Relentless action amps thrilling hunt in ‘The Predator’

From veteran action director Shane Black and producer John Davis (who also produced the original and subsequent Predator films), man’s most formidable adversary once again reaches Earth in “The Predator”.

In the latest movie, Predators have been coming to Earth and hunting humans for some time now, and it’s no longer quite the secret it was. The government has established a defense agency dedicated solely to protecting humans from a Predator incursion. Project Stargazer was initially conceived of as a high-tech, top-secret government lab in which captured Predators could be studied. Scribe Fred Dekker says, “But in the back-story, the government needed some kind of plausible deniability, so they put it in the hands of the CIA.” But when Traeger, played by Sterling K. Brown, takes over operations, he privatizes Stargazer to profit from Predator technology.

Davis recalls what first drew him to the Predator, more than 30 years ago: “It was the idea of the hunter. It was the idea of this creature from another planet that hunted the greatest game and would go from planet-to-planet for that sport, and the American Commando and group of guys in the jungle that represented that. And in the end, he was outsmarted and defeated, so even though the Predator had great brawn and weaponry, there was an ingenuity and a desire to survive in man that made it a fair fight.”

Olivia Munn, left, and Boyd Holbrook star in Twentieth Century Fox’ “The Predator.”

In addition to writing a slate of sensational movies, including Lethal Weapon, and directing films such as Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, director Shane Black is also an actor, perhaps best known for the role of Hawkins in Predator, the 1987 classic directed by John McTiernan. But, says Black, “The Predator in this film is the deadliest and scariest one yet.”

The director brings forth Boyd Holbrook as Quinn McKenna, a retired Special Forces army ranger turned mercenary in the thick of relentless thrilling action. He says, “The original Predator was legendary, so it’s an honor and a privilege to get to come back with Shane after 30 years and reinvent this thing.”

Because of the training he’d begun to shoot his previous film, Holbrook was in great shape. He recalls that while working on “Logan,” he met a stunt man. “He was an ex-sniper out of SEALs. McKenna is Special Forces Army Ranger, but you’re splitting hairs at that point. I was fortunate enough to hang out with the guy and he got me on the beach at 5 AM, in the water, running, and training. I did that for a couple months. What I truly believe is that the preparation is all about the conditioning of that person. There’s a gauntlet of things that make up these people. I thought it was really important to get that sensibility of how these guys have this morbid sense of humor. These guys are really a fascinating group of men.”

“The Predator” is now showing in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox.

‘La La Land’ duo Ryan Gosling, Damien Chazelle reteam for ‘First Man’

On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning La La Land, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight.

A visceral and intimate account told from Armstrong’s perspective, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the film explores the triumphs and the cost—on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues and the nation itself—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

Chazelle’s interest and stories continue to focus on the cost of achievement…and whether or not excellence is worth the price for those who reach. Just as he reimagined the discipline of mentorship on the road to mastery in Whiplash—and deconstructed the movie musical in La La Land—Chazelle now challenges expectations of what a “mission picture” should resemble. Discovering First Man alongside numerous collaborators, Chazelle approaches the film from interior angles in order to immerse audiences in this impossible journey.

Portraying the passionate, indomitable, unsung hero Janet Armstrong is Claire Foy (Netflix’s The Crown)—Neil’s wife and the woman who helped make these times monumental. Although she assumed she’d build her life with someone with an adventurous disposition, Janet grapples with the sacrifices they’re asked to make in this unexpected journey into history. While Neil travels to the heavens to deal with their shared grief of unthinkable loss, Janet must handle the Earthly business of being the backbone of the burgeoning space program. One of the most public faces of NASA families…she led a private life of wondering if she’d chosen this path to shape history…or if fate had done so for the Armstrongs.

Gosling and Foy are joined on screen by an accomplished troupe portraying the men selected for the Gemini Program alongside Armstrong—Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Ed White, Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl) as Elliot See, Ethan Embry (Netflix’s Grace and Frankie) as Pete Conrad, Pablo Schreiber (STARZ’ American Gods) as Jim Lovell, Christopher Abbott (HBO’s Girls) as David Scott, Corey Stoll (Marvel’s Ant-Man) as Buzz Aldrin, Skyler Bible (Socially Awkward) as Richard F. Gordon, and Shea Whigham (Non-Stop) as Gus Grissom.

Playing the men in command of these early missions are KYLE CHANDLER (Game Night) as Director of Flight Operations Deke Slayton and CIARÁN HINDS (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Bob Gilruth, the first Director of the Space Center. They are joined by LUKAS HAAS (The Revenant) as command space module pilot Mike Collins and CORY MICHAEL SMITH (TV’s Gotham) as Roger Chaffee, Grissom and White’s fellow ill-fated comrade on the Apollo Command Module, which was destroyed during a pre-flight test at Cape Canaveral. Also joining the performers is OLIVIA HAMILTON (La La Land) as Pat White, who serves as a daily reminder to the closely knit neighborhood of the real threat they’re all facing.

Written by Academy Award® winner Josh Singer (Spotlight, The Post), the epic drama of leading under the pressure of grace and tragedy is produced by Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen (The Twilight Saga, The Fault in Our Stars) through their Temple Hill Entertainment banner, alongside Isaac Klausner (Love, Simon) and Chazelle. Steven Spielberg, Adam Merims and Singer executive produce, while DreamWorks Pictures co-finances the film.

In Philippine cinemas October 17, 2018, First Man is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Internet sensation ‘Slender Man,’ now a big-screen horror-thriller

Once you see the Slender Man, you cannot unsee him.

In Columbia Pictures’ new terrifying horror-thriller Slender Man, small-town best friends Hallie, Chloe, Wren and Katie go online to try and conjure up the Slender Man — a tall, thin, horrifying figure whose face has no discernible features. Two weeks later, Katie mysteriously disappears during a class trip to a historic graveyard. Determined to find her, the girls soon suspect that the legend of the Slender Man may be all too real.

Executive producer Louis Sallerson describes how the Slender Man character “was created originally as part of a contest on the Something Awful forum by Eric Knudsen (who online goes by the name Victor Surge). Basically, the contest was to take an existing photograph and add something paranormal to it. I don’t think it required a text but Eric added it anyway, submitting two photos that became the original Slender Man photos, making up this backstory about how there had been a burned-down school or library and half the bodies were never discovered. Then he wrote another piece of text detailing something from the perspective of someone who had been taken by Slender Man. I think the wording was, ‘his outstretched arms fascinated us or comforted us and horrified us at the same time.’”

“Back in June 2009, there was a thread on Something Awful called ‘Let’s Create Paranormal Images,’” says Knudsen. “At that time the thread was pretty young, there were only about three or four pages of entries. And I was looking through some of the entries, some of the pictures, and I said, ‘oh, these are really good. I really like how they look. I think I can do some pretty creepy pictures myself.’

As he prepared to create the character, Knudsen remembers, “I created those first two Slender Man pictures that I’m sure most people know about. And then I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want to just do a picture. I want to add just a little extra to it,’ so I made a little bit of micro fiction. I wrote a description of the photo, just to make it a little bit more interesting, and the response I got was immediate. Everyone thought it was kind of creepy and really cool, so I continued making some more posts—I think I made about nine or ten in total, creating a story arc of this thing, this Slender Man that everyone really grabbed onto; they just ran with it and quickly a Slender Man mythology was growing.

“Slender Man became so popular and went viral. There was just something about him that’s uncontrollable and in some ways belonged to the Internet,” concludes producer Sarah Snow.

In Philippine cinemas September 26, 2018, Slender Man is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

About Slender Man

In a small town in Massachusetts, a group of friends perform a ritual in an attempt to debunk the lore of Slender Man. When one of them goes mysteriously missing, they begin to suspect that she is, in fact, HIS latest victim.

Columbia Pictures’ new horror-thriller Slender Man stars Joey King (The Conjuring), Julia Goldani Telles (The Affair), Jaz Sinclair (Paper Towns), Annalise Basso (Ouija: Origin of Evil), Alex Fitzalan (Season and I Miss You), Taylor Richardson (A Most Violent Year) and Javier Botet (The Conjuring, Insidious 4, IT).

Slender Man is directed by Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard and The Losers) and produced by Bradley J. Fischer, James Vanderbilt, William Sherak, Robyn Meisinger and Sarah Snow. The film is written by David Birke (Elle).