PS3’S POPULAR GAME “HEAVENLY SWORD” NOW A MOVIE

HEAVENLY SWORD poster art

Playstation 3’s “Heavenly Sword” leaps from game console to a movie that trails a tale of revenge that sees Nariko (Anna Torv), a fiery red-haired heroine, embark on a quest of vengeance against the invading King Bohan (Alfred Molina) and his army. Once considered the failure of a legendary prophecy, Nariko must wield a sword that was ultimately meant for another. This ancient Heavenly Sword, once belonging to a powerful deity, can never be wielded by a mortal without slowly and inevitably killing them. For Nariko, it’s a race against time to avenge her clan before her life is irreparably overtaken by the omnipotent Heavenly Sword.  The movie also features the voice of Thomas Jane.

Todd Farmer, the film’s director in recent interviews revealed that he became attached to the project after heading to E3 with the producers of the film. They looked around for video games that would make good movie adaptations and landed on Heavenly Sword.

“I love the game because the story was so good,” Farmer said. I started out my first console was Pong. I went through Doom and Wolfenstein and up through Tomb Raider and everything else, and this [Heavenly Sword] was the first game that actually had a real emotional story. So it was a pleasure to take this to the screen.”

                “Heavenly Sword” opens very soon this June from Crystal Sky Multimedia.

THE “POLTERGEIST” (3D) CURSE: LOST AND PISSED OFF SPIRITS FELT DURING PRODUCTION

“Poltergeist” is director Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) and producer Sam Raimi’s (“Spider-Man” trilogy) 3D, contemporary take on writer Steven Spielberg and director Tobe Hooper’s 1982 classic, about a family whose youngest daughter is abducted by a poltergeist shortly after moving to a suburban neighborhood. Starring Rockwell as down-on-his-luck former minor-league baseball player Eric Bowen, it’s the story of an ordinary family dealing with extraordinary circumstances. When these angry spirits abduct Madison, their six-year-old, Eric and his wife Amy [Rosemarie DeWitt] recruit a team of scientists and psychics – including the clairvoyant reality star Carrigan Burke (Jarred Harris) – to get her back.

“Poltergeist” updates an iconic brand, creating a classic haunted house tale that plays to our innermost fears.   It presents a family like ours, in a house like ours – but one that finds itself caught in an otherworldly trap. Both this year’s Poltergeist and the 1982 original give audiences a rollercoaster ride of thrills and fright with a story about the abduction of a family’s youngest child by supernatural and increasingly hostile forces. The rest of the clan then wages a gruelling battle to get her back safely.

Unlike the original “Poltergeist,” which was set in a comfortable economic time during the 1980s, this film is situated in the rapidly fading, disenfranchised American ideal we know as suburbia. A rundown, cookie-cutter community of three-bedroom homes, unkempt yards and chain link fences in an Illinois neighborhood sets the scene for the unsuspecting protagonists, the Bowen family.  It reminds audiences that life in suburbia can sometimes be a long way from comfort and safety.

The house itself embodies both light and darkness.  Initially, it is the saving grace for this hard-luck family, but it quickly turns menacing.   In “casting” the house, the production searched a wide area until they located the perfect one in a suburb in Hamilton, Ontario, a demographically diverse area.  According to production designer Kalina Ivanov, not only did the house chosen by the filmmakers embrace the “blandness of modern architecture,” it also included a familiar suburban color scheme – “a symphony of beige,” as she calls it.  Ivanov goes on to explain that the neighborhood had to have high-intensity power lines, which are integral to the film’s supernatural-themed plot.

However, even before the film’s production wrapped, the Poltergeist filmmakers experienced various unexplained occurrences during the making of the movie.

Sam Raimi explains: “The big open field directly behind the house caused us some grief.  Gil was drawn to this field because it was the only area untouched in the neighborhood, so it really stuck out.  However, that open space seemed to interfere with our on-set radio microphones, personal cell phone transmissions, and the signals between the drone cameras and their operators.  The drone would work perfectly everywhere else but would crash whenever it attempted to fly over this area.  It was a disconcerting feeling at best.”

Then there were the on-set “poltergeists” that plagued the production.  To deal with the unwanted visitors, the filmmakers called in Brenda Rose, a Cleveland-based seer who connects with the paranormal.  Rose uses a number of techniques to detect and cleanse a place from unwanted spirits.  “I help people navigate their lives in the most efficient way by insightful readings and that can look like a lot of things from numerology cards to personal energy,” she says.  “How spirits make themselves known changes from spirit to spirit; sometimes there’s just something from the corner of your eye and other times it’s something actually trying to get your attention. When I’m in a session and open for spiritual business they can come from the left or right side. It ranges from organized chaos to just plain chaos, much like the family experiences in the movie.”

Tying directly to Poltergeist, Rose notes that, “usually when spirits get lost, they need a bit of guidance to find their way back to their destination.”

But Poltergeist’s other-world denizens are not your typical ghosts.  As Jared Harris’ character Carrigan Burke notes, “This isn’t just a few pissed off spirits we’re dealing with…”

                “Poltergeist” (available in 2D and 3D) opens June 24 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

INDIE HORROR FILM “BAT OUTTA HELL” OPENS MAY 27 IN CINEMAS

Based on and inspired by actual events, crowd-funded independent film “Bat Outta Hell” finds four young documentary filmmakers on their trip of a lifetime takes a turn for the worst when they  discovered that the grisly predator bat is not a myth.

Vernon Wells, who is best known for his role in 1981’s “Mad Max 2” as Wez, the homicidal biker stars as Simpson in “Bat Outta Hell.”  In this unpredictable indie horror movie, Wells enthused that he finds it interesting to be involved in a film based on facts. “I’ve looked into it and discovered that these bats are actually real they have been sighted in many many places around the world.  In fact there was sighting in Brazil, a team of archaeologist in the deep jungle looking for something in a cave and that these bats happened to reside in that cave, the bats, instead of fluttering away from the humans, being territorial, attacked their team. They’re fortunate they have guns with them and they killed some of the bats off.”

Danial Donai, writer-director of “Bat Outta Hell” shared that he began writing the story back in 2008.  “My idea on writing about started back in 2008 with a good friend of mine and I had lunch, he related that  he saw this giant humanoid bat in  a place called nowhere else in South Australia. So after hearing of the story, Ii immediately researched about it and booked next day at South Australia at Nowhere Else where we found only two residents in the area, the name came from a bunch of drivers who got lost in the area who have found themselves in a deserted place.

              “Bat Outta Hell” opens this May 27 in cinemas from Crystal Sky Multimedia.

PRESS RELEASE: MEET THE MORMONS – An Inside Peek Into The World of the Mormons

Meet the Mormons examines the very diverse lives of six devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Latter-day Saints).

Meet the Mormons is a touching, newly released documentary that examines the life of six different members of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Church of Latter-day Saints) from around the globe. A humanitarian, a football coach, the Candy Bomber, a fighter, a bishop, and a single mother all let their daily lives be filmed to show that religion and color should not be barriers to happiness. The individuals featured answer some tough questions as they are interviewed, letting the viewer get an inside peek into their world.

Filmed on location and across the globe, Meet the Mormons takes viewers on a journey into the day-to-day realities of individuals living in the U.S., Costa Rica, Nepal and beyond. From their individual passions to their daily struggles, each story paints a picture as rich and unique as the next while challenging the stereotypes that surround the Mormon faith.

After leaving his village to receive a degree in Engineering, Bishnu Adhikari returned to his home in Nepal with a newfound faith and a determination to help improve the living conditions of the area. Bishnu now travels to remote villages in the Himalayan Mountains to build roads, schools and water systems, all while living with his faith and respecting his culture and his family’s expectations.

With her husband’s help, extreme sports enthusiast Carolina Muñoz Marin has fought her way to the top of women’s amateur kickboxing in Costa Rica, challenging the traditional stereotypes of a Mormon woman. In between family time and training for competitions, Carolina and her husband run a charity to help those in Costa Rica who are less fortunate.

As Head Football Coach of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Ken Niumatalolo balances the pressures of his high-stress job by putting his family and faith first. In the competitive, high-stakes world of college football, he made the shocking decision to cancel staff meetings on Sundays, traditionally seen as critical to the team’s success, to instead honor the Sabbath day.

Jermaine Sullivan works full-time as an academic counselor to 200 students in order to support his wife and three kids. He also volunteers full-time as a Bishop of a Mormon church in Atlanta, Georgia. He leads his diverse congregation with youthful exuberance while shattering stereotypes of what it means to be a Mormon Bishop.

Dawn Armstrong, a struggling single mother, had hit rock bottom and lost all hope. Then she met some Mormon missionaries who helped her and her son get back on their feet and start a new life. Her son is now older and ready to fulfill his two-year voluntary missionary work. As she helps him prepare to leave home for the first time ever, she also prepares to say goodbye.

Known as “The Candy Bomber” during the 1940s Berlin Airlift, Col. Gail Halvorsen (ret.) sparked a movement when he started dropping candy tied to parachutes out of his airplane window to children below. This small act of kindness quickly became a life-saving boost to the morale of the people of West Berlin and soon caught worldwide attention and support.

Meet The Mormons, a Solar Pictures release, is showing on May 22 and 23, 2015 in selected theaters nationwide.

ROSE BYRNE PLAYS COMICAL FRENEMY IN “SPY”

ROSE BYRNE IN SPY

Rose Byrne struts her way into a global chase against a group of undercover agents in “Spy” starring alongside Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham and Jude Law.

Byrne takes on the role of Rayna, a beautiful and privileged Oxford-educated daughter of a recently deceased arms dealer who becomes frenemies with Susan Cooper, a novice spy who gears up for action after Fine (Law) suddenly goes off the grid during a dangerous assignment. Agent Cooper leaves her dreary desk job behind, entering the world of international espionage in Europe.  Soon, Rayna and Susan butt heads when Rayna has come into possession of an unusual inheritance, a small tactical nuclear weapon enough to give the world a total meltdown.

Rose Byrne says her character is all about status. Rayna wears garish outfits for grand entrances into the finest hotels. Perpetually bored and unimpressed, she lacks a sense of humor and has a brutally direct manner of speaking.    “I liken her to royalty, or a member of a corrupt dynasty. She’s posh and talks as if she’s from another era, an effort to compensate for her poor Bulgarian roots.”  Despite her coldness, Rayna feels slightly sympathetic and curious about Susan, who reminds her of a “sad Bulgarian clown.”

Of Byrne, who also co-starred with her in “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy says, “I would work with Rose 300 million times. She manages to play a character that’s dastardly yet likeable, which is a tricky thing to pull off. You don’t see the work behind her performance. You just see a remarkable character who turns on a dime.”

While filming and on the run, Rayna’s adventures transitions to a far more luxurious form of air transport, McCarthy and Rose Byrne shoot a flight sequence onboard Rayna’s private jet, which is replete with her unmistakable style – that is to say, gaudy leopard skin upholstery and Versace red and gold wallpaper. Having grown interminably bored in Rome, Rayna is whisking her newfound “sad Bulgarian clown” companion to Budapest for drinks. Chaos breaks out during the flight, and the plane’s occupants find themselves in a nosedive, experiencing the zero gravity effect of weightlessness.

To overcome the challenges of filming this sequence, SFX supervisor Yves De Bono had the plane mounted on a 20-degree gimbal, allowing it to tilt and swivel in any direction. Movement was hydraulically controlled from the ground, and both cast and stunt team were harnessed to cables to simulate floating. Rose Byrne spent time in a swimming pool practicing controlling her physical motions to prepare for the sequence, which required a week to complete.

Director Paul Feig says Byrne’s role as Rayna is his favourite, “Rose is one of the most talented comedic actresses out there and nobody knew for years that she was a comedic actress. She plays Rayna Boyanov, the daughter of a black market arms dealer, a spoiled rich girl who grew up in Bulgaria but went to school in London and has completely got rid of her accent. Now she’s got a very posh English accent, composed and classy, but she is swearing all the time and she is so funny.”

“Spy” opens this May 21 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

ANNA KENDRICK DRIVES RYAN REYNOLDS CRAZY IN “THE VOICES”

Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick stars alongside Ryan Reynolds in the bizarre crime thriller “The Voices” about a man in his 30’s suffering from schizophrenia who speaks to his pets, a dog and a cat which he regards as his conscience.

anna kendrick & ryan reynolds _THE VOICES anna kendrick and ryan reynolds THE VOICES anna kendrick THE VOICES

In “The Voices,” Jerry (Reynolds) is that chipper guy clocking the nine-to-five at a bathtub factory, with the offbeat charm of anyone who could use a few friends but one who needs his medication to function normally.  With the help of his court-appointed psychiatrist (Jacki Weaver), he pursues his office crush Fiona (Gemma Arterton) and later his other officemate Lisa (Kendrick). When Fiona agreed to go out with him on a date and carelessly stood him up to go out with her other friends, Jerry’s odd behaviour begins to get the better of him.  During the night when Fiona stood him up, he finds her on the road trying to get a ride going home, Jerry then offers her a ride while his hallucinations start to fill his mind until he realizes he has already slit open Fiona’s throat.  Once at home, his dog Bosco tells him to confess to the police but on the other side, Mr. Whiskers says otherwise.  Jerry then disposes Fiona’s body part by part until her detached head inside his fridge.   A week after, Jerry decides to return to work and eventually goes out with Lisa who has long been interested in him but has no idea of Jerry’s psychotic tendencies.

“It was the script for that movie that totally blew me away at first,” enthuses Kendrick, “and then it was knowing that Marjane (Satrapi) was directing it. Ever since I saw Persepolis, I knew I had to work with her. It’s one of those movies that lives inside my mind and keeps popping up all the time.   And then when I knew Ryan Reynolds was going to be playing the lead, I had to say yes. You see that’s how it happens to me. People always ask me why I do so many films, but I never set out with that in mind.”

Doing all three characters was a challenge, says Reynolds. “On set, we’d go through the scene. I would perform Mr. Whiskers and Bosco, and then I would also have to do Jerry. It was tough.” For Jerry, these voices represent the intersection of his fantasy and reality worlds, and his struggle to follow a righteous path. “It’s about a guy on a tightrope,” says Reynolds. “It’s about a guy who’s walking that very thin line between protagonist and antagonist.”

“The Voices” opens exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide on June 3. Check out Ayala Malls Cinemas’ www.sureseats.com for more exciting movie offerings.

THE GREAT MEDIEVAL MASSACRE IN “SWORD OF VENGEANCE”

SWORD OF VENGEANCE poster

“Sword of Vengeance” is a historical action film, which tells the story of The Harrowing of the North: The infamous genocide ordered by William the Conqueror, to control the unrelenting Rebels of the North. After the brutal slaughter of 100,000 inhabitants, armies killed off all livestock and salted the earth; no crop or plants could grow for decades to follow. The northern forests and lands laid in eerie, lifeless devastation.

Directed by Jim Weedon, who began his career in music videos editing for bands such as U2, Blur and Jamiroquai, “Sword of Vengeance” is replete with a great visual style where the director faced an incredible challenge in making the film distinctly unique from the norm of the current myriad of period action films.

“From the start I was conscious of the fact that the film needed to stand apart and to have a singular identity. The budget wouldn’t allow for us to compete with many of the studio productions of the moment, but I also didn’t want to, what I wanted to achieve for the audience was something equally arresting but in a completely new realisation. I have been a fan of the chambara style of Japanese samurai movies since childhood. I was intrigued with the idea of creating a medieval world that tonally sat within this style. Immediately we gave the film a very distinct and unexpected look and style,” shares Weedon.

The fact that the filmmakers removed so much dialogue meant that the sound had to work suitably hard to convey the unsaid. Further, Weedon disclosed that “Both Roland Heap (sound designer) and Stephen Hilton did an incredible job of creating the sonic nature of the film. I wanted the audience to have a musical roller-coaster ride as they witness the storyline unfolding. We really pushed the sound design and musical approach to bring the visuals into a very vivid but chambara life. Sound is integral to my commercial work and something that always creates the unexpected in the visuals. This can be the most rewarding and unexpected aspect of filmmaking. The film needed to have a certain aesthetic to its overall look. I went for a bleach bypass approach in the grading to achieve very little colour in the film. To help this aim the wardrobe was specifically designed to be muted, working with blues, greys and black, the only real colour coming through is the inherent hues from the fur that the heroes wore.”

“Overall I believe we have achieved what we had set out to do, to create a world that stands apart in the realms of period dramas. SWORD is exciting, unforgiving and relentless, it makes no apologies as we are thrown into a world of dark times and dark deeds,” assures Weedon.

Starring notable character and stage actors such as Stanley Weber, Annabelle Wallis, Karel Roden and Ed Skrein, “Sword of Vengeance” will open this June 3 in select theatres from Axinite Digicinema.

STATUS COMPLICATED IN THE ROMANTIC COMEDY “ALOHA”

Directed by Academy Award winner Cameron Crowe (known for the unforgettable “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous” movies), his latest romantic comedy “Aloha” brings together the most charismatic actors onscreen in a compelling and fascinating story about love and the unpredictability of life.

Set at the backdrop of alluring Hawaii, “Aloha” stars four-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper as Brian Gilcrest, a brilliant military contractor, who once worked for the US Space Program, based in Honolulu.  More than a decade after leaving the Space Program, he is a celebrated military contractor, working for a wealthy industrialist, Carson Welch (Bill Murray). Gilcrest returns to Hawaii on assignment and falls for Captain Allison Ng, a dynamic Air Force pilot, played by Emma Stone. But he is also reunited with a former girlfriend, Tracy (Rachel McAdams), who is now married with children for whom he still has strong feelings.

Completing the stellar cast are Alec Baldwin as General Dixon, who is constantly yelling … often at Brian Gilcrest, and Danny McBride as Col. Pete “Fingers” Lacy.

Intrinsically Hawaiian, with breathtaking cinematography, the movie also explores the islands’ rich history, and as always in a Cameron Crowe movie, “Aloha” is infused with great music.

                “Aloha” opens in local (Phils.) cinemas nationwide on June 17 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

“THE AGE OF ADALINE” FLEXED MUSCLES AMID TOP PERFORMING ACTION MOVIES @ THE BOX-OFFICE

blake lively stars in THE AGE OF ADALINE

Female-skewed romantic movie “The Age of Adaline” starring Blake Lively made history on its opening day when it pulled in $4.9 and emerged number one at the box-office against “Furious 7’s” three-week reign.  Likewise Lively’s ageless starrer managed to muscle its way at number two spot on its second weekend in cinemas which is again ahead of “Furious 7” and behind “Avengers: Age of Ultron”  at the domestic (U.S.) box-office.

Holding on to forever in “The Age of Adaline” is what Blake Lively’s titular character is facing in the movie.   Born near the turn of the 20th century, Adaline Bowman never dreamed she would live to see the beginning of the 21st, until one seemingly magical moment saves her from death and grants her eternal youth. At the age of 29, Adaline stops aging and experiences life as no human being has before.

This remarkable twist of fate sets her on an unparalleled journey that spans for decades. She has experienced life and love through global transformations of two World Wars and the freewheeling 1960s to the conveniences of present day. Carefully concealing her secret from everyone but her aging daughter, Adaline manages momentous changes with grace, until a past relationship collides with a modern-day chance for love and threatens to expose her extraordinary history.

The producers believe that the meticulous preparation, epic yet intimate scope and impressive performances make The Age of Adaline a movie like no other. “I think that we are in a time in film where originality counts,” says producer Gary Lucchesi. “I don’t think anyone is going to come to our film and say, well, I’ve seen this before. Audiences are hungry for good stories, especially if they pack the kinds of surprises this does. Our director has a unique point of view and he’s created a visually stunning movie. Blake Lively gives the performance of her lifetime. I hope audiences watch this movie and, say, ‘God, that’s a really good movie.’”

A large part of the film’s unique point of view is in its nuanced portrayal of love in all its forms, says Lively. “There are different kinds of love stories within the movie,” she continues. “There’s the modern and apparent male-female story. There’s a more complex love story that rests in Adaline’s past and is brought to life again in her present. There’s also a deeply touching story of love between mother and daughter. Adaline’s life of love is such a beautiful journey.”

Although the film visits many time periods, the story is squarely focused in the present. “It’s not a procedural where in the ’20s, this happened and in the ’30s that happened and so on,” says Lucchesi. “It’s a big-idea movie about what it might feel like not to age. Adaline is at an ideal age for her entire life. You would think that that would be the greatest thing in the world—to look the best you will ever look, to be intelligent and fully formed and never age a day. But as Adaline sees her own child mature and grow older, she begins to wish she could have taken that journey as well.”

Lively says the film is unlike any she’s ever seen in its exploration of that idea. “It’s about love and loss and what they mean if you were able to live forever,” adds Lively. “Is that a gift or is it a curse? I walked away from Adaline’s story thinking that life happens exactly the way it’s supposed to. To live life surrounded by the people you love, to come and go with them, that feels like the perfect order to me.”

“The Age of Adaline” opens May 20 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.

MIRANDA HART: BRIT’S CROWNED QUEEN OF COMEDY TOPS UP LAUGHS AND ACTION IN “SPY”

Miranda Hart, British Comedy Awards’ crowned Queen of Comedy plays along with Hollywood A-listers Jason Statham, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Allison Janney and Melissa McCarthy in the action comedy “Spy.”

Hart plays Nancy, best friend to Melissa McCarthy’s Susan Cooper, a desk-bound CIA analyst, the brains behind her suave colleague, super spy, Bradley Fine (Law), who is out in the field, engaged in dangerous assignments. When Fine suddenly vanishes, Cooper goes undercover herself.  Dressed in various disguises to ensure her anonymity, Agent Cooper quickly proves herself adept at the job, despite formidable challenges.

But Bradley’s attempt to walk a ‘Fine line’ with Susan doesn’t sit well with her best friend and colleague Nancy. Deeply protective, she blames him for stifling Susan’s career advancement and toying with her emotions.   “Nancy is an earpiece girl, like Susan,” Hart says. “She’s tacky, geeky, great at her job, but socially quite rubbish. She and Susan are two fish out of water, in the same empty fishbowl. They have a ‘womance,’ you might say.”

Director Paul Feig tailored the part of Nancy specifically for Hart, whom he has admired for years. “I’ve tried to get her in other projects, and it never panned out, so it’s enormously satisfying to finally work with her.”

Topping notes that Feig celebrates unconventional women and Hart fits that bill – if the bill can accommodate her 6’1” stature. Skilled at using her lanky frame and gait to great comedic effect, the British star of her self-titled UK sitcom also appears as ‘Chummy’ in the hit BBC series, “Call the Midwife,” set in the 1950s.

When it appears Susan has breeched the parameters of her mission, Nancy is dispatched by her boss, Elaine Crocker (Janney), to find out what the novice spy is up to. She quickly discovers her BFF has gone full-on rogue.  “As a solid ‘rules & regs’ kind of gal, Nancy is both appalled and awed by Susan’s defiance of Elaine’s  ‘observe and report only’ directive,” explains Hart. “Nancy is terrified of the world and begins screwing things up for Susan.  She makes everything a complete muddle, which is where a lot of the high comedy happens.”

Miranda Hart explains one of her favourite scenes in the movie, “Nancy needs to distract eyes away from the dance floor, so she rushes the stage and tackles 50 Cent. Just plows him over.”  Miranda Hart said she appreciated spending two days sprawled all over the “handsome and muscular Mr. Cent.”  The numerous bruises on her body afterward attest to the zeal with which Miranda performed the scene. “I mounted him rather aggressively after the tackle, which caused the security guards to manhandle me. We lay on each other for hours of shooting, which made for a somewhat awkward hello the next day.”

50 Cent himself confirms that, on the first take, “Miranda hit me like a linebacker. I was prepared to sort of fake fall when she made contact, but no fakery was required. I found myself on the ground.”

Planeload of action and laughs explode when “Spy” opens in cinemas this May 21 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.