A Big Congrats to “La La Land” for Winning People’s Choice Award at TIFF 

Damien Chazelle’s brilliant musical “La La Land” starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (she recently won Best Actress at Venice International Film Festival) took home the People’s Choice Award making it the one to beat this award season! Since 2008 (except for 2011’s “Where Do We Go Now?”), every single People’s Choice Award Winner has been nominated for Best Picture Oscar with films like “Room,” “The Imitation Game,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Precious.” Some even won Best Picture like “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech,” and “12 Years a Slave.” But don’t go betting on the film yet. There were some movies that dominated TIFF but was ignored by the Academy such as the aforementioned “Where Do We Go Now?,” “Bella,” “Eastern Promises,” “Zatoichi,” and “The Hanging Garden.”

We shall see if “La La Land” will score big with Academy voters. For now, here’s the complete list of TIFF 2016 winners:

People’s Choice Award: “La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
People’s Choice Award For Documentary: “I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck
People’s Choice Award For Midnight Madness: “Free Fire,” Ben Wheatley
Platform Prize: “Jackie,” Pablo Larrian
Platform Prize, Special Mention: “Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait,” Khyentse Norbu
Best Canadian Feature Film: “Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves,” Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie
Best Canadian First Feature Film: “Old Stone,” Johnny Ma
Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations Section: “I Am Not Madame Bovary,” Feng Xiaogang
Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Discovery Section: “Kati Kati,” Mbithi Masya
Dropbox Discovery Programme Filmmakers Award: “Jeffrey,” Yanillys Perez
NETPAC Award For World or International Asian Film Premiere: “In Between,” Maysaloun Hamoud
Best Short Film: “Imago,” Ribay Gutierrez
Best Canadian Short Film: “Mutants,” Alexandre Dostie

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“Sully” Continues to Soar, Beats “Bridget Jones,” “Blair Witch,” “Snowden” 

It was a horrible weekend at the box-office. According to Deadline, at $89M, the weekend of 9/16-18 was the worst this year. Prior to that, the weekend of 2/5-7 was the lowest with $95M.

But, Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks made Warner Bros. happy with “Sully” dominating the competition with $22 million. So far, the biopic has made $70.5M at the box-office.

Lionsgate’s “Blair Witch” on the other hand, failed miserably. Projected to make between $15-$20M this weekend, the threequel managed to eke out a mere $9.7M at the box-office landing at Number 2. And with a horrible CinemaScore of D+, we can say the film is dead on arrival. What happened? I thought the movie, which was over-buzzed beginning with its secret Comic-Con screening and ending at the Toronto International Film Festival, was good enough, certainly better than the sequel “The Book of Shadows.” But alas, audiences seemed to not care.

Also underperforming was “Bridget Jones’ Baby” at Number 3 with $8.2M. I thought the movie was funny and buoyant with Renee Zellweger front and center. But don’t cry for Zellweger and company, the threequel made almost $30M at the international box-office. With a budget of $35M, Universal will be able to recoup its investment in no time.

Don’t cry for Oliver Stone and “Snowden” either according to its studio Open Road Films. Debuting at Number 4 with $8M (projected to make $10M), the biopic starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley received a high CinemaScore grade of A so it has legs leading up to the award season.

Here’s the Top 10 box-office films in North America for weekend of 9/16-18:

1. Sully - $22 million
2. Blair Witch - $9.7 million
3. Bridget Jones’s Baby - $8.2 million
4. Snowden - $8 million
5. Don’t Breathe - $5.6 million
6. When the Bough Breaks - $5.5 million
7. Suicide Squad - $4.7 million
8. The Wild Life - $2.7 million
9. Kubo and the Two Strings - $2.5 million
10. Pete’s Dragon - $2 million

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What I think of "Snowden" 

Oliver Stone returns with the biographical political thriller “Snowden.” Featuring a stellar cast headed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the title role, the film asks the question – is Snowden a hero or a traitor? Take a look at my movie review of “Snowden.”

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Raw: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Interview for “Snowden” 

I fell in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt! You can see the passion coming out of his pores! He’s passionate to make not only good movies but films that have something to say! And Gordon-Levitt has a lot to say about Snowden the man, and why he thinks the movie is important! Check out my interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for “Snowden.”

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Raw: Director Oliver Stone Talks About “Snowden” 

It was truly an honor interviewing Oliver Stone! It was my first time to talk to the director, one of the greatest American storytellers of our time. We talked about making the movie, the NSA, and what he thinks of my home country, the Philippines, where he shot two of his most iconic works, “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July.”

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