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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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Meryl Streep Bewitches  “INTO THE WOODS” Teaser Poster

Be Careful What You Wish For,” admonishes the teaser poster for Disney's highly anticipated fantasy adventure “Into the Woods” from director Rob Marshall.

Into the Woods” is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy)—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them.

Rob Marshall, the talented filmmaker behind the Academy Award®-winning musical “Chicago” and Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” helms the film, which is based on the Tony®-winning original musical by James Lapine, who also penned the screenplay, and legendary composer Stephen Sondheim, who provides the music and lyrics. The film is produced by Marshall, John DeLuca, “Wicked” producer Marc Platt and Callum McDougall.

The principal cast is led by Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine, Baranski and Johnny Depp.

Also starring are Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy, Billy Magnussen, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Frances de la Tour, Simon Russell Beale, Richard Glover, Joanna Riding, Annette Crosbie.

  Opening across the Philippines on January 21, 2015, “Into the Woods” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.
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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Final Poster and Latest Trailer Revealed

We are getting closer and closer to the first part of the final chapter of Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games series. After the stunning character posters and trailers, teasing of what returning Director Francis Lawrence made to end this saga on a high note. Finally, a full-length trailer and a Katniss Everdeen poster are already released online which you can view below.

The two-part Mockingjay series also introduce new faces, including Michelle Forbes, Robert Knepper, Mahershala Ali, Julianne Moore and  Game of Thrones stars Gwendoline Christie and Natalie Dormer.  The casts also includes Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables 2), Josh Hutcherson ( Journey 2 the Mysterious Island), Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), Stanley Tucci (The Terminal), Sam Clafin (The Quiet Ones), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) and Donald Sutherland ( The Italian Job).

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens this November in cinemas nationwide
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The Dark Bloodline Begins in  “DRACULA UNTOLD”

Almost an entire century after the world’s cinematic introduction to Dracula placed audiences under his haunting spell, the studio that pioneered the genre reawakens one of legend’s most captivating figures in an action-adventure that heralds a pulse-pounding rebirth of the age of monsters.

Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit series) transforms from the cursed man history knows as Vlad the Impaler to an all-powerful creature of the night in Universal Pictures’Dracula Untold, the origin story of the alluring immortal we have come to fear as the sun sets: Dracula.

The year is 1462, and Transylvania has enjoyed a prolonged period of peace under the just and fair rule of the battle-weary Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, and his beloved and brave wife, Mirena (Sarah Gadon of The Amazing Spider-Man 2). Together, they have brokered peace for their country and ensured its people are well-protected, especially from the powerful Ottoman Empire—an ever-expanding scourge that has its sights on global domination.

But when Sultan Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper of Captain America: The First Avenger) demands 1,000 of Wallachia’s boys—including Vlad’s own son, Ingeras (Art Parkinson of HBO’s Game of Thrones)—be torn from their parents’ homes and forced to become child soldiers in his army, Vlad must decide: do the same as his father before him and give up his son to the sultan, or seek the help of a monster to defeat the Turks but ultimately doom his soul to a life of servitude.

Vlad journeys to Broken Tooth Mountain, where he encounters a foul demon (Charles Dance of Game of Thrones) and enters into a Faustian bargain—one that gives the prince the strength of 100 men, the speed of a falling star and enough power to crush his enemies. However, he will be inflicted with an insatiable thirst to drink human blood.

If by the end of three days Vlad manages to resist, he will return to his former self, and perhaps in that time manage to save his people. Though should he drink, he will be forced to dwell in the darkness for the rest of his days, feeding only on the blood of humans…and destroying all that he holds dear.

In his feature-film directorial debut, Gary Shore helms the action-adventure Dracula Untold from a screenplay written by Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless (Gods of Egypt).

Joining director Shore behind the screen is a top-notch crew of filmmakers, led by producer Michael de Luca (Captain Phillips, upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey), cinematographer John Schwartzman (The Amazing Spider-Man, upcoming Jurassic World), editor Richard Pearson (Maleficent, Iron Man 2), production designer Francois Audouy (The Wolverine, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Academy Award®-winning costume designer Ngila Dickson (Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) and composer Ramin Djawadi (Pacific Rim).

Dracula Untold is executive produced by Alissa Phillips (Moneyball), Joe Caracciolo, Jr. (The Wolverine), Thomas Tull (Godzilla) and Jon Jashni (Pacific Rim).

  Opening across the Philippines on October 15, “Dracula Untold” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wish I Was Here: Movie Review

By: Lakwatsera Lovers

First, we would like to thank Captive Cinema for tickets last night for the special screening of Wish I Was Here at SM Megamall. The premise is actually pretty interesting, and the film is surrounded by excellent actors led by Zac Braff. 

Aidan (Zac Braff) is an aspiring actor who is trying so hard to land a major role for years. His wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson) is the only one who supports his family in raising their two kids. Things got a little more complicated when his dad was diagnosed with cancer and has to discontinue the paying of  the tuition of his kids at a Jewish school. Aidan must find a way and make all things right and became a better father for his family.

The film has a lot of heartwarming moments, especially on the father and son relationship side of the story. It really made a strong kick at me as my dad just passed away last week also because of cancer. It also worked well because it shows the reality of life. That we need to express our feelings and ask forgiveness to the ones we love before its too late. It had some family values on how to be a perfect father to your kids and try to be the best for them even your going through the hard times in your life. 

Even the movie is boring at times it was carried well by its outstanding cast. Zach Braff keeps the momentum on a high note most of the time and played a believable father. Joey King, on the other hand, impresses us in every film she appears. She is just fifteen years old but really shows a lot of talent.While Mandy Patinkin is simply remarkable and really performed well, making sure that his emotions will be heart felt. Other casts including Josh Gad and Kate Hudson  also made their presence memorable whenever they are on the scene. 

Overall, Wish I Was Here is a satisfying comedy drama for the whole family. It is compelling, occasionally funny and incredibly switches to touching moments in a jiffy.

Lakwatsera Lovers Rates it 8 out of 10 stars

Cast: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad

Directed by: Zach Braff
Distributed by: Captive Cinema
Opens September 17, 2014 

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