and the Beast is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Philippines. #BeOurGuestPH

Oscars Winners 2017: Full list, Academy Awards winners

The winners of Oscars 2017 were announced at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony as presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) on February 26, 2017 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony for the first time.

Here is the list of winners for the 89th Academy Awards along with the nominees for each category:

Best Picture

WINNER: Moonlight
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress

WINNER: Emma Stone, La La Land
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Actor

WINNER: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Supporting Actress

WINNER: Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Supporting Actor

WINNER: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Director

WINNER: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay

WINNER: Moonlight, Barry Jenkins with story by Tarell Alvin McCranley
Arrival, Eric Heisserer
Fences, August Wilson
Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Lion, Luke Davis

Best Original Screenplay

WINNER: Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan
La La Land, Damien Chazelle
The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou
20th Century Women, Mike Mills

Best Documentary Feature

WINNER: O.J.: Made in America
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life Animated
13th

Best Foreign Language Film

WINNER: The Salesman
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

Best Original Score

WINNER: La La Land
Jackie
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Best Original Song

WINNER: “City of Stars,” La La Land
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Best Cinematography

WINNER: La La Land
Arrival
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Best Production Design

WINNER: La La Land
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
Passengers

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

WINNER: Suicide Squad
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond

Best Costume Design

WINNER: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Allied
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

Best Visual Effects

WINNER: The Jungle Book
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Sound Editing

WINNER: Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Best Sound Mixing

WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge
Arrival
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Documentary Short

WINNER: The White Helmets
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland

Best Live Action Short

WINNER: Sing
Ennemis Intérieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Timecode

Best Animated Feature

WINNER: Zootopia
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle

Best Film Editing

WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge
Arrival
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

Best Animated Short

WINNER: Piper
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl

Live-action ‘Death Note: Light Up the New World’ to hit PH cinemas

The highly-anticipated manga film adaptation “Death Note: Light Up the New World” is an interesting follow up to the original three Death Note films. The story takes place 10 years later since two geniuses fought the battle of intelligence and now, six different notebooks fell down on Earth.

The film simultaneously takes place in Shibuya, Wall Street and Russia where authorities are on high alert with Death Note killings taking place while a world renowned private investigator, Ryuzaki (Sosuke Ikematsu), joins the Task Force. He is regarded as a successor to L and it is him who figures out that there are six Death notes this time.

The unexplained deaths started when Light Yagami aka Kira, a Japanese college student found a mysterious notebook, Death Note that revealed that if a person will die if his name is written in the notebook. He used the Death Note on fugitives to punish them making him one of the most wanted serial killers by the authorities. Until a well-known detective named L stopped him at the cost of his own life.

In the latest movie “Death Note: Light Up the New World”, havoc is once again created when Death puts his Death Note in the mortal world again. The Death Note Task Force, originally set up by police officer Soichiro Yagami, is reinstated. Their office is in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. With Yagami dead, the Task Force is made up of five investigators including Tsukuru Mishima (Mashima Higashide) who is well versed on the Death Note incident, and Touta Matsuka (Sota Aoyama) who is the only one from the original Task Force.

As the investigation continues, a computer virus called “Kira virus” spreads across the world. The virus comes with a message, “Attention Death Note owners, turn your notebook in to me immediately”. But once all six Death Notes were possessed by one individual, the person would have the ability to rule the world. A fight ensues between those who wish for the second coming of Kira and those who oppose the evil plan.

“Death Note: Light Up the New World” opens in cinemas nationwide on March 15 from Pioneer Films.

Ice Cube plays teacher-from-hell in comedy film ‘Fist Fight’

An award winning actor, director, producer and music icon, Ice Cube has established himself as one of entertainment’s most accomplished, bankable, relevant and prolific figures, both on and off the screen.

Now, Ice Cube heads the cast of New Line Cinema’s outrageous comedy Fist Fight as one of the two teachers about to come to blows.

Cube relates, “When I first got the script for ‘Fist Fight,’ I was like, ‘Yo, this is what you go to the movies for; it’s the kind of film that you can just have fun with.’ “It’s like one of those movies where you have a ticking time bomb, but the time bomb here is my character, Ron Strickland.”

On the last day of the school year, mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst outrageous senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration and budget cuts that are putting his job on the line just as his wife is expecting their second baby.

But things go from bad to worse when Campbell crosses the school’s toughest and most feared teacher, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), causing Strickland to be fired. To Campbell’s shock—not to mention utter terror—Strickland responds by challenging him to a fist fight after school. News of the fight spreads like wildfire as Campbell takes ever more desperate measures to avoid getting the crap beaten out of him. But if he actually shows up and throws down, it may end up being the very thing this school, and Andy Campbell, needed.

After penning the most memorable lyrics on NWA’s groundbreaking songs “Straight Outta Compton” and “F**k Tha Police,” Ice Cube left the group at the peak of its popularity to pursue one of the most successful careers in music history. As a solo recording artist, he has sold more than 10 million albums while remaining one of rap’s most respected and influential artists. Most recently, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with his group NWA.

In 1991, Cube made his acting debut with a lead role in the critically acclaimed and Academy Award-nominated feature Boyz n the Hood. Since then, he has become one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood with film credits that include Friday, Three Kings, and xXx: State of the Union, as well as the Barbershop, Are We There Yet?, Ride Along and 21 Jump Street franchises, to name just a few.

In addition, he wrote and directed The Players Club, and wrote and produced The Janky Promoters. As a television producer, Cube Vision took the Barbershop and Are We There Yet? series to successful network runs and also enjoyed success with the controversial Black. White.

More recently, Cube helped inspire and also produced the feature Straight Outta Compton, which was acclaimed by critics and audiences. The film held the #1 spot at the box office three weekends in a row, going on to gross over $200 million dollars on a mere budget of $28 million. In addition, it received numerous awards and accolades, including nominations from the Academy Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Producer Guild of America Awards, Writers Guild of America Awards and Golden Globes. It also won Best Picture at the NAACP Image Awards, the True Story Award at the MTV Movie Awards, and many more.

Together, his movies have grossed more than a billion dollars at the box office.

Cube is currently gearing up for the television debut of the Cube Vision-produced Hip Hop Squares on VH1 in January 2017. He will also be honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Summer 2017.

Now showing across Philippine cinemas, Fist Fight is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

MOVIE REVIEW: Arrival (2017)

I must admit, I’m such a big fan of La La Land even before it hit local scenes, that I almost forgot that there are other interesting movies coming to theaters thereon. When Damien Chazelle’s followup to Whiplash was finally shown in the cinemas just last month, I managed to watch it 11 times as if magic has already lured me to return again and again. The musical romantic drama film is indeed captivating. The songs stuck in my head, its visual spectacle as awesome as the first time. Arrival, on the other hand, is a different case. Despite prior critical acclaims, I was not as excited to see it, simply because “alien invasion” sounds too worn-out for me. Much to my surprise, I had no idea that Arrival is the kind of movie that will make me forget La La Land (and all of the 11 times I saw it), or any other recent favorite for that matter.

In Arrival, the help of linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is sought by the military when twelve seedpod-shaped spaceships suddenly appeared on random location across the Earth. She is teamed up with physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and they station at the nearest landing site in Montana. As supervised by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) and CIA Agent Halpern (Michael Sthulbarg), their goal is to determine what the aliens want. Adams showcases a character to be hold onto and to be cared for, with Renner’s comforting personality on the side.

Director Dennis Villeneuve proves yet again that he has the knack in his craft, more evident as ever after Enemy and Sicario (both of which are outstanding as well). Based on the short story, Story of your Life by Ted Chiang, Arrival is adapted to screen by Eric Heisserer who highlighted the importance of visual cues and actions to give hints and plant seeds that are to be harvested as the story progresses. What the two created in Arrival is a movie to be remembered, not as an alien movie but as one good example of how to break the stereotype in alien sci-fi subgenre. This time around, it is not about the usual destructive nature of close encounters with aliens. The key word here is communication. For guman beings or otherwise, communication is the best tool to make things possible and workable. But one big question remains: is it really the intention of the large spider-like seven-legged aliens they referred to as heptapods?

This all goes back to the very start of the movie. The introduction is a fascinating prelude to its ending piece inasmuch as this same ending is a riveting starting point that could lead back to the movie’s first few minutes. Focus is much needed to fully comprehend what the story is all about. It is indeed a simple story that tackles various personal issues including fear of the unknown and facing consequences. A repeat viewing could also work wonders in filling in the gaps that would appear as though intended to make the audience crave for more. Why are they here? Why are we all here?

Matt Reeves to direct, produce ‘The Batman’

Burbank, CA – February 23, 2017 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Cloverfield”) has been set to direct “The Batman.” Reeves will also serve as a producer on the new standalone action adventure centering on one of DC’s most enduringly popular Super Heroes. The announcement was made by Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Emmerich stated, “We are thrilled to have Matt Reeves taking the helm of Batman, the crown jewel of our DC slate. Matt’s deep roots in genre films and his evolution into an emotional world-building director make him the perfect filmmaker to guide the Dark Knight through this next journey.”

Matt Reeves noted, “I have loved the Batman story since I was a child. He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply. I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen.”

Batman was created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.

“The Batman” will be distributed worldwide by WPLarner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

‘Logan: The Wolverine’ to have midnight screenings in PH cinemas

Responding to the fever-pitch anticipation of Hugh Jackman’s “Logan”, the most eager of cineastes who want to see it first can finally catch the movie on its midnight screenings (12:01am) set on March 1, Wednesday in Philippine theatres nationwide (check your nearest favorite theatres).

Starring Hugh Jackman in the title role, “Logan” is directed by James Mangold that also stars a powerhouse of a cast that includes Patrick Stewart, Boy Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant and newcomer Dafne Keen. A standalone story that sees Jackman in the final chapter of his Wolverine alter-ego, the movie brings the iconic hero at a crossroads that will finally define his destiny.

The film takes place more than 50 years after the events depicted in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and is its own standalone tale that plays more like an intimate family journey but is also packed with high-stakes action scenes. When the film opens, Logan is in a vulnerable and broken state, the curse of his immortality wearing heavy on him as he cares for a weakened Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in a derelict smelting plant at the edge of an abandoned oil field. They’re joined there by a third mutant, Caliban (The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant), sheltering in obscurity at a time when the world believes mutants have passed into history.

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But Logan’s days of drinking in relative solitude are interrupted when he finds himself the reluctant guardian of a young girl, Laura (Keen) who has powers remarkably like his own, from her hands as well as her feet spring the same adamantium claws as Wolverine’s. Not that he’s exactly eager to accept this newfound responsibility—he’s far too weary to play the hero once more.

Tasked with protecting her from the murderous cybernetic criminal Donald Pierce (Holbrook), Logan and Professor X set out to cross hostile territory to ferry Laura to a place called Eden, where young mutants are said to enjoy safe haven. But Pierce and his fearsome army of cyborg Reavers are determined to return the girl to the custody of Dr. Zander Rice (Grant), the sinister geneticist behind Alkali who triggered her mutations through a series of inhumane experiments in the hopes of creating a child super-soldier.

“Logan” further unleashes its claws a few hours after its midnight screenings (with more screens) on March 1 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. Also available in IMAX (2D) screens. The movie is rated R-16 by the MTRCB.

Nine Filipino films make it to Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017

An impressive nine (9) Filipino films will be participating in the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017, three (3) of which are part of the main competition section.

Jerrold Tarog’s Bliss, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Kita Kita, and Borgy Torre’s Tisay are part of the competition section and will compete with thirteen (13) other Asian films for the Grand Prix and Most Promising Talent awards. Meanwhile, Mario Cornejo’s Apocalypse Child will be featured in the In & Out of Work: Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment Special Program. Finally, the special program featuring new movements in film will include Samantha Lee’s Baka Bukas, Mikhail Red’s Birdshot, Mihk Vergara’s Patintero: The Legend of Meng the Loser, Bradley Liew’sSinging in Graveyards, and Avid Liongoren’sSaving Sally.

“We are very proud with the incredible turnout of selected Filipino participants [of the Osaka Asian Film Fest] this year. As more of our own are featured in international festivals, they bring with them the unique voice and artistic culture of our country and it just really is a proud moment for them. We want them to know that FDCP is here to support them in any way it can,” said FDCP Chair Liza Diño. FDCP will be coordinating with the Philippine Consulate in Osaka, Japan to give assistance to the Festival participants.

The Osaka Asian Film Festival will be held on March 3-12, 2017 in Osaka, Japan.

From ‘The Ring’ director comes mind-boggling psycho thriller ‘A Cure for Wellness’

From visionary director, Gore Verbinski, “A Cure for Wellness” is a chilling and mind-bending psychological thriller. Embarking on the movie, Verbinski wanted to make a thriller with the depth, insight and power of classics in the genre that he admired, such as “The Shining” (Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film), “Don’t Look Now” (Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film) and “Rosemary’s Baby” (Roman Polanski’s 1968 film). The idea of a quick fix cure, together with society’s malaise and the obsession with perfect health were topics that fascinated Verbinski, whose films include the hugely successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and the Academy Award® winning animated film, “Rango”.

Dane DeHaan stars as Lockhart in “A Cure for Wellness”, a driven Wall Street stockbroker who is sent by his firm to a remote alpine medical spa. Lockhart is on a mission to retrieve the company’s CEO, Pembroke (Harry Groener), a patient at the spa, who has told his staff that he has no intention of returning to New York. Lockhart arrives at the tranquil sanitarium where the residents are supposedly receiving a miracle cure. In fact though, they seem to be getting sicker. As he investigates the dark and baffling secrets behind the spa, he meets a young woman, the hauntingly beautiful Hannah (Mia Goth), a patient herself. He also gets to know another patient, the eccentric Mrs. Watkins, played by Celia Imrie, who has done some detective work of her own. Soon, Lockhart is diagnosed with the same condition as the other patients by the institution’s director, the ominous Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs), and finds that he is trapped in the alpine retreat. Lockhart begins to lose his grip on reality and has to endure unimaginable ordeals during the course of his own ‘treatment’.

“We started exploring the notion of a health spa in the Alps, a wellness center that doesn’t actually make you well,” says Verbinski, “and it slowly evolved from there. It became pretty clear to us that this was going to be a genre piece, and we started playing around with the concept of inevitability. It’s the sense that there is a sickness, a sort of black spot on your x-ray that won’t go away!”

One of Hollywood’s most exciting young actors, the gifted and charismatic Dane DeHaan (“Kill Your Darlings”, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, “Life”) was thrilled about taking on the role of Lockhart and working with Verbinski. “To listen to Gore’s vision and hear how passionate he was about it, and then to read the script and understand what a challenging role it was—that was irresistible,” says DeHaan. “My character goes through so much in this film, it’s crazy. And this was an opportunity to work with a great filmmaker.”

The evocative world created by Gore and his gifted team, the treatments that the patients undergo at Volmer’s spa, and the dramatic tension throughout the film, combine to create a gripping and terrifying cinematic experience. Like the best films in the genre, “A Cure for Wellness” leaves the audience unsettled and unnerved, questioning the darker side of human nature. It’s the kind of unease that lingers long after the closing credits have rolled. “It’s like people telling ghost stories around a campfire,” says Verbinski, explaining why moviegoers enjoy watching an engrossing psychological thriller.

“It’s almost like a huge roller coaster, but the film is also asking a lot of important questions,” comments DeHaan. “At times, you are really feeling terrified. But if you are in a communal setting like a theater, you know you are safe and you know that what is happening on screen is completely removed from reality.”

“A Cure For Wellness” is now showing in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox as distributed by Warner Bros. Rated R-16 by the local censors board (MTRCB).