BIRDSHOT (Mikhail Red, 2016)

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Gorgeously shot and delivered a strong and clear message (although why did I feel worse over seeing the massacre of animals vs the brutal human deaths?), but to quote Ate Vi in Everything About Her, “Ang bagaaaaaaaaal!!”.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 20, 2017.)

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ANG MANANANGGAL SA UNIT 23B (Prime Cruz, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Ooh, Wong Kar-wai aesthetics set to a hipster soundtrack! Most visually-pleasing (that labia majora wings reveal was awesome!) among the three Prime Cruz films, but also my least favorite.

There wasn’t enough story to latch on to that I kept wondering if the chicken oil (?) she used to rub on her burning loins was stolen from Mang Inasal. I’m all for an interspecies love story so it was unfortunate that the movie ended just when it was actually getting better.

Rating: ‪★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 20, 2017.)

PATAY NA SI HESUS (Victor Villanueva, 2016)

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It was refreshing to watch a full-length Bisaya film where the punchlines were not people being or speaking Bisaya. Plus points for having a character working as a call center agent who was actually proud of her work.

Overall, it felt rough around the edges with a lot of jokes clearly missing the mark (e.g. the entire Angelina Kanapi sub-plot). But when it didn’t really try hard for cheap laughs, it was a winner (e.g. the entire ‘what is a puke’ discussion).

Also, Chaisters 5evs! ❤️

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 17, 2017.)

PAGLIPAY (Zig Dulay, 2016)

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One of the best-looking films filled with screencap-worthy scenes. I never had problems with drone shots and they were effectively utilized here.

Inasmuch as I loved the terrific Anna Luna (and the traditional vs modern romance theme), I was more fascinated with the other aspects of the Aeta life. Hearing one character describe an 8-10 hour walk from town to town was enough to break my heart.

I really wish it had less hugots and more insights.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 17, 2017.)

PAUWI NA (Paolo Villaluna, 2016)

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Tawa. Iyak. Tawa. Iyak. I never expected a pedicab family road trip film to bring out all of these emotions.

Where do I sign up to be a member of the Chai Fonacier Fans Club? In an ensemble of Philippine Cinema greats that delivered exceptional performances (Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano), she still stood out as my favorite character here whether she was spouting lines like “Love cannot pay the bills, only the AFAM can” or complaining about her stinky pepe.

Stretched quite a bit with a pretty conventional ending, but overall still worth the journey.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 16, 2017.)

 

MERCURY IS MINE (Jason Paul Laxamana, 2016)

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An enjoyably weird ride that unfortunately went off the rails in its final twenty minutes.

I loved the screenplay because it didn’t try too hard to be funny. It also hit the jackpot with Pokwang who was truly phenomenal here.

Bret Jackson finally gave a decent performance. He had an easygoing charm that suited the role and (please don’t scoff) actually reminded me of a manic Leonardo DiCaprio.

Overall, this was a definite crowd-pleaser and I wouldn’t be surprised if it snagged the Audience Choice award.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 9, 2016.)

ANG BAGONG PAMILYA NI PONCHING (Inna Salazar Acuña, Dos Ocampo, 2016)

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It only worked because of the wonderful (and woefully underrated) Janus del Prado. I liked the sweet little moments with Lola Ludivina, but the rest of the (family) cast, especially Tita Arianna, were just terrible.

For such a rich family, they didn’t have a lot to do except lounge around in their sala or kitchen, no? Too gullible pa.

At least it made me crave for the natural oiliness of Ludy’s Peanut Butter. Is it still available in supermarkets?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 7, 2016.)

PAMILYA ORDINARYO (Eduardo Roy, Jr., 2016)

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Gritty, filthy, and riveting. It needed a bit of trimming, but had solid performances from the entire ensemble.

Loved the deafening silence of the CCTV shots that always served as a witness to an ongoing crime.

Hasmine Killip was a revelation. Ang bigat sa dibdib (pun intended) ng eksena sa police station. Grabe lang.

Was the cardboard sex scene a nod to Kuya Coco Martin’s dirty copulation scene in Serbis?

“Hindi porket bakla mabuting tao.” Best line in the film. And probably in this year’s festival.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 7, 2016.)