LOOK: Gadgets that save the world in ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’

Every hero is only as strong as their villain, of course. And in the latest “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” that conflict comes from the introduction of Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), a drug dealer who, as head of the mysterious Golden Circle criminal enterprise, sets in place a nefarious plan that sets her on a collision course with Eggsy (Taron Egerton). For director Matt Vaughn, the villain’s plot was of paramount importance – and to stop the ultimate heinous threat, the Kingsman are equipped with gadgets customized for the unrelenting explosive battle to save the world.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” won’t skimp on that patented Kingsman craziness, though, from an opening car chase in which Eggsy has to fight for his life in a Kingsman cab hurtling across London, to an all-out assault on Poppyland, and a barroom brawl which deliberately recalls the pub fight sequence from the first movie. “The fights are even more crazy,” says Egerton. “But in terms of the setpieces, Matthew has tried to do different things. There’s a sequence in the movie that has that hyper, one-shot feel, but you can’t top the church scene. He’d rather move on and find something new.”

After the attack and the Kingsman headquarters turned into ruins, Eggsy teams up with Merlin (Mark Strong) — who appears to be the only other survivor — to investigate the circumstances behind it. The Kingsman’s ‘Doomsday Protocal’ leads them to Kentucky, where they discover that Kingsman isn’t the only name in international espionage. Welcome to the lavishly-funded all-American organisation, Statesman.

Where there’s a Kingsman, there’s always a reliable gadget hidden or worn, here are some of their awesome gadgets used in saving the world:

· The agent’s hidden weapon, the Kingsman agent frames are handcrafted by Cutler & Gross, the finest purveyors in British luxury eyewear.

· The customised Kingsman pistol is the standard issue Sidearm for all Kingsman agents.

· The Kingsman Pen, is a classic fountain pen, as used by Sir Winston Churchill and made by Conway Stewart, the esteemed British firm.

· Kingsman Signet Ring is a symbol of tradition – when pressed with the back of the thumb, the ring emits a 50,000 volt shock, stunning an enemy.

· Kingsman Briefcase functions both as a collapsible shield RPG Missile Launcher and fully automatic machine gun, the Kingsman briefcase is a key feature in the modern gentleman’s armour.

· Kingsman Gold Lighter is both a symbol of innovation with its timeless design, and a sophisticated agent weapon, a touch-activated hand grenade.

· The black leather Oxford shoes are an embodiment of quintessentially British style, worn by all Kingsman agents.

· Kingsman watch – crafted by Swiss watchmakers, TAG Heuer, globally renowned for their rich heritage in creating classic gentleman’s timepieces – the Kingsman Connected Watch is a stylish and perceptive agent accessory.

· Kingsman Aftershave – created with core notes to strike a reactive note of danger, the Kingsman aftershave acts both as an alluring, sophisticated fragrance and a flash grenade, with surprising capabilities.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is now showing in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. Also available in IMAX format.

LIST: Ranking Darren Aronofsky’s films from best to worst

From the critically acclaimed Requiem for a Dream (2000) to the divisive and controversial mother! (2017), it has always been safe to say that Darren Aronofsky’s films indulge to the psychological torments of his protagonists who strive for greatness through the drive for perfection, but tend to crash and burn in a downward spiral of emotional and mental breakdown. Aronofsky’s films take us to the edges of his characters’ circular nosedive through the use of elaborate metaphors, grotesque images, expressionistic language and holistic punches. Through his stylistic approach, he helps us see what can’t be seen. He visualizes the unknown, or the ambiguity.

All of his films are intricately dedicated to be a character study as to how ambition can take you to the oxymoron of losing everything to win it all. From Pi’s mathematician to Requiem for a Dream’s drug addicts; from Black Swan’s principal ballerina, to The Wrestler’s dying fighter champ, we intimately see how these characters take a leap from inspiration to lunacy.

In this list, we break down Aronofsky’s filmography from best to worst. Despite some of it being a hit and miss, it will always be a fact that his films are with a signature stamp: recognizably dark, knowingly bizarre, distinctly Aronofsky.

7. Noah (2014)

Without a question, Noah happens to be Aronofsky’s weakest film, both in style and in substance. His biblical metaphors were lost in a sea of confusing visuals and blurry characterizations. His attempt to rationalize a story that isn’t meant to be rationalized is the biggest sin of the film. Maybe, the best way to tell a story that’s directly from an iconic biblical tale is to tell it as it is — no more rock monsters, no more incestuous creation-of-life twists, no more evil images from a supposed faithful and renowned hero. Tell it as it is. In irony, Noah has become his biggest commercial success to date, racking over $362 million at the box office. Despite of its derailed narrative, Aronofsky still proves to have produced a hit.

6. The Fountain (2006)

Aronofsky’s The Fountain is a preemptive diary of searching for the unknown, to set aside the dark pitfalls of grief. He introduces us to two characters, where Izzi (Rachel Weisz) is dying of cancer, while her husband Tom (Hugh Jackman) copes with the stress of losing her slowly. In this film, we see the actual rationale as to what causes the fear of death, or the fear of losing someone through death: that is, going to the unknown. Where and what is the unknown? Despite being relatively unanswered, Aronofsky shows value in giving one’s own narrative of after life as a form of escapade; what you believe is what you will see; hence, the importance of fantasy. We are taught the value of holding on to that belief, be it religion, fiction, or universal spirituality. The film discusses how science is not the actual end. Our minds can produce infinite possibilities. In spite of having a great premise, The Fountain is one of Aronofsky’s rather forgettable films. However, this film shows potential, and although considered a miss, it is only the tip of the iceberg to his grandiose, expressionistic films in the future.

5. Pi (1998)

In 1998, the world of auteur cinema gave birth to one of today’s most elaborate directors who happen to have won the Best Director trophy at the Sundance Film Festival for Pi. Shot in black and white, Pi makes us see through the eyes of Max Cohen, the obsessive mathematician who has been beyond committed in solving a mysterious equation to give order to the universe. Using the camera lens as the first person perspective, we see the craziness he dwells in his own brain. His search for meaning ended up as the search for his own sanity, as the madness of the world began to eat up his own behavior shown in a series of multi-layered metaphorical images, which ends up rather chaotic for a man who had dedicated his life for order. We are introduced how a director like Aronofsky can visually show us a person’s breakdown in a very intimate approach. This film will always serve as the baptismal of a brilliant director.

4. mother! (2017)

In terms of controversy and debate, mother! definitely has stirred a lot of love-hate, yet insightful conversations from both critics and audiences alike. Spoiler alert — Aronofsky did what no one has ever done: he gave mother nature a persona, and he brought Earth as an actual setting for a film’s storyline. He has managed to marry naturalism and expressionism, sprinkled with surrealism overkill in a frenzy circus of metaphors. He bravely eradicated the film’s actual plot to give way for his poetic language. There are no undertones; just an actual, primary tone of allegories. Perhaps others will see it as a crazy, nonsensical, even pretentious approach of an untold story, both style and substance, while others will perceive it as something off the charts in a monumental achievement. mother! proves that Aronofsky is as ambitious as his characters, and perhaps in the real world, his move is a directorial suicide; in the fantasy world, he is as avant garde as Kubrick, Lynch, or even Bergman. It is for the audience to see in which world they belong — not by choice, but by instinct. Aronofsky’s achievement in mother! is far beyond what cinema could contain.

3. The Wrestler (2008)

The Wrestler is a piece where Aronofsky proves that he can be as equally emotional and straightforward in a humane level, as he is dark and twisted in a euphoric realm. In this film, we see Randy, a retired wrestler who strives to be who he was born to be, even though he is physically hindered by a heart disease. We see him go through a downward spiral of wanting to earn greatness in his craft, despite him knowing that it will kill him. Again, the oxymoron of losing everything to become everything. The cheering of the crowd dulls everything else into background noise; the adrenaline running through his veins diminishes the physical pain he endures. We see a protagonist who would rather live a short, but passionate life, than a meaningless longevity. The Wrestler is surprisingly emotional and cathartic; not to mention, it is arched by a knock out performance by Mickey Rourke, in which I consider as one of the best male performances of the 2000s.

2. Black Swan (2010)

Aronofsky’s approach to The Wrestler is rather very similar to that in Black Swan, where one’s inspiration for creativity, and passion for craft becomes a masochistic obsession. In Black Swan, Aronofsky introduces us to Nina, whose craze for perfection led to a journey of losing herself, elaborately displayed in a psychological paranoia. Unlike The Wrestler who happens to be very in-your-face, Black Swan is a reminder as to who Darren Aronofsky is as a director. We are shown how he plays concoctions of reality and fantasy, as we see things from the perspective of a woman suffering from dual personality disorder. Her pursuit of reaching her full potential is shown through self destruction. Similar to Rourke, we have to recognize Natalie Portman’s iconic performance as Nina Sayers — one of the best female performances, perhaps ever.

1. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Requiem for a Dream is, without a doubt, Aronofsky’s best. He found the perfect balance of sinister debauchery through the film’s fantasy sequences, and a tight-rope emotional rod that pulls the audience’s hearts in an emotional journey of witnessing these drug addicts’ distortion of reality as a form of escapade to narcotic dreamland. The film gave one of cinema’s greatest cast ensembles, showing absolute distraught, frustration and a crippling euphoria, as they show how they needed their own parallel universe to continue living in the actual world. From Ellen Burstyn’s haunting and iconic performance as Sara Goldfarb, to Jennifer Connelly’s hypnotic performance as Marion Silver, Aronofsky shows that he has not only mastered the technical works of an avant garde director, but also has impeccable skill in bringing out the best from his actors. Unquestionably, Requiem for a Dream is not only his best, but one of the greatest in cinema of all time.

First look photos of ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ previews epic finale

In the epic finale to the Maze Runner saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.

It’s a heist movie this time,” says director Wes Ball, who has helmed each of the movies in the trilogy. “It picks up six months after the last movie, where we started in the desert, and then we come into the world of WCKD, which is a city: The Last City.”

The series started in the Glade, a lush open space surrounded on all sides by giant walls, and beyond them the maze that kept them prisoner. For the group of young people trapped in the Glade, with no memory of who they once were or why they were there, breaking out was their first priority. “But now, they’re breaking into walls, almost an inverse of the maze, and they have to get answers and outmaneuver every obstacle thrown their way,” Ball says, “We get to see the other side of the universe and come full circle.”

And just as “The Maze Runner” offered lush greens framed by the decaying concrete walls of the maze, and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” gave us vast, inhospitable desert ruins, so “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is set to its own aesthetic and color palette. “The first film, with the maze, was all cement and overgrowth,” observes Ball. “The second story was the sand and rust of the Scorch and this film is a world of glass and steel. I’d say it has elements of sci-fi and film noir – I loved the idea that each one of these movies has a distinct look and feel, but that they all fold into this same universe.”

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” opens January 24, 2018 in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.