BLUE SKY’S LATEST DELIGHTFUL ANIMATION “FERDINAND” OPENS JANUARY 8
In the tradition of beloved animals from children’s classic tales comes a gentle giant with a heart of gold in “Ferdinand” – starring the voice of wrestling superstar John Cena along with Gina Rodriguez, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale and Anthony Anderson.
Directed by Carlos Saldanha, who also helmed global blockbuster animation films such as “Rio,” “Ice Age” and “Robots”, “Ferdinand” is a Blue Sky Studios feature that tells the unlikely and delightful story of a bull who prefers flowers to fighting. John Cena stars as the voice of the titular character, a peace-loving animal with no desire to battle matadors, like the rest of the herd, which makes him an outsider. At the ranch where he’s expected to train for the bullring, he meets Lupe, supposedly a calming goat, but in fact she is brash and feisty. The two become fast friends. Action-packed, funny and heartwarming, the film explores resonant themes of authenticity, courage and what home really means.
Set in Spain, “Ferdinand” relates the journey of a charming, fun-loving bull. A gentle giant, Ferdinand loves to smell the flowers and play in the fields, but has no interest in fighting. He’s different from his peers and that leads to bullying from the other bulls. When his beloved father leaves the ranch and doesn’t come back, Ferdinand embarks on a journey to find a new home where he will be accepted unconditionally. He finds a beautiful farm in the countryside and is taken in by the kind farmer and his daughter, Nina. Becoming part of a loving family, Ferdinand is free to play in the fields among the flowers.
But everything changes when Ferdinand goes to a flower festival in the local town, where people mistake the massive bull as a vicious beast. Because of his cumbersome size, he creates havoc throughout the town and gets taken away from the family he loves.
“Ferdinand” is based on the book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson. This classic has been in publication for over seventy-five years, been translated into more than sixteen languages, and is included on TIME’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time.
The book’s message of amity and acceptance is as relevant today as it was when it first came out, and serves as the perfect opportunity for parents to share this moral with even the youngest of children.
“Ferdinand” will open January 8 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
LIAM NEESON STARS IN LATEST JAMPACKED ACTION MOVIE “THE COMMUTER”
Following the worldwide success of “Unknown,” “Non-Stop” and “Run All Night,” Liam Neeson known as the man with a particular set of skills stars in the explosive thriller “The Commuter.” The movie is Neeson’s fourth collaboration with director Jaume Collet-Serra about one man‘s frantic quest to prevent disaster on a packed commuter train.
The screenplay proved irresistible to both the director and star, not just for the bravura of the action and the thrill of the suspense but for the moral conundrum the protagonist is faced with and the consequences it has on him, the passengers on the train and his family at home.
“The Commuter asks the audience, if someone asked you to do something that seems insignificant but you’re not sure of the outcome in exchange for a considerable financial reward, would you do it?” says Jaume Collet-Serra. “That‘s the philosophical choice that our central character – a man of 60 who’s just been fired, has no savings and is mortgaged to the hilt – is faced with. Is he thinking just about himself or is he going to take into consideration the possible moral consequences of what he’s asked to do? That’s the question we want the audience to ask themselves.”
For Neeson, it was also the story’s real-time narrative that gives it a thrilling momentum. “The story almost plays in real time,” says the actor. “The main character realises what he’s set in motion and sets out to identify the person that holds the key to the conspiracy. So the tension cranks up at every stop at a station as new passengers get on, and another clue is left for him. The danger gradually gets greater and greater and the film becomes this really fast-paced psychological thriller along the lines of a Hitchcock‘s Strangers on a Train or North by Northwest.”
The story centres on Michael MacCauley (Neeson), a middle manager at a faceless insurance company, who lives with his wife and son in Westchester in New York State. Like so many hard-working family men, he is facing financial breaking point, trying to make ends meet on a pay-cheque that is stretched to the rafters. His son is about to go to college and his wife doesn’t know how the family is living beyond its means.
Then one day, his situation suddenly gets so much worse: he goes to work and gets fired. That, however, is not the only thing that‘s going to spoil his evening. On the commute home at the end of the day, the passenger sitting opposite him introduces herself as Joanna and puts a proposition before him: find a passenger on board the train who doesn’t belong, in return for a handsome reward. An easy deal, you’d think. But not if you’re an ex-cop who has a strong moral sense of right and wrong. Michael eventually agrees to find the “suspect” amongst the sea of passengers, using his wit and skill to uncover their identity, but soon comes to realise that he is at the centre of a deadly conspiracy that will end in the murder of everyone on the train and he is the only person who can stop it.
“The Commuter” opens January 10 in cinemas from Pioneer Films. Trailer link
CHRIS HEMSWORTH STARS IN WAR FILM BASED ON TRUE EVENTS IN “12 STRONG”
Taking on the role of real life heroes, Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) along with Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) stars in “12 Strong” – a powerful action-packed new war drama based on the best-selling book “Horse Soldiers,” from true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.
“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghani horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.
Award-winning director Nicolai Fuglsig directed the film, which is produced by legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer (the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, “Black Hawk Down”), together with Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill (“La La Land,” “Sicario”) under their Black Label Media banner. Oscar winner Ted Tally (“The Silence of the Lambs”) and Peter Craig (“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Parts 1 & 2”) wrote the screenplay, based on the acclaimed book by best-selling author Doug Stanton.
“12 Strong” opens January 17 in cinemas from Pioneer Films. Trailer link 12 Strong trailer
GLADERS’ LAST FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL IN “MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE”
The highly kinetic and global hit YA book-to-movie series “Maze Runner” comes in full circle in the final chapter “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” where the Gladers have finally caught up in the reality of their nightmare. Reprising their roles in the concluding saga are Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen and Patricia Clarkson.
Based on the book by James Dashner and directed by Wes Ball, from the first global box-office hit film, the Gladers found themselves in the midst of a giant maze with no memory of who they were before. In the second film “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” they had achieved their goal, only to discover that the outside world contained just as many horrors. And now, in “Maze Runner: The Death Cure”, as Thomas (O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers adjust to life in the Scorch, they realise that the key to putting an end to this war they find themselves at the heart of lies in the Last City, a walled-off utopia where WCKD has its base, and where the last survivors of the deadly Flare virus keep safe.
Time has passed since the events of The Scorch Trials, during which Teresa betrayed her friends and Minho (Ki-Hong Lee) was captured by the shadowy organisation WCKD. As the “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” opens, the Gladers are orchestrating an elaborate train heist to try and rescue their friend, finally ready to fight rather than flee.
“It’s the world of WCKD,” Ball says. “The last city left standing. WCKD has built, essentially, the same maze walls around it, surrounding the city to protect this core group of people that are just trying to survive the Flare virus. They’re looking for safety, a cure, whatever.”
“When we pick up with the characters in this, it’s the first time we’re seeing any time pass in these movies,” says Dylan O’Brien. “This is really the first time you’re seeing Thomas experienced and a little more mature. He’s dead set on this goal of redemption, and taking down WCKD once and for all. He’s driven. And they’re all dialled-in.”
It’s about redemption for Teresa too, says Kaya Scodelario, during a pause in shooting. “This is her trying to redeem herself and make sense of her decisions,” she explains. “Not only to Thomas, but to herself.”
“The first movie was about leaving the house for the first time as a kid,” says Ball. “The second is like going off to college. You’re on your own but you don’t know who you are yet. And in the third movie, it’s really about coming to a more mature look at good and evil. I think, in this movie, you’re going to see, ‘Wow, maybe we don’t agree with what Teresa did, but you can see why she did it.’”
Join the Gladers in their last fight as “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” opens January 24 in Philippines cinemas nationwide from 20thCentury Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
A SPELLBINDING SPECTACLE AWAITS IN THE MOVIE MUSICAL “THE GREATEST SHOWMAN” ON JANUARY 31
Step into the most thrilling world of showbiz and how it all began in the most anticipated musical “The Greatest Showman” overflowing with a talented cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson and Keala Settle. Directed by Michael Gracey, who makes his directorial film debut in “The Greatest Showman”, the larger-than-life musical movie also features original songs from Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who composed songs from the highly-acclaimed “La La Land”).
“The Greatest Showman”, inspired by the legend and ambitions of America’s original pop-culture impresario, P.T. Barnum, is an inspirational rags-to-riches tale of a brash dreamer who rose from nothing to prove that anything you can envision is possible and that everyone, no matter how invisible, has a stupendous story worthy of a world-class spectacle.
Australian filmmaker Gracey bring to life a story that, in the larger-than-life spirit of Barnum that bursts into a boldly imagined fictional realm, one full of infectious pop tunes, glam dances and a celebration of the transformative power of showmanship, love and self-belief as Academy Award® nominee Hugh Jackman immerses audiences in the very origins of mass entertainment and mega-celebrities in the 70s … the 1870s that is.
P.T. Barnum may have lived over a century ago, but for Gracey, he was a progenitor of our times. He sees Barnum as a pioneer of today’s visionaries and entrepreneurs who’ve revolutionized social life, the Steve Jobs or Jay-Z of his day. The film is a musical reverie, an ode to dreams, not a biopic. But at its center is Barnum’s conviction that the drudgery of everyday life is something you can bust through into a realm of wonder, curiosity and the joys of being proudly different. Says Gracey: “When audiences came to experience a P.T. Barnum spectacle, they were completely transported out of the ordinary, and we try to do the same in this film in a contemporary way.”
Adds Jackman, who devoted himself for years to bring the film to the screen: “It’s not exaggerating to say that Barnum ushered in modern-day America – and especially the idea that your talent, your imagination and your ability to work hard should be the only things that determine your success. He knew how to make something out of nothing, how to turn lemons into lemonade. I’ve always loved that quality. He followed his own path, and turned any setback he had into a positive. So many things I aspire to in my life are embodied in this one character.”
The Greatest Showman also touches on another idea of these times: that of chosen families built around allowing people to express who they are without reservation. “Barnum pulled people together who the world might otherwise have ignored. And by bringing each of these people into the light he created a family who were always going to be there for each other,” concludes Gracey.
“The Greatest Showman” will open January 31 in cinemas nationwide from 20thCentury Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.