Wednesday, October 15, 2014


New Line Cinema’s supernatural thriller “Annabelle” has just become the biggest-grossing foreign horror movie ever released in the Philippines.

The film about a doll possessed by an evil spirit has terrified the local box-office to the tune of P121.13-million as of yesterday, Oct. 13, this according to Francis Soliven, General Manager of Warner Bros. Philippines which distributed the movie.

The gross of previous record-holder “Insidious: Chapter 2” at P113-million was actually surpassed by “Annabelle” after only 12 days of release. Going into its third week, the demonic doll is tracking to dominate the coming weekend again as audiences’ appetite for a good scare seems boundless.

“We expect to continue excellent box-office performance for `Annabelle’ as the Halloween season ushers in,” says Soliven.  “The combination of an engrossing story, great filmmaking and reliable association with last year’s hit horror film `The Conjuring’ propelled `Annabelle’ to succeed.  The film delivered in a huge way.”

About “Annabelle”:

She terrified you in “The Conjuring,” but this is where it all began for “Annabelle.”  Capable of unspeakable evil, the actual doll exists locked up in an occult museum in Connecticut—visited only by a priest who blesses her twice a month. 
In the film, John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia -- a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress.  But Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long.  On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple.  Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind.  The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now...Annabelle.

Annabelle Wallis (“X-Men: First Class”) and Ward Horton (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) star as the Forms. Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard (“Twelve Years a Slave”) stars as Evelyn, a neighbor who owns a bookstore.  

“Annabelle” reunites the filmmakers behind 2013’s hugely successful supernatural thriller “The Conjuring.” John R. Leonetti, who served as cinematographer on “The Conjuring,” directed the film.   James Wan, director of the global hit, produced “Annabelle” with Peter Safran. Gary Dauberman wrote the script. 

            Still showing across the Philippines, “Annabelle” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Music from the Heart in “THE BOOK OF LIFE”

One of the world’s most influential personalities, Oprah Winfrey, was recently enthralled by the upcoming animated feature “The Book of Life” from 20th Century Fox directed by Mexican filmmaker Jorge R. Gutierrez whose unique visual and storytelling flair were enjoyed by many in his television works such as “Mucho Lucho,” MAD” and “El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera.” 

Another new song, “No Matter Where You Are,” is performed by a real-life married couple known as Us the Duo, who introduced the tune as their marriage vows – and then landed a record deal. The song is performed by Diego Luna and Zoë Saldana. “Us the Duo” is the first musical (artist) act to have been established via Vine and had become Vine’s first major-label signing.  Oprah became so enthralled by the end-credits song entitled “No Matter Where You Are” that she had the real-life married artists “Us The Duo” included in her U.S. tour of “The Life You Want Weekend.”  The couple introduced the tune of the song as their marriage vows that landed them a record deal. 

In a recent interview with Billboard, “Oprah fell in love with the movie and she heard about us,” says Michael Alvarado, married to Carissa. “We are super jazzed about what’s being spoken about and just trying to inspire the listeners there,” says Alvarado further who shared that their mission is to “inspire people through music, encouraging people to pursue the passion they have in life and showing that love still exists, that relationships are important.”

In the “Book of Life,” Gutierrez presents yet another unique, vibrant and visually spectacular world and characters with a stellar voice cast that includes Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Christina Applegate, Ron Perlman, Ice Cube and Kate Del Castillo.  

“The Book of Life” tells the legend of Manolo (Luna), a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to reunite with his one true love and defend his village. Manolo, Maria (Saldana) and Joaquin (Tatum) – three best friends – have been close since childhood.  Their bond was interrupted when Maria, who was a bit too rebellious for her father’s taste, was sent to Europe to become a proper lady.  Joaquin joined the military academy and became a legendary bandit-fighter.  But Manolo didn’t go anywhere – he stayed in San Angel and practiced to become a bullfighter, as his father did before him, and his father before him.

Music is a big part of the magic of “The Book of Life,” and the production was lucky to land the formidable talents of two-time Oscar® winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla, the father of Latin alternative music, making his animated feature film debut.  Under his supervision, the filmmakers landed rights to cover, with a Latin twist, beloved songs from Mumford and Sons (“I Will Wait”), Elvis Presley (“Can’t Help Falling in Love”), Radiohead (“Creep”), Biz Markie (“Just a Friend”), Rod Stewart (“Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”).  Additionally, there are beautiful, original songs written by Santaolalla and the award-winning Paul Williams.

“The music hails from all cultures and eras,” says Gutierrez.  “The story is set in the past but the music is current.  And the idea behind the characters singing these familiar songs is that mariachis don’t compose music; they sing familiar songs.  So that’s what Manolo does; he grabs music from the culture.”

“Gustavo is known to mix the sound of Latin America with Northern influences, including electronic, punk and rock,” del Toro elaborates.  “That became the sound of “The Book of Life” – the idea that these songs from all over the world, and from different eras would go through the film’s ‘sound machine’ to sound authentically Mexican, but at the same time have a global reach.”

For example, Manolo’s soulful singing of Radiohead’s “Creep” emanates from what he thinks is a quiet moment of solitude – though Maria is listening.  He then embarks on the time-honored tradition of serenading the girl of one’s dreams.  Accompanied by his rotund mariachi friends, the Rodriguez brothers (voiced by Cheech Marin, Gabriel Iglesias and Ricardo Sanchez “Mandril”), they try fun, though hardly romantic versions of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” – the latter to the accompaniment of a toy piano. 

These are great songs, to be sure, but Maria is unimpressed.  That is, until Manolo, absent his three pals, warbles a new song, “I Love You Too Much” (music by Gustavo Santaolalla, lyric by Paul Williams), which touches Maria’s heart.  “Manolo realizes he has to sing from the heart and not use someone else’s song,” the director explains.  “‘I Love You Too Much’ is a love song that pours out of his heart and soul, and it works!”

                “The Book of Life” is set in Mexico, but its music, heart, humor and themes are universal – as are its talented cast and crew.  “We have people from all over the world who worked on this movie,” says Booker. Above all, the film is about the importance of shaping one’s own destiny.  As The Candle Maker (voiced by Ice Cube) tells us, “Write your own story.”

                “The Book of Life” opens October 16 in cinemas (2D and 3D) from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Reel FX Animation and 20th Century Fox open the pages of “The Book of Life and present a grand mythology set in visually spectacular worlds never seen before. The film brings together director Jorge R. Gutierrez’s unique visual style and a crowd-pleasing mix of adventure, action, comedy, romance and music with a voice cast as lively as their animated characters – Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Christina Applegate, Diego Luna,  Ice Cube, Ron Perlman and Hector Elizondo. 

“The Book of Life,” a vibrant animated fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of Manolo (Luna), a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to reunite with his one true love Maria (Saldana) and defend his village.   But Manolo and his equally courageous best friend Joaquin (Tatum)are not your typical Prince Charmings; the object of their affections is far from being your average princess; and “The Book of Life” is a fairy tale that doesn’t go by the book.

Its journey to the big screen began with, appropriately enough, a friendship.  Producer Brad Booker, a Reel FX development executive, had known Gutierrez (known for the multiple Emmy and Annie winning series “El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera” for Nickelodeon which he created with his wife) for over a decade, and after hearing of the project, Booker believed Reel FX would be a great home for it.  The independent animation studio knew that the film needed the perfect creative partner to help guide its path and development.  Gutierrez’s first choice: legendary director, producer and author Guillermo del Toro, who like Gutierrez hails from Mexico.  Gutierrez felt del Toro’s authentic perspective and unique aesthetic sensibility were a perfect match for the film. 

 Del Toro was equally impressed by Gutierrez’s passion for what would become “The Book of Life.”  “Jorge is his movie,” he says, “and the movie is an imprint of his personality.  Jorge’s ideas for “The Book of Life started with his connection to his homeland of Mexico, and presenting an exciting, never-before-experienced depiction of that country, its people and its traditions – all in a way that would be accessible to audiences around the world.” 

Adds producer Brad Booker:  “Guillermo brings an authenticity and passion for this world and story.  He’s a visionary filmmaker and has been tremendously supportive of Jorge’s ideas.”  “The Book of Life” brings together Gutierrez’s perspective of his native country with a story to which everyone can relate.  He explains:  “This is a very personal movie. The inspiration comes from my family history and childhood experiences.”

Still, Gutierrez admits he embellished some elements.  “My grandfather Luis used to tell me, ‘Jorgito, don’t ever let the truth get in the way of a good story!’  And that was the moment I fell in love with storytelling.”  Gutierrez’s passion for the story, characters and their world points to the film’s broad appeal.  “If you’re telling a story and want it be universal, then you have to be specific,” del Toro explains.  “If the filmmaker loves the story and characters, then audiences will love it.  And if a filmmaker feels it’s powerful, more people will love the story he or she is telling because it’s powerful.  And that’s exactly what Jorge has done with “The Book of Life.” 

“The Book of Life opens October 16 in cinemas (2D and 3D) nationwide from 20th Century Fox thru Warner Bros.

Fantasy Adventure “SEVENTH SON” Delivers New Poster

“When darkness falls, the son will rise.” 

That's the tagline of the new poster for the upcoming fantasy adventure, “Seventh Son” from Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures.

The film stars Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, Djimon Hounsou and Julianne Moore. It is based on the book "The Spook's Apprentice" (AKA "The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch") by Joseph Delaney.

In a time of enchantments when legends and magic collide, the sole remaining warrior of a mystical order (Jeff Bridges) travels to find a prophesized hero born with incredible powers, the last Seventh Son (Ben Barnes). Torn from his quiet life as a farmhand, the unlikely young hero embarks on a daring adventure with his battle-hardened mentor to vanquish a dark queen (Julianne Moore) and the army of supernatural assassins she has dispatched against their kingdom.

“Seventh Son” is directed by award-winning filmmaker Sergei Bodrov, director of the Oscar®-nominated foreign language films “Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan” and “Prisoner of the Mountains.”

Opening across the Philippines on January 8, 2015, “Seventh Son” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


 The only man with a particular set of skills is back in “Taken 3.”  Liam Neeson reprises his role as Bryan Mills, the role that further set him up for worldwide stardom – a retired CIA agent whose enemies keep on preying even after he retired from the service. 

                In “Taken 3,” Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, whose reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she is brutally murdered.  Consumed with rage, and framed for the crime, he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA, FBI and the police. For one last time, Mills must use his “particular set of skills,” to track down the real killers, exact his unique brand of justice, and protect the only thing that matters to him now – his daughter.  “Taken 3” also stars Forest Whitaker and Maggie Grace is back in action as Bryan’s daughter.  

                In recent interviews, Neeson shared that in the movie, “I have to go on the run, I’ll put it that way, from the not-so-lawful types and the lawful authorities.  Bryan Mills served his country faithfully, but now even they are after him.  They must not like me.  This time, no more travelling, if my daughter was taken again on a trip, Bryan would have to be certifiably locked up for bad parenting.”

                He will find you – “Taken 3” explodes in (Phils.) cinemas nationwide on January 14, 2015 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE International Trailer 2

 From Matthew Vaughn, director of “X-Men: First Class” comes a new set of spy heroes to save the world in “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”  Starring Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson and Taron Egerton, this latest espionage movie is based on the comic book “The Secret Service” by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. 

In the latest trailer of the movie, Colin Firth plays suave veteran Kingsman spy Harry Hart as he introduces Eggsy (Egerton) into the world of secret service.  In one scene where Eggsy’s street enemies interrupt them in a bar, Harry teaches the juveniles that “Manners Maketh A Man” and walks away from the fracas completely unruffled, surprised Eggsy – thinking that Harry is just an old friend of his dad. It will just be a matter of time until Eggsy, an unruly yet promising young teen, will become fully immersed in the Secret Service as he is recruited for a training program to make him an ultimate spy.

Check out the latest “Kingsman: The Secret Service” international trailer here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf696TpZG2Q&index=1&list=PLcZs6n5iZPx-olg6PhKzfFdJpyO4wvyaL

                “Kingsman: The Secret Service” will open February 11, 2015 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

“DRACULA UNTOLD” Flies to PH IMAX Theaters Oct 15

IMAX Corporation and Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast Corp. and Legendary Pictures recently announced that “Dracula Untold,” the origin story of the man who became Dracula, starring Luke Evans (“Fast & Furious 6,” “The Hobbit” series), will be digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX® format and released into IMAX® theatres internationally, including The Philippines, beginning Oct. 15, 2014.

Gary Shore directs and Michael De Luca produces this epic action-adventure that co-stars Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Diarmaid Murtagh and Samantha Barks.

"Dracula is perhaps the most iconic horror story ever told, and this new twist on this classic tale is sure to appeal to IMAX audiences around the world," said Greg Foster, CEO of IMAX Entertainment and Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. "We're excited to have the opportunity to once again partner with the terrific team at Universal and our long time collaborators at Legendary as we present this exciting film in IMAX."


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