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Zac Efron Delivers Winning Musical Performance in “The Greatest Showman”

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Nurturing an impressive body of work that encompasses both film and television, Zac Efron has proven to be one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents. Efron became a household name with the launch of the 2006 Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel phenomenon “High School Musical” as Troy Bolton. He reprised his role as Troy Bolton, head of the basketball team, in “High School Musical 2,” which broke cable TV records garnering 17.5 million viewers. Zac also starred in the Disney feature film “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” the third installment of the extremely successful High School Musical franchise. HSM3 set a box office record as the highest grossing opening weekend total for a musical. He also starred in the box-office smash summer film “Hairspray,” which won the Critics’ Choice award for Best Ensemble.

Continuing his box-office breaking records with musicals, Efron gives an all-out different kind of performance in his latest movie “The Greatest Showman” with Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Keala Settle and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II directed by Michael Gracey who makes his feature film debut.

Hugh Jackman stars as the visionary innovator, P.T. Barnum, who invented show business in “The Greatest Showman.” Raised in a poor family, and through the sheer scope of his imagination and tenacity, Barnum sets about achieving the impossible, launching his groundbreaking circus and in the process, transforming entertainment. Efron takes on the role of Phillip Carlyle, an upper-class New York thespian and entrepreneur, the kind of person who looks down on Barnum’s circus until he’s asked to work with the charismatic impresario.

Though much of The Greatest Showman is drawn from the outlines of P.T. Barnum’s life, the fictional characters of Efron and Zendaya bring in fresh points of view. Carlyle also intrigued him. “Phillip Carlyle is someone who has grown up very privileged, but he’s not happy where he’s at and he feels very sort of caged in and jaded,” Efron explains. “Then he meets Barnum and he sees that P.T. just doesn’t care what people think. It’s liberating for Phillip and the beginning of a great friendship.”

For Efron, Carlyle’s first experience in Barnum’s circus is one of a man having the haze lifted from his eyes. It becomes more than an epiphany when his eyes meet those of aerialist Anne Wheeler (Zendaya). The character gave Efron the chance to get caught up in the kind of cinematic moment that most inspires him. “Falling in love in a musical number on camera is one of my absolute favorite things to do in the world,” he confesses. “I’m not ashamed to say it. I know it’s pretend but when you get to live in that kind of moment for a scene or two, it feels amazing. It brings you back to Gene Kelly and Singin’ In The Rain. Are there any better ways to express true love than in song?”

The love story between Phillip and Anne also involves a 3rd party – Anne’s brother and aerial partner, W.D. Wheeler, portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who plays villain in the forthcoming “Aquaman” and star of Netflix’s “The Get Down.” Says Efron: “Although Phillip’s feelings for Anne are completely real and justified, they’re also forbidden by society at that time and it’s really sad. That was a very different time — though even today, social boundaries and differences go on preventing love and preventing people from uniting with one another. The big breakthrough for Phillip, I think, is that moment he realizes that you don’t have to live within the constraints that everyone else has drawn. You don’t have to follow rules that are wrong. You don’t have to color inside the lines. You can be your own person.”

“The Greatest Showman” opens January 31 (also available in IMAX screens) in theaters nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

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“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” Is a Must-See Film Before This Year’s Academy Awards – Now in Select Cinemas in Philippines

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A last stand erupts in director Martin McDonagh’s trip into small town America in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” as a mother is pushed to the edge by her daughter’s unsolved murder.  The film is the third from Martin McDonagh, the Irish playwright, screenwriter and director known for the hit thriller “In Bruges,” with its Oscar® nominated and BAFTA winning Screenplay, and the crime comedy “Seven Psychopaths.”

At the core of the movie is Mildred’s conflict with Ebbing’s Chief of Police.  “The story is a war between two people who are both to some degree in the right,” McDonagh notes, “and that’s where so much of the tension and drama arises.”  Those tensions become the exploration for what happens when rage can’t be calmed.  As the tension mounts, the film delves into themes of division, anger and moral reckoning.

Playing Mildred Hayes, who sets the events of THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI in motion, is Frances McDormand.  McDormand made her film debut in the Coen Brothers’ noir classic BLOOD SIMPLE and has gone on to a career that includes garnering the Triple Crown of Tony, Emmy and Oscar® awards.  With the character, McDormand explored a tradition long reserved for men:  the lone hero who defiantly stands off against a town.

McDormand made the force of Mildred’s grief central to her performance.  “Mildred is really not a hero,” McDormand points out.  “She’s a much more complicated person than that.  She’s been left by grief in a no man’s land, in a place of no return.  One of the things I latched onto as I was thinking about Mildred is that there is no word in most languages for the position she is in. If you lose a husband, you’re a widow; if you lose a parent, you’re an orphan.  But there is no word for a parent who has lost a child because it’s just not supposed to happen biologically.  It’s something beyond the capacity of language – and that’s where Mildred has been left, so she goes for broke.”

For McDonagh, the trajectory towards a scrap of light, however slim and hazy, was inevitable because that is what keeps him going.  “I think there’s something quite hopeful about the film in Mildred’s single-mindedness and also in Willoughby’s decency,” the writer-director concludes.  “The way Frances plays Mildred you are stirred, despite the dark, dark place she is coming from and all the unhicertainty that surrounds her war. I hope audiences will be moved and amused and maybe angry at times.  Mostly, I hope they’ll feel they were just told a rich and somewhat unexpected type of story.”

A 20th Century  Fox film, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is now showing in the following cinemas:  Century City, Commerce, Eastwood, Festival Mall, Fisher Mall, For a, Gateway, Shangri-La Mall, Vista Bataan, Vista Daang Hari, Vista Las Piñas, Vista Pampanga and Vista Sta. Rosa.

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Doug Jones Takes on the Shape of Sexy Male Amphibian in Award-Winning “The Shape of Water”

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Doug Jones has made a career out of playing monsters, ghouls and creatures of myth. The former contortionist is a legend in sci-fi, fantasy and horror circles for his unique ability to morph into roles as diverse as the Thin Clown in “Batman Returns,” Joey in “Men in Black 2” and the Silver Surfer in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” He recently played a series regular on “Star Trek: Discovery,” as the alien being Lt. Saru.

He’s best known for his collaborations with Guillermo del Toro, which started in 1997 with “Mimic,” and continued with roles in “Hellboy” and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” as Abe Sapien; “Pan’s Labyrinth,” as The Faun and The Pale Man; and most recently “The Strain” and “Crimson Peak.”

But their latest work together on “The Shape of Water” might be definitive. Jones’ amphibian creature is both the love interest and one of the principal leads of del Toro’s film, and it requires every tool in Jones’ arsenal to realise.   Set in the height of the Cold War and during the space race, “The Shape of Water” brings its audience into a mysterious government facility in Baltimore where, in the deepest recesses of the lab, an amphibious creature (Jones) is being studied for its unusual abilities. As Strickland (Michael Shannon), in charge of security, demands for it to be killed and autopsied, Dr. Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) insists that the creature’s secrets can only be revealed with a lighter touch.

But it’s the facility’s quietest employee who realises the truest connection to the creature. Mute cleaner Elisa (Sally Hawkins) feels a strange affinity with this mysterious visitor from the deep. And as the men in charge prevaricate, she resolves to release the creature from its captors, with the aid of her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and her next door neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins).  Doug Jones, in the following short q&a expounds on creating a sexy fish man, and the fruitful journey he’s had with del Toro.

Q: Guillermo is also always incredible sympathetic to “monsters” in his films: he wants to show their good side.

A: Oh gosh, yes. He’s the most quotable man in the world, as you know. He’s always said, “There will always be a monster on my call sheet.” 11 times now that has been me. Yet he’s a brilliant visionary at the same time. He’s very grown up, but he’s never lost the child. That’s why you’ll see lots of child characters in his stories. Even in this story, in THE SHAPE OF WATER, the role of Elisa is very childlike. Sally Hawkins is channelling this beautiful childlike character that does have a very vulnerable side. He taps into that, a familiar place in all of us, with every character that he creates. He really does.

Q: Where does the physicality come from?

A: First of all, you look at the ecology, the ecosystem, you’ve got human and you’ve got fish. You have to combine the two somehow. This fish man is a bit more masculine, he’s more athletic even, I think. He’s more of a threat than other fish men I’ve played before. Especially with Strickland, he and I have a tete-a-tete a couple times where taunts me and I strike back.   They’ve taken me out of my habitat. I’m scared, and so I’m reacting like a caged tiger. It takes Sally’s character to tame me, we’re both wounded souls in some way.

Q: How do you feel the allegory of the story reflects the world we’re living in?

A: Another thing that Guillermo does love to do, he loves to buck authority when authority doesn’t know what it’s doing. That’s another theme you’ll see in a lot of his movies. In this case, we have the US government trying to beat the Russians to space, or whatever, whatever that era was doing. Again, he loves the underdog. I think that comes from a place in him, where so many of us and so many of his fans and the lovers of his work are underdogs in our own life.

 “The Shape of Water” opens February 21 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox.

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Bruce Willis Takes Crime Fighting to the Extreme in “Death Wish”

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Action icon Bruce Willis becomes mortal grim reaper in “Death Wish” as character’s his life is shattered when his wife was killed and left his daughter in a coma during a robbery attempt in their home.

In “Death Wish”, Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) has it all: A beautiful family, a lovely home and an exciting and meaningful career as a surgeon in the emergency room of a bustling hospital. But when Kersey’s wife Lucy (Elisabeth Shue) is killed during a robbery attempt at their home and his daughter Jordan (Camila Morrone) is left in a coma after fighting back against the three attackers, he enters a world he never planned for. Emotionally shut down, Kersey leans on his brother Frank (Vincent D’Onofrio) for help, and on Detectives Raines and Jackson (Dean Norris and Kimberly Elise) for any updates on the arrests of the men who did this to his family.

As the police show Kersey a wall of unsolved cases and become resigned to the fact that his case will also go unsolved, something clicks in Kersey, a man who, as his brother Frank reminds him, used to be known for fighting back in the tough neighborhood they grew up in. Walking into a local gun shop, Kersey decides to arm himself. But his role in the world is saving lives, not taking them. No matter who is wheeled into his emergency room, to Kersey, they’re all patients in need of attention. How could he seek justice on such harsh terms? Yet as Kersey ventures into the night, he finds innocent people being preyed upon. When he foils a violent carjacking and a bystander’s cellphone footage of it goes viral, the media gives this unknown guardian angel a dark nickname: “The Grim Reaper.” As Paul Kersey gets closer to Knox (Beau Knapp) – the criminal who killed his wife – the city, unaware of this mysterious justiceseeker’s motives, wonders how it will end.

Updated from the original novel by Brian Garfield, director Eli Roth and screenwriter Joe Carnahan’s (The Grey, Narc) Death Wish also stars Vincent D’Onofrio (The Magnificent Seven, TV’s Daredevil and Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas), Camila Morrone, Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and Kimberly Elise (The Great Debaters). It’s a knife’s-edge portrayal that challenges our assumptions, and pushes our buttons.

By bringing the complex psychology of Brian Garfield’s book up-to-the-moment and injecting new thrills and a stark, unflinching look at the American psyche in 2018, Eli Roth and Death Wish bring audiences to the height of unforgettable suspense.

“Before I had kids, [being a father] wasn’t a part of these action films I do,” says Willis. “Now, it’s a major component. This film really makes you think about how far you will go to protect your family. After his own family is brutalized, Paul Kersey has zero tolerance for any bad guy to harm another innocent person. And we show the audience the underlying reasons why he does what he does.”

A full non-stop action thriller, “Death Wish” opens March 1 in cinemas nationwide from OctoArts Films International.

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Happy Lunar New Year! Wag Hello to the Year of the Dog

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Image source: www.blog.google

Today marks Lunar New Year. Across the world, people are celebrating the end of the year of the Rooster and the start of the Year of the Dog.

Whether you’re enjoying tteokguk with family or handing out red envelopes for good luck, there are many ways to celebrate the holiday. According to Google Trends, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries searching the most for “red envelopes.” Meanwhile, top searched foods are nian gao, dumplings, pineapple tart, rice cake and peanut cookies.

Since we’re dog people here at Google, we sniffed out a few non-traditional ways to celebrate. Howl you be spending the Lunar New Year?

Try your paw at drawing
In the last year, people have drawn more than 3 million doodles of dogs in Quick, Draw!—a fun game that uses neural networks to try to recognize your drawings. In honor of Lunar New Year, our team snuck in a special version of Quick, Draw! with Dog Face on Google -related items. Put your doodling skills to the test.

If you’re more of a data breed, you can check out the pawsome dog doodles from around the world in a special Lunar New Year version of Facets Dive, a tool that visualizes large sets of data (in this case ruff-ly 140,000 dogs that people have drawn in Quick, Draw!).

The dogs of Street View
Lunar Year of the Dog means dogs are everywhere–including on Google Street View! We’ve had a lot of fun finding furry friends all around, from this one strolling through New York’s Central Park to this Dog Face on Google hanging out in a small alley in San Sebastian, to our friend here enjoying the Coastal Walk in Sydney. Scroll through our favorites below, or find dogs on Street View in your own neighborhood.

Photos of your pup
In Google Photos, you can create a movie of the dog in your life—select “Doggie Movie” among the movie themes and Google Photos will stitch together photos of the dog. Photos also lets you search for your dog using a dog emoji.

All dogs go to the Games
We couldn’t let the moment pass without a Doodle (or two!). This cheerful pup on our homepage in many countries around the world isn’t just welcoming the New Year—it’s also celebrating the Doodle Snow Games!

In places not tuning into the Doodle Snow Games, you might see a different Doodle—also featured at the top of this post.

No matter how you celebrate or what language you say it in, happy Lunar New Year!

www.blog.google

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