Archive for the ‘angel aquino’ Tag

REVIEW: Captive   1 comment

Cannes Best Director Brillante Mendoza’s first shot at the Berlin Film Festival involves a familiar territory that he has long been covering. In “Captive”, we get a closer look and a blow by blow update of a national issue that once hogged all the spotlight here in the Philippines. The only difference is that it has Isabelle Huppert here.

Inspired by the events during the 2001 Dos Palmas kidnapping of tourists, we get to see the struggle they have to endure when they get dragged in the fight between Muslims and the government in order for them to give in to what the Muslims wanted. The hostages ranged from cliche casting to effective ones with Isabelle Huppert leading the pack as the French missionary assisting old woman Soledad.

Mendoza effectively makes the viewers feel as if they were there with them combining  vivid portrayal of what the hostages experienced during that year long captivity and commendable technical aspects particularly Odyssey Flores’ cinematography and Teresa Barrozo’s score. With that said, one can’t help but think that there are times when you see style over substance as the treatment left something more to be desired. I see symbolism everywhere (giving birth scene, animals in the forest, two Muslims playing spiders, the colorful eagle) and some parts were just overdone. One can also recognize the similar Mendoza trademark that he used in his previous films, so if you’re someone who’s familiar with his filmography, there’s sort of a “been there, done that” approach with his treatment. Supposed to be pivotal scenes were also scattered that it’s hard to digest every thing so when you see one, it does not leave that much mark to the readers.

Huppert’s role, like the rest of the cast, was very physical, and I applaud how she was so “game” with everything that was required of her to do. While there are times when her character was relegated to do the typical histrionic touch when attacking the Muslims, I find her at her best when she was interviewed for a semi-documentary where she just gave her all when asked about the hostage experience. The local cast were good as well but there’s no real highlight for the rest of them that makes one a standout.

All in all, while it’s hard to nitpick about Mendoza’s visual output, it sadly didn’t leave the same amount of impact that the director intended his viewers to feel once the credits rolled.

Grade: 3 / 5

REVIEW: Amorosa: The Revenge   4 comments

Sky Light Films’ follow up to the very uneven Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang is from the same vein, a horror psycho-thriller helmed by Topel Lee entitled Amorosa: The Revenge. If anything, at least I’d give them credits for finally promoting this one right, unlike its predecessor which was promoted as a straight our horror film, only to see a love story when you watch the actual movie itself.

After a life changing incident that involved both of her kids (Martin Del Rosario, Enrique Gil), Amorosa (Angel Aquino) decides to start anew and move to Tagaytay to manage an inn that a relative tasked her to do. It also means that she will be staying there permanently. However, once there, she started to see a revengeful ghost that keeps on bothering her, as she also tries to fix her relationship with one of her sons who was deeply affected by the childhood incident.

The premise of the movie tends to be half stupid and half unbelievable. The characters were pretty much one note and involves them making one stupid action one after the other. Case in point: if you are in the door and you see a killer inside the house, would you run to the stairs instead of going out and locking him inside the house?  The primary question that they want to pose to readers involves a Sophie’s Choice type of consequence which actually leaves them in a lose-lose situation; hence, they are probably pretty much subjected to end up with the fates that they had.

The movie tried to cover all areas. Revengeful ghosts? Check. Hide and seek inside the house? Check. Ghostly apparitions? Check. Hallucinations? Check. It’s as if they came up with a list of the most cliched horror ingredients, and they accomplished all of that in one film. I noticed that there are some areas that actually worked, but they got overshadowed with the attempt to do everything in it. The movie also suffered from continuing to open a lot of stories that weren’t closed which made the movie overlong. I swear to God, this is one movie when you can already see it ending, yet it still goes on and on and on and on.

Angel Aquino tries her best to overcome her character, and she actually did. She was emotional and convincing; she makes it feel for you what she’s feeling. And of course, it’s always a delight to see her take lead credits in the big screen. Martin del Rosario wasn’t given that much to do, but I like that he’s being given all these breaks because he certainly deserves it. Enrique Gil shows some potential, but tends to resort to overacting in the latter parts of the movie. I find Ejay Falcon’s hair ridiculous, but I think it worked on his advantage in this film. Empress was meh since she wasn’t given a lot of things to do.  I somewhat enjoyed the character actors in this film despite limited screentime, though Nanding Josef was very effective in his two scenes in the film.

The potential with Amorosa was actually there. It just got lost with everything that is happening in the film. If they only focused on one instead of trying to fit in every single thing they can think of, I’m certain we could have seen a better version of this one.

Rating: 2.5 / 5