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2012: The Year in Supporting Actors   Leave a comment

2012 supp actors

Yesterday, we kicked off the awards season here at Tit for Tat with a recap of the year in supporting actresses in local films. For this day, we’d do the counterpart and discuss the year in supporting actors. Mostly, supporting actor roles this year were veteran actors doing comeback films or newbie actors in their first films. Like the pattern yesterday, we’d divide them into three parts:

LEADERS OF THE PACK

If he’s not submitted or inserted in the far crowded Lead Actor category, Thy Womb‘s Bembol Roco can find his name among award giving bodies this year as the husband of Nora Aunor who wanted to have a child of his own. Ronaldo Valdez seems like that he will be a staple to as Bea Alonzo’s benefactor in The Mistress. Filmfest Best Supporting Actor winner Cesar Montano is also gaining notices as the standout from the ensemble of El Presidente playing the role of hero Andres Bonifacio. Relatively younger actor Zanjoe Marudo had two award worthy performances this year: as one of the soldiers in Adolf Alix’s Kalayaan, though I can see award giving bodies going for his showier performance as Tristan in the drama One More Try. Round up the top five is the comical and scene stealing performance of Joey Marquez as the passive and under da saya husband of Janice de Belen in Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles.

MIDDLE TIER

After the top five, these men’s performances can also see a nomination or two from these award giving bodies: versatile actor Art Acuña can do back to back wins at the Urian and Golden Screen for his performance as the head of police in the Cinemalaya entry Posas. Veteran actor Mark Gil can do a comeback at the awards circuit in his flashy performance as Frankie in Mariposa sa Hawla ng Gabi. No stranger to awards, Carlo Aquino can also pick up nominations for his turn as the younger son in Adolf Alix’s Mater Dolorosa while older brother Cogie Domingo also has buzz from the same film. The same can be said for Cinemalaya Supporting Actor winner Joross Gamboa playing as one of JM de Guzman’s friends in Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino. Kristoffer Martin, playing lazy younger brother to another Kristoffer (King, that is) who does not want to live a poverty stricken life in Oros can be a candidate as well. If voters are much in love with El Presidente, then Andres Bonifacio might not be the only hero nominated in this category. Christopher de Leon‘s Anotnio Luna can be in the running as well. Joel Torre might gain some notices too, if voters are kinder to Mariposa for his role as Primo, the butcher. Ogie Alcasid‘s one hit wonder slash understanding father to Sam Concepcion might pick up some notices as well for his performance in I Do Bidoo Bidoo. Lastly, Patrick Sugui can also get nominated especially in award giving bodies that has new actors of the year categories as the frat neophyte in Gino Santos’s The Animals.

THE REST OF THE RACE

As for the rest of the race, one can also take a look into the performances of Mon Confiado as the boss who has the hots for one of his employees’ wife in Palitan, Sef Cadayona as the hostage of three gay friends in Slumber Party, corrupt politician Menggie Cobarrubias whose family was put into a test in Graceland, and the pair of Mariposa actors Dennis Padilla as the cop who wants a promotion and Alfred Vargas as Carlos, the boyfriend of Erich Gonzales’s sister in the movie. Looking further, other performances that might be up for consideration were newcomer Nicolas Varela in Aberya, Robert Arevalo as Vilma Santos’ now healthy father in The Healing, Baron Geisler’s Spanish soldier performance in El Presidente, Sid Lucero as one of the Abu Sayyaf members in Captive, and Niño Muhlach as fairy gaymother in Slumber Party.

That’s it! That’s just 25 names, but it gives award giving bodies a lot of options to choose from in next year’s awards derby. Tomorrow, spotlight for the leading actors of the year will be given.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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REVIEW: Suddenly It’s Magic   6 comments

After a string of horror, comedy, and flat out drama movies the past few months, Star Cinema goes back to one of its strongest genre by doing a romance film. Suddenly It’s Magic stars Filipina Erich Gonzales and Thai superstar Mario Maurer and helmed by one of their top notch directors, Rory B. Quintos.

Thai superstar Marcus Hanson (Mario Maurer) is in a personal and professional burnout, so he escaped to the Philippines in order to get much deserved rest. There, he met provincial lass Joey (Erich Gonzales), whom he felt a strong connection with. Joey was mending a broken heart, and the two find each other’s company special. Once Marcus goes back to Thailand, the two must adjust to the conditions of their previous lives in order to maintain their relationship.

As for starters, this film was obviously greenlit due to Maurer’s sudden popularity in the Philippines. With that said, I already left my expectations before I entered the cinemas. I knew this will have the same predictable and recycled subplots especially since there seems no room left for a more creative one or interesting story to tackle. And boy was I surprisingly correct. One can see what will happen a mile away, and the only thing that will make you gasp is… how correct you are! Fiesta scenes? Check. Upstaging gay best friend? Check. Girl falling over the boy? Check. It’s as if someone was tasked to collect different scenes from past rom-coms and combine them here.

There also seems to be some major continuity issues here and there, such as hair colors and the language used. Are we supposed to believe that when Joey’s character speaks Taglish, Marcus’s character will really understand the whole context of it? Some storylines were also just dropped off in the middle of the film, with no signs of even coming back.

Despite that, I still find a handful of interesting things to see in the film. I like the scene where Marcus’s mother is talking to Joey. This highlights what the different approach in acting we have from them. A scene that could have been histrionically portrayed here was calm yet full of impact delivered by the Thai mother. There was also the language play with Thais being forced to speak in English in some parts that sacrifices the impact of the movie. I also notice how Rory Quintos has this knack of showing beautiful cinematographic scenes to envelope the watchers to be a part of it (though it was done better in Kailangan Kita)

The camera really loves Mario Maurer’s face, and there’s no bad angles of him. I recall the whole cinema going wild every time he has a close up scene. Time and again, Maurer has proven that he has the chops (Love of Siam anyone?), though it still depends on the material he was given to. In here, he was not required to do much except to be cute and charming, and that’s not difficult for him to do. Erich Gonzales captures the naive woman effectively, and she seems to be a fit to Mario’s mestizo features. The supporting characters were alright, and while Joross Gamboa’s gay best friend was a crowd favorite, the role has been done a thousand times now and has already lost most of its magic. My favorite though is every scene that involves Thai actress Baifern Pimchanok, as I was smitten by her.

All in all, this one seems predictable as the other romance movies, but one thing that it genuinely and successfully achieved is the charm of the two lead characters. With that, there’s no wonder, it will be a hit to its definite target audience.

Grade: 2.5/5

8th Cinemalaya Film Festival Review: Part 1   7 comments

The biggest Philippine independent film festival has already begun, and this year marks the 8th edition of Cinemalaya. I’ve been going back and forth at the CCP for the last few days, so I can watch all the participating movies both in the New Breed and Directors Showcase categories. Here’s the first of my four part Cinemalaya reviews:

MGA MUMUNTING LIHIM
Director: Jose Javier Reyes
Starring: Judy Ann Santos, Iza Calzado, Janice de Belen, and Agot Isidro
Competition: Directors Showcase

When Mariel (Santos) died, she left a box to her best friend Carla (Calzado) containing all of her diaries back when she started writing one. As Carla reads all of them, secrets between her, Mariel, Sandra (Isidro), and Olive (de Belen) started to affect their friendship.

This is Jose Javier Reyes’ first foray into indie filmmaking, and this shows some potential. I have issues with the treatment of the movie as a whole, and the sound seems to inconsistent at times. However, whatever issues you have with the film won’t bother you that much when you focus on the two greatest aspects of the movie: the writing and the acting. Reyes’s lines seem straight out of his personal journal as well, and it’s pretty obvious that he has a lot of inspiration when he was writing this. While one may think that it may be exaggerated, I claim to say that it is rather truthful. The other strength lies within the acting; the four leads can carry the whole film on their shoulders and yet remain as interesting. The chemistry was prevalent, and whether it was Iza’s stares, Judai’s facial expressions, Agot’s delivery, or Janice’s cussing, it was all very natural. Part of me thinks that they did cast lesser known actors as it’s difficult to hold up with this great ensemble. That alone is worth the ticket. All in all, it was a very realistic portrayal of friendship that is relatable to everyone.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

KAMERA OBSKURA
Director: Raymond Red
Starring: Ping Medina, Joel Torre, Nanding Josef
Competition: Directors Showcase

A man locked inside a cell for many years finally makes his way out and as he gets to see the reality of the world when he mysteriously traveled a building with a video camera in hand as he sees activities of betrayal and corruption left and right.

I admit that this is the film that I’m excited the most; thus, it has the highest expectations I have for the whole festival, and it certainly did not live up to its expectations. For one, the potential was there; but the treatment was pretty redundant especially the first and last scene where they almost used the same script, as I feel it did not gel well with the rest of the film. For a silent film, I find it too loud with all the unnecessary sound effects used. Add the fact that it was too wordy as well. I also had issues with the too much “in your face” with the message that it wants to deliver. Still, there were also great spots that the film possesses. One, Pen Medina was charismatic in the lead role and suits with the direction Red wants to be in to. Even his son Ping Medina (who played the young Pen) was a treat albeit short appearance. I also like the visuals of the film, as they were detailed, and parallel to the message it wants to present. For what it’s worth, this one suffers from some issues but still brings in a pretty much enjoyable film watching experience.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

INTOY SYOKOY NG KALYE MARINO
Director: Lemuel Lorca
Starring: JM de Guzman, LJ Reyes, Joross Gamboa
Competition: New Breed

Intoy (de Guzman), now living alone, learns that the love of his life Doray (Reyes) is the town’s prostitute. Now he tries his best to earn an extra amount of money so they can both start life anew, until a new set of unsolvable problems lead their way.

At times, the movie tends to be pretty formulaic with the sequence of events happening in the film. I also noticed some repetitive shots in various scenes in the movie. However, the heart and soul of the film is Intoy himself. JM de Guzman was captivating and heartbreaking as the lead character. You can feel the energy, the enthusiasm, the heartbreak, and the innocence in his face. He was perfectly casted, and he definitely delivered. LJ Reyes was also excellent as Doray Langaw, and his chemistry with de Guzman is palpable. I also particularly liked how they made Kalye Marino as another character in the movie bringing it to life and translating it to the audience. The movie somehow can’t prevent itself from going poverty porn at times, but I totally bought the emotions they showed especially the one between the two leads.

Rating: 3 / 5

KALAYAAN
Director: Adolf Alix Jr.
Starring: Ananda Everingham, Zanjoe Marudo, Luis Alandy
Competition: Directors Showcase

A soldier living alone in Kalayaan Islands deals a daily repetitive schedule as he spends his last few remaining days in the middle of the Erap impeachment trial.

I was surprised to learn that this is already Adolf Alix’s 20th movie, but seeing this shows that he has already mastered his craft and has achieved growth if you go way back to his earlier films. I actually find this film very therapeutic; each scene brings you right where the character is, and the good thing about it is that it lingers. I particularly liked how we just go with the flow with Victor (Everingham) feeling for him, understanding him, and living with him. Once the characters of Zanjoe Marudo (who definitely brought humor and comedic relief) and Luis Alandy, we tend to get more intrigued, yet understand the life that they are living in Kalayaan Islands. This one has part fantasy, part horror, and part comedy, but the sum is greater than all of its parts. I really like the cinematography, and the musical score above everything else. Once the credits rolled, you feel that you’ve known enough yet you ask some more. This is probably my favorite film for this year’s festival, and for the year (so far) as well.

Rating: 4.5 / 5