Archive for the ‘aiai delas alas’ Tag

10th Cinemalaya Film Festival Review: Part 5   2 comments

And we’ve finally reached the end. After almost a week of being in CCP, I’ve finally managed to see all 15 films in competition this year both in the New Breed and Director’s Showcase category. As a reminder, here are the four earlier parts of my Cinemalaya coverage:  Part 1 (which has Real Florido’s “1st Ko si 3rd“, Giancarlo Abrahan’s “Dagitab“, and Milo Sogueco’s “Mariquina”), Part 2 (covering Francis Pasion’s “Bwaya“, Gino M. Santos’ “#Y“, and GB Sampedro’s “S6parados”), Part 3 (includes Ida Anita del Mundo’s “K’na the Dreamweaver“, Joselito Altarejos’ “Kasal“, and Louie Ignacio’s “Asintado”), and Part 4 (which is composed of Joel Lamangan’s “Hustisya“, Michael Tuviera’s “The Janitor“, and Derick Cabrido’s “Children’s Show“). As for the last three films of the fest…

Ronda

RONDA
Director: Nick Olanka
Cast: Aiai delas Alas, Carlos Morales, Carlo Aquino, Perla Bautista, Julian Trono
Competition: New Breed

Ronda follows a typical work night for policewoman Paloma Arroyo (Aiai delas Alas) and her partner as they catch thieves and arrest minor prostitutes while going around the metro. The only difference is that her son, Leo, has been missing for days now after telling that he’ll do a school project with one of his classmates.

The film opens with a long continuous shot of a roaming police car getting in and out of random streets maybe to further highlight what’s it like to be in Arroyo’s day work. This seemed like a really long set up for something but there really isn’t anything to look forward to. In between these, we encounter some interesting breaks such as Carlo Aquino’s thief role, Angeli Bayani’s nagging persistent reporter, and Bernardo Bernardo’s pimp to minors, but then again, they’re just that. They’re breaks in between something which wasn’t totally established. Then we’re reminded again that Arroyo still has to look for her son. And that she cares, but no establishment of such has been made for a compelling side story. In the end, when the film finally decided to move the story forward, it suddenly stopped. Whether these two stories are related nor if they’re bound to be connected in the first place, I really have no idea which leads me to believe that the film would have benefited from a balance of some sort in order to either make the first part more solid or the latter part more memorable — neither of which the film achieved to do. I get it though that one of the film’s selling points is Aiai delas Alas’ serious acting, which she really nailed here especially in the last part.  But I think her countless Maalaala Mo Kaya drama episodes have already proven that, so I wasn’t really “shattered” per se by her more serious approach here (which was really subdued). If anything, my main consolation with it were the shots of Manila’s arresting visuals at night that showed the gritty and raw side and it takes a pro to showcase such.

2/5

Hari ng Tondo

HARI NG TONDO
Director: Carlos Siguion Reyna
Cast: Robert Arevalo, Cris Villonco, Rez Cortez, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Aiza Seguerra, Ciara Sotto
Competition: Directors Showcase

When wealthy man Ricardo Villena (Robert Arevalo) was informed that he’s close to bankruptcy, he decided to go back to his roots and take his runaway bride niece Anna (Cris Villonco) and college drop out nephew Ricky (Rafa Siguion-Reyna) to Tondo to learn how to grow a pair of balls, even if it’s against his offspring’s consent.

Movies nowadays rely on the flashy visuals or twist-y storytelling in order to ensure that they’d be spared from “copycat” or “same old same old” comments. But what’s faulty in that equation is that it doesn’t really need those as long as you’re aware of the limits of your material. That’s probably the biggest asset of Carlos Siguion Reyna’s comeback film Hari ng Tondo. The film, which even borders on too staged at times, doesn’t attempt to be a deeper, more cathartic version of anything. Its approach was direct to the point, and it effectively worked. Sure there are cliches here and there, and the film can’t help itself but to be too much of a Glee episode (during its peak) at times, but these things fit the material and what you get is an earnest depiction of its situations. This is a film that can be picked and tortured to pieces, but how it prevented such is by attempting to be heartfelt and genuine. I can’t help but somehow mirror the situation of Ricardo to the overall appeal of the film. Both the lead character and Siguion-Reyna tried to take a risk by going back to an old route that might or might not work, and the end result just speaks for itself. This is a crowd pleasing film whose cheesy approach will appeal aims to both serious critics and casual movie goers. The ensemble was commendable, and the songs here were really catchy. Dare I say, that by far, the local feel good film of the year.

3.5/5

Sundalong Kanin

SUNDALONG KANIN
Director: Janice O’Hara
Cast: Marc Abaya, Enzo Pineda, Isaac Aguirre, Elijah Canlas, Akira Morishita, Angelo Martinez, Nathaniel Britt
Competition: New Breed

Set in the 40s before the Japanese conquered the country, Sundalong Kanin is about four young lads who all wanted to be a solider when they grow up. The said invasion left an impact on the thinking process of the children when they learned what a soldier really is about.

Indeed, save the best for last. My last film from this year’s competition turned out to be the surprise I’m waiting for. Every year, I wait for that one breakout hit that will just sweep me off my feet like that of last year’s Transit and Purok 7. And I should have already seen it coming that it will be a film that has children on the forefront. Sundalong Kanin is one of the lesser buzzed entries in the film fest, as it has no big stars in it nor the “cool” image some entries had. But what it has up its sleeve is a heartbreaking coming of age tale of what happens when you’re confronted by your dreams at an early stage in your life. Director Janice O’Hara’s approach of opening the film in a somewhat comedic manner before seamlessly shifting to serious made the whole transition more effective. When children are already awaken of the actual concept of the one thing they have wanted, it becomes a battle of reality versus expectation. The film is aware enough to highlight the difference between such and the conflict and impact it leaves to these children. What’s more fantastic about the movie is despite running on a limited budget, none of it looked cheap. The four children ensemble also didn’t disappoint with all of them getting their own moments. Sundalong Kanin is one of the festival’s best entries, and the good word it has received by far is really well deserved.

4.5/5

And that’s it for Cinemalaya X. Whew I finished it earlier than expected. Dagitab and Sundalong Kanin were my favorites from this year with #Y, Mariquina, and Hari ng Tondo as the other solid entries. Both Children’s Show and 1st Ko Si 3rd were good as well. The rest ranged from good but flawed to outright horrible. On Sunday, I will be posting a complete recap of this year’s films including my rankings, picks, and predictions on who’ll end up winning at the awards ceremony.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

REVIEW: Sisterakas   12 comments

Sisterakas

With the current Metro Manila Film Festival system of including mostly box office friendly films in its line up, it is no surprise that one came up with the idea of including a lot of stars with box office draws in it. And before you shout Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote or Enteng ng Ina Mo to me, I’d complete my sentence by continuing “a lot of stars with box office draws in it… without the over expensive visual effects.”

So now enters Sisterakas starring Box Office Queens Kris Aquino, Aiai Delas Alas and Box Office Phenomenal Star Vice Ganda directed by box office director Wenn V Deramas. Notice ho wmany times I used the word box office above? Do you now have a clue with where I’m heading here? Go read the rest.

Bernice (Vice Ganda) and Detty (Aiai delas Alas) are childhood friends. But such friendship was ruined when Detty’s mother found out that her husband is having an affair with Bernice’s mother. This led to the mother’s lifetime disability. Fast forward to now, and we meet  Roselle (Kris Aquino) a competitive executive of the rival fashion company that Bernice heads. When the two childhood friends unexpectedly crossed paths, and with Roselle now in the picture, chaos definitely ensues.

I’m probably one of those who appreciated Deramas’ last effort This Guy’s in Love with You, Mare! But it seems that for every one step forward, he goes three steps backward. For one, the story is just grasping at straws here. It’s typical Deramas fare staring with a childhood story of the protagonist. Then comes a lot of physical comedy and sarcastic humor in between. It will definitely end with a happy ending. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But let’s move on past that. It’s not as if its storytelling is its selling point. It’s a comedy after all (or that’s how I interpreted such), but for a comedy, I find it lacking. There were mostly comprised of overused jokes, really long jokes that the wit already expired before the punchline was said, and lots of personal jokes from the cast. A lot of it has been done by the director himself in his past movies. In short, even in the laugh department, there’s nothing new that was presented.

Both Vice Ganda and AiAi Delas Alas were just okay here. One thing for sure is that this isn’t both’s funniest performances. However, if there’s one star who rose above this, it was Kris Aquino. I think she knows how camp the movie is, and that she tripled it up with her performance. The screen really lights up whenever she’s in it. I find her really engaging in this one, and her mere existence (even as background in some scenes) was such a joy to watch. I don’t think she would ever get a role as fun as this one.

The rest of the characters were all thankless roles. From Kathniel to Xyriel Manabat to Tirso Cruzz III. I’d even say that Kris’s role was unnecessary in the movie but I wouldn’t dare wish that the role should have been altogether eliminated just for Kris’s performance. One might perceive these comments as a joke, but Kris Aquino was the saving grace of the movie, and I’d probably watch it again just to see her again.

Grade: 2/5

Here are the reviews of the other Metro Manila Film Festival 2012 entries:

El Presidente
One More Try
Shake, Rattle, and Roll 14: The Invasion
Si Agimat, si Enteng, at si Ako
Sosy Problems
The Strangers
Thy Womb

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl