From the studio that brought ‘Paranormal Activity’ comes ‘Happy Death Day’

After collaborating on the Paranormal Activity series, director Christopher Landon again teams up with Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions for Universal Pictures’ new suspense-thriller Happy Death Day.

Known for partnering with imaginative filmmakers, Blum has shepherded two of the biggest success stories of 2017. His latest projects include the blockbuster Split, from writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan, which hit No. 1 for three weeks on the box-office charts; and the Cinderella story of the year: Get Out, from writer/director/ producer Jordan Peele, which debuted at No. 1 at the box office and grossed more than $250 million worldwide.

Blum shares his rationale for wanting to join Landon on this journey: “I have worked on five movies with Chris, and I completely trust him creatively. He gave me the script and I liked the idea, but the real reason I did it was because of my belief in him.”

In Happy Death Day, a college student named Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe of La La Land) relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.

The veteran producer examines the thrilling aspects of the storyline, and just how they engage: “The audience knows the character is going to get killed, but you do not know how. Chris gives the audience enough information to be scared, but not too much. The way the information is doled out makes the movie terrifying and effective.”

Now showing across Philippine cinemas, Happy Death Day is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

MOVIE REVIEW: 4 Days (2017)

Adolfo Alix Jr.’s LGBT-themed 4 Days may be imperfect, but it’s exactly the reason why it reflects the authenticity of a flawed and complicated relationship between two lovers whose love screams for the need to be freed.

Set in the campus of the University of the Philippines – Diliman, 4 Days follows the story of roommates Derek (Sebastian Castro) and Mark (Mikoy Morales), whose relationship blossomed from platonic to romantic, structured in a narrative time capsule of 4 Valentines days.

Director Adolfo Alix Jr. wisely utilized the concept of space as to how the characters move in their own worlds, using contra-distinctive shots as to how little they are versus how big their outside world is. How the film flaunts multiple vast, aerial shots of the UP Diliman campus serve as a great contrast in showing how small, air-tight, and almost claustrophobic the relationship of Derek and Mark is, which is confined in the very little portals of their own bedroom. This serves as the catalyst of each of the characters’ difference in rationales: Derek, as the one who’s used to his comfort zone, and Mark, as the one who struggles to breathe and wants the bigger environment outside. This also can be deduced when Mark’s voice over is played whenever the camera pans at the aerial shots. Not only this suggests that he’s the one who constantly sees the outside world, but it also is a manifestation that, as someone whose love is imprisoned, he wants the freedom that his love deserves. The direction is poetic in a very subtle way; it’s never self-absorbed. It is a great example how specific and well-thought mise en scenes can greatly affect the entire mood of a film. In terms of its atmosphere, Alix has aced it right off the bat.

The long, uninterrupted takes effectively create a slow burn tension both in silence and in outbursts. The length of these takes is a trial of patience not only for the audience, but also for the characters, as both Derek and Mark take us into their shoes. They make us feel both the awkward restraint, and the jarring outbursts their relationship contains.

Mikoy Morales’ performance as Mark is effortlessly on point, you’d sometimes forget it’s a film you’re watching. How ordinary his portrayal is what makes it extraordinary. His rawness creates a great chiaroscuro to the star turning screen presence of Sebastian Castro, which serves as major points for a good casting: Morales as the wallflower, and Castro as the womanizer, which they have accurately achieved both aesthetically and substantially.

The biggest setback of the film is its structure. In a nutshell, the narrative felt like it skipped a couple of chapters ahead. It peaked way too soon during the moments when the characters were supposed to be established individually. That being said, it is rather far fetching to sympathize with these characters because we weren’t given the chance to actually know who they are other than the prototypes they represent. As a viewer, I didn’t feel like I grew with the characters; they developed rather rapidly, to the point where I ended up not knowing who they are anymore, particularly in the latter half. We feel for the idea of their situation, but not for them as people. Perhaps, the drawback is due to the over-emphasis on a year’s single day, which haphazardly summarizes everything in congested sit-down conversations. This led to a couple of self-contradicting behaviors and irrational responses. It left me wanting to know them more. However, the actors’ commitment gave everything what their characters and the story did not.

Despite a couple of casualties in its storytelling, 4 Days is a testament of an assertive, experimental, mood-driven film-making of seeing the unspoken language in a director eyes. The final scene basically sums up its intentions and goals — the freedom of love should be at nobody’s expense.


3.75 out of 5 stars


Meet the iconic DC all-stars in superhero film ‘Justice League’

After fighting side-by-side across decades of comics, the iconic DC all-stars are going all in to save the world in their first-ever big-screen team-up, Warner Bros. Pictures’ epic action adventure Justice League, hitting Philippine cinemas November 16.

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder from a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, story by Chris Terrio & Zack Snyder, based on characters from DC, Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The film’s producers are Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, with executive producers Jim Rowe, Wesley Coller, Curtis Kanemoto, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck.

Conceived by comic book writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky, the original incarnation of DC’s legendary League of Heroes – the Justice League of America – teamed up for the first time in 1960 on the pages of The Brave and the Bold #28.

MEET THE LEAGUE…

Batman / Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Inspired by Superman’s sacrifice, the billionaire detective is putting together a team of Super Heroes to combat a force threatening the entire planet. For the first time, Batman understands that he, alone, cannot save the world.

Wonder Woman / Diana Prince (Gal Gadot). The world’s first and foremost female Super Hero, Wonder Woman embodies the unrivaled force and grace of a born warrior with the genuine compassion of a true humanitarian. The first to joinBruce Wayne’s team, Diana’s natural confidence and unmistakable intelligence make her an indispensable ally.

Aquaman / Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). Half-human, half-Atlantean, Arthur Curry is an outsider who does not feel at home on the Earth’s surface or under the sea. That is, until the world is threatened and he joins Batman’s newly assembled team of heroes.

The Flash / Barry Allen (Ezra Miller). Barry Allen is an excessively energetic student attending Central City College, where he studies criminal justice with the hope of one day freeing his incarcerated father. More than eager to team up with crime fighting icon Batman, Barry’s remarkably quick wit is surpassed only by his ability to move at hyper-speed.

Cyborg / Victor Stone (Ray Fisher). Part man, part machine, Victor Stone is a former star athlete at Gotham City University. After a horrific accident nearly cost him his life, he was saved when his father, scientist Silas Stone, used alien technology to reconstruct his body. In the process, Silas turned Victor into a human computer, organic with biomechatronic body parts. In other words, a Cyborg.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents an Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual Production, a Zack Snyder Film, Justice League. The film will be released in 3D and 2D in select theaters and IMAX worldwide beginning November 16, 2017, by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.