Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel return as Rocket, Groot in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

Superstars Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel return to lend their voices to Rocket and Groot in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the highly anticipated sequel, featuring the world’s favorite band of intergalactic misfits.

The action-adventure is written and directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Dead).

When it comes to voices, James Gunn knows Rocket’s better than anyone as the director has many times professed that there is a little bit of himself in the character. Rocket, a tortured little beast who’s been torn apart and put back together, is still incredibly funny and heartfelt at times, particularly as voiced again by Academy Award® nominee Bradley Cooper.

A scene stealer in the first Guardians of the Galaxy with only the same three words of ‘I am Groot,’ was the wise, old, talking humanoid tree creature Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. Despite his unique appearance and extremely limited communication skills, Groot embedded himself in the heart of audiences around world with just those three little words. A valuable ally and a loyal friend to Rocket and the Guardians, the character makes the ultimate sacrifice and returns in the sequel as a baby Groot.

Voiced again by Diesel, the little Groot is a totally different character. “He doesn’t have the memories of adult Groot and he is a baby,” explains Gunn. “He’s completely adorable, but has a lot more anger issues than adult Groot did. All of the other characters react to Baby Groot in different ways. Drax doesn’t like him. Rocket yells at him a lot, but he is okay with him. Gamora definitely has motherly instincts towards him, and Quill barely acknowledges his existence.”

Picking up where Guardians of the Galaxy—2014’s highest grossing film of the summer—left off, Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the action-packed, irreverent, epic space adventures of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and his gang of eccentric characters as they patrol and protect the universe, doing mercenary work in the wake of the popularity and fame they garnered from saving Xandar.

Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, the story follows the team as they fight to keep their newfound family together while traversing the outer reaches of the cosmos to unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

The film stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Tommy Flanagan as Tulik, Laura Haddock as Meredith Quill, with Sylvester Stallone as Stakar, and Kurt Russell as Ego.

Now showing across the Philippines, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is distributed in the Philippines by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

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Jericho Rosales, Bela Padilla team up in Dan Villegas’ ‘Luck at First Sight’

From the team that gave us the phenomenal box-office hit, “Camp Sawi,” and the director of mega-blockbuster movies like “Always Be My Maybe” and “#WalangForever,” come this year’s most enchanting romance-comedy, “Luck at First Sight.”

VIVA Films and N2 Productions bring to the big screen a Joyce Bernal production that pairs off Asian Drama King, Jericho Rosales and Primetime TV Gem, Bela Padilla for the first time.

In the movie, Jericho is Joma Labayen, a down-on-his-luck guy who believes that a “life charm” could help make for him a rosy existence despite the drudgery of everyday living. By accident and by some stroke of fate, he meets Diane dela Cruz (Bela), who he thinks is his “life charm.” Little did he know that their encounters would lead him to the toughest choice his heart will ever make: luck or love.

Diane, however, is no sucker for stories of luck and/or life charms. She is a firm believer of love and how romance sheds light, beauty and happiness to one’s being. Their partnership proves lucky enough until they discover that choosing between luck and love can be a tough pick.

“Luck at First Sight” is a concept Bela thought about while listening to the radio.

“Nasa kotse ako, nakikinig ng conversation ng DJs sa radio. Tapos, naisip ko ‘yung title, du’n nabuo ang story. Tungkol siya sa dalawang tao na sinuswerte kapag may physical touch sila.

“Ako, gusto ko makapanood ng konting feeling ng magic, parang maniniwala ka uli sa isang bagay na hindi mo nakikita. Sa totoong buhay, naniniwala ako sa swerte, ibang forms lang siguro.

“Nu’ng nag-iisip na kami kung sino ang kukuning direktor, sabi namin, dapat si Direk Dan ito. Sobrang galing kasi niya, sobrang ganda ng shots saka gusto naming ma-touch din ang point of view ng lalaki sa pelikula,” Bela explains.

As for Direk Dan, working on “Luck at First Sight” made him excited.

“Ang difference nito sa mga nagawa ko na, yung dati, rooted on reality, kung ano ang nangyayari sa totoong buhay. Kaya na-excite ako rito kasi may magic element, ‘di realistic. Medyo hyper realistic siya, magical, fantastic,” he says.

“First time kong gumawa ng ganito, so minsan, ‘yung pagtimpla ng mga eksena, mapapaisip ka, exaggerated na ba ‘to, baka masyadong mababaw o matigas. Rom-com siya, pero may magic realism element,” he adds.

Echo, like Bela, is totally absorbed by the project. Though “Luck at First Sight” may be their first as a tandem, he shares, “may commitment sa isa’t isa na ito ang pinakamagandang movie na gagawin namin together.”

Bela says Echo is easy to work with, “hindi niya ako pinahirapan.” Echo, for his part, relates, “Working with Bela was great. She’s very open, walang showbiz na vibe. ‘Pag nasa set kami, nag-uusap kami ng concept and ways to promote or make the film better. It’s nice that she’s open to exploring things, wala siyang masyadong inhibitions. It’s been fun.”

Will Joma and Diane make the right choice? Will their love story ends in happily ever after? Find out when “Luck at First Sight” casts its magical spell in cinemas nationwide starting May 3, 2017 from VIVA Films and N2 Productions.

Ateneo Blue Repertory closes 25th season with ‘Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady: The Musical’

The box-office hit “Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady: The Musical” is back on stage fully re-imagined and revamped through the fresh eyes of rip-roaring millennials. This pun-filled musical extravaganza brims with Carlo Vergara’s acerbic wit, flamboyant production numbers, and superhero-supervillain action sequences that pack a punch.

Tongue-in-cheek comedy, family drama, romance and live action converge in Ateneo Blue Repertory’s 25th Anniversary Season Finale. They partner with Dalanghita Productions in bringing to life the famed comic book world of Zsazsa Zaturnnah, but this time focusing on new characters.

“Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” tells the story of a lowly labandera, Mely, and her young and wild sister, Viva, who struggle to fulfill their dreams in a world that gives a premium to foreign super heroes with white skin and well-educated barako men who always get the job. They seem to fight to be favored in a society that has no room for them.

When Mely lands a job as the maid for Fuwerza Filipinas, she steps up to this unique challenge for the sake of her family. However, her sibling relationship with Viva becomes more complicated when an unsettled past keeps coming back and a forbidden romance happens amidst an ongoing war between Fuwerza Filipinas, the superheroes, and Kayumanggilas, the supervillains. “Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” is a journey about compassion, heroism, and redemption.

“Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” ushers in a new artistic team led by Issa Manalo Lopez, Director, who recently performed politically charged pieces “I” and “Colonized”. With additional lyrics and composition by Kevin Maske, an Ateneo alumna and awardee of Loyola Schools Awards for the arts and music, he comes in as Musical Director of Vincent de Jesus’ original music. Delphine Buencamino, who has essayed the role of Apolinario Mabini in Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Mabining Mandirigma” and has also choreographed Tanghalang Ateneo’s “Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon”, UP Dulaang Lab’s “Oresteia”, Ateneo Entablado’s “Desaparesidos”, and PETA’s “3 Stars and a Sun” directs movement as Choreographer. J Laspuña, whose previous soundscape collaborations include “Disco1081”, “I”, and “Kapit” does Sound Design.  Carlo Tabije and Ben Padero, the award-winning Production Designers of the film “Heneral Luna”, creates the highly imaginative Set and Costumes. Joseph Matheu, Lighting Designer and Co-Producer of Twinbill’s “Asher Lev”, does the Lights Design.

The cast boasts of up and coming talented young actors of Philippine theatre. Natasha Cabrera, who previously played Viva in the musical’s commercial run, comes back to the production to play Mely – (Maid of Fuwerza Filipinas). She shares the role with EJ Pepito of PETA’s “3 Stars and a Sun”. Jerome Fugoso plays Senyor Blangko (Lead Super Villain of Kayumanggilas). Ateneo blueREP’s Kassandra Barnes and Ashe Uy alternate as Viva (Mely’s younger sister), Hans Braga as Leading Man (Newest Member of Fuwerza Filipinas), and Arianna Norton as Madre de Dios (Lead Superhero of Fuwerza Filipinas).

Lending support is a mix of theatre professionals and fresh young actors. These include Dulaang UP’s Sheryll Ceasico (Nanay, Mely and Viva’s mother), Ateneo blueREP’s Celine Bengzon (Nena Babushka) and Monica Lopez Gamboa (understudy), Nikki Cadiz (Windang Woman), Shawn Landayan (Popoy Pusakal), Johnason Wei (Bazooka Man), Wrench Canicosa (Marakas Marko), Maia Dapul (Itak-Atak) and Senanda Gomez (understudy), Jason Tan Liwag (Jeryc Sans Rival) and Ale Reynoso (alternate), Rando Torregosa (Henyotik).

The ensemble is composed of Joyce Buen, Miko Insame, Bryan Mendoza, Rion Cairus Reyes, Joseph Matthew Tuazon, Lexi Cruz, Erin Locsin, Jason Cabrera, Titus Villanueva, Wynken Gelito, and Kyla Maegan Frencillo.

The production aims to foster learning by partnering professionals with creative student team members such as Ateneo blueREP’s Marcel David and Jamie Gutierrez (Assistant Directors), Chab Ocampo (Dramaturgy), and Evee Raypon (Assistant Choreographer).
The production team is composed of Twinkle Liboon and Mikee Alvero (Production Managers), Alicia Florentino (Head Stage Manager), Luis Yatco (Assistant Stage Manager), Charlene Odeste, Patti Tan Palanca, Keanu Benavidez, Sabrina de Mesa, and Iris Eleria (Stage Managers), Miko Castro (Head Technical Director), Jesse Lim (Set Technical Director), Danielle Teo (Set Technical Director Deputy), John Paul Manlapaz (Props Technical Director), King Morales (Lights Technical Director), Zerah Alba (Sounds Technical Director), and Gayle Mendiola and Tenny Cayco (Costumes and Makeup Technical Directors).

Heading the committees are Russ Santos (Chief Finance Officer), Stephanie Escuadro (Front-Of-House Head), JM Munar (Corporate Relations Head), Mitchie Cabrera (Public Relations Head), Jeff Pascual (Documentations Head), Pocholo Comsti and Niño Constantino (Logistics Head), Chris Cancio (Design and Publications Head), Jamie Gutierrez (Art Director), Tara Oppen (Special Projects Committee Representative), and Fifi Santelices and Adrian Chio (HR Representatives).

“Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady” runs until May 1, 2017. The show starts promptly at 8 p.m. (Thursday-Sunday for the first week, Tuesday-Sunday for the second week). Matinee shows (Saturday-Sunday) start at 2 p.m.  The show will be at Rizal Mini Theater, Faber Hall, Ateneo de Manila University.

For ticket inquiries, please contact Stephanie Escuadro at 09568452030.

WATCH: First full trailer for ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ debuts

The world’s unstoppable spies are back in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” directed by Matthew Vaughn, who also helmed the phenomenal blockbuster “Kingsman: The Secret Service” that introduced a street kid into the world of espionage.

In the latest instalment “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” Taron Egerton reprises his role as Eggsy along with returning powerhouse cast led by Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine and Sophie Cookson. This time, the returning Kingsmen are joined by new exciting and award-winning cast members including Sir Elton John, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Julianne Moore.

In the recently revealed first trailer of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” our heroes face a new challenge. When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy.

Prepare for a rip-roaring time at the movies when “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” opens in Philippine cinemas on September 27, 2017, from 20th Century Fox as distributed by Warner Bros.

Girlfriends have one ‘Rough Night’ in teaser poster

“The best nights never go as planned,” or so declares the teaser poster of Columbia Pictures’ new comedy Rough Night, starring Scarlett Johansson.

In Rough Night, an edgy R-rated comedy, five best friends from college (played by Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz) reunite 10 years later for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami. Their hard partying takes a hilariously dark turn when they accidentally kill a male stripper. Amidst the craziness of trying to figure out what to do,their night takes some hilariously unexpected turns, ultimately bringing them closer together when it matters most.

Directed by Lucia Aniello and written by Aniello & Paul W. Downs.

Opening soon across the Philippines, Rough Night is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

WATCH: ‘Cars 3’ hero gets back on track with new trailer

One last chance. One more dream. View Disney-Pixar’s new Cars 3 trailer below and watch the comedy adventure in Philippine cinemas on August 23, 2017.

Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez, with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!

The animated adventure is directed by Brian Fee (storyboard artist Cars, Cars 2) and produced by Kevin Reher (A Bug’s Life, La Luna short).

The film also features the voices of Armie Hammer hotshot new racer Jackson Storm, Cristela Alonzo as the friendly trainer Cruz Ramirez, with Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Paul Dooley, Cheech Marin, Katherine Helmond, Larry the Cable Guy, Angel Oquendo, and Darrell Waltrip.

Cars 3 is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Philippines.

‘Baywatch’ cast strikes lifeguard poses in new poster

Paramount Pictures has just released the new poster for its highly awaited raunchy comedy Baywatch, the big-screen adaptation of the iconic beach lifeguard show of the ’90s.

Opening in Philippine cinemas on May 31, 2017, Baywatch is directed by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) and stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Jon Bass, Kelly Rohrbach and Ilfenesh Hadera.

Baywatch follows devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Johnson) as he butts heads with a brash new recruit (Efron). Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.

“Baywatch” is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Latest colonization mission lands in hostile terrain in Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien: Covenant’

The largest colonization mission takes off in Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi horror-thriller “Alien: Covenant” starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, James Franco, Billy Crudup, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Callie Hernandez and Danny McBride.

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in “Alien” with “Alien: Covenant”, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with “Prometheus” and connects directly to Scott’s 1979 seminal work of science fiction. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

In recent interviews, Ridley Scott revealed that in “Alien: Covenant”, he explored into the origins of the xenomorphs, and that the movie touches on mortality, immortality and the higher power who created humans and the universe. “We did Prometheus – that heaved it off the ground, and Covenant is a follow-through to Prometheus. We now know who created this, and why, and the next one’s a joining up of the storyline,” says Scott.

Both Prometheus and Covenant are inspired by Scott’s personal beliefs about where we came from: “We’re not just a random biological accident, for you and I to be sitting here right now [by accident] would take trillions of correct decisions made randomly by nature, which of course is ridiculous. I think there’s some kind of decision being made. I believe in a higher force – if we want to call it God, then it’s God.”

Scott further revealed in his Vanity Fair interview about the opening scene in “Alien: Covenant”, “We start Covenant with a really clever prologue that settles—once and for all—who David really is.” The sequence begins on a “big beautiful blue eye—you see every vein” and over that shot audiences will hear footsteps approach. “How do you feel?” a voice asks. “Alive,” the owner of the eye responds. Scott explains that the prologue reveals Guy Pearce’s Prometheus character, Peter Weyland, as a younger, 40-year-old man whom the newly-born David calls “father.” Scott promises this sequence will “really get people going because it’s fucking smart for a change.”

“Alien: Covenant” opens May 10, 2017 in theaters nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Chris Pratt slays as Star-Lord in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

Chris Pratt inhabits Peter Quill aka Star-Lord anew in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as he faces a family issue that he is compelled to resolve—his true parentage. Pratt reprises the role that propelled him into Marvel fandom and leading-man status.

Having now saved the galaxy once, the half-human intergalactic adventurer known as Star-Lord is newly famous and keenly aware of it. When the Guardians’ newfound notoriety brings Quill’s long-lost father back into his life, his bond with the other Guardians will be put to the test.

On casting Chris Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill, director-writer James Gunn says, “When I was auditioning Star-Lord the first time around I was looking for somebody who’d come in, do everything that was on the page, do it well, do it in a funny way, but also give that a little something extra that made Peter Quill a little bit of a different character. And Chris came in and did that immediately. Chris is a very unique movie star in that he is a combination of being a big, masculine guy but also a very vulnerable guy. He has a vulnerability that the classic movie stars hint at, whether it’s Humphrey Bogart or Gary Cooper. Chris really brings that to life on the screen, and I think that’s what makes him a truly modern-day movie star.”

For Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy afforded him the vehicle to showcase both his comedic and physical talents in a way that he had not been able to do on film. “What appealed to me the most about this character was the opportunity to add my own personal brand of humor into it,” comments Pratt. “This was something that I knew I could do that was unique to me, and I had been dying for an opportunity to do that. I wanted to do something that was both comedic and physical. This role is a comfortable space to do that. What is so exciting to me is that I can just do the best version of my best stuff with Star-Lord.”

Describing where we find Peter Quill in the new story, Gunn relates, “As you know, the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is about Peter’s relationship to his mother and coming to terms with that. The second movie is about Peter Quill’s relationship to his father and his other fatherly figures. Yondu is obviously a fatherly figure to him. And then he meets his actual father, Ego, played by Kurt Russell, who is in a lot of ways everything he wanted. He is coming to terms with things. His feelings of abandonment, how he feels about his real father’s life, which is very different from his own, etc.”

Pratt offers insight on the importance of Peter’s quest to find his true parentage. “Quill is desperate to know who his dad is and dreamed his whole life that his dad was somebody special, somebody important, somebody cool,” says Pratt. “So when Quill finally meets his bigger-than-life father, who’s been searching for him, it fills this giant void that he’s had in his heart his whole life.”

In the course of the film, Quill finds himself reexamining his relationship with Yondu as well. “Of course, he’s always looked at Yondu, who abducted him, as being the guy who threatened to eat him or was hard on him,” Pratt says. “But he learns through the course of this film that the relationship is more of a father/son dynamic than he could’ve ever expected to get from anyone else.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 also stars Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Tommy Flanagan as Tulik, Laura Haddock as Meredith Quill, with Sylvester Stallone as Stakar, and Kurt Russell as Ego.

Opening across the Philippines on April 26, 2017, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is distributed in the Philippines by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

PH cinemas to screen only Filipino films via ‘Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino’ on Aug 16-22

In honor of the Buwan ng Wika, the Film Development Council of the Philippines is partnering with commercial theaters to exclusively screen Filipino films nationwide on August 16-22, 2017 dubbed as Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

“Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino will be a big celebration of Filipino films for our audience – a festivity with a wide variety of genre films to choose from nationwide,” said FDCP Chair and CEO Liza Diño. “We are grateful for the support and partnership of the National Cinema Association of the Philippines and SM Lifestyle Entertainment have graciously dedicated over seven hundred (700) of their screens for the Pista. This really is an incredible opportunity for our Filipino audience to reconnect with meaningful Filipino films that move and appeal to them in an exclusive platform,” she added.

The event is open to all Filipino filmmakers who may submit films on or before June 15, 2017. Ten (10) to twelve (12) films will be selected by a Selection Committee headed by the FDCP with genres ranging from family-oriented, to romantic comedy, horror, fantasy, and even historical films that emulate Filipino sensibilities and culture. Each film will be screened at a minimum of sixty (60) theaters.

In addition to the screenings, Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino will include caravans, audience surveys and forums to maximize the participation of film stakeholders, especially for the audience.

For more information, filmmakers may email FDCP at chairliza@fdcp.ph.