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Friday, October 28, 2016

Visually Spectacular Drama Based on Award-Winning Novel “A MONSTER CALLS”

Renowned actors Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell and talented young actor Lewis MacDougall star in the entrancing drama “A Monster Calls” based on the novel by Patrick Ness of the same title.
 Directed by acclaimed and award-winning J.A. Bayona, best known for his nightmare-inducing “The Orphanage” and the catastrophic “The Impossible,” his latest movie “A Monster Calls” is a deeply-felt coming-of-age story of a young boy who must come to terms with her mother’s impending death. 
A Monster Calls’” screenplay adaptation is by the book’s author, Patrick Ness. Mr. Ness wrote the novel from an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd.  The story had originated with Dowd but she succumbed to cancer soon after starting it. Ness reflects, “Siobhan wrote magnificent books, ones that teenagers deeply responded to; A Monster Calls was to have been her fifth. She had an opening; 1,000 words; an idea for a structure; and a few characters.”

Bayona feels that “the book speaks about death in a direct and darker way. For the film, I wanted to transcend what we know is coming – the death of Conor’s mother – and be able to fuse the boy’s need to draw with the strength of legacy. There is light at the end of the story, resulting from the idea that art heals. Patrick’s screenplay has added themes while still being faithful to the novel; in making the movie, there are some elements of the book that we have taken further.”
Young lead actor Lewis MacDougall as Connor was brought to the production’s attention; he had only just finished filming his first movie, “Pan.” Ness was shown MacDougall’s audition video and saw that “he was such a find, so true and so focused. You could read everything on that face.”
Academy Award nominated-actress Sigourney Weaver was sought for the role of Conor’s maternal grandmother. “I’m a huge admirer of Bayona’s earlier films; I found them so powerful,” she reveals. “In the book and in the script, Conor says she doesn’t really look like a grandmother, so that was a wonderful place for me to start!
When Bayona saw Felicity Jones in her breakout role in “Like Crazy” – as her Academy Award-nominated portrayal in “The Theory of Everything” had not yet been screened – he knew he had found the actress to play the role as Lizzie, Connor’s mom.   Jones took her character to heart. She states, “Lizzie is a vibrant, active woman who has never stopped loving art. In her home, there are arts and crafts that reveal her creative spirit. She has loved being a mother to Conor, although she’s a little unconventional.”
As part of Bayona’s approach, Neeson (who voices the Monster) worked alongside Lewis MacDougall so that both actors could share ownership of their scenes together. Neeson reflects, “I’ve worked with children who’ve been swamped by the industry, and they’ve lost a kind of childlike innocence. Lewis has all that intact. He’s still a real kid – but also a powerful young actor.”
Further in the production, the director chose not to give his young lead the script page for the very last scene in “A Monster Calls,” so that MacDougall would be able to convey the most natural, authentic response as the events unfolded. “And that’s just what Lewis gifted us with,” says Bayona.

  A Monster Calls” opens November 2 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.
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Justin Timberlake's True Colors Revealed in “TROLLS”

Multi-talented actor and musician, Justin Timberlake who has won nine Grammys and numerous other awards leads an impressive voice cast and serves as executive music producer in the movie for all ages – “Trolls.”  

Timberlake is in charge of the upbeat music of “Trolls” and has combined classics from Earth Wind & Fire, Simon & Garfunkel, Gorillaz and Cyndi Lauper, with original songs he wrote for the film, including the number one hit song ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling!’. Also starring in the film are Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Gwen Stefani, Zooey Deschanel and Russell Brand.
Trolls” can be enjoyed by youngsters as a unique world rich with unforgettable characters, music, humor, adventure and color; as well as by adults, for whom the film’s overarching theme of the search for happiness will resonate long after the end credits have rolled.

Indeed, the Trolls’ all-singing, all-dancing, all-hugging world is all about happiness, which infuses every frame of the film.  “Trolls” explores how we treat others and, more importantly, how we treat ourselves.   Its emotion-charged message is that happiness comes from within, and can be a powerful and infectious force when it’s spread.  

With Justin’s Branch character, long after the Trolls’ liberation from Bergen captivity, he was the only one who continued to see the Bergens as a threat, but no one in town believed him.  Branch lives a discontented existence and is constantly preparing for the worst.   He’s lost his sense of joy and is flummoxed by the over-the-top positivity of the other Trolls.  Branch often wonders if he is the only sane Troll left.  Over the course of the film, he is challenged to let go of his past, even if that includes a dreaded burst of singing, dancing and hugging.

Branch represents our fears and how they can envelop us and prevent our inner happiness from blossoming.  Ever vigilant, he is consumed with exploring potential dangers and spends his life bracing for the worst instead of enjoying the present.   While some of his concerns are well-founded because there are very real dangers nearby, Branch must learn he has to keep living his life and not let fear win. 

Branch isn’t much of a people person,” notes Justin Timberlake.  “He doesn’t sing, dance or hug, which makes him somewhat of an outcast—by his own choice—in the Troll community.  He’s a hardcore survivalist and a huge contrast to all the other Trolls. He doesn’t connect with anybody,” Timberlake continues.

Citing the character’s relatability, despite—or maybe, thanks to—his persistent negativity, Timberlake jokes that, “Branch is going to be the voice of every dad who sees Trolls."

Can’t Stop the Feeling,” written by Timberlake, Martin and Shellback, is a celebratory anthem that brings the Trolls and Bergens together.  The song is performed by Timberlake, Deschanel, Funches, Mintz-Plasse, Kendrick, Corden, Icona Pop, Stefani, Nayyar, and a chorus.  “It’s full of optimism, which carried over to its creation,” notes Timberlake, adding, “Writing it actually made me feel happy.”  Director Mike Mitchell adds that the song “sums up everything we wanted to do with the film.  It creates happiness when you hear it.

  Trolls” opens November 2 in cinemas (also in 3D screens) nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.   

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Warner Bros. Pictures has just launched the IMAX poster for its new fantasy adventure “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The film opens in IMAX theaters and regular cinemas across the Philippines on Thursday, Nov. 17th.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” takes us to a new era in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, decades before Harry Potter and half a world away.

Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne stars in the central role of Magizoologist Newt Scamander, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” blockbusters.

There are growing dangers in the wizarding world of 1926 New York. Something mysterious is leaving a path of destruction in the streets, threatening to expose the wizarding community to the Second Salemers, a fanatical faction of No-Majs (American for Muggles) bent on eradicating them. And the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after wreaking havoc in Europe, has slipped away…and is now nowhere to be found.

Unaware of the rising tensions, Newt Scamander arrives in the city nearing the end of a global excursion to research and rescue magical creatures, some of which are safeguarded in the magical hidden dimensions of his deceptively nondescript leather case. But potential disaster strikes when unsuspecting No-Maj Jacob Kowalski inadvertently lets some of Newt’s beasts loose in a city already on edge—a serious breach of the Statute of Secrecy that former Auror Tina Goldstein jumps on, seeing her chance to regain her post as an investigator. However, things take an ominous turn when Percival Graves, the enigmatic Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), casts his suspicions on both Newt…and Tina.

Now allied, Newt and Tina, together with Tina’s sister, Queenie, and their new No-Maj friend, Jacob, form a band of unlikely heroes, who must recover Newt’s missing beasts before they come to harm. But the stakes are higher than these four outsiders—now branded fugitives—ever imagined, as their mission puts them on a collision course with dark forces that could push the wizarding and No-Maj worlds to the brink of war.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” also stars Katherine Waterston as Tina, Tony Award winner Dan Fogler as Jacob, Alison Sudol as Tina’s sister, Queenie, Ezra Miller as Credence, two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone, Oscar winner Jon Voight as Henry Shaw, Sr., Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery, and Colin Farrell as Percival Graves.

The film marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, whose seven beloved Harry Potter books were adapted into the top-grossing film franchise of all time. Her script was inspired by the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by her character Newt Scamander.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Heyday Films Production, a David Yates Film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The film will open nationwide November 17, 2016, in 2D and 3D in select theatres and IMAX, and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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Sci-Fi Thriller “ARRIVAL” Based on Acclaimed Short Story

In Columbia Pictures' provocative science-fiction thriller Arrival, a mysterious spacecraft touches down across the globe, and an elite team - lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) - are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. Also starring Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.

I've dreamed of doing science fiction since I was ten years old,” explains director Denis Villeneuve, who fell deeply in love with the short story Arrival is based upon, Ted Chiang’s ‘Story of Your Life.’ “It’s a genre that I feel has a lot of power and the tools to explore our reality in a very dynamic way.”

After producers Dan Levine and Dan Cohen first contacted me about doing a movie,” says Chiang, “they sent me a DVD of Denis' film, Incendies (2010), to give me an idea of what they had in mind. That played a big part in my taking them seriously. If they had sent me a copy of a conventional Hollywood science-fiction movie, I probably would have ignored them. It wasn't until a few years later that Denis was actually attached to direct, but he was the director they had in mind from the beginning.”

Villeneuve approached Arrival differently for a number of reasons. Even though he thought ‘Story of Your Life’ was “fantastic material” he simply didn’t have time to write the screenplay because he was in the middle of shooting Prisoners (2013). “I had no time to write a screenplay,” says Villeneuve, “and, to be honest, I didn't know how to crack that short story because it's very intellectual, in a strong and beautiful way, but from a dramatic point of view it's a bit difficult to articulate because it's about process.”

Villeneuve left it with the producers, including executive producer and screenwriter Eric Heisserer, who had already been working on an adaptation of the short story from early on in the production process. “They came back a few months later with a screenplay written by Eric Heisserer that was surprisingly good,” says Villeneuve. “I say surprising because Eric was able to crack it and create a sense of tension and a drama inside of that process of translation.” Villeneuve was on board.

Heisserer was equally taken by Chiang’s story. “Ted’s short story gripped me in a way that very few stories do,” recounts Heisserer. “It wasn’t that I felt that the qualities of the story were inherently cinematic, but it gave me something that I hadn’t had in a long time. It fed my brain and my heart. It made me think and feel, and it treated me with a lot of respect as an intelligent reader. At the end of the day I felt it gave an optimistic message about humanity, and in turn about myself.”

Eric and I didn't talk about the script as it was being written,” explains Chiang. “He pitched me his idea for the script early on in order to get me to grant permission. I should note that when I wrote the story, I never envisioned it being made into a film and I had difficulty imagining what a film adaptation of it would look like. When I heard Eric's pitch I was able to visualize the film he had in mind and I liked it, so I let him go ahead and write a script. After he had finished it, I read it and offered a few comments. Over the years the script has undergone some changes, but in most ways it's still what Eric originally pitched.”

  Opening across the Philippines on Dec. 07, Arrival is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.
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“ALLIED” Poster Has Pitt, Cottilard Up in Arms

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are dressed to kill in the international poster of Paramount Pictures' Allied, the World War II romantic thriller from Oscar-winning director, Robert Zemeckis.

Check out the poster below and watch the film when it opens nationwide on November 23.

Written by Steven Knight (“Eastern Promises,” “Locke”), the film stars Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Lizzy Kaplan and Matthew Goode.

Allied” is the story of intelligence officer Max Vatan (Pitt), who in 1942 North Africa encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard) on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Reunited in London, their relationship is threatened by the extreme pressures of the war.

Allied” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Accountant: Movie Review

By: Matt Suzara

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math wizard and even with the signs of autism since his early years this didn't become a hindrance for him achieving the greatness with numbers.  He works an accountant but not an ordinary one inside a normal office. His major clients are dangerous criminals, and this made him a target of   Ray King (J.K. Simmons) the head of the Treasury Department's Crime Enforcement Division. To take off a load on his back, he takes on a legitimate company that wants to find out the discrepancy involving a big sum of money. With the help of an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick), Christian discovers the hidden truth behind the books, and it looks like he is the one who will pay the price. 

The Accountant has an interesting material that can easily elevated with a committed and brilliant lead star in Ben Affleck. He delivers another astonishing performance, and technically he is also joined by a group of talented supporting casts. However, the film lacks in consistency as it can't sustain a balanced momentum all throughout. There are some scenes that are unnecessary, which made it a bit boring. Its two hour run time makes the film bloated and no wonder why it gives us yawns especially at the middle part of the movie.

On the positive side, the action scenes are pretty decent. It feels like we're watching John Wick when Affleck holds on to his gun. I wished that there are more bodies to drop and blood to spill since it was the moments when the adrenaline pumped up into our veins. It is a treat whenever the action plays on the screen, but we simply crave for more. 

Overall, The Accountant is an engaging feature that came up short on achieving greatness to make a mark. It has a lot of potential considering the talented line-up that the film has. The stars already made their best to make the film stand out, but you can't simply take away that it became tedious at some point and lost us along the way. 

Lakwatsera Lovers rates it 7 out of 10 stars

Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal

Directed by: Bill Dubuque
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures PH
Opens November 2 in cinemas nationwide
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“MOANA” Answers Call of the Ocean in High-Seas Adventure

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people.
Moana is the 16-year-old daughter of the chief of Motunui,” says director Ron Clements. “She’s athletic, nimble, compassionate and incredibly smart. She has a never-say-die attitude and a profound connection to the ocean.”

So it’s troubling to her, to say the least, that her people don’t go beyond the reef surrounding their island,” adds director John Musker. “They stay within the confines of that reef, and Moana doesn’t really understand why.”

The story is inspired in part by the oral histories of the people and cultures of Oceania. Three thousand years ago, Polynesian voyagers, the greatest navigators in the world, voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering thousands of islands. But then, according to scholars, for approximately a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. “Navigation is such a big part of Pacific culture,” says Musker. “The ancient Polynesians found their way across the seas without the use of modern instruments, using their knowledge of nature, the stars, the waves and the currents.”

Adds Clements, “We heard many times that the ocean doesn’t separate the islands, it connects them. Voyaging is a real source of pride for Pacific Islanders, a part of their identity. They were, and continue to be, some of the greatest explorers of all time. What they did was quite sophisticated, borderline miraculous.”

There are many theories, but no one is certain, about what may have led to this 1,000-year gap in exploration; this sparked the filmmakers’ imaginations. Says Musker, “In our story, our heroine, Moana, is at the heart of the rebirth of wayfinding.”

During her journey, Moana meets the mighty demigod Maui, a larger-than-life character who was inspired by multitudes of varied tales and legends about him throughout the Oceania region. Says Musker, “We were fascinated by the stories we read, the tales told to us by experts in the region. Maui was larger-than-life, a trickster and a shapeshifter. He could pull up whole islands from the sea with his fishhook; he had the power to slow down the sun. He is an incredible figure.”

Maui, who’s on his own journey of self-discovery, reluctantly guides Moana in her quest to become a master wayfinder and save her people. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

It’s a story that takes place many, many years ago, but with a contemporary feel,” says producer Osnat Shurer. “Our hope as filmmakers has been to create a universal story that is also an homage to the beautiful people of the Pacific Islands who inspired us along this journey.”

Filmmakers cast newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho as the voice of Moana, and Dwayne Johnson lends his voice to demigod Maui. The voice cast also includes Jemaine Clement as Tamatoa, a self-absorbed, 50-foot crab ; Rachel House as Moana’s trusted Gramma Tala; Temuera Morrison as Moana’s no-nonsense father, Chief Tui; Alan Tudyk as the voice of dumb rooster Heihei; and Nicole Scherzinger voices Moana’s playful and strong-willed mother, Sina.

Helmed by Clements and Musker, the directing team behind “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” “The Princess & the Frog,” and produced by Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), “Moana” features music from a diverse and dynamic team that includes Tony®-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and multiple Tony-winning “Hamilton”), Grammy®-winning composer Mark Mancina (“Tarzan” “The Lion King”) and Opetaia Foaʻi (founder and lead singer of the world music award-winning band Te Vaka).

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 56th animated feature “Moana” sails into Philippine theaters on Nov. 30, 2016.

  Moana” is distributed in the Philippines by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Like us on Facebook, WaltDisneyStudiosPH; follow us on Twitter, @disney_phil; follow us on Instagram, and use the hashtag #MoanaPH.
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“BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK” – From Acclaimed Novel to the Big Screen

Based on the acclaimed bestselling novel by Ben Fountain, TriStar Pictures presents Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, from three-time Oscar®-winning director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi).

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions.

In his first major motion picture, Joe Alwyn plays Billy Lynn. Also starring are Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Makenzie Leigh, with Vin Diesel, and Steve Martin.

The genesis of the novel,” says novelist Ben Fountain, “ began in 2004 during a Cowboys Thanksgiving Day football game. This was three weeks after the general election when George W. Bush had beaten Kerry. I felt like I didn’t understand my country. Then, we had a bunch of people over at our house for Thanksgiving. We had the game on. Halftime comes and I’m sitting on the sofa. And everybody else gets up, ‘cause nobody watches the halftime show. But I stayed and started watching the halftime show—I mean really looking at it. And it’s very much the way I write it in the book: a surreal, pretty psychotic mash-up of American patriotism, exceptionalism, popular music, soft-core porn and militarism: lots of soldiers standing on the field with American flags and fireworks. I thought, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. But everybody else was okay with it, the announcers on TV and everybody around, just another normal day in America. Since there were lots of soldiers in the field at that time, I wondered what it would be like to be a soldier who had been in combat who gets brought back to the US and dropped into this very artificial situation. What would that do to your head? I wanted the reader to feel like he or she is in Billy’s skin. And I think that’s what Ang’s trying to do too.”

Adapting the novel,” notes producer Stephen Cornwell, “was a big challenge. And like any adaptation, it evolved. One of the big questions was how to place Billy at the center of the story. How to find a way of creating this character whom, in the novel, engages the reader with his internal dialogue. How do you make that work cinematically? How do you place this character, his experiences, observations and point of view in the center of the story without resorting to narration, something we didn’t want to do. So as we adapted it, we went on a journey of trying to find the best way to express Billy’s point of view: how do you realize that first person experience in a cinematic context? How do you evolve cinematic language and the way we experience film in ways that allow us to get inside Billy’s head and go on this journey with him?”

Initially, it was Billy Lynn’s story that captivated director Ang Lee, his literal and emotional journey and the complicated juxtaposition of the glorification of returning war heroes and the horrific nature of the war they’ve fought. It was the kind of story that he thought lent itself to a new filmmaking approach he had been considering, one that could really connect the audience to Billy Lynn in an immersive, organic way, the cinematic equivalent of the first person, internal narrative of the book.

Ang Lee explains, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was a very compelling book. His observations of the absurdity of the over the top welcome home these warriors receive, the juxtaposition of this extravagant celebration of his heroism intercut with his battlefield service in Iraq, the irony of those two experiences side by side, it’s kind of an existential examination of what’s real and what’s not, there’s a sort of Zen quality to that comparison that fascinated me. I was attracted to the situation of the storytelling as well, the halftime show to celebrate the soldier in 2004 juxtaposed against the real battle – the drama, the conflict, a kind of coming of age story of a young soldier who has to sort it all out.”

  Opening across the Philippines on November 09, “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.
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Promoting Good Dental Habits to Children for “Hapee” and Healthy Teeth

Some parents think it is not important to instill good oral habits among children because milk teeth are eventually replaced by permanent teeth. 

 Encouraging kids to practice the brushing habit even at very early ages will result in good long term oral health.

Contrary to this common perception, however, lack of dental hygiene has negative consequences for young children who are susceptible to developing cavities just as adults are. The milk they drink and the food they eat can cause acid attacks, resulting in dental caries and tooth decay.

For this reason, it is important to promote good oral care habits among youngsters at an early stage. Proper dental hygiene results in strong teeth for your little ones, and also initiates long-term good oral health for them.  

 Brushing regularly benefits both you and your child by protecting your pearly whites from plaque, bacteria and cavities.

With this in mind, Hapee Kiddie Anti-Cavity Toothpaste generously shares tips that foster proper oral care habits for your kids at home:

First, and most important habit of them all, teach your kids how to brush in their early years. Proper brushing habits—combined with the right toothpaste—equate to cavity-free kids.

Choose a toothpaste with kid-safe level of fluoride. For instance, Hapee Kiddie Anti-Cavity Toothpaste has a fluoride level of 1,000 ppm—the recommended amount of fluoride for children’s toothpaste by the Philippine Pedriatrics Dental Society Inc. and among others. *

Aside from brushing every after meal daily, remember to bring your little ones to the dentist every 6 months. 

Use oral care products designed for kids, like brushes with smaller heads that clean tiny mouths better, and with wider handles that little hands can easily grasp. Children likewise prefer fun and fruity flavors in toothpaste, instead of strong, minty ones.

Encourage your little ones to brush longer and better with Hapee Kiddie’s 7 kid-citing flavors: Strawberry Bloom, Orange Squeeze, Tutti Frutti Twist, Juicy Grapes, Apple Crunch, Bubblegum Pop, and Cookies and Cream Ahoy.

Teach your kids the ideal brushing time—which is at least two minutes—by making it fun and easy to remember: just sing the alphabet song in their heads twice.

 For children, the best choice of toothpaste is Hapee Kiddie Anti-Cavity Toothpaste, with a fluoride level of 1,000 ppm, the recommended amount of fluoride for children’s toothpaste.

Remember that toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months—or even sooner, if these have become frayed or worn out, and whenever your child goes through a bad case of cold or flu.
Aside from proper brushing with Hapee Kiddie Anti-Cavity Toothpaste, watch what your kids eat. Wean them away from junk food and offer them healthy snacks instead. Introduce your kids at an early age to nuts and fruits as snacks—not candy bars or sugary foods.

Also, have them maintain oral care with regular visits to the dentist every 6 months. A great idea: time their dental checkups with your own in order to show that dental care is a priority.
Remember: Happy habits are essential for children’s healthy teeth, especially the brushing habit. When it comes to your child’s toothpaste, choose Hapee Kiddie Anti-Cavity Toothpaste, an expert at making brush time fun time.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Doctor Strange: Movie Review

By: Matt Suzara

We first meet the brilliant neuro-surgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cummberbatch) saving an almost dead man in the operating table. However, his streak of achieving greatness comes to an end when he suffered a fatal accident. Losing hope to regain his normal self back, he ended up in a mystical temple in Nepal called Kamar-Taj and met The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who promised him to heal his physical state. Soon, Strange easily learned the hidden powers that lies inside him, and he is forced to face Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) who plans to gain immortality with help of the dark side.

Doctor Strange is an inception like superhero film that is visually caressing and is best viewed on an IMAX screen. It's pretty much the same superhero formula but with a different perspective thanks to a crafty direction coming from Scott Derrickson. We also get a dose of humor that lightens the mood a bit, but it never looses the steam in telling a decent story line.

The action sequences are pretty dope and of course; it will lead to another crazy explosive showdown towards the end. Doctor Strange might not be one of the biggest stars in the Marvel roster but this film will surely make him more popular. This film also sets up an exciting sequel that teases up its fans with two bonus clips at the end of the film.

Benedict Cummberbatch is finally a part of the Marvel cinematic universe and immediately set his mark embracing the role of the titular character. He sets the tone of the film and clearly knows how to enjoy in playing Doctor Strange. It is also good that he is surrounded by an outstanding set of talented cast to back him up. Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and villain Mads Mikkelsen did a terrific job in portraying their respective roles. 

Overall Doctor Strange is another welcome addition to the engaging realm of superhero flicks. It is slick, compelling and spellbinding. Benedict Cummberbatch is the real deal; we can't wait to see him again for the films' round two. 

Lakwatsera Lovers rates it 9 out of 10 stars

Cast: Benedict Cummberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams

Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios PH
Now Showing in cinemas nationwide
Experience it on IMAX 3D

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Young Horror `Veterans' Play Sisters in “OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL”

Playing the pivotal roles of sisters who get embroiled in a demonic possession in Universal Pictures' Ouija: Origin of Evil are teen stars Lulu Wilson (Deliver Us from Evil) and Annalisse Basso (Oculus), who both have done horror films prior.

In the terrifying new tale and the follow-up to 2014’s sleeper hit Ouija, a widowed mother named Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters Doris (Wilson) and Lina (Basso) add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter Doris is overtaken by the merciless spirit, this small family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.

The filmmakers knew the role of Doris would be the most difficult to cast. “The script asks a lot from someone so young, so we auditioned countless actresses,” states director and screenwriter Mike Flanagan.

Young horror veteran Lulu Wilson, who had shown her chops in Deliver Us from Evil, was able to perfectly balance the innocence and evil of Doris. Recalls the director: “She prepared a monologue from the film where she explains in disturbing detail what it’s like to be strangled to death, and I almost fell off my chair. She was the only actress who didn’t deliver the dialogue in a frightening way. Instead, she delivered it casually, innocently and with a smile, which was such a sophisticated choice.”

When it came to her stunts, the actress also performed well beyond her years. “There’s a scene where Doris scales a wall, and we wanted Lulu instead of using one of Lulu’s stunt double in a wig,” recalls Flanagan. “She was fearless; the first time I saw her up the wall with a huge grin on her face, it was incredible.”

Adds Wilson, who remains in staunch admiration of her stunt doubles on set, “It was crazy, and I was a little nervous but not too much.”

While horror films are off limits for 10-year-old, she hopes her parents make an exception for Ouija: Origin of Evil. “I won’t let them get away without letting me watch it,” Wilson states determinedly.

Meanwhile, Flanagan penned the part of Doris’ older sister, the intelligent, strong-willed Lina, with Basso in mind. “I first worked in Oculus with Annalise when she was just 13, and I thought she was one of the finest actors I’d ever met,” he says. “I knew she was perfect for this part.”

Basso was equally thrilled to team up with her Oculus filmmaker once again. “As a director, he gives you a specific vision and the freedom to interpret that vision,” commends Basso. “He always asks, ‘Do you want one more take?’ He’s so kind and aware of what you as a performer need on set.”

Lina’s layered character appealed to 16-year-old Basso. “We’re almost the same age, so I related to her struggle to find her own identity,” says the actress. “Lina is reckless, and I like that about her. I also admire her strength, which she learned after her father’s death, and how she uses those two qualities to stand up to her mother and the powerful spirits inside the house.”

Basso was also drawn to Lina’s love story with Mikey, a senior who’s interested in the sophomore for all the right reasons. “There’s a pure and wholesome connection between these two teenagers, which is a relationship you rarely see in horror movies,” says Basso. “They have a very sweet romance, but it’s complicated. She’s just starting to feel the first pangs of young love, while experiencing the consequences of losing someone you care for so much.”

  Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 26, “Ouija: Origin of Evil” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

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