Friday, August 31, 2012


Hit action director Olivier Megaton heats up the action arena with twice the thrill, action and carnage in the upcoming sequel “Taken 2” where the first movie cemented Liam Neeson as this era ’s most relatable action hero being a family man keen on saving his daughter at all cost from human trafficking.
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

                From the first movie where his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) had been abducted by a cartel of human traffickers, “Taken 2” now follows Bryan Mills and his family at Istanbul where the father of the cartel’s leader is out to avenge his son killed by Mills during his daughter’s rescue.  With Mills and his wife abducted this time, Kim tries to save them at breakneck speed taking cues from his father’s infallible timely instructions to track them down. 
                At the helm of the movie is director Olivier Megaton who was born Olivier Fontana – Megaton being his artistic name that  fitted right into the mix of a new wave of action directors.  Megaton started working on a number of TV and short projects and eventually teamed up with Luc Besson where he wrote and directed the film “Exit.”  It was then followed by the crime thriller “The Red Siren” and continued to work in the production of the game-adapted movie “Hitman.”  After the success of “Hitman,” he was then offered to direct “Transporter 3,” which went on to become the highest-grossing film in the “Transporter” series.

In the first movie Bryan’s a guy with nothing to lose. He's divorced and he's lost filial relations, but all that changed when his daughter was kidnapped.  “Taken 2” takes it in a whole new platform where Bryan’s got that relationship back and he's even flirting with his ex-wife (played by Famke Janssen). Director Megaton notes that “ It's almost cheesy, but that makes him all the more human at the beginning of the movie because he's not thinking about his training; he's thinking about his family. He's a little less strong, less robotic.  He's a little less lonely, and he has some hope in this one. This hope is initially lost because when he tries to have lunch with his wife, he lets trouble in. He would never have invited Kim and Lenora to Istanbul before because he was working and he wasn't sure something could happen. It's sweet and at the same time it gives the character some more humanity. I think this is the little difference that makes the movie more interesting.”

                Megaton confirms that “Taken 2” they detoured from the action sequel’s formula, “Bryan Mills is exactly what people are looking for. You realize that you can change the formula, you don't have to stick to it, but what's important is the character.  The fact that this guy has a daughter and she's becoming like him was really the brand new thing in TAKEN 2. Suddenly Kim becomes something different – a real action character. At the end of the first movie she's trying to rebuild her life, she tries to fall in love—the classic American girl—but she has been impacted by what's happened to her. These dark memories arrive suddenly and it makes her different, allowing her to become an action hero like her father. That was the real trick of TAKEN 2,” assures the director.

                “Taken 2” in theaters nationwide on October 4 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.


             Meet the owners and guests of “Hotel Transylvania” – Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them.

Frankenstein (Kevin James) is Dracula’s best friend, an oversized working man with an even bigger heart. It’s been a long time since this monster stormed through the countryside, frightening villagers and constables alike. Now, he’s an unassuming married man who loves his adoptive family, Drac and Mavis.
Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

             Eunice (Fran Drescher) is Frankenstein’s beloved wife. What Frank lacks in forcefulness, Eunice more than makes up for. She’s critical, brash and can have an ‘in your face’ attitude, but underneath it all, she’s a loving family woman.


After debuting in the comedy “I Heart Huckabees,” Jonah Hill has steadily posited himself as a solid hilarious support in the string of his movies that followed.  Appearing afterwards in acclaimed hits like “The 40-Year Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Superbad,” “Forgettting Sarah Marshall,” “Get Him to the Greek,” “Moneyball” and the most recent “21 Jump Street” with Channing Tatum which is Hill’s highest grossing film after “Superbad.”
Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

            His latest movie “The Watch” which is about to open in cinemas this September 5 (in Phils. cinemas) allowed him to work with Ben Stiller, one of moviedom’s great comic talents.  In “The Watch,”  four suburban guys formed a patrol which they tagged as ‘Neighborhood Watch’ after a mysterious incident left a security guard lifeless in the town’s superstore Costco.  Headed by the civic minded Evan (Ben Stiller), he recruits fun-loving family guy Bob (Vince Vaughn), tough-talking ‘wild card’ Franklin (Jonah Hill) and the recent divorcé Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade).

            “When they formed this ‘band of brothers’, the guys thought, sure, they might encounter some weird neighborhood stuff – maybe a burglar here, or peeping tom there – but suddenly they realize they’ve facing something extraordinary,” says producer Shawn Levy, the director of such hits as “Night at the Museum” and “Real Steel.”  “And The Watch is not just unprepared or unqualified, it’s not remotely equipped to deal with this problem; yet it’s all on them to stop it.”

                The youngest member of the team is Franklin (Jonah Hill), a twentysomething, militant looking tough guy with, notes Schaffer “a sweetness just underneath.”  (He still lives at home with his mom.)   So for Franklin, The Watch is the only way he can legally kick ass and take names.   

            Coming off his Oscar®-nominated performance in the drama “Moneyball,” and executive producing and starring in the critically-hailed hit “21 Jump Street,” Hill was not looking to return to the kind of raucous comedy that had propelled him to superstardom (like “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express”), but he “couldn’t resist the chance to perform opposite alongside Ben, Vince and Richard,” notes the actor.  “It was something I had to do.”  Moreover, “if I was going to do another broad comedy, I wanted it to have no basis in reality, and portray a character that could say or do anything.  Plus, anytime you put an extreme amount of danger in the hands of irresponsible people, you know the results are going to be really wild.”

More of Jonah Hill and the movie in this interactive trailer of “The Watch”

            “The Watch” is a 20th Century Fox movie and distributed by Warner Bros. in local cinemas.


Will Ferrell stars as long-term Congressman Cam Brady who commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, in Warner Bros.' “The Campaign,” a mud-slinging, back-stabbing, home-wrecking comedy.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

             When Brady's scandal exposed his vulnerability, a pair of unscrupulous power brokers plots to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naïve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but, with the help of his new benefactors’ support and a cutthroat campaign manager, he soon becomes a contender who gives the charismatic Cam plenty to worry about.

             After four consecutive terms with no opposition, Cam Brady has embraced his lifestyle as a career Congressman with a great sense of ease and entitlement…and every expectation of sliding into a fifth. Says Ferrell, “Cam’s a pretty lazy politician. He’s been touted as a possible vice presidential candidate, which shows how high his aspirations go, but that’s only because he imagines the job as a lot of ribbon-cutting, fancy balls, celebrity perks and kicking back. He’s also morally corrupt.” 

             Moreover, Ferrell adds, “He’s an expert at saying nothing, with that super-polished way politicians have in responding to questions with statements like, ‘Thank you very much for your concern,’ or ‘I appreciate your carving out 15 minutes of your day to come down here to speak about the problems we all face,’ and then not actually providing an answer. It was so much fun to adopt those speech patterns.” 

             When in doubt, Cam employs the guaranteed crowd-pleaser “Support our troops!,” with the hope that the ensuing applause will drown out any inconvenient follow-ups. 

             But even with such an undistinguished record, Cam might have easily ridden the wave of public indifference into another term if he hadn’t gotten sloppy. “He leaves a salacious message on what he thinks is his mistress’s voicemail and it turns out to be the home of a very respectable family with young children,” director Jay Roach reveals. “Suddenly it’s a huge story. His poll numbers plummet.”

            “The Campaign” also lampoons one of Roach’s favorite PR tools: the ubiquitous catch phrase. Says the director, “People are always reaching for catchy, meme ideas to carry the essence of who they are; loaded but largely meaningless phrases for the short-attention-span public, that we all seem to fall for, time and again. I’d love to be in the brainstorming meetings for some of these and see how they come up with a winner. For Cam Brady, we went with ‘America, Jesus, Freedom.’ Amplify and repeat. Because these are the words he believes Americans want to hear. It seems that candidates can’t get anywhere now without talking about freedom as if they invented the notion, and they have to paint themselves as the most patriotic of Americans—certainly more patriotic than their opponents, who they’d like us to believe are in league with terrorists.” 

             Notes Ferrell, “Cam’s big slogan isn’t really a slogan. It’s not even a sentence. It’s just words, like his other battle cry, ‘Cam Brady in 0-12,’ which doesn’t even make sense, numerically, but sounds powerful and decisive.”  

"The Campaign” is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.