WATCH: Cross the line in new ‘Flatliners’ trailer

Dare to cross the line in the new trailer of Columbia Pictures’ new suspense thriller Flatliners starring Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, Diego Luna and James Norton.

Check out the trailer below and watch Flatliners in Philippine cinemas September 29, 2017.

In the film, five medical students embark on a daring and dangerous experiment to gain insight into the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life. The bold adventure begins when they trigger near-death experiences by stopping their hearts for short periods of time. As their trials become more perilous, each must confront the sins from their past while facing the paranormal consequences of journeying to the other side.

Flatliners is directed by Niels Arden Oplev, from a screenplay by Ben Ripley, story by Peter Filardi.

Flatliners is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

James Corden lends voice to Hi-5 in ‘The Emoji Movie’

British comedian James Corden (Into the Woods) lends his voice to Hi-5, an open-face palm Emoji ready to give you a Hi-5 at any time, in Sony Pictures Animation’s new comedy The Emoji Movie.

His favorite catchphrase? “Hi-Five!”

In the film, Hi-5’s a big ham, brimming over with exuberant confidence. He used to be a Favorite, a highly respected celebrity. But recently Hi-5 has been usurped by a new Favorite… Fist Bump Emoji. Hi-5 can’t stand the rejection and just wants to be popular again. But his adventure with Gene – an Emoji which has EVERY expression instead of just one — makes Hi-5 realize that it’s more important to have one true friend than it is to be popular.

“Hi-5 is a fading rock star who wants to get back on top,” says director-writer Tony Leondis. “He hopes that by going on this journey with Gene he can be popular again. What he learns along the way is that having one real friend is more important than having ten thousand likes.”

James Corden gave the filmmakers a hand in bringing the character to life. “He’s such a talent. A brilliant actor and writer. When I saw the play ‘One Man, Two Guvnors,’ I was blown away and really wanted to work with him someday,” Leondis says. “Hi-5 is the wild card – you never know what he’s going to do or say. He’s always throwing curveballs into the equation. And no one is better at that than James.”

“Hi-5 used to be one of the favorites, but as time has gone by, Alex has forgotten about Hi-5, and he started using Fist Bump,” says Corden. “He feels like he’s been forgotten, and he’s convinced that if Alex could just see him again on the Favorites board, Alex would remember how great Hi-5 is and start using him again.”

Corden was drawn to the story and the way it created a hidden world behind the popular icons. “You can punctuate any moment with a great emoji,” he says. “In the film these are characters with spirits, and souls, and hearts, and minds with something very, very real at stake for all of them.”

“I thought it sounded quite charming – these things that you use in your life all the time have a personality, something to lose, and real friendships,” concludes Corden. “That felt very fun to me.”

Now showing across the Philippines, The Emoji Movie is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

MOVIE REVIEW: Bar Boys (2017)

A film that tackles the dynamics of friendship and family towards the pursuit of one’s ambition, Kip Oebanda’s Bar Boys stirs both humor and curiosity in bringing forth the works of a courtroom drama in a behind-the-scenes black comedy.

Bar Boys follows the journey of a barkada — Torran (Rocco Nacino), Chris (Enzo Pineda), Erik (Carlo Aquino) and Josh (Kean Cipriano) — whose lives evolve from simple egotistical computer games, to their life battles of family, love affairs, internal rivalries, and peer pressure towards their trajectory on fulfilling their dreams as lawyers.

For a film to discuss a subject as heavy (and occasionally mundane to commoners like me) as life in law school, Bar Boys is a surprisingly fun treat for all audiences where one’s familiarity to legal jargons doesn’t matter. It embraces itself as a youth-oriented film than a legal docu-drama, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it shows.

The film heavily relies on archetypes — Enzo Pineda as the rich, upper class kid; Rocco Nacino as the kid who knows-it-all; Carlo Aquino as the humble, impoverished one; and Kean Cipriano as the underdog who holds on to their friendship amidst all. The overly sketched out, borderline-cliché, predictable characterizations is almost drowning, with some making hasty decisions without being established as to why so, particularly with the characters of Chris (Pineda) and Josh (Cipriano).

Enzo Pineda’s character (Chris) is a tad underwritten, emphasizing on nothing but his sophisticated facade, tainted relationship with his father and being a career-obsessed boyfriend who takes his girlfriend for granted. By the end of the film, his character then makes crucial decisions that didn’t quite match as to how he was established in the first place, as if watching two completely different characters without the justification of a proper psychological transformation from act one to act two. Moreover, Pineda had his great moments of intense, emotional monologues, but it’s almost impossible to unsee his awkward moments, perhaps from being a newcomer in a sea of de caliber, seasoned talents.

Kean Cipriano’s character (Josh), on the other hand, is the breath of fresh air. That being said, he spent so little time on screen that it felt like a missed opportunity for his character not be thoroughly used, especially in showing contrast to his own deviant world versus his friends’ academic, career-driven mindset. He could have been a great foil character that could show a veracious night and day, especially with Cipriano’s adorably candid performance.

On the contrary, Carlo Aquino and Rocco Nacino (as Erik and Torran respectively) rises to the occasion, as both actors completely steal the show with nothing but effortlessly powerful performances on different tones and hues. They are the redeeming features of the ensemble’s imperfections.

Although I thought the first act of the film gave very little to almost zero insight as to how it really is being a law student aside from the stereotypical evil professors and too-cool-for-school fraternities, act two nailed everything right off the bat. The previous sitcom-ish storyline started to become rich and thick, where all the characters start to finally reach out to the audience with their intellectual and emotional substance in a deeper and more nuanced level, and not just a set of cartoonish four-piece we’ve been seeing since the 1990s.
Overall, Bar Boys is both a hit and a miss; its intentions are genuine, but suffers a bumpy setback with how the characters are written and formulated. Nevertheless, I’d still recommend this film for its last 40 minutes of smart show with a surprising originality to say the least.


4 out of 5 stars

WINNERS: FAP’s Luna Awards 2017

The awards night of Film Academy of the Philippines’ 35th Luna Awards was held Saturday night at Resorts World Manila in Pasay City.

Here is the complete list of winners.

Best Picture: Die Beautiful
Best Direction:
Jun Lana, Die Beautiful
Best Actor: Bembol Roco, Pauwi Na
Best Actress: Hasmine Killip, Pamilya Ordinaryo
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bables, Die Beautiful
Best Supporting Actress: Chai Fonacier, Patay Na Si Hesus
Best Screenplay: Rody Vera, Die Beautiful
Best Cinematography: Lee Briones-Meily, Ignacio de Loyola
Best Production Design: Leo Velasco, Jr., Ignacio de Loyola
Best Editing: Benjamin Gonzales Tolentino, Die Beautiful
Best Musical Score: Ryan Cayabyab, Ignacio de Loyola
Best Sound: Albert Michael Idioma, Ignacio de Loyola

Golden Reel Award: Eddie Garcia
Fernando Poe Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award: Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista
Manuel De Leon Award for Exemplary Achievements Award: Des Bautista
Lamberto Avellana Memorial Awards: Bibsy Carballo, Mario O’Hara, Lolita Rodriguez

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ director reunites with Tom Cruise for ‘American Made’

Director Doug Liman reunites with his Edge of Tomorrow star, Tom Cruise, in Universal Pictures’ American Made, based on the outrageous (and real) exploits of a hustler and pilot unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. History.

(Watch the trailer for American Made at below.)

Liman, who refers to the film as “a fun lie based on a true story,” offers that he has long appreciated stories of improbable heroes working against the system. “Barry Seal, our lead character, took America for an unbelievable ride,” reveals the filmmaker. “Interpreting his story has the makings for an entertaining film that is equal parts satire, suspense and comedy—and always surprising.”

Liman loved the fact that, while so many films have been made about people being run over by the government, Seal’s story was one of someone “who screwed over the White House. Barry is a zealot-like character who really did cross paths with so many household names from the ’80s—ranging from Ronald Reagan and Manuel Noriega to Bill Clinton and Oliver North.”

The quintessential American success story, Seal was recruited for surveillance activities on communist activities in Central America, and ultimately to deliver weapons to rebels in that area who were fighting communists. The U.S. war on drugs and the war on communism had two fronts, and Seal knew them equally well.

“He was a real opportunist, and he had an empty airplane on the way back,” continues the director. “If it absolutely had to be there overnight and it was illegal, Barry Seal was your guy. Since he was conducting illegal operations with the CIA’s help, he could get in and out of the country undetected. Well, there was no point flying back with an empty airplane, so Barry thought he might as well bring drugs back with it. So he ended up working for both the U.S. government and for the Colombian drug cartel at the same time, and unbeknownst to the other. He played both sides, and became fabulously wealthy while he was doing it. Still, it was never about the money for Barry. It was about the excitement, the challenge and all about the flying.”

Pilots themselves, Cruise and Liman gravitated toward the human elements in Barry’s life, as Barry tries desperately to keep a normal family in the midst of challenging choices. He is crazy about his wife, Lucy, and will do whatever it takes to keep her and their kids happy. Their marriage is passionate, but practical. Of course, these characters are inspired by members of the Seal family; but, just like with any film, the team would take a great deal of creative license in telling the story.

For Tom Cruise, this longtime labor of love wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Liman. Of his director, he reflects: “Doug brings a unique humanity to his films. He comes up with ideas as we’re working, and the friendship that we have allows us to trust one another—where we’re willing to try anything. We push each other, and he’s someone who wants to make great films and to entertain an audience.

Opening across the Philippines on September 13, 2017, American Made is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.