Sunday, July 31, 2016

Movie Review: NERVE

In a time when our lives revolve around social media and posting everything about ourselves online (bank account information, government data, personal information) coupled with this insatiable need to be insta-famous with countless likes and followers, "NERVE" takes a big mirror and shows us our own ugly reflection. 

Vee (Emma Roberts) is a shy senior, who plays second fiddle to her best friend, the popular, confident cheerleader, Sydney. A talented photographer, Vee is having trouble telling her mom she wants to enroll in a far off art school. Vee's mom would rather have her enroll in the nearby college, where she can keep tabs on her. This is at the wake of her older brother's tragic death. 

With an over protective mom, boy problems and being humiliated by Sydney, Vee steps out of her shy persona and joins NERVE, an online game where you sign up to be a Watcher or a Player. As a Player you perform dares for prize money. Watchers gather information about players and ask them to do dares, they are also tasked to take videos of watchers as they perform their dares. 

The players who can't complete the dares are out of the game. 

What starts out as a simple and harmless dare leads Vee to a crazy night, also meeting fellow Player the handsome, Ian (Dave Franco) but with the dares becoming more dangerous can Vee really trust Ian? 

The film explores both concepts of a Cyber Voyeur and a Cyber Exhibitionist, it might sound silly  but with Facebook Live and Viral videos on YouTube, is a game like NERVE really too far-fetched? 

There were also some interesting themes and talking points in the film, such as hiding behind anonymity and what it means to take responsibility over your actions online. There was also a scene in the film which reminded me of the Romans in the Colliseum with their brutal pit fights which serve as their entertainment. 

The audience loved the movie, I could hear them reacting to the exciting and emotional parts in the film. They were really rooting for the two lead characters and I always take that as a good indication that the film was enjoyable. I myself enjoyed it but found the ending flat and predictable, a tad bit corny actually but forgivable for the interesting use and incorporation of what's on your phone's screen to the film. Plus they have some good choices in songs, my favorite is "Electric Love" by BØRNS. 

7.5 out of 10, NERVE is now showing in cinemas! 

I was already midway in the book (yes, it's based on a young adult book) when I saw the movie and I can tell that the movie was definitely better. 

Book review to follow! 

Movies + Events: Brillante Mendoza Film Festival at SM City Masinag

It's a great time for local indie cinema indeed! With social media bringing back "Heneral Luna" after it was taken out of theaters. To memes on films like "Honor Thy Father" and recently that 'fishball scene' from "Ma. Rosa" all over Facebook. As well as groups like Revenge.PH and Cinema '76 holding indie film screenings, the future looks bright for our local cinema. 

I'm overwhelmed that SM City has also given the rare opportunity for its patrons to view the internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza's award winning film and to meet the filmmaker up close during the Brillante Mendoza Film Festival at SM City Masinag. 

The festival showcased Director Mendoza's 2015 internationally acclaimed film- "Taklub" which won the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Ecumencial Jury Prize Special Mention. The festival had students as its primary audience, and I'm happy to say that my nephew was among the participants. Looking forward to discussing the film with him (I know I'm such a geek). Hopefully exposing High School students to award winning films will inspire them and who knows may even influence a new generation of film enthusiasts. 

Taklub is the story of three characters, including Bebeth played by Nora Aunor, coping and surviving the aftermath of the horrendous Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). It is co-produced with the Department of Environmental and National Resources (DENR). 

Another highlight of the festival is the Film Appreciation Workshop after the Taklub screening. In the hour long workshop, the audience got a glimpse of the different elements -acting, directing, cinematography, script writing that went into this magnificent film as discussed by no less than Director Brillante Mendoza himself. The aim of the activity is to guide the audience in understanding and appreciating the film Taklub as a medium of art and communications. 

A launch was attended by prominent members of the local community from government officials, school officials and students, as well as film enthusiasts. This was held a day before the festival. During the program, SM City Masinag paid tribute to Director Mendoza for the many honors he has brought to the country and members of the media were also given the chance to interview him. 

A post work me, sans make-up geeking out with the man of the hour- Direk Brillante Mendoza himself. :) 

Movie Review: Ignacio de Loyola

To me what is truly commendable about "Ignacio de Loyola" is the strength and determination it must have taken to produce a movie of this caliber about a Saint in a time when superheroes dominate the box office and romantic comedies still make up most of local cinema. 

It wasn't just the decision to make a movie about the founder of the Jesuits that I admired but it was the impressive production, such as the costumes and sets that were used in the film. It should also be noted that the film was shot in Spain which adds to it being more genuine. 

My first thought about watching the movie was that they should have just had the dialogue in Spanish with English subtitles instead of having it in English but as the movie progressed I just got used to it. 
I guess it was having the dialogue in English which gave the film that "History Channel Documentary" feel. 

In the film, Iñigo (Andreas Muñoz) a brash and ambitious soldier dreaming of bringing glory to his family (he has some Daddy issues). After being crippled under cannonball fire, Iñigo is sent home without the honor and glory he wanted but a broken leg instead. 

During his recovery Iñigo finds Jesus and undergoes a spiritual conversion. He makes the decision to foresake his riches and travel on his own bare feet, just like the saints before him and the rest is history (not without some trials and tribulations of course). 

Some scenes could have been trimmed down for a more concise narrative. It was actor, Andreas Muñoz who really tied the movie together. He was a real presence on the screen and impressively portrayed both the brash soldier and the humble saint. 

The movie has been acclaimed to his using state-of-the-art technology but we couldn't help but notice some technical issues, such as camera focus and an over use of time lapse sequences. 

Post production was done in the Philippines and while the Castle battle scene was a little too heavily filtered you can also really tell where they used the green screens, some of it were a little 'cringy' but still all in all a commendable effort. 

Kudos to the production of the film, even featuring music from Ryan Cayabyab. 

5 out of 10. If you are a fan of history and/or follow the Catholic religion. Then you should check out the locally produced film. I read on social media that this is like the "Star Wars" for nuns and priests and I think that's just super adorable. 

Ignacio de Loyola is now showing in cinemas and is distributed by Solar Pictures. 

Movies: Meet the "Bad Moms"

The latest badass comedy “Bad Moms” brings together an ensemble of extremely talented group of filmmakers starting from the writer/director duo, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who also penned the outrageous worldwide hit “The Hangover,” along with producer Suzanne Todd, a multiple Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominated producer whose movies have grossed more than two and a half billion dollars worldwide such as “Austin Powers” trilogy, “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Boiler Room” and “Memento.” 

With a wide array of adjectives to choose from - tiger moms, soccer moms, perfect moms, fed up moms, you name it, they’re all here in “Bad Moms,” the ultimate tribute movie about the awesomeness of mothers starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate and Annie Mumolo with Jay Hernandez, Oona Lawrence and Emjay Anthony.  

 It’s war between the good and the mean in “Bad Moms,” contemporarily set in a world where there’s simply an overload of information – high tech apps, meaningful blogs, ‘expert’ advice, judgy “feedback” – but nothing has ever solved the one big issue all moms face: How to get it all done in the measly 24 hours to keep their family fit, fed and functioning, all with a smile after a long day. Does any app or hashtag address that? Can one blame them if they finally freak out? The answer is clear - #No #NoYouCan’t.


Further in “Bad Moms,” other moms know not to cross supermom Gwendolyn James (Applegate), the community’s arbiter of acceptable behavior, and Amy Mitchell (Kunis) certainly never meant to.  Life is hard enough. But upon reaching her tipping point, Amy is set to prove the perfect moms wrong and joins forces with Kiki (Bell), a stay-at-home mom and Carla, a single mom, together they brand themselves as “bad moms” eventually losing all fear of anyone else labelling them.

 Kunis signed on as lead character Amy Mitchell, a working mom whose myriad obligations leave her cut off from friendships, let alone the idea of fun for its own sake. Poor Amy is too busy to realize what she is missing.  “Really early on in motherhood, you forget that you’re a girl and you need girlfriends,” said Kristen Bell, a real life mother of two. “Part of the beauty of this film is that it’s about  these mothers discovering friendships again.”       

"Reading the script, you’d think a woman wrote it, but talking to Jon and Scott, you realize it’s an homage to their wives,” said actress Mila Kunis, a real-life mom herself. In fact, all six of the film’s leading ladies are mothers, as is producer Suzanne Todd.

 Lucas and Moore found expert guides to help them stir the soup, they hosted dinner parties with lots of moms, lots of wine and lots of stories from the trenches.  “What moms talk about is not how it’s usually portrayed in the average Hallmark-y Mom movie,” said Lucas. “It’s way more interesting and fun, and way more R-rated. Sometimes X-rated. And, yes, there’s conflict!”

 Producer Suzanne Todd, a mother of three, agreed. “It just feels like my experience. There were five scenes in the script that I felt like I had lived for sure. I mean exact, like exact detail of dialogue and specific things that happened; because it is kind of a shared collective experience about how hard we try to be good moms, how hard we are on ourselves about not being good enough.”


                “Bad Moms” opens August 3 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films

Friday, July 29, 2016


U.P. Town Center is looking real good, with a Satchmi store opening soon and now new cinemas! 

Buckle up, sit tight and rediscover movies as Ayala Malls Cinemas’ U.P. Town Center (along Katipunan Ave., QC) opened the first 4DXTM screen in the city at its recent launch (July 15) of its multiplex of cinemas that also houses luxurious recliner seats and the latest in Dolby Atmos technology.   

                 Responsive to the needs of the community, Ayala Malls Cinemas’ U.P. Town Center intensifies the cinematic experience notches higher with its four (4) state-of-the-art cinemas – (1)Recliner seats equipped in Dolby AtmosTM , (2) Dolby digital theatres and (1) 4DXTM cinema.        

                 Be in the movie by using all of your senses with U.P. Town Center’s 4DXTMcinema, the first of its kind in northern Metro Manila.  Stimulating not just the eyes but the rest of the senses too, 4DXTM has indeed transformed the experience of watching movies.   Its 4DXTM motion chairs are equipped with bottom and back shakers and leg ticklers - tilts forward, backward, side to side and nudges in the back. Further immersing the audience, the cinema’s environmental effects feature that emits wind, bubbles, different scents, water, fog and lightning are seamlessly synchronized with the action on screen. 

                 For the keen listener, another first in the area is the Dolby AtmosTMtechnology that creates powerful, moving audio and introduces two important concepts to cinema sound – audio objects and overhead speakers.  Sounds flow all around the cinema while comfortably watching in the motorized recliner seats while fully engaged with what’s happening on the big screen – 2D, 3D and 4DX.  

                 Hungry for more? Complementing an unparalleled impressive cinematic experience, U.P. Town Center Cinemas has a Movie Snack Bar too that also offers a wide range of snacks and refreshments for a fully satisfying movie treat. 

                 The only University Town Center in the country, U.P. Town Center Cinemas’ schedule can also be accessed at Ayala Malls Cinemas’ – an online portal of movie schedules where one can reserve and buy tickets in advance.  Additionally, Ayala Malls Cinemas’ MPass card is a reloadable prepaid movie card that comes in handy for online and over the counter ticket purchases which also offers exclusive promos.

                 Present during the launch of U.P. Town Center Cinemas featuring the latest “Ghostbusters” movie are Ms. Rowena M. Tomeldan - President of Ayala Land Malls Inc., Atty. Rolly S. Dueñas - Deputy General Manager of Ayala Malls Cinemas, Mr. Robert J. Lotho - General Manager of U.P. Town Center, Mr. Amir V. Precilla - General Manager of Ayala Malls Cinemas and Mr. Mark L. Sablan - Senior Division Manager of Ayala Land Inc. 

                 The event was graced by celebrities and prominent personalities such as Angelika dela Cruz, Jane Oneiza, Leo Katigbak, Sec. Rene Almendras, Vincent Del Rosario, Loisa Andalio, Jairus Aquino and Yves Flores. 


IndieWire calls it “the best shark movie since `Jaws,” while the New York Daily News hails it as a “much-needed escapist summer fun.”

They're talking about Columbia Pictures' “The Shallows” – the critically acclaimed thriller that took America like a tidal wave, and now, Philippine audiences can catch it in sneak previews on Monday andTuesday, August 1st and 2nd in selected cinemas everywhere. Admission prices will be at regular rates.

Garnering a fresh 77 percent rating at, “The Shallows” tells the story of Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) who's surfing on a secluded beach when she finds herself in the feeding ground of a great white shark. Though she is stranded only two hundred yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude.

“If you're looking for a quick and satisfying summer thrill, then `The Shallows' should serve you nicely,” endorses respected critic Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times. Another influential reviewer, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, applauds “Blake Lively, director Jaume Collet-Serra and a digital shark show no mercy in hooking us with the B-movie tension. And we bite.”

The critics are also raving about the lead actress' performance, with Variety's Peter Debruge writing, “Lively may have been cast primarily for her physique, but she proves a compelling heroine.”

“Lively acquits herself well here,” agrees Glenn Kenny of the New York Times, “especially in the vulnerable-to-shark-attack department.”

“The Shallows” is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (“Unknown,” “Non-Stop”) from a screenplay by Anthony Jaswinski (“Vanishing on 7th Street”).

Opening across the Philippines on August 10, “The Shallows” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #FearTheShallows

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Is it ever a good thing to be the bad guy? In Warner Bros. Pictures's “Suicide Squad,” the most improbable crew of crazy criminals ever thrown together will find out when they are united on a mission to save the world that turns into the wildest, weirdest, wickedest ride of their already insanity-filled lives.

“The Suicide Squad is essentially a team—though a wholly reluctant one—of DC’s Super-Villains,” explains writer/director David Ayer. “Because who better to defeat one Super-Villain than another or, in this case, a whole gang of Super-Villains? It was pretty exciting for me because it let me explore a different version of the superhero movie; they’re the absolute flipside of heroes.”

Though they may not consider their exploits to be heroic yet (or ever), the Squad’s adventure will encompass all the heightened thrills, shrewd antics and full-blown combat that go along with the actions of their more traditional counterparts. They’ll just have to try to behave, to be on the better side of bad…for now.

Producer Charles Roven, a veteran of the genre, offers, “I felt it was really interesting to make a film with the DC bad guys, to see which of them are truly evil and which might have some redeeming factors. The Suicide Squad is comprised of all these deadly incarcerated villains. What would they do, given the chance to reduce their sentences or even gain their freedom, even if it’s likely they won’t survive the mission? And they take that shot—not that they’re given much choice.”

Though seemingly given a “choice,” the prisoners who will become the Suicide Squad will have to learn to work as a team—literally. This is no voluntary gig. Plucked from the notorious Belle Reve Federal Penitentiary, which is designed to hold the “worst of the worst,” Deadshot and fellow inmates Harley Quinn, Killer Croc and Diablo, among others, aren’t exactly given an appealing alternative to playing along. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller, a ruthless, manipulative operative who prides herself on her ability to get people to act against their own self-interest, sees to that.

“It starts with the screenplay, and David’s are incredibly rich, the characters jump off the page, because he creates this incredible sense of reality,” producer Richard Suckle says. “What I love, too, is that he has this edginess to his writing; there’s a swagger in the characters and films that he’s made. He’s the perfect guy to take these Super-Villains and make them as palatable and exciting as anyone else in the world of a DC film.”

Roven readily agrees, adding, “One of the wonderful things about David’s writing is that he can certainly hit the dramatics, but he also gives these characters great personality, and that results in many of them having fabulous wit, great lines of dialogue that fit into the situation, that come from the character so they feel real. Even in such intensified circumstances as these anti-heroes find themselves in, you just can’t help but laugh and enjoy them, they are just so unusually funny. It’s an action adventure film that has a lot of dark humor to it.”

“For me, the power of the DC brand is its universal qualities; there is a truth to these characters,” Ayer says. “They’re a vehicle for our modern values, but the characters themselves are also echoes of past mythologies. That’s their timeless nature and why I think they’ll always be attractive. And that’s why I was eager to tell a story with this particular set of characters, and to see them come to life on film.”

Few teams could be considered more visually appealing than the wildly colorful members of the Suicide Squad, who, along with the pure spectacle of the actioner’s larger-than-life battles and tenaciously hedonistic soundtrack, present an all-out psychedelic confection for summer moviegoers.

Opening across the Philippines in 3D, and in 2D, and in IMAX 3D theaters on Thursday, August 4, “Suicide Squad” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. 


The main trailer for Warner Bros. Pictures' new suspense thriller “The Accountant” starring Ben Affleck has just been released and may be viewed at

In the film, Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

“The Accountant” also stars Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick, Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jean Smart and Cynthia Addai-Robinson, with Jeffrey Tambor and two-time Oscar nominee John Lithgow.

O’Connor directed the film from a screenplay by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”). The film was produced by Mark Williams and Lynette Howell, with O’Connor, Jamie Patricof and Marty Ewing serving as executive producers.

Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 19, “The Accountant” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Spidey swung into Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con recenty with some of his pals to show off the first-look footage and new concept art of the Vulture, the villain in Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios' “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in cinemas July 2017.

Joining Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) on stage were director Jon Watts, producer Kevin Feige and co-stars Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, and Zendaya.

In "Spider-Man: Homecoming," a young Peter Parker/Spider-Man, who made his sensational debut in Marvel Studios' "Captain: Civil War," begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero.

Directed by Jon Watts, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” also stars Michael Keaton, Donald Glover, Laura Harrier, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, with Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.

Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Executive Producers Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Jeremy Latcham, and Stan Lee. 

Spider-Man, embraced all over the world, is the most successful franchise in the history of Sony Pictures, with the five films having taken in more than $4 billion worldwide.

Opening across the Philippins in July 2017, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.


Warner Bros. Pictures unveiled a new trailer for “The LEGO Batman Movie” during the film's Comic-Con panel last Saturday, July 16, and the studio has now made it available online at

The new trailer introduces Robin, who in this version, was mistakenly adopted by Bruce Wayne in a charity auction.

“The LEGO Batman Movie” is the animated Caped Crusader’s spinoff feature from the critically acclaimed box-office hit “The LEGO Movie.”

In the irreverent spirit of fun that made “The LEGO® Movie” a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble – LEGO Batman – stars in his own big-screen adventure. But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

Will Arnett returns to voice the Gotham vigilante in the satirical spin on the classic comic book character for director Chris McKay. The screenplay is written by Seth Grahame-Smith (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer”).

The film also stars Michael Cera as Batman’s sidekick Robin, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, and Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth and Mariah Carey as the Mayor of Gotham.

Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 09, 2017, “The Lego Batman Movie” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.


From Illumination Entertainment, one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of event animated films like “Despicable Me” and “MinioNs,” comes Universal Pictures' “The Secret Life of Pets,” the recent No.1 box-office hit in the US, and opening in Philippine cinemas Aug. 24.

(Watch the film's new TV spot at

The inspiration behind `Pets' was all of the pets that my family and I have owned since I was a little kid. We grew up with a cat and dogs and a bird, and what I realized as I became a parent was that we all invested these pets with rich emotional lives. Whenever we’d come home we would be thinking about the joy in their faces in seeing us and thinking about them doing things that were a little bit naughty. We realized we were asking exactly what they had done while we were out.”

It struck me that I wasn’t alone in wondering about what the inner lives of our pets were,” he continues. “The minute I started to look at my own pets that way, I realized that everybody looks at their pets through that lens. Whether or not it’s a real emotional life or a projected one…it doesn’t matter. We’re fascinated with their inner lives and highly curious about what they’re doing and thinking when we’re not around.”

Working with the writing team of Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, with whom he's worked on the films in the “Despicable Me” franchise, Meledandri first asked them to develop this idea into a screenplay. They were then needed to start “Despicable Me 3,” and writer Brian Lynch—known for his work with Illumination on “Minions” took the helm.

Daurio explains how it all began: “The first thing that Chris pitched to us was the image of a dog watching his owner leave the house. As soon as the owner leaves, the dog dumps his food in the trash and opens the fridge to find something better to eat. That was the initial image that was planted in our head, and it stayed with us throughout this entire process.”

Paul describes what drives the process he shares with Daurio: “The key to an Illumination film is lots of laughs and lots of heart. We want people to laugh as much as they possibly can, but we also want to make them cry a bit at the end as well.”

As they pondered upon the setting, the duo was drawn to a New York apartment building. “Early on, we decided we wanted this story to take place in an apartment building,” Paul says. “That gave us access to a lot of pets and the idea that when the owners are away, they party. They gossip and drink out of the toilet; things they would never do if their owners were watching.”

This is Lynch’s third collaboration with Meledandri, and he appreciates Meledandri’s character-centric approach. “Chris always says, ‘We’ll come up with the story and the set pieces later. Let’s work on who our lead character is, what happened to him or her before and what we want the audience to know about them and feel about them. We will go from there,’” offers Lynch. “It has always been helpful to work that way.”

Lynch loved extrapolating upon these pets’ secret lives, revealing: “This film is a salute to how much all of us love our pets. No matter what they do in the movie, the new friends they meet or the death they defy, they still have to be back at the end of the day to see their owners come home. Even if they go on crazy adventures during the day, the highlight of every day is when their owner comes home.”

The moment that Max’s owner brings Duke home from the pound has a special inspiration of its own. Laughs Meledandri: “I imagine Max feels a bit like my nine-year-old son must have when my wife and I came home from the hospital with a new baby: ‘Where did this guy come from? Who asked him here? My life was fine before he arrived and, no, I don’t want to share everything that I’ve got that’s so perfect.’”

Comedy superstars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart make their animated feature-film debuts as Max, Duke and Snowball in “The Secret Life of Pets,” which co-stars Jenny Slate as Gidget, Ellie Kemper as Katie, Lake Bell as Chloe, Dana Carvey as Pops, Hannibal Buress as Buddy, Bobby Moynihan as Mel, Steve Coogan as Ozone and Albert Brooks as Tiberius.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.


British actor Toby Kebbell has built an impressive career as one of the more versatile young actors working today, moving effortlessly from one genre to another with every project he takes on.

He recently starred as lead Orc, Durotan, in Legendary’s feature film “Warcraft,” and as the sinister ape Koba in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” He’s currently in production on Legendary’s action adventure, “Kong: Skull Island,” which will be released in March 2017.

This August, Kebbell will be seen in Paramount Pictures’ epic action adventure “Ben-Hur” in the pivotal role of Messala, Ben-Hur’s adopted brother and best friend who sets him on his path for vengeance.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, “Ben-Hur” is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala, an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title and separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

"Toby brought a lot to the role of Messala,” producer Duncan Henderson explains. “The character was very interesting to begin with, but Toby was able to instill the character with his own innate sense of humor that he brings to set every day. Messala is a very dark character, but Toby’s portrayal gives him a certain lightness that just adds to his complexity."

"Toby sizzles on screen," comments producer Roma Downey. “Physically, he just brings it. He’s good looking. He’s grounded. He’s strong, and he inherently has such intelligence and depth. We believe that he loves Judah, and the thing that drives him through the second half of the movie is that love and disappointment."

"When I met with Timur,” Kebbell recalls, “I realized this wasn’t just about a chariot race. This is a story about brothers, about family, how badly we sometimes treat the ones we love, and how often we need forgiveness. Everything we’re exploring is drawn from the original book."

Kebbell concludes, “The roles of Ben-Hur and Messala are symbiotic. It was a fun challenge for us to play with the fraternal bond between these rivals. There’s love and there’s hate there, but give too much either way and you’ll lose the unique conflict that drives the film.”

Opening across the Philippines in August 17, “Ben-Hur” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


The teaser trailer for Columbia Pitures' “T2: Trainspotting,” the sequel to director Danny Boyle's 1996 masterpiece 2 has landed online and may be viewed at

            Danny Boyle reunites with screenwriter John Hodge and the original cast – Ewan McGregor as Renton, Ewan Bremner as Spud, Jonny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, and Robert Carlyle as Begbie – for a story based on author Irvine Welsh’s follow-up novel “Porno.”  The sequel picks up 20 years after the events of the first film with the main characters crossing paths yet again.

            The director is also reuniting with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, who won an Oscar for his work on Boyle's “Slumdog Millionaire.”

            Based on the novel of the same name by Welsh, Hodge's screenplay for the original “Trainspotting” received an Academy Award nomination. The story, set in the late ’80s, follows a group of heroin addicts in an economically depressed area of Edinburgh.  The film launched the careers of McGregor, Carlyle and Boyle.

Opening across the Philippines in February 2017, “T2: Trainspotting” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.


Jemaine Clement, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison and Nicole Scherzinger Join Auli‘i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson in Epic Big-Screen Adventure

July 26, 2016 – Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana,” which opens in theaters across the Philippines on Nov. 30, 2016, features a dynamic roster of characters brought to life by a talented group of actors. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, who were behind “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” “Moana” showcases the life-changing journey of a tenacious 16-year-old who teams up with the mighty demigod Maui to fulfill an ancient quest.


The newly revealed characters and voice talent join the already announced duo that includes newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho, who lends her voice to the title character, Moana, a teenager who dreams of becoming a master wayfinder, and Dwayne Johnson (HBO’s “Ballers,” “Central Intelligence”), who voices Maui—half god, half mortal, all awesome.

Our assembled voice cast for this film is beyond our wildest dreams,” said Musker. “We are so fortunate to have this group of talented actors, many from Oceania, breathing life into their characters.”

Added Clements, “We are so thankful to have found such extraordinary people who not only capture the voices of these characters, they elevate them in every way.”

Joining Cravalho and Johnson are the following performers.

  • JEMAINE CLEMENT (“The BFG,” “Despicable Me,” “Rio,” “Rio 2,” “What We Do in the Shadows,” Flight of the Conchords) provides the voice of TAMATOA, a self-absorbed, 50-foot crab who lives in Lalotai, the realm of monsters. The conceited crustacean wants to be more than a “bottom feeder” and overcompensates for this perceived shortcoming by covering himself in all things shiny.

  • RACHEL HOUSE (“Whale Rider,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”) lends her voice to GRAMMA TALA, Moana’s confidante and best friend, who shares her granddaughter’s special connection to the ocean. Although her son Tui, the chief of Motunui, is a no-nonsense leader, Gramma Tala most definitely dances to the beat of her own drum.

  • TEMUERA MORRISON (“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” “Once Were Warriors,” “Six Days, Seven Nights”) voices Moana’s father, CHIEF TUI, the gregarious and well-respected leader of the people of Motunui Island. Chief Tui wants Moana to follow in his footsteps as leader of their people, but fears his daughter’s draw to the ocean and the world that lies beyond their reef.

  • NICOLE SCHERZINGER (Grammy®-nominated singer, West End's "Cats") voices Moana’s mother, SINA, who always has her daughter’s back. Playful, sharp and strong-willed, Sina appreciates Moana’s longing to be on the water, but also wants to protect her daughter from the fabled dangers beyond the reef. 

  • ALAN TUDYK, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ lucky charm (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Big Hero 6”), is behind the voice of HEIHEI. Heihei is one dumb rooster—the village idiot, in fact. When the clueless chicken accidently stows away on Moana’s canoe, he lands a front-row seat for her epic journey.

The roster of characters also includes the KAKAMORA, an intense team of crazy, coconut-armored pirates who will stop at nothing to get what they want, and PUA,Moana’s loyal pet pig with puppy energy and an innocent puppy brain.


Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows why.  From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auliʻi Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”) and produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), “Moana” sails into Philippine theaters on Nov. 30, 2016. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook,; follow us on Twitter,; follow us on Instagram,


“This film grabs you on a primal level,” says Blake Lively, who plays a young woman stranded just a short distance from shore when she is attacked by a great white shark, in Columbia Pictures' suspense thriller “The Shallows.” “It’s about the power to survive, the power of will.”

In the taut thriller, Lively plays Nancy Adams who is surfing on a secluded beach when she finds herself in the feeding ground of a great white shark. Though she is stranded only two hundred yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude.

“Blake is not only very likable, she’s very tough, very smart, and very resourceful,” says director Jaume Collet-Serra. “Those are the traits we wanted to come through in Nancy.”

“Nancy is a medical student, which comes in handy when she’s bleeding out on a rock in the middle of the ocean!” says Lively with a laugh. “She’s very practical, she’s type A, she likes things a certain way. Imagine this woman thrown into the most chaotic circumstance you could fathom. Not a great fit. That’s what’s so interesting – her experience tests her character on every front. You see both the strengthening and disassembling of this woman as she fights to survive. It’s a neat examination. As responsible as she is though, she must have a thrill-seeking desire in her heart, or she wouldn’t be such a bad a-double-s surfer!

“I had to train – not only to learn how to surf as best as I could, but there was a lot of endurance training for my body to keep up with the physicality of the role,” explains Lively. “I didn’t even have a stunt double until the last two weeks on the film – I did all the heavy stunts myself leading up to that. Except for the surfing, of course! I was lucky to have the incredible Isabella Nichols, the #1 junior surfer in the world, as my surfing hero. As for the other heavy stunts, I had my share of ‘battle wounds,’ but it made me proud to be able to do that work.”

Making a movie usually means you’re surrounded by many people, but there were times when Lively had to put herself into her character’s shoes. For one, a wide helicopter shot of Lively alone on the rock, it naturally meant that no one else could be around. “I got to our set – our rock and buoy – out in the middle of the ocean, and everybody left me there and went back to the shore. I’m sitting there, three or four hundred yards from shore, waiting, alone, in aggressive, rising tide for the helicopter with the camera to crest over the mountain. After a few minutes of pure solitude, the chopper came in, did the shot, and left me alone again. There was a good thirty minutes total where it was just me, and I really felt the enormity of the situation. It was so beautiful, and also so terrifying. It was a moving experience.”

Collet-Serra says that Blake Lively was much more than an actor for hire. Because she is in nearly every shot of the movie, he says, “She was really a partner in the storytelling. We tailored it for her – everything is filtered through her. We all agreed on the movie we were making, and she was very interested in collaborating with us on that process.”

Part of that is Lively’s view that the shark is not a demon at all, but another being – like Nancy – trying to survive. “Sharks are villainized – people think of them as scary, as cruel, as monsters, but they’re not that at all. The shark is a wild animal in its habitat,” Lively continues. “Nancy has a lot of sympathy for the shark, even as she’s fighting to survive. I think that’s pretty remarkable to find empathy and connection in such painful times. Nancy has this revelation when she sees that mankind has hurt the shark first. He has been hunted. Brutally. And not for means of man’s survival. For pleasure. You then understand the shark’s motive, his determination, his will, his desperation to conquer as his survival also depends on it. So it becomes a test of two wills. Both victims. But only one can live while the other remains. It’s a tragedy. It’s at that point in the story: nature.”

Opening across the Philippines on August 10, “The Shallows” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #FearTheShallows