Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Movies: Charlize Theron Is Cipher, Lethal Villain Of “Fast & Furious 8”

Mad Max: Fury Road's Furiosa herself, Oscar®-winner Charlize Theron joins the cast of Universal Pictures' Fast & Furious 8 for a ride of a lifetime.

When it came to developing another worthy villain who could make Dom (Vin Diesel) betray his team, the filmmakers had an ace up their sleeves. Namely, the globally popular actress Charlize Theron, whose on screen cred alone would bring a new pedigreed threat to the team, while interweaving more of the “holy #%$@” plot twists that smack of the Fast franchise reveals.

“We’ve always had this idea that we wanted one of our villains to be this amazing woman, and honestly we had our eye on Charlize Theron,” confesses producer Neal Moritz. “We’ve been talking with her for a number of years about becoming part of the franchise, and when we came up with this idea for what her character could be, we went to her.”

Monday, March 27, 2017


MANILA, March 27, 2017– Disney's live-action fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” dazzled again at No.1 on its second weekend at the box-office, grossing with a massive P541.67-M in just 11 days. This figure puts it at sixth place in the rankings of all-time highest-grossing movies in the Philippine industry. This was announced today by a spokesman of Walt Disney Studios Philippines.

With interest and theater attendance for the film still at a high point, “Beauty and the Beast” is poised to surpass more records in the days to come.

Beauty and the Beast” is now playing in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D cinemas across the Philippines. Like Beauty and the Beast on Facebook, WaltDisneyStudiosPH; follow us on Twitter, @disney_phil; follow us on Instagram, @disney.ph and use the hashtag #BeOurGuestPH.

About Disney's Beauty and the Beast:

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Events + Movies: Krispy Kreme Screens Power Rangers

If you've already seen the new Power Rangers flick then you probably already know what all the buzz is about with Krispy Kreme and the movie. 

I was pleasantly surprised myself when I was watching the movie and there was all this reference to the yummy Doughnut chain. I knew that Krispy Kreme had a new product in line with the movie, I got a chance to try it a few weeks before and I loved the Power Rangers Donuts! Its basically a chocolate glazed donut, with silver sprinkles, Power Rangers thunderbolts with the five Ranger colors. Its also vanilla filled!   

They have an awesome deal for these donuts where you can buy 6 Power Ranger donuts and 6 Original glazed donuts for only P299! Hurry though because its only up until April 7! 

So going back to Krispy Kreme in the Rangers movie it was (in my opinion) product placement done right. The film's writers just went for it, literally just went for the jugular and the kill. No, I know that product placement in movies is really tricky, there have been many who been burned by it but the 2017 Power Rangers does it right by just going for it and even incorporating it into the story. They made into a joke that works, one where the audiences can genuinely just laugh and enjoy. Some may not be fans of the product placement but you know it will really boil down to how you decide to leave the cinema with it. 

I decided to like it and just wanted more donuts! If I could get these Ranger donuts from it then not bad eh? 

We were fortunate enough to have been invited to the Krispy Kreme screening of "Power Rangers" at the Central Square Mall in Bonifacio High Street (Dolby Surround!). When we got there there were Rangers in costume, cute kids having their pictures taken, a super cute booth and of course the Power Rangers donuts! 

Thank you so much Krispy Kreme for having us! We had a great time! <3 It was an awesome #KrispyKremeMoment 

Now to get myself those donuts (again). 

You can check out my review on the 2017 Power Rangers up in the blog! Just click here

#PowerRangers #ItsMorphinTime 

Movies: “Ghost In The Shell” Film Villain Kuze A Composite Of Manga Characters

American actor Michael Carmen Pitt (HBO's Boadwalk Empire, TV's Hannibal) oozes not just menace and rage, but also vulnerability, in Paramount Pictures' Ghost in the Shell, the live-action adaptation of the internally acclaimed Japanese manga.

In the film, Kuze is the mastermind behind a bold attack on a high-ranking Hanka Corporation executive. A brilliant hacker out for revenge against the people he believes have wronged him, Kuze is willing to sacrifice anyone who gets in his way.

“Michael Carmen Pitt is a true artist,” says director Rupert Sanders. “I’ve known him for many years as a friend. He’s very independent minded and exists solely in that artist’s world.”

Pitt says he appreciated the ambitious nature of the project and the enduring relevance of the source material. “The manga has been extremely influential in Hollywood movies, graphic art, tattooing and industrial music,” says Pitt. “I saw the first animated film on VHS when I was maybe 14 or 15 years old. I had never seen anything like it. While I was preparing, I re-watched the original film and was really surprised by how current it still is. The world is complicated, scary, extremely exciting and full of evil and full of good — like the world we live in.”

Kuze is a composite character drawn from several elements of the Ghost in the Shell universe that served as a jumping off point for an intriguing, challenging antagonist for Major. “Is he truly a villain?” asks Pitt. “I don’t know. That’s one of the unique and interesting things about the script. I worked a lot on how he would speak and made some rules for myself about the way he could move. I wrote pages and pages and pages of backstory. He is such a strange character that I just didn’t know any other way to do it.”

Pitt arrived on set fully immersed in the physicality and violence of the character, according to Sanders. “By the time he started filming, he’d been eating raw food for months. He was doing boxing and Pilates every day. Not only was he whippet thin and ripped, he had developed a very in-depth character. He built himself a little house in a shipping container on the back lot, where he had a punching bag and an ashtray. He filled notebooks with painting after painting after painting about Kuze. It’s a master class watching him.”

Audiences may be startled by Pitt’s transformation, warns producer Jeffrey Silver. “Michael brings a phenomenal depth to Kuze. You’re not quite sure what he is. He alters the pitch of his voice, his eyes, his hair – everything about him is on the edge.”

Pitt’s hope for the film is that it will be an entertaining and exciting movie that also touches the audience. “It has the potential to move people because it’s about someone who is figuring out who she is, what it means to be human, and then ultimately deciding to fight for that humanity.”

Opening across the Philippines on March 29, Ghost in the Shell is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Movies: Smurfette Joined By New Female Characters In “Smurfs: The Lost Village”

In Sony Pictures Animation's Smurfs: The Lost Village, Smurfette has lived in Smurf Village her entire life... the same 99 boys every day. But now, she and her best friends are about to go where no Smurf has gone before… through the Forbidden Forest to try to find the Lost Village -- and they find the biggest mystery in Smurf history. It’s going to be the adventure of her life.

“I loved playing Smurfette,” says Demi Lovato, who brings the character to life. “She’s kind and compassionate and really takes care of her fellow Smurfs. But she’s also really brave – she’s adventurous and when she wants something, she goes and gets it. She doesn’t take ‘no’ from anybody, especially Papa Smurf. She’s a strong, independent lady Smurf.

“She’s a one-of-a-kind sort of girl – literally, the only girl in Smurfs Village,” Lovato continues. “She has a really beautiful heart and she’s working really hard to figure out who she is.”

After surviving the Forbidden Forest, Team Smurf are suddenly set upon by strange masked creatures carrying spears. They’re trapped! But that’s when they realize – they have found the Lost Village (which is actually a village hidden in the treetops called Smurfy Grove). And not just that – there are new Smurfs!

“They are not named after what they do – they’re named after nature,” says director Kelly Asbury. “They are not expected to do one thing and specialize – they can do many things, try different things.

SmurfWillow (Julia Roberts) is simultaneously peaceful and fierce – a confident and gentle leader who has raised warrior Smurfs who are capable of anything. Anything she does, she does wholeheartedly.

“If Papa Smurf is the father figure of Smurfs Village, then SmurfWillow is the mother figure of the Forbidden Forest,” says Roberts – “She’s brave, strong, regal and she’s really wise. She’s the Smurf you turn to if you’re facing a challenge.”

SmurfStorm (Michelle Rodriguez) is the no-nonsense, tough-as-nails warrior who immediately questions why Smurfette and the boys have come to Smurfy Grove. Her protective nature makes it hard to trust these outsiders. But through her tough exterior lies a heart of gold, and underneath it all, a girl who would do anything for her family and friends.

“SmurfStorm is a handful,” says Michelle Rodriguez, who voices the role. “She’s fierce and totally protective of her fellow Smurfs, her team. They’re her family. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of them.”

SmurfBlossom (Ellie Kemper) lights up a room with her huge energy – she walks and talks a mile a minute, she’s never met a Smurf she didn’t like, and she bowls everyone over with her candy-sweet, bubbly personality. Her glass isn’t just half full, it’s overflowing.

Ellie Kemper, of The LEGO Batman Movie voices the ball of enthusiasm. “SmurfBlossom just can’t contain herself,” she says. “She loves life and she’s very chipper and upbeat – almost to the point of being too much at times. She can’t totally contain herself.”

SmurfLily (Ariel Winter) is the whip-smart, no-nonsense member of the Lost Village. She’s not afraid to tell you like it is or to take charge – even when no one asked her to.

“SmurfLily is smart and practical, but she’s full of creativity too,” says “Modern Family’s” Ariel Winter, who takes on the role. “If you have a problem to solve, SmurfLily is your Smurf.”

SmurfMelody (Meghan Trainor) can bust out an empowering tune at just the right moment. “Meghan Trainor wrote a song for us – It’s fun and buoyant and danceable and everything about Meghan Trainor really comes through. The theme is being proud of who you are – which is the message of this film,” says Asbury. “It turns out Meghan is a huge Smurfs fan and admitted to us that the minute she heard we might want a song, she wrote it in one night. She’s so enthusiastic and brought that love to the song and the part of SmurfMelody.”

“I love the Smurfs and was honored when they asked me to write a song for this new movie. I was especially excited – I wrote the whole thing in one evening!” says Trainor. “It’s a song that I love and am very proud of, and I can’t wait for the world to finally hear it! Getting to play a small part in the film with my character, SmurfMelody, makes this all the more exciting! So happy to be a part of the Smurf family!!!”

Opening across the Philippines on Friday, March 31, Smurfs: The Lost Village is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Movie Review: Power Rangers (2017)

Back in the 90's every kid knew what it was like to catch the latest episode of "Power Rangers" every Friday night on TV. Every one had their favorite Ranger that they identified with. Children playing outside the house (yes kids, once upon a time we went outside to play and did not rely on gadgets for entertainment) would be shouting "It's morphin time!" with matching hand gestures. 

Of course, before the "Power Rangers" there were also the Super Sentai series from Japan like "Bioman" and "Jetman" to which we 90's kids also grew up watching. So this Sentai/Ranger culture has always been a way for kids to escape and play and be someone they admired and now decades later a new team of "Power Rangers" steps onto the big screen to become the unexpected heroes to a whole new generation and to also be a source of nostalgia to the then children who once pretended to be Rangers and are now tax-paying adults.   

In an age of remakes, reboots and super hero movies, 2017's "Power Rangers" knew what they wanted for the movie and went for it with as much guts as these new angsty Teenagers. 

Writing the movie with a Young Adult audience in mind, director Dean Israelite wanted a contemporary film which was real and grounded on today's teenagers and this is what this new team of Power Rangers is. A band of social outsiders and misfits, Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cylder), Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G)- each carrying their own problems who accidentally come together one fateful night in a quarry and discover "power coins" of different colors. They then discover a change in their physical strength and return to investigate. 

What they find is an alien spaceship where they discover that millions of years ago (specifically, the Cenozoic era) a team of alien "Power Rangers" led by Bryan Cranston (Zordon) as the Red Ranger defended the Earth's Zeo Crystal. (Each planet has their own respective Zeo Crystal, which is the source of all life). Audiences then confirm an early fan theory that Elizabeth Banks (originally cast as villain Rita Repulsa) was also the Green Ranger and betrayed the team for her own gains. Cranston's Red Ranger calls on the meteor that hits the earth, killing the dinosaurs and in turn him and throws Rita into the sea. Now trapped into the ship's matrix, Cranston calls on the five teenagers to become the new Power Rangers.        

With the return of the power coins aboard the spaceship and what could possibly be a new team of Rangers, the evil that is Rita Repulsa rises from the sea and is intent on continuing where she left off, which is destroying the Earth by taking its Zeo crystal. 

Now the new Rangers must begin training to prepare to battle Rita Repulsa, unfortunately for them "morphin" into the Power Rangers isn't so easy as they have to 'think about each other' and when five teenagers with unknown baggage just get together- there is a lot on the plate. 

So while after school specials include physical training, care of Alpha 5 in "the pit" and the team is no closer to "morphin" into their Ranger armor and everyone is getting frustrated and upset and all the while Rita Repulsa is slowly getting her plan in motion. 

With probably a multi movie arc in mind, this origin movie takes a long  time to get to the action and to 90's kids, that could be a little frustrating. You see, there are risks to writing a story which devotes more time to character development (like about 3/4 of the month) and just spending about 1/4 with the actually fighting. For one, you have a solid character development, this one I think is more for the young adult audience (as I mentioned earlier) and for another you risk disappointing older fans who are used to the action. So it really boils down to what the viewer takes home. I myself wan't too happy with the design of the Zords and the Megazord. Baddie Goldar wasn't to my liking as well. 

Props to featuring a very diverse set of rangers (aside from race), we  have a socially awkward Billy Cranston (Blue Ranger) - he's kind of like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory. That has OCD and can't get jokes and sarcasm. We also have Trini (Yellow Ranger) who is struggling with her family as she deals with her own sexuality; or as Zach (Black Ranger) puts it "Girlfriend problems". Representation is important and I think that is something which this batch of Rangers definitely have. Would definitely have to commend the performance of RJ Clyder as Bill/Blue Ranger, I've seen him in "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" and I'm really impressed with his acting. Especially since his character is not teenager angst and that sets him apart from his team mates. Elizabeth Banks also gets a nod for her Rita Repulsa take.        

6/10  "Power Rangers" can be nostalgia for an older generation and a discovery for a new one. Whatever it is and wherever you fit in, its still a good ride in the cinema, probably not on one of those Zords though. Oh! And stay after the movie! There's a mid-credits scene you might want to stick around for!  

Movie Review: Life

The concept of "trapped with an alien trying to kill you" is nothing new but the science fiction horror film puts its own spin on the concept that there are so many twists and twists and surprises at every turn. Including one, pretty early in the film and an ending that will have you saying "WTF?!" -and it will stick to you even after you've left the cinema. 

A mutinational six-member crew aboard the International Space Station are on a mission to receive soil samples from Mars and to study it. British Biologist Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) is able to extract a single cell organism from the sample, this could possibly prove to be the first evidence of extraterrestrial life. 

The crew continue monitoring the organism, which has now been given the name "Calvin" by American school children. Calvin looks like a transparent "Blubber" -cute and harmless and Hugh seems to have taken a liking to it, more than what is required of a scientist. An accidental change in atmosphere in the highly secured lab which contains Calvin causes the organism to go dormant. Guilt ridden, Hugh desperately tries to revive Calvin by giving him an electronic shock. Calvin "wakes up" and grabs Hugh's hand --- and the table's are immediately turned as the crew struggles to save their friend despite being conflicted with safety protocols.  

The mission immediately turns into one of survival, as the crew find themselves in a battle for survival against a highly intelligent creature, whose only instinct is to survive- and that means devouring everything in its path. 

I honestly did not expect "Life" to be as terrifying as it was but there I was shamelessly screaming and even hiding behind my jacket as I watched the crew face what could have possibly destroyed all life form on Mars. 

All this excitement while making sure to keep in mind that this creature must never reach Earth-no matter the cost. 

There are a lot of things that crossed my mind while watching "Life" - for one I thought about the bravery and sacrifice that our astraonauts and scientists do for humankind. I can't imagine what it would be like to leave your family and loved ones for years at a time, to be able to go up to space.     

The risk that they put themselves in every second that they are out in space is inconceivable. The fact that they are in an environment that just wants to kill you them in every and any way possible. While real astraunats haven't had to face a threat like this (yet) - "Life"  surely makes the occupation a little more exciting, albeit with some added hazards. 

As I said before, the film's premise is nothing new but it comes with surprises you will not see coming! And that ending will have you dumbfounded and you will leave the cinema going to the different scenes, dialogue and the series of unfortunate events which lead to its shocking conclusion. 

There are some parts in the movie, which will make you think "Well that wasn't very smart" and will have you  thinking about "the science of it all"

7/10 "Life" is a thrilling ride with a couple of twists and surprises to separate it from movies of the same genre. "Life" also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds.