Monthly Archives: January 2017

NEW “POWER RANGERS” MOVIE OPENS MARCH 22 IN PHIL. CINEMAS

Trini Yellow Ranger, Zack the Black Ranger, Jason the Red Ranger, Kimberly the Pink Ranger, Billy the Blue Ranger

From the team of  filmmakers who introduced cool young adult blockbuster franchises such as “The Twilight Saga,” “The Fault in Our Stars” and “The Maze Runner,”  producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen along with Haim Saban and Brian Casentini bring the latest young adult movie franchise to watch out for – the new “Power Rangers” movie.

The latest “Power Rangers” movie follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove — and the world — is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

Directed by Dean Israelite (“Project Almanac”), Saban’s Power Rangers stars Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, featuring Bill Hader, with Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks. The screenplay is by John Gatins (“Kong: Skull Island,” “Real Steel”) from a story by Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless (“Dracula Untold”) and Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney.

A truly unforgettable 1990s phenomenon, “Power Rangers” became the most-watched children’s television program in the U.S. More than that, it became a cultural hit around the globe.  Now a new feature film based on the show, Saban’s “Power Rangers,” re-envisions the Power Rangers as five ordinary high-school teens who discover they have acquired unique super powers and must join forces to save the world.

The film’s director, Dean Israelite, grew up watching “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” in South Africa. “It became a phenomenon there, just as it did all around the world,” he says. “What I remember most is how empowered the show made you feel. When it emerged that this project was going to re-imagine the show, I was very excited. I knew if I could tap into the feeling of the original it would be an incredible adventure.”

Remaining true to the spirit of the television series has been fundamental to every decision made by the production team, says Israelite. “We are here because of the fans who have sustained the series for over 23 years. It’s imperative that they come out of this movie feeling like we have taken what they love — and we love — about the series and brought it to life in a contemporary way while respecting the mythology.”

“Power Rangers” opens March 22 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films. Trailer link here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-C4qqsgs8w

KEANU REEVES RELOADS GUNS AND AMMO IN “JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2”

keanu reeves - JOHN WICK 2_

Keanu Reeves suits up and reloads as the legendary and untouchable assassin in “John Wick: Chapter 2” following the 2014 hit of the same title.

Guns and ammos are relit in the high-octane action “John Wick: Chapter 2” where John Wick is brought back from retirement the second time.  After unleashing mayhem on the criminals who killed his dog, retired super assassin John Wick retrieves his beloved 1969 Mustang from the Russian mobsters who stole it, only to be pursued in a spectacular high-speed car chase through crowded New York City streets. Returning home, John’s plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio)  shows up on his doorstep with a gold “marker” compelling him to repay past favors. Ordered by Winston (Ian McShane), kingpin of secret assassin society The Continental, to respect the organization’s ancient code, John reluctantly accepts the assignment to take out Santino’s own sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini), the ruthless capo atop the Italian Camorra crime syndicate.

Reeves says creating the sequel was a deeply collaborative effort. “John Wick: Chapter 2 started from a script by Derek Kolstad, the writer of the first and second films. Producer Basil Iwanyk, Chad and myself had conversations about what direction we would like the story to go, both before Derek started to write and after he came in with the draft.”

The story of  “John Wick: Chapter 2” is the journey of a complicated hit man struggling to protect the kinder, gentler self he embraced after retiring from the business, but unable to do so because of a debt he has accrued. “John Wick has given a marker to this character Santino, played by Riccardo Scamarcio,” Reeves explains. “According to the rules, if the bearer of the marker comes to you and wants to cash it in and you don’t do what they want, you die. If you kill the bearer of your marker, you die. So John has a problem.”

A man of few words, Wick flips back and forth between two states of mind. “When John Wick fell in love, he was like, ‘I have to stop killing people,’ but when his old life comes back at him, he becomes like the Superman of compartmentalization. In the assassin persona, he doesn’t feel remorse. The difference is that John Wick used to fight for other people. And now John Wick is fighting for his own independence.”

A must-see action film in theatres, “John Wick: Chapter 2” opens in cinemas nationwide on February 8 from Pioneer Films.

DISCOVER WHAT AILS YOU IN THE R-RATED HORROR THRILLER “A CURE FOR WELLNESS”

dane dehaan in A CURE FOR WELLNESS

Gore Verbinski, known for helming the global hit remake of “The Ring” is back in the horror genre in “A Cure For Wellness” where he introduces an enticing yet very unsettling spa that promises a cure for what ails man in today’s fast and highly-wired landscape.

Starring Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth and Jason Isaacs, “A Cure For Wellness” drives the audience from a city abuzz with an overly competitive workforce to a remote picturesque location in the Swiss Alps where an exclusive wellness spa gives its clients the ultimate cure for their sickness.  DeHaan stars as Lockhart and journeys from the city to the Swiss Alps to retrieve their company’s CEO who mysteriously abandoned his post to find the ultimate cure in the spa which he believes will finally cure him of his disease.

Lockhart soon meets up with Hannah (Goth) at the spa who is an extremely naive innocent young woman.  The longer he stays in the spa, the more he uncovers that the miraculous treatments are not what they seem to be.   When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests longing for the cure.

Goth’s Hannah, who was brought up as an unsuspecting child hasn’t questioned the sanitarium’s existence until she met Lockhart.  “The script, I thought it was the most gripping story I ever read and I didn’t put the script down from start to finish. I had to read it three times before I could actually fully wrap my head around what it is the story was telling.  Also, what it is that Hannah goes through in terms of her journey and her role.  There’s such a transformation that happens that’s so intense and so painful at times that really blossoms and become the woman that she’s meant to be,” reveals Goth of her character in the film.

Likewise, director Verbinski teased in an interview (www.joblo.com with Paul Shirey) that ““A Cure for Wellness” is sort of exploring this sense of the irrational and the inevitable converging. We all know history and yet here we are driving a car into a tree and we’re not turning and there’s that sense of comfort of denial; terry cloth robes and a steam bath and there’s no better place, the health spa, to corrupt that idea of the temorariness of tranquility and to explore inevitability as a kind of sickness and to put it in sound and camera. There’s a dark spot on your x-ray, y’know, and it’s the narrator of the movie, it’s the unseen force. ‘Cause we have a protagonist who starts off as kind of a- he’s a killer, I mean he’s the worst of us.”

“A Cure For Wellness” opens February 15 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

HISTORY’S GREATEST “HIDDEN FIGURES” BEHIND THE APOLLO MISSIONS

Octavia Spencer (center) in HIDDEN FIGURES

Everyone knows about the Apollo missions.  We can all immediately list the bold male astronauts who took those first giant steps for humankind in space:  John Glenn, Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong.  Yet, remarkably, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson’s are names not taught in school or even known to most people — even though their daring, smarts and powerful roles as NASA’s ingenious “human computers” were indispensable to advances that allowed for human space flight.  These women are the unsung and unlikely heroes of the space race –female mathematicians who blazed multiple trails, trails towards greater diversity in science, equality in America, for human mathematical achievement and to launch John Glenn into mesmerizing orbit at more than

17, 000 miles per hour as he circled three times around the globe in space.

“Hidden Figures” uncovers the incredible, untold yet true story of a brilliant group of women who changed the foundations of the country for the better — by aiming for the stars.  The film recounts the vital history of an elite team of black female mathematicians at NASA who helped win the all-out space race against America’s rivals in the Soviet Union and, at the same time, sent the quest for equal rights and opportunity rocketing forwards.

At last, the story of a visionary trio of women who crossed gender, race and professional lines on their way to pioneering cosmic travel comes to the screen starring Oscar®-nominee Taraji P. Henson (Empire, Benjamin Button, Hustle And Flow), Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer (Allegiant, Fruitvale Station, The Help), singer Janelle Monáe making her motion picture debut and two time Oscar® winner Kevin Costner (Black Or White, Field Of Dreams, Dancing With Wolves).

For Katherine G. Johnson (Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Monae), the chance to use their knowledge, passion and skills opened up just as the demands of World War II were shifting the nation’s social fabric.  Faced with a daunting shortage of male scientists and mathematicians and with new laws prohibiting racial discrimination, defense contractors and Federal Agencies began seeking out women and African-Americans with the skills to keep pushing essential research onwards.

“This story takes place at the collision of the Cold War, the space race, the Jim Crow south, and the birth of the Civil Rights movement.  It is incredible territory for a rich and powerful story few people know about at all,” says director Ted Melfi.

“Now we know there were amazing women behind how John Glenn came to orbit the earth in space — we finally get to hear their story.  I think the story is beautiful and important. It is amazing that these women, not only black women, but white women too, have been erased out of history. We’ve seen women play politicians, lawyers and doctors in films. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black female scientist or mathematician, so I thought, ‘Wow, what an opportunity to give young girls something else to aspire to. These women were thinkers with brilliant minds. Right now with social media, the options for young people are becoming quite shallow and limited; so I think certain things happen naturally, when it’s time; when they are needed. I think right now this film is relevant not just for girls of color, for girls, period. For everyone.” adds Taraji P. Henson.

“Hidden Figures” opens February 22 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

JAMES FRANCO’S 7 SMART WAYS TO LIVE IN TODAY’S HIGHLY-WIRED LANDSCAPE IN “WHY HIM?”

Why Him

James Franco stars as Silicon Valley billionaire Laird Mayhew, a self-made young man whose life was spent writing codes and designing apps, leaving him clueless about how to read a room and appropriately modulate his behavior in the uproarious R-rated family comedy “Why Him?”

Laird’s social skills are completely acceptable to his girlfriend Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) and to the millennial circle he belongs, but does not sit well with Stephanie’s dad, Ned (Bryan Cranston).  Ned, a small-town father, owner of a struggling mid-sized printing business in Michigan, is complete opposites with Laird who is making billions in the digital realm.

During Ned’s 55th birthday party, Stephanie joins the event via Skype to send well wishes to her dad from her Stanford dorm room. The Flemings and their party guests are surprised by an unexpected (and naked) introduction to her new boyfriend Laird…or at least a part of him. Distraught over the fact that Stephanie has uncharacteristically been hiding something from him, Ned begrudgingly agrees to travel with the family to spend the holidays in California to meet his daughter’s first serious boyfriend.  Ned, along with his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) and son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) experience what it’s like to live in the eco-friendly home of a Silicon Valley billionaire:

  1. Laird’s sprawling hipster estate in Palo Alto is as minimalist as it can get for more space to move around.
  2. Meals served are from lawn-to-table.  His house is surrounded with hectares of lawns where he keeps an array of animals, trees and vegetables.
  3. The expansive “smart house” is completely paperless, bathrooms included.
  4. The home also features an omnipresent operating system named Justine, a virtual concierge voiced by Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco, who can field questions, give feedback and track activity and conversations from room to room.
  5. The center of the home is an enormous installation of a giant moose submerged in a tank of its own urine.
  6. The majority of the paintings on display in the movie are mostly James Franco originals.
  7. No bodyguards. Laird’s home is also where Gustav (played by Keegan-Michael Key), his friend and mentor, tutors him in evasive Parkour as a means of self-defense.

But it’s not just the film’s outrageous stunts or wild physical comedy that’s likely to stick with moviegoers. Cranston, for one believes the truly relatable story of a devoted father finding a way to embrace the unconventional tech billionaire his daughter loves that’s at the center of “Why Him?” will resonate with viewers. It’s a funny family comedy about acceptance and connection.

“A lot of comedy is derived from the differences between us and is best when born in a sense of reality,” Cranston says. “If an audience leaves a theater and had a lot of laughs, that is a value in itself. If an audience laughed and actually felt something, that’s the rich experience we hope to achieve.”

Rated R-13, “Why Him?” opens February 1 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.