Archive for the ‘cinema one originals’ Tag

Top Local Movies of 2013   3 comments

Last year, I opened my list by saying that 2012 was an enjoyable year in local cinema. Turns out, I was speaking way too soon because 2013 turned out to be an even better one. To say it is great is probably a hyperbole, but at the same time, I say it with much conviction (and even an understatement). The medium of cinema has never been more exciting and adventurous in the past few years than what the 2013 batch has offered. That goes without saying that it didn’t have its share of misfires and mess, but then again, this year is too strong to focus on that. Three titles you wouldn’t see on the list, however, are Lav Diaz’ Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, Alvin Yapan’s Mga Anino ng Kahapon, and Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita, because I was foolish enough to miss them during their run. With that said, here are my 15 picks for the best in 2013 local cinema:

15. Tuhog

15. TUHOG (Veronica Velasco)

Maindie is one of those terms that sounded so forced you don’t want to hear it ever again, but this Veronica Velasco film of three intertwined stories connected by an unfortunate incident gives it a free pass to be used just this time. Each of the three sub-stories provided interesting characters and back stories that any of them could have been further fleshed out to a whole film. But then again, maybe that’s one of the film’s asset? The movie also boasts of a fitting soundtrack to its story, and the end result is one of 2013’s most fresh mainstream or in this case, maindie, offerings.

14 Otso

14. OTSO (Elwood Perez)

Otso is director Elwood Perez’ first film in ten years, and in this case, it is really worth the wait. I think that doesn’t apply on waiting for Elwood’s comeback only, but for the film as well. Otso started in scenes that were still in multicolor, but it just sets up for an even better film once it turns black and white. I don’t think I’ve necessarily picked up everything that the film wants to show, but it’s part of its appeal. It lures you to its world where the crazy and the wicked happens, and you’re simply hooked.

13. Babagwa

13. BABAGWA (Jason Paul Laxamana)

One of the two Audience choice winners at last year’s Cinemalaya, it’s easy to see why a lot fell in love with this film. Its humor is one that appeals to everyone. But digging deeper, I think it speaks a lot to the curious and inquisitive nature of ourselves. In here, we see two people fleshing out two different personas of each, and we, as the audience, are the witness to all of it. It’s such an engaging scenario that by the time the slow reveal at the end happens, you probably have an idea of what’s about to happen yet you still want to see it happen. It also boasts of an inspired screenplay and one that speaks of the current times.

12. Boy Golden

12. BOY GOLDEN SHOOT TO KILL: The Arturo Porcuna Story (Chito Rono)

I’ve been quite dismissive of this MMFF entry just because it’s Jorge Estregan with a leading lady almost half his age yet again, but I guess surprises do come when you least expect it. Not only does this film serve as a perfect throwback to the yesteryears of enjoyable action flicks, we’re also served with its topnotch technical achievements. The twists and turns of thew characters here, plus that out of nowhere scenes that provided the camp makes it a good reminder that every now and then, never judge a movie by its horribly made poster.

11. Kabisera

11. KABISERA (Alfonso Torre III)

Yes I’m not here for that Breaking Bad comparisons simply because they are two different films that happened to have some similarities. it happens, but I don’t see any “copying” between these two. In Borgy Torre’s directorial debut, Kabisera shows us how one family man’s dreams happen and its good and bad repercussions not only to him but to the people around him. Anchored with a commanding performance by Joel Torre (one of his two this year) and a really great supporting ensemble, Kabisera is really thrilling as it can get.

10. Quick Change

10. QUICK CHANGE (Eduardo Roy Jr.)

Eduardo Roy Jr.’s follow up has a dark humorous tone in it that is simply irresistible. Just like how the characters in the film get totally pumped over having those “shots” that lead character Dorina provides to them, we are really drawn and addicted to what happens. It gives us a peak into this world which not many of us are particularly adept about, and it does a great job in doing so. That of course, and lead actor Mimi Juareza’s haunting turn in it.

09. Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na

09. BUKAS NA LANG SAPAGKAT GABI NA (Jet Leyco)

One of the common themes I noticed among the Cinema One Originals entries this year is that the films are more experimental in nature. Jet Leyco’s Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na provides a mysterious atmosphere that makes you more interested as the film goes on. It is weird and eerie and that’s what make it work. The film, in its own nature, has a great grasp of what it wants to show in a really inspired manner (the handheld camera effect, black and white parts, gunshot sounds), and it  makes the whole viewing more enjoyable. It’s one film I think I’ll enjoy more in repeat viewings.

08. Purok 7

08. PUROK 7 (Carlo Obispo)

A portrait of an optimistic girl living in small rural town was vividly depicted in Carlo Obispo’s debut feature Purok 7. As we follow the story of 14 year old Diana and her younger brother, we were given an escape, thanks to the eye catching scenery of the country side. But more than that, we witnessed and felt the agony of two kids who have long wanted to be a part of something and be a part of a family. The simplicity of it all is what makes this whole thing fresh, endearing, and leaves a lasting impression.

07. Transit

07. TRANSIT (Hannah Espia)

As the overall winner of last year’s Cinemalaya New Breed category, Hannah Espia’s debut effort Transit is an achievement on so many levels. Not only does its display of technical achievements noteworthy, but its storytelling was also seamlessly interwoven. It’s not everyday that we see this kind of potential on a first time full feature, but for this particular effort, Espia manages to hit the right buttons. And as a bonus, it even ended up as the country’s Oscar Foreign Language Film submission.

06. Blue Bustamante

06. BLUE BUSTAMANTE  (Miko Lovelo)

OFW movies have been done to death already during the past decade, but first time director Miko Livelo puts a new spin on it in his Cinema One Originals entry Blue Bustamante. The expected dramatic scenes were instead replaced with an earned sentimentality that just wins you over. As main protagonist George, Joem Bascon was such a delight to watch as he finds a replacement work in Japan that will not only bring in the money but an even closer bond to his son and family who are miles apart. It’s definitely one of the most fun times I had at the movies for 2013.

05. Debosyon

05. DEBOSYON (Alvin Yapan)

Hypnotizing right from the start, this tale of one’s faith and acceptance  – may it be because of love or commitment or just one’s mere existence – is one that lingers even after the credits roll.  The film, which also is aided by minimal dialogues but really magnificent visuals, takes its viewers to some breathless imagery. The movie rested solely on its two lead’s but they did more than what they were asked for. Plus, the last 20 minutes of this film is still one of the bests I’ve see for this year.

04. Iskalawags

04. ISKALAWAGS (Keith Deligero)

Like OFW films, coming of age films have been done to death now, but Keith Deligero’s refreshing approach in the Cinema One entry Iskalwags puts a more inspired approach to it. It’s not hard to fall for the film as it certainly evokes an environment that is light and not totally sentimental. It sparks a certain touch of youth and playfulness that is rarely captured this well on screen. The voice over also adds a more interesting spin, and it features an ensemble whose innocence translates in a totally natural manner.

03. On the Job

03. ON THE JOB (Erik Matti)

Probably one of the most buzzed films of the year, this picture depicts a setting of a dirty and very complex government; one which needed more than just a person who has an optimistic view to eradicate it and start anew.  It is through this core notion where these characters live and breathe, as Erik Matti gives us a more than satisfying crime action thriller that is gripping and at at the same time, really, really timely. It’s one of the rare movie experiences that makes you even sadder as you come out of the theaters because of how easy one can reflect and connect it to what’s really going on.

02. Sana Dati

02. SANA DATI (Jerrold Tarog)

The cinema has given us lots of love stories. Most of them with happy endings, while some were flat out tragedies.  In Jerrold Tarog’s closing effort to his camera trilogy, he uses the notion of whether to stay stagnant or to let go as a path to understand how love really works. In the case of Lovi Poe’s Andrea, it’s a hard task, especially when you’re ready to move on yet a reminder of the past shows up hours before you’re ready to take the jump. Sana Dati is one of the best stories about love I’ve seen in a long time. And there’s no other way to end the film that with Up Dharma Down’s Indak.

01. Badil

01. BADIL (Chito Rono)

At one point, it doesn’t even seem that this would make it at the Sineng Pambansa festival last August. But thankfully, it did. Chito Rono’s entry which focuses in a small Samar town on the eve of election day is as arresting as one can get. Like On the Job, it’s a depiction of what’s wrong in a society, but this one is less technically polished but of the same, if not even more, intensity. It’s a film that has a lot of long continuous shots, probably making the whole experience more captivating. It also has a good ensemble with a very intense Jhong Hilario leading the ship.  Badil was an entry in the All Master’s Edition of the Sineng Pambansa, and with his controlled and almost restrained direction, Rono definitely lives up to the challenge.

You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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Top Local Movies of 2012   8 comments

2012 in cinema is probably one of the most enjoyable in a while. I liked a lot of the movies that I’ve seen this year, (though maybe I really avoided the bad ones? LOL), and a lot of these films would have topped any other weaker years. On top of that, we’ve also seen a lot of impeccable performances from these films. Mind you, while I have seen 60+ local films this year, there’s a lot left still to be seen. Despite that, I feel that 2012 is one of the better years in recent Filipino cinema, and here are 12 reasons why:

Unofficially Yours

12: UNOFFICIALLY YOURS

Arguably, the best output from commercial filmmaking this year is this Cathy Garcia Molina’s relationship story between two people that sprouted from a one night stand. Molina has really mastered how to make supposedly conventional studio produced films more engaging and interesting. Also, watch out for John Lloyd Cruz and Angel Locsin’s palpable chemistry here.

MNL 143

11. MNL 143

I’m a sucker of travel/road movies. With that said, Emerson Reyes’s first feature length film is a poignant love story of a man (Allan Paule) who’s looking for the woman of his life is something that’s easier to relate to; not the search per se, but the longing and the optimism for it to finally arrive is a familiar feeling that can resonate well to its viewers.

Requieme

10. REquieme!

Loy Arcenas’ consecutive Cinemalaya entry is a dark comedy that focuses on Swanie, a barangay captain who involves herself as a relative of a suspect in an international murder case. With a witty screenplay and Shamaine Buencamino’s effective portrayal as Swanie and breakthrough talent Anthony Falcon, the movie is definitely one of 2012’s brightest spots.

Pascalina

09. PASCALINA

This Cinema One Originals winner which was also Pam Miras’s feature debut about one’s self discovery about her monsters within is one of the surprise entries in my list. Not because it is bad, but because I liked and appreciated it better days after seeing it. Oh, and if Maria Veronica Santiago’s performance in the title role won’t charm you enough, then I don’t know what will.

Ang Nawawala

08. ANG NAWAWALA

Another first feature effort this year, this time by Marie Jamora, Ang Nawawala is bound to be a cult classic. Yes, it probably caters to a younger crowd, to those in the middle status, or to those who are into local music scene, but one universal thing that I sure can relate to is how it connects you back to yourself. Plus points for the eye candy production design and the compilation soundtrack.

Bwakaw

07. BWAKAW

The Philippines’ submission to the Oscar Foreign Language Film category this year (and its best submission in years, I must say) is this little gem by Jun Lana about an old gay man living alone with only his dog named Bwakaw, and how he tries to make the most out of his remaining days. It’s just one of the most heartfelt films of the year that makes you laugh and cry while watching. Also, Eddie Garcia’s performance is to watch for here.

Thy Womb

06. THY WOMB

Brillante Mendoza’s Venice entry this year is also the comeback vehicle of one of the Philippines’ greatest actresses to date, the Superstar Nora Aunor. I guess my favorite aspect of the film is how it showcased to us this little gem of a place called Tawi-Tawi, and how the film introduced us to its culture. That, and of course La Aunor’s towering performance in it.

Ang Paglalakbay ng Mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim

05. ANG PAGLALAKBAY NG MGA BITUIN SA GABING MADILIM

My favorite from the whole Cinema One Originals bunch this year is Arnel Mardoquio’s feature about the escape of three Muslim rebels, together with a ten year old child in the midst of the Bangsa Moro issues in Mindanao. But unlike any previous Mindanao related war-themed films, this one stands out because it’s  does not lecture you. And within this silence is where the actual emotions linger.

Give Up Tomorrow

04. GIVE UP TOMORROW

This Filipino/Spanish/American production directed by Michael Collins on what was labeled as the trial of the century in the Philippines (the involvement of  Paco Larrañaga to the disappearance of the Chiong sisters) is one film that probably triggered the most emotions while watching. The film for the most part was half maddening and half heartbreaking. But it probably contains one of my most favorite quotes of the year when Paco said “If you want to give up, give up tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, then give up tomorrow.

Aparisyon

03. APARISYON

Vincent Sandoval’s Cinemalaya entry about the secluded lives of nuns in a monastery in 1972. The film’s strength lies in its capability to build an atmosphere that was intense and arresting that once the movie hits it middle part, you just feel as if you’re a part of it. If you’re into the technical aspect, this movie also boasts of a complete top notch production values: neat production design,  applicable costumes, captivating cinematography, polished editing, and haunting score.

Graceland

02. GRACELAND

Ron Morales’s Tribeca entry about a loyal driver caught in the middle of his congressman employer’s paying of sins is as intense as one can get. Fifteen minutes in, there’s already a shooting scene. And the rest of the movie was packed with emotional punches, as it dwells with questions about one’s choices in life. Is this the correct choice? What happens when it’s not? Where do we go next? Also, Arnold Reyes’s terrific performance as the driver is a must see.

Kalayaan

01. KALAYAAN

And my top pick for local cinema this year is Adolf Alix’s Kalayaan. On the outside, it’s about a soldier solely stationed in the Kalayaan islands and a run on his daily activities, until two additional soldiers were sent there with him. The first hour of the film solely shows on the day to day routine of Julian. Rarely any dialogue was spoken in it, but the message was effectively sent. Once the credits rolled, you feel that you’ve known enough yet it will also prompt you to ask some more. Definitely my favorite film of the year!

Well that’s it! What are your favorite local movies of the year? In case you are wondering, the reason why there’s no top international picks yet is because I’m still catching up on a lot of the Oscar movies til the next two months. So I guess, you can expect my list by March.

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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

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

Palitan

PALITAN
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

Mariposa

MARIPOSA SA HAWLA NG GABI
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
ANG PAGLALAKBAY NG MGA BITUIN SA GABING MADILIM
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

Pascalina

PASCALINA
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

Catnip

CATNIP
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

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

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

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

EDSA XXX
EDSA XXX
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