Friday, November 27, 2009

Ninja Assassin

The Return of the Ninjas
By Reymundo Salao

For centuries, the ninja has been haunting the shadows, and have been the most dreaded assassins that have survived throughout history. Our story centers upon Raizo, a wayward ninja who met an international police agent named Mika who has been investigating the existence of these assassins. And then, after a while, in the middle of the movie you get lost in where the original storyline is going. You realize that you’re just there to see some martial arts.

Almost too self-explanatory, NINJA ASSASSIN is a martial arts movie involving ninjas, and is set in the real world. This is produced by Andy and Larry Wachowski (better known as the Wachowski Brothers) who created the iconic Matrix universe, and is directed by James McTeiguie, director of V for Vendetta (also produced by the Wachowski brothers. Ninja Assassin has that 80's corny style of an action movie that focuses more on the action, the incredibility and the exaggeration of the violence, and a laughably lame back story. And that is the reason why I love this movie.

In order to really enjoy this, you should have a love for B-movie ninja flicks (like "Way of the Ninja" or "American Ninja"). McTeigue tends to be a more mellow version of Tarantino when he works on movies like this; in a sense that while Tarantino loves to pay homage to classic action movies and emphasizes on the more stylistic and the more absurd aspects in order to create a semi-comedic effect that amuses its audience with some element of quirkiness, McTeigue, on the otherhand, pays homage but does it in a style more adjusted to today's audience, so much so that it does not look like an homage because it does not wink at you (with exaggerations and jokes) and indicates it as an homage. In this movie, for instance, one may think that it lacks a good plot, or some aspects may be silly, but what you may not easily realize is that all this is intentional because it takes its reference back from the cheesy ninja movies of the 1980s.

Because of the fact that this pays homage to old b-movie ninja movies, it's easier to ignore some of the movie's flaws. Rain's acting, for instance is just plain awful. He is as corny as that shampoo commercial he was in. It's a good thing that he looks great as an action hero. His stances, the way he looks when he's all battered up, bruised, bleeding, and still kicking ass... he has a stunning iconic presence in this movie. That is just it, though, don’t let him act a dialogue because it discourages any other future acting career he might have. But on the other hand, I might add that Rain's acting was at least good enough to erase his somewhat effeminate, boyband image on interviews and in other media appearances, note that Rain is a Korean pop star. But as the ninja named Raizo, he does shed off that pop star image and transforms himself into this "manly man" brooding action hero, one which action barbarians can root for.

It was almost such an ecstatic joy to see Sho Kosugi in a ninja role once again. To action junkies and to true ninja movie fanatics out there, you may remember Sho Kosugi as the original 1980's icon for ninja movies. Kosugi was the ninja movie icon, as like Bruce Lee or Jacky Chan was to Kung-fu movies. And I remember him being one of my movie heroes when I was a kid.

NINJA ASSASSIN is one of those movies that you feel is quite a superb action movie and then 30 minutes after you’ve watched it, the effect runs out and you realize it was not really that much of a great film. There wasn’t really anything all too special about the movie. It could have at least added some humor in it to at least give it some more appeal, because for a movie that pays homage to a cheesy genre of film, it was just too serious. Even the hardcore aspect of the characters lacked some hardcore soul. It was like trying to cook the same recipe of the movie 300, but this one seemed like it needed to be brought back to the oven. On the other hand, its shortcomings does not change the fact that it was indeed a worthwhile and entertaining action movie. Visually impressive and is well packaged with action. McTeigue smartly uses his control of motion speed, CGI, and fight choreography in a manner that makes ninja movies of the 80’s be revived with today’s advances in cinema, and reintroduced to a new breed of action film junkies. Ninja Assassin is an enjoyable movie for action and martial arts junkies. It is certainly not for those who are looking for a serious movie. Because this appeals more to the comicbook, superhero crowd or the film geeks familiar with ninjas. Though it is not destined for greatness, but it sure is worth the money and the time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Screening Schedules this Week [11-25-09] / updated [11-26-09]

Ninja Assassin
12:15 PM | 2:15 PM | 4:15 PM | 6:15 PM | 8:15 PM
Twilight 2: New Moon
12:30 PM | 3:05 PM | 5:40 PM | 8:15 PM
Twilight 2: New Moon
12:00 PM | 2:35 PM | 5:10 PM| 7:45 PM
Disney's A Christmas Carol
12:00 PM | 2:00 PM | 4:00 PM | 6:00 PM | 8:00 PM
(500) Days of Summer
12:00 PM | 2:00 PM | 4:00 PM | 6:00 PM | 8:00 PM
11:45 AM | 2:35 PM | 5:25 PM | 8:15 PM

(500) Days of Summer
12:15 PM | 2:00 PM | 3:45 PM | 5:30 PM | 7:15 PM | 9:00 PM
Ninja Assassin
11:50 AM | 1:40 PM | 3:30 PM | 5:20 PM | 7:10 PM | 9:00 PM
Twilight 2: New Moon
12:30 PM | 3:00 PM | 5:30 PM | 8:00 PM
Disney's A Christmas Carol [in 3D]
12:20 PM | 2:30 PM | 4:40 PM | 6:50 PM | 9:00 PM
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
11:00 AM | 1:30 PM | 4:00 PM | 6:30 PM | 9:00 PM
Ang Tanging Pamilya
11:50 AM | 1:40 PM | 3:30 PM | 5:20 PM | 7:10 PM | 9:00 PM
12:00 PM | 3:00 PM | 6:00 PM | 9:00 PM

Schedules are subject to change without prior notice

Opening this Week: Disney's A Christmas Carol

Synopsis: Ebenezer Scrooge begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk and his cheery nephew. But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take him on an eye-opening journey revealing truths Old Scrooge is reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it's too late.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Moon FAILS to beat the Dark Knight and Spider-man records

Despite all the hype from its screaming flock of fans, Summit Entertainment's The Twilight Saga: New Moon ended up with $140.7 million domestically in the US for the three-day weekend.

That means it's the third-biggest opening domestically in the US, trailing the opening weekend record of The Dark Knight's $158 million and also is behind Spider-Man 3's $151.1 million.

Having said that, "New Moon" did open worldwide to $258.8 million, which, in terms of superhero movies, was only beat by Spider-Man 3's $381.7 million. The top worldwide opening of $394 million was set by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last July. Spider-Man 3 ranks second on that list and "New Moon" came in at #7.

UNDERWORLD 4 is being Written

Vampires & Werewolves will soon regain their self-esteem
Movies like New Moon may have temporarily ruined some things that we loved. But Thank God there are movies out there that remind us that Vampires and Werewolves are supposed to be violent, dark, and rabid. No series stresses that rightfully and excellently than the Underworld Saga, which now we found out, continues...

Heatvision reports that "The Shield" writer John Hlavin has been hired to pen Underworld 4 for Screen Gems and Lakeshore.

Len Wiseman, who directed the first two films in the vampire-vs.-werewolf saga, is producing with Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg and Richard Wright of Lakeshore.
The fourth installment does not yet have a director attached and neither Kate Beckinsale or Rhona Mitra have signed to return.

Hlavin said the plot is under wraps, "but I can tell you it's not a prequel." He added, "It will satisfy old fans and excite new audiences, meaning that we don't want to redo the first three movies, so steps are being taken to honor what fans have loved but at the same time introduce fresh elements."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Johnny Delgado passes away

Veteran actor Johnny Delgado (his real name is Juan Marasigan Feleo)has been reported to have passed away today at 1:20 p.m. Delgado has been diagnosed with lymphoma or cancer of the lymph nodes in 2008 and was responding well to chemotherapy early this year.

Johnny Delgado is one of the country's best actors. One of those rare actors who gives it all his best and generates pure surge of emotion that easily transfers to his audience. Although his acting roots began in comedy and action movies, he also has made appearance in classic Pinoy movies such as Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan, Brutal, Kakabakaba, and Brutal. It is later that he stood out as a serious dramatic actor and portraying memorable and iconic roles in movies such as Crying Ladies, La Visa Loca, and Tanging Yaman, where he gave a tour de force performance that made the film an instant classic.

Johnny Delgado will be missed and will be remembered. Farewell to a great Filipino Actor!

As I was scouring Youtube, looking for excerpts from Johnny Delgado movies, I found this 2-minute short film by Irina Feleo entitled Labing-Labing which captures moments between Johnny and his wife Laurice Guillen. This is a truly heartwarming video that I urge you must check out:

SM Cinema Iloilo releases advance screening skeds for NEW MOON

Twilight fan girls listen up! Well everybody knows that New Moon is opening tomorrow. SM City Cinema Iloilo has released in advance its screening skeds for the movie. It will be released in three theaters (as expected). Twilight (2): New Moon will be shown in Cinemas 2, 3, & 4. And here are their screening skeds:

Cinema 2
12:40 PM, 3:10, 8:10 PM
Cinema 3
11:50 AM, 2:20 PM, 4:50, 7:20 PM
Cinema 4
11 AM, 1:30 PM, 9:00 PM

Schedules are subject to change without prior notice

Julie Stiles to play The Black Cat in Spider-man 4?

Sure, Rachel McAdams has denied being cast in Spider-Man 4 as Black Cat, and Sony Pictures calls the web reports mearly “internet rumor”, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bit of truth to the story.

UGO has learned that Julia Stiles has met with a casting company in New York City to discuss joining Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, and we’re pretty confident the role is still that of Peter Parker’s love interest/antagonist Black Cat.

Last week we also found out Sony had put out a casting call for a new female lead for the fourth Spider-Man film, and that Romola Garai (Amazing Grace, The Other Man) has auditioned for the role. Garai, McAdams, and Stiles all fall into the near 30-year-old age range, and have a similar look. You might also remember that a new source confirmed that Black Cat is in the screenplay, but the character is now the daughter of the new man in charge of the Daily Bugle, who just happens to be one of Spidey’s new villains (which one, we’re not sure).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Exorcist Returns as a Mini-Series

Bloody Disgusting reports that William Peter Blatty, author of the original novel The Exorcist and its screenplay, has announced that a new version is in the works, in the form of a TV mini-series.

Blatty, in an interview with Cemetery Dance magazine has this to say:

"Yes and no. I would love to have been able to include the subplot involving [Chris MacNeil's housekeeper] Karl and his daughter Elvira, which I did in my first draft, but that script ran to 172 pages: much, much too long. But I might have it my way in the near future, inasmuch as I've written an Exorcist miniseries script that not only faithfully includes all the main elements of the novel, but also some rather spooky new material and scenes, as well as a totally new (and perhaps much more satisfying) ending. I've also updated it. [William] Billy Friedkin has agreed to direct."

Source: Bloody Disgusting

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Success of YANGGAW

The Success of YANGGAW, the Struggle of Indie Films, and the Age of Piracy
by Reymundo Salao

Yanggaw is an indie film directed by Richard Somes, funded by Cinema One, and includes Ronnie Lazaro, Tetchie Agbayani, Joel Torre, Gio Respall, Monet Gaston, and Aleera Montalla in its cast. Yanggaw tells the story of a woman afflicted by an illness as she is infected by the curse of becoming an aswang (a Filipino folk monster who is cannibalistic and is sometimes interpreted as able shape-shift into animals). But what the movie focuses in is the drama that occurs in her family when they realize that someone they love has become this monster.

You rewind the clocks to a couple of months ago, Yanggaw was an indie film that garnered success in the film festivals but had the same problem that many indie films had; which is that their movies are not exposed to the masses. Sure, film geeks were familiar about it; some probably just heard about it (probably at entertainment news bits that are underrated by the media); but basically, your average movie-going everyday Juan and Maria did not know anything about it or did not even care about this movie (& the rest of these indie movies).

But just recently, here in Iloilo City, the movie Yanggaw has gained popularity all of a sudden, just like a hype that is genuinely generated by people who have much regard for it. Yanggaw just seemed to come out from nowhere, and now, everybody knows its main characters Junior and Amor (and why its not wise to play volleyball when it's already getting dark. Sorry, just an inside joke if you watched the movie, hehehe). Almost every movie lover from all walks of life has an idea of what this Yanggaw movie is all about. How did this happen? The movie did not have a theatrical release, nor was it given sufficient media or advertising attention the way mainstream movies are usually given (the overexposure they usually have.) It did not have big stars, not like how mainstream local movies would cram their movies with teen starlets and matinee idols. It did not have product placements, flashy pop references, cameo appearances from celebrities, and enough corny jokes just to get attention from the movie-going public. How did Yanggaw get so famous, aside from the fact that it was also an excellently made movie?

I don't think one can deny that it's also because of Piracy! YANGGAW found its way in the Pirated DVDs markets, and because of this, the movie has had a direct exposure on the local masses. It did not take long before the movie became talk of the town. People started telling other people about how good this movie was, and the word-of-mouth popularity just sparked curiosity and later on, almost everybody you know has watched the movie. I think this is perhaps the very first, if not the only example wherein Piracy has actually helped a local movie gain some attention and popularity. And in one way or another, can it be considered success.

In case you did not know, our film industry may be classified into two major groups; the mainstream film industry, and the indie film industry. One of the reasons why the Philippine movie industry still has not gotten some respectable status despite recognition of many Pinoy indie films in film festivals around the world is that our indie film scene operates in a very underdog, underground manner. Under-exposed, under-funded, and extremely underrated.

Many of us are aware that the mainstream film industry produce films that are badly made, movies created solely for profit and are almost completely devoid of any sort of creaivity or originality. These are basically movies made by their dictatorial producer-masters, instead of real film-makers. These producer-masters are the giant companies of local entertainment media. These giants are the ones with the resources to advertise their movies and make sure that the masses would be drawn to their poorly made, but well-marketed movies.

Meanwhile, Indie Movies are never given much attention, there is just a dim spotlight for the indie film industry. Why? Because the giant media corporations feel that they never get much from these films. They never give it spotlight because the stars these films use usually do not include the actors and actresses signed under these corporations’ contracts, theyre not under their company's "pool of talents". They never give it spotlight because they feel there is no money for it. You may put it in similar comparison with many of our legislators, they never make laws which are really good for the country, not unless it is a law that they can make money out of.

Going back to our main topic, YANGGAW is indeed a movie that has risen above "film elitist" obscurity and into local mainstream success. It proves that Ilonggos have a talent in film-making, it proves that there are still Pinoy-made movies that can be world-class quality, a well-made true Grade A movie, and at the same time, one that can be embraced by the masses. It also proves that in this age of internet, file-sharing, and CD-burning, a good movie, a true obra, will sooner or later find its way to the people who will love it and it will get the praise it so deserves.


WANTED: BORDER wins seven trophies in the fifth Cinema One Originals Awards held last November 15, at the Dolphy Theater in ABS-CBN.

The film won Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director, for writer-director Ray Defante Gibraltar. When Direk Ray accepted his first trophy, he spoke in Hiligaynon (native tongue of Iloilo where the film was shot), and during his second speech, he spoke in Tagalog. Gibraltar thanked his mother from whom he draws inspiration, his staff, the stars and crew of Wanted: Border, his supporters in Iloilo, and everyone who helped him turn his film into reality.

Award-winning writer Ricky Lee and Cinema One head Ronald Arguelles presented the award for Best Film. According to the jury, Wanted: Border won for its "malikhaing pagsasanib ng mga yugto ng buhay ng isang aswang" and how it captures the "nakaraang marahas na pagdanas ng incest, torture sa panahon ng diktaturya, at ang hindi na maibabalik na pagtatangkang mamuhay ng tahimik sa kasalukuyan."

The film's star, Rosanna Roces received her second Best Actress Award for playing Mama Saleng, a flesh-eating aswang who kills her boarders, cooks the mutilated flesh, and later on serves the meat in her Iloilo eatery. As she prepared her speech, Osang jokingly asked the crowd if she could render a long speech, since it had been many years since she accepted her last award. Rosanna was last honored by Gawad Urian as Best Actress for the 2001 film La Vida Rosa.

Wanted: Border also received awards for Best Production Design (Al Alacapa, Winston Lazaro and Allan Hilado); Best Music (Malik Lopez and Eric Romulo), and Best Cinematography (Ogi Sugatan).

Check out the full article & the rest of the FESTIVAL WINNERS HERE.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

WANTED: BORDER sends shivers in the Cinema One Originals Festival

In the 5th Annual Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival, Wanted: Border sends shivers to all!
Directed by Ray Gibraltar, and starring Rosanna Roces, Kristoffer Rhys Grabato, Sunshine Teodoro, Marisol Alquizar, and Raffy Tejada, here is a ‘dark comedy’ that follows lost people to look for refuge that eventually becomes a nightmare.

Religious fanatic Mama Saleng owns a boarding house and eatery. When she was a child living with her grandmother, they were both suspected of being aswangs. Her thirst for humanity was quenched when she met undercover agent Jessie Beltran during the Martial Law, whose task was to terminate activists in Panay. Mama Selang grew to enjoy the face of death in her hands and totally embraced her childhood epithet of being an aswang. Now her boarders are disappearing one by one. Should her mysterious character be described what she has become can be rooted from traumas she sank into. So does she have something to do with the disappearance of her boarders? Does she butcher them? Is she a carnivore? No one will really know at first. But with a plotline too irresistible, Wanted: Border makes viewers aware what its message is. “Kung dati, nag-aapakan lang tayo ng paa...ngayon tayo tayo na ang nag kakatayan at nagkakainan---tulungan natin ang mga sarili natin na wakasan ang cycle of ating ating ating komunidad,” states Gibraltar.

After completing his Philosophy studies at the Saint Vincent Ferrer Seminary in Jaro, Iloilo and the University of La Salle in Bacolod, Ray Defante Gibraltar attended filmmaking workshops at the Mowelfund Film Institute in 2001. His experimental short film Makinilya was screened at the Pelikula’t Lipunan Film Festival and the Singapore International Film Festival in 2002. His full-length documentary Syokoy placed 3rd and even became the Best Regional Choice at the Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula 2007. But it is his famous documentary narrative When Tamaya Meets Delgado that placed the director-writer-editor in the limelight. It premiered at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in 2007. Made its Asian Premiere at the Singapore International Film Festival in 2008. Had its European premiere in the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival. At the 31st Gawad Urian last year When Tamaya Meets Delgado was nominated for Best Editing.

Wanted: Border will send shivers when the festival kicks off from November 13 to 17 at the Gateway Cinema at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City in part of the 15 Year Anniversary Celebration of Cinema One for being the top movie cable channel in the Philippines. The Awards Night will be held on November 15 at the Dolphy Theater of the ABS-CBN.

source: Cinema One Originals

Saturday, November 14, 2009


The Not Too Serious Apocalypse?
By Reymundo Salao

Most of Roland Emmerich’s movies have been mostly reminiscent of the 70’s disaster movies like The Towering Inferno or Poseidon Adventure. These disaster movies are essentially survival horror, wherein we are introduced to main characters that we are supposed to root for and follow as they try to survive a peril or perils that could kill them. This movie more or less combines all of it for something which can be referred to as the ultimate disaster movie because this one deals with the end of the world. As what the movie portrays, 2012 is the year wherein changes in the Earth and in the overall atmosphere of the planet (that’s as far as I can understand about the scientific aspect of the movie) will cause the Earth to experience global cataclysms and destruction, and basically may be interpreted as the end of the world as we know it.

The doomsday theory of 2012 is one that is very paranoia inducing. Unlike the doomsday conspiracies of the year 2000 or previous end-of-the-world theories which were more religion-based or literary prediction-based, the 2012 concept is based on the Mayan calendar which is regarded with some degree of accuracy. That is why it is very interesting to watch a movie like this. On the other hand, do not expect to go into details on the Mayan calendar detail because there is only about half a minute of reference of that concept in the movie. Everything that is explained is more on the science aspect. In addition, the science aspect is laid down, but never dwells on the explanations. If you plan to walk on this movie and expect to delve into the deeper and more thought-provoking issues about why the world is about to end or how this prediction has come to become real, you may not be satisfied because it really focuses more on the plight of our main characters to survive the cataclysms. Most of the movie is focused on running from earthquakes, running from lava, running from flood. Even the drama takes a backseat.

The movie felt like it needed a couple of more minutes of character development. There are pretty good characters here to work with. The old friends in the cruise ship, for instance, the movie needed more quiet moments with them. Every time the scenes simmer down, and you think there was going to be some character development about to happen, a great big special effect all of a sudden steals the moment and makes way for another destructive scene.

It was not easy to walk into another Roland Emmerich movie, after his previous movie “10,000 BC” (pattern-wise is also a movie title referring to a date in time, one that he ignorantly altered by his fictionalized interpretation) made itself as one of the worst movies ever made, in my opinion. But it was a good thing that 2012 was not as bad as I feared it to be. In fact, it was really worth my money, and if I may add, a movie I recommend for the big screen. The visual effects are awesome and the stunts were exhilarating.

The thing about this movie is that it takes this serious plausible concept and quickly turns it into a rollercoaster adventure. And that is one of the things that have given me this dual reaction; first I was upset with it because it takes this concept of paranoia and a plausible global cataclysm, and does not treat it with a very serious approach. It was a bit hard to swallow some action scenes which injected some humor because at one hand we are being shown scenes of extreme disaster and calamity, naturally the scene implies the horrific death of millions, yet elements of comedy are making its way unto it. If this was sci-fi involving alien invasions, it would have been forgivable to mix apocalyptic scenes of mass death with a sense of adventure.

But on the other hand, by the middle of the movie, you realize that the light, somewhat comedic, moments were needed to be injected to please a wide audience. Otherwise, we could have ended up with a movie too serious and too depressing that, by the middle of the movie, may have caused people to walk out in just sheer displeasure.

If you are one of those people who even remotely considers the 2012 doomsday conspiracy as plausible, this movie is indeed for you. It will both amaze and horrify you. Although it is indeed so ironic to refer to Emmerich's movies as a form of entertainment. I guess many of us Filipinos will be affected by this movie emotionally because of our experiences in recent unusual cataclysms. Many might hate it or many might relate to it.

The concept of the end of the world is the ultimate horror movie concept to work on. Emmerich could have made the ultimate horror movie. I would have been impressed if such bold approach was made. But I could understand him not doing that and opting to make an audience-friendly movie instead. I just hope that this movie would have something similar with his other movie “10,000 B.C.” …and that is hoping that this will purely be all fiction.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Astro Boy (2009)

By Reymundo Salao

ASTRO BOY is a full-length CGI animated American adaptation of the massively-popular Japanese manga (comic book) and television series fictional character of the same name ASTRO BOY, created by Ozamu Tezuka, who is considered as “the God of Manga”. Its manga series was first published in 1952 and its television program first broadcast in Japan in 1963.

Basically the storyline of Astro Boy is a sort of futuristic version of Pinocchio, but is extended by storylines of action, adventure, and pure sci-fi. Astro Boy is a robot boy, who initially has gone through an identity crisis, but later on, serves as more of a superhero who gets into various adventures and is consistently bent on promoting peace in his society wherein robots live side-by-side human beings.

Arguably, Astro Boy is the quintessential children’s action hero because he is an ideal mix of pure innocence, a loving heart, and an explosive little dynamite when the going gets tough. Although he shoots lasers, and has weapon turrets from his butt, he is always doing his best to resolve things with a more friendlier approach, and always has that cute optimism that even the darkest of villains may possibly be persuaded do good things instead.

This recent Astro Boy movie is indeed, in my opinion, a good way of reintroducing Astro Boy to a younger generation. Spectacular and fun-filled, the movie is never a waste of time. The eye candy aspect is high; it almost reaches the level of Pixar quality. The action is moderately impressive, on the other hand, it has the best “I can fly” sequence (I’m talking about that sequence when the main character discovers he can fly or do superhuman things and goes out in a self-indulging fun trip) and is superior in comparison to those in movies like Spider-man, Superman and Iron Man. It may be just animation but when Astro Boy is having fun in the sky, his joy radiates unto the audience.

Although this is not all comedy from start to finish, the humor was enough to make the movie enjoyable. There are only a few punchlines placed here and there, but no matter how few they are, they pack a punch of solid laughter. I was really amused at the three robots that referred to themselves as the Robot Liberation Front. They were probably my favorite characters in this entire movie. From their quirkily hilarious character designs up to the overall portrayal of these robots, they easily got me tickled pink.

While voice actors Freddie Highmore as Astro Boy and the rest of the voice cast such as Kristen Bell, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, and Eugene Levy were all generically good, it was Nicholas Cage, voicing Dr. Tenma, Astro boy's father, whose voice acting complemented excellently with the animation. It was as if it captured Cage in one of his best acting moments. It would not have been easy to bring the character of Tenma to a full-length movie version without altering it. In the original manga (Japanese comics) version and in the TV series, Tenma is portrayed as more brutal and has certainly a darker character, as he deliberately abandons and sells Astro boy, and in one other interpretation, he goes insane. The Tenma portrayed in this new movie version is a more positive version, as he is still bound by love for his creation, Astro Boy. Inevitably and obviously you expect this Tenma to do the morally upright thing.

The storyline aspect was pretty solid. Simplistic to be family-friendly, yet it has some plot and characterization elements that appeal to adults as well. It ends up as a movie that is both young at heart yet mature in content. Enjoyable for kids, interesting for adults. The story does not treat its audiences like idiots, and manages to tell the story without applying unnecessary restraint that can hinder a writer's creativity. In addition, the writers and the rest of the crew have an enormous pressure to make this project become perfect. That is because Astro Boy is like a national figure in Japan, as much as how Mickey Mouse is towards americans. And in my opinion, the americans did deliver a good script for him.

Inevitably, the movie keeps itself faithful with the source material on Astro Boy's origins but there are indeed many little alterations made in order to update this Astroboy as being this generation's version. Rife with enough heart, humor, and spectacular explosive action, this movie has a storyline that easily pleases its audience. It is indeed worth your time & your money if you are looking for a family-friendly movie this week.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Howling ...Reborn!

Preparations are made for The Howling to be Reborn
Source: Moonstone Entertainment

The Howling is regarded as one of the best werewolf movies ever made. Released in 1981, the film has become an instant cult classic which spawned 6 sequels.

The Howling legacy lives on in a new project being flaunted at the American Film Market by Moonstone Entertainment.

Insiders reveal writer-director Joe Nimziki attached to the project. His credits to date include one thing and one thing only, a 1997 episode of the rebooted The Outer Limits.

At what stage in development the film is in is unknown.

Original Howling director Joe Dante has said in the past that he's been courted for a remake in the past and there are interested parties, but nothing has come to fruition.

Moonstone Entertainment is also repping the Stephen King adaptation From a Buick 8.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

GHOST RIDER sequel to be Darker & more Existential, says Goyer

David Goyer (screenwriter for BLADE & BATMAN BEGINS) is attached to the GHOST RIDER sequel. He says it's not a reboot, and the setting will happen eight years after the first film, the film will still have Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze. And (oh yes) the movie will have a darker tone than the first film.

Majority of those who are really familiar with who or what the Marvel character GHOST RIDER is, hated and despised the Ghost Rider movie they made with Nicholas Cage and directed by Mark Steven Johnson last 2007. Well I've got news for those who still hope that Ghost Rider would get a proper film adaptation treatment.

Goyer sat down with MTV News and shares his ideas about what GHOST RIDER 2 will be like.

"It's not exactly a reboot," said Goyer "I hate to say it's more realistic, because he's got a flaming skull for a head, but it's a bit more stripped down and darker. It's definitely changing tone. What 'Casino Royale' was to the Bond movies, hopefully this will be to 'Ghost Rider.'"

"This story picks up eight years after the first film," said Goyer. "You don't have to have seen the first film. It doesn't contradict anything that happened in the first film, but we're pretending that our audience hasn't seen the first film. It's as if you took that same character where things ended in the first film and then picked it up eight years later—he's just in a much darker, existential place."

Goyer adds that the "Ghost Rider" sequel is planned to "roll before cameras next year"

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Hurt Locker

By Reymundo Salao

The Hurt Locker is a 2009 American war thriller directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The film is based on recently declassified information about a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD / bomb squad) team in present day Iraq. The Hurt Locker is written by Mark Boal, a freelance writer who was embedded with a bomb squad.

The world premiere of The Hurt Locker was at the 65th Annual Venice Film Festival, Venice, Italy, on September 4th, 2008 and appeared in several film festivals where it won several awards. It has only been theatrically released in the U.S. only last June.

Hi there! THE HURT LOCKER opened here in Iloilo City theaters just this week. I actually already had a review for this movie last June. But I am posting here the direct link to my review of THE HURT LOCKER. You may wanna check it out. Just CLICK HERE to go there

Ian McKellen has good vibes to share for The Hobbit

It seems like Ian McKellen, who we expect will return to his gray robes for the role of Gandalf once again, has read The Hobbit script, and is very excited about it. But as he said in an interview with, "I'm sworn to secrecy. I'm not to say anything at all about the script."

McKellen continues to share his positive thoughts on Guillermo Del Toro's involvement. He said that he and Jackson speak the same language. "They are the same person," he said. "They were separated at birth. They're twins. They have the same attitude. Neither likes working in Hollywood. They're both fascinated by fantasy and violence on the screen, and gore, and things that frighten you. They like going into the psyche. They're both brilliant storytellers in very much the same way. And I think the script, because I have read it, plays very much to Guillermo's strengths, as I've seen them. I have seen his other movies, and people act very well in them. So I think it's all fine. And Peter will always be there."
(You can read the full article from here)

Some of you film junkies may take note that both Del Toro's and Jackson's histories do have a resembling pattern, both had come from quirky groundbreaking horror roots and transcended to very visionary, very imaginative fantasy. I personally have been optimistic of Del Toro's involvement with The Hobbit up from the start.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Terminator, anyone?

Terminator franchise to be auctioned off
By Matthew Garrahan

The rights to the Terminator film franchise will be auctioned this month in a deal that will test Hollywood intellectual property valuations at a time when film industry profits are under pressure from falling DVD sales.

The sale, which comes weeks after the rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were sold for $60m – and is likely to exceed that – has sparked considerable interest because Terminator is a rare example of a blockbuster film franchise not controlled by a big studio.

The interest in the future rights of Terminator underscores the value of IP during a tough time for Hollywood. That value has held up, with Walt Disney recently agreeing a hefty premium in its $4bn deal to buy Marvel Entertainment.

Several financial buyers have expressed interest in Terminator. All the big film studios have also registered interest in the rights, with Sony Pictures a leading contender, according to a person familiar with the situation. Sony declined to comment.

Summit Entertainment, the company behind the Twilight series, is tracking the sale, as is Media Rights Capital, which produced Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno, the person added.

The rights are being sold by Halcyon, the production company behind Terminator Salvation, the latest instalment in the series, which grossed $380m worldwide. The auction does not cover earlier Terminator films.

The rights will give the buyer the ability to make new Terminator films, TV programmes and other spin-offs that build on the popularity of the franchise.

The sale is being conducted by FTI Capital Advisors, recently appointed by Halcyon when it sought bankruptcy protection. Halcyon filed for Chapter 11 after a dispute with Pacificor, a Santa Barbara-based hedge fund that lent Halcyon funds to buy the Terminator rights.

The rights to the franchise have changed hands many times and were sold to Halcyon for $25m two years ago by Mario Kassar, who produced Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Kevin Shultz, senior managing director at FTI, pointed to the recent $60m purchase of rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise by Nickelodeon, the cable network owned by Viacom. “We have a property that has made three times the box office [takings of the TMNT films],” he said.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.

source: Financial Times