Tracers, Taylor Lautner

“Twilight Series’” heartthrob hero Taylor Lautner stars in the upcoming action thriller “Tracers” in the midst of parkour’s dangerous backdrop. 

              Lautner plays Cam, broke and depleted of luck trying to scrape off his debts, one day crashes into Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), a complicated stranger caught up in a gang of broken street criminals who seduces him into her dangerous world. The parkour takes him to places he has never been before and lands him a lucrative job under the gang’s leader, Miller (Rayner).  Ultimately extricating himself from a world unimagined and unanticipated becomes a whole different heart-stopping challenge.

Tracers is on its surface very simple.  It’s about a guy – ‘Cam’ – who finds a girl – ‘Nikki’. The girl allows him to reclaim a part of his life and a spirit in his life.  At the exact same moment that happens, outside forces are pressing in on him.  And that’s where Tracers takes off.

And for Tracers it was critical that the cast be as believable as possible.  “So for this film,” says producer Marty Bowen, “the real challenge was finding actors that we could believe could do this work.  The honest truth was, there was no other actor that could pull off the leading role of Cam better than Taylor Lautner.  And frankly, there are things that even his stuntman – his stunt double who taught him to do parkour, cannot do as well as Taylor can.  He’s just a truly gifted athlete.”  So Tracers is that perfect marriage of a great action drama that utilizes these highly tuned physical skills as a means through which things get done quickly, efficiently, and definitely differently than we’ve ever seen before in a film.  But the other extremely critical thing to note here is that Lautner is not only physically up to the challenges of the film, but concurrently he’s grown as an actor, and this role demanded real acting chops.”

 Tracers is a real Dickensian story in the vein of Oliver Twist about a young man who essentially has been orphaned; his father and mother are gone, and he’s been forced, at a very early age, to fend for himself. So Cam dreams of getting his father’s old sport car up and running and moving far, far away,” says Bowen.

“Our story begins with Cam, a young bicycle messenger who, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, owes the wrong people money.  He is trying desperately to figure out how to get them the money quickly so that he can get his father’s car that he’s working on fixed and just leave town and start a new life.  But along the way he meets a girl and becomes besotted with Nikki and that changes his plans completely when she introduces him to a world that he didn’t know existed – the world of free-running, and in which he finds she and her street criminal friends and they become his new surrogate family of orphans.  But along with that, there’s the underside of things going on behind the scene that are very complicated; and what these new family members are doing, under Miller’s stranglehold on them, is clearly illegal.  And before he realizes it, he’s in far deeper than he expected.  He realizes that in order to get out of this world, he’s got to do some drastic things,” says Bowen.

For Taylor Lautner, Tracers provided an opportunity for him to show the world that he’s an actor to be taken very seriously.  He’s emerged into a talented force on screen that not only can pull of the amazing demands of a fast-paced action thriller, and is equally facile at the more character-driven connective threads that keep Tracers as a whole a fast-paced, heart-stopping drama too.

Get ready for fast-paced action from Lautner when “Tracers” opens in theaters nationwide February 4 from Pioneer Films


Laura Dern, Wild

Laura Dern who recently portrayed an inspiring mother caring for a cancer-stricken daughter in “Fault In Our Stars” opposite Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort stars anew in her Academy-Award nominated role in “Wild” starring alongside Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon.

Dern lends her acting sensibilities once again in “Wild” as she plays mother to Reese’s Cheryl who adores her to the heavens. In “Wild,” director Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby (“An Education”) bring bestselling author Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary adventure to the screen.  After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision.  Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi (Laura Dern) and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own.  “Wild” powerfully reveals her terrors and pleasures –as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

While Cheryl is the core of “Wild,” the film is populated by a diverse group of characters, both from the life Cheryl has just left behind and those she meets on the path forward.  Among them, the one person who has impacted Cheryl in the most shattering and enlivening ways is her mother, Bobbi, whose brief, sudden battle with cancer sends Cheryl’s existence into a steep nosedive.  Taking the role is Oscar®-nominated and three-time Golden Globe® Award-winning actress Laura Dern, who recently won a Golden Globe for HBO’s “Enlightened.”  Known for her versatility and commitment, Dern came up on the radar for Witherspoon early on.

Witherspoon was stirred by what Dern brought to the role.  “Laura completely transforms herself in every role, and this is no exception,” says Witherspoon. “She spent so much time trying to learn about Cheryl’s mother. And then I think she tapped into what makes her such an extraordinary life force, so that you understand why Cheryl feels like she’ll never be okay again without the love that her mother gave her. Laura was just incredible at portraying that ferocity of love.”

“What a presence. What a voice, what a laugh. Contagious. Even though Laura has so much experience in front of the camera, it feels like she’s acting for the first time when she hears action. She looks so excited, so thrilled to do her job, to try something new, something different, something crazy, something emotional, you name it. Laura is such a trooper,’ say Vallée. “Not only did we shoot all of her scenes, but we managed to create new ones to try to give more presence to Cheryl’s mother in the film. Improvised scenes that we shot on the fly, between sets, during a makeup test, or a break. And every single one of them is in the film. Thanks to the great Laura Dern.”

The more Dern got to know Bobbi, the more she was awestruck by her.  “I think what moved me most is that through all of the challenges of self-discovery and an abusive marriage and raising children on her own in poverty, she had no sense of martyrdom,” says the actress.  “There was no victim in her at all.  She felt blessed to be alive and to have the chance to redefine life for herself and her children, and to find joy in the unknown.  And that is so powerful and inspiring to me as a woman.  Just to get close to her through Cheryl’s memories felt like a great privilege.”

All of it was essential to understanding Cheryl, and Jean-Marc was so creative at coming up with ways to condense Cheryl’s entire childhood.  We were recreating a lifetime of experiences, and that was a wonderful, exciting kind of challenge,” shares Dern.

“Wild” opens February 4 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.


Mortdecai, Johnny Depp

Upbeat, satirical and utterly hilarious, the novels featuring Charlie and his manservant Jock Strapp had Johnny Depp laughing out loud after reading the script for the film “Mortdecai.”   “I’d read them years before and they made me laugh out loud,” says Depp. “They are irreverent and insane in a way I thought would translate well to the screen.”

In “Mortdecai,” Charlie charms, schemes and blunders his way in and out of hilariously compromising situations as he attempts to beat out an array of international evildoers on the trail of a priceless Goya masterpiece that could also be the key to claiming missing Nazi millions.

Charlie Mortdecai is a connoisseur of good food, fine libations, beautiful women and the most elite trappings of wealth. He also frequently finds himself entangled in matters of an ambiguous legal nature. Asked by MI5, the British Security Service, to track down a missing Goya painting, Charlie hopes to discharge his debts to “Queen and country” by retrieving the purloined artwork.

“Actually, Charlie gets involved in finding the Goya because he sees an opportunity to sell it,” Depp says. “His aristocratic ways are intact, but his bank book is worn out and Charlie needs to rectify that.”

Badly behaved, violently snobbish and completely self-interested, Charlie was also endlessly appealing to the actor. “He is a blatant narcissist who has no relationship with the truth, except as he sees it,” says Depp. “What drew me to the character more than anything was the challenge of making this guy, who is a little bit shady and most definitely a con man, someone you can sympathize with.”

Charlie’s luscious blonde wife Johanna is played by Academy Award® winner Gwyneth Paltrow. Johanna and Charlie have been together since college. She is posh and very clever—certainly more clever than Charlie.  “Gwyneth is perfection as Johanna,” says Depp. “This a caper movie, teetering toward farce, and timing was everything. She had that down pat.”

Everywhere Charlie Mortdecai goes, he is accompanied by his manservant and right-hand-man Jock Strapp, a faithful but upbeat bruiser who dedicates his life to protecting his boss.  British actor Paul Bettany, who plays Jock, was introduced to the project by Johnny Depp while the two were filming Transcendence. “Johnny asked me if I’d ever read the Mortdecai books,” remembers Bettany. “I hadn’t and he gave me all of them. Afterwards Johnny mentioned he was going to make them into a film and asked if I wanted to play Jock.”

Depp says that while Bettany is not known as a comedic actor, he is one of the funniest people around. “He was the only person who could play Jock in my eyes,” he adds. “That fact that he’s a big, tall, seemingly serious Nordic god of a man only makes it funnier.”

Charlie’s insecurities are reinforced by the arrival of Alistair Martland, an old friend from their college days who is still attracted to Johanna. A highly placed officer in the MI5 – British Security Service, Martland is a sensitive, softhearted poetry-reading detective who loses his composure whenever Johanna is around. On the trail of the missing Goya masterpiece, he comes to Charlie for help.  McGregor was drawn to the film’s combination of wit and broad physical comedy. “It reminds me a lot of the Pink Panther movies from the 1970s,” he says. “There’s a humor to it that I haven’t seen on screen for a long time. It’s very cleverly written.”

Follow “Mortdecai” and his amusing crime fighting adventures when it opens January 22 in theatres nationwide.



Bruce Willis, Vice

Bruce Willis gears for action against both humans and robots in the sci-fi “Vice” where he plays Julian Michaels who has designed the ultimate resort – a place where anything goes and the customers can play out their wildest fantasies with artificial inhabitants who look, think and feel like humans.

When an artificial (Ambyr Childers) becomes self-aware and escapes, she finds herself caught in the crossfire between Julian’s mercenaries and a cop (Thomas Jane) who is hell-bent on shutting down Vice, and stopping the violence once and for all.

“Vice” was the perfect script to move Emmett Furla Oasis into the high concept science-fiction action space,” says producer Randall Emmett. “Director Brian Miller has the talent to creatively construct a world so different from the one in which we live, and elicited beautifully nuanced performances from our talented cast including Ambyr, Thomas, and Bruce.

“The concept for “Vice” came to me because I was thinking about robots, and if we did create artificial intelligence, sexbots would likely be one of the first uses,” suggests writer Jeremy Passmore, recalling when the idea first came to him. “Every time there is advancement in technology the boundaries are immediately pushed. If the robot we create has actually consciousness and could feel every bit of its emotions and its thoughts were every bit as real as ours are, then where do you draw the line? You can’t just create these things and use them as slaves.”

“On the surface, it’s a revenge story about an artificially intelligent being who becomes self-aware for the first time,” begins writer Andre Fabrizio, who shares a love of science-fiction with writing partner Passmore. “On a deeper level I think what appealed to Jeremy and I was more the inevitability of artificial intelligence and how it should be treated as well as the fact that there is an assumption that artificial intelligence shouldn’t be viewed with the same rights.”

“The idea of a computer, or artificially created machine becoming self-aware is a very real prospect,” adds Passmore. “Nobody really knows where that is going to lead so that is a very deep vein to be mined in terms of science fiction because there are many possibilities and I think we chose one where it wasn’t really placing a judgment, but it was more about the morality of what makes something alive and what kind of rights does a being that is self-aware have intrinsically.”

Returning to shoot a second feature film in Alabama, director Brian Miller raised eyebrows when he told people it was a science-fiction movie. “Mobile, Alabama had that eclectic feel and I was certain we could shoot both parts of “Vice’s” worlds there,” affirms Miller, of the story that takes place in a pristine fantasy world within a dystopian future.

Experience rabid action like never before when “Vice” opens January 28 in cinemas nationwide.



Liam Neeson, Taken 3

20th Century Fox has just delivered 2015’s first big hit when “Taken 3” muscled in a strong global haul clocking in at $161.8 million to-date.

Variety’s report states that, “Among notable markets, “Taken 3″ pulled in $5.4 million from the United Kingdom, opened with $2.5 million in the Philippines, kicked off with $2.2 million in Russia and debuted to $1.2 million in Spain.”

In the Philippines, showing in more than 200 screens, “Taken 3” grossed a massive Php 107 million during its first five-days since it opened (January 14).  Hauling in almost 600,000 admissions nationwide, “Taken 3” has locked itself to be the highest grossing film of the franchise based on its five-day weekend release with the first “Taken” opening at Php 4.7 million and “Taken 2” at Php 65 million.

“Taken 3’s” impressive Phils. box-office records have proven Neeson’s and the franchise’s unwavering  commercial box-office appeal as it now stands to be the Biggest Opening Weekend for the year to-date, so far surpassing “Seventh Son’s” Php 37 million opening weekend.  Likewise, “Taken 3” cracked box-office records when it landed to be the Second Biggest Opening Weekend for a Fox film, all-time, surpassing “The Wolverine’s” Php 95 million.

Currently tracking higher than estimates, “Taken 3” holds dominance over all other titles that were released the same week as it continues to play in cinemas nationwide.

The world’s well-loved father, Bryan Mills as portrayed by Liam Neeson has charmed the third time with his protective character, unrelenting to use his unique combative skills to save his family at all cost.   With “Taken 3’s” novelty action scenes that upped the tempo of the genre, the movie going public flocked to the theatres in droves to check how Mills will once again face his toughest challenge yet to protect his family.

The defining chapter of the franchise, “Taken 3’s” top 20 highest-grossing cinemas are led by  Ayala Malls Cinemas’ Trinoma at number one with Php 4.66 million followed by SM Megamall that earned Php 4.21 million.  Still among the top earners are SM North Edsa/The Block at third place with P3.82 million succeeded by SM Mall of Asia (P2.67M) and Greenbelt 3 (P2.64M).

Still factoring in the success of “Taken 3” where box-office highs were recorded are: Glorietta 4 (P2.63M); Eastwood (P2.23M); Alabang Town Center (P2.22M); Theatremall (P2.17M); Gateway Cineplex/Ali Mall (P2.06M); SM Cebu (P1.93M); Newport (P1.75M); Shang Cineplex (P1.74M0; Bonifacio High Street (P1.72M); Market!Market! (P1.68M); SM Southmall (P1.64M); Powerplant (P1.61M); Ayala Cebu (P1.61M); Gaisano Davao (P1.51M) and Festival (P1.47M).

“Taken 3” is still showing in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox distributed by Warner Bros.