WATCH: ‘Annabelle 3’ to wreak havoc in first trailer

Welcome to the home of The Conjuring Universe. Check out the brand new official trailer of New Line Cinema’s “Annabelle Comes Home” and watch the film in Philippine cinemas on June 27.

“Annabelle Comes Home” is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a WarnerMedia Company.

About “Annabelle Comes Home”

“Annabelle Comes Home” is the third installment of New Line Cinema’s hugely successful “Annabelle” films starring the infamous sinister doll from the “Conjuring” universe.  Gary Dauberman, the screenwriter of the “Annabelle” films, “IT” and “The Nun,” makes his directorial debut on the film, which is produced by Peter Safran (“Aquaman”), who has produced all the films in the “Conjuring” franchise, and “Conjuring” universe creator James Wan (“Aquaman”).

Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren bring the possessed doll to the locked artifacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind sacred glass and enlisting a priest’s holy blessing.  But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target—the Warrens’ ten-year-old daughter, Judy, and her friends.

The film stars McKenna Grace (Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Captain Marvel”) as Judy; Madison Iseman (“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween”) as her babysitter, Mary Ellen; and Katie Sarife (TV’s “Youth and Consequences” and “Supernatural”) as troubled friend Daniela; with Patrick Wilson (“Aquaman,” “The Conjuring” and “Insidious” films) and Vera Farmiga (“The Conjuring” films, upcoming “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” TV’s “Bates Motel”) reprising their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Dauberman directed the film from a screenplay he wrote, from a story by Dauberman & Wan.  Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Victoria Palmeri, Michael Clear, Michelle Morrissey and Judson Scott served as executive producers.

Dauberman’s behind-the-scenes team included director of photography Michael Burgess (upcoming “The Curse of La Llorona”), production designer Jennifer Spence (“Annabelle: Creation,” “The Nun”), editor Kirk Morri (“Aquaman”) and costume designer Leah Butler (“Annabelle: Creation”).  The music is by Joseph Bishara (“The Conjuring” films).

New Line Cinema presents, an Atomic Monster/Peter Safran Production, “Annabelle Comes Home.”  

‘Dumbo’ review: Tim Burton presents whimsical, safe adaptation

Tim Burton’s ‘Dumbo’ takes flight with wonder in its midsection, but euphoria runs dry quickly that you’ll hardly be pressed to remain for the encore.

It’s only until the last few minutes of the 1941 animated classic, Dumbo, when the eponymous elephant with oversized ears finally discovers his ability to fly. In Tim Burton’s live-action adaptation, Dumbo already soars by the second act – the part where the film’s sense of wonder is at most palpable. Aided by Danny Elfman’s riveting musical score, such scene can be the cinematic equivalent to King Kong pounding his chest on top of the Empire State Building or E.T. hoisting a bicycle into the midnight sky.

From then, the succeeding flight sequences unfortunately starts to lose its potency and that has something to do with the steady workmanlike quality in both Ehren Kruger’s screenplay and Tim Burton’s direction. Is Burton the right person to do this remake in the first place? I, for one, would have shown more interest had the film went on a darker path, a la Frankenweenie style. However, Disney will not be happy to put such nightmarish themes on their beloved kiddie classic. With that, the visionary director seems to be held back in exhibiting the extent of his full potential, thereby making Dumbo feel like it’s stuck between on being a crowd pleaser and a dark re-imagination. The result feels occasionally flat and unexceptional.

Colin Farrell and Eva Green in ‘Dumbo.

Surely, the script shows an effort to stretch out its thin source material but it does so by padding the narrative with thinly-written characters. There’s the boisterous ringmaster Medici (Danny DeVito) who sells Dumbo, along with his entire circus, to the brash entrepreneur Vandevere (Michael Keaton). It’s a nice reunion for the two actors who have previously starred in 1992’s Batman Returns. The latter is probably the most memorable character here but that is largely due to Keaton’s quirky performance. Then there’s Eva Green who showcases her dexterity as the trapeze artist Colette – it’s a fresh break from her usual femme fatale roles. Together, it’s nice to see them putting up personas, but as a whole, they don’t differentiate much to the ensemble of amusing misfits entertaining in the background.

The most underused character, however, is its main human protagonist. From the onset, one can expect that the handicapped WWI veteran Holt (Colin Farrell) will have the strongest human connection to the physically deformed elephant. But the story does not capitalize much on this common ground. It does little favor that most of his dialogues are with his two children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), who are quite wooden for roles that should supply the film’s youthful vibe. While the recently released Bumblebee perfectly demonstrates how to forge a solid bond between a human and a robot, it’s quite surprising that Dumbo struggles to latch an emotional hook among its human cast.

It is true that like the original, none of the new relationships presented competes to Dumbo and his mother’s. There’s pain and yearning when he gets separated from his mom, best illustrated when the two, divided by a cell, cuddle each other’s trunks for comfort. In this version, Dumbo does not speak but he seems to understand the conversations happening around him. The computer-generated elephant remains to be an endearing and warm character who succeeds in conveying the emotions needed. With his expressive eyes, you can feel Dumbo’s exhilaration as he takes flight, or his heartbreak and humiliation once he’s dressed up like a mime, only to be made fun by a cruel audience.

Most of the magic and visual treat here is actually supplied by the grandiose production design and Colleen Atwood’s rich and lavish costumes designs. Burton gets much fanfare with a surrealist musical number involving bubble elephants on a parade, which doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere – it’s just an eye-candy filler. Then there’s a surprise cameo from Michael Buffer, who chants, “Let’s get ready for Dumboooo…” much to the adults’ amusement. However when the film gets to its themes that matters the most, like its messages on pro-animal rights and anti-capitalism, it does so by rushing through those epiphanies. With the inclusion of the kids who constantly push Dumbo to take his leap of faith, there seems to be weaker statement of animal empowerment in there.

With Dumbo mainly relying on its superficial charms, the younger viewers will be highly entertained. The adults accompanying them, however, won’t necessarily be thrilled by its stiff narrative. Like a fleeting stage act, it continues to be a whimsical experience but it never truly tugs to the heartstrings. Dumbo’s adorable CGI-features mostly flood the film’s presence that one can call this adaptation as the cinematic equivalent of a cute stuff toy.

3 out of 5 stars
Directed by Tim Burton and written by Ehren Kruger, ‘Dumbo‘ stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbinsm, Roshan Seth, DeObia Oparei, Joseph Gatt, Sharon Rooney, Michael Buffer, Frank Bourke and Jo Osmond. Based on Disney’s “Dumbo” by Otto Englander. Run time: 112 minutes.

WATCH: Enemies join forces in ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ trailer

Enemies become frenemies. See the Birds and Pigs team up in the newly released international trailer of Columbia Pictures’ comedy adventure The Angry Birds Movie 2.

A hilarious all-star cast of new and returning talents are brought together in the film as the flightless birds and scheming green pigs take their beef to the next level.

Check out the trailer below and watch The Angry Birds Movie 2 in Philippine cinemas August 21.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #AngryBirdsMovie2

About The Angry Birds Movie 2

The flightless angry birds and the scheming green piggies take their beef to the next level in The Angry Birds Movie 2! When a new threat emerges that puts both Bird and Pig Island in danger, Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride), and Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) recruit Chuck’s sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) and team up with pigs Leonard (Bill Hader), his assistant Courtney (Awkwafina), and techpig Garry (Sterling K. Brown) to forge an unsteady truce and form an unlikely superteam to save their homes.

The star-studded cast includes Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Leslie Jones, Bill Hader, Rachel Bloom, Awkwafina, Sterling K. Brown, Eugenio Derbez, Danny McBride, Peter Dinklage, Zach Woods, Dove Cameron, Lil Rel Howery, Beck Bennett, Nicki Minaj and Brooklynn Prince.

‘Five Feet Apart’ review: Heartwarming teenage romance

A fun-filled, tearjerker love story of sick teens who aren’t allowed to touch comes with an unexpected twist on letting go in Five Feet Apart.

Based on a book by Mikki Daughtry, Rachael Lippincott, and Tobias Iaconis, Five Feet Apart is about two teens inflicted with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that mostly affects the lungs and causes long-term difficulty in breathing and excessive production of mucus. Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) is an OCD-diagnosed fighter/vlogger who proficiently manages her treatments and medications, while her polar opposite Will (Cole Sprouse) is a hospital rule-breaker who’s jaded in participating to his drug trials for B. Cepacia – a bacteria he has contracted that further complicates his CF. Apart from being anxious of their unpredictable life expectancies, the two struggle with their strong desire for physical intimacy for each other.

Naturally, the two infuriate each other upon their first encounter. But as the rule of ‘opposites-attract’ say, an attraction easily blooms. There is a major caveat though as Will’s bacteria can easily be transmitted to other patients that have CF too. Stella may be a candidate for a new lung transplant, but for now, they have to stay six feet away from each other at all times, and that also applies to  the other ward patients. While the two teens try to work out the barriers of their relationships, they will also be forced to confront with their suppressed emotions as they try to figure out how to enjoy a normal teen life. The desire of living a carefree life contrasted with the necessity to take care of their well beings presents a difficulty in fostering their relationship, a tragedy that has been the most affecting part of the film. Their hopes of fighting an uphill battle together might not go to as they want it to be but this story sufficiently tells that love goes beyond physical connections.

Director Justin Baldoni delicately paints a wonderful presentation of not only a budding romance between two teens but also the hardships that CF patients have to go through. Not being able to touch or hug the person you’re fighting a similar battle with can be debilitating for a person who is in dire need of morale. In line with that, this film also presents great lessons on life decisions and valuing our family and friends. It’s not the same story with other typical hospital romances for the film showed a different perspective especially when it comes to letting go and acceptance. There are some parts that will make you squeal and there are parts where you might find yourself bawling in tears. The viewers will definitely be attached on how the two teens fall for each other despite their illnesses. It is in those difficult moments that you feel completely enamored by the vulnerability of the characters, a main aspect needed to deliver a heartfelt story.

Five Feet Apart gives us a picture how important a life is, challenged by a terminal illness as the main conflict. The hospital romance simply shows that every second spend with our loved ones matters. This is a film not just for people with sickness but for everyone who battles with the everyday challenges of life. It may lean on towards being cheesy, but one will enjoy the lessons and drama issues that revolves around it. Truly, every scene is fun and captivating.

The cast members do a remarkable and wonderful job in portraying their characters, making this film more watchable. Richardson plays such natural role on being a bubbly girl, showing both sides of vulnerability and spiritual strength as a patient. Sprouse, being the mysterious type he is, plays his role on a different level of charm as a sweet lover boy gifted with artistic skills. Together, they build up a great chemistry that should leave viewers yearning for more.

A story that will definitely leave a mark in your heart, Five Feet Apart takes you to an experience of fighting for life and love at the same time.

4 out of 5 stars
Directed by Justin Baldoni, ‘Five Feet Apart’ stars Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moises Arias, Kimberly Hebert Gregory, Parminder Nagra, and Claire Forlani.

Soar high with Disney’s ‘Dumbo’ at SM Cinema

 Hold on to your feathers and get ready to soar as SM Cinema presents Dumbo, a live-action remake of the beloved Disney classic.

In this heart-wrenching fantasy, struggling circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) hires former circus star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children to take care of Dumbo, a baby elephant who is mocked for having gigantic ears. However, the sudden discovery that he can fly turns Dumbo from laughingstock to the star of the show, regaining the circus’ former glory and captivating ambitious businessman,V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton). Dumbo’s fame skyrockets as he is pulled into the Vandevere’s newest attraction, Dreamland, until Holt uncovers the dark secrets lurking within its extravagant exterior. 

Directed by Tim Burton, Dumbo stars Danny Devito as Max Medici, Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier, Eva Green as Colette Marchant, Michael Keaton as V.A. Vandevere, Nico Parker as Milly Farrier, and Finley Hobbins as Joe Farrier.

Fly high as Dumbo will have its advance screening in different parts of the country, March 23 at SM City Clark and SM Seaside City Cebu, March 24 at SM Lanang Premier and March 25 at SM Aura Premier.

Catch Dumbo starting March 27 at SM Cinema branches nationwide. Book your tickets through the website, or download the SM Cinema mobile app.  You may also follow /SMCinema on Facebook and @SM_Cinema on Instagram for updates!

WATCH: Trailer for ‘Dora the Explorer’ live-action movie unlocks mystery of ‘The Lost City of Gold’

Get ready to unleash your wild side!  Watch the official trailer for Paramount Pictures’ family adventure Dora and the Lost City of Gold, based on the popular Nick Jr. animated series Dora the Explorer.  

The live-action adaptation comes from director James Bobin (The Muppets) and stars Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight) as Dora.

Check out the trailer below and watch Dora and the Lost City of Gold in Philippine cinemas August 14.

Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents, nothing could prepare Dora (Isabela Moner) for her most dangerous adventure ever – High School. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots (her best friend, a monkey), Diego (Jeffrey Wahlberg), a mysterious jungle inhabitant (Eugenio Derbez), and a rag tag group of teens on a live-action adventure to save her parents (Eva Longoria, Michael Peña) and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost city of gold.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. #DoraMovie

‘Triple Frontier’ review: Ben Affleck leads an all-star jungle heist

Triple Frontier’ adds flare to the masculine genre by incorporating moral and psychological underpinnings on brotherhood vs. greed.

In a time where gender inclusivity is a must, it might seem that the testosterone-driven Triple Frontier is a step back for the action genre. But really, who would complain with this macho powerhouse casting? In here, our gang of former military veterans consists of Redfly (Ben Affleck), a struggling real estate agent/divorced dad; Pope (Oscar Isaac), a private military contractor who serves as the brains of the operation; Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam), an inspirational speaker to Special Forces recruits; Benny (Garrett Hedlund), an MMA fighter; and Catfish (Pedro Pascal), a pilot who recently lost his license due to cocaine smuggling. Also, Hunnam and Hedlund play brothers in the film which is quite brilliant since they actually look a lot like.

The film spends the first half hour in reuniting the team for a one final, life-changing gig: to exterminate a drug lord named Lorea and seize his ill-gotten wealth of approximately $75 million for themselves. His base mansion is situated in the middle of a jungle and the crew must find a way to smuggle the cash through a perilous terrain known as the “Triple Frontier.” Hence, the film’s namesake.

(L-R): Pedro Pascal (Francisco “Catfish” Morales), Garrett Hedlund (Ben Miller), Charlie Hunnam (William “Ironhead” Miller), and Ben Affleck (Tom “Redfly” Davis).

While it feels wrong to see former military men violate their deep-sworn vows, the film gives a strong case to justify their actions. Considering they all have taken at least one bullet for their country, it seems unfair that society has not properly rewarded them – none of them are financially secure at their current retirement jobs. Triple Frontier has something to say on the state’s lack of regard towards veterans, as well as when it comes to re-examining our views on forcefully getting what we deserve. It’s a controversial moral gray area that the film utilizes to its benefit.

The narrative might seem like a cross between Ocean and Mission: Impossible franchise but the heist here is actually just a thin aspect. Infiltrating the drug lord’s compound is the easier task. When faced with tons of money, greed starts to consume our anti-heroes and before they know it, they’re out transporting a horde of cash via helicopter – way more than they agreed to steal. By not sticking to the plan, they’re suddenly faced with life and death dilemmas, none of which they have anticipated. Their brotherhood gets tested in fire and slowly, pieces of their humanity starts to peel off. As their situation grows more stressful and desperate, a tragic irony befalls: at some point, they might have to let go of the money for them to survive.

Oscar Isaac (Santiago “Pope” Garcia) and Ben Affleck (Tom “Redfly” Davis)

It’s a bold decision for director/co-writer J.C. Chandor to take an unconventional path of psychologically draining yet nevertheless, exhilarating survivalist flick. He knows how to heighten the suspense and tension with every obstacle that the group face, and Roman Vasyanov’s camerawork vividly captures the well-staged stunts and visceral setpieces. For a Netflix streaming release, Triple Frontier has the look and feel of a motion picture.

When it comes to individual characterization, there are some missed opportunities. With huge money involved, the script fails to delve into the personal motivations of some characters, apart from getting rich. Hence, we don’t really care for the money, as much as we care for their survival.

(L-R): Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal in ‘Triple Frontier.’

This is a film that greatly benefits from its main cast’s solid performance. Affleck has always been reliable in his brand of gloomy and understated acting while Isaac has also enough charisma in him so as not to be upstaged. Unfortunately, Hunnam, Hedland and Pascal get the shorter end of the sticks with thinner materials to work with. They eventually end up as stock characters who achieve depth mainly due to their great performances. Otherwise, the gang has a natural chemistry as a whole, making it feel like there’s a real sense of shared history present.

By incorporating thoughtful psychological and moral underpinnings on brotherhood vs. greed, Triple Frontier delivers a different level of firepower not present in typical high-octane action thrillers. This proves to have more brains than brawn. For that, the lack of feminine representation shall be excused.

4 out of 5 stars
Directed by J. C. Chandor and written by Mark Boal and J.C. Chandor, ‘Triple Frontier‘ stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal and Adria Arjona. Run time: 125 minutes.

‘Us’ review: Terrifying dissection of duality

Jordan Peele’s ‘Us is one of those rare gems that feels like an instant classic right after seeing it.

The theme of duality permeates all over Jordan Peele’s sophomore film Us that even its title serves a double purpose – a noun and an abbreviation for United States (you’ll get it once you’ve seen the film). It’s a horror thriller that pits us against our worst, deprived selves a.k.a. the “id” that we try to suppress. What if that “inner beast” finds it way to grow among the shadows, learns to mimic your behavior and finally starts manifesting us your doppelganger? It might be an abstract concept but writer/director Peele materializes this fear into a feral reality. Indeed, we are our own worst enemies.

It’s only fitting that the film itself can be enjoyed two ways. For the first viewing, you can watch it on a surface level: a home invasion scarefest, with an unforeseen twist that should knock the wind out of your lungs. After that, watching it again can still be a different experience. By the way its screenplay is constructed, the layers of Us don’t reveal themselves until a repeat viewing. By then, the details that may seem trivial to you now starts to lock in place and even the throwaway lines are now charged with a whole new meaning. Take this scene in the trailer as an example. There’s a beautiful overhead shot of the Wilson family walking along the beach, their bodies casting long shadows. There’s no way to know that this shot carries meaning for the rest of the film.

The Tethered. (L-R): Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex and
Lupita Nyong’o play evil versions of themselves.

Actually, going in for more than two viewings might not be a crazy idea at all (provided you have the financial means to do so) for Us is so ripe with symbolism and allegory that even after discussing with friends, I’m pretty sure there are still things that went above your head. Its commentaries might not be as razor-sharp as Peele’s Get Out, but its broad application encompasses undercurrents on social jealousy and underclass oppression – more of that later.

So basically, Us revolves around the Wilson family who’s out on a weekend getaway in Santa Cruz, California. There’s mother Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) who’s been harboring a dark past, father Gabe (Winston Duke) who’s channeling his inner Homer Simpson to bring out some comic relief, daughter Zora (Shadadi Wright Joseph) who prefers the company of her smartphone and the youngest Jason (Evan Alex) who has a liking for wearing masks as if it’s Halloween everyday.

“There’s a family in our driveway.” – Jason

That fateful day, Adelaide has been constantly bothered by a series of omens and alas, these come into fruition when a family of four – that looks exactly like them – starts terrorizing their cottage. Garbed in matching red jumpsuits and brandishing a pair of golden scissors as their choice of weapon – a nod to the working class and the theme of duality, respectively – the film refers to them as “The Tethered.” At the moment, they’re origin and motives remain to be a mystery but one thing’s for sure, they are hostile and they are out for blood. Also, for some reason, only Adelaide’s counterpart, Red, has the ability to speak.

It’s best to cut off from there to avoid spilling the beans but let’s just say that what follows is Peele showing excellent command in his grotesque yet gorgeous filmmaking elements. What I like most about his style is that he doesn’t purely rely on gratuitous violence and lame jumpscares. Aided by Mike Gioulakis’ masterful cinematography and Michael Abel’s atmospheric musical scoring, what ultimately scares you are the social ills attached to the film.

Playing with fire. Evan Alex as Jason and his Tethered counterpart in ‘Us.’

Deprivation and envy are the prime driving forces here. The film is a satirical take on the American caste system – “the haves” and “the have nots.” For every privileged person, there’s someone out there who’s being deprived of a need. It nudges us to look at the plight of the people beneath our class. To consider how our actions ripple on others’ lives in ways more impactful than we perceive. By the time the film gets to its exposition dump, it evokes more questions in your head – some gets answered, others don’t. What starts off as a domestic horror proves to be more ambitious and larger in scope. Its resulting conspiracy aspect won’t stand strong against scrutiny, but this film simply manages to tether to your psyche as soon as the credits roll.

And let us not forget Lupita Nyong’o who takes this great film into a whole new level. Her double-edged performance is jaw-dropping. As Adelaide, her subtle uneasiness carries the film’s weight and as Red, her unbelievable voice sounds like its coming out from a crushed esophagus. There’s a reason why this lady has an Oscar. Us is the perfect vehicle for her acting prowess. It helps as well that the rest of the supporting cast are excellent all throughout in portraying their real and shadow versions. A special mention goes to Elisabeth Moss for making the most of her role.

Lupita Nyong’o plays a resilient mother and wife in ‘Us.’

Us provides more than enough thrills and significance to be included in film discussions years from now. I daresay that this is an instant classic. In a cinematic era full of sequels and reboots, Peele crafts an exquisite gem that looks like nothing else. That being said, the visionary filmmaker is very much welcome to explore more “sunken places” in the horror genre. Or more accurately, the horror genre needs Jordan Peele.

4.5 out of 5 stars
Directed and written by Jordan Peele, ‘Us‘ stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Madison Curry, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Cali and Noelle Sheldon. Run time: 116 minutes.

‘Homestay’ review: Supernatural drama of second chances

Thai fantasy thriller ‘Homestay’ is a wonderful adaptation made amusing by Parkpoom Wongpoom’s artistic vision.

Homestay is a Thai adaptation of Japanese fantasy novel Colourful by Eto Mori which was written in 1999 and translated into Thai in 2003 as “Mua Sawan Hai Rangwan Phom.”. From the trailer, it looks like the typical cross of romance and resurrection film, but it is actually more than what is shown. The film starts as something supernatural and it quickly hooks in its audiences by offering a little mystery-solving thrill. Then the tone suddenly becomes light on the succeeding acts, turning its small moments into fun-filled and cheesy segments. The film is basically a mixed genre of supernatural experience and family drama which leads to profound existential realizations in life. The story brings a heart-warming take to teenage problems of dysfunctional family, peer pressure and depression making this film a much more interesting viewing experience from where it initially started.

This film is about a wandering soul who’s given a new shot at life by “the Guardian” (Nopachai Chainam) when he finds himself reincarnated in the body of a high-schooler named Min (Teeradon Supapunpinyo). But much like the film’s namesake, ‘homestay’ (where someone temporarily stays with a local during a trip), Min’s body is not permanent and it comes with a condition. Within 100 days, he has to find out who is responsible for “Min’s death” or else, he will die and leave this medium for eternity, never to be reborn again.

As the new Min, he resumes a life with his newfound family: his workaholic and distant father (played by veteran DJ Viroj Khwantham), his go-with-the-flow mother (Suquan Bulakul) and his smarter and overachieving older brother (Nutthasit Kotimanus-wanich). His new life takes a turn for the better when he meets his tutoring partner and mentor Pi (BNK48’s leader Cherprang Areekul) and develops an intimate connection with her, making him want to stay in this body for good.

Director Wongpoom creates a positive story and keeps the essence of teenage issues based from the novel. With its heavy and sensitive subject matter, the film could’ve easily gone a darker path. Instead, Wongpoom focuses on Min’s character metamorphosis – on how he’s gone from a reluctant and coward soul to an assured and self-actualized being. He wants to make Min’s more interesting by not painting him entirely as a suicide victim, but as a multi-dimensional person who has hopes, dreams and frustrations.

On the creative side, Parkpoom effectively uses The Guardian and Min’s task as a metaphor for suicide therapy through showing the viewers how Min’s character has changed while searching for reasons why Min decided to take his life. It’s refreshing and bold to see Min’s supernatural experiences as he goes along the process of redeeming himself from a suicide attempt. For Min is a vulnerable soul, it will be inspiring to see his change in perspective. Such sends a good message to its audience: that it is possible to live a happier life by not looking down at our situation but rather empathizing with the people who unintentionally hurt our feelings.

The concept of the film relates to the non-attachment principle, which states that everything will come and depart eventually, including life itself. When the spirit is first placed in Min’s body, he lives freely and joyfully, the spirit looking at Min’s life as an outsider. But once Min realizes that he’s taking charge of someone else’s life and understands the rare opportunity that is given to him, he finally starts owning his borrowed body and maximizing the second chance that was bestowed upon him.

Homestay is crafted with a lot of effort as it mixes second chances and family drama. The effects are striking, mostly comical, and the film conveys a simple yet bold message for its viewers. The acting is remarkably done starting from the star of Bad Genius Teeradon Supapunpiyo who bolsters the entire film with his best appearance since his early roles. He maintains his level of charm and believability regardless whether he’s delivering a comedic or dramatic performance While Areekul gives a big revelation in her debut role, proving that she is more than just a pretty face. Despite having a slow pace and few lapses when it comes to plot progression, this is one of those good films produced by GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness). It stacks up in the mid-level of quality films that GDH has produced.

Homestay is a film with a big heart that puts a big emphasis on the importance of life. It’s a treat for teens who are in need of a fresh perspective in their seemingly overbearing lives. It’s a Thai film for everyone who wants to be touched by quality films.

4 out of 5 stars
Directed by Parkpoom Wongpoom, ‘Homestay’ stars Teeradon Supapunpinyo, Cherprang Areekul, Suquan Bulakul, Viroj Khwantham, Nutthasit Kotimanus-wanich, Saruda Kiatwarawut and Nopachai Chainam. Run time: 131 minutes.

Westlife returns to Manila on July 30 via The Twenty Tour

WESTLIFE is back and in full swing with The Twenty Tour! Celebrating their 20th anniversary with 14 number one hits, the band brings their much-awaited reunion tour to Asia including MANILA on July 30, 2019 at the Araneta Coliseum.

‘The Twenty Tour’ is Westlife’s fastest selling tour of all time. The band sold an incredible 400,000 tickets in just 48 hours. The shows will see the global pop kings perform their greatest hits and all 14 of their UK No.1 hits including ‘Swear It Again’, ‘Flying Without Wings’, ‘If I Let You Go’, ‘My Love’, ‘Uptown Girl’, ‘A World Of Our Own’, ‘Unbreakable’, ‘Mandy’, and ‘You Raised Me Up’.

Being the UK’s top selling album group of the 21st century, Shane, Nicky, Mark and Kian have also returned with their highly anticipated first new single in eight years, ‘Hello My Love’, which is written and produced by superstar hitmarkers Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac.

Westlife have sold over 55 million records worldwide, and are the only band to have their first 7 singles enter the UK chart at No.1. They also have the most singles of any artist to debut at No.1 in the UK. Overall the band have had an incredible 14 No.1 singles, behind only Elvis Presley and The Beatles. They have had 33 No.1 albums worldwide and as a live act have sold 5 million concert tickets worldwide.

Presented by Wilbros Live. Tickets to WESTLIFE – ‘The Twenty Tour’ in MANILA will be on-sale beginning March 30 and at all TicketNet outlets nationwide.