THE BEST OF PINOY CINEMA 2019

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1. RICKY DAVAO (F#*@bois)
2. SOLIMAN CRUZ (Iska)
3. VANCE LARENA (Dead Kids)
4. JC SANTOS (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
5. JOEM BASCON (Write About Love)
6. JOHN ARCILLA (Miracle in Cell No. 7)

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1. TUESDAY VARGAS (LSS)
2. ANNA LUNA (Tayo sa Huling Buwan ng Taon)
3. JACLYN JOSE (Circa)
4. IANA BERNARDEZ (Metamorphosis)
5. ELORA ESPAÑO (Kalel, 15)
6. MERYLL SORIANO (Culion)

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1. ELIJAH CANLAS (Kalel, 15)
2. LOUISE ABUEL (Edward)
3. JANSEN MAGPUSAO (John Denver Trending)
4. CARLO AQUINO (Isa Pa, With Feelings)
5. GIO GAHOL (Sila Sila)
6. ROCCO NACINO (Write About Love)

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1. RUBY RUIZ (Iska)
2. MERYLL SORIANO (John Denver Trending)
3. JUDY ANN SANTOS (Mindanao)
4. ANGIE FERRO (Lola Igna)
5. SARAH GERONIMO (Unforgettable)
6. LIZA SOBERANO (Alone/Together)

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1. HEIST SCHOOL (Julius Renomeron, Jr.)
2. ANG GASGAS NA PLAKA NI LOLO BERT (Janina Gacosta, Cheska Marfori)
3. SA AMONG AGWAT (Don Senoc)
4. THE SLUMS (Jan Andrei Cobey)

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Written by: JUN LANA, KEAVY EUNICE VICENTE, ASH MALANUM
Directed by: JUN LANA, PERCI INTALAN

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Written by: CRISANTO AQUINO, JANYX REGALO
Directed by: CRISANTO AQUINO

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Written by: JADE CASTRO, SIEGE LEDESMA
Directed by: JADE CASTRO

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Written by: WANGGO GALLAGA, KOOKAI LABAYEN, DWEIN BALTAZAR
Directed by: ANDOY RANAY

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Written and directed by: ADOLF ALIX, JR.

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Written by: JEN CHUAUNSU, KOOKAI LABAYEN
Directed by: PRIME CRUZ

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Written by: THOP NAZARENO, JOHN PAUL BEDIA
Directed by: THOP NAZARENO

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Written and directed by: JUN LANA

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Written and directed by: ARDEN ROD CONDEZ

MABUHAY ANG PELIKULANG PILIPINO!!

 

METRO MANILA FILM FESTIVAL 2019 SCORECARD

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Best Feature-Length Film

1. WRITE ABOUT LOVE (Crisanto Aquino) – ★★★★☆
2. MINDANAO (Brillante Mendoza) – ★★★☆☆
3. MIRACLE IN CELL NO. 7 (Nuel Naval) – ★★★☆☆
4. SUNOD (Carlo Ledesma) – ★★☆☆☆
5. CULION (Alvin Yapan) – ★★☆☆☆
6. MISSION UNSTAPABOL: THE DON IDENTITY (Michael Tuviera) – ★★☆☆☆
7. THE MALL, THE MERRIER (Barry Gonzalez) – ★☆☆☆☆
8. 3POL TROBOL: HULI KA BALBON! (Rodel Nacianceno) – ★☆☆☆☆

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. ROCCO NACINO (Write About Love)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. JUDY ANN SANTOS (Mindanao)
2. MILES OCAMPO (Write About Love)
3. CARMINA VILLARROEL (Sunod)
4. IZA CALZADO (Culion)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. JC SANTOS (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
2. JOEM BASCON (Write About Love)
3. JOHN ARCILLA (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
4. ALLEN DIZON (Mindanao)
5. JOJIT LORENZO (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
6. JOEL TORRE (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
7. MON CONFIADO (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
8. SOLIMAN CRUZ (Miracle in Cell No. 7)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. MERYLL SORIANO (Culion)
2. KRYSTAL BRIMNER (Sunod)
3. YUNA TANGOG (Mindanao)
4. JASMINE CURTIS-SMITH (Culion)

Until next year!!

CULION (Alvin Yapan, 2019)

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Very disappointing, especially since I’m a lowkey fan of Yapan’s films. Yung kahit di ko masyado maintindihan ang poeticism/lyricism/symbolism (at lahat ng -ism) sa mga pelikula niya, lutang naman ang artistry at craftsmanship. Nawawala yun dito.

Maliban sa dalawang creative choices (yung dream sequences ni Jasmine Curtis-Smith at yung goosebumps-worthy kidlat scene sa dulo), iisipin mo na si Joel Lamangan ang nag-direct nito. Daming gustong sabihin pero walang pinatunguhan. Sobrang kalat.

Sayang kasi andito ang mga acting greats ng Pinoy cinema (Jasmine, Iza Calzado, and Meryll Streep-Soriano). Bonus pa yung much-hyped cameo ni John Lloyd Cruz. Nagtitigan lang sila ni Meryll pero dalang-dala ako sa eksena. (Please come out of retirement!!)

Ang pakiramdam nung over two hours na runtime ng pelikula ay para kang nagbabasa ng History book. Alam mo na may sinasabing importante pero sobrang bagot. Tatlo na nga lang kami na nanuod tapos ang sarap pa ng tulog nung magkayakap na mag-jowa sa harapan ko.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2019 Scorecard

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Best Feature Length Film

1. CIRCA (Adolf Alix, Jr.) – ★★★★☆
2. OPEN (Andoy Ranay) – ★★★★☆
3. LSS (Jade Castro) – ★★★★☆

4. LOLA IGNA (Eduardo Roy, Jr.) – ★★★☆☆

5. THE PANTI SISTERS (Jun Lana) – ★★☆☆☆
6. CUDDLE WEATHER (Rod Marmol) – ★★☆☆☆
7. WATCH ME KILL (Tyrone Acierto) – ★★☆☆☆
8. G! (Dondon Santos) – ★★☆☆☆
9. I’m Ellenya L. (Boy 2 Quizon) – ★☆☆☆☆

Not seen:
Pagbalik
Verdict

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. CHRISTIAN BABLES (The Panti Sisters)
2. JC SANTOS (Open)
3. PAOLO BALLESTEROS (The Panti Sisters)
4. KHALIL RAMOS (LSS)
5. MARTIN DEL ROSARIO (The Panti Sisters)
6. RK BAGATSING (Cuddle Weather)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. ANGIE FERRO (Lola Igna)
2. SUE RAMIREZ (Cuddle Weather)
3. ANITA LINDA (Circa)
4. ARCI MUÑOZ (Open)
5. JEAN GARCIA (Watch Me Kill)
6. GABBI GARCIA (LSS)
7. MARIS RACAL (I’m Ellenya L.)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. JOHN ARCILLA (The Panti Sisters)
2. ELIJAH CANLAS (LSS)
3. ENCHONG DEE (Circa)
4. VANCE LARENA (Open)
5. RICKY DAVAO (Circa)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. TUESDAY VARGAS (LSS)
2. JACLYN JOSE (Circa)
3. MA. ISABEL LOPEZ (Lola Igna)
4. MERYLL SORIANO (Lola Igna)
5. INA RAYMUNDO (Open)
6. IANA BERNARDEZ (LSS)
7. GINA ALAJAR (Circa)
8. ELIZABETH OROPESA (Circa)
9. VIA ANTONIO (The Panti Sisters)
10. ROXANNE BARCELO (The Panti Sisters)

Until next year!!

LOLA IGNA (Eduardo Roy, Jr., 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Lumaki ako sa lola kaya sanay na sanay ako makita siya nakaupo sa arinola. Nung bata pa ako, di ko talaga alam kung ano ang gamit niya bilang hindi naman ako nakaupo pag umiihi. Kaya nung isang beses na sumakit ang tiyan ko around midnight at sa takot na pumunta sa banyo, may surprise na naghihintay sa lola ko pagbukas niya ng takip nung umaga.

Marami akong magagandang memories with my lola kaya hindi ako nahirapang magustuhan ang pelikulang ito na tungkol sa isang lola (malamang si Lola Igna diba, a spectacular Angie Ferro) na mag-celebrate ng kanyang ika-118 na birthday at tinutulungang makapasok sa parang Guinness Book of World Records (may prize na almost $50k for every year kaya halos $6M ang makukuha niya; may ganito ba talaga? Iinom na ako ng Ensure every day kung totoo ‘to).

May theory ako na kaya siya umabot ng ganun katanda kasi sanay ang katawan niya sa germs kaya malakas resistensya niya. May part sa simula na ipinakita ang isang nilalangaw na toilet bowl sa labas ng bahay tapos sa sunod na eksena eh breakfast table na at punung-puno ng langaw ang kanin at ulam niya. Same langaw ba sila galing sa labas? Ayaw kong isipin parang magkakasakit ako.

(Also, sobrang ganda ng scene na yan kasi nag-tagay siya ng tuba para sa yumao niyang asawa. Yup, first ten minutes pa lang umiiyak na agad ako.)

Maganda ang first half ng movie with the right balance of comedy and drama. Lakas ng tawa ko dun sa itinapon na wiwi tapos may kurot naman sa puso nung sinabi niya na ang gusto niya mangyari sa buhay niya na hindi pa niya nagagawa eh yung mamatay na siya. Tapos sobrang infectious ng bungi-bunging smile ni Ms. Angie sa eksena na ‘to grabe ang galing niya talaga. (At syempre kabogera as always ang aking favorite na si THE Ma. Isabel Lopez as an atribidang anak slash opportunist, este, entrepreneur pala.)

Medyo nabagalan na ako nung second half lalo na at medyo conventional na ang pinuntahan ng story nung kay Yves Flores. Napaisip pa ako kung intentional yung kabaong reference sa Magnifico kasi medyo similar din ang naging twist.

Si Meryll Soriano pumasok nung bandang dulo tapos may isang scene lang na sinusuklayan niya lola niya tapos ang husay ng bawat patak ng luha. At natawa ako kasi obviously maganda siyang buntis dahil babae ang naging anak niya (bilang nasabihan ni Lola Igna yung isa niyang kapitbahay na lalaki ang ipinagbubuntis nito kasi ang chaka niya haha!).

“Ang dami ko nang libing at burol na di na dapat pinuntahan. Ako ang laging iniiwan. Ako ang laging nagluluksa.” Ang sakit naman nito. Wait, mukhang may second thoughts ako dun sa Ensure ah.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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.)

 

JOHN DENVER TRENDING (Arden Rod Condez, 2019)

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NOON: Nag-post ng suicide prevention hotline at nandiyan daw para dumamay sa mga kaibigan na depressed at kelangan ng kausap.

NOON: Woke feminist na galit kapag may nasasabing masama sa kababaihan.

NOON: Galit na galit sa batang nanuntok ng kaklase. Masama raw ang bullying. Hindi dapat nananakit ng kapwa lalo na ang mga walang kalaban-laban.

NGAYON: Naglabas ng isang 1,000-word essay sa Facebook at pa-witty tweets sa Twitter kung paano maging isang busilak na tao at gumamit ng inane at poorly-worded language tulad ng “slut”, “ahas”, at “ang kapal ng mukha at pekpek mo gurl ikaw na ang nang-agaw ikaw pa ang nagmamaganda pakamatay ka na boba!”.

We (oo, lahat tayo guilty dito) are a nation of hypocrites.

(At dahil ang post na ito ay prime example ng toxic call-out culture, does that make it meta or just ironic?)

Rating: ★★★★★

HONOR THY FATHER (Erik Matti, 2015)

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My notes on Honor Thy Father:

1. Two of the best films I’ve seen this year started with a scene involving a stray dog and both ended with a tragedy. These canine metaphors (dog-eat-dog world? Oppression? Survival? Resiliency?) completely served their purpose and were the perfect jumping-off points for these gritty and brutal portraits of evil within our society.

2. I’m not a fan of networking and this made me think thrice on risking any investments involving fast money. For my friends that did get rich through this scheme though, it’s never too late to send me a Christmas basket.

3. I liked how the little girl cast as John Lloyd Cruz’s daughter looked so much like him (eyebags and all). Proper casting doesn’t really seem to be top priority in the local industry where movies and stories are created for and to suit actors so I’m happy to see her in this role. I just wish she did much better in some of the heavy scenes.

4. In a film where every scene was excellently shot, my favorite was the savage skewering of religious fanaticism in the House of Yeshua sequence. Tirso Cruz III was just amazing, fully inhabiting the role of a pastor preaching to his choir. His magnetic presence was so strong that I actually understood why his flock was drawn to his charisma. For almost converting me into his religion, give this man his due please (MMFF jury, this is your warning, er, reminder).

5. That brilliantly-staged looting scene was organized chaos. It crushed my heart knowing that good people could really do these terrible acts out of sheer desperation.

6. Picture-perfect moments. Every single frame was just amazing. Recalling that cemetery scene still gives me goosebumps. Bravo, just bravo!

7. John Lloyd Cruz is the best working actor in Philippine Cinema now (any violent reactions?) I couldn’t select just one scene where he conveyed a multitude of emotions just with his eyes. It’s no blasphemy that he be compared to the great Nora Aunor. Yes, he has reached that level of acting.

8. The head-shaving scene was played for drama in the trailer but it was not milked for tears in the actual film. That kind of restraint made me love this film even more. It could have been an easy play on the heartstrings but it still stung without even trying. And John Lloyd’s entire aria about the evils of man and how one should learn to fight back gave me chills.

9. People will be surprised with Meryll Soriano’s performance here but she has always been consistently excellent in previous indie movies (Donor, Rotonda, Room Boy). I have some of these on DVD if you want to see more of her greatness.

10. That final scene with the haunting song playing in the background is the reason why we should never give up on Philippine Cinema. Our local filmmakers can produce world-class quality films. All they need is your support. Run to the nearest theater and watch this now. NOW!

Rating: ★★★★★