Where the little details of small town life mattered a lot (effects of people coming and going, pros and cons of the bayanihan concept, limited supply of electricity and lack of network signal, barrio problems that consisted of petty brawls in a pasayaw, etc.).

The strong ensemble cast made me feel that I had known these characters my entire life. My favorites were the dependable Nanding Josef (who had a heartbreaking carabao English scene) and Joel Saracho (one of the hardest working character actors in these last two local festivals).

I had concerns with the pacing that might have intentionally mirrored the slow town life. One storm scene that involved a bangka also had awful special effects. At least the scenes with waves crashing on those rock formations looked really gorgeous.

Side note: Did we not learn anything from that Bagani brownface brouhaha?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 15, 2018.)


MOVIE REVIEW: I AMERICA (Ivan Andrew Payawal, 2016)


Like The Comeback, this one just couldn’t decide on the right tone. Except for the funny opening audition, the rest just strained for laughs and tears. Carabao English just doesn’t cut it anymore.

So Olongapo is a place where crushed dreams get brushed off and serious problems just magically disappear. Great.

I also couldn’t understand the choice of the shaky cam. The last fifteen minutes were really brutal to the eyes.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 6, 2016.)