YEAR-END MOVIE REVIEW: 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!!

 

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: CINEMA ONE ORIGINALS 2019 SCORECARD

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Best Feature-Length Film

1. Sila-Sila (Giancarlo Abrahan) – ★★★☆☆
2. Metamorphosis (J.E. Tiglao) – ★★☆☆☆
3. Tia Madre (Eve Baswel) – ★★☆☆☆
4. Lucid (Victor Villanueva) – ★★☆☆☆
5. Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo (Denise O’Hara) – ★★☆☆☆
6. Yours Truly, Shirley (Nigel Santos) – ★★☆☆☆
7. Utopia (Dustin Celestino) – ★☆☆☆☆
8. O (Kevin Dayrit) – ★☆☆☆☆

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. Gio Gahol (Sila-Sila)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. Alessandra de Rossi (Lucid)
2. Cherie Gil (Tia Madre)
3. Jana Agoncillo (Tia Madre)
4. Regine Velasquez (Yours Truly, Shirley)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. Ricky Davao (Metamorphosis)
2. Topper Fabregas (Sila-Sila)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. Iana Bernardez (Metamorphosis)
2. Yayo Aguila (Metamorphosis)

Best Short Film

1. Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert (Janina Gacosta, Cheska Marfori) – ★★★★☆
2. Sa Among Agwat (Don Senoc) – ★★★★☆
3. The Slums (Jan Andrei Cobey) – ★★★★☆
4. Ang Lumunod sa Atin (Sonia Marie Regalario) – ★★★☆☆
5. Sa Gitna ng Lungsod (Ivan Cortez) – ★★☆☆☆
6. Last 2 3 4! (Genevieve Ofania) – ★★☆☆☆

Until next year!!

MOVIE REVIEW: METAMORPHOSIS (J.E. Tiglao, 2019)

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Wala naman ako masyado paki sa X-rating ng MTRCB kasi naabutan ko pa nung head sina Tito Manoling Morato and Lola Henrietta Mendez. Mas interested ako na tungkol ito sa isang intersex na di pa natatalakay ng lubusan sa local cinema.

Pero other than the on-the-nose metaphors (sino kaya ang gumagamit ng ganung diaphanous kumot na hindi kasali sa music video ni Tita Mariah?), parang wala rin naman siya masyado nasabi.

Di ko pa nagustuhan na very low-tier Joselito Altarejos ang feels dito. As in para akong si Tito Jo habang pinapanood ang extended (and hyped) masturbation scene. May mga predatory scenes pa na walang consequences.

Nakulangan ako kay Gold Azeron. Naalala ko ang isang young Diether Ocampo sa kanya. Buti magaling ang supporting cast lalo na sina Iana Bernardez (ganda nung bicycle scene at yung usap usap lang sa bintana) at Ricky Davao (praise the Lord!).

Bakit nga pala naging “There are many carabaos here” ang subtitle ng “Mukhang uulan”? Props for that Onang reference, though.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: 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!!

MOVIE REVIEW: CIRCA (Adolf Alix, Jr., 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Bilib na bilib ako kay Ms. Anita Linda dito. More than double my age na siya (she’s almost 95!!) pero alam pa rin niya lahat ng mga lines niya dito as the incredibly rich film producer Doña Atang na nakatira sa bahay ni Lola Nidora. Samantala ako hindi ko na maalala minsan saan ko naipatong ang cellphone ko. Iba talaga kapag batikang artista. Totoong walang kupas!!

Napaka-appropriate lang na kasama ito sa Sine Sandaan section ng PPP. May pagka-love letter siya to Philippine Cinema with all the juicy tidbits on the history of local film productions/filmmaking (shooting processes, crucial role ng lagarista, yung diva attitude of certain celebrities, yung rivalry nung mga stars of the golden age, etc.) tapos may mga sundot pa sa current industry (nakakatawa yung sinabi ng character ni Alessandra de Rossi na di na uso ang quality films ngayon kaya puro TV work na lang, na “mouth to mouth” duguan levels ang paggawa).

Mahilig talaga sa all-star cast si Alix (parang halos kalahati ng local film industry may cameo dun sa last movie niya na Madilim ang Gabi) kaya di naman ako nagulat sa mga bigating artista dito kabilang na sina Gina Alajar, Elizabeth Oropesa, Laurice Guillen, Ricky Davao, Liza Lorena, Perla Bautista, etc. Nakakalungkot din makita si Eddie Garcia in full Manoy glory. (Pero kasama ba sa original script yung “Ingat ka baka ka madapa?”. Grabe yung gasp ko sa part na yun nag-echo sa buong theater bilang ako lang ang nanunuod.)

Pinaka-natuwa ako kay Jaclyn Jose dito as the mayordoma of the house. Walang dramatic highlights (except for that weird Amour moment) pero markado ang pagganap. Lakas ng tawa ko nung nag-advocate siya for DVD piracy considering na nagsisilbi siya sa isang producer. Sabagay yung isang character nga sinabi na “Di naman ako namimirata ng local. Puro English lang, makabawi man kang kasi sila ang dahilan bakit tayo humina.” Hmm, magandang topic yan for discussion ha.

Marami siguro ang mababagalan sa pacing ng pelikula pero ok naman siya for me. Medyo mahaba lang at repetitive yung tribute section sa party scene. Pero sobrang fascinated talaga ako in all things na local showbiz kaya nagandahan ako (siguro ang litmus test would be if kaya mo ma-distinguish ang difference ng FAMAS at FAP statues, then this one’s for you). Natuwa din ako dun sa tikbalang na inaalayan ng ponkan kapalit ng box office returns (Mother Lily, what’s your secret?).

Basta sobrang affected ako dito. Nung nag-start na si Doña Atang ng speech niya with “Ang buhay natin ay parang pelikula…”, naluha na lang ako bigla.

Rating: ★★★★☆

MOVIE REVIEW: F#*@BOIS (Eduardo Roy, Jr., 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Frontrow and center ang fearless performance dito ni Ricky Davao. Wala akong maisip na ibang veteran actor na kayang buong tapang na dila-dilaan at isubo ang paa ng ibang tao (juskopo, sana naman nagpa-foot spa muna si Fuccboi #1 bago gawin ang eksena). Nangangamoy grand slam siya ngayong taon ha.

If you’ve seen Pamilya Ordinaryo or Quick Change, hindi ka na maninibago sa takbo at style ng pelikulang ito. Yung todo sa stress levels tapos wala ka naman magawa kundi manood at ma-stress pa lalo. Tapos hindi ka bibigyan ng malinis na resolution kaya gusto mo na lang umuwi at mag-shower agad agad.

Nagustuhan ko na ipinakita dito ang mundo nina Ace (Royce Cabrera) at Mico (Kokoy de Santos, a revelation) bilang mga sex workers slash konteseros. Ramdam yung desperation na kumita ng pera habang rumarampa na halos labas ang kaluluwa maliban sa tube sock na nakapasok sa kanilang bikini.

(Side note: Hindi ko alam kung intentional pero ang ganda na yung pattern ng dugo sa likod ni Ace pagkatapos ng saksakan ay parang parte ng design sa national costume niya nung bikini open.)

Sana lang mas naging invested pa ako sa characters nila. Hindi kasi umabot sa point na halos mabaliw na ako kakaisip kung nasaan si Baby Arjan. Siguro rin kasi may negative perception agad talaga sa mga fuccbois. Kasalanan na naman ‘to ni Gerald.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: SA GABING NANAHIMIK ANG MGA KULIGLIG (Iar Lionel Arondaing, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig:

1. It was probably during the scene where Hector (Ricky Davao) was wailing over the corpse of his wife Dolores (Mercedes Cabral) that I realized I had watched something similar to this before. It looked very much like the same red herring thrown around in another murder-mystery set in a swampland.

My suspicion was further confirmed when self-confessed killer Magda (Angel Aquino) had that fantastical dream sequence where she ended up seeing a floating dead body that actually turned out to be her. Yes, I was definitely watching a version of Sam Raimi’s The Gift, except that the supernatural element was replaced by a religious theme. Nyek!

2. I shouldn’t even be complaining that the movie chose to head into that direction because I initially thought I was watching Senakulo: The Movie and it would really be Easter Sunday 2018 by the time it completed the twelve stations of the cross (thankfully, it abandoned that concept while I was close to nodding off right around the fourth station).

How could I forget these Bible stories when I would often volunteer to lead the prayer of the rosary done before and after breaks every October (rosary month!) in Zobel? My favorite part was the Sorrowful Mysteries because I got to play different characters and I always made sure that I gave each one a distinct voice. My rosary-praying career ended though when I read the line “Crucify him!” as “Cruci-fee him!” and one classmate laughed so loud and mocked me in front of the whole class that I felt very much like Mary Magdalene.

3. Those were some really odd framing choices. I wasn’t a big fan of seeing the characters occupying a quarter of the screen and talking in one corner. Nothing really wrong with that, it was just too AHRT(!!) for my basic sensibilities.

4. I really liked how this tackled the Seal of Confession and that priests were not allowed to disclose any information divulged to them vis a vis the separation of the Church and State. So basically a murderer could confess his crime to a priest and receive absolution for his sin, but the best that the priest could do was suggest that the killer turn himself over to the police. Did I understand that correctly? Why didn’t that sit well with my heart and brain?

5. How could Dolores be married to Hector for twenty years when Mercedes didn’t even look a day over thirty? Did she get pregnant at the ripe old age of ten?

6. Gorgeous (gorgeous!) cinematography. More reasons to visit Cuyo Island in Palawan.

7. I felt a bit disappointed when the focus shifted to Dolores’ son Lester (Jess Mendoza), who had to deliver cringe-worthy lines while giving the corpse of his mother a sponge bath (“Ang mukhang ito ang una kong nasilayan…”, “Ang mga brasong ito ang yumakap sa akin…”). I swore to myself that if he were to make punas every body part and deliver a Juan Miguel Severo-like poem for each, I would surely walk out (especially if he would reach the “Sa pepeng ito ako lumabas…”).

8. Sitting through this ordeal should serve as my penance for the entire year, yes?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: DUKOT (Paul Soriano, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Dukot:

1. We sadly live in a world of victim-blaming, where a grieving mother gets shamed as a negligent parent, an injured person is reprimanded for not being more careful, and a woman who cries rape gets bashed for being a tease with her plunging neckline and short skirt. It scares me that a lot of people have this knee-jerk reaction, especially since I see myself as one of them.

When the movie opened with Ellen Adarna in a skimpy outfit trying to withdraw from an ATM at such an odd hour, my brain just kept thinking that she would get robbed and she had no one to blame but herself. My worst fear happened and she was even shot and left for dead. I hated myself for having thought that way and it made me want to do another self-check. Unfortunately, that was all the deep thinking that this movie required me to do.

2. Although technically impressive, Dukot was marred by lapses in logic and believability, falling short of being an effective thriller. Sure, one could easily say everything that happened was based on true events, but another could argue that if that were the case, then this should just have been a documentary. No amount of awesome aerial shots or perfectly-framed scenes could compensate for the lack of an engrossing story (a dream sequence to generate tension, really?). I felt very much like one of the guests of Mr. Sandoval (Ricky Davao), watching him discuss a Powerpoint presentation about himself during his birthday party.

3. I think my lack of compassion for his family was because he was a corrupt Customs officer. I still had not forgotten the vultures in my city’s Customs office that charged an exorbitant amount for my non-taxable Amazon book orders. Also, he was the type of stingy father that would rather haggle with his son’s kidnappers rather than pull strings to come up with the ransom money.

When his daughter Cathy (Shaina Magdayao) called him up in the middle of the night crying that Carlo (Enrique Gil) was kidnapped, he didn’t even show any concern or bother asking if she was ok and just calmly said that everything was insured so she shouldn’t be crying. Father of the Year Awardee right there.

4. In a world (and country) where CCTV cameras had become necessities, I couldn’t understand why the kidnappers never bothered to cover up their faces. They also kidnapped Carlo instead of the beautiful Cathy just because the former begged that he take her place instead. In the safe house, they were almost always drunk and careless and even allowed Carlo to pee behind closed doors. They were such bumbling kidnappers that I was wondering why they didn’t just choose a different occupation (I swear they could have been more effective and probably richer selling Royale whitening soap).

5. Did you see that viral video where a policeman was using two miniature (Matchbox?) cars to simulate an accident? I laughed so hard when something similar was shown in this movie. In that scene, Mr. Sandoval received a call from one of the kidnappers which prompted an investigator to turn on her tape recorder. Yes, she recorded the conversation like she was conducting an interview. I really hoped it wasn’t our third world version of tracing a call.

6. Speaking of, I wasn’t sure if I missed something but did they do a phone to phone call using an old Nokia model without a speaker function? How??

7. In a cast of good actors (that also included Bing Pimentel, Christopher de Leon, Ping Medina, and Manang Biring), the real standout was Alex Medina. Seriously, you could never go wrong with someone whose roles ranged from Bonifacio’s brother to a man possessed by a gay ghost.

8. I really loved the juxtapositions used here, from the birthday celebrations to the one where the two ladies were smoking. They were as effective as the ones done by Carlos Siguion-Reyna in Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin.

9. It really felt like the material was modified in favor of the Star Magic talents. Kidnapping the son instead gave Enrique a lot of dramatic highlights (to be fair, he was able to acquit himself well) and at one point, Ricky’s character conveniently suffered a heart attack so that Shaina could have her shining crying moment while lugging around three duffel bags containing millions of pesos (still not sure why Mr. Sandoval agreed to endanger his daughter, though).

10. How would you know the kidnapper that grew a conscience? He was the one with the angel wings tattooed on his back, naturally.

Rating: ★★★☆☆