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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Trial : Movie Review

By: Lakwatsera Lovers

When the trailer of "The Trial" was released, we've read a lot of comments where the film is being compared to Korean hit Miracle Cell No. 7. Well, actually it's not the same thing and Chito Roño's latest offering simply touches the hearts of its viewers.

Ronald (John Llyod Cruz) is a 27-year-old mentally challenge graduating elementary student who is also having a part-time job in his school as a gardener. He is accused of raping his teacher Bessy, (Jessy Mendiola) with a video surfacing as a proof of evidence. Soon, a rape case is filed to put Ronald into prison, and he immediately needs to find someone to help him on court with his trial.

It's pretty obvious that most of our tagalog films rely with romantic comedy films starring popular love teams. Finally, we've got something on mainstream that takes on a spin to break the thread of some recent releases. The theme of the film is delicate to handle due to the topic (rape & mentally challenge person) used in it. However, the delivery is basically straightforward and assessed well, enough to produce a good quality of the story. The only problem is, it tries hard to insert too much story in the process making the film a bit long because of some flashbacks and other stuffs that are needed to be justified. 

What made the film even more powerful is because of stellar cast. John Llyod Cruz provided a career-best performance selling the hardship of his character. He shows his versatility and easily captivates the hearts of his viewers. We never knew that we would love Gretchen Barretto. At first, we thought that she was not the perfect fit for the role as we consistently see her playing as the villain in films and soap operas. She might be out of her comfort zone, but she managed to provide impressive emotions of a grieving mother. Sylvia Sanchez and Vince De Jesus also did a great job as Ronald's parents, as they bring quality minutes producing humor and drama when they need to. 

Overall, The Trial is a very interesting film with an outstanding cast giving solid performances to make the movie memorable. It is compelling, heart-wrenching and occasionally funny. Well, if your asking if John Lloyd did it? You'll need to watch and find the answer for yourself, so we won't spoil anything. Another advice, bring some tissues along, as the film is a definite tearjerker. 

Lakwatsera Lovers rates it 9.5 out of 10 stars

Cast: John Llyod Cruz, Jessy Mendiola, Richard Gomez

Directed by: Chito S. Roño
Distributed by: Star Cinema 
Now Showing in cinemas nationwide

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Keanu Reeves' Double as Neo in "MATRIX" is Now the Actor's Director in "JOHN WICK"

The much anticipated return of Keanu Reeves in full-tilt action is about to end in his upcoming movie "John Wick" where he plays an ex-hitman forced to come out of retirement and brings bloody vengeance to the Russian mobsters who took everything from him.     

Making their directorial debut in "John Wick" are Chad Stahelski and David Leitch whom Reeves have long collaborated with since in "The Matrix" films who have served as the movies' stunt coordinators and are now Hollywood's most in-demand when it comes to training actors in action films. Most recently, the duo's works include phenomenal hits such as "300," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," "The Bourne Legacy" and "The Hunger Games."

Starring alongside an all-star cast with Willem Dafoe, Michael Nyvist, Adrianne Palicki, Alfie Allen, Bridget Moynahan, Ian McShane and John Leguizamo, Reeves ups the action ante in "John Wick" as he pulls off the latest grueling and highly complex action scenes.

In recent interviews, Reeves enthused on reuniting with Chad and David,  "Working with Chad and Dave, there was an ambition to do something at a high level. They've wanted to direct a film for a long time, and they wanted to raise the bar, have a style, have a vision."

Retracing their passion for martial arts where Chad and David met while studying the moves, they soon find themselves as stuntmen for movies and has since progressed as stunt coordinators/directors.

In "John Wick," they have a chance to showcase the high-concept stunt have they been working on for years which they call the "gun fu," a hybrid stunt that includes flying fists and firearms.  With Reeves, this "gun fu" mix of martial arts and guns is something they believe the actor can believably pull off.  "We've had the pleasure to work with a lot of actors, but Keanu is as hard-core as they come," Leitch said. "He's as hard-boiled as John Wick. We asked more of him than we'd ever asked of any actor, and he never let us down."

"John Wick" opens October 29 in cinemas from Pioneer Films. 

Check out the trailer below: 

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Dreamworks' “PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR” (3D): Reveals First Four Minutes

Dreamworks Animation’s “PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR” (3D) star in their own feature film, a spin-off to the studio’s enormously successful “Madagascar” series which have earned close to two billions dollars since their debut in 2005 - and further explores the back story of the  popular Polar foursome penguins, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private (respectively voiced by Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, John DiMaggio and Christopher Knights)

In the movie that will finally blow the spy quartet’s cover, the penguins will face-off with an eccentric genius and brilliant creature from their past known as Dr. Octavius Brine or Dave (voiced by John Malkovich).  Step back in time...only to move fast forward and discover how they came to be the world’s fearless agents in the world of espionage.  They soon join forces with an elite spy group known as the North Wind led by a panache of a wolf known as Agent Classified (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) to stop Dave from his evil plans.  

Directed by Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell, “Penguins of Madagascar” (3D) will finally reveal the untold story of the world’s most hilarious covert birds on November 26 nationwide in cinemas (Phils.) from Dreamworks Animation and 20thCentury Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. 

Check out the First Four Minutes “Penguins of Madagascar” below:
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Young Cast of  “AS ABOVE/SO BELOW” Endures Tough Shoot

The core cast in Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures' horror thriller “As Above/So Below” consists of six characters who become trapped by their most intimate fears inside the Catacombs, an astonishing 220 feet belowground in Paris. Leading the young cast is Welsh actress Perdita Weeks, best known for the acclaimed TV series “The Tudors” starring opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Henry Cavill.

For director John Erick Dowdle, it was important to find just the right actors to create the story they were looking to tell...and getting the performers to trust them with an unorthodox process.

Whether it was asking them to strap on headlamps and serve as a scene's primary light source or forgo the tradition of hitting marks on the ground-and work with experimental techniques and reaction-only shots-the entire team was game.

"This movie was intended to be a personalized experience for each character," the writer/producer continues. "In doing so, we want audiences to have that experience as well. We don't feel the need to go into great detail about each character's personal demons and all of the backstory. Sometimes it's just one image, and from that image you can extrapolate what's weighing on their soul."

The filmmakers began with casting the role of Scarlett, a British scholar of archaeology and rebellious thrill-seeker who is driven by the death of her father. She cannot stop searching until she proves that he wasn't crazy. Screenwriter and Producer Drew Dowdle walks us through Scarlett's connection to this world: "We had the alchemical background of Scarlett's, with her father being a world-renowned alchemist. As well, the real-life father of alchemy was Nicolas Flamel, who was buried in one of the first cemeteries in Paris that had been relocated into the Catacombs."

In keeping with their style of creating characters who are inherently warm and compassionate, but still quite flawed, the Dowdles searched for a young woman who was believable as an adventure-seeking archaeologist on a mission, but also a young woman who brought humanity to a character hardened by her deep family loss.

John Erick Dowdle shares: "For the role of Scarlett, we wanted somebody who is not only someone you'd love to take a road trip with but someone who you believe could be smart to the point of genius...and also funny. Perdita Weeks is someone we really felt had the depth to carry this character."

Perdita Weeks knew that portraying Scarlett would not be easy. She gives: "Scarlett is a great character to play, as she goes through a significant arc in the film-both in her relation to the other characters and in her unintentional journey of self-discovery. Her driving force is vindication of her father's belief in and study of alchemy and the Stone. She is brutally strong-willed, self-serving-and even manipulative-but ultimately likeable, and throughout the action we see her unravel, which is always interesting to play."

Weeks knew that much would be expected of her during the shoot. Not only would she be required to spend hours in makeup, she'd be slogging through wet mud for a good chunk of the production. She offers: "This was the most physically challenging role I have ever played: from sprinting with heavy cameras and battery packs on my head, to abseiling and crawling through bone tunnels on hands and bruised knees, all the while head to toe in 'blood' and was exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure.”

Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.

A journey into madness and terror, Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures' new horror-thriller “As Above/So Below” reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all.

  As Above/So Below” will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide starting Oct. 22, 2014.
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Explorers Go Beyond Galaxy for Historic Mission in “INTERSTELLAR”

With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history: traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars, in Warner Bros. Pictures' futuristic thriller “Interstellar.”

From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight” films, “Inception”), “Interstellar” stars Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, Oscar winner Anne Hathaway, Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn and Oscar winner Michael Caine. The main cast also includes Wes Bentley, Casey Affleck, David Gyasi, Mackenzie Foy and Topher Grace.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film is written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan.

Ask Christopher Nolan’s partner Emma Thomas—who is producing “Interstellar” with Nolan and Lynda Obst—what the film is about, and she doesn’t speak immediately of space ships and interstellar travel to inhospitable alien worlds. She goes right to its heart: “For me, it’s really about the incredible human spirit of adventure and exploration. There are a lot of big questions asked by the movie, but, ultimately, what it comes down to is a story about family and human relationships. And I think that’s a pretty amazing thing.”
Realism to Nolan is about finding the rich seam of humanity in any grand adventure. At the core of “Interstellar” is one family: sister and brother Murphy and Tom (played by Mackenzie Foy and Timothée Chalamet), their grandfather Donald (John Lithgow), and their dad Cooper, played by Mathew McConaughey.

I’m a pilot—that was my dream,” McConaughey says, using first person to describe his character, Cooper. “I was going to explore and wander and go out there…” he points to the sky. “Then I was grounded: One, by life’s circumstances—family; and two, by circumstances of the world in this future that Chris and his brother [Jonathan Nolan] created. It’s a future and an existence where exploration and invention and wonder are not only not needed, you can’t do it anymore. It’s a life of sustenance, to stave off extinction. ‘Don’t get any bright ideas, mankind.’ And my guy’s [told], ‘Hey, we need you to be a pilot again. And you’re not literally chasing your own dream; there’s a massive responsibility behind this. We need you to pilot our ship.’”

The story of “Interstellar” begins here, on Earth. Except, as envisioned by Jonathan ‘Jonah’ Nolan and Christopher Nolan, it is an Earth of the not-too-distant future reshaped by a crisis that draws its spiritual roots from the Dust Bowl—the Depression Era drought that saw America’s prairies hurling up huge dust storms that choked the country’s heartland. Thomas explains, “The issue is how to feed everyone. The emphasis is on agriculture, but it’s not really idyllic. It’s a difficult time.”

This is the world Cooper and his family have inherited. But not everyone has given up. A team of scientists has discovered a wormhole—a tunnel through space-time—that could potentially allow travel across unimaginable distances. The Lazarus mission is launched as a quest to find potentially inhabitable planets outside our solar system—a new home. The ship has already been built, and Cooper is the only man with the skills to fly it. But the risk of piloting a mission to save his children’s future is the possibility that he will never see them again.

For Nolan himself—a father of four—the project is clearly personal. “It’s about all kinds of things—how we define ourselves and who we are in the universe—but, for me, it’s about being a father,” he reflects. “I think putting those ideas foremost in my process gives the story to the film, rather than just enjoying the space elements for space’s sake.”

  Opening across the Philippines on Nov. 6, 2014 in theaters and IMAX®, “Interstellar” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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Suspense and adventure-filled movies at SM Cinemas this October!

SM Cinema through its CinExclusive program continues to bring movie-lovers an exciting line-up of action-filled stories this October. This month’s suspense and adventure-filled movie list includes Little Azkals: Pursuit of the World Cup Dream, Detective Conan: Dimensional Sniper, Tumbang Preso (In the Can), and The Pirates.

Little Azkals: Pursuit of the World Cup Dream

A story of dreams against the odds, “Little Azkals : Pursuit of the World Cup Dream,is a documentary film which showcases the stories of 22 young boys from all over the Philippines and their once in a lifetime opportunity to be trained in a football camp in England for the sole purpose of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.

Little Azkals will have its regular cinema premiere from October 25-26 at selected SM Cinemas (MOA, SM Megamall, SM South Mail, SM Sta Mesa, SM Fairview, SM Manila, SM Marikina, SM Bacoor, SM Iloilo, SM Cebu, SM North Edsa).

Tumbang Preso (In the Can)

Carlo and his younger cousin expect to arrive in Manila with a job and a scholarship but things did not turn out well as they end up as slaves in a sardines factory. Once filled with big dreams, the two boys’ only hope is to escape the factory’s walls of glass shards with the prospect of torture if they fail.

Tumbang Preso (In the Can), is a suspense-thriller about happiness and freedom, or the lack of it. The film depicts real events and experiences based on rescues in sardines factories in which the director, Kip Oebanda, had personally met in his work as an advocate against human trafficking.

Tumbang Preso will be exclusively shown at selected SM Cinemas starting October 8.

Detective Conan: Dimensional Sniper

Detective Conan goes on an adventure once again! The 18th movie installment of anime film Detective Conan, the story centers on the detective’s investigation and search for the mysterious sniper that left the citizens of Japan in panic. As the investigation progresses, more mysteries are uncovered and a special connection with the US military officers are formed.

Directed by Kobun Shizuno, Detective Conan: Dimensional Sniper will surely leave the audience dumbfounded with Detective Conan’s incredible investigative skills. In select SM Cinemas on October 8, 2014. 

The Pirates
Bandits meet pirates in the adventure movie The Pirates. An envoy is travelling from China to Korea carrying the royal seal when accident strikes and the seal is swallowed by a gray whale. With a great reward being offered for the return of the seal, Jang Sa-jung leads the search with his group of mountain bandits when they encounter female pirate captain Yeo-Wol on sea.

Join Jang Sa-jung and Yeo-Wol on a sea adventure as they search for the gray whale and the royal seal. The Pirates will exclusively premiere on October 25 at selected SM Cinemas.

Suspense, action, drama, thriller --- SM Cinema is your exclusive entertainment source for an exhilarating movie line-up this October! And to add to the excitement, e-PLUS tap to pay holders receive a discount on all cinExclusive movies! So Don’t forget to mark your calendars and bring your friends and family with you to an SM Cinema branch near you!

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Left Behind: Movie Review

 By: Lakwatsera Lovers

Nicolas Cage returns to the big screen with the remake of the 2001 film starring Kirk Cameron on the same title. Left Behind is currently 2% at with only one positive review across its title. We still want to check it out as we love Nicolas Cage but sadly, the film is a bit empty even with its interesting premise. 

Captain Rayford Steele (Nicolas Cage) got his last minute assignment to fly a commercial plane from New York to London on his birthday. He was quite surprised when his daughter Chloe (Cassi Thomson) came to visit to celebrate the day with him. Instead, Ray told Chloe to visit his mom where she got into a fight because of their belief in God. Soon, when the catastrophe strikes people started to vanish leaving just their personal belongings. Ray must find a way to control the plane with angry passengers on board while he tries to connect with his family, especially with his daughter. 
The film is all about the rapture where it's hard to imagine the scenery that would take place if this day happens. However, the movie lacks in ideas and how to deliver that concept. It started a bit off where all the characters do is talk and talk and talk about nonsense. When the rapture finally started, it still didn't bring the excitement that we are expecting. They manage to come up with cheap explosions that felt your just watching a plain cable TV show without commercials that allows you to change the channel with your remote. 
What manages to keep us going, is the intriguing delivery of how do they finish the film. It's a bit thrilling but its a bit silly, especially when they plan on how to land the plane. Some of the scenes are also predictable and soft because of its rating. 

Overall, Left Behind fail in a lot of things. It is incomplete and has a lot of miscues to provide some crisp to its story. Nicolas Cage should stop doing this kind of films and make films in what he is good at. 

Lakwatsera Lovers rates it 3.5 out of 10 stars

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Cassi Thomson

Directed by: Vic Armstrong
Distributed by: Pioneer Films
Now Showing in cinemas nationwide

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SM CinExclusive "The Pirates" Opens October 22

After the release of "Lupin the Third" and the animated flick "The Boxtrolls," SM Cinema brings 2014 Korean film The Pirates on to the big screen. The film is tagged as the local equivalent of The Pirates of the Caribbean in South Korea. It garnered over 6 million admissions to become the fourth most watched film in 2014 at South Korea. 

Check out the trailer below:

Synopsis: On the eve of the founding of the Joseon Dynasty, a whale swallows the Emperor's Seal of State being brought to Joseon by envoys from China. With a big reward on whoever brings back the royal seal, mountain bandits led by Jang Sa-jung go out to sea to hunt down the whale. But he soon clashes with Yeo-wol, a female captain of pirates, and unexpected adventure unfolds. - Wikipedia

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Friday, October 17, 2014

 “FURY” Strongly Heads to Top Spot at Box-Office

Set to storm the box-office at #1 spot, “Fury” has generated majority of nods from various outlets forecasting that the movie is poised to lead the box-office when it opens alongside other releases (opens October 17 - U.S. / October 22 – Phils.).

Starring an ensemble cast led by Brad Pit alongside Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jason Isaacs and Jon Bernthal,  “Fury” has opened to solid, positive reviews -  with a high 76% on Rotten Tomatoes,  with Screenrant picking “Fury” in their weekly predictions at number one and Fandango, the US’ largest online movie ticket company reports that “Fury” is leading the weekend in ticket sales, scoring 77 over 100 on the company’s movie buzz indicator.

Directed by David Ayer, known for his extreme thrilling screenplays (in the hit movies "Training Day," "The Fast and The Furious" and "S.W.A.T."), “Fury” is a visceral depiction of reality against the backdrop of World War II. “Fury” takes place in late-war Germany during April 1945.  As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy  (Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.  The whole movie takes place in 24 hours, from dawn one morning to dawn the next day, Outmanned and outgunned, they only won through true, raw fighting.

 “The war’s almost over and this dying elephant – the Nazi empire – is on its last legs,” Ayer explains. “It’s a different world from your usual war movie, where we celebrate victorious campaigns like the invasion of the European continent, or D-Day, or the Battle of the Bulge, these famous battles that American troops have taken part in.  One of the forgotten time periods is this last gasp of the Nazi empire, with an American army that has been fighting for years and is on its last reserves of manpower.

One way that the filmmakers were able to “get it right” was to enlist the aid of a number of veterans of the 2nd Armored Division who served during World War II, , including those who could provide first-hand accounts of what it was like to operate a tank in some of the bloodiest battles of the war.  Details of the tankers’ memories come alive in Fury– for example, that every fifth bullet from the machine gun is a tracer; that there are so many tracers that the heat can melt the barrel; that the difference between outgoing and incoming artillery is the incoming’s telltale whistle; that the outgunned Sherman tanks could find ways to use their exceptional mobility against the Germans’ mighty Tiger tanks.  It’s these details that make the film feel true-to-life.

Veteran accounts are hugely important, because they bring it to life,” says David Rae, one of the military technical advisors on the film.  “They give you the actual ground truth of how a crew fought through different theaters – through Normandy, North Africa, through the low countries, and finally to Germany, that final push. They give you interesting stories that you can grab hold of and emotionally attach yourself to.”

  Distributed by Pioneer Films, “Fury” storms theaters nationwide this October 22 in the Philippines.
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The Judge: Movie Review

By: Lakwatsera Lovers

First, we would like to thank Warner Brothers Pictures PH for inviting us to the press screening of The Judge last night. Honestly, we really though the movie will be boring since it's getting a lot of negative reviews from the critics, but since it stars Robert Downey Jr., we were quite intrigued.

Chicago Lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) got an unexpected call that his mom passed away the morning of that day. He heads home to Indiana to attend the funeral and ends up to meet his estranged father, (Robert Duvall) the judge of the town. As soon as he plans to get back to Chicago, his dad got involved in a hit-and-run where is charged for a first-degree murder. Now, Hank needs to defend his father, but he will find a hard time doing it because of the things they made from their past.

The film is emotionally engaging with spectacular performances from its solid cast. It's very hard for me to finish the film since my dad passed away recently from the same illness Robert Duvall had here. It will definitely leave a tear on your eyes. Although, the film is a bit bloated and would be much better if it is trimmed down.

Even the film is handling a serious theme; it is occasionally funny yet very heartwarming. Thanks to the  ensemble cast that delivers a one-two punch with their roles. Robert Downey Jr. brings the swagger his character needed. He provides the appeal and sells it throughout the movie. Robert Duvall,on the other hand, gives a powerful performance that you'll feel every emotion that his character is going through. The two build a great chemistry together and its just simply entertaining to see the two go on back and forth with their arguments. The film also got a brilliant supporting cast to back them up. 

Overall, The Judge had its moments, where you'll have to sit back and relax enjoying the class act of Hollywood's finest stars. It is evident that the film is a duel between two Robert, who gives their best to make the whole film memorable as possible.  

Lakwatsera Lovers rates it 8.5 out of 10 stars 

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton

Directed by: David Dobkin
Distributed by: Warner Brothers Pictures PH
Opens October 22, 2014

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