Everest Review: Why does one want to climb Everest?


As someone who appreciates, and have the highest respect for, nature and a noob in mountain climbing, I find it difficult to grasp the sense of accomplishment anyone would feel if successfully summited Mt. Everest. I couldn’t associate the sense of happiness in seeing snow-capped mountains after a life-threatening journey to the summit – pride, maybe.

The movie shows about hardships and determination to overcome difficult weather conditions that despite being fit and all, there’s this inevitable chance that you will not get to the summit, or worse not make it alive, that even the most qualified and experienced guide can die up there, but there are still mountaineers willing to spend money on and risking their lives for that mountain.

The fact that you get nothing from climbing Everest, no treasure whatsoever, therefore, the motivation or drive must be so huge that only getting to the top can fulfill. My highest admiration to those who have set their foot on the summit, most especially to the ones who have risen to the occasion to help others in times of need, particularly Anatoli Boukreev.


Vin Diesel, The last Witch Hunter

The action adventure “The Last Witch Hunter” starring “Fast and the Furious’” Vin Diesel takes on the legendary titular character of Kaulder, a guardian for an endless age, is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.

“The Last Witch Hunter” sees armies of witch hunters who battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including Kaulder, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful Queen Witch, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the Queen curses Kaulder with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today Kaulder is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to Kaulder, the Queen Witch is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.

“The Last Witch Hunter” opens October 21 in (Phils.) cinemas from Pioneer Films.


Ethan Hawke

“Regression,” which means an act of going back stars Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson at the backdrop of Minnesota, 1990. The film follows detective Bruce Kenner (Hawke) investigating the case of young Angela (Watson), who accuses her father, John Gray (David Dencik), of an unspeakable crime. When John unexpectedly and without recollection admits guilt, renowned psychologist Dr. Raines (David Thewlis) is brought in to help him relive his memories and what they discover unmasks a horrifying nationwide mystery.

Director Alejandro Amenábar returns to the big screen with “Regression,” which represents a return to suspense, the genre of his feature film debut in 1996 (“Thesis”).  Inspired by a wave of events that occurred in the United States during the eighties, the film is both “a reflection on evil and an exploration of the shortcuts of the mind,” says producer Fernando Bovaira.  The initial accusations that served as documentation for the writing of the screenplay arose within the context of growing political and religious power inside the United States, and later spread to the rest of the world with unequal intensity, even reaching the point where it was classified as a global conspiracy, and not only by the most sensationalistic sources.

“There was a series of real phenomenon that took place in which police investigation, psychological consulting and superstition converged in an attempt to piece together a strange and horrifying puzzle known as Satanic Ritual Abuse,” recalls Alejandro Amenábar.  “The wave of accusations and confessions was overwhelming, destroying entire families, generating chaos and social panic and in several cases there were harsh criminal consequences.  It has been very interesting to revisit those cases from back in the eighties and nineties with the perspective of someone from the 21st century.”

Bruce Kenner is the detective leading the investigation of a family accused of practicing satanic rituals in a small town of Minnesota. Recently divorced, he finds shelter in his work, where he can channel his obsessive personality into getting to the bottom of every case. His thoroughness and dedication routinely put him at odds with his colleagues and this time will plunge him into the darkest depths of human nature.  “Bruce is a police officer that is investigating the alleged crime of a young woman who has been seriously abused by some people who have confessed to being part of a very strange satanic cult. And so it kind of takes Bruce down the rabbit hole, so to speak,” says Hawke of his role.

“Bruce Kenner, the character played by Ethan Hawke, is one of the smartest and most sophisticated guys in town.  While Angela, played by Emma Watson, is like a little angel in the middle of that world, who seems to say very little but sends sparks flying in every direction,” says Alejandro Amenábar. “My character is kind of an enigma to me”, explains Ethan Hawke.

A challenge shared by the director and star, as Alejandro Amenábar highlights:  “When we started shooting, Ethan said that it was the story of a man who was asleep.  And my answer was: ‘No, it’s the story of someone who’s permanently awake, nothing gets past him.’  And I think he managed to build a character who is the smartest detective in town but who is kind of sleepwalking the whole time.  What surprised me most about Ethan’s work is how he manages to find that range of extremely contained energy in someone who is extremely tough, who in the end is truly afraid.”

Ethan Hawke’s luminous acting career launched when he was cast in “Dead Poets Society,” later on, after twenty five years, and several Tony® and Oscar® nominations, he has emerged a multifaceted artist, challenging himself as a novelist, screenwriter and director, while earning world acclaim for his brave and nuanced roles.  Hawke’s impressive line of work includes the recently acclaimed “Boyhood.” His other memorable previous films are “Before Sunset,” Before Sunrise,” “Before Midnight,” “The Purge,” “Training Day,” “Reality Bites,” “Gattaca” and “Sinister.”

A family’s rotten secret will be unmasked this October 14 when “Regression” opens in cinemas from Pioneer Films.



Gearing up for the release of the big screen, family adventure “Pan,” Warner Bros. Pictures has been bringing the film’s magical world to life with exciting and unique events across the globe. Global superstar Hugh Jackman, who plays the fearsome pirate Blackbeard, along with Levi Miller, who brings the iconic title character of Peter Pan to life, and acclaimed director Joe Wright will celebrate and experience many of these exciting versions of Neverland in person with fans, and will be joined at several stops by Rooney Mara, who plays Tiger Lily, and Garrett Hedlund—Hook before the hook.

This worldwide celebration will be connected via social media as fans everywhere will be invited to check-in virtually at each unique “Neverland” location via Facebook and Instagram, and post their experiences using #PanMovie.

The whirlwind tour began on September 2 in Australia, the home country of both Jackman and Miller, where “Pan” will make its global debut in theatres on September 24. Melbourne students from five local public schools saw advance footage from the film, followed by a surprise Q&A with Jackman.

In London, Leicester Square is being transformed into the film’s vividly imagined Neverland, with the immersive take-over of its Gardens being opened to ticketed families for free on Saturday, September 19. Under canopies of colorful tents, guests can discover Blackbeard’s Pirate Training Tent, Pan’s Warrior Tent, Tiger Lily’s Kingdom and watch performances on the Jolly Roger Stage. On Sunday, September 20, Leicester Square will also host the gala worldwide premiere of “Pan,” at the Empire Cinema and the Odeon Leicester Square. In addition to Jackman, Miller and Wright, stars Rooney Mara and Garrett Hedlund will join the UK celebration.

In Hong Kong, from September 18 to October 11, the city’s Times Square Mall will host a massive installation entitled “Every Legend Has a Beginning.”  Featuring a village inspired by Tiger Lily’s in the film, plus a Jolly Roger ship modeled after the one in Blackbeard’s fleet, the Mall will offer a multi-media experience for fans with a variety of performances and imagery from the film and fans will have the opportunity to meet and greet Jackman on Monday, September 28. On the same day, Jackman will also become the first international star ever to participate in the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival celebration in Hong Kong, the Fire Dragon Festival. As a special honor, Jackman will be asked to hold the Fire Dragon’s pearl in the parade.

On October 1, Jackman, Miller and Wright will fly to Tokyo for the film’s premiere event, streamed live online from the Roppongi Hills Area at the Keyakizaka Complex, which will be transformed from stem to stern in the style of Neverland. The stars will be joined there by major Japanese musical artist Seiko Matsuda, before heading onto the TOHO Cinemas to view the film, which opens across Japan on October 31.

New York City hosts the gala U.S. premiere on Sunday, October 4, ahead of the film’s October 9 nationwide debut. Cast and filmmakers including Jackman, Miller, Mara, Hedlund and Wright will be joined by a host of other celebrities at the legendary Ziegfeld Theater.

In Mexico City on Tuesday October 6, the trio of Jackman, Miller and Wright will attend the film’s Latin American premiere at the all-new Toreo Parque Central’s vast Cinepolis Complex. With designs inspired by the Neverland natives’ village, Mermaid Lagoon and the Jolly Roger itself, a special live drum performance will be part of one of the most spectacular premiere events ever hosted in the country. All of these iconic Neverland elements will remain at Toreo Parque Central until October 18, giving families the opportunity to visit this exhibition for 12 extra days.

As Neverland sweeps the globe, a dazzling selection of the film’s costumes will simultaneously be debuting in exhibits throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America and the U.S. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran’s creations for Jackman’s Blackbeard, Miller’s Peter, Hedlund’s Hook and Mara’s Tiger Lily will be showcased at or around the events in Hong Kong, at Times Square Mall; London; New York City; Madrid; and Mexico City. Added stops include Prague, Dubai, Athens and more, with exact locations and dates to be announced.

There will also be mall installations including Brazil, Italy, the UAE and beyond, plus an airship with the Jolly Roger hitting the skies above Germany at events in Hamburg and Frankfurt, plus many more “Pan” themed activities around the world, bringing fans closer to Neverland than ever before.

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, October 8, “Pan” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.



The Martian, Jessica Chastain

Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain, who’s also considered as one of the most sought after actresses of her generation who gave memorable portrayals in groundbreaking movies such as “Interstellar,” “Zero Dark 30” and  “Tree of Life” stars in Ridley Scott’s space adventure “The Martian” with Matt Damon, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Peña, Sebasyian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Kirsten Wiig, Jeff Daniels and Sean Bean.

Based on the highly successful book by Andy Weir, “The Martian” tells of the gripping story of botanist Mark Watney, played by Damon in the film.   Watney is one of the six-man crew of the Ares 3, an exploratory fact finding mission to Mars that goes radically wrong when the astronauts are caught in the middle of a ferociously violent sandstorm. As the crew scramble to get back on board their ship, Watney is speared by an antenna – leaving him injured and destroying his space suit’s bio monitors in the process.

Believing he is dead, Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) reluctantly aborts the mission to embark on the long journey back to earth.  Watney, a biologist and a brilliantly innovative mechanical engineer, has survived but, at first, has no way to contact mission control back on Earth and let them know that he has survived. NASA eventually realises that he is still alive when satellite images show evidence of his endeavors and plan a rescue attempt – a race against time to reach him before his limited resources run out.  Having made the decision to leave Watney behind, believing him to be dead, Lewis feels an enormous measure of regret and guilt that will later affect her actions and the integrity of her command.

Ridley Scott fleshed out some of the action sequences in the movie and made Commander Melissa Lewis’ arc even more active, creating another of the strong female roles that have marked many of his previous films.  As leader of the third Mars mission, known as Ares III, Commander Lewis heads a crew of six, including Watney, and is in charge of the surface mission and the spacecraft that carried them there, the Hermes. The journey from Earth’s orbit to Mars required nine months, giving Lewis ample time to establish authority with her team, and for the astronauts to bond.

Jessica Chastain, who portrays Lewis says, “She is such a well-written character, another in the legacy of Ridley’s remarkable women characters. Lewis came from the Navy, and has to lead a team of specialists who are very smart and have very specific tasks to perform. She is friendly and personable with her crew, but wants to leave no doubt as to who is in charge.”

“Matt and I have now done two movies together (Interstellar was the other), and have only worked with each other on set for about a week,” says Chastain.

Chastain says she was fortunate in being able to spend some time with astronaut-chemist Tracy Caldwell Dyson, a Mission Specialist on Space Shuttle Endeavour flight STS-118 in August 2007, and who was part of the Expedition 24 crew on the International Space Station in 2010.    Dyson briefed Chastain on both the technical and human elements of being an astronaut.  Chastain says Dyson and other female astronauts are true role models. “They inspire women everywhere to pursue careers in science and mathematics,” the actress notes.

“I think it’s a great part for Jessica and perhaps unlikely because she’s not thought of as being a physical actress. But I saw a film she did called The Debt in which she played a spy and I was surprised and I was convinced she could do anything at that point. And there are strong performances throughout the film – I mentioned Jeff [Daniels] and there’s Sean [Bean], Chiwetel [Ejiofor], Kristen [Wiig], the guys on the Ares 3. I’m really pleased with them all,” says Scott of his uniquely talented “The Martian” cast.

“The Martian” opens September 30 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.