WATCH: Denzel Washington back in action in ‘The Equalizer 2’ trailer

Sometimes justice isn’t enough. Watch Denzel Washington in the new trailer for Columbia Pictures’ new action-thriller The Equalizer 2, in Philippine cinemas this September.

Denzel Washington returns to one of his signature roles in the first sequel of his career. In The Equalizer 2, Robert McCall (Washington) serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed – but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Richard Wenk, based on the television series created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim.

The Equalizer 2 also stars Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, with Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

The Equalizer 2 is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Leslie Mann plays cool but protective mom in comedy film ‘Blockers’

Comedic actress Leslie Mann (How to Be Single, Knocked Up) plays Lisa, a mom who is trying to be cool while still parental and the emotional core of Universal Pictures’ new comedy Blockers (in Philippine cinemas May 02.)

In the film, when three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. As nonstop helicoptering struggles with awkwardly letting go, the well-meaning trio shares in the raucous comedy that accompanies their kids’ biggest step into adulthood.

Lisa (Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) are thrown together by fate—or rather their daughters becoming fast friends on the first day of kindergarten. As their inseparable girls grow into ride-or-die young adults, the trio of parents becomes de facto commiserates, sharing in their kids’ special moments, from birthdays and teen heartaches to first dances and now prom.

“Leslie has built an incredible body of supporting work over the 20 years, and this was the perfect vehicle to let her shine,” says producer James Weaver.

In a case of life imitating art, Mann was offered the role of the soon-to-be empty nester at the same time her own child was headed off to college. “I actually got the call to do the movie while I was dropping my eldest daughter off at school, so it was something that I felt really connected to,” recalls Mann.

For director Kay Cannon, the timing could not have been more ideal. “Lisa and her relationship with Julie are the heart and soul of film,” she explains. “Leslie had just lived through saying goodbye to daughter; it was very fresh and real for her.”

The scenes with Kathryn Newton, her on-screen daughter, eased the real-life separation for Mann. “Thank God for Kathryn during that time,” she relays. “She’s the exact same age as my daughter, so being around her made it a little easier because she’s so sweet and I got to hug her.”

Although Lisa and Julie have a strong mother-daughter relationship, Lisa struggles with the idea of letting go. Her desire to keep things status quo goes to extremes when she thinks her daughter might get hurt.

The actress was thrilled to work alongside Cannon, who kept the set light and loose to inspire the actors to go off script. “Kay comes from improv, so she’d throw out ideas or change up the lines,” Mann recalls. “It was a really fun experience.”

For Cannon, the admiration was mutual. “Leslie is such a comedic talent,” she says. “You can give her a B or B+ joke, and she easily turns it into an A with her natural delivery.”

Working alongside co-stars Barinholtz and Cena made for more laughs on and off camera. “It was nonstop fun with both of them,” Mann says. She dryly adds: “Plus, John gave me some pointers on how to do deadlifts.”

Blockers is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

‘Ready Player One’ surpasses $500 million worldwide

The widely acclaimed action adventure “Ready Player One,” from Warner Bros. Pictures, Amblin Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures, has crossed half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, “Ready Player One” has been a hit in every corner of the globe. Domestically, the movie has taken in more the $120.6 million to date and counting. On the international front, where the box office has been climbing steadily, the film is already at an estimated $379.5 million, including China, where “Ready Player One” has earned more than $200 million (RMB 1.3b). Other markets continue to show strong results, including the UK ($21.1 million), Korea ($17.7 million), France ($16.8 million) and Russia ($12 million).

Completing its worldwide release, “Ready Player One” opened this weekend in Japan, where anticipation has been extremely high.

Spielberg directed “Ready Player One” from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on Cline’s global bestseller of the same name. The film was produced by Donald De Line, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Spielberg and Dan Farah. Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris deFaria and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.

“Ready Player One” stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, with Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance.

Spielberg’s behind-the-scenes creative team was led by director of photography Janusz Kaminski, production designer Adam Stockhausen, editors Michael Kahn and Sarah Broshar, and costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone. The score is by Alan Silvestri.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, an Amblin Production, a De Line Pictures Production, a Steven Spielberg Film, “Ready Player One.”

“Ready Player One” is being distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

WATCH: Channing Tatum is a yeti looking for humans in new ‘Smallfoot’ trailer

Discover a world that’s a blizzard of fun! Watch the new official trailer of Warner Animation Group’s upcoming comedy adventure “Smallfoot” now below.

An animated adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, “Smallfoot” turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human.

News of this “smallfoot” brings him fame and a chance with the girl of his dreams. It also throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in a rollicking story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery.

“Smallfoot” stars Channing Tatum (“The LEGO® Batman Movie,” the “Jump Street” films) as the Yeti, Migo, and James Corden (“Trolls” ) as the Smallfoot, Percy. Also starring are Zendaya (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), Common (“Selma”), LeBron James (upcoming “Space Jam 2”), Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”), Danny DeVito (“The Lorax”), Yara Shahidi (TV’s “Black-ish”), Ely Henry (TV’s “Justice League Action”), and Jimmy Tatro (“22 Jump Street”).

“Smallfoot” is directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, Annie Award-winning director of “Over the Hedge” and Annie nominee for the screenplays for “Chicken Run” and “James and the Giant Peach.” The film is produced by Bonne Radford (“Curious George”), Glenn Ficarra (“Storks,” “The is Us,”) and John Requa (“Storks,” “This is Us”). Serving as executive producers are Nicholas Stoller, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Jared Stern, Sergio Pablos, and Kirkpatrick. The creative team includes editor Peter Ettinger, and composer Heitor Pereira.

The film is set to debut in Philippine cinemas September 2018.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group, “Smallfoot” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

MOVIE REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) [1 of 2]

After a decade of patronage, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ takes its viewers to high highs and low lows. If you’re an MCU fan, you may find yourself buying another ticket for a repeat viewing.

If I were to channel Mantis’ empathic skills to understand Thanos’ plan of saving the universe by wiping half of it, I would stray no further and ponder on the two-hour excruciating morning commute I had to go through to catch an 8AM screening of Avengers: Infinity War. These days, every place is so crowded: roads, restrooms, restaurants, theater houses… there’s an endless queue for almost everything. Not to mention a climate change as moody as a Teenage Groot! For someone who lives in a third world country, Thanos’ vision is not actually hard to take in. Don’t tell me you never fantasized, even just for a second, about erasing half of the human race (spare yourself and your loved ones) at a snap of your finger. The earth will suddenly be a more sustainable planet to live in, right? I guess I feel like Thanos some days, growing increasingly impatient and cynic, looking for quick solutions in this problem-infested world. Thanos believe he’s the hero in his story and I can’t blame him for that.

That makes Thanos as arguably the best MCU villain to date. The Mad Titan’s quest for the infinity stones boils down to an end goal we can all relate to: addressing overpopulation in the midst of scarcity. (The same goes for Killmonger’s plan to liberate the black race in Black Panther). Thanos is the center of the story here; we finally get to know his back story and explore his estranged relationship with his adoptive daughter Gamora. He feels loss and burden but he is more driven than ever to finish what he started, even if it costs him everything. Actor Josh Brolin has the enviable task of giving weight and dimension to this purple giant and the resulting motion-capture performance ends up affecting.

But of course, Thanos is not the main reason why you’ll buy a ticket for this film. You’re here for the cast ensemble. Because Infinity War is also a story of how alliances are formed among the heroes we used to see in MCU’s standalone films. Some of them might not like each other, but with the fate of the universe hanging in balance, they’ll do what they have to do. Like a hit rendition of “We Are The World” brimming on the edge with your favorite artists, this film gives the same amount of feels. Look, that’s Tony Stark and Doctor Strange clashing egos! That’s Star-Lord exuding an unnatural amount of machismo in front of Thor! That’s Bruce Banner awkwardly bowing down to King T’Challa! That’s Okoye fighting side by side with Black Widow! Okay, I’ll stop now. This film makes MCU fans hyperventilate in ecstasy, it’s essentially a fan service but it’s never done cheap and meaningless.

Much like Iron Man’s slick nano-tech suit upgrade, we see how the main characters have evolved significantly since the first time we saw them: Tony Stark flirts on the notion of settling down, Peter Quill and Gamora are finally being honest about their feelings and so are Wanda and Vision, Thor is now a god searching for a purpose after the destruction of his home Asgard in Ragnarok, Steve Rogers has embraced his moral compass in the face of institutional corruption, and so on. Yes, some of the minor players get the shorter end of the stick and mostly serve as comic-reliefs or extra set of hands during the explosive third act, but it’s hard to get mad for those little things given that the film has an overwhelming amount of characters. Marvel has done most of the job in the past and deservingly earned its fan base in the process. Hence, exposition here is at a minimum, it’s now time to witness how these character arcs come together.

And with like 30 characters or so vying for their screen time in this film, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are given the daunting responsibility of threading each one into the narrative all while incorporating ten years’ worth of mythology into a solid script. Could they have done better? I can’t really say, but in the hands of a clumsy writer, Infinity War, at best, will end up looking like a crowded souvenir photo. Thank God it’s far from that case.

It also works hugely thanks to the competent directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who helmed Captain America: Civil War. It’s tough to play with characters coming from tonally different films and make them work as a cohesive whole. The Russo brothers maintain momentum all throughout: Infinity War moves briskly like a roller coaster traversing from one other-worldly set-piece to another, featuring jaw-dropping small to large scale action, peppered with playful banters along the way. It takes you to highs and lows that you can hardly gasp for air. Still, the whole ride never feels too long that you may find yourself buying another ticket.

Plot-wise, Infinity War is perhaps the most straightforward film in MCU and there’s no shame in that. Still, those who haven’t done their homework and watched at least the “essential” MCU films will be short of having a rich viewing experience. (If you’re on crunch time, do check this recap.) This movie in fact does not mainly aim on bringing new audiences to the ship but it’s more dedicated on serving the fans, especially the old-timers who has been there since 2008 when Iron Man changed the film industry for good. The film stands weaker on its own hence it should be treated like a season finale of a prestige TV series played on the big screen with a humongous budget. If you’re not caught up, some of it won’t make sense.

In the film’s final 15 minutes, all the thrills turn into tension, then into dread. It left me shell-shocked to the core and all that’s left in my heart is an eerie calmness, a counterpoint to all the spectacle showcased earlier. Much of the hype of Infinity War rests on who will survive and who will die in this epic chapter but the reason why we really care about these heroes is that Marvel made us believe and invest in them. The iconic characters reflected through the unforgettable performances from its actors allowed us to follow them up to this foreboding dark conclusion. Come to think the beauty of it, this generation of fans all over the world are now experiencing this level of complex emotions in unison.

Marvel has set a highly ambitious goal and hits its mark. For that, I am extraordinarily impressed.

5 out of 5 stars

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is now showing in PH cinemas.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spiderman), Chadwick Boseman (King T’Challa/Black Panther), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Paul Bettany (Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Anthony Mackie (Wade Wilson/Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/White Wolf), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Groot), Vin Diesel (Groot), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Benedict Wong (Wong), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Benicio Del Toro (The Collector), Josh Brolin (Thanos) and Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star-Lord). Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

Runtime: 2 hours, 36 minutes

Supernatural horror film ‘Truth or Dare’ to hold early screenings Apr 30-May 1

Horror fans are invited to play ahead of eveyone else as Blumhouse’s new horror-thriller Truth or Dare is scheduled to hold special sneak previews in selected cinemas everywhere on Monday and Tuesday, April 30 and May 1. (Watch the new trailer for Truth or Dare below.)

Moviegoers are advised to check out the websites and social pages of their favorite cinemas for screening hours. Admission will be at regular prices.

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) lead the cast of Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, a supernatural thriller from Blumhouse Productions (Happy Death Day, Get Out, Split). A harmless game of “Truth or Dare” among friends turns deadly when someone—or something—begins to punish those who tell a lie—or refuse the dare.

When a tightly knit group of friends embark upon their last undergraduate getaway and engage in a harmless game of “Truth or Dare,” the game follows them home, forcing them to play or face the deadly consequences.

Directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) and produced by Jason Blum (Whiplash, Get Out), the film co-stars Violett Beane as Markie, Olivia’s best friend who is battling demons of her own; Hayden Szeto as Brad, racked with a secret he feels his family can’t discover; Landon Liboiron as Carter, the manipulative newcomer who invites the group into his deadly trap; Sophia Ali as Penelope, the life of the party who will face a horrific crossroads; and Noland Gerard Funk as Penelope’s boyfriend, Tyson, an aspiring grad student whose ego might be the death of him.

Truth or Dare co-stars Sam Lerner as Ronnie, the most immature senior at the school; Aurora Perrineau as Giselle, who has been running from the curse for so long she can no longer take it; Tom Choi as Brad’s father, a stern cop who can’t understand why his son won’t open up; Vera Taylor as Inez Reyes, a mysterious woman who holds the key to their fate; and Gregg Daniel as Detective Kranis, who wants to help but refuses to believe that an unspeakable evil is responsible for these deaths.

Opening wide in Philippine cinemas May 9, Truth or Dare is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.