Articles for January 2016

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Fashion and Music Throwback in Winning Movie “Brooklyn”

 

Brought to life with the dreamlike shadings of a love poem, “Brooklyn” unfolds in two distinctly atmospheric worlds:  one amid the cloistered, muted beauty of Enniscorthy, Ireland and the other in the bustling chaos of New York’s Brooklyn, the frequent first stop of many immigrants to America, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson who make up the film’s love triangle.

The entirety of “Brooklyn” builds to the life-altering decisions Eilis (Ronan) must make:  between Tony (Cohen) and Jim (Gleeson), between Brooklyn and Ireland, between her past and what she wants for her future.   Everyone involved knew from the start that the story hinged on the uncertainty of her ultimate choice.

Helping to recreate the era in the minds of actors were the beautiful clothes sourced and created by Odile Dicks-Mireaux to evoke the inimitable elegance and grace of 1950s New York.   She was thrilled to step back into that era.  “It was a complete pleasure to work with these characters,” says Dicks-Mireaux, “and there was so much craftsmanship and invention in the 1950s period.”

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The early era of street photography, especially work by the mysterious Vivian Maier and iconic New York shooter Elliott Erwitt, inspired Dicks-Mireaux with their candid shots of transient city moments.  However, she avoided even glancing at the couture of the era.

“John’s specific edict was to not look at any fashion magazines because this is a story of real people – of working class girls trying to make their living in New York,” she explains. “In every aspect of the film, John wanted the look to be very natural and real.”

Dicks-Mireaux especially enjoyed contrasting fashionable Brooklyn, of which Eilis is soon a part, with the more austere dress of Enniscorthy. “There was a huge difference between America and Ireland in those post-war years,” she explains.  “The styles could not have been more distinct which is perfect for the story we’re telling.  In America it was a time of rich color – reds, caramels and yellow ochres, pinks and pale colors – that just did not exist then in Ireland.”

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An equal contributor to the film’s transporting atmosphere is the music, led by an aching score from Michael Brook (Into The Wild, The Fighter).  There is also a transcendent musical moment — when Eilis volunteers to serve Christmas lunch to downtrodden Irish immigrants, only to be enraptured by one homesick man’s stirring Irish lament.

Colm Tóibín told Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey that the unique voice of Irish singer Iarla Ó Lionáird had been a particular inspiration to him while writing that scene.  Inspired themselves, they approached Ó Lionáird and were delighted to be able to bring him to Montreal to perform “Casadh an Tsúgáin” live on the set.

Ó Lionáird fully understood why it would impact Eilis so deeply. “It’s a love song, in which the repeating chorus talks about a man asking the woman to define in what way she’s connected to him,” he explains.  “That resonates for Eilis, in that she’s connected to two worlds. In the song, the man is asking the woman ‘if you’re with me, you’re with me’ and he says ‘be with me in front of everybody, show everybody, be clear.’ She has to step into her own future and to decide what that is.”

Ronan was as moved as Eilis is during the scene.  “Through this incredible voice, Iarla was able to communicate every emotion that you go through when you’re away from home,” she says.

Brooklyn” opens today, January 27 exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Trinoma, Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt3, Market!Market!, Fairview Terraces) from 20th Century Fox distributed by Warner Bros.

Jane Brennan as "Mary" and Saoirse Ronan as "Eilis" in BROOKLYN. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved
Jane Brennan as “Mary” and Saoirse Ronan as “Eilis” in BROOKLYN. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

 

 

THE REVENANT




Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.

Leonardo di Caprio’s Winning Film “The Revenant” Stays Fierce

EDGES OUT “FORCE AWAKENS” AT THE (U.S.) BOX-OFFICE ON ITS OPENING (FRIDAY)

With multiple wins at the recent Golden Globes and major nominations in the upcoming 88th Academy Awards,  film “The Revenant” starring Leonardo DiCaprio directed by Academy Award winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu is fiercely strong at the (U.S.) box-office  with an incredible opening (Friday, Jan. 8) of $14.4 million, edging out “Star Wars: The Force Awakens’” ($10.75 million) that day.

“The Revenant” best seen on the big screen, is on its way to $100 million with an estimated gross of $97 million to-date.  Inspired by true events, “The Revenant” is physically intense and emotionally gripping story of a man presumed to be dead but came back to life.  The legend of Hugh Glass, as he is regarded to be the revenant, someone who came back from the dead, is played by Leonardo DiCaprio.   Part thriller, part wilderness journey, The Revenant explores primal drives not only for life itself but for dignity, justice, faith, family and home.

THE REVENANT Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.
THE REVENANT
Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.

Glass’s mythology began in 1823, when he was among thousands joining the fur trade, a driving new force in the US economy. It was a time when many saw the wild as a spiritual void that demanded to be tamed and conquered by the steeliest of men. And so they poured into the unknown, plying unmapped rivers, disappearing into impossibly lush forests, seeking not only excitement and adventure but also profits — often in fierce competition with the Native tribes for whom these lands had long been home.

Many such men died anonymously, but Glass entered the annals of American folklore by flat-out refusing to die. His legend sparked after he faced one of the West’s most feared dangers:  a startled grizzly bear.  For even the most tested frontiersmen that should have been the end.  But not for Glass. In Iñárritu’s telling of the tale, a mauled Glass clings to life – then suffers a human betrayal that fuels him to continue at any cost. In spite of tremendous loss, Glass pulls himself from an early grave – clawing his way through a gauntlet of unknown perils and unfamiliar cultures on a journey that becomes not just a search for reckoning but for redemption. As Glass moves through the frontier in turmoil, he comes to reject the urge for destruction that once drove him.   He has become a “revenant” — one returned from the dead.

Adds Leonardo DiCaprio:  “The Revenant is an incredible journey through the harshest elements of an uncharted America.  It’s about the power of a man’s spirit. Hugh Glass’s story is the stuff of campfire legends, but Alejandro uses that folklore to explore what it really means to have all the chips stacked against you, what the human spirit can endure and what happens to you when you do endure.”

“There are powerful themes for me in the film:  the will to live and our relationship with wilderness,” explains DiCaprio of his immediate attraction to the story.  “I’ve also previously played a lot of characters who were incredibly articulate in different ways and had a lot to say, so this was a unique challenge for me.  It was about conveying things without words or in a different language.  A lot of it was about adapting in the moment, about reacting to what nature was giving us and to what Glass was going through as we filmed.  It was about exploring the most internal elements of the survival instinct.”

Based in part on Michael Punke’s novel  “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge,” 20th Century Fox and New Regency present “The Revenant,” also starring Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Joshua Burge and Duane Howard.

Powerful epic saga unfolds on the big screen when “The Revenant”opens in Philippine cinemas this February 3 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

 

 

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Wild About “Deadpool” – Overwhelming Raves from Early Screenings

IN PHILIPPINE CINEMAS FEBRUARY 10

20TH Century Fox’s recent reveal of Deadpool’s redband trailer was eventually followed by a special advanced screening in New York and Los Angeles,  though the studio showed an unfinished version of the movie, the fans’ reactions as had been reported in Screenrant is overwhelmingly positive.

The ones who got to screen it first are vouching that the studio, Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds did right about it this time, even saying that this is the best comic movie ever in the Marvel universe!  Tweets had gone viral describing the movie (rough cut) as being “phenomenal, great job, my favorite Marvel movies of all time, outstanding and the best movie ever seen.”

DEADPOOL TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.
DEADPOOL
TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

“Deadpool” tells the origin story of Wade Wilson (Reynolds), whose terminal cancer is ‘cured’ by the same Weapon X program that created Wolverine, leaving him permanently disfigured, but impervious to pain and able to regenerate from his wounds.

Directed by Tim Miller,  “Deadpool,” adapted from the Marvel Comics character created in 1991 by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, tells the origin story of Wade Wilson (played by Ryan Reynolds), whose terminal cancer is ‘cured’ by the same Weapon X program that created Wolverine, leaving him permanently disfigured, but impervious to pain and able to regenerate from his wounds. Dubbed “The Merc with a Mouth”, Deadpool is a pop culture-literate antihero unique amongst comic book characters in that he can break the fourth wall and flip superhero conventions on their head.

On the movie’s action, Lucas Siegel from Comicbook.com shares, “The violence is definitely crazy, definitely over-the-top, and definitely gory. But it’s also well-choreographed, and some of these action sequences are so quick and stunning, you can’t blink for minutes at a time, for fear of missing the next unbelievable stunt. It’s a blast to watch, and impressive – it ramps up nicely, as well, from a familiar opening sequence to the explosive finale.”

 TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.  

Siegel further injects, “This is a fun movie, and it just feels oh so Deadpool. Rarely have I seen a comic book movie not just capture a character so well, but add to it, as well. Deadpool is simply what fans have been dying for, and it’s clear in every moment that it was made by hardcore fans, too.

“Deadpool” arrives February 10 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Check out Deadpool’s redband trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKOOehQecp8

 

Leonardo DiCaprio in THE REVENANT

Experience the Immersive Power of “The Revenant” on the Big Screen on February 3

AVAILABLE IN IMAX THEATERS ONLY FOR ONE WEEK!

Leonardo DiCaprio has portrayed a kaleidoscopic array of characters – from Howard Hughes to Jay Gatsby to Wolf of Wall Street’s profligate Jordan Belfort – but the role of the Hugh Glass in “The Revenant” was an entirely new challenge, taking the actor into borderlands that few in our modern world have experienced.  It is DiCaprio’s most intensely physical role and at the same time, an almost wordlessly raw performance.

Academy Award®-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu brings the legend of Hugh Glass to the screen with “The Revenant,” an epic adventure set in the unchartered 19th century American Frontier. Immersing audiences in the unparalleled beauty, mystery and dangers of life in 1823 America, the film explores one man’s transformation in a quest for survival. Part thriller, part wilderness journey, The Revenant explores primal drives not only for life itself but for dignity, justice, faith, family and home.

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DiCaprio was also enthralled by Iñárritu’s aim to bring Glass’s story to life with a realism that would plunge audiences into life in primordial Western lands long before cowboys and outlaws.  “I’ve never really seen this time period in American history put on film, so that interested me,” he says.  “This was a unique time and place in the history of the American West because it was far more wild than what we think of as ‘the wild, wild West.’  It was like the Amazon, a completely unknown wilderness, a no man’s land where few laws applied. These trappers who came from Europe and the East Coast had to learn to live a life in the middle of the elements — surviving like any other animal in the wilderness.”

The director emphasizes that DiCaprio faced tests no actor could fully prepare for in his performance.  “Leo was working in the toughest of conditions, under a challenging wardrobe, in extreme make-up, going to the most emotionally uncomfortable and dark places. But no matter what he is going through, something immediate comes to life when Leo is in front of the camera. There’s an incredible power,” Iñárritu observes.

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The bear attack that threatens to end Glass’s life immediately took DiCaprio into a mano-a-mano struggle with one of nature’s most skilled predators. “The bear attack was incredibly difficult and arduous,” DiCaprio recalls, “but it’s profoundly moving. In the film, Alejandro puts you there almost like a fly buzzing around this attack, so that you feel the breath of Glass and the breath of the bear. What he achieved is beyond anything I’ve seen.  Glass has to find a way to deal with this full-grown animal on top of him.  He’s at the brink of death – and you are fully immersed in this moment with him.”

DiCaprio did many of his own stunts:  he was buried in snow, went naked in minus five-degree weather and jumped into a frigid river, each moment bringing him more in touch with Glass’s will. But as he makes his way, Glass does not just abide – he also changes profoundly, something DiCaprio reveals in a multi-hued range of subtle details that add up to the film’s stirring climax.

“Throughout, there’s that question of whether some kind of revenge is ultimately the thing that will quench Glass’s thirst at the end of the day. But the need to continue on becomes something more to him…it becomes a kind of spiritual endeavor,” he concludes.

Tom Hardy in THE REVENANT

An immersive experience to be fully experienced only in theatres, get ready when “The Revenant” opens in cinemas on February 3  from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

jessican biel and jake gyllenhaal in ACCIDENTAL LOVE

Nailing it in the Romantic Comedy “Accidental Love”

 

“Accidental Love” is a wacky comedy with an underlying theme of health care, starring Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhall, James Marsden, Catherine Keener, Kirstie Alley, Tracy Morgan and Malinda Williams.

Alice Eckle (Biel), a somewhat naïve roller-skating waitress in a small Indiana town, is about to get engaged to her trooper boyfriend, Scott (Marsden). At the fancy Gondola restaurant when Alice has an engagement ring on her finger, a clumsy workman accidentally shoots her in the head with a nail from his nail gun.

At the hospital, the doctors cannot operate to remove the nail because Alice does not have health insurance and the nail is not life threatening so its removal does not qualify as an emergency. If the nail shifts to a different position, however, it might influence Alice’s behavior in unpredictable ways such  as increasing her sex drive or causing her to speak Portuguese.

They hold a fundraiser to gather money for Alice’s operation but fail  in  raising  the  $100,000 necessary for surgery. Alice does however befriend two people  with  their  own  medical  issues: Reverend Norm who suffers from priapism and Keyshawn who suffers from a rectal prolapse. Then Alice’s Aunt Rita proposes a solution to the problem. Rita is a vet and has operated on cows before. Confident in her surgical abilities, she tries operating on Alice but fails to remove the nail – causing Alice even more distress.

james marsden in ACCIDENTAL LOVE

Watching TV, Alice sees her congressman, Howard Birdwell, a charming but rather clueless fellow, visiting a bunch of kids and promising them colored glue. In congress Howard has vowed “to help all the people,” and might just be Alice’s last chance to get the nail out.

 

And so it goes… Alice and Birdwell fall in love as Trooper Scott shows up to rescue his beloved. Birdwell however escapes to a man’s retreat to center himself. Though the congressman has seemingly double- crossed Alice a second time, he secretly attaches a small health care rider to a different bill thereby finally allowing her to resolve her medical issues. Then with everybody healthy, they all celebrate at Keyshawn’s wedding.

“Accidental Love” opens February 3 in cinemas from CrystalSky Multimedia.  Check out the film’s trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dax0YZWEakQ

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Robert de Niro helps Zac Efron into Manhood in “Dirty Grandpa”

Ready to be a man? Learn it from the pro, in this case, from grandpa in the ultimate comedy buddy trip “Dirty Grandpa” starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron.

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Jason Kelly [Zac Efron] is one week away from marrying his boss’s uber-controlling daughter, putting him on the fast track for a partnership at the law firm. However, when the straight-laced Jason is tricked into driving his foul-mouthed grandfather, Dick [Robert De Niro], to Daytona for spring break, his pending nuptials are suddenly in jeopardy. Between riotous frat parties, bar fights and an epic night of karaoke, Dick is on a quest to live his life to the fullest and bring Jason along for the ride. Ultimately, on the wildest journey of their lives, “dirty” grandpa and his uptight grandson discover they can learn from one another and form the bond they never had. This outlandish comedy also stars Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch, Julianne Hough, Adam Pally, and Dermot Mulroney.

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As Dick and Jason embark on their seemingly innocent overnight trip to Florida, Jason begins to notice that Grandpa isn’t quite himself. Expecting to accompany a grieving widower for a brief trip of reflection and inter-generational male bonding, Jason discovers a foul-mouthed, scotch-drinking horndog with only one objective: sex, and lots of it. Dick had been a faithful, loving and doting husband to his wife for over forty years, but after losing her, he can only live life forward – Dick’s ready to get busy. This is his moment to live it up and throw it down, but he needs a wingman.

During the writing process, screenwriter Phillips had only one actor in mind for the role of Dick Kelly: the incomparable Robert De Niro, whom Phillips never in a million years imagined would be willing to take on the provocative role. “It’s crazy because when I wrote the script I was living in New York and always only had Robert De Niro in mind, who has that perfect blend of comedic timing and imperiousness that the character needed. He also had to be slightly terrifying and really smart, and De Niro certainly embodies all of those qualities,” explains Phillips.

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Witnessing his outrageous screenplay come to life was a thrill for John M. Phillips, an experience he will not soon forget. “Hopefully audiences will appreciate seeing Robert De Niro and Zac Efron in roles you’ve never seen them play before. The fact that Robert De Niro has said these ridiculously crass things I’ve written has been a great accomplishment for me, one in which I will lord over my friends and enemies for the rest of my life,” jokes Phillips.

Boundless wild ride awaits when “Dirty Grandpa” hits theatres this February 3 from Pioneer Films.  Check out the film’s trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcgqsTYGFZA

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THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ALADDIN

Latest Adaptation of Aladdin and the Magical Lamp in “The New Adventures of Aladdin”

French comedian Kev Adams star in the latest adaptation of the famous Arabian folktale of Aladdin and the magical lamp in “The New Adventures of Aladdin” that will open in local cinemas this January 27.

Adams takes on the role of Sam in the movie who is a modern Aladdin who lives both in Baghdad and in a magical world.  “The New Adventures of Aladdin” sets off when Sam ( Kev Adams) and Khalid , two young thieves are about to rob a department store on the evening of 24 December . Sam, disguised as Santa Claus is attacked by children who want him to tell a story . In order not to attract attention , he began to tell them the story of Aladin and the wonderful lamp but he gives a very personal version of the tale of a thousand and one nights while trying to win the heart of Princess Shalia (played by Vanessa Guide).

vanessa guide in THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ALADDIN

Guide describes her role as very colourful, “I am very happy to have had the chance to play this role in high colors, it has lots of character and a fairly wide range of emotions, for an actress it’s great to interpret.  My role Princess Shalia  dreams freedom outside the enclosure of thePalace and is tired of being considered like a little girl by her father Sultan.  Shallia has this ability to marvel discovering real life on the streets of Baghdad. She eventually falls in love with Aladdin,” shares Guide.

Vanessa Guide has so far starred in  movies such as “Puzzle Chinese” and “Papa Mom” and “The New Adventures of Aladdin” is her first female lead.  “Yes, it’s been a while now that I work and I earn my living as actress.

KEV ADAMS IN THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ALADDIN

It is important that we feel when we trusted us you’re young actor, we’re given our luck, then he must prove that one is worthy of that trust.  Our director Arthur, producers and distributors gave me this opportunity and I owe them a lot.”

As for his leading man Adams, Guide shares, “I find him amazing in the film, I have never seen him work like that. He successfully inhabited Aladdin and got very good reviews for his performance.”

Adams on the other hand performed all the stunts himself, “I did not want under any circumstances deprive me of doing the fight and action scenes, I really had to fully participate in the filmmaking process. And our director created an atmosphere in the set that we did not want to leave.   He is very creative, funny and style for this project, it was important, Nourishing to have someone like him the head of the film.”

“The New Adventures of Aladdin” opens January 27 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.

 

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Gerard Butler Flexes Muscles Anew in Mythological Action Film

“GODS OF EGYPT”

When Egypt fell in chaos and evil threatened to rule, gods and men rise to the occasion to fight against and for each other in the upcoming  spectacular action-adventure movie “Gods of Egypt.”

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Inspired by the classic mythology of Egypt, the survival of mankind hangs in the balance as an unexpected mortal hero Bek (Brenton Thwaites) undertakes a thrilling journey to save the world and rescue his true love. In order to succeed, he must enlist the help of the powerful god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in an unlikely alliance against Set (Gerard Butler), the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. As their breathtaking battle against Set and his henchmen takes them into the afterlife and across the heavens, both god and mortal must pass tests of courage and sacrifice if they hope to prevail in the epic final confrontation.

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Directed by visionary director Alex Proyas who also helmed blockbuster thrilling movies “I, Robot” and “The Cros,” “Gods of Egypt” brings an impressive ensemble of actors who play powerful gods and mortals in “Gods of Egypt” that includes Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus, Gerard Butler as Set, Brenton Thwaites as Hathor, Courtney Eaton as Zaya, Chadwick Boseman as Thoth, Geoffrey Rush as RA, Bryan Brown as Osiris and Rufus Sewell as Urshu.

 

“Gods of Egypt” opens February 24 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films. Check out the film’s trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZUEAXe3cig&feature=youtu.be

 

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Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Roadchip funking out in Cinemas

There’s a certain charm to these movies that were based-off the Saturday morning cartoons of my youth, but these aren’t your dad’s Saturday Morning cartoons. They blend the fanciful whims of the 80’s with modern story-telling and cutting-edge CGI.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is the fourth in a series of Chipmunks movies that have come to us over the past decade. However, whereas the first three movies were more of a children’s story for ten year olds and under, the fourth movie is slightly more sophisticated and targets the teen crowd with its themes and casting.

The new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie is here competing with Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie is here competing with Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Of particular note is newcomer to the series Josh Green, who plays Miles, the teenage son of a broken family who is in the enviable or perhaps not so-enviable position of becoming the Chipmunks’ brother.

The story goes that Dave is off to go Miami with his new girlfriend Samantha (who happens to be Miles’ mother), and the Chipmunks find an engagement ring in his luggage. Coupled with Dave’s plans of turning over a new leaf and buying a new house, this leads Alvin, Simon and Theodore to believe that Dave is off to abandon them and start a new family with Miles’ mother.

Determined not to become homeless again, the Chipmunks hatch a plan with the obnoxious Josh, who doesn’t deign the idea of becoming family with three talking furry rodents any more than they do. Their plan is to mess up the engagement, but Dave has already left! So the Chipmunks and Josh go on a road trip to Miami to save the status quo.

It’s a very predictable story, with a token antagonistic Air Marshal who doggedly chases them down for a perceived offense, but this was by far the most enjoyable and best Chipmunks movie to date from the four live-action ones. Miles’ character shows some sibling rivalry evident, but the real theme of this movie is one of friendship and learning to grow up with changes.

As a teenager, this is a different tone from the first two movies, and his backstory is the first attempt in the film to actually give the characters some depth instead of being flat cartoon caricatures. While I can’t say that they actually succeeded in creating a character of depth, perhaps I should not be expecting too much from a simple family movie.

Josh Green adds a different appeal to a new demographic in this fourth installment.
Josh Green adds a different appeal to a new demographic in this fourth installment.

However, the handling of his character was an improvement over the “grown-up good for nothing” theme that we saw in the second movie with Dave’s nephew. And it’s certainly light years ahead of the third movie’s shipwreck story, which was just plain bad.

The real bonus to this film however is the soundtrack. While the first movie looked to reprise the famous Chipmunk Song, the second did covers for Beyonce and other contemporary pop artists, and the third movie, well, was just bad (but with great music), the fourth film doubles down on everything from the first three movies and gives what is perhaps the most impressive cover of “Uptown Funk” that I’ve ever seen, complete with a great jazz band behind it.

I mean seriously, watch this movie just for this cover. It’s that good. I can see myself putting this video with the complete audio-visual performance on loop in the near future once the Bluray is out. It’s just that awesome. Take my word for it.

It’s a bit unfortunate that this movie has done relatively poorly in the box office compared to the first three outings. The second movie was the biggest box office success, and ironically it was the one that had the least inspired soundtrack in my opinion, as the Chipmunks and the Chippetes mainly just did covers from pop icons at the time like Taylor Swift and Beyonce.

Well, it’s only been about a month since its release so perhaps the movie can still come up with its three brethren. I don’t want the box office to send the wrong signal to the producers and make more movies like the second one (which was bad) and less like this one (which wasn’t so bad, not great, but not bad).

Perhaps the timing was just wrong, as the movie is directly competing with the behemoth Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s just not an ideal time to be airing, but hey we can’t be afraid of a little guy in a black suit with a pointy red sword worshipping Darth Vader’s mask, can we?

As always with all the Chipmunks movie, go into this one and expect a great fun musical time. The beats are in the right place to get you grooving, the laughs are great, and among all the Saturday Morning Cartoon-turned-movies I always felt The Chipmunks were the best executed, much better than Garfield, Scooby Doo or The Smurfs. This fourth movie is the best installment so far in the franchise, and it’s a great family movie to just go take a lid off and have a good time.

Alvin and the Chipmunks is showing in theaters now.

Larger than Life here at the movie premiere!
Larger than Life here at the movie premiere!
michael fassbender and marion cotillard MACBETH

Rediscovering the Power of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” Today – in Cinemas January 13

William Shakespeare’s most popular play “Macbeth” is adapted anew with powerful performances by ace actors – Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender in the title role and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard as Macbeth’s wife.

One of the greatest tragedies ever created, the latest “Macbeth” movie is directed by highly-acclaimed director Justin Kurzel.  From the producers of “The King’s Speech” comes the story of a fearless Scottish General, Macbeth (Fassbender), whose ambitious wife (Cotillard) urges him to use wicked means to gain power of the throne.

Stills from the film 'Macbeth' 2014. Directed by Justin Kurzel, DoP Adam Arkapaw. Produced by Iain Canning, Laura Hastings-Smith & Emile Sherman Unit stills Photography by Jonathan Olley Shoot-Day/12
Stills from the film ‘Macbeth’ 2014.
Directed by Justin Kurzel, DoP Adam Arkapaw. Produced by Iain Canning, Laura Hastings-Smith & Emile Sherman
Unit stills Photography by Jonathan Olley
Shoot-Day/12

As relevant as today’s world issues on politics and abuse of power, “Macbeth” is a thrilling interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous and compelling characters, a reimagining of the realities of war-torn times and a tale of all-consuming passion and ambition.

Teeming with blockbuster battle scenes and superbly powerful performances by the lead and supporting cast, “Macbeth” is produced by  Academy Award® winners Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films (“Shame,” “Tracks,” “Mr. Holmes”) with Laura Hastings-Smith (“Hunger”).

Of all of Shakespeare’s classic works, Macbeth must surely be amongst his most famous. Certainly, in the more than 400 years since its first publication, it has been one of the most frequently adapted; revived regularly on stage and re-envisioned time and again in the age of cinema and television. The tragic tale of a Scottish general haunted by his own ambition, and a prophecy that he will one day become King of Scotland, has long fascinated actors, directors and audiences, and on the big screen has led to adaptations by directors from Orson Welles to Roman Polanski.

MACBETH - michael fassbender and marion cotillard

But with a new generation of British actors commanding the stage, as well as screens big and small, producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films felt the time was right for a new approach to Macbeth. “You’ve got actors such as Tom Hiddleston and Jude Law playing the leads in Shakespeare plays,” notes Canning.

“And I think it’s interesting to see this new wave come in and reinterpret the plays – discovering again what they mean.”

The timing was right from a topical point of view too, with greed, and its effects, on the agenda more than ever before. Notes Jack Reynor, who plays Malcolm: “Greed is a really terrible thing that can corrupt on a monumental scale, and it can destroy people’s lives. So the story of Macbeth is particularly poignant when you take into account the economic climate of the past few years.”

The filmmakers felt that the globalised nature of the world today offered an opportunity to increase the scope of the story on the big screen and give Macbeth a modern feel. “What I think has been very strong in this adaptation is the sense of community and the wider world that exists around these characters,” Canning notes. “We’ve expanded the idea that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth exist within a world, that they were a product of it and that their actions affected it. We’re exploring the story from a much more modern, cinematic place.”

MACBETH

For his part, Fassbender, who has fast emerged as one of the world’s most accomplished and popular actors, immediately saw the potential in a new adaptation of the play. “It was comprehensively engaging,” he says of his attraction to the project. “It’s an amazing piece of writing and you’ll only get one chance to do it. So I tried to be as well-prepared as I could be and making sure I uncovered every stone so that you’re not leaving anything wanting at the end of the day.”

“Macbeth” opens in local cinemas this January 13 from Pioneer Films.  Check out the film’s epic trailer here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfv_Wdkb50U

MACBETH poster