Archive for the ‘cinema one originals 2012’ Tag

Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2012 Review: Part 3   3 comments

Hey everyone! Cinema One Originals 2012 officially ended yesterday, so this is pretty much a late post, but what the heck. Sadly, I wasn’t able to watch all movies in competition (I missed Aberya, Anak Araw, and Baybayin and not because I watched films in alphabetical order), but ten out of thirteen is still a good record I guess. Anyway, in case you haven’t seen, here’s Part 1 that includes reviews of Mamay Umeng, Mater Dolorosa, Slumber Party, and EDSA XXX. And here is Part 2 which covers Ang Paglalakbay ng Mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim, Pascalina, and Catnip. 

Here’s the third and last part:

Melodrama Negra

Director: Maribel Legarda
Starring: Gee Canlas, Bong Cabrera, Jerald Napoles
Competition: Cinema One Currents

The film has multiple story lines going on. There’s these three recently dead people whose souls are wandering around Manila. Then there’s also a group of three friends, a pair of sisters and a shy man, and a congressman, his conniving son, and his driver. All of them waiting for something before they can move on with their lives.

If anything, the film is loyal to its title. It really tends to go melodramatic every now and then especially during the stories that involved the three wandering souls. But what’s captivating about it is that I bought every minute of it. The movie was over the top, but it was the intention all along, so it definitely served its purpose. Usually, when you hear the comment “iiyak ka, then matatawa ka then maiiyak ka“, it’s easy to dismiss that film since that means it is uneven at best, but not here. It works in the context of the movie.

In true Layeta Bucoy writing fashion, there’s a lot of tagos worthy lines here. I also like the way she made the characters interact with each other. Gee Canlas started pretty annoying at first, but she totally had me with her Sharon Cuneta references. The whole ensemble was serviceable, though my favorite was the whole segment of Arnel Ignacio scene-stealing turn. It was short, but it was really effective. I totally did get why this got the Audience Choice, and I don’t think I’d argue with that decision.

Grade: 3.5/5


Director: Ato Bautista
Starring: Alex Medina, Mara Lopez, Mon Confiado
Competition: Cinema One Currents

A young couple (Alex Medina, Mara Lopez) settles in the poverty stricken Quiapo, but with the husband deep in debts to his employer (Mon Confiado), he gave him a life changing offer.

Known primarily as a homage to the original erotic classic Scorpio Nights, this movie has pretty much big shoes to fill, but to no avail, wasn’t able to give it a proper tribute. There’s too much sex going on, however; too less emotions that the viewers are feeling for the characters. There were also a lot of contrived scenes just to give it a more sexual approach, and the ending was predictable. It is also worthy to mention that the first sex scene between Mara Lopez and Mon Confiado took forever to be over one has to wonder if the target audience was men suffering from erectile dysfunction. The casting was good though; Mon Confiado really gives this creepy boss vibe well, Alex Medina has this raw enthusiasm that is transparent in all of his scenes, and Mara Lopez passes the innocent woman from the province role she had. All in all, it was too inconsistent to effectively work, though there there were some bright spots in it.

Grade: 2.5/5


Director: Richard Somes
Starring: Erich Gonzales, Alfred Vargas, Mark Gil, Joel Torre
Competition: Cinema One Plus

Innocent young lady Maya (Erich Gonzales) travels to Manila in order to find her long seen sister. The moment she sets her foot there, her long journey will lead her to endless horrifying discoveries.

The good things: The production design was top notch, probably my favorite of the year. It was lively, colorful, and sets the mood of this world that Maya entered. Mark Gil and to an extent, Joel Torre, were the clear standouts. Mark was flamboyant and over the top, and he was so into it that such commitment is fun to watch on screen. Torre was also committed, though not given the same chance as Gil.

The bad ones: Given that this runs a two hour mark, I won’t be surprised if people lost interest halfway. There’s nothing solid to hold on to in terms of the characters. Yes it was packed, but I would have been fine with more minutes if it can open the characters a lot more to its viewers. Nevertheless, it was visually stunning, but there’s more than meets the eye.

Grade: 2.5/5

Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2012 Review: Part 2   5 comments

Hi everyone! Before I start with the second of my four part Cinema One coverage, we’d go to a quick update of what has happened since. LOL. First, I managed to see a screening of Arnel Mardoquio’s Ang Paglalakbay ng mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim, and boy was it worth it. Anyway, more of that later. Also, the winners for the festival were already revealed with Pascalina getting Best Picture, Alex Medina and Mara Lopez (both from Palitanreceiving Best Actor and Best Actress respectively, and Catnip‘s Kevin Dayrit winning Best Director.

If you haven’t seen the first part, here’s the link which includes reviews of Dwein Baltazar’s Mamay Umeng, Adolf Alix Jr.’s Mater Dolorosa, Emmanuel dela Cruz’s Slumber Party, and Khavn dela Cruz’s EDSA XXX.

Now, off to the reviews: Ang Paglalakbay ng mga Bituin sa Madilim na Gabi
Director: Arnel Mardoquio
Starring: Fe GingGing Hyde, Irish Karl Monsanto, Roger Gonzalez, Gloria Pearl Dy
Competition: Cinema One Currents

The movie follows the escape of three Muslim rebels, together with a ten year old kid who’s seeking revenge for his parents, in the midst of the Bangsa Moro issues in Mindanao.

To sum this one up,  this film really beautiful. More than the postcard worthy cinematography and the wonderful music all throughout, what captivates me about the film is its simplicity. We get to follow these four people, see their plight, and join their journey. There’s a deeper sense of understanding that this film brings without lecturing its viewers. The movie might be one of the longer ones in the festival, but you’ll never feel bore while watching. The film also boasts of exceptional performances especially from Fe GingGing Hyde and Gloria Pearl Dy who I’ll be rooting for in the coming awards season. Definitely one of the festival’s bests.

Grade: 4.5/5


Director: Pam Miras
Starring: Mara Veronica Santos, PeeWee O’Hara, Cara Eriguel. Alex Medina
Competition: Cinema One Currents

Pascalina (Santos) discovers that she has the blood of an aswang running into her veins. We now follow how she dealt with it and how this changes her life.

Pascalina is a wonderful character study of someone who’s battling her monster within literally and figuratively. This film has the fortune of having an interesting premise that was sustained all throughout. Once Pascalina entered in the scene, you get to be more interested with her and that follows all throughout the movie. I felt that Mara Veronica Santos gave the title role justice, and she was consistent all throughout. Small roles like those of PeeWee O’Hara (who I think was seated beside me during the screening) as the aunt, and Ian Galliguez as the boss were also worthy. The camera used was hit or miss, though. On one hand, it adds to the effect of the “unraveling aswang” while on the other, it can really be distracting.

Grade: 3.5/5


Director: Kevin Dayrit
Starring: Lauren Young, Maxene Magalona, Rommel Luna
Competition: Cinema One Currents

A closer look at the friendship between introvert Liv (Young) who has family issues and Cieca (Magalona) who lives a life that is perfect from the outside but empty on the inside.

For what it’s worth, the whole movie and its premise is interesting. There were a lot of approaches that were unique and some funny bits in it. However, for a film this short (I think it runs 70-75 minutes tops, credits included), the sudden rush of the third act caught everyone off guard and not in a good way. Many times while watching, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that the film is more style, less substance, and while there were some good things in it, there’s a lot left to be desired here. That, or it targets a specific audience that I don’t belong to. Still though, Lauren Young was fantastic in it, and probably her best performance yet (aside from her quick enjoyable stint as Mama Mary in Erik Matti’s Vesuvius).

Grade: 2.5/5

So seven down, six more to go. I’ll continue my Cinema One Originals coverage tomorrow with Gym Lumbera’s Anak Araw, Aureus Solito’s Baybayin, and Christina Linaban’s Aberya.

If you want, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2012 Review: Part 1   5 comments

It’s the time again for Philippine film festivals. While Cinemalaya holds its own on July, December seems to be the busiest month, as we get to have the Cinema One Originals, Cinemanila, and the Metro Manila Film Festival. Isn’t it funny to put MMFF on the same sentence as the other two? Hahaha. Oh well. I’m really finding it hard to fix a schedule this December to cater all of these, but let’s get it on! Last Saturday, I started my Cinema One Originals marathon, and this is the first of my three part festival review.

Disclaimer: I won’t get the chance to see Ang Paglalakbay ng Mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim until Cinemanila, so m review for it will be later than the rest.

Mamay Umeng

Director: Dwein Baltazar
Starring: Gerry Adeva, Sue Prado, Crizzalyn Enriquez
Competition: Cinema One Currents

It follows the life of Mamay Umeng (Gerry Adeva) as he waits for his impending death.

Once the opening shot sets in, it invites you in to this particular atmosphere that makes you a part of the waiting. There’s a lot of long steady shots in here which might not be for impatient casual watchers, but that’s where the film lies its strength. It doesn’t need a lot of dialogue in it, but it speaks a lot more than that. Mamay Umeng’s waiting becomes more interesting when it speaks to you how much he’s already ready about it, yet you still see the things he do and accomplish in the process. It is here where you get to appreciate him more. Plus points to the score in the movie.

Rating: 4/5

Mater Dolorosa

Director: Adolf Alix Jr
Starring: Gina Alajar, Cogie Domingo, Carlo Aquino, Alessandra de Rossi
Competition: Cinema One Plus

The matriarch of a family (Gina Alajar) that is involved with a lot of crime-related businesses is put into a test both as a mother to her family and as a head of their businesses.

As it reminds me more of an Animal Kingdom than a Godfather, what I like about about it is that it gives you a direct portrayal of what it wants you to see. The capability of Lourdes Lagrimas (Alajar) to survive and fight for what’s her is what holds to be the single puzzle piece that connects them all together. And of course, Gina Alajar takes the character of Lourdes a step further by giving her a memorable and impressive portrayal that is worthy of Best Actress nominations. Cinematography was commendable, and a candidate for ensemble of the year. With Kalayaan last Cinemalaya and Mater Dolorosa in a year, Alix’s versatility is definitely more prevalent than ever, and it makes him as one of the more exciting directors around.

Grade: 4.5/5

Slumber Party

Director: Emmanuel dela Cruz
Starring: Archie Alemania, Markki Stroem, RK Bagatsing, Sef Cadayona
Competition: Cinema One Currents

On the eve of Miss Universe 2010 pageant, a slumber party of three gay friends (Alemania, Stroem, Bagatsing) becomes more interesting when they took hostage a neophyte thief (Cadayona) in their house.

No doubt about it, Slumber Party is hilarious and a riot. With that said, it also tends to go overboard most of the time. The drama that ensues mid-way is too much to handle and bordering on cringe-worthy. When it suddenly shifts to comedy, it works again, then it shows another sign of potential to cross over dramatic territory, and it makes you think “When does this end?” If anything, I see it as some sort of parallelism of the characterization of gay people’s friendship in general. The length of the film is too long for me, but I’ll push that it deserves a watch just to see a Best Actor performance from Archie Alemania. Markki Stroem and RK Bagatsing delivered as well, and Sef Cadayona showed real potential especially when he acts only with his eyes (which is most of the time). Also, a flamboyant Nino Muhlach steals the last act of the show.

Grade: 2/5

Director: Khavn dela Cruz
Starring: Jeffrey Quizon, Sheree, Althea Vega
Competition: Cinema One Currents

A musical satire on the impacts of EDSA revolutions on Philippine history.

Pronounced as EDSA Trenta (EDSA XXX), it’s really hard to make a review of movies that were unfinished, and director Khavn dela Cruz mentioned that this is not the complete vision that he had for this film; thus he’s pulling it out from the competition category, but he still gave us a glimpse of what was done so far. From what we’ve seen though, the film can stand on its own and it’s not as if what we’ve been served is a mess. Mind you, this is the first film of him that I’ve seen so there’s no comparison that I can use per se, but I actually liked it. It took me a while before I can finally set in to what he wants to accomplish, but once it got its stride, this is an enjoyable and witty take on EDSA revolution. Lots of LSS-worthy numbers, and I like the use of Corregidor as its setting. The last song lingers the most and makes for an excellent closure to the movie.

Grade: 3.5/5