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Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Walk Among the Tombstones: Movie Review

By: Lakwatsera Lovers

First, we would like to thank Jack City for the advance screening tickets and shirts we won on their FB page. It's another Liam Neeson film, what more can you ask for? 

Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is a former cop which is now an unlicensed private investigator. He came across the path of a drug dealer (Dan Stevens) who hires him to hunt down the guys who kidnapped and murdered his wife. At first, Matthew is reluctant to accept the job, but when he finds out that these guys are also the suspects of some brutal killings over the past. He investigates and hunts them down and tries to put an end to their crimes.

If you're wondering if the film is a heavy action thriller like Taken, well it isn't but A Walk Among the Tombstones is a very effective crime thriller, well thanks to an admirable presence Liam Neeson brings to the table. With Neeson, using his voice talent more this year in animated films like Khumba, The Nut Job and the successful The Lego Movie. He comes back here and generates a likable character who enters a mysterious trail without being too flashy or an extraordinary agent with special skills that can dispatch wolves or dozen guys in a jiffy.

The story is compelling, keeping the pace very straightforward and manages to deliver.  The film mostly relies on dialogues and uses very minimal action but still creates a heart-pounding atmosphere for the audience to enjoy. The detective format was refreshing, and even the film is a bit dragging at times; Neeson finds a way to make it spectacular. 

Overall, A Walk Among the Tombstones produces a solid gripping crime thriller film. It also cements the legacy of Liam Neeson as one of the best stars in his generation. Hopefully, this film is just the start of a brand-new series we can all look forward to in the years to come. 

Lakwatsera Lovers rates it 9 out of 10 stars  

Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour

Directed by: Scott Frank
Distributed by: Solar Pictures PH
Now Showing in cinemas nationwide

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“THE BOOK OF LIFE” Flips Through the Pages of Friendship, True Love and Strong Family Values

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.

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Play the “FOOSBALL: THE UNBEATABLES” Challenge and Win Foosball Toy Tables  

The highly inventive animation “Foosball: The Unbeatables” from Argentine director Juan José Campanella (Academy Award winner for his crime thriller “The Secret In Their Eyes”) brings to life a poignant story about love, pride, friendship and passion as it follows the adventures of Amadeo (voiced by Rupert Grint), a shy but talented young man and his Table Football team, who magically come to life as they try to reunite after being dismantled and torn from their home.  Supervised by animation sage Sergio Pablos who also brought to life the unforgettable characters and worlds of “Rio” and “Despicable Me.”

SM Cinemas gives its EPlus members and would-be members to join the fun in their “Foosball Play Promo” at the cinema lobby of SM Megamall starting September 17 – October 5.  

Joining is as easy as one, two, kick! And get a chance to win Foosball Toy Tables!

1. Present your Foosball ticket paid using ePLUS Tap to Pay load and get 10 minutes play at the Foosball table

2. An ePLUS member together with 3 friends can play during the 10-minute playing time

3. Additional 10 minutes play per ticket will be granted if there are additional tickets bought using ePLUS Tap to Pay load

4. The Top 3 ePLUS members with the most number of playtime will be eligible to win Foosball toy tables

5. Playing will be on a first-come, first-served basis

Foosball: The Unbeatables” opens in theatres nationwide this October 1 from Axinite Digicinema.

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London's West End Stage Play “CORIOLANUS” Presented in High-Definition (HD) Format by National Theater Live at Ayala Malls Cinemas' Greenbelt 3

Prior the advent of motion pictures are stage plays based on writings of famous playwrights and poets.  This year, Ayala Malls Cinemas includes in their screening programs world-class stage plays filmed in high-definition (HD) format from London’s National Theater Live and operatic performances from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, offering a whole new way to experience a more intimate form of art onscreen.   

This September, the British Embassy launched its seven month-long campaign "This is GREAT Britain" that aims to show the very best of Britain's culture.  The celebration commenced with the presentation of the National Theater Live’s stage play "Coriolanus" starring Tom Hiddleston.   Filmed in HD, the play was screened last September 3 at Ayala Malls' Greenbelt 3 Cinemas with a program at Greenbelt 5 Fashion Walk preceding the screening.  "Coriolanus" also ran for two days (September 5 and 6) at Greenbelt 3 cinemas that was made available for the moviegoing public.

In a recent statement from British Ambassador Asif Ahmad, he mentioned that "We are very fortunate to have Ayala Malls Cinemas as our partner for the screening of National Theater Live's Coriolanus, which will give Filipinos a glimpse of the world-class theater performances from London's West End."

Hiddleston, best known globally for his role as Loki in "Thor" series, plays the titular role in "Coriolanus" that was written by William Shakespeare.  The story centers on a conflicted man named Coriolanus - hero and defender of Rome.  When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city called on to Coriolanus to defend their country.  Famine threats the city, the citizens' hunger swells into an appetite for change and on returning from the war, Coriolanus must confront the march of real politics and the voice of an angry mob threatening to throw him out of his hometown.

Succeeding the well-received and much raved about debut of "Coriolanus" in HD from London's West End staged plays, Ayala Malls Cinemas will soon release stage plays that are also filmed in HD from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  The lineup of plays filmed in HD will play every second Tuesday of the month starting thisOctober 14 at 6:30pm featuring "Rigoletto" that will be followed by "Rusalka" on November 18 and "Otello" on December 16 for the year 2014 and will continue until the year 2015 with "La Bohème" on January 13, "Werther" on February 10 and "The Enchanted Island" on March 3. 

For more information and online ticket purchase of Ayala Malls Cinemas' upcoming MET Opera plays in HD, visit and like Ayala Malls Cinemas on Facebook. Follow them too on Twitter @mysureseats. 
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends: Movie Review

By: Lakwtsera Lovers

Last month, we were just enjoying the red carpet premiere of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno at SM Megamall where the cast and director came and greeted a mammoth crowd. Kyoto Inferno ended with a bang, and they are not letting us to wait a year just to see the conclusion of the Rurouni Kenshin series. Thanks to Warner Brothers PH for inviting us last night to the special screening of Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends as we are the first ones to see the film one week ahead of its Philippine release. 

We last saw Kenshin Himura (Takeru Satoh) on a beach carried by a mysterious man, after he tried to save Ms. Kaoru (Emi Takei). It turns out that this is his master, Hiko Seijuro (Masaharu Fukuyama) where Kenshin asked him to train him again and teach the ultimate technique, so he can finally defeat Makoto Shishio (Tatsuya Fujiwara.) With Shishio threatening to take over the new government, it's up to Kenshin to step up and finally end his plans.

With Kyoto Inferno still fresh within our minds, The Legend Ends didn't fail to continue what it already started. The action pieces were heart pounding and choreographed really well. There are epic confrontations and duels to look forward to, plus the final battle were simply breathtaking. However, it takes too long for the action scenes to roll as it burned 40 minutes first, before we head on to the exciting bits.

The actors were sharp throughout the entire film. Takeru Satoh fully embraces Kenshin Himura's personality in him. However, it was Munetaka Aoki, who stole the show again. He brings his A-game in the picture with the will of never backing down in any opponent. He also provides the humor and the never-say-die attitude of Sanosuke's character. Tatsuya Fujiwara caps it off with an effective set of skills as Shishio even with burnt make up and heavy costume, he managed to move smoothly during the battle scenes. Other casts also did their part notably Masaharu Fukuyama (Hiko Seijuro), Tao Tsuchiya (Misao), Yusuke Iseya (Aoshi) and our other favorite Ryunosuke Kamiki (Sojiro Seta.)

Overall, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends delivers a satisfying ending to close an epic saga. If you enjoyed the first two films, there is no reason for you to miss this.

Lakwatsera Lovers rates it 9.5 out of 10 stars 

Cast: Takeru Satoh, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Emi Takei, Munetaka Aoki

Directed by: Keishi Ohtomo
Distributed by: Warner Brothers Pictures PH 
Opens September 24 in cinemas nationwide

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SM Cinema Movies to Remember this September – Lupin III, Boxtrolls and Lav Diaz’s Mula Sa Kung Ano Ang Noon

This September marks the beginning of the season to be jolly as SM Cinema exclusively brings three world-class films to its box-office screens.

Lupin III

Three films, in three different genres: SM CinExclusive brings to the Philippine film scene the exclusive screening of the film based on the Japanese manga by the popular manga artist Money Punch, Lupin the Third, starting September 17. This time, the grandson of the legendary Lupin will enter highly secured fortress to steal Cleopatra’s necklace and face-off with mortal enemy, Michael Lee.


Starting September 26, the SM Cinema CinExclusive brings to its 2D and 3D cinemas the stop-motion film based on the children’s novel Here be Monsters! by Alan Snow, Boxtrolls. The film depicts the exciting journey of Eggs, a boy who was raised by underground trash-collecting trolls called boxtrolls. 

SM Cinema’s CinExclusive
CinExclusive is a program of SM Cinema, the largest film exhibitor in the Philippines with 273 screens in 48 branches across the country. In partnership with renowned film production companies, the CinExclusive program is designed to hold special movie screenings that may only be caught at any SM Cinema nationwide.

Mula sa Kung ano ang Noon

SM Cinema Centerstage, coinciding with the anniversary of the declaration of the martial law, will also be having a special screening on September 21 of the Festival del Film Locarno’s Pardo d’oro Grand Prize winning film “Mula sa Kung ano Ang Noon” (From What Was Before) by Lav Diaz. A “horror film,” according to Diaz, Mula sa Kung ano Ang Noon depicts the director’s real-life experience two years before the Martial Law took place in Diaz’s own town. 

Action-adventure, horror, and out of this world animation films make this month’s SM Cinema CinExclusive line-up truly exciting and as an added bonus, e-PLUS Tap to Pay cardholders received a discount on all CinExclusives! You surely wouldn’t want to miss these must-watch movies this September! So what are you waiting for? Grab your movie buddy or your whole family and drop by at any SM Cinema near you to catch CinExclusive’s offerings for the month!

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 “THE JUDGE” Finds Himself Suspected of Murder

In Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures' “The Judge,” Robert Downey, Jr. stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Robert Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

The seeds of the film’s story sprung from director David Dobkin’s experience with his own parents—a powerful attorney father and emotionally volatile mother—when he found himself in the difficult position of seeing his mother through the final stages of a terminal illness after his father passed.

Dobkin says he’s long harbored a desire to explore on film the complicated emotions inherent in an experience many adults find themselves thrown into. “Like me, I think a lot of people don’t realize that having to ‘parent a parent’ is a part of life—until it happens to them,” Dobkin reflects. “And when you’re unprepared for an experience like that, you make mistakes and have moments that you regret. But, as an artist, you get to go back and recreate those moments into what you wished they had been.”

Dobkin developed the story for “The Judge” with screenwriter Nick Schenk, which ultimately yielded a screenplay by Schenk and Bill Dubuque. Along the way, the director—who has become known for a string of blockbuster comedies like “Wedding Crashers”—found a passionate partner for this deeply personal project in Susan Downey, who produced the film with him and David Gambino.

Though “The Judge” is a studio movie, populated by a master class of actors, they always saw the project as a labor of love. “We faced a lot of challenges that we had to overcome, but we also had two really good things in our pocket,” Downey relates. “We had Robert Downey Jr. wanting to do it, which is a very helpful thing. But the reason Robert wanted to do it was because we had an amazing script.”

Susan Downey explains that the Team Downey production shingle was formed to seek out and support projects exactly like “The Judge.” Her partner at Team Downey and the film’s star, Robert Downey Jr. even tweeted about it. “He said it’s the kind of movie he’s wanted to make his whole life,” she smiles. “It has roots in the films we grew up loving—intelligent, character-driven stories told with humor and wit, and real emotion. It just had all the elements we were looking for when we first formed Team Downey. We decided that the best piece of material that came in would be the movie we would do first, and we were very fortunate that it happened to be The Judge.”

  Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 22, 2014, “The Judge” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
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Don't Be Left Behind: “THE MAZE RUNNER” Now in Cinemas

Can W.C.K.D. be good? Find out in the thrilling and out-of-your-breath action adventure film “The Maze Runner” starring a group of amaze-ing young boys and a girl – headed by Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Aml Ameen, Blake Cooper and Kaya Scodelario. 

Directed by Wes Ball, the movie opened in Philippine cinemas (last September 17) with fever-pitch anticipation from movie enthusiasts especially from the young adult crowd from whom the book has enjoyed immense success catapulting it to one of YA bestselling series of all time.

In the movie, Thomas (O’Brien) wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, they call it the Glade, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D. Within the glade stands a massive series of walls that forms a dangerous maze where their only hope to escape lies at the end of each cluster, but the walls change every single day, as such they assign runners, the fastest of the bunch to track and take mental notes of the maze’s secrets.

The Maze Runner” also brims with a cast full of talent within its action-packed and visually stunning production, director Ball and producer Wyck Godfrey assembled an impressive cast to form a highly functional society as they perform their daily jobs, look out for each other and engage in power struggles as they try to solve the mystery of the Maze. Godfrey says, “The casting was one of the most exciting things about the project.  The actors really believed in this world, and we went far afield to find them.”    

Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien is the boy who takes that step forward when everybody else takes a step back.  He’s curious and comes to learn that he is just one of many who have come up on that elevator once a month over a three year period.

The leader of these Gladers is Alby, who’s the closest thing to a father figure.  “Alby is the main dude,” says Ball.  “He was the first Glader, the first boy sent up the elevator, and he had to survive an entire month by himself not knowing where he was and without any help.  Then the next guy showed up.  Alby figured out that order and discipline were necessary to survive in this world.  He’s very protective of it.”

Thomas’s nemesis in the Glade is Gally.  Smart and intimidating, Gally wants to maintain the status quo and clashes with the new arrival.  “But Gally and Thomas are really two sides of the same coin,” notes Ball.  “Thomas fully embraces and charges into the unknown and Gally is all about self-preservation and keeping things safe and normal.” 

Alby’s lieutenant, Newt, is played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster (voice of Ferb in “Phineas and Ferb”), who appears in the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” and first gained attention for his performance in “Love, Actually.”  Newt walks with a limp that’s not fully explained because it’s something he’d prefer not to talk about. Nevertheless, Brodie-Sangster says the character is “the fun one of the group, the one that everyone gets along with.  The Gladers come to Newt with their problems because they like and trust him.”

British actress Kaya Scodelario plays the only young woman among the Gladers, Teresa, who has a mysterious connection with Thomas. Having made her name with the UK TV series Skins, Scodelario impressed the filmmakers by being “one of the guys,” as Godfrey puts it. “She’s badass, which is what you need to be if you’re going to be thrust into the world of the Glade with all these young men.”

The elite among the Gladers are called Runners, whose athleticism propels them through the Maze each day, which helps them compile a map of the foreboding structure and, maybe, figure out a way to escape.  Their captain is Minho, played by Ki Hong Lee.  The young actor grew to understand his position of leadership among the Gladers in a very individual way.  “I looked at the Marines and the Army and, and I consider Minho like a general of the Gladers,” Lee explains, “It’s his job to rally the troops.” 

The Maze Runner” is now playing in cinemas across the Phils. from 20thCentury Fox distributed by Warner Bros.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Horror Film THE BABADOOK Opens Today!

The Babadook opens in cinemas today. It is the featured horror film debut of writer/director Jennifer Kent where the film is based on her short film titled Monster. It currently has a perfect score at Rotten Tomatoes website and impressing the critics through different Film Festivals. 

Check out the trailer below: 

Six years after the death of her husband, Amelia struggles to discipline her “out-of-control” six-year-old Samuel – a son she finds difficult to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called “The Babadook” turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he’s been dreaming about. And when Amelia begins to see glimpses of the creature herself, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may well be real.

Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear

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New Line's  “VACATION” Starts Filming

BURBANK, CA – September 16, 2014 – The next generation of Griswolds is at it again. Shooting has begun in Georgia on New Line Cinema’s “Vacation,” starring Ed Helms (“The Hangover” films) and Christina Applegate (the “Anchorman” films) on the road for another ill-fated adventure. The film marks Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley’s directorial debut.

Following in his father’s footsteps and hoping for some much-needed family bonding, a grown-up Rusty Griswold (Helms) surprises his wife, Debbie (Applegate), and their two sons with a cross-country trip back to America’s “favorite family fun park,” Walley World.
Rounding out the cast are Chris Hemsworth (the “Thor” films) in the role of Stone Crandall, Rusty’s irritatingly successful brother-in-law; Charlie Day (the “Horrible Bosses” films), who plays a river rafting guide; and Skyler Gisondo (“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” “Hard Sell”) and Steele Stebbins (“A Haunted House 2”), who play Rusty’s sons, James and Kevin. Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo reprise their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold from the classic “Vacation” comedies.

Goldstein & Daley (“Horrible Bosses,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”) wrote the script, based on characters created by John Hughes. David Dobkin (upcoming “The Judge,” “Wedding Crashers”) and Chris Bender (“We’re the Millers,” upcoming “Horrible Bosses 2”) are producing, with Marc S. Fischer serving as executive producer.

The directors’ behind-the-scenes creative team also includes director of photography Barry Peterson (the “Jump Street” films, “We’re the Millers”), production designer Barry Robison (“Wedding Crashers,” “Pitch Perfect”), and costume designer Debra McGuire (“Ted”).

Opening across the Philippines in November 2015, “Vacation” is a New Line Cinema presentation and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.
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