‘Avengers: Endgame’ (spoiler-free) review: Marvel’s gratifying finale

‘Avengers: Endgame’ brings pride and joy to the fans who have invested in the MCU franchise, 11 years and 21 movies ago.

After the “snappening” in Infinity War, audiences, myself included, are left with our jaws on the floor as the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) wipes half of the living creatures in the universe. It’s a superhero film where the supervillain wins at the end – it’s far from the crowd-pleasing ending expected, yet it’s something fresh that we can definitely dig. Serving as the culmination to Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3, Avengers: Endgame assembles the surviving heroes one last time to avenge the fallen. The trailers, however, drop very minimal hints. What’s exactly going on in this solid 3-hour film? Are the ‘vanished’ really dead or are they just inside the soul stone? Will time travel through quantum realm be the means to undo their demise? I can neither confirm nor deny these fan speculations in this discussion. One thing I can guarantee for sure, this groundbreaking film exceeds the hype. It even retroactively deepens our love for the previous films. If this isn’t perfection, then I can’t even imagine how to make a more gratifying version than this.

The gang is back. (Half of them anyway). Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd and Scarlett Johansson in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

Whereas the main attraction of Infinity War is its earned fan service spectacle, Endgame surprises as the most emotional and most contemplative MCU film to date. There’s plenty of fuel here – loss, grief and guilt are the prime ones to motivate our core six Avengers. Y’all should know them by now but since this will be their swan songs, I’d mention them anyway. There’s genius inventor Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), super-soldier Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), rage monster Bruce Banner/Hulk, god of thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth), deadly assassin Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and a vengeful marksman Clint Barton/Hawkeye returning from his absence in Infinity War. Rounding up the troop are Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Rhodey/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and newly-minted Avenger, Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely once again deserve high merits for successfully juggling an overwhelming amount of characters, with the OG crew getting the lion’s share of show-stopping moments.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) drifts into space.

The character and ensemble work is better than expected, with every A-lister bringing their A-games to the table. Downey’s subdued grief and reliable cocky screen presence supplies much melancholy and joy. Evans finally gets to play with Cap’s lifetime of regrets from being frozen in ice several years ago. Ruffalo sells both the neurotic scientist and the rampaging Hulk. Hemsworth feels loose and natural as a self-deprecating comic god. Johansson lends an unexpected emotional weight to the film and Renner has so much soulfulness in his eyes. What most trailers don’t show is how much time is devoted to make these characters appeal as more than a team, but rather as each other’s adopted family. By this point, most of us see them as friends. We worry for their safety. We heavily root for them. Genuine emotional connection is the magic that MCU has built all these years.

“Even if there’s a small chance we can undo this, we owe it to everyone that’s not in this room to try.” – Black Widow

Endgame also serves as a testament to the majestic directorial skills of the Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony, in tying up a decade’s worth of storytelling into a poignant and hair-raising climax. The film bears plenty of callbacks from its franchise’s earliest entries, along with a top-notch cinematography and even the frenetic quality of the comic books. It’s emotionally-overwhelming and that’s because Endgame is a layered film at its best. It’s an epic superhero spectacle, an inventive heist, a dramatic tale of courage and loss, and most of all, an exploration of what it means to be a family and a hero. The hearty takeaway is this: heroism is not defined by superhero abilities, but by what one is willing to sacrifice for the greater good.

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) joins the Avengers in ‘Endgame.’

It’s true that Endgame will have a much deeper impact for the diehard fans. With its sense of finality pervading throughout, the film takes its viewers to a roller-coaster of emotions: I was gasping, laughing, crying and cheering (sometimes all at the same time). Its tragic yet uplifting. To say that Marvel has outdone themselves with their carefully crafted emotional beats, thrilling action sequences and heartbreaking farewells, is an understatement. No other movie franchise has done this feat in Hollywood history.

“Let’s go get this son of a b—–.” – Steve Rogers

MCU caps off an era by being more than just 11 years of entertainment. This is the cinematic superhero journey of a generation. Part of that journey is the end but with each ending comes a new beginning. The past is golden and the future looks bright. I give my heartfelt gratitude to all the characters and to all the true and unsung heroes of Marvel.

5 out of 5 stars
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow and Josh Brolin. Based on ‘The Avengers’ by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. 181 minutes.

‘Captain Marvel’ review [2 of 2]: Unconventional, dismantled origins

Captain Marvel creatively spins an origin story by reversing the wheels of the classic MCU Phase 1 formula.

Fresh off from the monumental showdown of Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel carries a ton of expectations for fronting the ‘strongest superhero’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not to mention that this stand-alone/Phase 1-ish material competes with several experimental and crossover films in Phase 3, the titular heroine is at a disadvantage for having zero narrative to begin with unlike Spider-Man and Black Panther who have prior introductions in Captain America: Civil War.

And if we should extend the comparison by a universe, when it comes to female representation in this increasingly sensitive era, DC’s Wonder Woman is the first one to blast through that barrier in 2017. Still, a multitude of female demographic in particular are looking forward to this film with the hopes of seeing a part of themselves represented on screen. The result is hardly a game-changer but it sure does have several things going on that other superhero films simply don’t have.

Since most audiences have no idea about Captain Marvel, it is to the film’s benefit that co-writers/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck structure the screenplay like a mystery. The reverse origin story kicks off with Vers (Brie Larson) already possessing an array of powers under her belt, and that includes superhuman strength and photon blasts (with flight ability to follow). There’s a lot of backstory teased in her fragmented visions but the film cuts right to the action of an intergalactic war. Vers is a member of an elite Kree military unit called ‘Starforce’ whose purpose is to hunt down Skrulls who have been invading peaceful planets in the galaxy.

The Kree Starforce (L-R): Djimon Hounsou (Korath), Algenis Pérez Soto (Att-Lass), Brie Larson (Vers), Rune Temte (Bron-Char), Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva).

Her misadventure sends her crashing to planet C-53 (a.k.a. Earth) where she crosses paths with a young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury, played by a magically and seamlessly de-aged Samuel Jackson. From then, the film then turns into an entertaining buddy-cop romp as they try to uncover the truth of Vers’ human origin. Oh, and the film is set in the 1990’s so Gen-Xers and early millennials can expect a healthy dose nostalgia – payphones, pagers, blockbuster video rentals, CD-ROM, Alta Vista search engine, etc. – all of which are intended to evoke warm and fuzzy feelings..

Larson and Samuel L. Jackson (as a young Nick Fury) in ‘Captain Marvel’

While Wonder Woman is evident in its feminist themes (given that Diana Prince lives in an island solely inhabited by women), Captain Marvel has a more complex undertone to its proceedings. At one point, Vers/Carol Danvers breaks free from the conventions that bind her. In particular, her mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) constantly reminds her not to let emotions get the best of her. It’s a subtle commentary on the sexist notion that women are too emotional to handle tough jobs. She then comes to a realization that this perceived vulnerability can also be the source of her greatest strength.

Jude Law (Yon-Rogg) and Larson in ‘Captain Marvel’

More than anything, the film is about a superhero’s existential crisis. As the plot progresses, loyalties get reconfigured and Vers starts to question her identity and core. Is she just a mere pawn fighting for a cause she never truly understood? A soul trapped between two worlds, neither of which she feels truly belonged? Her former best friend Maria (Lashana Lynch) helps her to keep in touch with her humanity and given the film’s structure, most of her backstory is filled through quick flashbacks, expositions and testimonials. The storytelling style has its share of weaknesses as this is not the best way to mine emotional depth. Hence, when it comes to an empowering and moving montage of a beaten-down Carol standing up through various stages of her life, it never reaches its maximum desired catharsis.

Lashana Lynch (Monica Rambeau) and Larson in ‘Captain Marvel’

As for the former indie darling, Brie Larson radiates with spunk and girl power. There’s an air of chill arrogance and stubbornness in her portrayal similar to Tony Stark and Stephen Strange, but the former deserves worthy of her attitude because of her unimaginable extent of powers. One can argue that there’s something off with the Oscar-winning actress’ performance and maybe that has something to do with the fact that she spends most of the film running without a solid backstory. Some may lazily dismiss her portrayal as bland but I would have to firmly disagree with that, Larson takes full ownership with what she’s given. And with some chunks of her history still missing, we can agree that the best parts of her character’s journey are still ahead of her.

Admittedly, I came out of this film feeling invested with the powers that Carol has to offer for Avengers: Endgame more so than being emotionally connected with the character herself. Still, that does not make this film a weak entry to the franchise for there are plenty of things to like here. It’s amusing to see Jackson in a different light and his scenes with the orange cat Goose are one of the scene-stealers. Even Mendelsohn’s Talos lends an unexpected emotional weight to the story, making the character memorable in MCU’s current pantheon of villains.

Higher, further, faster. Brie Larson is Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel.

Overall, Captain Marvel succeeds in accomplishing the goals it has set upon. It offers more female representation in the superhero genre and it introduces a kickass heroine’s origin story that nicely retrofits to a larger machine. Hence, this film has enough substance to make it an essential viewing before Endgame.

At one point, Carol says an empowering line, “I have nothing to prove to you.” While the film proves a lot of things, this is a universal shared sentiment that we can all keep in mind against those who try to put us down.

4 out of 5 stars
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a screenplay written by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, ‘Captain Marvel‘ stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Algenis Pérez Soto, Rune Temte, Azari Akbar and Jude Law. Based on Marvel comics character ‘Carol Danvers’ by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. Run time: 124 mins.

‘Captain Marvel’: A spoiler-free character guide

For casual moviegoers, we can’t blame you if you have little or no idea on what’s going on with Captain Marvel. After all, this first female-led Marvel film initially caught buzz during the post credits scene of Infinity War, where everyone just assumed that the said heroine is the solution to beating Thanos. Anyway, it never hurts to have a little background. Here’s a spoiler-free breakdown of the characters appearing in Captain Marvel.


THE KREE


The Kree are a scientifically and technologically advanced race of mostly blue-skinned “noble warrior heroes” from the planet Hala.


CAROL DANVERS / CAPTAIN MARVEL

Portrayed by Brie Larson

A Kree-human hybrid, Carol is a member of an elite military unit called ‘Starforce’ and her abilities include superhuman strength, energy projection, and flight. In the film, she returns to Earth to rediscover her ordinary human past of being an ex-U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. According to Marvel chief executive Kevin Feige, she is “the most powerful superhero in MCU.”


RONAN THE ACCUSER

Portrayed by Lee Pace

Last seen as the main villain in Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan is a ferocious and radical member of the Kree who attempted to obliterate planet Xandar by forging an alliance with Thanos. The Guardians may have successfully defeated and killed him, but since the events of Captain Marvel occur before the aforementioned timeline, we can expect the character crossing paths with Starforce.


YON-ROGG

Portrayed by Jude Law

Yon-Rogg is Kree’s Starforce lead commander who trained Carol to use her powers. According to Law, his character is “almost a devout warrior — unquestioning, conservative, but inspirational.”


KORATH THE PURSUER

Portrayed by Djimon Hounsou

Another familiar face from GOTG, Korath is last seen as Ronan’s cybernatically enhanced warrior who gets slain by Drax the Destroyer during the Battle of Xandar. Before that happens, Korath here is the second-in-command of Starforce.


MINN-ERVA

Portrayed by Gemma Chan

Minn-Erva is Starforce’s efficient and standout sniper who feels slightly threatened by the talented Danvers joining the team.


SUPREME INTELLIGENCE

Portrayed by Annette Bening

The Supreme Intelligence is a god-like entity/artificial intelligence that consists the greatest intellects of the Kree people for the last million years. Each member of the Starforce has a particular relationship with the Supreme Intelligence.


THE HUMANS



NICK FURY

Portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson

Set in 1990s, the ‘would-be’ director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and founder of Avengers Initiative, is a younger, greener and less jaded low-level bureaucrat. Jackson describes his character as a “desk jockey” whose first encounter with a super-powered being (Carol Danvers) transforms his cynical perspective towards bureaucracy. This marks the first time where Marvel digitally de-ages a character by 25 years, for the entire film’s run time.


PHIL COULSON

Portrayed by Clark Gregg

Before he’s killed by Loki in The Avengers, and subsequently brought back to life in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson is a rookie agent who works closely with Fury. Likewise Jackson, Gregg is digitally de-aged by 25 years throughout the film.


MARIA RAMBEAU

Portrayed by Lashana Lynch

As Danvers’ best friend in her past human life, Captain Maria Rambeau is a resilient single mother/U.S. Air Force pilot who plays a huge role in helping Carol to regain her past. Larson describes Danvers and Rambeau’s friendship as equal, with “a playful competitiveness and a mutual respect.”


MISCELLANEOUS



TALOS

Portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn

As the film’s main antagonist, Talos is a shape-shifting Skrull commander who leads his race’s invasion to Earth by posing as a S.H.I.E.L.D. director. In the comics, the Skrulls have been at war with the Krees for centuries. Mendelsohn described Talos’s human persona as “buttoned up” compared to his “more laid back” Skrull persona.


GOOSE

Portrayed by Reggie, Archie, Gonzo and Rizzo

Named after a Top Gun character, Goose is Carol Danvers’s pet and travel companion. In the comics, he’s originally named as Chewie (after Star Wars‘ Chewbacca) and if the film will be faithful to its source material, there’s a strong reason to believe that the house cat is actually an alien of the Flerken race with hidden special powers.


Captain Marvel opens in Philippine cinemas on March 6, 2018.

Brie Larson embodies the humanity of Carol Danvers in Marvel studios ‘Captain Marvel’

Academy Award winner Brie Larson steps into role of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most powerful force, Carol Danvers aka “Captain Marvel.” 

“When we found out that Brie Larson might be interested in joining the MCU, we had numerous meetings and pitched her the idea for the film,” recalls producer Kevin Feige. “She was a huge fan of the character in the comic, and one of the highlights of my career at Marvel was introducing her at Comic-Con and having her come out on stage and stand with literally almost every other actor from the MCU. She was at the forefront, which was a great foreshadowing for how audiences are going to embrace Brie as this character.”

Feige adds about the character, “The great thing with Captain Marvel is that she is human. There’s a real person in Carol Danvers who gets these incredible powers and has these amazing adventures in outer space. But as with all the best Marvel characters she needs to be very human. So, this is not just about somebody who is incredibly powerful and can fly around and shoot photon blasts out of her arms. It’s somebody who’s very human, who’s very vulnerable, and who has multiple dimensions.”

Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” follows Carol Danvers’ journey as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. As the story unfolds, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of a maelstrom when a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth.

For Larson, being the lead of the first female Super Hero franchise presented an opportunity to put herself in the forefront of breaking new ground in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “It’s such an honor to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and be part of this legacy of characters and storytelling that is so incredibly meaningful to people,” says Larson.  “These films are part of what’s shaping our culture, who we are, what morals we value. It’s incredible. I don’t think that I fully understood the scope of what it meant in the cultural zeitgeist until the announcement came out that I was going to be playing Captain Marvel. I’ve slowly started to grasp the vastness and levity of it all.”

To add to the authenticity of her scenes as a fighter pilot, Larson, along with director Anna Boden, and co-star Lashana Lynch visited Nellis Air Force base in Las Vegas for some once-in-a-lifetime training and experiences. Larson also was able to meet and spend time with Brigadier General Jeannie M. Leavitt, who became the United States Air Force’s first female fighter pilot in 1993, and was the first woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing.

“Brie, Lashana and Anna all went up in F-16s and pulled serious Gs in going through all of the maneuvers they do in the training exercises, which is astounding,” comments Feige. “They all had their names stenciled on the side of the cockpit and went for an intense ride. And that’s one of the reasons why the scenes in the movie where they’re piloting ships and planes come off so authentically because they have had the hands-on experience and have been up there.”

“It was just amazing to feel all of that, especially once we were back on set,” tells Larson about the experience. “When we were simulating a barrel roll, I was able to recall that exactly, what that feels like, what your body feels like, how hard it is to breathe. It’s all of those little nuances that I hope will come through in the movie so that regardless of who you are, if you’re the Air Force or you’re a pilot or whatever, that you recognize that. That it feels real.”

Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” opens in Philippines theaters on March 6. #CaptainMarvelPH

About Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel 

Marvel Studios’ presents “Captain Marvel,” an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that introduces the MCU’s first stand-alone, female-franchise title character—Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel.

Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” follows Carol Danvers’ journey as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. As the story unfolds, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of a maelstrom when a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth.

Based on the beloved Marvel comic book series, first published in 1967, “Captain Marvel” stars Academy Award® winner Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez Soto, Mckenna Grace, with Annette Bening, with Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.

Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Patricia Whitcher and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The story is by Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and the screenplay is by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet.

Brie Larson represents Marvel Studios’ ‘Captain Marvel’ at Brazil Comicon

BOver the weekend, Brie Larson, who stars as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in the upcoming Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel,” participated in a panel at Brazil’s Comic Con Experience (CCXP), which was held in São Paulo.

Fans in attendance received the following exclusive poster:

Below are several photos from the event of Brie with fans at Brazil CCXP:

About “Captain Marvel”

Set for release in the Philippines on March 6, 2019, Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is directed by the writing/directing team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, whose credits include “Mississippi Grind” and “Half Nelson.” An all-star collective of accomplished writers penned the screenplay, including Meg LeFauve (“Inside Out),  Nicole Perlman (upcoming “First Man,” Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy”),Geneva Robertson-Dworet (“Tomb Raider” ), Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch (“Glow”), and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.

The film stars Academy Award® winner Brie Larson (“Room,” “Kong: Skull Island”), Samuel L. Jackson (Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Ben Mendelsohn (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”),Djimon Hounsou (Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Lee Pace (Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Lashana Lynch (“Brotherhood”), Gemma Chan (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), Algenis Perez Soto (“Sambá”), Rune Temte (“The Last Kingdom”), McKenna Grace (“I, Tonya”), with Clark Gregg (“Marvel’s The Avengers”), and Jude Law (“Spy”).

The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.  Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Kevin Feige is the producer of Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel.” Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Patty Whitcher and Stan Lee are executive producers, with Lars Winther serving as co-producer/first assistant director and David Grant serving as co-producer.

Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s creative team includes director of photography Ben Davis (Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange,”), Oscar®- nominated production designer Andy Nicholson (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”), costume designer Sanja Hays (“Star Trek: Beyond”), editors Elliot Graham (“Molly’s Game,”) and Debbie Berman (Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming”), two-time Oscar nominee, visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend (Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”), stunt coordinator Jim Churchman (Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange” and “Ant-Man” ) and six-time Oscar nominee, special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther”).  

Brie Larson channels inner action hero in ‘Kong: Skull Island’

Oscar Best Actress-winner for 2015’s Room, Brie Larson now stars as Vietnam War photojournalist Mason Weaver in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island, an epic action-adventure that reimagines the origins of one the most powerful monster myths of all.

A compelling, original tale from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the film tells the story of a diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers uniting to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.

Larson’s Mason Weaver is a street-smart investigative photojournalist and self-described “anti-war photographer” who has seen the monster of humanity at war. Her suspicions sparked, Weaver’s curiosity about the mission’s true purpose drives her to maneuver her way onboard as team photographer. But once they cross over onto Skull Island, she is plunged into the biggest story of her life – one that will confront all her journalistic instincts and ethics.

Portraying her role, Larson appreciated the opportunity to channel her inner action hero. “This is a far more physical role than anything I’ve done before, and it’s great to be able to utilize my physicality in a new way,” she says.

Kong: Skull Island gave the cast rich thematic territory to explore in their search for monsters. “To me, this story feels like an allegory for the animal nature that’s within us all,” Larson remarks. “We’re so far removed now from that part of ourselves; we seem to feel the need to overcome it in so many ways. It also taps into the ways we deal with the world around us—how we treat nature and how we value it, and how we value other human beings as well.”

Though Weaver has a unique connection with Kong, she is not the film’s damsel in distress; nor is she the classic Beauty to Kong’s Beast. Weaver comes to the mission after braving some of the most dangerous combat zones and hotspots in the war. “She has a hard-earned reputation for being fearless and willing to do whatever it takes to expose the truth,” Larson affirms. “That passion has gotten her into trouble because a lot of publications—and the men captured in her lens—aren’t so crazy about seeing the dark side of the war held up to the light. Another dimension of her is that in the ‘70s, the battlefield was a very masculine place, and this was a chance to pay respect to the women who really did do this job in that world and are still doing it today.”

Pursuing neither science nor dominance, Weaver becomes the first among their party to meet Kong face-to-face…and the first to see the true scope of what they have inadvertently set into motion. “Weaver’s encounter with Kong opens her heart to something greater than herself,” Larson reflects. “Kong is the biggest thing on the island, yet he doesn’t choose to use his power in a way that’s harmful to her. She starts this journey wanting to capture images that will get a lot of acclaim and maybe win prizes, but seeing into this being’s soul, she very quickly realizes that there’s something on this island that’s precious and needs to be protected.”

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Present a Legendary Pictures Production, “Kong: Skull Island.” The film will be released in the Philippines in 2D, 3D in select theatres, and IMAX beginning Thursday, March 9, 2017, from Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

MOVIE REVIEW: Room (2015)

Room can be perceived in countless ways. One, it could be anything but a claustrophobic look at the lives of a mother and her five year-old son who has been living in a ten-by-ten feet enclosed, windowless, sound-proof space for several years—a harrowing idea of imprisonment and deprivation liberty and sanity. In another hand, it could be something like a keen observation of human’s stability and the struggle to make a wonderful escape.

There is tightness in how Room comes about as a film that showcases the triumphant acting of Brie Larson in her most passionate and strenuous efforts to date. Much so is Jacob Tremblay’s portrayal as he is able to paint his character with an excellent stroke as if he has mastered the craft long since. Together, they form not only an extraordinary mother-and-son bond but a well-built familial connection that runs over blood and ties.

jacob tremblay and brie larson in ROOM

Nothing is there to complain about the mundane activities they do inside the aptly named Room. Since there is actually not much to do other than Joy teaching Jack and Jack suiting himself into growing up according to his Ma, it is with curious eyes to peek into the life they share. Given the abundance of hope seeping through the tiny holes of what could have been their deficit, it is more than thrilling to witness either the success or the failure of their attempt to face the real world after years of captivity.

And in the event that plans turn out well, victory is inevitable. Nevertheless, Room does not stop where it should. Rightfully, it steers into an eye-opening paradise of high-rise building and modern living, a place where no activity is small, and many, many things are happening all at once. As Jacob perceives the “outside world”—one that is away from a singular wardrobe, table, chair, toilet, sink, tub and skylight—he discovers not just what it is really like to live but also realizes that nothing compares to spending every passing minute with his mother.

jacob tremblay and brie larson in ROOM

Director Lenny Abrahamson did a great job in helming the powerful novel penned by Emma Donoghue. Together, they were able to transform a moving story into a life-affirming piece of work that is equally affecting and memorable. It is not difficult to be glued into Room’s well-paced tale as well as its heart-breaking message. Everything just smoothly comes across by breaking that intimidating wall that separates the film from its audience.

One way or another, we have that little space inside us where we are held captive by our own equal share of misery and optimism. There is joy in looking back at the wonders of Room and recognizing that its story of love and hope is universal. We might still be comfortably residing within it but there is more to life that is meant to be explored and ultimately to be rediscovered.

Room triumphantly tells its touching story without alienating its viewers and that is a simple feat to be remembered in the years to come.

Academy Award frontrunner ‘Room’ relates unbreakable mother-son bond

This year’s strong contender and frontrunner in the 88th Oscars, “Room” being nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress takes the audience on a visceral experience as we are introduced to the cramped world of the five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his Ma named Joy (Brie Larson), where he was born and grew up. But at night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) comes.

In “Room,” Jack’s Ma had been abducted by Old Nick and had been imprisoned at the backyard in his shed for seven years, where she had Jack after Old Nick repeatedly abused her. When Jack turned five, Joy hatches an escape plan so Jack can live a normal life. Her selfless act would also prove of their unbreakable bond as mother and son as she prepares Jack for the dangerous escape.

Based on the bestselling and multi-awarded book of the same name by author Emma Donoghue, told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, “Room” is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another

The book’s darkness was offset by an undercurrent of love – messy, flawed, burdened, never-ending love – that runs throughout. Says Donoghue: “One of the ideas behind Room is that children have this natural tendency to thrive. So long as they’re getting love and affection, even if it’s in dark or incomprehensible circumstances, they’re so adaptable, they’ll find a way to be OK and to grow up.”

The role of the woman who is known to Jack simply as Ma, runs the gamut of maternal triumphs and maternal agonies, from fear and regret to awe and unwavering love. All of that came through in a gritty, unsentimentalized way in Brie Larson who won this year’s Best Actress Award at the Golden Globes.

Larson approached Ma with extreme commitment, leaving no stone unturned – from altering her physique to conducting intense psychological research on confinement – in her quest to do justice to who Ma is, what she has gone through in Room and how she focuses every last bit of herself on Jack’s future. She knew part of her task was to embody Ma’s stark contradictions. On the one hand, she approached Ma as still very much a child herself, a girl stolen away from her promising life on the cusp of adulthood and forced to grow a stony emotional armor around her to survive. “I don’t think Ma ever expected to get out of Room,” Larson states. “She knew that hope can be a trickster. But I think she always believed Jack would get out. When she made an escape plan for Jack, it was a selfless act. She had to believe Jack would make it, but I don’t think she ever considered that she might make it out, too, and have another chance at life and being a mother.”

Director Lenny Abrahamson was floored by Larson’s devotion to immersing herself in Ma’s POV. “I’d worried so much about finding Jack, but if we hadn’t found Brie, this film could never be what it is,” he says. “She’s so deft in her abilities, and so willing to go all the way, I don’t think anyone else could have brought Ma to life with so much emotional truthfulness.”

Larson explains that her connection to the character and the entire story has a personal link. Growing up poor herself for a time, with a mother recovering from a divorce, Larson had once lived in her own tiny, dilapidated but slightly enchanted enclave, a bit like Jack. “When we first moved to Los Angeles, my mom, me and my sister lived in a one-room studio apartment that was maybe twice the size of Room. We had very little money, we couldn’t even afford a Happy Meal at McDonald’s and we each had like three pieces of clothing and a couple of toys,” Larson describes. “Yet, there was something really simple and a little magical about that time. We still talk about it as one of the best times in our lives. For my mom, I know there was a tremendous amount of pain as she tried to figure out who she was and how to support two kids on her own. But I also remember it as a time when I really learned the power of the imagination. We didn’t have much, but my mom could create games out of anything, even little sugar packets. ”

“Room” opens February 17, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

Academy Award-nominated film ‘Room’ opens Feb 17 in PH

The highly-acclaimed tearjerker film “Room” where the audience rooted for the mother and son’s chance at freedom who were imprisoned in a sound-proof shed for seven years will now open in local cinemas on February 17.

Based on the international bestselling book written by Emma Donoghue of the same title, director Lenny Abrahamson brings the highly suspenseful and emotional story “Room” to the big screen. “Room” is a unique and unexpectedly tender exploration of the boundless love between a mother and her child under the most harrowing of circumstances.

“Room” tells the extraordinary story of Jack (Jacob Tremblay in a breakout performance), a spirited 5 year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted Ma (Brie Larson, who won Best Actess in this year’s Golden Globe Awards for here performance in the movie). Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical—they are trapped—confined to a windowless, 10-by-10-foot space, which Ma has euphemistically named “Room.” Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. “Room” also stars three-time Academy Award® nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award® nominee William H. Macy.

Director Lenny Abrahamson remains faithful to the novel while bringing Jack, Ma and their entirely singular world to heart-pounding and intensely cinematic life. “Room” demonstrates the triumphant power of familial love even in the darkest of circumstances, and is sure to take its place among the most emotionally affecting films to ever explore the bond between parents and children.

The New York Times hailed Donoghue’s novel as ‘one of the pure triumphs of recent fiction… palm-sweatingly harrowing’, while Time called it ‘a feat of infectious claustrophobia’; the Irish Times described it as ‘part childhood adventure story, part adult thriller… above all the most vivid, radiant and beautiful expression of maternal love’.

Abrahamson, says ‘Room’ is an extraordinary novel – deeply original, harrowing, full of moments of almost unbearable tension, but also – and this is what is so special about it – profoundly life-affirming. From the moment I read it I wanted to make it for the screen and so I am truly delighted to be working with Emma on the film adaptation.’

Emma Donoghue, who lives in Canada, began writing the screenplay as soon as Room (her seventh novel) was published. She is overjoyed to be making the film with her fellow Dubliners Abrahamson and Guiney. ‘It wasn’t just Lenny’s award-winning, impeccably honest films that won me over, but a ten-page letter he sent me, describing with passionate intelligence his vision of how to translate my novel into cinema. As an Irish company with strong international relationships, Element has a track record of combining artistic integrity and commercial appeal, which gives me confidence that “Room” is going to be something very special.’

Get your tissues ready for a unique bonding experience when “Room” opens February 17, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.