Shooting begins on action comedy ‘Game Night’ starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams

Principal photography is underway on New Line Cinema’s action comedy “Game Night,” starring Jason Bateman (the “Horrible Bosses” films, TV’s “Arrested Development”) and Oscar nominee Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight,” “Dr. Strange”). Filming began on location in Atlanta, Georgia, under the direction of Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, marking their second film as co-directors following “Vacation.”

Joining Bateman and McAdams in the cast are Billy Magnussen (“Bridge of Spies,” TV’s “American Crime Story”), Sharon Horgan (Amazon’s “Catastrophe”), Lamorne Morris (TV’s “New Girl”), Jesse Plemons (“Black Mass,” TV’s “Fargo”), Kylie Bunbury (TV’s “Pitch,” “Under the Dome”), Michael Cyril Creighton (“Spotlight”) and Kyle Chandler (“Manchester by the Sea,” TV’s “Bloodline”).

Bateman and McAdams star as Max and Annie, whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks (Chandler), arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all part of the game…right? But as the six uber-competitive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they begin to discover that neither this “game”—nor Brooks—are what they seem to be. Over the course of one chaotic night, the friends find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they’ve ever had…or game over.

Goldstein and Daley are directing the film from an original screenplay by Mark Perez (“Accepted”). John Davis (“Joy”) and Jason Bateman are producing, with Marc S. Fischer, John Fox and James Garavente serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Barry Peterson (“Central Intelligence,” “We’re the Millers”), Oscar-nominated production designer Michael Corenblith (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Apollo 13”), editors Jamie Gross (“Vacation”) and David Egan, and costume designer Debra McGuire (“Vacation,” “Ted”).

“Game Night” is a New Line Cinema presentation and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.


GUIDE: Swiss Film Festival 2017

The first Swiss Film Festival will run on April 28-30, 2017 and May 5-7, 2017 at Cinema 4 of Shang Cineplex, Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City. The event is open to the public. Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Featuring the following films:

  • Heidi (2015)
  • Rascals on the Road (2005)
  • Vitus (2006)

Screening Schedules

Heidi (2015)

Based on the biggest bestselling Swiss novel written in the 1880’s by Johanna Spyri, Heidi is the classic story about a young orphan girl living with her grandfather Alm in the Alps. Heidi’s Aunt Dete then whisks her away to Frankfurt to live in an upper-class household and serve as the companion of the wheelchair-bound child Klara. A fish out of water in a strange new city, Heidi becomes lonesome and falls ill with homesickness leading her to go back home to the mountains. Klara then visits Heidi one Summer which causes Heidi’s friend Peter to become terribly jealous.

Rascals on the Road (2005)

Mein Name ist Eugen also known as Rascals on the Road is another film based on a popular 1955 children’s book by Swiss author Klaus Schädelin. It’s the story of four little rascals told through the eyes of 12-year old Eugen. Eugen and his three friends go on a quest to follow the footsteps of “the biggest rascal of all time” Fritzli Bühler and to search for long lost treasure. Their sudden disappearance leads their parents to follow them and as the boys continue their rambunctious journey to Zurich, they begin to doubt if Fritzli Bühler even exists at all.

Vitus (2006)

Vitus is a 12-year old piano prodigy whose parents, though they mean well, suffocate him with their big and ambitious dreams for him. All Vitus wants is to live a life like an ordinary kid, so he decides to rebel and chase his own dreams instead with the help of his eccentric grandfather who loves flying.

‘Fast & Furious 8’ breaks records with P110-M opening gross in PH, global bow at $532.5-M

MANILA, April 17, 2017 – Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious 8 smashed global box office records, earning $532.5 million worldwide to set a new high-water mark for an opening weekend.

Watch the new Fast & Furious 8 spot below.

The action thriller debuted with $432.3 million internationally after bowing in 63 foreign markets; and a solid $100.2-million in North America.

In the Philippines, the Vin Diesel-Dwayne Johnson blockbuster opened at No.1 with a two-day weekend gross of P110-million. Said figure towers as the biggest weekend ever for the Fast & Furious franchise, surpassing the P98-M bow of 2015’s Fast & Furious 7.

The ode to fast cars and family opened in the Philippines last Saturday, April 15, with an unstoppable P56-M and new record as the highest opening day for a Fast & Furious movie (beating 7’s P48-M first-day gross).

Saturday’s receipts was also the biggest opening day of the year so far, as well the best first day gross for a Universal Pictures title in history.

About Fast & Furious 8

On the heels of 2015’s Fast & Furious 7, one of the fastest movies to reach $1 billion worldwide and the sixth-biggest global title in box-office history, comes the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time: Fast & Furious 8.

Now that Dom and Letty are married and Brian and Mia have retired from the game—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before.

From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, our elite force will crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos on the world’s stage…and to bring home the man who made them a family.

Fast & Furious 8 features a returning all-star cast, as well as a star-studded array of newcomers to this world – Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Helen Mirren, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Scott Eastwood with Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron.

Now playing across the Philippines, Fast & Furious 8 is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.


Oscar winner Octavia Spencer part of dream cast in ‘Gifted’

When you’re an Oscar winner, no one expects you to show up on the set most every day – even when you’re not working – but that’s what Octavia Spencer did on “Gifted” where she co-stars with an impressive cast led by Chris Evans, Grace McKenna, Jenny Slate and Lindsay Duncan.

“Gifted” is directed by Marc Webb, known for his dreamy romantic hit “500 Days of Summer.” In “Gifted,” Webb once again gives another heartfelt movie about a single man raising his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in a coastal town in Florida. But Mary is a brilliant child prodigy and Frank’s intention that she lead a normal life are thwarted when the seven-year-old’s command of mathematics comes to the attention of his formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan)—a wealthy Bostonian whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Mary and Frank. As family tensions and disconnections flare, uncle and niece find support in Roberta (Octavia Spencer), their protective landlady and best friend, and Mary’s teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate), a young woman whose concern for her student soon develops into a relationship with her uncle as well.

“I don’t think there’s a single member of the crew she didn’t reach out to and make laugh on a daily basis. producer Karen Lunder says of the actress who personified the character of Roberta. “She brought warmth and humor to this pivotal role. She’s also the one person who knows Frank almost better than himself. Most importantly, Roberta is the comic relief, which comes out of her relationship with Frank. She’s always giving him the business, but she’s also deeply emotional. You care so much about Roberta and worry whether she will be able to continue to have the relationship with Mary.”

Spencer recalls what attracted her to the role, “What intrigues me about Roberta is that her relationship with Frank and Mary is an integral part of the story. She’s a surrogate mom to the girl and to this habitually single guy, she’s a sister and a mom, whatever the relationship requires. If I were to describe the anatomy of GIFTED, Mary would be the heart, Frank would be the muscle and the sinew and Roberta would be the spine. It all works wonderfully together and that’s why it resonated with me on so many levels.”

Ultimately, Roberta discovers the power she does have in this untraditional family unit: “You realize that these people coexist in a way that is very much family. They need each other. Frank has a very tough decision to make, and when he makes that decision he asks Roberta for help. I really love that the end of the movie starts the same way as the beginning, with Frank and Roberta’s relationship.”

“Gifted” opens May 3, 2017 in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox as distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

WATCH: Heroes turn villains in new ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ trailer

The new, global trailer of Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: The Last Knight has just dropped, and may viewed below.

The fifth instalment of the massively successful Transformers franchise is coming to Philippine theatres on June 21, 2017,

In the film, when all seems lost, a few brave souls can save everything we’ve ever known.

Directed by Michael Bay,The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock).

There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours.

Transformers: The Last Knight is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ reveals more teaser posters

Fresh from revealing a teaser poster yesterday, Columbia Pictures has now released two more teaser one-sheets for the new action-adventure Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The new posters continue to situate Tom Holland as Spider-Man in New York – the first poster shows him hanging from a green Brooklyn sign, while the second has him lying down in a yellow jacket with the Manhattan skyline (including the Avengers Tower) in the background.

Check out the posters below and and watch Spider-Man: Homecoming when it opens in Philippine cinemas on July 7, 2017.

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man, who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, with Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Talented newcomer McKenna Grace takes titular role in ‘Gifted’

An impressive ensemble of actors led by Chris Evans along with Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, Lindsay Duncan and Jenny Slate support young multi-talented actress McKenna Grace as she takes on the titular role in director Marc Webb’s “Gifted.”

Evans plays Frank Adler, uncle and guardian of Mary (Grace) in “Gifted” who both lead normal lives until Evelyn (Duncan), Frank’s mom and Mary’s grandmother, decides to take custody of her grandchild. Frank’s sister entrusted him to raise Mary after she died for fear that her daughter might also be subjected to the pressures she’s been through as a prodigy. But as soon as Evelyn finds out about Mary’s intellectual state, Frank finds himself in a custody battle to keep Mary under his care.

On finding the right child-actor, director Webb insists there was a good reason for the massive search: “I couldn’t have made “Gifted” unless I found the right Mary Adler. It was the biggest hurdle to making the movie. There’s an emotional depth and sophistication you don’t see very often in an actor, but for a child, that’s a level of
virtuosity that is incredibly rare.”

Mckenna remembers it was very stressful meeting Marc Webb for the first time. “They had given me the wrong sides (scenes) to read, so he just gave them to me in the hallway. I had five minutes to memorize them. But once the audition was over, we just talked and had a fun time. I wanted this movie more than any movie I’ve ever wanted.” She says that she and Webb “had an amazing connection together. He was the perfect director for this job because we needed someone with a big, caring, loving, heart. He let me take my time when there was a crying scene. I would walk in, and he’d sit by the camera and he would cry with me, so then I didn’t really feel alone.”

Mckenna says she also learned a lot from working with Evans. “He was very focused on the set, and sometimes he would sit down and help me with my script.” Evans treated her “more like a friend, like he treats Mary. I really like that he treated me that way, except he did try not to say bad words around me.”

Mckenna proves that she has a different kind of perspective, genius or not. When asked what the message in “Gifted” means to her, she gives a most moving and simple answer: “At the end of the day, no one can tell you if your family is perfect or not. You may just have a mom, or you may just live with your daddy, or two moms and two dads, or you may live with your grandparents, or you may have an uncle like Mary does. People say that the perfect family has to have a mom and dad, a big amazing house and a lot of money. But as long as you have a loving, caring person that you live with, then I think that’s perfect for you.”

“Gifted” opens May 3, 2017 in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox as distributed by Warner Bros.

MOVIE REVIEW: Noah (2014)

In spite of being in the hands of a capable artist, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah (2014) proves to be a misfire in terms of its purpose, creating a miscalculated conversation between the uncalled-for tension of faith and intellect.

It’s hard to put a rationale in a tale that’s based on a parable driven by fantasy and myth. The fiction element of the bible is the reason why it has been preserved with universal moral value, without questioning its integrity and believability, earning the faith from the believers and the respect from the skeptics. The biggest issue with Noah is that it tries so hard to give a rationale to a story that isn’t supposed to be rationalized. That being said, it gave unnecessary conflict, almost as if it’s a faith vs. common sense game. Ultimately, it unintentionally pictures religion as a form of madness instead of a respectable spiritual concept. Thus, Noah’s actions have been oftentimes portrayed as villainous instead of heroic, as all other characters start to question his intentions and sanity. It highlights so much on how the silence of God’s message to mankind becomes lost in translation, and ultimately blurry, leaving everyone with their own version of subjective judgment. Thus, the divide of opinion becomes a series of tumultuous miscommunication between the chosen one and his subordinates. For a parable, the least you can offer is a tale of incomprehension of one’s faith.

On a technical perspective, the film is generous of its CGI effects. Perhaps, too abundant, that oftentimes it seems that it’s a video game than a biblical story. The overblown special effects overshadow the film’s merit in almost the first half of the film.

Aronofsky’s vanity to his project spews so much in so many sequences where he tried to use his Requiem for a Dream technique of rapid succession of images, giving that avant garde vibe — something that I find unnecessary for this material. Occasionally an existentialist thriller, sometimes Transformers, minimally The Bible, oftentimes The Tree of Life — this proves to be Aronofsky’s weakest and most inconsistent direction in his career.

The cast is good, particularly Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly, but even their OK performances aren’t enough to lift these derailed characters out of the film’s confused narrative.

Overall, Noah isn’t the best from Aronofsky, and perhaps is one of the weaker biblical adaptations to be done on screen. Maybe, the best way to tell a story directly from an iconic biblical tale is to tell it as is — no more rock monsters, no more incestuous creation-of-life twists, no more evil images from a supposed faithful and renowned hero. Tell it as it is.

2 out of 5 stars

Trinity University of Asia’s 3rd Platinum Stallion Media Awards set on April 22

The Media and Communication Department of the College of Arts and Sciences of Trinity University of Asia will once again give recognition to various media practitioners, celebrities and media organizations in the Platinum Stallion Media Awards (PSMA) 2017. The theme for this year’s award is “Glam World”. The University is giving them recognition because of the relevant inspiration rendered to the creative thinking, intellectual gratitude and social growth of the Trinitian community through their outstanding contribution in the media industry.

The awarding ceremonies will be held at the University Theater on the 22nd of April from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Television and film personalities, other media personalities and network managers, print journalists, as well as talent handlers are expected to come and receive their awards. Country’s premier event stylist Michael Ruiz will set the stage design. Theatre arts and film director Joey Ting will direct the show.

PSMA consists of various media-oriented categories in television, radio, film, advertising, visual arts, and the allied arts. It will also feature the Trinitian Citation Award, which is given to personalities and programs that have exhibited impact and influence on the Trinitian community. Awardees for the Trinitian Citation Award are selected by members of the Media and Communication Department of the University and of the organizing committee.

Also, the University will honor its distinguished alumni who have marked success in the media industry through the Trinitian Media Practitioner Award. Previous awardees are news reporter Yvonne Aquino, news reporter and anchor Raffy Tima, news reporter Rafael Bosano, public relations practitioner Aaron Domingo, singer Bryan Termulo, and singer and actress Jaya Ramsey. This year’s recipients are actress Jean Garcia and actor Ahron Villena.

About the PSMA

PSMA started in 2015 as laboratory requirements in the subject Media Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship for 3rd year students of Broadcasting and Communication Arts taught by Associate Professor Walter H. Yudelmo. Today, PSMA has become an important media award-giving body recognized by different media industries. Evidence of the previous PSMA can be searched through the Internet.

The awardees are annually selected through a university-wide survey participated by students, faculty, non-teaching personnel, alumni and other community members such as parents, janitors, and security guards of Trinity University of Asia.

The 2017 Awardees

This year’s awardees are the following:AWARDS FOR TELEVISION

1. Best Male News Anchor

2. Best Female News Anchor

3. Best Male TV Personality

4. Best Female TV Personality

5. Best Talk Show Host

6. Best Primetime News Program

7. Best Morning Show

8. Best Noontime Show

9. Best Primetime Show

10. Best Drama Anthology

11. Best Variety Show

12. Best Magazine Program

13. Best Documentary Show

14. Best Educational Program

15. Best Gag Show

16. Best Situational Comedy Program

17. Best Game Show

18. Best News Program

19. Best Television Station


20. Best Film Actor
(Die Beautiful)

21. Best Film Actress
(Vince & Kath & James)

22. Best Child Film Actor
(Super Parental Guidance)

23. Best Child Film Actress

24. Best Student-Oriented Film


25. Best Male AM Broadcast Journalist

26. Best Female AM Broadcast Journalist

27. Best AM Radio Station

28. Best FM Radio Program

29. Best Male Radio Disk Jockey

30. Best Female Radio Disk Jockey

31. Best FM Radio Station
102.7 STAR FM


32. Citation for Most Trusted Male Reporter

33. Citation for Most Trusted Broadcast Journalist

34. Citation for Best Public Affairs Program Host

35. Citation for Youth Character Model of the Year

36. Citation for Best Entertainment Program

37. Citation for Best Children Educational Program

38. Citation for Values-Oriented Program

39. Citation for Best Radio Public Affairs Program

40. Citation for Innovative FM Radio Broadcasting
107.5 WISH FM

41. Citation for Musical Outbreak Artist

42. Citation for Best Regional TV Network


43. Best Female Print Journalist
HELEN FLORES (Philippine Star)

44. Best Male Print Journalist
ALEXIS ROMERO (Philippine Star)

45. Best Student-Oriented Magazine

46. Best National Broadsheet


47. Best Online News Outlet


48. Best TV Advertisement
MILO (Energy Gap)


49. Trinitian Media Practitioner for Film

50. Trinitian Media Practitioner for Television

MOVIE REVIEW: Miracles from Heaven (2016)

Miracles from Heaven (Riggen, 2016) suffers from overwhelming melodrama, one dimensional characters, a preachy screenplay and tonal inconsistencies – yet, you’d find yourself grabbing a box of tissues and sobbing your eyes out, endlessly relating to a universal story about faith, despair, tragedy and hope. Now, how does a predictable, average film do that? Quite a miracle.

The narrative itself is a hybrid of the emotional arc from My Sister’s Keeper; the screenplay written in the same archetypal neighborhood to that of Mitch Albom’s novels; visually borrows some of Peter Jackson’s heavenly ideas in The Lovely Bones — these concepts are all hemmed in one rope tied in an arrow, aimed to pierce the heart of the audience – and it did, successfully. However, the biggest issue is that its goal seems to be a lot bolder than the execution itself. The story works because it’s an easy sell – but it could have been a great opportunity to get past the clichés and cheesy dialogues rampant all throughout the film and simply focus on the rawness of a story that has a very humane approach to the concept of faith and miracle. It talks too much, yet hardly shows anything other than the predictable – and it doesn’t know when to stop the sermon.

The characters are nothing but foil. It’s hard to go deep into their emotional and psychological journey when they’re written as thinly as a paper, with nothing but a very aggressive and stereotypical characterization of a sick daughter, a supportive family, and sympathetic neighbors. Something that, I believe, we’ve all seen before. It leaves us craving for something deeper other than the obvious circumstances.

Let me give an example: a particular scene where Abbie (the eldest daughter) missed the opportunity of going to a soccer tryout because her dad (played by Martin Henderson) forgot to take her there, as he was already so consumed with the crisis they were going through. Abbie, of course, was left devastated and hurt as everybody’s else’s attention was on Annabel, the sick daughter. She felt left out, yet she has to stay strong and mature being the eldest one. She wants to be selfless but it’s hard to find the balance of finding your own happiness while your little sister is dying. Deep inside her, she was torn whether to feel guilty for her sister, or to feel bad for herself. Her mind wanders in the deep of the night until she found the courage to face the situation like a young adult by the next day. And oh, that’s just me explaining solely based on my assumptions. That wasn’t shown in the film. It’s hard for me to connect what she felt in that scene, because there wasn’t anything written for her. It was just a monochromatic scene of her being forgotten by her father. There was no back story as to her lifelong interest with soccer; there wasn’t anything that could build up to the father’s deteriorating relationship to her other children – nothing. And that is just a single example.

The film, however, is all about Jennifer Garner’s tour de force performance – perhaps, the best she has ever done in her career. As Christy Beam, she plays a mother juggling risks to save the life of her daughter, while keeping her sanity and faith in check. Her subtle moments are lovely; the way her eyes speak a thousand words of despair, hopelessness while masking it with the façade of strength and stern . Her big emotional scenes were played exactly right – she has managed to be precisely what the tone of the film calls for (despite the inconsistencies of the direction). She commands every scene, and it’s enough to forgive the other flaws of present.

At the end of the day, the film has its good intentions – to bring faith and religion on the foreground by using the unfortunate circumstances of a family suffering from a tragedy. Ultimately, it speaks universally despite the specificity of the trials of the Beam family. And amidst the errors and faults of the film, ultimately it reaches to its target at a bull’s eye – it won’t disappoint when you’re looking for a faith-driven, tear jerker flick.

It works. It’s flawed, but it works.

3 out of 5 stars