Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the ECHO release date moved to October 7

The latest film release schedules reveal that THE ECHO (which is a Hollywood remake of a critically acclaimed horror thriller) will have its official theatrical release on October 7. The movie was initially schedules for a September 22 release, moved to September 30, then now its set on October 7. We can agree that this is wisely re-sked because of the recent flood calamity that struck Metro Manila.

In more movie release news, FAME is also scheduled for an October 7 release. NINJA ASSASSIN on October 8. & RED CLIFF on October 14. And also, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER will be released on October 21.
See you in theaters on October 7 for THE ECHO...

Saturday, September 26, 2009


GOOD SCI-FI; but definitely not unforgettable
By Reymundo Salao

Surrogates is a sci-fi movie about a future where every human being can connect their bodies into machines & they instantly live a different life through their robotic human-looking surrogates. Anybody can just stay home all day while they are connected online with their surrogates that can just easily live outside in the real world. But when a surrogate is killed along with its user, FBI agent Greer unravels a conspiracy that can lead to the death of billions of lives.

The storyline of this movie falls somewhere around where movies like Blade Runner, Minority Report, and I-Robot belong. A movie that talks about how future technologies can affect human life and provide some philosophical point-of-view that is worth pondering on. The idea of technology progressing into, and reaching boundaries that it becomes an abomination of nature. The movie tends to be thought provoking, but does not make it good enough to be worth an entire evening of discussion.

There were some moments that seemed preachy, but could have been delivered more effectively if given a proper execution or interpretation. I am talking about the moments when our main character realizes the beauty of a world free from technological complexities. We also have the minor subplot of a corporation just concerned about safeguarding their own products. And a main character coming to the realization that these products eventually diminish the humanity of a person.

It is surprising that the weaker point of this movie is the action. The terminator rip-off scenes seemed bland and there was a chase scene with a female surrogate that looked goofy because it employed a "superhero" type of action. To make it worse, there are some visual effects that look like they've been rendered 15 years ago.

With the main character of Bruce Willis running around in his actual human form for most parts of the movie, we realize that he basically is the weaker person in this world of robotic mannequins, and yes we do see him bleed a lot in this movie (it is funny to note that Willis is one of those actors that just look cooler when he gets more scars and bruises, it's like John McClane only without the crazy action). With him being the frail character, that alone clearly reminds you that this is not your regular Bruce Willis action flick. The movie just basically starts out as a futuristic detective-type movie and then progresses into the same mood as Willis was in films like "Unbreakable" where he stumbles around a metaphoric maze that leads him to some enlightening truth.

The high points of this movie lie in the storyline. Second is the way the movie creates this amazing-looking world of a future inhabited mostly by surrogates. The surrealism of the movie is not too far-out that most of what you see seem like they exist in the present world; there are no flying cars or rockets everywhere; it’s just the simple existence and presence of mannequin-like robots everywhere. The storyline may be good enough to be enjoyably satisfying, but it certainly is not the best, or perhaps not good enough to be groundbreaking.

All in all, SURROGATES is one of those good sci-fi movies that will simply entertain those who are fans of smart sci-fi movies. Action junkies may be a little disappointed though. This is a far cry from Blade Runner, but this certainly gives you a cheaper version of that kind of enjoyment. I loved it. But it is definitely not unforgettable.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the A-Team is on the way!

Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, Hard Candy) joins the cast of the upcoming A-Team movie. This probably completes the main cast line-up which includes Liam Neeson as Col. John "Hannibal" Smith, Bradley Cooper as Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as Sgt. B.A. Baracus, Sharlto Copley as Capt. H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock, & it also stars Jessica Biel. The film will be directed by Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin' Aces).

This movie is based on The A-Team television series, which is about a fictional group of ex-United States Army Special Forces who work as soldiers of fortune while being on the run from the military for a "crime they didn't commit".

The A-TEAM is planned for release on June 11, 2010.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Pirates of the Carribean ( 4 ) On Stranger Tides" announced

Disney has lately had their D23 Expom and on this event, actor Johnny Depp appeared in full Jack Sparrow costume, taking the stage and announcing a Summer 2011 release date for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the new title for the fourth installment! This new movie is expected to focus more on the Jack Sparrow character, with Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom not expected to return, in what is expected to also start a second trilogy of movies. When the movie sails to the Philippines, and to Iloilo once more, it will surely be once again a hit. But personally, I just wish this franchise would rest on its laurels.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The ECHO to be released in the Philippines FINALLY

The LONG wait is over. The Hollywood remake of the Filipino horror film SIGAW is now going to be released in our country. Here is the news article from The Philippine Daily Inquirer about it:

Good and bad news about Laranas’ ‘The Echo’
By Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:38:00 09/03/2009

LOS ANGELES—First, the good news: Yam Laranas’ “The Echo,” his US remake of “Sigaw,” will finally be shown in movie theaters in the Philippines on September 23.

The bad news: “The Echo” is not going to get a North American theatrical release. We came across announcements on the Internet that “The Echo” will instead be released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 10.

This is certainly a disheartening development. It was unprecedented that Yam was given the opportunity to direct the American version of his own Tagalog hit from Regal Films. Everyone also welcomed the news that Iza Calzado was going to reprise her role. When we visited the set in Toronto in 2007, we were proud to see a Filipino director calling the shots. Ever since Yam wrapped up filming “The Echo” in Toronto, we all eagerly awaited the movie, which stars Jesse Bradford and Amelia Warner, to be shown in theaters.

US theatrical release
When Yam finished the film’s post-production, the US theatrical release seemed imminent. But the wait turned into months. Fans and readers of Yam’s blog began asking: “When?” In the meantime, “The Echo” was shown to potential distributors at the Cannes Film Market in May last year. In July, also last year, the film was screened at Fantasia, the Montreal, Canada fantasy and genre film festival. Last May, “The Echo” got its first international theatrical release in South Korea. is now offering a pre-order price guarantee of $24.99 for each copy of “The Echo” on DVD or Blu-ray. The package art shows a girl with menacing looking eyes behind a door engulfed in flames. It virtually screams that this is a horror movie. We would have preferred the teaser poster that Yam posted on his blog, the one showing Jesse Bradford listening into a wall with a girl ominously appearing by a door in the background. It captures the quietly eerie and therefore more suspenseful mood that Yam was probably aiming for in “The Echo” (and which he effectively did in “Sigaw”).

We’re happy that “The Echo” will get a theatrical release in the Philippines. Even with the movie’s release on disc in November, we think many Filipinos would still want to experience “The Echo” on the big screen. In an e-mail interview, Yam pointed out: “The experience of seeing it on the big screen literally amplifies the scares. Although the mood of the film can be appreciated in any screen size, nothing beats the impact of the film inside a dark theater.”

As for what’s in store for moviegoers, especially those who saw and loved “Sigaw,” Yam said: “I think they will enjoy this new version. It is much scarier than the original. But fans of the original will also see that the original story line is intact. The mood and paranoia though is heightened in ‘The Echo.’”

On Iza, the filmmaker said: “I’ve always believed that Iza’s talent is world class. ‘The Echo’ is a testimony to that. She played her role with utmost commitment and sincerity. We are all proud of her.”

Yam explained about “The Echo” not getting a theatrical distribution in America: “The market has changed for all independently produced films. It all started in Cannes and the American Film Market and all the way to Sundance and Tribeca. Nobody was buying. We are among the casualties. There are also legal issues that our investor and distributor are trying to sort out. Yes, I feel bad about it but I need to see the realities of Hollywood. This is not a unique case and there are worse stories out there.”

Screenings abroad
On the movie’s distribution in other territories, he said: “As far as I know, there have been screenings in Russia, Bulgaria and Poland. The film will most likely be shown simultaneously in the Philippines and Southeast Asia since the prints come from Thailand. We are also set to be released theatrically soon in several countries in Europe.”

Yam e-mailed us from Montalban, Rizal where he is filming “Patient X” which reunites him with his “Sigaw” male lead, Richard Gutierrez. “Making movies is a passion of mine,” he said, sounding happy to be directing a feature film again. “I have another unique story to tell and I wanted to work with Richard again. We work well together. Shooting ‘Patient X’ is making me high!”

‘Aswang’ twist
“Our lead actress is Cristine Reyes,” he added. “The movie is a new twist to the aswang (vampire) myth. I am confident that this is something that Filipino and international audiences will truly appreciate.

On our quibble with “The Echo’s” package art, he commented: “I always had an issue with that kind of ‘sell.’ ‘The Echo’ is not J-Horror (Japanese horror genre). And it is not ‘horror’ per se. But the distributor would know better. I only hope that the audience will see something else in the film. Yes, it is a very scary film—really horrifying—but it is also a character driven piece and has a lot of emotional rides.”


Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Clearing up the confusion
Just in case anybody is still confused by this time...
To all the fans of the animated series AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER who are still a bit confused...
there are two movies that are upcoming.
One is entitled AVATAR, which is NOT based on the Avatar the Last Airbender animation. Rather, this is an upcoming 3-D science fiction epic film directed by James Cameron, who has also directed Titanic, The Abyss, and Terminator. The storyline of this movie revolves around the human invasion of a lush jungle-covered extraterrestrial moon known as Pandora. In order to infiltrate this world the humans must use genetically-bred human-Na’vi hybrids known as Avatars. The Avatars are living, breathing bodies that are controlled by a human "driver" through a technology that links the driver's mind to their Avatar body. This film is due to be released on December 18, 2009.

On the other hand, the film adaptation of the animated series Avatar the Last Airbender, is entitled THE LAST AIRBENDER. It is written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shyamalan. It is a live-action film adaptation of the first season of the animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, which has its influences from Asian art, mythology, and various martial arts fighting styles. The first of a planned trilogy, the film, starring Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone, and Dev Patel, will be marketed and released by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies on July 2, 2010.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Beavis & Butthead return ...but only for a promotional clip for EXTRACT

90's adult cartoon Pop icons Beavis & Butthead re-emerges on a video that promotes the film EXTRACT. EXTRACT is an upcoming comedy film directed by the Beavis & Butthead creator Mike Judge. Here is the video clip. Enjoy...