Live-action ‘Death Note: Light Up the New World’ to hit PH cinemas

The highly-anticipated manga film adaptation “Death Note: Light Up the New World” is an interesting follow up to the original three Death Note films. The story takes place 10 years later since two geniuses fought the battle of intelligence and now, six different notebooks fell down on Earth.

The film simultaneously takes place in Shibuya, Wall Street and Russia where authorities are on high alert with Death Note killings taking place while a world renowned private investigator, Ryuzaki (Sosuke Ikematsu), joins the Task Force. He is regarded as a successor to L and it is him who figures out that there are six Death notes this time.

The unexplained deaths started when Light Yagami aka Kira, a Japanese college student found a mysterious notebook, Death Note that revealed that if a person will die if his name is written in the notebook. He used the Death Note on fugitives to punish them making him one of the most wanted serial killers by the authorities. Until a well-known detective named L stopped him at the cost of his own life.

In the latest movie “Death Note: Light Up the New World”, havoc is once again created when Death puts his Death Note in the mortal world again. The Death Note Task Force, originally set up by police officer Soichiro Yagami, is reinstated. Their office is in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. With Yagami dead, the Task Force is made up of five investigators including Tsukuru Mishima (Mashima Higashide) who is well versed on the Death Note incident, and Touta Matsuka (Sota Aoyama) who is the only one from the original Task Force.

As the investigation continues, a computer virus called “Kira virus” spreads across the world. The virus comes with a message, “Attention Death Note owners, turn your notebook in to me immediately”. But once all six Death Notes were possessed by one individual, the person would have the ability to rule the world. A fight ensues between those who wish for the second coming of Kira and those who oppose the evil plan.

“Death Note: Light Up the New World” opens in cinemas nationwide on March 15 from Pioneer Films.

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Ice Cube plays teacher-from-hell in comedy film ‘Fist Fight’

An award winning actor, director, producer and music icon, Ice Cube has established himself as one of entertainment’s most accomplished, bankable, relevant and prolific figures, both on and off the screen.

Now, Ice Cube heads the cast of New Line Cinema’s outrageous comedy Fist Fight as one of the two teachers about to come to blows.

Cube relates, “When I first got the script for ‘Fist Fight,’ I was like, ‘Yo, this is what you go to the movies for; it’s the kind of film that you can just have fun with.’ “It’s like one of those movies where you have a ticking time bomb, but the time bomb here is my character, Ron Strickland.”

On the last day of the school year, mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst outrageous senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration and budget cuts that are putting his job on the line just as his wife is expecting their second baby.

But things go from bad to worse when Campbell crosses the school’s toughest and most feared teacher, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), causing Strickland to be fired. To Campbell’s shock—not to mention utter terror—Strickland responds by challenging him to a fist fight after school. News of the fight spreads like wildfire as Campbell takes ever more desperate measures to avoid getting the crap beaten out of him. But if he actually shows up and throws down, it may end up being the very thing this school, and Andy Campbell, needed.

After penning the most memorable lyrics on NWA’s groundbreaking songs “Straight Outta Compton” and “F**k Tha Police,” Ice Cube left the group at the peak of its popularity to pursue one of the most successful careers in music history. As a solo recording artist, he has sold more than 10 million albums while remaining one of rap’s most respected and influential artists. Most recently, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with his group NWA.

In 1991, Cube made his acting debut with a lead role in the critically acclaimed and Academy Award-nominated feature Boyz n the Hood. Since then, he has become one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood with film credits that include Friday, Three Kings, and xXx: State of the Union, as well as the Barbershop, Are We There Yet?, Ride Along and 21 Jump Street franchises, to name just a few.

In addition, he wrote and directed The Players Club, and wrote and produced The Janky Promoters. As a television producer, Cube Vision took the Barbershop and Are We There Yet? series to successful network runs and also enjoyed success with the controversial Black. White.

More recently, Cube helped inspire and also produced the feature Straight Outta Compton, which was acclaimed by critics and audiences. The film held the #1 spot at the box office three weekends in a row, going on to gross over $200 million dollars on a mere budget of $28 million. In addition, it received numerous awards and accolades, including nominations from the Academy Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Producer Guild of America Awards, Writers Guild of America Awards and Golden Globes. It also won Best Picture at the NAACP Image Awards, the True Story Award at the MTV Movie Awards, and many more.

Together, his movies have grossed more than a billion dollars at the box office.

Cube is currently gearing up for the television debut of the Cube Vision-produced Hip Hop Squares on VH1 in January 2017. He will also be honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Summer 2017.

Now showing across Philippine cinemas, Fist Fight is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

MOVIE REVIEW: Arrival (2017)

I must admit, I’m such a big fan of La La Land even before it hit local scenes, that I almost forgot that there are other interesting movies coming to theaters thereon. When Damien Chazelle’s followup to Whiplash was finally shown in the cinemas just last month, I managed to watch it 11 times as if magic has already lured me to return again and again. The musical romantic drama film is indeed captivating. The songs stuck in my head, its visual spectacle as awesome as the first time. Arrival, on the other hand, is a different case. Despite prior critical acclaims, I was not as excited to see it, simply because “alien invasion” sounds too worn-out for me. Much to my surprise, I had no idea that Arrival is the kind of movie that will make me forget La La Land (and all of the 11 times I saw it), or any other recent favorite for that matter.

In Arrival, the help of linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is sought by the military when twelve seedpod-shaped spaceships suddenly appeared on random location across the Earth. She is teamed up with physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and they station at the nearest landing site in Montana. As supervised by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) and CIA Agent Halpern (Michael Sthulbarg), their goal is to determine what the aliens want. Adams showcases a character to be hold onto and to be cared for, with Renner’s comforting personality on the side.

Director Dennis Villeneuve proves yet again that he has the knack in his craft, more evident as ever after Enemy and Sicario (both of which are outstanding as well). Based on the short story, Story of your Life by Ted Chiang, Arrival is adapted to screen by Eric Heisserer who highlighted the importance of visual cues and actions to give hints and plant seeds that are to be harvested as the story progresses. What the two created in Arrival is a movie to be remembered, not as an alien movie but as one good example of how to break the stereotype in alien sci-fi subgenre. This time around, it is not about the usual destructive nature of close encounters with aliens. The key word here is communication. For guman beings or otherwise, communication is the best tool to make things possible and workable. But one big question remains: is it really the intention of the large spider-like seven-legged aliens they referred to as heptapods?

This all goes back to the very start of the movie. The introduction is a fascinating prelude to its ending piece inasmuch as this same ending is a riveting starting point that could lead back to the movie’s first few minutes. Focus is much needed to fully comprehend what the story is all about. It is indeed a simple story that tackles various personal issues including fear of the unknown and facing consequences. A repeat viewing could also work wonders in filling in the gaps that would appear as though intended to make the audience crave for more. Why are they here? Why are we all here?

Matt Reeves to direct, produce ‘The Batman’

Burbank, CA – February 23, 2017 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Cloverfield”) has been set to direct “The Batman.” Reeves will also serve as a producer on the new standalone action adventure centering on one of DC’s most enduringly popular Super Heroes. The announcement was made by Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Emmerich stated, “We are thrilled to have Matt Reeves taking the helm of Batman, the crown jewel of our DC slate. Matt’s deep roots in genre films and his evolution into an emotional world-building director make him the perfect filmmaker to guide the Dark Knight through this next journey.”

Matt Reeves noted, “I have loved the Batman story since I was a child. He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply. I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen.”

Batman was created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.

“The Batman” will be distributed worldwide by WPLarner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

‘Logan: The Wolverine’ to have midnight screenings in PH cinemas

Responding to the fever-pitch anticipation of Hugh Jackman’s “Logan”, the most eager of cineastes who want to see it first can finally catch the movie on its midnight screenings (12:01am) set on March 1, Wednesday in Philippine theatres nationwide (check your nearest favorite theatres).

Starring Hugh Jackman in the title role, “Logan” is directed by James Mangold that also stars a powerhouse of a cast that includes Patrick Stewart, Boy Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant and newcomer Dafne Keen. A standalone story that sees Jackman in the final chapter of his Wolverine alter-ego, the movie brings the iconic hero at a crossroads that will finally define his destiny.

The film takes place more than 50 years after the events depicted in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and is its own standalone tale that plays more like an intimate family journey but is also packed with high-stakes action scenes. When the film opens, Logan is in a vulnerable and broken state, the curse of his immortality wearing heavy on him as he cares for a weakened Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in a derelict smelting plant at the edge of an abandoned oil field. They’re joined there by a third mutant, Caliban (The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant), sheltering in obscurity at a time when the world believes mutants have passed into history.

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But Logan’s days of drinking in relative solitude are interrupted when he finds himself the reluctant guardian of a young girl, Laura (Keen) who has powers remarkably like his own, from her hands as well as her feet spring the same adamantium claws as Wolverine’s. Not that he’s exactly eager to accept this newfound responsibility—he’s far too weary to play the hero once more.

Tasked with protecting her from the murderous cybernetic criminal Donald Pierce (Holbrook), Logan and Professor X set out to cross hostile territory to ferry Laura to a place called Eden, where young mutants are said to enjoy safe haven. But Pierce and his fearsome army of cyborg Reavers are determined to return the girl to the custody of Dr. Zander Rice (Grant), the sinister geneticist behind Alkali who triggered her mutations through a series of inhumane experiments in the hopes of creating a child super-soldier.

“Logan” further unleashes its claws a few hours after its midnight screenings (with more screens) on March 1 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. Also available in IMAX (2D) screens. The movie is rated R-16 by the MTRCB.

Nine Filipino films make it to Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017

An impressive nine (9) Filipino films will be participating in the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017, three (3) of which are part of the main competition section.

Jerrold Tarog’s Bliss, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Kita Kita, and Borgy Torre’s Tisay are part of the competition section and will compete with thirteen (13) other Asian films for the Grand Prix and Most Promising Talent awards. Meanwhile, Mario Cornejo’s Apocalypse Child will be featured in the In & Out of Work: Looking at Asia through the Prism of Employment Special Program. Finally, the special program featuring new movements in film will include Samantha Lee’s Baka Bukas, Mikhail Red’s Birdshot, Mihk Vergara’s Patintero: The Legend of Meng the Loser, Bradley Liew’sSinging in Graveyards, and Avid Liongoren’sSaving Sally.

“We are very proud with the incredible turnout of selected Filipino participants [of the Osaka Asian Film Fest] this year. As more of our own are featured in international festivals, they bring with them the unique voice and artistic culture of our country and it just really is a proud moment for them. We want them to know that FDCP is here to support them in any way it can,” said FDCP Chair Liza Diño. FDCP will be coordinating with the Philippine Consulate in Osaka, Japan to give assistance to the Festival participants.

The Osaka Asian Film Festival will be held on March 3-12, 2017 in Osaka, Japan.

From ‘The Ring’ director comes mind-boggling psycho thriller ‘A Cure for Wellness’

From visionary director, Gore Verbinski, “A Cure for Wellness” is a chilling and mind-bending psychological thriller. Embarking on the movie, Verbinski wanted to make a thriller with the depth, insight and power of classics in the genre that he admired, such as “The Shining” (Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film), “Don’t Look Now” (Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film) and “Rosemary’s Baby” (Roman Polanski’s 1968 film). The idea of a quick fix cure, together with society’s malaise and the obsession with perfect health were topics that fascinated Verbinski, whose films include the hugely successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and the Academy Award® winning animated film, “Rango”.

Dane DeHaan stars as Lockhart in “A Cure for Wellness”, a driven Wall Street stockbroker who is sent by his firm to a remote alpine medical spa. Lockhart is on a mission to retrieve the company’s CEO, Pembroke (Harry Groener), a patient at the spa, who has told his staff that he has no intention of returning to New York. Lockhart arrives at the tranquil sanitarium where the residents are supposedly receiving a miracle cure. In fact though, they seem to be getting sicker. As he investigates the dark and baffling secrets behind the spa, he meets a young woman, the hauntingly beautiful Hannah (Mia Goth), a patient herself. He also gets to know another patient, the eccentric Mrs. Watkins, played by Celia Imrie, who has done some detective work of her own. Soon, Lockhart is diagnosed with the same condition as the other patients by the institution’s director, the ominous Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs), and finds that he is trapped in the alpine retreat. Lockhart begins to lose his grip on reality and has to endure unimaginable ordeals during the course of his own ‘treatment’.

“We started exploring the notion of a health spa in the Alps, a wellness center that doesn’t actually make you well,” says Verbinski, “and it slowly evolved from there. It became pretty clear to us that this was going to be a genre piece, and we started playing around with the concept of inevitability. It’s the sense that there is a sickness, a sort of black spot on your x-ray that won’t go away!”

One of Hollywood’s most exciting young actors, the gifted and charismatic Dane DeHaan (“Kill Your Darlings”, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, “Life”) was thrilled about taking on the role of Lockhart and working with Verbinski. “To listen to Gore’s vision and hear how passionate he was about it, and then to read the script and understand what a challenging role it was—that was irresistible,” says DeHaan. “My character goes through so much in this film, it’s crazy. And this was an opportunity to work with a great filmmaker.”

The evocative world created by Gore and his gifted team, the treatments that the patients undergo at Volmer’s spa, and the dramatic tension throughout the film, combine to create a gripping and terrifying cinematic experience. Like the best films in the genre, “A Cure for Wellness” leaves the audience unsettled and unnerved, questioning the darker side of human nature. It’s the kind of unease that lingers long after the closing credits have rolled. “It’s like people telling ghost stories around a campfire,” says Verbinski, explaining why moviegoers enjoy watching an engrossing psychological thriller.

“It’s almost like a huge roller coaster, but the film is also asking a lot of important questions,” comments DeHaan. “At times, you are really feeling terrified. But if you are in a communal setting like a theater, you know you are safe and you know that what is happening on screen is completely removed from reality.”

“A Cure For Wellness” is now showing in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox as distributed by Warner Bros. Rated R-16 by the local censors board (MTRCB).

WATCH: ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ reveals epic scope in new trailer

The full trailer has now arrived for Guy Ritchie’s adrenalin-fueled epic fantasy take on the Arthurian legends with Warner Bros. Pictures’ sweeping fantasy action adventure King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Check out the new trailer below and watch King Arthur: Legend of the Sword in Philippine cinemas starting May 17, 2017.

The film stars Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Oscar nominee Jude Law, and Eric Bana. Ritchie directs the film from a screenplay by Joby Harold and Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, story by Joby Harold.

The bold new story introduces a streetwise young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium with his gang, unaware of the life he was born for until he grasps hold of the sword Excalibur—and with it, his future. Instantly challenged by the power of Excalibur, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern, who stole his crown and murdered his parents, and become King.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Mel Gibson guns for Oscar Best Director prize with ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

With films that span from the classic, Oscar Best Picture-winning Braveheart to The Patriot, We Were Soldiers, The Passion of the Christ and his most recently directed film, the Mayan civilization epic Apocalypto, Mel Gibson has become known for meshing big themes with atmospheric style that takes audiences into revealing worlds.

Now, Mel Gibson’s re-creates with a mesmerizing realism the epic combat that saw the true-to-life heroism of Desmond Doss in the World War II action-thriller, Hacksaw Ridge.

Nominated for eight Oscar Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, Hacksaw Ridge centers on the story of Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), a Seventh-day Adventist who became an army medic while adhering to his religious convictions of not carrying a weapon. He saved 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

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For producer Bill Mechanic, Gibson was always the ultimate choice to direct Hacksaw Ridge. “The script felt to me almost like a companion piece to Braveheart,” comments the producer. “It pulls together the same themes of faith, violence and war, though it’s a very different story about a man from a very different time and background. To me, what also sets Mel apart as a contemporary filmmaker is how experiential his filmmaking is, how visceral the storytelling is in his films. He’s become a consummate director. He’s equally great with characters, with actors, with the camera and the editing process and with giving audiences a new experience.”

Gibson saw in Hacksaw Ridge a chance to bring into the light a forgotten hero – and he was drawn to Desmond Doss as man who determined to find a way to live by the values that meant everything to him, even when they seemed in conflict with the whole world around him.

Says Gibson: “Desmond Doss abhorred violence, it was against his principles, his religious beliefs, but he wanted to serve his country in World War II as a medic. How does somebody go into the worst place on earth without a weapon? It was all the more compelling to me, because it was a true story, and I thought I could bring my visual language to it.”

Gibson notes that Doss never called himself a conscientious objector. That was the army’s term. Instead, he called himself a “conscientious co-operator,” believing with unflagging tenacity that he had plenty to contribute without having to kill other human beings.

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“He was a co-operator in the sense that he passionately wanted to join the war effort, but he wanted to enter it as someone aiming not to take life but to save it,” says Gibson. “Still, you have to ask, what kind of madman goes into that kind of a conflagration seen on Okinawa without being armed? Doss defied what anyone could have expected from that situation. Somebody mentioned to me that the Congressional Medal of Honour is usually given to people who have a singular moment where they make a snap decision and do one heroic thing. One of the things that stood out to me about Desmond is that in Okinawa, this guy was heroic 24/7, for a whole month. He took heroism to another level not often seen.”

Mechanic notes that when it came to the battle sequences, Gibson zeroed right in on the most essential and creative details. “Mel has such an eye for war action, I feel he was the real creator of all the battle sequences, regardless of who wrote the scenes,” says the producer.

Yet even in the most frenetic action, Gibson wanted the humanity of the character to hold sway. He says of the battle sequences: “The important part was to give you the sense that this is the worst place anyone has ever seen, which it was for these men. And here’s Desmond, this guy you’ve hopefully come to know and to love, thrown into this terrible place where he will finally see how measures up to the standards he has set for himself.”

Hacksaw Ridge opens February 22, 2017 in Philippine cinemas.

History’s greatest women behind the Apollo missions star in ‘Hidden Figures’

Everyone knows about the Apollo missions. We can all immediately list the bold male astronauts who took those first giant steps for humankind in space: John Glenn, Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong. Yet, remarkably, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson’s are names not taught in school or even known to most people — even though their daring, smarts and powerful roles as NASA’s ingenious “human computers” were indispensable to advances that allowed for human space flight. These women are the unsung and unlikely heroes of the space race –female mathematicians who blazed multiple trails, trails towards greater diversity in science, equality in America, for human mathematical achievement and to launch John Glenn into mesmerizing orbit at more than 17,000 miles per hour as he circled three times around the globe in space.

“Hidden Figures” uncovers the incredible, untold yet true story of a brilliant group of women who changed the foundations of the country for the better — by aiming for the stars. The film recounts the vital history of an elite team of black female mathematicians at NASA who helped win the all-out space race against America’s rivals in the Soviet Union and, at the same time, sent the quest for equal rights and opportunity rocketing forwards.

At last, the story of a visionary trio of women who crossed gender, race and professional lines on their way to pioneering cosmic travel comes to the screen starring Oscar®-nominee Taraji P. Henson (Empire, Benjamin Button, Hustle And Flow), Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer (Allegiant, Fruitvale Station, The Help), singer Janelle Monáe making her motion picture debut and two time Oscar® winner Kevin Costner (Black Or White, Field Of Dreams, Dancing With Wolves).

For Katherine G. Johnson (Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Monae), the chance to use their knowledge, passion and skills opened up just as the demands of World War II were shifting the nation’s social fabric. Faced with a daunting shortage of male scientists and mathematicians and with new laws prohibiting racial discrimination, defense contractors and Federal Agencies began seeking out women and African-Americans with the skills to keep pushing essential research onwards.

“This story takes place at the collision of the Cold War, the space race, the Jim Crow south, and the birth of the Civil Rights movement. It is incredible territory for a rich and powerful story few people know about at all,” says director Ted Melfi.

“Now we know there were amazing women behind how John Glenn came to orbit the earth in space — we finally get to hear their story. I think the story is beautiful and important. It is amazing that these women, not only black women, but white women too, have been erased out of history. We’ve seen women play politicians, lawyers and doctors in films. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black female scientist or mathematician, so I thought, ‘Wow, what an opportunity to give young girls something else to aspire to. These women were thinkers with brilliant minds. Right now with social media, the options for young people are becoming quite shallow and limited; so I think certain things happen naturally, when it’s time; when they are needed. I think right now this film is relevant not just for girls of color, for girls, period. For everyone.” adds Taraji P. Henson.

“Hidden Figures” opens February 22, 2017 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.