Saturday, September 29, 2012

“TAKEN 2” PANS ISTANBUL IN RAW NORMALCY FOR ITS HIGH-OCTANCE ACTION SCENES



Olivier Megaton who helms Liam Neeson’s sequel starrer “Taken 2” panned Istanbul with a fast-moving crew that’s rarely done on this sort of scale of a movie.  The director has stripped the crew to its bare essentials and took them into the streets of Istanbul.

            Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent who stopped at nothing to save his abducted daughter in “Taken.”  When he is targeted by a mysterious figure seeking vengeance, Bryan must employ his “particular set of skills” to protect his family against an army out to kill them.  

            “Taken 2” picks up two years after the events of “Taken.” Bryan’s relationship with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) has grown stronger, and he hopes to reunite with ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). “Even before he encounters the new threat to his family, Bryan is on a mission to get closer to Kim and Lenore,” says director Olivier Megaton.

            “I never thought I'd be here for a sequel,” Neeson says, casting an eye over the setting sun as the ferry crosses the border between Europe and Asia. Bolstered by its impressive action and wry humor, the first “Taken” film, directed by Pierre Morel and written and produced by Luc Besson, was an instant success with audiences all over the globe. And in Bryan Mills, Liam Neeson created an action hero for the 21st Century, to rival some of the greatest gun-handlers in cinema history, from John McClane to Jason Bourne. 

“I don't know the statistics for parenthood, but let's say 8 out of 10 people are parents,” says Neeson. “You'll do anything for your kids, especially if they're in trouble. I think people just connected with that, on a real, visceral gut level, and it resonates with men and women. It wasn't just guys of a certain age; it was ladies, too. And yes, I would do the exact same thing for my kids.”

Much of the action in “Taken 2” unfolds in Istanbul, a locale rarely seen on screen. Megaton spent much of his prep time scouting locations and walking around the city for hours at a time.  When principal photography commenced, he knew Istanbul's streets and passageways better than some of the local crew. Moving the shoot to Istanbul was crucial to ensuring a distinct personality to the film. It's also a location not especially well represented in modern cinema, an opportunity for the film to try something new. 

Neeson says shooting in Istanbul was like nothing he has experienced. “Istanbul is where east meets west – a beautiful city full of wonderful people,” notes the actor, who has filmed on locations around the globe but remains most impressed with Istanbul’s singular sights and sounds.  

            “Taken 2” is released by 20th Century Fox and distributed by Warner Bros.

THE WOLVERINE First-Look Photo



July 25, 2013 in Phils.

                20th Century Fox has finally released the hi-definition first look photo of “THE WOLVERINE” starring Hugh Jackman and directed by James Mangold.
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The movie is based on the celebrated comic book arc, The Wolverine finds Logan, the eternal warrior and outsider, in Japan. There, samurai steel will clash with adamantium claws as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.”

THE WOLVERINE on JULY 25, 2013 across Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be  distributed by Warner Bros.

Friday, September 28, 2012

FANS' FAVORITE CHARACTERS RETURN IN “RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION”

The cast of Columbia Pictures' new, 3D sci-fi action-thriller “Resident Evil: Retribution” includes many faces that will be familiar to fans of the franchise. The filmmakers devised an ingenious way to bring back characters who have met with brutal fates in earlier films, including Michelle Rodriguez’s Rain from the first “Resident Evil,” Sienna Guillory’s Jill Valentine from “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” and “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” Oded Fehr’s Carlos from “Apocalypse” and “Resident Evil: Extinction” as well as Boris Kodjoe’s Luther West and Shawn Roberts’ Albert Wesker from “Afterlife.” 
Photos courtesy of Columbia Pictures

“It’s exciting for us and, we hope, for the fans to have these actors and their characters back,” says writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson. “It was a unique opportunity to work with everyone again. For instance, I’ve always wanted to work with Michelle Rodriguez again, but we shot her in the head in the first movie, which seemed to preclude bringing her back.”
But anything can and often does happen in the Resident Evil universe. “The world of the Umbrella Corporation is constantly evolving,” says producer Don Carmody, “Just as you think you’ve stopped them, another tentacle emerges.”
Anderson kicked off “Resident Evil: Afterlife” with an army of Alice clones, which provided him with the inspiration he needed to bring back favorite characters. “Once we introduced cloning, it really kick-started the idea of characters returning,” Anderson says. 

But the cloning concept also adds a new layer of intrigue to the storyline. “The audience will wonder, ‘is that person really Carlos? Is that person really Rain?’ It’s very much in keeping with the world of gaming, where everything can change in a heartbeat.”
Milla Jovovich relished the idea of her character reuniting with so many of her friends and foes from the previous films. “People really became invested in these characters,” she says. “When Paul figured out how to bring everyone back, we all got really excited. There’s a lot of illusion versus reality in this movie and it will take people by surprise. It was amazing to have everyone back together again.” 

In the original “Resident Evil,” Rain Ocampo, played by Michelle Rodriguez, was a member of the Umbrella special commando unit. A skilled marksman, Rain and her team were dispatched to contain the infection after the outbreak by any means possible. But after Rain was infected with the deadly T-virus and transformed into a zombie, she was killed.
Rodriquez was thrilled when Anderson called to say they had found a way to bring her character back to life. “I’m really happy to be back,” she says. “I didn’t think there’d ever be a possibility of bringing back my character. But there’s always an open window when you’re dealing with science fiction. The possibilities are endless. I’m really happy we have a director who is so creative.”

Also returning is the character of Jill Valentine, played once again by British actress Sienna Guillory. A former police officer who aligned with Alice against the Umbrella Corporation in “Apocalypse,” Guillory was last seen ordering the killing of all remaining survivors—including Alice—at the end of “Afterlife.” “Jill is being controlled by Umbrella now,” explains Guillory. “She’s a good girl trapped in a bad body. And she’s a real baddie in this film.” 

Guillory was delighted to return to the world of Resident Evil, as well as to work with Jovovich and Anderson once again. “On these films, you’re part of a team and the support is incredible,” she says. “Milla is the most giving actress to work with and Paul has a limitless imagination. I felt like I had come home.” 

Oded Fehr, familiar to audiences as Carlos Olivera, a member of the Umbrella forces special commando unit in “Apocalypse” and “Extinction,” also plays dual roles in the film. Fehr says that his return to the franchise makes perfect sense. “If you can have a hundred Alices, why not have more Carloses, Ones and Rains?” he asks. “There are so many twists and turns that it’s going to be a blast. And it was great to be reunited with the ‘family’ from the films I did earlier.”
Boris Kodjoe is also back as Luther West, a strong, confident ex-pro athlete discovered barricaded inside a prison with a small group of survivors in “Afterlife.” Luther and Alice shared an immediate connection, forging an allegiance based on mutual respect. During their escape from the prison, Luther was attacked by zombies and is presumed dead by Alice and the others. “They had an amazing partnership in the last movie,” the actor says. “But she believes that he’s gone and it’s a nice surprise for her to find out he’s not. When they meet again, there’s obvious relief on both sides, as well as excitement that they are going to embark on a new adventure.”

Returning as the film’s larger-than-life villain, Umbrella Corporation chairman Albert Wesker, is Shawn Roberts. Virtually indestructible as a result of being infected with the T-virus, Wesker seems to be evil incarnate. “Wesker is probably the biggest villain from the games and definitely a fan favorite,” says Anderson. “We blew him up with an atom bomb in the last movie, but even that was not enough to keep him down.”

Playing an unrepentant scoundrel is an actor’s dream, according to Roberts. “Albert Wesker will not to stay in the background. He’s decided to take top position. I rule the world and it feels pretty good to be sitting at the top.” 

“Resident Evil: Retribution” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.columbiapictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ALICE GETS UNCHAINED IN “RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION”



As always, the central figure in the gritty and gripping fifth “Resident Evil” movie “Resident Evil: Retribution” is Alice, played once again with implacable ferocity by Milla Jovovich. 
Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

             “Milla is a huge factor in the success of the films,” says producer Jeremy Bolt. “One of the things that makes Resident Evil interesting is that we present a woman as a convincing action hero. She’s tough as hell. She’s a leader; she’s determined. If anybody’s going to beat the evil corporation Umbrella, it’s Alice.”

             Alice has evolved with each chapter of the ongoing saga, transforming from na├»ve amnesiac to superhumanly gifted warrior and, now, a battered foot soldier in the ongoing war against the ultimate evil. After playing the character for a decade, Jovovich has come to know her more intimately and care more deeply about her action-hero alter ego. 

             “Doing this series has been such an adventure,” the actress says. “It’s always amazing to come back to this incredible, fantastical, magical world and to Alice. I know her so well now. I know how she will react, what she will and won’t do. She’s become a huge part of my life, and as I grow, she grows. I’m always excited to see where she’s going next.”
             “Milla as Alice is a force to be reckoned with,” says producer Don Carmody. “She is not only beautiful, she’s also genuine and funny. People think of her as ‘Milla Jovovich, the Russian supermodel,’ but she’s very down-to-earth, very accomplished and very dedicated. And nobody knows Alice better than she does.”

             Alice was stripped of her superpowers in “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” a move that Jovovich believes was critical to the development of the character. “We’ve moved closer to the original Alice, who was a little more vulnerable,” she says. “When she’s in danger, the audience can be scared for her because she can’t just make everything explode. She’s still a badass, just not a superhero badass.”
             As Alice becomes acclimated to being human again, she has to learn to trust and depend on those around her, adds Jovovich. “Without her superpowers, she doesn’t feel as isolated. She feels more in touch with other people, and she has to be much more of a team player. And she has been able to acquire bit of a sense of humor about it all. If all you do is go around killing zombies and being chased by Umbrella storm troopers, you may as well take it with a wink and a smile.” 

             When director Paul W.S. Anderson talks about the actress, who is also his wife, it’s clear she is his muse for the film series. “Over the last ten years, as this character has developed, we’ve had the opportunity to see her grow as Milla has,” he says. “Alice was a blank slate in the first film because she had memory loss and knew nothing about herself. She has slowly gathered around her this family made up of other survivors of the apocalypse. 

             “This is a big step for her,” he adds. “You see a lot of conflict come out of that because she is a hardened warrior who has sacrificed for the battle she’s chosen to fight. She has given up family, friends and a future. Now, she is a slightly more complex character.” 

             “Resident Evil: Retribution” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit http://www.columbiapictures.com.ph/ to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.

BEN STILLER AND VINCE VAUGHN WARD OFF ALIENS IN “THE WATCH”



Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn reunite in “The Watch” along with Jonah Hill and British comedian Richard Ayoade who band together in the film to uncover the mysterious events happening in their neighborhood.  
Photo courtesy: 20th Century Fox

   Ben Stiller’s Evan is a senior manager at the superstore Costco, having made a not-so-lightning-fast ascent to that position from assistant manager.  Evan is a dedicated employee, but his heart is with the Glenview Neighborhood Watch, of which he is the founder and CEO.   “Evan is very community-oriented,” says Stiller, “because he has so few friends, and these clubs give him the opportunity to meet new people.” 
               
Evan’s straight-laced, buttoned-down personality is a perfect fit for organizing clubs, but it’s not paying off socially.  Stiller says he found it challenging to figure out the mindset of a man whose life is defined by a relentless pursuit of order.  “I’m not very orderly,” explains the actor, who is currently starring in and directing “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”  “It wasn’t easy getting inside the mind of a meticulous, stoic and organized guy.” 
               
Regarding the role’s more physical requirements, Stiller was comfortable with the fight scenes, where The Watch takes on the would-be conquerors from a distant world, but less so with a scene that required him to drive a forklift during a climactic battle.  “There was lots of action captured on camera, but driving the forklift made for some of the most frightening times on the set – for the crew,” says the actor.
               
Evan’s polar opposite is Vince Vaughn’s Bob, who is the id to Evan’s superego, the yang to his yin, and, says Schaffer, “a fun loving family man – to the max.”  For Bob, The Watch is his fraternal Shangri-La – an escape from the everyday responsibilities of family life.  The Watch means hanging with his new friends; enjoying some titty magazines, dirty jokes, and beers; and saying things like, “We’re gonna tear up shit, boys.”
               
“Bob is longing to hang out with the guys, have some drinks, talk about guy stuff, and let off some steam,” says Vaughn.  And ground zero for all the raucous fun is Bob’s tricked-out garage/man-cave and its wet bar, massage chairs, widescreen TV, and pool table.
               
“Bob is a big Teddy bear of a guy,” says Levy, who is currently directing Vaughn, along with Owen Wilson, in the comedy “The Internship.”  “He’s boisterous and gregarious and in The Watch as much for the bromance as for the responsibilities of ensuring his neighbors’ safety.”
               
The actors and filmmakers were determined to bring an audacity and boldness to THE WATCH.  “The film’s DNA doesn’t feel familiar,” notes producer Shawn Levy (“Real Steel,” “Night at the Museum”), “so we needed a director with a fresh sensibility and who would never play it safe.”  Enter Akiva Schaffer, who directs, co-writes and edits most of the iconic “Saturday Night Live” Digital Shorts. Says Ben Stiller:  “Akiva has a comedy chip in his brain.  He’s a genius editor and a true child of the digital age.”

The script required a high level of envelope-pushing.  “We had a great script from [co-screenwriter] Jared Stern, but we didn’t want to play it safe and we were determined to make it daring and unexpected,” says Levy.  Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg, who had collaborated on screenplays for “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express,” came aboard the project, and their script delved deeply into the group’s skewed dynamics. “The alchemy of the script and Schaffer’s unique voice felt like a really good match,” says Levy.  “This is the real thing, not only in its use of language but in its sensibilities, which far exceed the boundaries of good taste.”

“The Watch” is released by  20th Century Fox and distributed by Warner Bros.