Monthly Archives: August 2014

MAIN POSTER OF WARNER’S “THE JUDGE” REVEALED

The Judge

Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures have just revealed the main poster art of “The Judge,” starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall and Vera Farmiga.

Directed by David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”), “The Judge” stars Downey as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (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.

Starring alongside Downey, Duvall and Farmiga are Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shephard, and Oscar® winner Billy Bob Thornton. The film also stars Oscar® winner Melissa Leo, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard, Emma Tremblay, Balthazar Getty, David Krumholtz, Sarah Lancaster, Grace Zabriskie and Denis O’Hare.

Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 22, 2014, “The Judge” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

LIAM NEESON, A NOTORIOUS OUTLAW IN “A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST”

Liam Neeson

Undisputed blockbuster action hero Liam Neeson stars as notorious outlaw Clinch Leatherwood in Universal Pictures’ new comedy “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (opening exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide on Sept 3.)

In the film, after sheep farmer Albert (Seth MacFarlane) backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man. When a mysterious and beautiful woman named Anna (Charlize Theron) rides into town, she helps him find his courage and they begin to fall in love. But when her husband (Liam Neeson), a notorious outlaw, arrives seeking revenge, the farmer must put his newfound courage to the test.

Producer Scott Stuber recalls how Neeson’s casting came about: “For our ultimate foil, we sat around like little kids saying, ‘I hope we can get someone like Liam Neeson. Wouldn’t that be amazing?'” Turns out that they didn’t have to dream. “I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with him before, and he was a fan of Seth’s, so it was a terrific get.”

Actor-writer-director Seth MacFarlane knew that Clinch was pivotal to “A Million Ways to Die in the West” because the character had to be believable. He explains that Neeson was the man for the job: “Clinch is a character that has to seem like he is in a drama for everything to work. He is a bad guy who has to be dealt with: a real situation. That’s an anchor that you have to have in a comedy like this. You have to believe that the bad guy’s a legitimate threat, and Liam did that masterfully.”

Prior to meeting with Neeson, MacFarlane had an idea of what kind of accent he wanted Clinch to possess. The Irish-born actor had similar thoughts. MacFarlane says: “I love Liam’s speaking voice, so when he came in I thought, ‘God, I hope he doesn’t do a Western accent.’ He just has such a resonant, powerful speaking voice. The guy can read the phone book, and you sit up and take a listen.”

Recalling his rationale for playing Clinch as a Northern Irishman, Neeson offers: “A few years ago, my kids came home from school and said, ‘Dad, you’re on Family Guy!’ So I watch, and Seth lampooned me as Liam Neeson doing a Western, strangely enough, and what my accent would be like. So, when we agreed to do this, I said, ‘I’ll only do it, Seth, if I can play it in my Northern Irish accent…as homage to Family Guy.’ So he agreed.”

Neeson discusses how he brought his background to the story: “Clinch is a classic baddie in the Western tradition; he’s a gunslinger. I’m from the north of Ireland originally, and I’ve made him very pure and broad Northern Irish. I imagine his real name was probably Trevor McBraid, but he changed his name to Clinch Leatherwood when he came to the Wild West.”

The performer found working with MacFarlane to be an enjoyable experience, commending: “Seth’s quite a remarkable Renaissance young man. He’s always up and breezy, and open to suggestions and ideas. If he doesn’t like them, he’ll say so, and if he does then he’ll incorporate them. He’s very acute at giving you a note. If a beat isn’t working in a scene, he’ll change a line or suggest something for you to try.”

“A Million Ways to Die in the West” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

FROM BEETHOVEN TO BLONDIE: MUSIC, A CRITICAL ELEMENT OF “IF I STAY”

If I stay

In New Line Cinema’s romantic drama “If I Stay,” music is the connective tissue that threads the characters’ world together. It is also “a metaphor for our passions in life,” states director R.J. Cutler.

“If I Stay” opens with a Cello Sonata by Beethoven and riffs through an array of music including Zoltan Kodaly, Bach, Buzzcocks, Beck, Sonic Youth, Blondie, Iggy Pop, and The Dandy Warhols, to name a few.

“Music is an undeniably critical element in and of itself in this film and that created a wonderful opportunity for me,” says Cutler. “Telling stories about people who play music and who sing allows you to enhance the narrative in many different ways. You’re dealing with the content of the lyrics, the nature of the performance, and the tone of the actual scene itself. It’s really exciting to get things that function on all of those levels when you find exactly the right piece of music and put it together in exactly the right way.”

Cutler set the musical tone early, giving MP3 players to his cast loaded with playlists that their characters would be listening to, since “they are defined by the music they love,” he explains.

Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays the central character, the cellist Mia, received one filled with music from the classical genre, as well as contemporary music that incorporated classical instruments, like Nirvana’s “Unplugged.” Cutler also included a lot of Mia’s parents, Kat and Denny’s favorite music, which Mia grew up on: The Clash, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, as well as more contemporary Pacific Northwest-based music that would likely be in the world around her.

The playlist for Jamie Blackley who plays the guitarist and rocker, Adam, overlapped Moretz’s, but with less classical and more of a foundation in Punk and Grunge.

Although Blackley actually plays guitar and sings, he brushed up with lessons from Simon Tong, who played in the band Gorillaz.

The first time Blackley got to perform the music was a pivotal scene which takes place at a Labor Day party at Mia’s house. The day Mia remembers in her retrospective state as her favorite day was also one of Blackley’s favorite scenes. Adam and his band mates play guitar with Mia’s father and his musician friends gathered around a bonfire in Mia’s backyard. Blackley recalls, “That was really fun to film because we had worked so hard on the music.”

Adam brings out Mia’s cello and pulls her into the impromptu jam and, for the first time, she and Adam are finally playing music together, melding her classical music with his.

“It’s very symbolic. It’s like they are intertwining all the aspects of their lives,” says Moretz.

Author Gayle Forman, whose novel was the basis of the film, relates, “Being able to actually viscerally experience watching Mia play the cello or seeing Adam and Mia actually jam together was a million times better than it could ever be in the book or in my head. I think the music is really going to resonate with viewers.”

The songs are touchstones in Mia’s memories as she studies her past in the in-between world and reflects on the complex twists and turns in her relationship with Adam.

“It’s really beautiful how R.J. infused music into every aspect of making this movie,” Moretz notes, “You hear their love story; it’s completely encompassed in the songs.”

Cutler reflects, “These two people who are deeply in love with each other, and really connected could be torn apart for no other reason than that they are fully pursuing who they are.

“Life is messy. There isn’t just one path. It’s all the joy that comes from the surprises that it has in store for you and all the tragedy that comes from those surprises. What Mia learns on her journey with Adam is invaluable and helps her make her ultimate choice.”

Opening across the Philippines on September 3, 2014, “If I Stay” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company.

KOREAN TEEN ACTOR KI HONG LEE STARS AS ELITE RUNNER IN “THE MAZE RUNNER”

ki hong lee as minho in MAZE RUNNER

Korean actor Ki Hong Lee has obviously set a firm pace to stardom starring opposite Dylan O’Brien in the upcoming book adaptation of “The Maze Runner.”  By the looks of it, the recently concluded Greenies Screening in the Phils. had the girls giggling after the movie, charmed by his notable presence and performance in the movie.

Thomas (O’Brien) wakes up in a lift, moving slowly upward. As the box grinds to a halt and the doors open, he finds himself among a colony of boys who welcome him to the Glade – a large open expanse surrounded by enormous concrete walls. Thomas’ mind is blank. He has no knowledge of where he is, doesn’t know where he came from, and he can’t remember his parents, his past, or even his own name.

Thomas and his fellow “Gladers” don’t know how or why they got to the Glade.  Thomas learns that each resident of the Glade has a role to play, from gardening to construction to being one of the elite runners who map the walls of the Maze that keep them captive and change configurations every night. Maze Runners race the clock to cover as much ground as possible before the end of the day when theMaze locks down and the deadly biomechanical Grievers roam the corridors of the concrete structure.

ki hong lee as minho in MAZE RUNNER

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.”

Running through the massive walls which is both industrial and ancient in construction, Minho along with Thomas, runs into the Maze everyday and goes back to the Glade to bring back hope and memorizes each run so he can piece together the intricate and ever changing structure of the Maze.   “Minho doesn’t say much – he just runs fast which makes him invaluable for solving the riddle of the maze.  He’s an Indiana Jones-type adventure dude,” says director Wes Ball.  “He’s the fastest, most bad-ass guy who goes out into the Maze everyday.  He’s kind of a mysterious guy, but will eventually open up too.”

Ki Hong Lee (Minho) began acting in middle school, performing in church skits, and he grew to love the stage and maintains a passion for theater. Lee recently played the much-beloved character Paul in ABC Family’s “The Nine Lives Of Chloe King,” and took part in the film adaptation of “Yellowface,” from the Tony Award®-winning playwright David Henry Hwang. Additionally on stage he debuted at Los Angeles’ East West Players in a play called “Wrinkles,” which was the first time his father was able to see Lee perform, so the play remains very special to him.

In his personal life, Lee has a passion for people, education and good causes. A graduate of UC Berkeley, he has served in some form of student government from middle school through college. Raised in different cultures, from Seoul to Auckland, Lee considers himself to be a California soul at heart, and could not continue life without good Mexican food in regular doses. He also enjoys sports, particularly basketball, football and tennis. His favorite football team – the Dallas Cowboys.

“The Maze Runner” sprints in cinemas nationwide this September 17 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

JASON PATRIC FACES OFF WITH BRUCE WILLIS IN “THE PRINCE”

Jason Patric The Prince

In the vein of high-adrenaline action-packed films such as “Narc,” “Catch .44” and “Frozen Ground,” prolific producer Randall Emmett pits Jason Patric againts Bruce Willis in  the upcoming movie “The Prince.”

“Bruce really fell for the material, as well as Jason, and then John (Cusack) came on board and I felt that actors of this caliber would bring something really special to the characters and to the story of a man having to face his old demons when his daughter disappears in the same crime universe that he used to live in.” says Emmett.

Jason Patric stars as Paul Brennan, a widowed family man who goes to New Orleans to track down his missing daughter. The truth of her disappearance is hard for him to take and forces him to confront his own criminal past.  Living under the radar for 20 years, Paul operates as a mechanic whose daughter, Beth (Gia Mantegna), attends college all the way across the country.  But when he soon learns that Beth’s tuition has not been paid, he flies immediately to Lousiana to check on her despite his worst fears.  As Paul finds her way to Beth, he found her best friend Angela (Jessica Lowndes) and takes her where she’s last seen Beth.

Unknown to Paul, tracking down Beth means going through the path where he will eventually catch up with his past once again.  As they go through and past bullets looking for Beth, Paul finally comes face to face with an old enemy, Omar (Willis) – the city’s most powerful man whose family he mistakenly killed 20 years back. It is then revealed that Paul is a former mob enforcer two decades ago.  “I play a single father who all of a sudden finds out that his daughter has disappeared, and in searching for her discovers she has a secret life,” explains Patric. “As the story unfolds, you find out Paul also had a secret life. I think we all have our pasts, parts of ourselves that we hide, for our betterment we believe. With every character I always find those parts of myself that I understand or that I have lived. In this case there is a darkness that this man has buried because he wants to have something better.”

“Paul is the ultimate father, a tough guy but also a teddy bear deep down inside,” explains Gia Mantegna who plays Beth, Paul’s wayward daughter who runs with the wrong crowd when she leaves home for college. “Beth is the driving force for Paul’s return to New Orleans where he is forced back to his old territory and faces his enemies.”

Rain The Prince

“The Prince is an incredible action thriller, but at the same time there is a heart in there,” concludes director Brian Miller. “There is the revenge that Omar has been seeking over the last twenty years and has built up through to the big finale at the end. And there’s the very realistic father daughter relationship that I think people are going to relate to. Like a lot of people, Paul and his daughter had a very disconnected relationship. When he goes on this journey, it brings them closer together. It’s also a wakeup for all the characters who go through their own personal arcs. When people walk away at the end of this movie they are going to be blown away.”

“The Prince” opens in theaters nationwide on September 10 from Axinite Digicinema.