Thursday, January 31, 2013


To play perhaps the most instantly recognizable filmmaker of all time, the team behind Fox Searchlight's shocking drama “Hitchcock” thought there was no one better for the job than Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins. 
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

             Hopkins is perhaps best known for his own unforgettably dark turn as a manipulative psychopath, Hannibal Lecter, who helped in the capture of a sophisticated, modern-day relation to Norman Bates, Buffalo Bill, in “The Silence of the Lambs.” But his prolific roster of roles -- from “The Elephant Man” and “Remains of the Day” to “Nixon” and “Shadowlands” -- reveals a broad versatility to embody the most complex personalities. 

             “I've always been fascinated by Hitchcock,” said Hopkins. “My first professional job was in the theatre in 1960 in Manchester and I remember going to the movies and `Psycho' was playing in Manchester. I went to see the movie on a Sunday night in October 1960 and I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life. It was maybe the greatest movie I've seen up to that point in my life. `Rear Window' and `Psycho' are my two favorite movies.”

             “Hitchcock” is the true-story behind the difficult production of the famed director's classic thriller “Psycho”, which brings insight to Hitchcock's fascination with the real-life serial killer who served as the inspiration for Norman Bates.

             Director Sacha Gervasi notes that he wasn’t looking at all for some kind of uncanny physical resemblance to Hitchcock, but rather, for someone who could bring forth something more subtle and vital: the humanity running beneath his well-known genius, quirks and cutting humor.

             “We didn’t want someone to just impersonate Hitchcock, that was important from the beginning,” Gervasi explains. “It was really about revealing the spirit of the man and Anthony Hopkins is a master of doing that with iconic characters, from Richard Nixon to Pablo Picasso to CS Lewis. When you see him as Hitchcock, it takes a moment to adjust to it, but his power as an actor is so deep that, within a few sentences, you become completely embedded in Tony Hopkins’ version of Hitchcock. There are very few actors in the world capable of doing that. He was really the only actor who I felt could pull it off. In fact, I told the producers that if we couldn’t get him we shouldn’t bother making the movie at all.” 

             Hopkins agrees that his performance exists on a razor-thin line, one that had to balance the idea of illuminating Hitchcock without doubling him. “I wouldn’t say ‘I become Hitchcock’. I don’t do that, because I’d go mad,” Hopkins muses. “You can’t become anyone, but you just try to find a way to balance it so as to not make a caricature. I felt Sacha had unlocked the story that no one else had previously done.” 

             Hopkins says his preparation for the role goes way back to 1960 when he himself first saw “Psycho” as a young actor in England and became a Hitchcock fan for life. He continued following his films, and even met Hitchcock briefly, but it was reading the “Hitchcock” script that brought him deeper into the man. “The script gave me a lot of the information that I needed,” he notes, “and then I watched several documentaries and films on Hitchcock and began putting together all the pieces.”

             Those pieces added up to a man who Hopkins says is an utter paradox. “He can be dark, troubled, cold, ruthless and obsessive and also big-hearted, warm and ingenious,” notes Hopkins. “That was all part of his nature.”
         “Hitchcock” is exclusive at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide. Moviegoers can catch the film at Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center, Market! Market!, Ayala Center Cebu, Marquee (Central Luzon), Abreeza (Davao), Harbor Point (Subic) and Centrio (Cagayan de Oro).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spend Your Valentine's Day With CinemaWorld

New international movies to watch out for this February

Laugh, cry, and fall in love this February with CinemaWorld’s new line up of movies.  The new international channel boasts a fresh line-up of international movies that is unique in Philippine television.

CinemaWorld brings only the best from the world’s most renowned storytellers.  From Drama, Comedy, Suspense, to Romance – you will be guaranteed a whole new world of entertainment beyond Hollywood.

Be sure to catch the premiere of some of these romance films – just in time for the Valentine’s season – on CinemaWorld this February.

RED LIPS (Labios Rojos)

Ricardo (Jorge Salinas PĂ©rez), a brilliant publicist, is married to Blanca (Silvia Navarro), a young and beautiful housewife.  Their love is tested when Ricardo finds himself unable to perform in bed with his luscious wife, whose red lips have always been able to drive him wild.  This incompatibility will cause a series of absurd and desperate situations in the hope of rekindling the dying magic between the two.  Find out how Ricardo deals with trials, temptations, and more in this 2011 Mexican Romance movie by Rafael Lara on February 17, 9:00 PM.

JUST A FATHER (Solo Un Padre)

Carlo (Luca Argentero) is a thirty-year old dermatologist whose life has always been perfect –  caring parents, a thriving career, and good friends.  But one day, Carlo’s idyllic life is suddenly turned upside down when his young wife dies while giving birth to their baby daughter, Sofia.  He tries to adjust to his loss, but the care of his baby daughter taxes him physically and mentally.  Until, one day, his emotional vacuum is filled by the arrival of Camille, whose cheerful attitude towards life lifts him up and helps him understand what it really means to be a father.  Director Luca Lucini was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize during the 2010 Bastia Italian Film Festival.  Watch the heartwarming Just a Father first on February 24, 9:00 PM.

Enjoy the feeling of being in love this February Red Lips and Just A Father, as well as with CinemaWorld’s special Valentine’s Day line-up every Thursday at 9:00 PM.  Be sure to catch movies like The Best Man, a Romantic Comedy from the United Kingdom; My Words, My Lies, My Love, a German Romantic Comedy; Iranian Drama Love at Forty; and, Chocolate Kisses with Italian superstar Luca Argentero.

Spice up your weekends with Saturday Festival Pick Ivan’s Dream, a Spanish Comedy about football and puppy love, coming out first on February 9, 9:00 PM, and with this month’s Sunday See The World movies Summer Window, a German Drama on second chances, premiering February 3 at 9:00 PM; and, Chinese Takeaway, the highest grossing non-US movie in Argentina in its year of release, showing first on February 10 at 9:00 PM.

All these and more on CinemaWorld, available in Metro Manila on Cable Link on channel 301, and on an a la carte subscription or through the HD Movie Pack of SkyCable on channel 184.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Russell Crowe stars as Jack Knife in “The Man With The Iron Fists”

Academy Award® winner RUSSELL CROWE is considered one of the finest actors of his generation.  Originally from New Zealand, he started making waves in the Australian film industry with his performance in the controversial film Romper Stomper—for which he became critically acclaimed around the world.  He has received three consecutive Academy Award® Best Actor nominations for his performances in The Insider (1999), Gladiator (2000) and A Beautiful Mind (2001)—taking home the Oscar® for his performance in Gladiator.  
Photo courtesy of UIP

Cast as Jack Knife in the action-adventure in Universal Pictures ‘The Man With Iron Fist’, who has been friends with director RZA since they met on the set of the 2008 blockbuster American Gangster.  During his time on set, he discussed the path to playing a roguish mercenary who has his own interests at heart: “Bobby and I did pretty much every working day together on American Gangster and got to know each other well.  We connected mainly through song lyrics, and he’s talked about this project since I met him.  It’s one of those things where you have mates that have their dream gig—the thing that they’ve been thinking about for a long time.  You learn about it, but it’s not often that they end up doing it.  When it was looking more and more real, Bobby and I were coincidentally on set of another movie, called The Next Three Days.  He calls me his big brother, and he said I really needed to be there, so I’m here.”

Crowe’s character shares a name with his unique weapon.  He tells a bit about the mystery man: “Jack Knife has come to China as a soldier, and he’s become enraptured by the country.  Part of that is due to the fact that he’s addicted to opium.”  As the performer dug deeper into the period of the 19th century that RZA and Roth were using for the film’s backdrop, he became more disturbed by the events of the day.  “I was quite frankly disgusted with what I found.  I’d no idea that the British Empire flooded China with opium in order to control the populace and get a better trade balance.  That was a bit of a shock, and I brought that to his attention.”

Proud to see his friend excelling in a new role as a filmmaker, Crowe reflects: “Bobby’s understood it more himself as he went on, day to day.  You see him dealing with the cultural differences and language differences.  He’s been cool, calm and collected.  He still has the respect of everybody.”

RZA returns the compliment with a story that describes his level of respect for Crowe.  He says: “One of the people we used for the character study of Jack Knife was Ol’ Dirty Bastard—so Russell Jones/Russell Crowe.”  Of infusing one of Wu-Tang Clan’s founding members’ attitude and mind-set into the movie, RZA reflects: “My cousin’s not here anymore, but I wanted his spirit in the film.  Russell and I talked about it, and he loved the idea.”

“The Man With The Iron Fists” is released and distributed by
United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp.
Showing on January 30.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Emma Stone In Gangster Squad

Hollywood It-Girl Emma Stone (“Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “The Amazing Spider-Man”) plays a wannabe actress-turned-moll in Warner Bros.' epic action-thriller “Gangster Squad.”
Photo by Warner Bros.

             Stone instantly fell for the story when she read the screenplay. “It had such a romantic and smoky and nostalgic feel, with a lot of intense action and suspense,” she says. “I immediately felt that I knew what it must have been like to be a part of that place and time.”

             Set in Los Angeles, 1949, “Gangster Squad” revolves around ruthless Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) who runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and—if he has his way—every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.

             But Jerry Wooters has another motive for keeping a close eye on Cohen: Grace Faraday (Stone), the mobster’s current piece of arm candy. Despite the obvious risk, Wooters finds her irresistible, and Grace is not immune to his charms, either.

             Emma Stone was drawn to the role and eager to work with director Ruben Fleischer again, having starred in his film “Zombieland.” Stone says, “We sat down and talked about the story and the character, and I said, ‘Of course, let’s do this together.’ I love Ruben, he’s so enthusiastic and his shots are so beautiful.”

             Stone points out that her character, an entirely fictional creation of screenwriter Will Beall, “moved out to Hollywood to be a star. Not an actress, a star.” Clearly, things didn’t go according to plan. “I imagined she kind of fell in with Mickey Cohen’s crowd, and that being on the arm of this incredibly powerful man gave her the admiration she was looking for, so she convinced herself it was alright. Now, even though she feels trapped, she knows that, without him, she’s got maybe a couple of bucks between her and the street.”
             “Emma is not only one of the smartest, funniest actresses I’ve worked with, she’s also somebody you can’t take your eyes off of when she’s onscreen, and that kind of allure is really what this part called for,” Fleischer says. “The love triangle between Grace, Mickey and Jerry is tricky—you’re not quite sure what each one’s motivations are. But both she and Wooters are looking for a way out, and each finds a kindred spirit in the other. They have a spark that ignites, and neither one can ignore it, dangerous as it is not to.”

             Emma Stone is one of Hollywood’s most sought-out young actresses, having garnered both critical and audience acclaim for her starring role in “The Help,” for which Stone also received a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® and the National Board of Review Award as part of the ensemble cast in the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s New York Times best-selling novel. Stone previously earned rave reviews as Olive in Will Gluck’s comedy “Easy A,” and her performance in The Scarlet Letter update also earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, as well as an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance and a nomination for the BAFTA Rising Star Award. 

             She most recently took on the coveted role of Gwen Stacy in Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” opposite Andrew Garfield in the title role, and will soon be at work on the sequel, due in 2014. She co-starred in director Gluck’s “Friends with Benefits,” alongside Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, and with Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell in the comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

              “Gangster Squad” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.