‘Bakwit Boys’ trailer: Writer-director Jason Paul Laxamana offers romantic musical film

T-Rex Entertainment has just released the full trailer for Bakwit Boys, an official entry to the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2018.

This romantic musical film is written and directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, who is best known for last year’s PPP entry, 100 Tula Para Kay Stella.

Watch the Bakwit Boys trailer below.

A supertyphoon ravages the hometown of a family band composed of four brothers, putting a halt to their musical pursuits. They are forced to move from Isabela all the way to Pampanga to stay with their grandfather. While taking refuge in this distant farmland, the Datul brothers, who make songs together as the “Bakwit Boys,” put their musical talents to good use. The eldest brother, Elias (Vance Larena), is the band vocalist together with the youngest, Sonny (Mackie Empuerto), while Joey (Ryle Santiago) plays the guitar and Philip (Nikko Natividad) composes their songs. Not wanting to burden their grandfather, they agree to perform their original song in a town fiesta to earn some cash. Their performance impresses Rose (Devon Seron), a rich city girl who is passionate for music. She offers to help the boys record their songs and have them played on the radio. Individual interests and personal conflicts test the unity of the band, as they struggle to make sense of life’s ironies and tragedies.

Produced and distributed by T-Rex Entertainment (which also produced last year’s top-grossing PPP entry, Patay Na Si Hesus), Bakwit Boys opens August 15 in all cinemas in the Philippines as part of PPP, the annual film festival organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

Survival of strong, powerful kids threatened in ‘The Darkest Minds’

The latest engrossing book-to-film adaptation “The Darkest Minds” is set in a very near future society where most of the nation’s children have perished – all victims of a terrible disease. The surviving children are considered to be dangerous Enemies of the State because they possess extraordinary powers and therefore pose a threat to the government.

In the movie, the nation is in a state of crisis, 98 percent of the children have died. For the few who remain, it’s a fight to stay alive. The kids and teenagers, who all have remarkable powers and abilities, have been taken from their families and sent for brutal ‘rehabilitation’. Here they are segregated by color according to how dangerous to society they are deemed to be. Amandla Stenberg (“Hunger Games,” “Everything, Everything”) plays Ruby who is an ‘Orange’ – signifying that she is a major threat because she can read minds and manipulate memory. She escapes and meets new friends, young survivors from different camps. Among them is Liam, played by rising British actor Harris Dickinson. There’s an immediate attraction between the two. Also starring in the gifted cast of young actors are Skylan Brooks as Chubs and Miya Cech as Zu. On the road, the kids empower themselves and discover a sense of family.

Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, whose previous hit movies include Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3, “The Darkest Minds” is her impressive first foray into live action.

“The Darkest Minds” hinged on audiences identifying with the characters’ struggles and being able to see themselves in this nightmare. “We wanted this to feel like a reality that we live in today and recognize,” says Nelson. “It’s what makes the powers unique, they contrast with our otherwise normal reality. You should be able to imagine being able to go out right now and see someone doing these amazing things, so we didn’t want to place this film in some far off time period or futuristic and obscure place. We want audiences to believe this could happen.”

“This movie transcends all ages,” says Nelson. “It’s not just about being a teenager. Everyone has been in that place when they are not completely comfortable with who they are. It’s about facing the things about you that you aren’t happy with, that you consider a flaw, and being able to grow into this place of being able to embrace those things. Being able to access what makes you unique and use it as a strength. This story follows a character that, in the beginning, is powerless and essentially frightened and ashamed of what she is. And by the end, you watch her grow. You watch her become this empowered strong character being able to do things she never thought she could do. Everyone can identify with that journey.”

With a background in animation and a passion for Kung Fu and action films, Nelson was the ideal director to helm this female-starred action adventure.

“’The Darkest Minds’ is going to give audiences a hell of a ride. It’s going to be a ride that will be thrilling in that it has action, it has adventure, it has super-visual set pieces, battle scenes, powers being used – all of that. But I think audiences can also expect a deeply emotional experience with this movie because although it’s filled with spectacle and just cool visceral sequences, at its core it’s also really about characters looking for where they belong and discovering ultimately that where they belong is with each other,” vouches producer Shawn Levy.

“The Darkest Minds” opens August 1 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox.

Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper reunite in ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’

Engaged lovers in the first Mamma Mia! The Movie, Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper reprise their roles as Sophie and Sky in Universal Pictures’ new romantic musical, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Returning to the role of Sophie, Amanda Seyfried talks of her affinity for the character: “It is a special opportunity to come back and play Sophie. In the first movie I was just 21; it was one of my first big films, and I was genuinely playing myself from the first day to the end credits. We are coming back 10 years later in reality, but in the story it is about half of that—so not so much has changed for Sophie as it has for me. The glee is still very much alive and perhaps even more so.”

“When I read the script, I was completely blown away,” adds Seyfried. “Ol [Parker] has created such depth with new dynamics and character arcs that are realistic. When the music stops, you have to deal with things that are sometimes heart-breaking and then the music starts again. That is life, and there are a lot of messages in this story. I can’t think of a better way to continue Mamma Mia!”

Fortunately for the audience, Seyfried has a number of ABBA songs to perform in the follow-up film. “Discussing why she is excited for audiences to experience Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the actress takes a moment. “We are back on a crazy beautiful island, ABBA is back in my life and I have a completely new appreciation of their music; there are songs I never knew I loved so much. I can’t believe what I’m about to say, but this movie is bigger, better and more spectacular than the original. I didn’t see it coming, but boy am I ever glad.”

Her on-screen mother reflects on what Seyfried accomplishes in this chapter: “Amanda brings something to this incarnation of Mamma Mia! that’s very special,” offers Streep. “She’s the heartbeat of the film. Her emotion carries the whole story forward, and she really moved me. I think she’s magic. Plus, she’s got a cracking great voice, and she gets to use it more in this film.”

Dominic Cooper returns to the role of Sky, Sophie’s boyfriend, and the duo sings “One of Us” together; that sequence stands out to the actor. “The song is about two people who are just not right for each other and are having a tough time. Sky and Sophie are thinking about breaking up. It doesn’t feel like it is going to work out, so it’s a great duet. I’ve never heard the song this way before, and it gives it a new life.”

Making his welcome return to the role, Cooper talks about revisiting the character 10 years after the first film was released. “Even though you don’t think about them every day, there is a part of every character you have played inside of you. With Sky, it is clear what his role is, and I felt comfortable going back. It was like putting on an old comfy pair of shoes. It is a joy to be back in the environment, seeing these people and being back on the incredible set that was rebuilt for this production.”

Cooper walks us through where we find Sophie and Sky: “We’ve gone our separate ways to embark on our careers. Sophie is trying to renovate her mother’s villa, and Sky has gone to New York to learn hotel management. At the beginning of the movie, there is a phone call that suggests I won’t be coming to the opening of her wonderful hotel she has been working on for so long. We have an argument that could possibly be the end of the relationship.”

Summarizing the essence of the film, Cooper says: “This is a story about life. It’s about generations, success and failure—romance, friendships, and how important work is in our lives. Seeing people making mistakes and watching how they move forward. All this coincides with moving lyricism, which lifts up the story with a wonderful joy.”

In Philippine cinemas July 18, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

About Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Get ready to sing and dance, laugh and love all over again. Ten years after Mamma Mia! The Movie grossed more than $600 million around the world, you are invited to return to the magical Greek island of Kalokairi in an all-new original musical based on the songs of ABBA.

Reprising their roles from Mamma Mia! The Movie are Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep as Donna, Julie Walters as Rosie and Christine Baranski as Tanya. Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper reunite as Sophie and Sky, while Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård and Oscar® winner Colin Firth return to play Sophie’s three possible dads: Sam, Bill and Harry.

As the film goes back and forth in time to show how relationships forged in the past resonate in the present, James will play the role of Young Donna. Filling the roles of Young Rosie and Young Tanya are Alexa Davies and Jessica Keenan Wynn. Young Sam will be played by Jeremy Irvine, while Young Bill is Josh Dylan and Young Harry is Hugh Skinner.

FDCP sends off six Filipino films to New York Asian Film Festival

In celebration of the lineup of six (6) Filipino genre films to be featured in this year’s New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), the Film Development Council of the Philippines held a Send-Off Press Conference for Filipino delegates last July 10, 2018 at Cocoon Hotel, Quezon City.

BuyBust directed by Erik Matti, Neomanila directed by Mikhail Red, On the Job directed by Erik Matti, Respeto directed by Treb Monteras, Sid & Aya (Not a Love Story) directed by Irene Villamor, and We Will Not Die Tonight by director Richard Somes were all represented during the Send-Off Press Con. Over the years, the finest cinematic works from the Philippines have been engaged and featured in NYAFF to connect with the Western audience to introduce our stories and visual works.

“With these incredible genre films that we have from our country, the Philippines could really be a hub of genre filmmaking. We are very proud that through NYAFF, they have found a platform so they may be accessed by North American audience, including our Filipino diaspora. FDCP has assisted our delegates through our International Film Festival Assistance Program (IFFAP) and we look forward to them connecting with international counterparts for future projects and collaborations. We wish them the best of luck,” said FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.

IFFAP was granted to Filipino delegates, including Gawad Urian Best Actor, Abra of Respeto, producer Dondon Monteverde and directors Treb Monteras and Erik Matti. Director Richard Somes was also present at the opening of the Festival for the world premiere of his film, “We Will Not Die Tonight.” The same film was also announced as one of the official entries for this year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

The 17th New York Asian Film Festival in New York City, USA runs until July 15, 2018.

• BuyBust (World Premiere)

Year released: 2018
Director: Erik Matti
Starring: Anne Curtis, Brandon Vera


“Rookie police officer Nina Manigan (Anne Curtis) joins an anti-narcotic elite squad, whose mission is to conduct a buy-bust operation in the slums of Manila.”

• Neomanila (New York Premiere)

Year Released: 2017
Director: Mikhail Red
Starring: Eula Valdes, Timothy Castillo, Rocky Salumbides, Jess Mendoza
Accolades Received:

Winner of Gawad Urian Awards 2018 – Best Cinematography (Mycko David)
Winner of QCinema International Film Festival 2017 Audience Choice Award – Circle Competition (Mikhail Red)
Winner of QCinema International Film Festival 2017 Pylon Award – Best Artistic Achievement (Mycko David)
Winner of The Eddys Awards 2018 – Best Director


“Toto, a teenage orphan, is recruited by a notorious death squad. Irma, the groups leader, soon becomes a maternal figure to the young boy. As the two form a familial bond, their loyalties will be put to the test when one of their targets turns out to be a familiar face.”

• On the Job

Year Released: 2013
Director: Erik Matti
Starring: Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Joel Torre, Joey Marquez, Michael de Mesa, Leo Martinez, Angel Aquino, Shaina Magdayao, Vivian Velez
Accolades Received:

Winner of FAMAS Awards 2014 – Best Picture
Winner of FAMAS Awards 2014 – Best Director (Erik Matti)
Winner of FAMAS Awards 2014 – Best Screenplay (Erik Matti, Michiko Yamamoto)
Winner of FAMAS Awards 2014 – Best Editing (Jay Halili)
Winner of FAMAS Awards 2014 – Best Story (Michiko Yamamoto, Erik Matti)
Winner of FAMAS Awards 2014 – Best Sound (Corinne De San Jose)
Winner of Gawad Urian Awards 2014 – Best Actor (Joel Torre)
Winner of Gawad Urian Awards 2014 – Best Sound (Corinne De San Jose)
Winner of Golden Screen Awards, Philippines 2014 – Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Drama) (Joel Torre)
Winner of Golden Screen Awards, Philippines 2014 – Best Original Story (Erik Matti)
Winner of Golden Screen Awards, Philippines 2014 – Best Visual/Special Effects (Dave Yu, Miguel Javier)
Winner of Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival 2013 – Best Actor (Joel Torre)
Winner of Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival 2013 – Jury’s Choice Award (Feature Film) (Erik Matti)
Winner of Star Awards for Movies 2014 – Movie of the Year
Winner of Star Awards for Movies 2014 – Movie Director of the Year (Erik Matti)
Winner of Star Awards for Movies 2014 – Movie Cinematographer of the Year (Dix Buhay)
Winner of Star Awards for Movies 2014 – Movie Editor of the Year (Jay Halili)
Winner of Star Awards for Movies 2014 – Movie Sound Engineer of the Year (Corinne De San Jose)
Winner of Star Awards for Movies 2014 – Movie Screenwriter of the Year (Erik Matti, Michiko Yamamoto)
Winner of Star Awards for Movies 2014 – Movie Supporting Actor of the Year (Joey Marquez)

Synopsis: “On the Job is a Filipino crime thriller inspired by a real-life scandal in which prison inmates are temporarily released from prison to work as contract killers on behalf of politicians and high ranking military officials.”

• Respeto (North American Premiere)

Year Released: 2017
Director: Treb Monteras II
Starring: Abra (Raymond Abracosa), Loonie (Marlon Peroramas), Dido de la Paz, Chai Fonacier
Accolades Received:

Winner of FAMAS Awards 2018 – Grand Jury Prize, Best Picture (Treb Monteras II)
Winner of FAMAS Awards 2018 – Best Musical Score (Jay Durias)
Winner of Gawad Urian Awards 2018 – Best Actor (Abra)
Winner of Gawad Urian Awards 2018 – Best Supporting Actor (Dido de la Paz)
Winner of Gawad Urian Awards 2018 – Best Editing (Lawrence Ang)
Winner of Gawad Urian Awards 2018 – Best Sound (Corrine De San Jose)
Winner of Cyprus Film Days International Festival 2018 – Glocal Images, Audience Award (Treb Monteras II) (Feature Film), (Arkeofilms) (Production)
Winner of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2017 – Audience Award, Main Competition (Treb Monteras II)
Winner of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2017 – Balanghai Trophy, Best Film (Treb Monteras II)
Winner of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2017 – Balanghai Trophy, Best Sound (Corrine De San Jose)
Winner of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2017 – Balanghai Trophy, Best Editing (Lawrence Ang)
Winner of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2017 – Balanghai Trophy, Best Cinematography (Ike Avellana) (Tied with TM Malones for ‘Baconaua’)
Winner of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2017 – Balanghai Trophy, Best Supporting Actor (Dido de la Paz)
Winner at The Eddys Awards 2018 – Best Film , Best Supporting Actor (Dido de La Paz), Best Supporting Actress (Chai Fonacier),Best Musical Score, Best Sound Design, Best Original Themesong

Premise: “A poor aspiring rapper befriends an older poet after vandalizing his bookstore.”

• Sid & Aya (Not a Love Story) (New York Premiere)

Year Released: 2018
Director: Irene Villamor
Starring: Anne Curtis, Dingdong Dantes

Premise: “Sid & Aya (Not a Love Story) follows Sid who suffers from insomnia and meets Aya who he hires to accompany him in his sleepless nights.”

• We Will Not Die Tonight (World Premiere)

Year Released: 2018
Director: Richard Somes
Starring: Erich Gonzales, Alex Medina, Thou Reyes, Nico Dans, Max Eigenmann, Paolo Paraiso

Synopsis: “Kray (Erich Gonzales) is a stuntwoman, an aspiring actress, and all-around racketeer who can’t seem to get a break. A botched deal gone into a total haywire will challenge her principles and her skillset.

Women assert their power in ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’

Paramount Pictures’ new epic action adventure Mission: Impossible – Fallout features four powerful female characters played by four formidable actresses: with Michelle Monaghan returning, the cast also includes Rebecca Ferguson, Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby.

At the beginning of each of his collaborations with Tom Cruise, director Christopher McQuarrie poses a question. “I ask him, ‘What do you want from this story? What’s one thing you want to do?’ This time Tom said, ‘I want to tie up the story of Julia. People are still asking me about Julia.’ So, we began with that.”

Julia, as fans of the series will know, is Ethan’s wife, played by Michelle Monaghan. The character was introduced in Mission: Impossible III and appears to die between the events of that film and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. She made a brief appearance in Ghost Protocol, when it was revealed that her death was staged in order to protect her from the murderous forces intent on hurting Ethan.

Monaghan was happily surprised to learn that her character would return in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. “I had no idea there were plans to bring Julia back and I was so excited,” she recalls. “The character is wonderful, and their love story is something fans have latched onto. Ethan let her go to keep her safe and out of harm’s way. For me, that’s the ultimate expression of love. In this story, you see them back together, but in a much different way.”

Rebecca Ferguson’s character, former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust, shares the first name of Ingrid Bergman’s character, Ilsa Lund, in Casablanca, a nod to the similarities McQuarrie sees between Rebecca Ferguson and actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Era, according to Cruise. “Rebecca is incredible. She is very charismatic and athletic with a dynamic presence that uniquely holds the screen.”

With her own objectives and unique approach to spycraft, Ilsa is initially at odds with the IMF team. “She works mostly for herself and to achieve what she needs to,” says the Swedish actress, whose recent film credits include The Greatest Showman, and The Girl on the Train. “We all have our different goals and agendas in this film. Sometimes they interact, and sometimes we put sticks in each other’s wheels, and that creates intense momentum.”

Vanessa Kirby, critically acclaimed for her role as Queen Elizabeth’s resentful younger sister Princess Margaret in the Netflix series The Crown, plays Alana, also known as The White Widow. “Alana is an enigmatic character who comes into Ethan’s life as the total antithesis of all the women he’s met so far,” says the actress. “She represents this whole other life — a life he could potentially have with somebody like her who understands his position. She is a temptation, not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically.”

The White Widow is something of a mystery, according to McQuarrie. “She appears to be a philanthropist who runs a charity, but in reality she’s an arms dealer and a broker between terrorists and money people. She seems to enjoy being involved with all of these nefarious characters, but you can’t trust her.”

Angela Bassett plays Erika Sloane, who replaces Alec Baldwin’s Alan Hunley (now head of the IMF) as CIA Director and brings a very different attitude to the job. “Sloane is ruthless and hard-charging,” says McQuarrie. “She has no tolerance for the IMF and their games, but at the same time is somewhat disarming in her manner. I had an absolutely fantastic time working with Angela. She brings something very special to the movie.”

The Oscar and Emmy®-nominated actress “exudes intelligence, power and credibility,” concludes Cruise. “I love the character that McQ wrote for her and Angela crushes it. When she’s on screen she’s a force of nature and she’s just a wonderful, wonderful woman.”

In Philippine cinemas July 25, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

About Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The best intentions often come back to haunt you. Mission: Impossible – Fallout finds Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team (Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Vhing Rhames) along with some familiar allies (Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan) in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, and Vanessa Kirby also join the dynamic cast with filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie returning to the helm.