DEBOSYON (Alvin Yapan, 2013)

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Poetry on film (like a Malick) that was just too highbrow for my commercial viewer’s sensibilities.

I will not even pretend that I fully understood Debosyon’s message. I will also not pretend that I fully appreciated that viewing experience.

Its slow pacing reminded me so much of last year’s Kalayaan. Technically great, but left me emotionally detached.

I really appreciated Mara Lopez’s performance here. I missed Palitan but I now have an idea why she won in Cinema One Originals last year.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 5, 2013.)

 

MOVIE REVIEW: K’NA THE DREAMWEAVER (Ida del Mundo, 2014)

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Absolutely enchanted by Ida del Mundo’s K’na the Dreamweaver, about a T’boli princess deciding between love or peace. Simple yet effective.

Mara Lopez is slowly becoming one of my favorite actresses. Her roles are just so diverse and all of them really challenging. Bravo!

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 4, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: BUYBUST (Erik Matti, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

So in the end, the movie basically mocked the “Nanlaban” defense and yet served it as a source of entertainment where the PDEA had every reason to kill the poor because majority of them were addicts and/or drug protectors? I didn’t get this contradiction.

I love my BFF Anne, but she was terribly miscast in this role. In one scene, she shrieked “Gooooo!” like she was storming a meet and greet with Gong Yoo. She just lacked the grit (angas?) needed by her character and it was even more blatant whenever a cornrowed Mara Lopez (in the Michelle Rodriguez role) was onscreen. Siya ang totoong astig.

Commendable production values (the one take fight scene and the final rooftop shot were good), but I just couldn’t get over the neon-lit slums. Magkano kaya Meralco bill nila?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 3, 2018.)

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: CINEFILIPINO SHORT FILMS – SET B (2018)

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CINEFILIPINO 2018 – SHORTS B

.RAW (Eugine Frondoza, 2018) – ★★★☆☆

Reminded me of two things: 1) the belief that there was a certain gloom behind these perfectly-edited pre-nup videos, and 2) my undying love for Mara Lopez. I just wish it went beyond the “love the raw and unedited version of your other half” message.

*****

GABI NG KABABALAGHAN (Stephen Lopez, 2018) – ★★★★★

My easy favorite from this set. It was a well-crafted, inspired, and wicked take on Magandang Gabi Bayan’s iconic Halloween special. Those hilarious reenactments with the White Lady were just spot-on. Best end credits sequence, too. Made me excited to see what else this director had to offer.

*****

LASINGTUNADO (Miguel Fernandez, 2018) – ★☆☆☆☆

With its corny jokes and extended fight scenes, this one felt very much like an annoying, drunk next-door neighbor who went way past the allowed 10pm videoke curfew. If only it had more of that smart Bituin Escalante reference.

*****

AMUSIN PA (Raiza Masculino, 2018) – ★★☆☆☆

Spotty Southern Tagalog accents aside, this didn’t really offer anything new to the puppy love slash coming-of-age genre. At least it had the same kid in the wonderful Ang Painting ni Tatay.

*****

DUYAN NG ALON (Kaye Banaag, 2018) – ★★★★☆

I really liked this version of Cast Away imagined through the eyes of a child. It also had some really striking visuals, including a precious shadow play sequence that I could probably watch all day.

*****

ATE, KUYA, GUSTO KONG KAPE (Mark Bayani, 2018) – ★☆☆☆☆

Even an all-“star” cast that included Epy Quizon and 90’s Most Promising Actor Jao Mapa could not save this obvious headscratcher. “Sino si Ate?” Did anyone really care?

*****

SIYUDAD SA BULAWAN (Jarell Serencio, 2018) – ★★☆☆☆

There was an underlying sadness in this story of miners (and minors) working in a city of gold, but the film ended without really saying much. It looked really good, though.