Archive for the ‘gerald anderson’ 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.

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REVIEW: OTJ (On the Job)   1 comment

on the job

Fresh from their successful run at the Directors’ Fortnight section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival last May, Erik Matti’s crime thriller finally find its way into Philippine theaters, as Star Cinema and Reality Entertainment release OTJ (On the Job) which stars Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Joel Torre, and Joey Marquez among others.

Inspired by true events, the film gives an extensive depiction of how some jailed members were being released from prison every now and then as they’re assigned with the task of killing people under orders from the wealthy and influential.  In the film, the specific gunmen happens to be Tatang (Joel Torre) and his protege Daniel (Gerald Anderson) who is being groomed to be his replacement once he retires. Tatang takes and trains Daniel under his wing as they do their assignments. On the flipside, there’s NBI official Francis Coronel, Jr. (Piolo Pascual) who was tasked to take over these said cases, as well as police office Acosta (Joey Marquez).  Once their paths crossed provides conflict in the film.

There’s a lot of great things to say about this, but If there’s a clear standout in it, no doubt it is Erik Matti. His slick direction is the main core which holds the film together and gives it the necessary oomph. I like how he weaves these scenes and events seamlessly which makes for an intense and thrilling ride. The rest of the technical achievements were on point as well, with Richard Somes’ production design and Francis Buhay III’s cinematography portraying Manila in a very artistic and sensible manner, that of a series of tasteful photographs that’s well done.

The story and pacing smoothly complimented each other. I like how the intensity just builds up right from the get go during the first scene up until the last one. The chase and fight scenes were tastefully pulled off. It’s also great to see characters that were fleshed out especially that of the three main characters. We get to know them more instead of simply just following what they do. This is one of the things I like about the film in terms of characterization, we get a glimpse of their individual lives as opposed to just going right at the center of the conflict.

This film pretty much shows what an ensemble really is. There are really no small roles here, as everyone’s given something to do and they all did their parts well. Gerald Anderson’s greatest acting achievement prior to this is a television stint as mentally challenged Budoy, but this character suits him like a glove and challenges his acting chops for the better. It’s nothing new to claim that Joel Torre is a great actor, but this will probably end up as one of his most memorable turns in his discography. Piolo Pascual is the good guy of course, so this isn’t much of a stretch for him, but it’s great to see that he wasn’t phoning it in. But, I like how Erik Matti brings out the best in Joey Marquez. He already gave us a glimpse of it in last year’s Tiktik, but this was more prevalent in here. Special props to Vivian Velez’ kick ass role.

Given everything that’s actually happening in the country right now, one can somehow juxtapose this with the events in the film too. This will probably make the experience more insightful for others in terms of understanding the events or the aftermath of it. Films that make a statement is a hit or miss for me, but I like that this one doesn’t spoonfeed it to the audience.

I would have loved to see the version that was shown at Cannes since I’ve learned that it was slightly different from what was shown here. Nevertheless, On the Job is such a breath of fresh air in terms of current Philippine cinema effectively combining style and substance in a savvy manner. I might as well say it’s one (if not the) movie event of the year.

Rating: 5/5

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REVIEW: 24/7 in Love   4 comments

247 in Love

24/7 in Love is every Kapamilya’s dream come true. It combines a lot of their favorite Star Magic artists which makes it a dream come true for these teen and network driven audience that seems to be the film’s target. Just when you thought that Cinco is already crowded when it fits five stories in a film, then you’d be surprised to find out that this one incorporated seven stores in it.

The main story involves Jane (Kathryn Bernardo) who wants to meet her biggest crush who happens to be singing heartthrob Billy Fernandez (Daniel Padilla). In order to do that, she must enter a video contest that begs the question “What will you do if the world ends on December 21?” The approach Jane used in it is to interview random people to ask for their answers, and that served as the common link to the other six categories. Not the laziest methinks, but not the most creative as well.

The first interviewee happens to be forty year old virgin Virginia (Pokwang), and knowing that the world is about to end, the only thing she wants to do is end the drought as well. Coming from a heartbreak from long time boyfriend, her friend set her up on a male prostitute hiring site which led her to meet Charles (Sam Milby). Apparently, it was Charles first time in the business as he’s only doing it for fast cash. Among all the stories, this seems to be the most loyal to the recurring theme of what will you do til the world end. Pokwang and Sam Milby has this fun chemistry that it’s not weird to watch at all.

The second story involved Barbara (Maja Salvador) who’s head over heels over his playboy bachelor boss Ken (Diether Ocampo). There’s not a lot that happened in this part, though it’s always a joy to see Maja Salvador on screen. She’s just so natural and comfortable to watch. Diether Ocampo, on the other hand, has already proven himself before, but it seems that not being on the screen for quite some time can make your acting look dull especially when you’re paired with an energetic actress like Maja.

Next story is about a gay and a girl bestfriend between Isabella (Bea Alonzo) and Butch (Zanjoe Marudo). As Isabella realizes that she’s starting to like her bestfriend who happens to have the same preference with boys as her. This one is a case of friendship and where one draws the line in pursuing the next step. While watching this episode, I’m just really amazed with how beautiful Bea Alonzo is. I have already mentioned it before in my The Mistress review, but she really just radiates the screen. Zanjoe Marudo was convincing at most times, and their chemistry works. I just find the story too long especially since after it’s two predecessors were fast and resolved quickly.

The fourth story involves heartbroken Verna (Angelica Panganiban) who mends a broken heart in Vietnam, and there she meets Pinoy bartender Elvis (John Lloyd Cruz). It was a fast encounter; too fast that things ended real fast as well. With that said, this is my favorite among the series, and probably one that can stand as a lone film. There’s too much that one can explore here, and this gives a tight and mature portrayal that stands out among these bubblegum love stories. Angelica and John Lloyd clicked naturally, and both were good in their individual scenes.

Piolo Pascual headlines the next part as Pipoy, which is reminiscent of the famous Gerald Anderson character Budoy. He and his constant buddy Jomar (Zaijan Jaranilla) are the closest of them all, and that involves him doing all the tricks for Jomar’s crush Ayee (Xyriel Manabat) to like him. When a confused Ayee thought that it was Pipoy who was doing the movies to her, Pipoy and Jomar’s friendship was put to a test. This is one of the fun episodes in the series, as it showcases how Zaijan and Xyriel are the best child actors of their generation and has cemented their status to join the club of the best child stars ever. Piolo, despite not being totally relegated to supporting status, was good as well. This is probably the episode that will leave you with a smile when it ends.

The last one is about childhood sweethearts Patty (Kim Chiu) and Alvin (Gerald Anderson). After graduating from high school, Patty left to pursue his dreams leaving Alvin behind. Now as an intern in an ad agency, she gets the task of finding the local town hero who happens to be Alvin. The material they worked on was one of the weaker ones in the series, but it was fun seeing over the top Maricar Reyes as the boss from hell, and the Kimerald team together. However, it seems as if the whole episode was just focused on exploiting Gerald Anderson’s body by making him run in slow mo with only his undies on, or have him take his shirt off.

The whole movie closes by going back to the first story which involves a song number and a not so surprising appearance by all the previous couples in the venue with Kathniel taking the spotlight in this one. I’m not surprised but I’m stunned that every time either Daniel Padilla or Kathryn Bernardo appears on screen, the whole cinema goes crazy.

All in all, the movie was uneven at best, and that’s because of the too many stories which were unbalanced. With that said, it was definitely entertaining with some premises worth of being uncovered better. I find it more of a Valentines Day than a Love Actually.

Grade: 3/5

REVIEW: Won’t Last a Day Without You   26 comments

Star Cinema’s second installment to the Sarah Geronimo-Gerald Anderson team up faces a tough challenge as it follows the record breaking one two punch of No Other Woman and Praybeyt Benjamin. However, with the good word of mouth that this movie deserves to get, this will definitely be a blockbuster on its own.

As for starters, both Sarah and Gerald are playing new characters. Sarah plays DJ Heidi, a famous radio love adviser, while Gerald is Andrew Escalona, a former playboy slash car lover. When Heidi accidentally convinces a caller to break up with his boyfriend (which happened to be Andrew), chaos and romance simultaneously overlaps giving love an infamous image.

Some disclaimers first: I’m a big Sarah Geronimo fanboy, and I’ve seen all of her starrer films on the first day of showing. There’s really something about her that makes her films appealing and relaxing to watch. Her high pitch delivery, together with her witty facial expressions, did not miss a beat in this film. Gerald Anderson has really came a long way from his Big Brother stint, as he had already mastered the romantic stare and proper angles to the camera. There are times when you can see his Budoy character in some deliveries, but I bet that people will forget that the moment he takes off his shirt. Special mention is given to Joey de Leon, in his most natural and enjoyable role in a while. His rock star character lights up the scene and gives it a natural and charming feeling that complimented Geronimo’s and Anderson’s chemistry.

I’ve learned that this is director’s Raz de la Torre’s first feature, and he did a good job with it. You can feel the enthusiasm and overflowing ideas of the director, yet he did not overdo any of his scenes, something that most first time directors are too conscious about that they miss the point of avoiding it. de la Torre is a good balance to the cast’s overwhelming presence, and hats off that he did not give in to the very tempting “overdone” effect. I’m also interested to know how much of the script was adlib and how much was not. There were a lot of very catchy and memorable lines there.

Don’t get me wrong; this is not a perfect film. Of course, there’s the usual rushed Star Cinema technical difficulties which happened to majority of their films. It’s also somehow long, but it’s not overdone. There were some unnecessary scenes, but it won’t bother you that much.

All in all, this is a good film. You already know what the ending will be like the moment you entered the cinemas, but it’s the journey on the way to the predicted conclusion that stood out here. Won’t Last a Day Without You is a nice, refreshing film that showed some potentials. If you see people not smiling when they came out of the cinema, then they weren’t able to experience love at one point in their lives. 🙂

Grade: B+

Posted November 30, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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