MOVIE REVIEW: BHOY INTSIK (Joel Lamangan, 2017)

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It felt very much like Lamangan got really inspired after watching Pamilya Ordinaryo that he wanted to do an alternate reality set in Digong times. In this version though, Jane was killed because of Oplan Tokhang and Ertha decided to be the mother hen of Aries.

There were so many things to hate in this movie (terrible direction, messy and predictable plot, one glaring continuity error!), but there was enough of the wonderfully natural chemistry between Raymond Francisco (who in drag had an uncanny resemblance to Dra. Vicky Belo) and Ronwaldo Martin (still potty-mouthed and in full kagat-labi mode) that made it bearable.

One gay character had a gay ol’ time inside prison because “pinipilahan sya ng mga preso”. Another one said the line, “Bakla ako pero lalaki akong kausap.” How progressive!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 14, 2017.)

MOVIE REVIEW: JOHN DENVER TRENDING (Arden Rod Condez, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on John Denver Trending:

1. Kumusta na kaya si Amalayer Girl? Nung 2012 pa pala nag-viral yung video niya ng paninigaw sa isang security guard sa LRT Santolan station. Alala ko noon na ang daming bwiset na bwiset sa kanya (kabilang na ako). Siguro kasi iniisip natin kadalasan na maarte kapag pa-English English ang isang Pinoy. O siguro kasi ang feeling natin sa kanya eh mababa ang tingin niya sa mga blue-collar workers. O kaya kasi mahilig lang tayo mang-down ng ibang tao to make us feel better about ourselves. Yung lagi tayong tama, mabuti at busilak ang kalooban at yung mga nasa viral videos na yan eh deserve ang bullying kasi masasama ang ugali.

Napakadali para sa atin mag-judge ng iba habang nakatago sa harap ng mga computer at phone screens. Attack agad lahat ng keyboard warriors (aka toxic kuyog culture) kahit di pa alam kung ano ang totoong story. Puro mura, puro pintas, minsan may death threats pa na kasama di lamang sa taong involved kundi pati sa pamilya nito. Nakakalungkot na ganito tayo ngayon sa panahon ng social media.

(And sobrang hypocritical lang na ang sunod na posts ng iba eh Bible quotes or suicide prevention hotlines. Puh-lease!)

2. Medyo similar ang nangyari kay Amalayer at sa bida dito na si John Denver (Jansen Magpusao). Pinagbintangan siya ng mga kaklase niya na nagnakaw ng iPad pero ang nahagip lang ng video eh nung binubugbog na niya ang kanyang classmate. In-upload ng isang mokong sa Facebook (“PASIKATIN NATIN ANG GAGONG TO… LIKE AND SHARE HANGGANG UMABOT KAY TATAY DIGONG!”) bago tuluyang mag-viral. Umikot ang buong pelikula sa epekto ng cyberbullying kay John Denver at kung paano nito sinira ang buhay niya at ng kanyang pamilya.

3. Malinis ang pagkakalahad ng story. Nagustuhan ko na kahit ang daming not-so-subtle hints na hindi siya ang nagnakaw (yung charger na lang ang naiwan sa classroom nung pumasok siya, yung bag niya na hinalughog, yung mga construction workers na padaan-daan sa mga eksena), bilang manonood mapapaisip ka pa rin hanggang dulo kung kinuha ba niya talaga ang lecheng iPad na yan.

Lumabas ang pagiging judgmental ko lalo na at hindi naman siya ulirang kabataan. Napaka-flawed ng character niya (ang lakas ng tawa ko nung inalaska niya ang isang classmate na hindi naman memorized ang Lord’s Prayer) kaya may second thoughts pa rin kung maaawa ka sa pinagdaraanan niya.

4. Inspired ang casting kay Jansen lalo na at hindi siya trained actor. Bumagay yung rawness ng performance niya dun sa innocence ng character. Ang lakas ng star quality niya sa big screen. May ilang eksena lamang na medyo pilit ang emosyon (para sa akin kinulang siya dun sa crucial scene na tinakpan niya ang mukha niya para humagulgol) pero bawing-bawi kapag natural lang ang batuhan niya ng mga linya with his mother (Meryll Soriano). Yung itsura nung mukha niya dun sa ilog pagkatapos dumugo ang ulo ng nanay niya, sobrang sakit sa loob panoorin. Ramdam yung guilt sa lahat ng nangyayari kaya di nakakagulat yung choice niya sa dulo.

5. Pero grabe halimaw din si Meryll sa actingan. Sa sobrang huge fan ako ni Maricel Soriano eh napaisip talaga ako dito kung mas magaling pa siya sa auntie niya. Nung andun sila sa principal’s office tapos sinabi niya yung line na parang “Eh bakit kayo naman, sir. Kung sabihin ko na may shabu ang brief n’yo, ibababa nyo ba?” gusto ko mag-standing ovation sa sinehan. At nung sinabi sa kanya na may record ng violations (including theft) ang anak niya na di niya alam, para akong si John Denver na gusto ko na lang matunaw sa kinauupuan ko. Ultimo pagpunas niya lang ng pawis sa mukha after pagsasampalin ang anak eh sobrang nuanced. Napakahusay!!

Ang minor quibble ko lang ay yung spotty accent niya. Although na-explain naman na hindi siya tubong Antique, ang obvious lang kasi nung disconnect ng pagsasalita niya sa kanyang anak. May isang beses pa na nahaluan niya ng “so” ang sinasabi niya kaya medyo na-distract ako sa eksena kasi out of character.

6. Wala lang yun sa dami ng scenes na tumagos talaga sa puso ko (meaning more ngawa ako diba) lalo na kapag naka-focus sa simple moments nilang mag-ina. Naiiyak pa rin ako kapag naiisip yung part na sinubuan niya ng flower icing ang nanay niya matapos siya tawaging “animal!” (ang ganda ng pasok ng haunting score dito huhu). Bulakbol siya pero sweet naman pala. A few seconds lang pero ang daming sinabi tungkol sa kanila at sa kanilang relationship.

Pati yung tahimik silang naglalakad sa may dalampasigan tapos bakas sa mukha ni nanay yung frustration, embarrassment, at disappointment pero mahal na mahal pa rin nya ang anak niya kaya nasasaktan siya para dito. Durog na durog ako dun.

7. Maganda yung paggamit ng symbolisms dito. Yung mantsa sa uniform niya na kahit anong kuskos niya ay hindi matanggal. Parang Scarlet Letter lang na naka-tattoo sa noo niya na nagsusumigaw na “MAGNANAKAW!”. Yung kahit anong explain at defend niya sa sarili eh wala naman naniniwala at tuluyan nang nabahiran ang reputasyon at buong pagkatao niya. Tapos nung flag ceremony siya lang talaga ang namumukod-tangi na hindi gumamit ng Tide kaya nag-stand out ang naninilaw niya na suot.

Maganda rin yung juxtaposition na ginamit sa power of chismis lalo na dun sa kapitbahay na sinasabing aswang. Minsan mas malala pa sa bala ng baril ang mga salitang lumalabas sa isip at bunganga ng mga tao.

8. Nakakangalit yung entire investigation process ng mga pulis. Naalala ko tuloy yung isang eksena sa Pamilya Ordinaryo na tungkol din sa police brutality. Grabe yung feeling ng helplessness kapag talaga person in authority ang nang-ha-harass sa isang tao. Nakakatakot kapag naka-uniporme ang demonyo.

9. Sa dami ng eksenang naglalakad siya, ang ganda nung biglang tumakbo si John Denver off-path. Malaman. Kaya siguro sobrang polarizing din ng ending nito. For me, justified naman siya sa context ng theme. Hindi siya nagmukhang cop-out. Mas nag-resonate pa nga ang perils ng social media dahil sa powerful scene na yun. Kapag ramdam mo na sobrang squirmish ang mga katabi mo sa sinehan dahil sa pinapanood nila, alam mo na malakas ang effect nito. Hindi nila makakalimutan ang nakita. Para na rin niyang sinabi na in essence, lahat tayo ay guilty sa pagpatay kay John Denver.

10. Yung isa sa pinaka-paborito kong eksena sa Philippine Cinema 2019 ay nung tahimik na kumakain ang pamilya nila ng Cloud 9 sa pilapil. Malayo sa gulo ng mundo, hiwalay sa ingay ng social media. Sa panahong ito ng Digital Age, hindi kaya yan ang pinakamainam para sa ating lahat?

Rating: ★★★★★

MOVIE REVIEW: PATRIOTS DAY (Peter Berg, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT?

My notes on Patriots Day:

1. When Paul Greengrass’ United 93 first came out, I remembered having this lengthy discussion with my friend Trena on whether it was appropriate to create a film based on actual tragedy. Since it came out five years after 9/11, I felt that enough time had passed for everyone involved to heal and a film like that could deliver an important message to a wider audience. Her stance (she’s American btw) was that it was never too soon to make one, it just should never be made at all out of respect for the victims and their families.

I completely understood her point while watching this movie based on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. I may have lived thousands of miles away yet I was still greatly affected by everything that happened onscreen. I couldn’t even imagine the actual survivors watching this and reliving the horror again.

On the other hand, the film’s strong themes on love, hope, and resilience of the human spirit (the Boston Strong interviews during the end credits made me bawl my eyes out) supported my belief that it was a story worth retelling on the big screen.

In the end, I walked out of the theater still having mixed emotions about this.

2. I was also torn on the obvious distinctions between the heroes and villains in the movie, especially since this was based on a true event. It painted the terrorists (Middle Eastern Muslims) in such a bad light that I seethed in my seat and cheered along with everyone when these savages were subjected to severe brutality. But then how else to portray them if these were the actual facts?

One character perfectly summed up this sad reality: “The accusations are gonna come no matter what we do.”

3. Even if everyone knew how the story would end, this was actually still a very effective thriller. My heart was pounding through my chest when one of the bombs was placed near a pram and I stifled a scream when they were finally detonated. I couldn’t look at the carnage after (broken limbs everywhere!) and the thought that this happened in real life further crushed my already tired heart.

4. There were several scenes here that were viewed through various CCTV footage and my first thought was “Sorry Peter Berg, but Pamilya Ordinaryo did it first.”

5. Don’t we all hate blatant local product placements? Well, Dunkin Donuts had a mini-commercial of its own in this movie. Was it just a coincidence that their slogan’s “America Runs on Dunkin”? Hmmm…

6. I was pleasantly surprised to see Silicon Valley’s Jian Yang here and he definitely had the most crowd-pleasing moment with the line “Go catch those motherfuckers!”.

7. In one sequence, the FBI recreated the actual crime scene in a huge warehouse using specific items from the victims. It then made things easier for them to determine the actual stores with exterior cameras that captured the events real-time, including possible leads. I was completely impressed with this process especially since our local policemen still use toy cars (kotse-kotsehan) to reenact vehicular accidents.

8. It was later revealed that the terrorists apparently watched a lot of porn during their free time. I guess now would be the best time for me to reevaluate my priorities.

Rating: ★★★★☆

YEAR-END MOVIE REVIEW: THE BEST OF PINOY CINEMA 2016

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TOP 10 BEST FEATURE LENGTH FILMS

#10

ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK 2:#FOREVERISNOTENOUGH

Written by: Chris Martinez
Directed by: Marlon Rivera

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#9

SEKLUSYON

Written by: Anton Santamaria
Directed by: Erik Matti

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#8

PAMILYA ORDINARYO

Written by: Eduardo Roy, Jr.
Directed by: Eduardo Roy, Jr.

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#7

FOREVER BRIDGELESS

Written by: Racquel Zaballero-Sanchez and Glenn Ternal
Directed by: Racquel Zaballero-Sanchez and Glenn Ternal

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#6

STAR NA SI VAN DAMME STALLONE

Written by: Ronald Allan Habon
Directed by: Randolph Longjas

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#5

SAKALING HINDI MAKARATING

Written by: Ice Idanan and Petersen Vargas
Directed by: Ice Idanan

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#4

DIE BEAUTIFUL

Written by: Rody Vera
Directed by: Jun Lana

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#3

MA’ ROSA

Written by: Troy Espiritu
Directed by: Brillante Mendoza

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#2

SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN

Written by: Baby Ruth Villarama
Directed by: Baby Ruth Villarama

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#1

TUOS

Written by: Denise O’Hara
Directed by: Derick Cabrido

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2016 Scorecard:

★★★★★
DIE BEAUTIFUL (Jun Lana)
FOREVER BRIDGELESS (Racquel Zaballero-Sanchez, Glenn Ternal)
FOREVER NATIN (Cyrus Valdez)
MA’ ROSA (Brillante Mendoza)
OKTOPUS (JP Habac)
ANG PAINTING NI TATAY (Sigrid Andrea Bernardo)
SAANMAN NGUNIT DITO (Cheska Salangsang)
SAKALING HINDI MAKARATING (Ice Idanan)
STAR NA SI VAN DAMME STALLONE (Randolph Longjas)
STOP. STEADY. SAYAW. (Dan Villegas)
SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN (Baby Ruth Villarama)
TUOS (Derick Cabrido)
XXX (Allison Barretto)

★★★★☆
ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE (Dan Villegas)
CAMP SAWI (Irene Villamor)
CHICBOY (Jasper Ramon Tulabot)
DIGPAN NING ALTI (Bor Ocampo)
FISH OUT OF WATER (Mon Garilao)
ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK 2: #FOREVERISNOTENOUGH (Marlon Rivera)
KATOK (John Rhys Guarina)
KUNG ANG ULAN AY GAWA SA TSOKOLATE (Galileo Sioco Te and Prime Reyes)
LUMAYO KA NGA SA AKIN (ASAWA NI MARIE) (Chris Martinez)
MERCURY IS MINE (Jason Paul Laxamana)
MRS. (Adolf Alix, Jr.)
AN ORCHESTRA IN SEARCH OF A HOME (Ida Anita del Mundo)
PAMILYA ORDINARYO (Eduardo Roy, Jr.)
PEKTUS (Isabel Quesada)
SEKLUSYON (Erik Matti)

★★★☆☆
THE ACHY BREAKY HEARTS (Antoinette Jadaone)
AREA (Louie Ignacio)
ANG BABAENG HUMAYO (Lav Diaz)
BAKA BUKAS (Samantha Lee)
BAKIT LAHAT NG GWAPO MAY BOYFRIEND? (Jun Lana)
BESHIE (Joyce Bernal)
DUKOT (Paul Soriano)
DYAMPER (Mes de Guzman)
EVERYTHING ABOUT HER (Joyce Bernal)
EXPRESSWAY (Ato Bautista)
GET CERTIFIED (Isaias Zantua)
HELE SA HIWAGANG HAPIS (Lav Diaz)
IMAGINE YOU & ME (Michael Tuviera)
JUST THE 3 OF US (Cathy Garcia-Molina)
LUNA (Rae Red)
MANILA SCREAM (Roque Lee, Blair Camilo)
MGA BITOON SA SIUDAD (Jarell Serencio)
NAKAUWI NA (John Relano, Patrick Baleros, Luis Hidalgo)
NED’S PROJECT (Lemuel Lorca)
AN OPEN DOOR (Paul Soriano)
ORO (Alvin Yapan)
SAVING SALLY (Avid Liongoren)
SITSIRITSIT (Brian Spencer Reyes)
SINA DINO AT ANG KANILANG SIKRETO (Miller Ursolino)
ANG TABA KO KASI (Jason Paul Laxamana)

★★☆☆☆
1ST SEM (Allan Ibanez, Dexter Hemedez)
ANG BAGONG PAMILYA NI PONCHING (Inna Salazar Acuña, Dos Ocampo)
BARCELONA: A LOVE UNTOLD (Olivia Lamasan)
BUGTAW (Noah del Rosario)
BUHAY HABANGBUHAY (Paolo Herras)
BUTAS (Richard Cawed)
DAGSIN (Atom Magadia)
ECHORSIS (Lemuel Lorca)
ANG HAPIS AT HIMAGSIK NI HERMANO PULI (Gil Portes)
ANG HAPON NI NANDING (Milo Tolentino)
HIBLANG ABO (Ralston Jover)
HOW TO BE YOURS (Dan Villegas)
HOW TO FIND LOVE (Quark Henares)
I AMERICA (Ivan Andrew Payawal)
I LOVE YOU TO DEATH (Miko Livelo)
KABISERA (Arturo San Agustin, Real Florido)
KUSINA (Cenon Palomares, David Corpuz)
LAKBAY2LOVE (Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil)
LILA (Gino Santos)
LOVE IS BLIND (Jason Paul Laxamana)
LOVE ME TOMORROW (Gino Santos)
LUMAYO KA NGA SA AKIN (BALA SA BALA, KAMAO SA KAMAO, SATSAT SA SATSAT) (Mark Meily)
LUMAYO KA NGA SA AKIN (SHAKE, SHAKER, SHAKEST) (Andoy Ranay)
ANG MAANGAS, ANG MARIKIT, AT ANG MAKATA (Ibarra Guballa)
MANSYONG PAPEL (Ogos Aznar)
MITATANG (Alvin Jezer Gagui)
MY CANDIDATE (Quark Henares)
NOT APPLICABLE (Carl Chavez)
PUNLA (Kenneth Mandrilla)
THE SUPER PARENTAL GUARDIANS (Joyce Bernal)
THE THIRD PARTY (Jason Paul Laxamana)
THIS TIME (Nuel Naval)
TISAY (Alfonso Torre III)
ANG TULAY NG SAN SEBASTIAN (Alvin Yapan)
THE UNMARRIED WIFE (Maryo J. Delos Reyes)
VINCE & KATH & JAMES (Theodore Boborol)
WHISTLEBLOWER (Adolf Alix, Jr.)
WORKING BEKS (Chris Martinez)

★☆☆☆☆
AKI (Milo Tolentino)
BIRDS (Christian Paolo Lat)
DIYOS-DIYOSAN (Cesar Buendia)
ELEMENTO (Mark Meily)
ENTENG KABISOTE 10 AND THE ABANGERS (Tony Reyes, Marlon Rivera)
THE ESCORT (Enzo Williams)
ANG HAPIS AT HIMAGSIK NI HERMANO PULI (Gil Portes)
LANDO AT BUGOY (Vic Acedillo, Jr.)
MANO PO 7: CHINOY (Ian Loreños)
MY REBOUND GIRL (Emmanuel dela Cruz)
PASSAGE OF LIFE (Renz Vincemark Cruz, Hannah Daryl Gayapa)
STRAIGHT TO THE HEART (Frank David Fabros)
THAT THING CALLED TANGA NA (Joel Lamangan)
TPO (TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER) (Joselito Altarejos)
TUPANG LIGAW (Rod Santiago)

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: CINEMALAYA 2016 SCORECARD

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After a one year hiatus for feature length films (with only shorts shown last year), expectations (mine, especially) were really high for this year’s Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. Its theme of “Break the Surface” and hilariously brutal ad (“Gusto mo ba ng iba?”) further added to the hype and excitement.

I was happy that several films this year tried to be different, even if some failed in execution. This year’s selections didn’t reach the highs of 2012, but it was nice to see that they were polarizing at best. People’s opinions varied greatly and generated a lot of discussions. And regardless of differing standpoints, everyone agreed on one thing: that we have some of the finest actors and actresses (both ingenues and veterans) in the entire world.

With that said, here’s my festival scorecard:

Best Feature-Length Film

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1. TUOS (Derick Cabrido) – ★★★★★

Napakahusay!!

A lot of people will get turned off by the dream-like narrative of Tuos, which included deeply-rooted Pinoy folklore, breaking traditions, a tribal dance by La Aunor, gorgeous animation set to Banaue Miclat’s haunting voice, and a hung tikbalang. I was just enthralled.

Is it even possible to upstage THE Superstar? Well, Barbie Forteza just did. Such a talented young actress!!

 

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2. PAMILYA ORDINARYO (Eduardo Roy, Jr.) – ★★★★☆

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.

 

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3. MERCURY IS MINE (Jason Paul Laxamana) – ★★★★☆

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.

 

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4. HIBLANG ABO (Ralston Jover) – ★★☆☆☆

At times, it felt like I was an old man wasting away on my deathbed. Sigh.

Looked like an experiment of techniques, but I liked the chemistry among the four veteran leads (Lou Veloso was exceptional).

 

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5. KUSINA (Cenon Palomares, David Corpuz) – ★★☆☆☆

Thank heavens for Judy Ann Santos since this dish went cold and sour really quick.

It felt like a Film student fell in love with Dogville and then staged his own high school production.

 

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6. DAGSIN (Atom Magadia) – ★★☆☆☆

Like The Notebook turned Philippine History lesson. Tedious and thirty minutes overlong.

It was hard to fully appreciate the fine performance of Tommy Abuel when I was trying not to giggle lest I wake up the sleeping people.

Benjamin Alves acts very much like Piolo Pascual, no?

 

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7. ANG BAGONG PAMILYA NI PONCHING (Inna Salazar Acuna, Dos Ocampo) – ★★☆☆☆

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?

 

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8. I AMERICA (Ivan Andrew Payawal) – ★★☆☆☆

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.

 

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9. LANDO AT BUGOY (Vic Acedillo, Jr.) – ★★☆☆☆

Nothing made sense to me. Badly needed reshoots, too.

I felt really bad for Allen Dizon because he tried his best to salvage something that was dead on arrival.

RIP.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. LOU VELOSO (Hiblang Abo)
2. TOMMY ABUEL (Dagsin)
3. JANUS DEL PRADO (Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching)
4. RONWALDO MARTIN (Pamilya Ordinaryo)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. BARBIE FORTEZA (Tuos)
2. POKWANG (Mercury is Mine)
3. NORA AUNOR (Tuos)
4. HASMINE KILLIP (Pamilya Ordinaryo)
5. JUDY ANN SANTOS (Kusina)

*Special Mention: CHAI FONACIER (Get Certified)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. NANDING JOSEF (Hiblang Abo)
2. MATT DACLAN (Hiblang Abo)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. LOTLOT DE LEON (Dagsin)
2. ELIZABETH OROPESA (I America)

 

Best Short Film
1. FOREVER NATIN (Cyrus Valdez) – ★★★★★

Forever Natin was such a realistically honest depiction of a lesbian relationship. It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces. I just wish the sound was much better.

2. FISH OUT OF WATER (Mon Garilao) – ★★★★☆

My other fave in this group was the technically impressive Fish Out of Water, about a Filipino-Korean boy trying to find his space and purpose in a foreign homeland. It was alienating in the best possible sense.

3. PEKTUS (Isabel Quesada) – ★★★★☆

I did like the frantic Pektus and its impeccable cast of character actors (Nonie Buencamino, among others). Malinis ang pagkakagawa, including the subtitles. It made me look forward to the director’s future full-length feature.

4. GET CERTIFIED (Isaias Zantua) – ★★★☆☆

The brilliant Chai Fonacier made me look forward to the afterlife in Get Certified. All the craziness in the film (including Hitler as hell’s version of San Pedro) just couldn’t keep up with its star.

5. NAKAUWI NA (John Relano, Patrick Baleros, Luis Hidalgo) – ★★★☆☆

Nakauwi Na would’ve been more effective if I didn’t see the same theme in Cheska Salangsang’s Saanman Ngunit Dito, shown during this year’s CineFilipino. Made me wonder if I still had all of my old mix tapes.

6. BUGTAW (Noah del Rosario) – ★★☆☆☆

The animation-infused Bugtaw only got interesting towards the end, when fantasy and reality started to meld.

7. ANG HAPON NI NANDING (Milo Tolentino) – ★★☆☆☆

Ang Hapon ni Nanding was the story of a latent homosexual finding solace in the company of an orphan with a broken neck. It also made me want to break all sorts of furniture for attention.

8. ANG MAANGAS, ANG MARIKIT, AT ANG MAKATA (Ibarra Guballa) – ★★☆☆☆

Ang Maangas, Ang Marikit, at Ang Makata was over-the-top silly and not in a good way. It involved crazy dancing, double entendre harana, and fake wooden machetes. Not my cup of bourbon.

9. BUTAS (Richard Cawed) – ★★☆☆☆

Although it had good intentions (a tribute to Benguet miners) and had its heart on its sleeve, Butas reminded me so much of that local broadsheet’s ad shown before the actual movie. All it needed in the end was a copy of the front page.

10. MANSYONG PAPEL (Ogos Aznar) – ★★☆☆☆

Mansyong Papel was saved by the menacing performance of Odette (O-deht, not Oh-det) Khan. The story was a complete mess, just like the subtitles. How heavy was the three hundred million in cash and who was that terrible actress that played the daughter?

Until next year!!