Dwayne Johnson hangs tough in the main poster of ‘Skyscraper’

Dwayne Johnson hangs on for dear life in the main poster artwork of Universal Pictures’ action-thriller Skyscraper.

Check out the one-sheet below and watch Skyscraper in Philippine cinemas July 11.

Global icon Dwayne Johnson leads the cast of Legendary’s Skyscraper as former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer, who now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in China he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who is trapped inside the building…above the fire line.

Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence, We’re the Millers), the 3D action-thriller is produced by Beau Flynn (San Andreas, Baywatch), Johnson, Thurber and Hiram Garcia (San Andreas, Central Intelligence).

Skyscraper’s executive producers are Dany Garcia (Baywatch, Ballers), Wendy Jacobson (San Andreas), Eric McLeod (Kong: Skull Island, Pirates of the Caribbean series) and Eric Hedayat (The Great Wall, Real Steel).

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

‘The Nun’ teaser trailer: ‘The Conjuring’ universe becomes bigger

Witness the darkest chapter in “The Conjuring” universe. Watch the official teaser trailer of the upcoming horror-thriller “The Nun” which has just been revealed by New Line Cinema.

Check out the trailer below and watch “The Nun” in Philippine cinemas September 6.

Filmmaker James Wan, director of the record-setting horror hits “The Conjuring” and “The Conjuring 2,” explores another dark corner of that universe with “The Nun.” Directed by Corin Hardy (“The Hallow”), the new fright-fest is produced by Wan and by Peter Safran, who has produced all the films in “The Conjuring” franchise.

When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in “The Conjuring 2,” as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned.

“The Nun” stars Oscar nominated Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”) as Father Burke, Taissa Farmiga (TV’s “American Horror Story”) as Sister Irene, and Jonas Bloquet (“Elle”) as local villager Frenchie.

The cast also includes Charlotte Hope (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) as the abbey’s Sister Victoria, Ingrid Bisu (“Toni Erdmann”) as Sister Oana, and Bonnie Aarons, reprising her “Conjuring 2” role as the title character.

Hardy directs “The Nun” from a screenplay by Gary Dauberman (“It”), story by James Wan & Gary Dauberman. Richard Brener, Walter Hamada, Dave Neustadter, Gary Dauberman, Michael Clear and Todd Williams are the executive producers.

Joining Hardy behind the scenes are director of photography Maxime Alexandre (“The Voices,” “Annabelle: Creation”), production designer Jennifer Spence (“Annabelle: Creation,” “Lights Out,” the “Insidious” films), editors Michel Aller (“Lights Out,” “Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension”) and Ken Blackwell ( “Ouija” “Friday the 13th”), and costume designer Sharon Gilham (TV’s “Black Mirror”). The music is by Abel Korzeniowski (“Nocturnal Animals”).

New Line Cinema presents an Atomic Monster / Safran Company production, “The Nun.” Opening in theaters beginning September 6, 2018, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

“The Nun” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

‘Ocean’s 8’ review: Stylish photocopy of ‘Ocean’s 11’ blueprint, with less swagger

Gary Ross’ Ocean’s 8 has a paint-by-numbers approach that checks all the boxes it needs for your standard Ocean’s heist, more with style but less with tension and swagger.

Diamonds and jewels aside, the biggest heist that Ocean’s 8 pulls off in this gender-bender spin-off is to replicate Ocean’s 11’s blueprint and present it with gloss and glitter. Brisk cinematography, split-screen transitions, pan and zoom effects, snappy jazz music—Ocean’s 8 has all the beat per beat elements it needs to make it feel like Steven Soderbergh’s. Well, almost. The intro itself is a rip-off from Ocean’s 11: Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), the estranged sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney of the original trilogy), gets released from prison after a 5-year fraud sentence and immediately falls back to her old habits. What follows is an amusing scene of coyly stealing all sorts of merchandise in a department store while still looking great—you yourself will be tempted to do it. Duplicity runs in the family and this won’t be her last act of crime as a “newly-reformed” free woman.

Debbie reunites with her former partner in crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett)—the counterpart of Brad Pitt’s Rusty Stevens—and reveals to her the plan she’s been cooking up after all these years in solitary: an elaborate scheme to steal a $150 million Cartier diamond necklace which will be featured in the upcoming star-studded Met Gala in New York. To accomplish this, the two round up six more accomplices, each one with a particular skill set to offer: a speed jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), a suburban mom/smuggled goods hoarder Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a brilliant hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), a pickpocket Constance (Akwafina), and a heavily indebted fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter). The 8th member is actually an unwitting pawn – A-list celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), who will be the bearer of the said necklace during the event.

With its talented ensemble and breezy pacing, Ocean’s 8 is very watchable. It unfolds like any other “Ocean’s” film: assemble the team, plan the proceedings, execute the heist and unravel the twist, with some side missions, roadblocks and double-crosses to keep the viewers happy. On a visual level, this film features amazing costume designs that flourish each character’s personality. That is not something I usually pay attention to so that means they really excelled in that department.

Standing side by side with the previous Ocean‘s films, this latest, however, is short of suspense. There is an absence of a solid villain to ramp up the tension. The job itself seems lackluster. In Ocean’s 11, there’s Andy Garcia and the crew’s goal of robbing three casinos in the same night. Apart from an inept security, the closest thing we have here as an obstacle is James Corden’s fraud insurance investigator who does not show up until the third act. Still, his character comes out more as a comic relief posing little threat. Also, for the most part, the heist goes smooth sailing and scriptwriters Gary Ross (also the director) and Olivia Mitch could have inserted more hiccups to the story, thereby creating more drama. Sure, Debbie has an ulterior motive of exacting revenge against her former lover Claude Becker (Richard Armitage) but this one plays out a bit uninspired and not nearly as compelling as her eccentric crew who are slightly underutilized in favor of this subplot.

In terms of character depth, one can’t really expect much outside the character introductions and surface-level personas when the film’s main selling point is its cast and its complex heist. Bullock channels her “brother” Clooney’s savvy and effortless sense of trickery, albeit with less charm; Bonham-Carter sticks to her well-known neurotic, Burton-esque persona; Paulson does her conflicted mom act who’s missing the kick of being an outlaw; Kaling’s and Akwafina’s comedic chops could have been used more; Rihanna probably has the fewest lines but it’s interesting to see her play against her stereotype; and surprisingly, Blanchett’s subdued semi-androgynous character hardly registers. Outside the crew, Anne Hathaway pulls off her own heist and steals the show as a pampered Hollywood star who’s full of herself but at the same time crippled with insecurity. Her performance is animated, sarcastic and sexy all at once.

Like 2016’s female Ghostbusters reboot, the existence of Ocean’s 8 is primarily for feminist empowerment. Debbie explains to Lou at one point, “A ‘him’ gets noticed, a ‘her’ gets ignored. For once, we want to be ignored.” What most of them share is the sense of frustration from being a woman: Debbie resents her former lover, Amita is irked by her domineering mother, Paulson is bound to her obligations as a mom, etc. The film may succeed on that level but it stops aiming for greatness and settles for a paint-by-numbers approach.

In the end, Ocean’s 8’s heist gets convoluted enough to be entertaining but not too contrived to work in the confines of reality (ehem, Now You See Me films). Most importantly, the film satisfactorily explains it: there are few forgivable loopholes in logic that won’t materialize in your head until your ride back home. What the film terribly misses is the high-wired insanity and ingenuity it’s predecessor has to offer. Ocean’s 8 might have stolen Soderbergh’s blueprint, but not entirely the swagger.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Ocean’s 8 stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkwafina, Richard Armitage and James Corden. Directed by Gary Ross. Written by Gary Ross and Olivia Mitch. Runtime: 110 minutes.

Robin Wright returns as US President in final season of ‘House of Cards’

Netflix has released two new images from the sixth and final season of House of Cards, the streaming service’s first new original drama. For the series’ last hurrah, Robin Wright returns as Claire Underwood, newly sworn in President of the United States.

Robin Wright and director Alek Sakharov. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Academy Award® nominees Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear as well as Cody Fern join Wright this season alongside Emmy Award nominee Michael Kelly, Jayne Atkinson, Academy Award® nominee Patricia Clarkson, Emmy Award Nominee Constance Zimmer, Derek Cecil, Campbell Scott, and Boris McGiver in the sixth and final season. House of Cards executive producers are Melissa James Gibson, Frank Pugliese, Robin Wright, David Fincher​, Joshua Donen​, Dana Brunetti​, Eric Roth​, Michael Dobbs​ and Andrew Davies​. The series was created by Beau Willimon​ and is produced by Donen/Fincher/Roth, with MRC as the studio, for Netflix.

In 2013, House of Cards became the first original online series to receive major nominations from the Primetime Emmy Awards. The series has received 53 Emmy nominations to date, with seven wins — including the first major Emmy for a streaming service for David Fincher’s win for “Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.” House of Cards received six Golden Globe nominations, and two wins. The historic series has received 11 Screen Actors Guild nominations with two wins; an AFI Award; four Writers Guild Award nominations, with one win; two BAFTA nominations; four Producers Guild Award nominations; two Directors Guild Award nominations; and a Peabody Award, among other accolades.

Marvel’s ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Cloak and Dagger’ air on HOOQ

“Black Panther,” which grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide and is the second highest grossing film of 2018, is now available for rental on HOOQ, the largest Video on Demand service in South East Asia.

“Black Panther” is the 18th film released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has been acclaimed by critics the world over.

“HOOQ subscribers get access to one Transactional Video on the Demand (TVOD) movie of their choice every month, and any additional rental will be the usual price. The films will be some of the freshest picks from the biggest Hollywood studios,” said Sheila Paul, HOOQ Philippines Country Manager.

“Black Panther” tells the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who is set to become the new King of Wakanda following the death of his father T’Chaka during the events of Captain America: Civil War. The movie is also the story of Wakanda, which has remained under the radar by choice because of its hidden treasure, which could lead to the world’s destruction at the hands of the wrong people. The film was released on February 15, 2018 internationally and on February 16, 2018 in the United States.

Fans can also now enjoy a Marvel marathon on HOOQ with Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars, Marvel’s The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man, Thor, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and exclusives to HOOQ – Marvel’s Inhumans, Marvel’s Runaways and, coming soon, Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger!

“Cloak and Dagger is Marvel’s latest series to be released based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name. Fans of Marvel can enjoy in the romantic exploration of Tandy Bowen / Dagger (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson / Cloak (Aubrey Joseph) as these teenagers discover their superpowers,” said HOOQ Philippines Content and Programming head Jeffrey Remigio.

“Cloak and Dagger” will be aired exclusively on the same day as the US telecast. The first two episodes will air live on June 8 with new episodes every Friday.

How to get HOOQ

It’s easy to get HOOQ’d. Customers can simply download the HOOQ app from Apple Store or Google Play, sign up or log in, to access HOOQ’s extensive library of Hollywood and Asian hits.

Find out more and sign up today for a complimentary trial at www.hooq.tv and pay for the subscription through credit card.