WATCH: Jerald Napoles, Valeen Montenegro are love team in new trailer for rom-com ‘The Write Moment’

The new trailer for the romantic comedy film The Write Moment has just been released by Viva Films, which will distribute the 2017 QCinema International Film Festival entry starring Jerald Napoles and Valeen Montenegro. Watch the trailer below.

A heartbroken writer tries to get back with an ex through his romantic comedy “hugot” script but fails and instead finds himself magically living-out the scenes he has written. He’s forced to follow everything verbatim—or else face being stuck in an existential loop of scenes that repeat over and over again.

Written and directed by Dominic Lim, the film also stars starring Bob Jbeili, Dennis Padilla, Cherry Malvar and Nor Domingo.

Produced by The IdeaFirst Company, The Write Moment gets its long-awaited theatrical release on June 27 in Philippine cinemas.

WATCH: Trailer for barkada movie ‘Walwal’ poses questions on why we get wasted

The trailer for the new barkada film ‘Walwal’ has just been released by Regal Entertainment. It stars Elmo Magalona, Kiko Estrada, Jerome Ponce, and introduces Donny Pangilinan, with Devon Seron, Kisses Delavin, Jane De Leon, Sophia Senoron. Watch the full trailer below.

Dondi (Elmo Magalona), Marco (Kiko Estrada) , Intoy (Jerome Ponce), and Bobby (Donny Pangilinan), are friends since high school now college sophomores. They are bound together by the wealth of their past experiences and their natural love for the good times. The boys share a bond so close to each other that they will do anything to protect the members of the group as they traverse the most critical period of their growing up lives. Unknown to them their sophomore year was one such pivotal phase.  Each one in the group confronted a major dilemma which would determine their sense of direction for the rest of their lives. Find out their own definition of Walwaland the lessons they can learn from YOLO “You Only Live Once”.

Why do we get wasted? To be cool? To make memories? To forget? To empathize? Find out all the reasons why teenagers these days get wasted.

Directed by Jose Javier Reyes, ‘Walwal’ opens June 27 in Philippine cinemas.

Han meets Chewbacca for the first time in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

They may be an odd couple, but the partnership of Han Solo and Chewbacca has made its indelible mark in cinema, inspiring generations and influencing our ideas on friendship, loyalty and courage.

With the release of Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, audiences are once again able to revisit this iconic male duo and revel at the infectious dynamic between a Wookie and scruffy-looking scoundrel.

READ MORE: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Review: Competent prequel, nothing more, nothing less

The film traces not only the origins of Han Solo but also reveals how he meets his would-be loyal co-pilot for the first time, bound by a desperate mission against impossible odds that will help shape the irresistible antihero audiences have come to love.

And what can audiences expect from Han’s journey? Producer Kathleen Kennedy is happy to answer: “They can expect to have fun, laugh a lot and fall in love with Han and Chewie all over again, or for the first time.”

For the past 30 years, Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew have played and defined Han Solo and Chewbacca for fans. In “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” the batons are passed to fast-rising star Alden Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo, a former college basketball player.

Says Suotamo, “Chewbacca is truly the most loyal companion. He’s very attentive, always alert to danger because he’s lived such a long, dangerous life, always on the watch. He is the perfect partner to have watching out for you. It becomes clear to Chewbacca that Han needs someone to take care of him.”

The actor adds, “Han’s too much of a risk-taker, overconfident that he can accomplish any task. Chewbacca is there to tell him that maybe he needs to think first. It brings enormous fun into the scenes.”

Says Alden Ehrenreich of their special relationship, “It’s like watching a married couple. There’s an unspoken closeness. They are always bickering, but at the end of the day there’s a deep and unbreakable bond. Chewbacca is very emotional, very loyal, and cares a great deal about Han.”

About his co-star Joonas Suotamo, Ehrenreich comments, “One of the things audiences respond to with Chewbacca is his big open heart, and, while he has to be mindful of all the technical requirements involved in moving in the suit, Joonas was really able to bring so much to the performance, so much heart in what he does, and that’s really impressive.”

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is now playing in Philippine cinemas. Join the conversation online by using the hashtags #HanSolo and #StarWarsPH.

About Solo: A Star Wars Story

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.

The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany.

Ron Howard directs Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are the producers. Lawrence Kasdan, Jason McGatlin, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller serve as executive producers. Jonathan Kasdan & Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” opened in Philippine theaters on May 23, 2018.

GUIDE: French Film Festival 2018

Now on its 23rd year, the French Film Festival in Manila will run on the following dates and venues:

June 6-12 — Greenbelt 3 Cinemas in Makati
June 8-12 — Bonifacio High Street Cinemas in Taguig
June 9-10 — UP Town Center in Quezon City
June 21-22 — Abreeza Mall, Davao City
June 25-27 — Ayala Center, Cebu

Admission

Tickets for each screening are priced at PHP 150 and may be purchased at the box office or through www.sureseats.com.

Movie Lineup

Here’s a quick look at all the movies featured at the 23rd French Film Festival. Go the end of this page for pertinent movie details and trailers.

  • Cézanne et moi (Cézanne and I), 2016
  • Django, 2016
  • Épouse-moi mon pote (Marry Me, Dude), 2017
  • Louise en Hiver (Louise by the Shore), 2016
  • Orpheline (Orphan), 2016
  • Personal Shopper, 2016
  • Polina, danser sa vie (Polina), 2016
  • La Prière (The Prayer), 2018
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll, 2017
  • Seuls (Alone), 2014
  • Taxi 5, 2018
  • Une Vie (A Woman’s Life), 2015
  • Voyage à travers le cinéma français (A Journey through French Cinema), 2016
  • Yves Saint Laurent, 2014

To celebrate the centenary of one of the most influential directors of all time, Institut Français has curated a retrospective of masterpieces by the iconic director, Jean-Pierre Melville — the master of French film noir.

  • 24 heures dans la vie d’un clown (24 Hours in the Life of a Clown), 1946
  • Le silence de la mer, 1948
  • Bob le Flambeur, 1956
  • Léon Morin Prêtre (Léon Morin, Priest), 1961
  • Le Doulos (Doulos: The Finger Man), 1961
  • L’Armée des ombres (Army of Shadow), 1969
  • Le cercle rouge (The Red Circle), 1970

Homage to Philippine Cinema:

  • Anino (Shadows), 2000
  • Himpapawid (Manila Skies), 2009
  • Bagahe (The Baggage), 2017
Premiere Night

The 23rd French Film Festival will have an invitational red carpet premiere of the fifth installment of the action-packed blockbuster, TAXI.

Screening Schedules


Movie Trailers

Cézanne et moi (Cézanne and I) (2016)
Director: Danièle Thompson
Starring: Guillaume Canet, Guillaume Gallienne, Alice Pol, Sabine Azéma, Déborah François
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 56m

Synopsis: They were rebels, fearless and curious, and they loved each other the way you love when you’re 13. Hopes, doubts, girls, dreams of glory: they shared it all. Paul is rich and Emile poor. They haunt the same places, sleep with the same women, and spit together on the bourgeoisie that spits right back. They draw by day the models with whom they spend their nights, and hop on a train for thirty hours just to catch a sunset. Now, Paul Cézanne is an artist and Emile Zola a writer. Fame has passed Paul by while Emile has it all: glory, money & a perfect wife – the woman Paul used to be in love with. They judge each other, admire each other, confront each other. They lose touch and meet again, like a couple that cannot stop loving each other.

Django (2016)
Director: Étienne Comar
Starring: Reda Kateb, Cécile de France
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 55m

Synopsis: Paris, 1943. During the German Occupation, gypsy Django Reinhardt, a true hero of the guitar, is at the peak of his career. Every night, he has Paris reeling to his swing music at the Folies Bergères, while his gypsy brethren are hunted down and massacred throughout Europe. When the German propaganda ministry wants to send him to Berlin for a series of concerts, he senses imminent danger and decides to flee to Switzerland with the help of one of his admirers, Louise de Klerk. He travels to Thonon-les-Bains, on the bank of Lake Geneva, with his pregnant wife, Naguine, and his mother, Negros, but their escape is more complicated than anticipated. The three end up plunged into the turmoil of World War 2. During these difficult times, Django Reinhardt remained an exceptional performer and composer who resisted with his art and his sense of humor, constantly seeking a form of musical perfection.

Épouse-moi mon pote (Marry Me, Dude) (2017)
Director: Tarek Boudali
Starring: Tarek Boudali, Philippe Lacheau, Charlotte Gabris, David Marsais, Julien Arruti, Baya Belal, Philippe Duquesne
Genre: Comedy
Running time: 1h 32m

Synopsis: Yassine, a young Moroccan man, comes to Paris to study architecture on a student visa. But due to an unfortunate incident, he fails his exams, loses his visa, and finds himself an illegal immigrant in France. To remedy the situation, he marries his best friend. Just when he thinks everything is taken care of, a tenacious immigration investigator decides to follow them to make sure it wasn’t a sham marriage.

Louise en Hiver (Louise by the Shore) (2016)
Director: Jean-François Laguionie
Genre: Animation
Running time: 1h 15m

Synopsis: At the end of summer, an old lady watches as the last train of the season leaves the small seaside station of Biligen without her. The town is deserted. The weather rapidly deteriorates and the arrival of high tides cuts electricity and all means of communication. Fragile and neat, not half as tough as Robinson, Louise may not survive winter.

Orpheline (Orphan) (2016)
Director: Arnaud des Pallières
Starring: Adèle Haenel, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Solène Rigot, Vega Cuzytek, Jalil Lespert, Nicolas Duvachelle
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 51m

Synopsis: Four moments in the lives of four female characters. A little country girl, caught up in a tragic game of hide-and-seek. A teenager runaway who bounces from man to man because anything is better than grim family life. A young woman who moves to Paris and has a brush with disaster. And finally, an adult woman who thought she was safe from her own past. Little by little, these characters form one and the same heroine.

Personal Shopper (2016)
Director: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Kirsten Stewart, Anders Danielsen, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz
Running time: 1h 45m

Synopsis: Maureen is a young American woman in Paris making her living as a personal shopper for Kyra, a celebrity. Also, Maureen may have the psychic ability to communicate with spirits, just like her twin brother, Lewis, who recently passed away. She soon starts receiving ambiguous messages coming from an unknown source.

Polina, danser sa vie (Polina) (2016)
Director: Angelin Preljocaj, Valérie Müller-Preljocaj
Starring: Anastasia Shevstova, Véronika Zhovnitska, Nils Schneider
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 48m

Synopsis: Moscow, early 90s. Polina, aged 8, is a gifted ballerina. Coming from a modest background, she joins the prestigious school of Professor Bojinsky, who trains dancers for the Bolshoi. He immediately grasps her tremendous potential and makes her work so hard that, at only 18, her dream finally comes true as she enters the prestigious Bolshoi. This is when she meets Adrien, a charming French dancer. He will help her to discover not only love but, more importantly, a new form of dance, more contemporary and expressive, a kind of dance that will change her life forever. From Moscow to Aix-En-Provence and Antwerp, from success to disillusion, we follow Polina’s incredible destiny.

La Prière (The Prayer) (2018)
Director: Cédric Kahn
Starring: Anthony Bajon, Damien Chapelle, Alex Brendemühl, Louise Grinberg
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 47m

Synopsis: To stop using drugs, twenty-two-year-old Thomas joins an isolated community in the mountains. Run by former drug addicts, the members overcome their addiction through prayer and work. Here, Thomas discovers friendship, rules, love, and faith.

Rock’n Roll (2017)
Director: Guillaume Canet
Starring: Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard
Genre: Comedy
Running time: 2h 3m

Synopsis: At the age of 43, Guillaume Canet has every reason to be happy. Yet his life with Marion, his son, his country house, and his horses all make him look like a has-been. He seems to have lost his sex appeal. Guillaume understands that he must change everything, and fast. And he’ll have to go to great lengths to do so, while his nearest and dearest look on with amazement.

Seuls (Alone) (2014)
Director: David Moreau
Starring: Sofia Lesaffre, Stéphane Bak, Jean-Stan du Pac, Thomas Doret
Genre: Science fiction
Running time: 1h 30m

Synopsis: Leïla, 16, wakes up in an empty city. Where are her parents? Where has everyone gone? Thinking she must be the sole survivor of a mysterious catastrophe, Leïla wanders the strangely deserted streets of Fortville and eventually meets four other teenagers. Together, they join forces and attempt to survive in a desolate and increasingly hostile world. But are they really alone?

Taxi 5 (2018)
Director: Franck Gastambide
Starring: Franck Gastambide, Malik Bentalha, Bernard Farcy, Sissi Duparc
Genre: Action
Running time: 1h 42m

Synopsis: Sylvain Marot, a Parisian cop and exceptional driver, is transferred to the Marseille Municipal Police against his will. Ex-commissioner Gibert, who has become city mayor and the lowest in the polls, entrusts him with the mission to stop the formidable “Gang of Italians” who steals jewelry with the help of the powerful Ferrari. But to do this, Marot will have no choice but to work with Eddy Maklouf, the grand-nephew of the celebrity Daniel and the worst driver in Marseille, but the only one to have recovered the legendary white TAXI.

Une Vie (A Woman’s Life) (2015)
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Starring: Judith Chemla, Jean-Pierre Daroussin, Yolande Moreau
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 59m

Synopsis: Set in Normandy in 1819 and adapted from the classic French novel “Une Vie” by Guy de Maupassant, the film recounts the trials and tribulations in the life of a young woman from the day she returns home from a convent and whose heart is awakened by a local viscount.

Voyage à travers le cinéma français (A Journey Through French Cinema) (2016)
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Genre: Documentary
Running time: 3h 11m

Synopsis: This work as a citizen and a spy, as an explorer and a painter, as a columnist and an adventurer that has been described so well by many authors, from Casanova to Gilles Perrault, is a beautiful definition of a filmmaker that we want to apply to Renoir, Becker, to the Vigo of L’Atlante, to Duvivier, as well as to Truffaut and Demy, to Max Ophuls and also to Bresson. And to these lesser known filmmakers, Grangier, Gréville, or Sacha, whom through a scene or a film, illuminate an emotion, reveal surprising truths. I would like this film to be an act of gratitude to all the filmmakers, scriptwriters, actors, and musicians who suddenly appeared in my life. Memory warms us up: this film is a bit of coal for winter nights.

Yves Saint Laurent (2014)
Director: Jalil Lespert
Starring: Pierre Niney, Guillaume Gallienne, Charlotte Le Bon, Laura Smet, Marie de Villepin
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 40m

Synopsis: Paris, 1957. Barely 21 years old, Yves Saint Laurent is handed the reins of the prestigious fashion house founded by Christian Dior, who has recently died. During his first fashion show, which is a triumph, he meets Pierre Bergé. This encounter will change his life. Lovers and business partners, three years later the two men become partners and form the Yves Saint Laurent label. Despite his obsessions and his inner demons, Yves Saint Laurent gets ready to revolutionize the world of fashion with his modern and iconoclastic approach.

JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE CENTENNIAL RETROSPECTIVE

24 heures dans la vie d’un clown (24 Hours in the Life of a Clown) (1946)
Genre: Comedy
Running time: 18m

Synopsis : A day in the life of Beby the clown and his partner, Maïs, who find their inspiration and gags in the streets, which they then perform at night in the circus.

Le Silence de la mer (1948)
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 26m

Synopsis : In a small town in occupied France in 1941, the German officer, Werner Von Ebrennac is billeted in the house of the uncle and his niece. The uncle and niece refuse to speak to him, but each evening the officer warms himself by the fire and talks of his country, his music, and his idealistic views of the relationship between France and Germany. That is, until he visits Paris and discovers what is really going on…

Bob Le Flambeur (1956)
Genre: Film noir
Running time: 1h 40m

Synopsis : In Paris’s Montmartre district, everyone knows Bob, a well-dressed compulsive gambler. He’s generous, moralistic, drives a two-toned convertible coupe, lives in a swank apartment, and has the respect of the police. But he’s on a losing streak, and even when he hits it big at the track, he loses at the Deauville casino. When he learns that the casino keeps a fortune on Grand Prix weekend, he plots a robbery. Subplots trace a seemingly innocent coquette’s social climb and the greed of a croupier’s wife who betrays the thieves.

Léon Morin Prêtre (Léon Morin, Priest) (1961)
Genre: Drama
Running time: 2h 10m

Synopsis : In a small French town during the Occupation, Barny (Riva) is a young, wayward, sexually frustrated widow, living with her little girl. She is also a communist militant who long ago decided that the easiest way was the best. One day she enters a church, randomly chooses a priest (Belmondo) to confess to and, while in confessional, attempts to provoke him by criticizing Catholicism. Instead of being affronted, the priest engages her in an intellectual discussion regarding religion. The priest is Leon Morin, young, handsome, smart and altruistic. He invites Barny to continue the conversation outside of confessional. She begins regularly seeing him and is impressed by his moral strength, while he makes it his mission to steer her onto the right path.

Le Doulos (Doulos: The Finger Man) (1961)
Genre: Film noir
Running time: 1h 46m

Synopsis : The narrative unfolds through two characters, Maurice and Silien, and consistently switches back and forth between them, leading the audience to grasp randomly for a distinct main character or hero (despite the fact that both are criminal anti-heroes). Through Maurice and Silien’s actions, the film explores just how deeply qualities such as friendship and loyalty run.

Le Doulos begins by introducing us to Maurice, an ex-con, just released from prison after serving a six-year sentence. He then murders his friend, Gilbert, and steals the jewels he had been hiding, products of a recent heist. Shortly afterwards, Maurice plans a heist of a rich man’s estate and shares his plan with Silien, who is rumored to be a police informant. Silien is later picked up and questioned by the police. The film unfolds from there, incorporating a number of plot twists revealed through Melville’s traditionally styled hard-boiled dialogue and picturesque visuals.

L’Armée des ombres (Army of Shadow) (1969)
Genre: Drama
Running time: 2h 15m

Synopsis : France, 1942, during the occupation. Philippe Gerbier, a civil engineer, is one of the French Resistance’s chiefs. Given away by a traitor, he is interned in a camp. He manages to escape, and joins his network at Marseilles, where he makes the traitor be executed… This non-spectacular movie (do not expect any Rambo or Robin Hood) shows us rigorously and austerely the everyday of the French Resistants : their solitude, their fears, their relationships, the arrests, the forwarding of orders and their carrying out…

Le Cercle rouge (The Red Circle) (1970)
Genre: Film noir
Running time: 2h 20m

Synopsis: Corey is a cool, aristocratic thief, released from prison on the same day that Vogel, a murderer, escapes from the custody of the patient Mattei, a cat-loving police superintendent. Corey robs Rico, his mob boss, then enlists Vogel and an ex-police sharpshooter, Jansen, in a jewel heist. While Corey is harried by the vengeful Rico, Mattei pressures Santi, a nightclub owner and pimp, to help him trap the thieves. Over all hangs the judgment of the police directeur, that every man is guilty.

HOMAGE TO PHILIPPINE CINEMA

Anino (Shadows) (2000)
Director: Raymond Red
Starring: Eddie Garcia, Ronnie Lazaro, John Arcilla
Genre: Short film
Running time: 12 minutes

Synopsis: A down and out church photographer, hungry and penniless, wanders from the church, through the shadows of the imposing city and clashes with its various mysterious characters.

Himapapawid (Manila Skies) (2009)
Director: Raymond Red
Starring: Raul Arellano, John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro, Soliman Cruz
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 36m

Synopsis: Manila Skies is the story of a desperate, simple man from the countryside trying to make a living in the metropolis of Manila. He keeps stumbling as he moves from one ’station of the cross’ to another. In desperation, he joins an amateur gang plotting a heist, to get even with a corrupt employer. This ultimately goes wayward and ends in devastation. Further hounded by guilt that his father is helplessly ill, he draws his last straw and plots the insane hijacking of a plane to finally take him to his ultimate destination – home or hell.

Bagahe (The Baggage)
Director: Zig Dulay
Starring: Angeli Bayani
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 36m

Synopsis: Bagahe tells the story of an OFW, Mercy Agbunag. As the whole family celebrates her homecoming, NBI agents appear at the doorstep to invite Mercy to join them for an investigation of a case about a newborn child thrown into a trash bin of an airplane toilet, and she is believed to be a suspect. As Mercy undergoes a rigid examination of testimonies and pieces of evidence, she is turned over to different social entities – police, hospital, shelter, media, church, and bureaucrats. What unfolds is the whole truth behind a mother who is abused, and the measures in which she is taken care of by her motherland.

WATCH: Winnie-the-Pooh live-action movie in new trailer for Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’

The Hundred Acre Wood is opening up to our world. Watch the brand-new trailer for Disney’s Christopher Robin that’s just been released by Walt Disney Pictures.

About Christopher Robin

In the heartwarming live action adventure Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” the young boy who embarked on countless adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with his band of spirited and lovable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.

Now grown up, Christopher Robin is stuck in a job where he is overworked, underpaid and facing an uncertain future. He has a family of his own, but his work has become his life, leaving little time for his wife and daughter. Christopher has all but forgotten his idyllic childhood spent with a simple-minded, honey-loving stuffed bear and his friends. But when he is reunited with Winnie-the-Pooh, now tattered and soiled from years of hugs and play, their friendship is rekindled, reminding Christopher of the endless days of childlike wonder and make believe that defined his youth, when doing nothing was considered the very best something. Following an unfortunate mishap with Christopher Robin’s briefcase, Pooh and the rest of the gang including Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger, step out of the forest and venture into London to return the crucial possessions…because best friends will always be there for you.

Disney’s “Christopher Robin” is directed by Golden Globe® nominee Marc Forster from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Oscar® nominee Allison Schroeder and a story by Perry based on characters created by A.A. Milne. The producers are Brigham Taylor and Kristin Burr with Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe winner Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin; Golden Globe nominee Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn; Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline; and Emmy® winner Mark Gatiss as Keith Winslow, Robin’s boss. The film also features the voices of: Jim Cummings as Winnie-the-Pooh; Chris O’Dowd as Tigger; three-time Emmy winner Brad Garrett as Eeyore; Golden Globe nominee Toby Jones as Owl; Nick Mohammed as Piglet; Oscar winner Peter Capaldi as Rabbit; and Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.

Disney’s Christopher Robin will be released in Philippine cinemas nationwide August 1, 2018.

Seven TOFARM Film Festival 2018 finalists announced

The official finalists of the third TOFARM Film Festival were announced during a press conference today at Novotel Manila in Cubao, Quezon City.

Out of 119 submitted entries, here are the full-length film category finalists of TOFARM Film Festival 2018:

  1. “1957,” a historical drama written and to be directed by Hubert Tibi
  2. “Alimuom,” a science fiction written and to be directed by Keith Sicat
  3. “Fasang,” a period romance written by Charlson Ong (director to be announced)
  4. “Isang Kuwento ng Gubat (The Leonard Co Story),” a biopic written by Rosalie Matilac; and to be directed by Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, Rosalie Matilac, and Nilo Paz
  5. “Lola Igna,” a cultural drama written and directed by Eduardo Roy, Jr.
  6. “Mga Anak Ng Kamote,” a futuristic drama written by John Carlo Pacala, directed by Carlo Catu
  7. “Sol Searching,“ a dark comedy written and directed by Roman Perez Jr.

1957

A group of farmers in Bicol are at the mercy of Don Pepe, a strict landlord. 20-year old Lucio, son of a former member of the Hukbalahap, pins hopes on the arrival of President Ramon Magsaysay in their area, for genuine land reform to take place. We know what happened in 1957.

Alimuom

Specific sections of the country are under individual bio-domes. The OFWs are actually Outerspace Filipino Workers and the song Bahay-Kubo is a distant memory that makes a young boy ask, “Ano ang singkamas?” (What is a turnip?)

Fasang

Based on the classic Philippine short story Tanabata’s Wife, set in the 1920’s, to also feature a Japanese actor. Tanabata-san is a successful Japanese immigrant farmer in La Trinidad Valley in Baguio, where the Japanese have been known to pioneer the planting of salad greens. Middle-aged and lonely, he hires a young feisty Bontoc woman, Fasang, as farmhand, and falls in love with her. They get married and have a son, but Fasang is attracted to the city lights of the Baguio that is now taking shape, and to someone else.

Isang Kuwento ng Gubat (The Leonard Co Story)

A homage to the great Filipino botanist slain together with a guide and forest ranger in the forest of Kananga, Leyte. Government troops claimed they were caught in a crossfire between the military and the NPA, but two of the survivors said there was no gunfight and that they were apparently mistaken to be NPAs.

Lola Igna

Living in Sagada, Lola Igna is 115 years old. Will she get to be the Guinness Book of World Records’ oldest living person and become a tourist attraction to benefit the farming community close to the cliff of the hanging coffins? What will her possible winning or losing do to the warring factions of her immediate family?

Mga Anak ng Kamote

Set in the Philippines, 2052, the planting of kamote has been outlawed and those caught planting and selling kamote is put in jail, no thanks to the Kamote Planting Regulation Act.

Sol Searching

Teacher Sol is dead and cannot be buried because there are no funds. How will the community come forward to put her to rest, this strict and no-nonsense teacher of grade school students and farmers who need to be taught scientific farming methods?

TOFARM Film Festival 2018 finalists

This year’s TOFARM Selection Committee is composed of Raquel Villavicencio (chairperson), Krip Yuson​, Antoinette Jadaone​, Mario Cornejo, and Manny Buising​.

TOFARM Film Festival 2018​ runs September 12-18 in select cinemas.

‘Train to Busan’ star Don Lee returns to PH cinemas via sports comedy ‘Champion’

You’ve seen him as the brawny dad-to-be in Philippines’ highest grossing foreign-language film “Train to Busan.” Now, Ma Dong-Seok, also known as Don Lee returns to Philippine cinemas in the South Korean sports comedy Champion. Watch the trailer below.

The film tells the story of Mark (Ma Dong-Seok), a disgraced arm-wrestling champion who was adopted by an American family when he was a boy. He’s working as a bouncer at a club when he meets Jin-ki, a Korean student who has a knack for schemes to make money from any situation he’s in. Jin-ki convinced Mark to return to Korea after 30 years to join an arm-wrestling tournament. Upon arriving, Jin-ki gives him his biological mother’s address. Hesitant at first, he visits the address and gets united with a sister he didn’t know existed. Max, while embracing the new family he has, prepares to make a mark in the arm wrestling tournament.

The film also stars Kwon Yul, Han Ye-ri, Choi Seung-hoon-I, Ok Ye-rin, Yang Hyun-min, Nam Yeon-woo, Kang Shin-hyo and Lee Kyu-ho. Written and directed by Kim Yong-won (Quick).

Champion opens in Philippine cinemas May 30, 2018 from Warner Bros. Korea as distributed by Rafaella Films International.

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ opens early in PH cinemas, over two weeks ahead of US

Don’t look now, but Philippine moviegoers are in for special treat as Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens in cinemas nationwide on June 6 — sixteen days earlier than most territories around the world, including North America.

This only demonstrates that the Philippines is a highly regarded market by Hollywood studios. In particular, the early bow of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in Manila is Universal Pictures’ way of thanking local fans for their overwhelming support for the first Jurassic World in 2015, one of the biggest-grossing films of all-time in Philippine history.

Stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return alongside executive producers Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow for Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Pratt and Howard are joined by co-stars James Cromwell, Ted Levine, Justice Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Daniella Pineda, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, while BD Wong and Jeff Goldblum reprise their roles.

It’s been three years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles.

When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Pratt) and Claire (Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Owen is driven to find Blue, his lead raptor who’s still missing in the wild, and Claire has grown a respect for these creatures she now makes her mission. Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.

With all of the wonder, adventure and thrills synonymous with one of the most popular and successful franchises in cinema history, this all-new motion-picture event sees the return of favorite characters and dinosaurs—along with new breeds more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before. Welcome to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

While Jurassic World took the park that was only a promise and brought it to awe-striking, terrifying life, Trevorrow knew the next chapter could and should tackle much darker themes. “These dinosaurs were of this Earth 65 million years ago, and now they’re in a place that is completely foreign to them,” he says. “I thought there was a way we could tell a story that would identify the human angle. How would you feel if you were brought into a world that you didn’t belong to…just for the satisfaction of others? That was a realm we hadn’t gone to before, and it was something we knew these movies would benefit from.”

As the writing partners designed this second act, they strategized where they could take the audience. Through the greediness of investors playing God and park guests throwing caution and cash toward reason, Jurassic World had been unceremoniously obliterated. The writers knew there was fertile ground to explore off island, and they’d been quietly planting the seeds for years. “What would be the result of that destruction; what would be the step beyond it?” asks Trevorrow. “Fortunately, there were a lot of clues we planted in the first movie; in the film itself, on maps and on the website—in places people wouldn’t think to look for hints about the next two movies—there’s information embedded in all of them.”

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Meet Han Solo, the beloved hero of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

Lucasfilm presents Solo: A Star Wars Story, charting the adventure-filled past of Han Solo, the iconic galactic scoundrel and one of the most beloved characters in cinema history. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo will meet his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounter the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that sets the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.

Producer Kathleen Kennedy, describing what makes Han Solo such an iconic and beloved character, says, “He’s very authentic. He’s a scoundrel, he’s a maverick, and there’s a mystery to him. Handsome, incredibly charismatic and adorable—that’s a pretty great combination for a Star Wars action hero.”

Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was hooked the moment he found out the film was about Han Solo, the character he is most passionate about in the Star Wars canon. “Han was always my favorite, right from the start,” says Kasdan. “He’s the most exciting guy in the saga for me. He’s unpredictable. He’s reckless. He’s not brilliant. He’ll say things that he can’t back up. He’ll leap in when he should stay back. There’s nothing more attractive to me than a screw-up who’s actually got a good heart but hides it as best he can.”

During production on “The Force Awakens,” the veteran screenwriter found himself in the unique position of penning a new Han Solo adventure while witnessing the character’s death on set. It was a rare moment for any writer, and an opportunity he couldn’t wait to explore.

Kasdan cites Han’s introduction in “Star Wars: A New Hope” as the primary inspiration for exploring the character’s backstory in “Solo.” “I’ve made two Westerns, and there’s nothing more Western than the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope. In walks the gunfighter—he looks like a gunfighter, he sits like a gunfighter, he shoots like a gunfighter—and I thought, what happened before this guy walked in the door?”

Sharing Kasdan’s love for Westerns is his son and “Solo” co-writer Jonathan Kasdan, who has been a lifelong fan of the Star Wars movies and of Han Solo in particular. Growing up in a “household of Star Wars,” as his father likes to say, Jonathan remembers the films as being extremely influential on his development as both a writer and director. It was his enthusiasm for Han Solo, and intimate familiarity with the Star Wars universe, that formed a highly productive and creative rhythm between the two writers.

Jonathan Kasdan, who was on set during the entire production of “Solo,” saw Alden Ehrenreich’s performance bring young Han to life. “Han is confident and funny, yet self-conscious and relatable. Alden is perfect in the role, and it was a marvel watching him perform,” comments the writer.

It was important to both Kasdans to create a story that was unlike any other Star Wars film before it. They wanted “Solo” to be the most character-filled and character-focused story yet, but one that still honors the legacy of the saga. “This is a story that comes out of old-time storytelling,” says Lawrence. “It’s a story about someone being forged in the crucible of life—in danger, in violence and in love. It’s about how a person is formed.”

“Solo” explores Han Solo’s formative years and follows his journey through a series of impactful encounters, combining themes of trust, loyalty, love and betrayal with light-hearted humor, wit and rollicking action. As Director Ron Howard explains: “This is a rite-of-passage story, consistent with Star Wars, with many themes that will resonate with audiences. It’s about one character’s journey, the way that he is tested by the unique challenges that he faces and by the people he meets, to become the character we know so well.”

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens in Philippine cinemas Wednesday, May 23. Join the conversation online by using the hashtags #HanSolo and #StarWarsPH.

About Solo: A Star Wars Story

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.

The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany.

Ron Howard directs “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” and Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are the producers. Lawrence Kasdan, Jason McGatlin, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller serve as executive producers. Jonathan Kasdan & Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is now showing in Philippine theaters.

 

‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Review: Competent prequel, nothing more, nothing less

For an origin story, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ doesn’t add much insight to its main character but this long-awaited, fun visualization should be enough to keep fans and casual moviegoers at bay.

It’s no secret that most of Solo’s weight hangs on Alden Ehrenreich’s performance. Unlike Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) and Felicity Jones (Rogue One) who were given the opportunity to craft new characters for this generation, he is tasked to strike a balance in playing a younger version of the iconic Han Solo while honoring the inexorably linked Harrison Ford.

I’ll get the obvious one out of the way: Alden bears no physical resemblance with a young Ford. Hence, as the film kicks in, it takes a while before we latch on to him.  It would be a lie not to say that I spent most of the first few minutes scrutinizing his smirks, his stance, his speech patterns, his constantly squinted eyes, etc. – this actor does not exactly act like a young Ford either.

But here’s the thing, he does not need to be a duplicate of Ford. Disney would make a big mistake casting an impersonator in place of an actor. Once you accepted that this version is something new, watching Han unfold isn’t bad as it seems. Alden’s performance does not scream of “I’m the only one who can play this role” and his character sometimes blends in the background (which should not happen). Nonetheless, he embodies the Han in A New Hope – his egotism, his tenacity and his arrogance (albeit less charming than Ford). And that’s the goal to begin with, right? For that alone, I am satisfied.

Hans Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Chewbacca a.k.a. Chewie (Joonas Suotamo)

The reason why he does not get close to Ford’s work will have to do more with the competent but somehow unremarkable script. For an origin story, Solo doesn’t add much insight to its main character. What the film does is present a backstory of everything we have heard from him in the past: how he met Chewbacca, how he won the Millenium Falcon, how he became “the best pilot” in the universe, and so on. Sure, there are plenty of new characters to further explore his lore. We learn that Han is a scoundrel wanting to leave the enslaving planet Corellia, along with his girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). He affiliates with a team of rogue criminals: Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), his partner Val (Thandie Newton), and a four-armed alien Rio Durant (voiced by Jon Favreau) – a character who I think is supposed to be a comic-relief but did not elicit any single laugh from the audience.

Han resorts to his thieving ways in a galaxy where everyone is capable of scheming and double-crossing. Beckett says to him several times, “Do not trust anybody” and we knew from there what makes Han tick. He embarks on this hero/anti-hero journey, constantly throwing himself into danger in search of freedom and wealth. Still, there’s no groundbreaking information here to give us a whole new perspective for Han. My biggest takeaway in this prequel is where he got his odd surname from.

That is not to say that Solo is a disappointing film. It is actually enjoyable to watch. This is a heist film after all featuring thrilling Western-inspired chases, hijacks and space jams. Remarkably, this is the first Star Wars film that does not feature “The Force” or the lightsaber. To compensate with this, we are served with grittier set pieces that we haven’t seen in the universe before. This should be enough to reel in a casual movie-goer.

Inside the Millenium Falcon (L-R): Chewie, Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke) and Han Solo.

What the film does excellently is to capture the relationship of Han and Chewie, an unlikely alliance turned into a lifelong bond. At one point Han says to Chewie, “Chewbacca? That is a long name. Don’t expect me to call you that every time.” That’s the beauty of this film, every time we are presented with a catch phrase, an iconic piece of item, or an initial meeting of the characters, it brings smile to our faces because we all know how it’s going to play out.

The same is true with the stylish Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) who steals the spotlight from the moment he enters the picture. If there are any doubts to Alden’s casting, I can say for sure that Glover is perfect for this role. Every angle and nuance of him embodies the character without making it a mere Billy Dee Williams impression. Paired with a sassy woke droid L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) we finally get the much needed humor.

Lando Calrissian: “Can I get you anything?”   L3-37: “Equal rights?”

Without a doubt, Solo is the lightest film in the franchise and not because of the sporadic humor, but because it lacks a formidable villain to add gravitas to its arc (see: Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren or Orson Krennic). Paul Bettany does his best as Dryden Vos but with not much characterization to work around apart from having a bunch of unexplained scars, he ends up as an equivalent to General Hux or Captain Phasma. There’s a rousing revelation in the end that sets up a sequel to another Solo film and hopefully this will flesh out a more compelling story in the future.

Solo: A Star Wars Story, occasionally feels like a generic sci-fi film with the ‘Star Wars’ label stamped into it. In a way, it is still a competent prequel that works as palette cleanser from the franchise’s known heavy themes. It flows like a checklist mythology, with certain marks to hit and the film let you knows that it’s hitting them (like how Solo’s golden dice given by Luke to Leia in The Last Jedi gets a good amount of screentime.) Former directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were reportedly fired by Disney due to creative differences and since the film went into massive re-shoots, we can only imagine if their version could have been better than Ron Howard’s.

Still, aficionados will flock onto this film whether to enjoy it or to criticize it. This is a long-awaited visualization of Han Solo’s early years. It’s certainly fun to watch, though sometimes even super fans have better ideas than the filmmakers themselves. 


3.5 out of 5 stars


About Solo: A Star Wars Story

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ an adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios starring Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Thandie Newton and Jon Favreau.

Directed by Ron Howard from a screenplay by Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan. Based on the characters of George Lucas. Runtime: 135 minutes.