Hi everyone! I have been terribly busy the last few weeks, but I’ll try my best to catch up on local cinema for this year. So instead of doing full reviews for each, I’ll try to tackle them in small dosages. Most of these I’ve seen during their release but doesn’t have the time to write a full review, some I caught up on, and some via other sources *wink*. Anyway, here are six more films from 2013’s collection:
MENOR DE EDAD
Director: Joel Lamangan
Cast: Meg Imperial, Ara Mina, Wendell Ramos, Jaycee Parker, Chynna Ortaleza
2013’s kick off local movie is Joel Lamangan’s socio-political drama Menor de Edad which aims to provide an honest and raw look of the slum life by focusing on a story of juvenile teenagers living in the squatters area. While the intention was there, viewers might get lost as Lamangan goes back and forth to documentary approach and the melodramatic aspects of the film. Scenes were mostly contrived and there were too many plots running that it’s hard for anything to stand out; in the end, all seemed half baked versions of what they really wanted to achieve. The cast was okay, though I can’t help but see them relying on scenery chewing approach of acting which made the over the top story… more over the top.
Director: Peque Gallaga
Cast: Richard Gutierrez, Solenn Heusaff, Sarah Labhati, Jay Manalo, Al Tantay
Fatal Attraction meets Unfaithful is the theme of Peque Gallaga’s 2013 drama which centers the character of fireman Ram in a choice between two babes: Trina, the one he likes, and Sophia, the one he’s concerned about. It also did not help that Trina is reserved while Sophia can be the answer to his family’s financial obligations. I appreciate the fact that this could have been a good character study of the main characters (particularly Ram and to a certain extent, Sophia), but it wasn’t as interesting as what I expected it to be. I saw some of the classic Peque Gallaga shots in terms of the angles and framing in his shots which maintained interest to say the least, but his actors let him down. It seemed as if it was a battle of “Who can act the worst?” among the three lead stars. It’s a case of seeing the film go one step forward, then two steps behind, and by the time the movie ended, we’re there at the same place where it started.
A MOMENT IN TIME
Director: Emmanuel Palo
Cast: Coco Martin, Julia Montes, Gabby Concepcion, Cherie Gil, Zsazsa Padilla
Star Cinema’s Valentine’s offering this year is composed of one of 2012’s television’s favorite couples: Coco Martin and Julia Montes via A Moment in Time. This story of “strangers getting to know each other though bounded by fate before they even met each other” is a hit or miss for me. For one, Coco Martin and Julia Montes really has a chemistry that was visible in the movie, but on the other hand, I don’t think I already have recovered from their age differences. More than that though, once the back stories of both their characters were revealed (which happened during the earlier part of the film), it’s pretty predictable already. Sure Coco Martin made the whole audience kilig, I still don’t think he has found the suitable mainstream project for him. Plus points though since Amsterdam was really good to look at, and for Cherie Gil’s straight faced delivery of the line “Mukha ba akong kontrabida sa isang pelikula?“
THE BRIDE AND THE LOVER
Director: Joel Lamangan
Cast: Paulo Avelino, Lovi Poe, Jennylyn Mercado, Joem Bascon, Hayden Kho
In the never ending tradition of “two women fighting over one man” films that still shows no signs of stopping (everyone… sigh) comes another from the vault. This time, about best friends who both took the characters of the bride and the lover. That’s also probably the most this movie can offer in terms of standing out among all these kerida films, and while that’s not saying too much, I appreciate that they even tried doing it. The movie is, indeed, entertaining with its shift to comedic and dramatic tones though it also gets tiring by the time we’ve reached the latter part of the film. There were also too many unnecessary characters (the best friend/bodyguard storyline is one that can be eliminated already), but the climax part is enjoyable and almost made up for the rest of the clunks. Jennylyn Mercado stood out the most in this trio, and I hope she gets movie roles because she really has the chops to be even better.
BROMANCE: MY BROTHER’S ROMANCE
Director: Wenn Deramas
Cast: Zanjoe Marudo, Cristine Reyes, Arlene Muhlach, Nikki Valdez, Joey Paras, Lassie
If there’s one thing that I like about Bromance is the fact that Wenn Deramas was mostly in a clean slate in this: no Vice Ganda, no Tanging Ina jokes, no DJ Durano to be seen. This gives a fresh new energy that makes most of the film work. Zanjoe Marudo still continues to challenge himself as an actor, and his last few movie projects continue to shape him as an all around actor. I like how committed he was in it, and it shows in his performance. Cristine Reyes also seems to have a knack at comedy, and I think this type of role suits her better than let’s say El Presidente. The cameos in the film were a lot, but most worked for me (especially the one who played the doctor). This movie made me laugh more than what I expected, so if this is what we can expect from the next few Deramas outings, then he might have mastered the type of comedy for his audience after all? But then again, it’s hard to speak that early.
JUANA C. THE MOVIE
Director: Jade Castro
Cast: Mae Paner, John James Uy, Jelson Bay, Angelina Kanapi, Annicka Dolonius, Mads Nicolas
From the same group that gave us Zombadings, Juana C. is a political satire that gives us a funny and honest glimpse of the wicked world of politics. It’s pretty obvious that the movie has a lot to offer, and while some of the subplots didn’t work for me, the main message of the film stood out in the end. It’s a pretty enjoyable ride that sometimes tend to go overboard, but manages to stay still and in the end, ultimately reached its destination. Juana Changge (Mae Paner) is an engaging lead character that serves as the glue that holds all of them together, but the whole ensemble is top notch, giving you endless riots and bundles of laughter. You can see the commitment that the people gave this film, so it’s easy to forgive the noticeable flaws in it.
Whew that’s a handful. There are still some films left to be seen from the first half of the year before we go overboard with the Cine Filipino and Cinemalaya contenders this month and the next, so it’s good to finally put this out already. 🙂
As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl
Local television in 2012 have been filled with star studded primetime dramas, variety specials, and more interesting shows to watch to. With every personality trying to get a TV gig nowadays, it’s safe to say that TV is indeed one of the most powerful form of message delivery these days. For 2012, these are the shows that took top honors:
Photo courtesy of lambingan.net
12. SHOWBIZ INSIDE REPORT (ABSCBN 2)
Hosts: Ogie Diaz, Carmina Villaroel, Janice de Belen, Joey Marquez | Saturdays, 3:00-4:00 PM
This Saturday showbiz oriented program of ABSCBN is different from the usual fare of tsismis related shows nowadays. It does not need guests on its studio just to discuss something. Each host usually does canned and a long interview that tackles beyond the usual promoting questions that personalities are usually asked. It also does not hurt that the four hosts have charming rapport with one another and that the audience can be a part of the discussion via Facebook and Twitter.
Photo courtesy of: wikipedia.org
11. LUV U (ABSCBN 2)
Cast: Miles Ocampo, Kiray Celis, Igi Boy Flores, Marco Gumabao | Sundays, 3:15-4:00 PM
Usually the time slot for teen dramas, the usual 4PM Saturday barkadahan show has shifted to the Sunday 3PM slot, and there’s no better show to represent it than ABSCB’s Luv U. Unlike previous shows, it does not go beyond the usual teens acting as mature dramas that past youth oriented programs tried to depict. This one is very tongue in cheek, light, and fun, and that’s where the show’s strength lies.
Photo courtesy of: vintersections.com
10. MAALAALA MO KAYA (ABSCBN 2)
Host: Charo Santos-Concio | Saturdays, 8:00-9:30 PM
The only one who made the list for the second consecutive year, the longest running drama anthology in Asia is still far and away one of the best showcases not only of acting performances but some of the most interesting stories as well. This year alone we saw the award winning Kamao with a boxer Coco Martin, Edgar Allan Guzman as a gay student wanting to be a seaman in Bangkakng Papel, and my personal favorite, the Angel Aquino-Jane Oineza starrer Manika about a young girl’s cursed beauty.
Photo courtesy of: whotalking.com
09. HIMALA NGAYON (ABSCBN 2)
Premiered: December 9, 2012
Premiering as a special documentary on Sunday’s Best, this documentary by Sari Dalena and Keith Sicat about the behind the scenes details of what is arguably the best film in local cinema, Ishmael Bernal’s Himala was premiered to local viewers nationwide. It is just fitting that this was the year they showed it after the restoration of the film in its 30th anniversary. Watching this documentary was such a blast and I’m not sure it’s not just the cinpehiles and the Noranians who enjoyed this.
Photo courtesy of: pinoyexchange.com
08. PINOY ADVENTURES (GMA 7)
Host: Richard Gutierrez | Saturdays, 6:00-6:45 PM | May 13, 2012 – September 29, 2012
Despite the show being canceled now, it was still a blast to see Richard Gutierrez travel all around the country to find the most engaging activities and learn more about the cultures of different provinces in the Philippines. From Palawan to Bukidnon and from Surigao del Norte to Bicol, we witnessed interesting things that’s why it’s sad that it only lasted for a season.
Photo courtesy of: mallofasia-arena.com
07. DOLPHY ALAY TAWA: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO THE KING OF PHILIPPINE COMEDY
When the Comedy King passed last July, it is given that the whole showbiz industry regardless of network, genre, and age will mourn as we all lost an icon. One good thing that came out of it was this joint benefit concert that featured talents from the three biggest stations in the country. Simultaneously broadcasted over at ABSCBN, TV5, and GMA, history was definitely made this time around.
Photo courtesy of: kapamilyalogy.blogspot.com
06. STORYLINE (ABSCBN 2)
Host: technically, nobody | Fridays, 11:00 PM
Now nearing its fifth year on air and with almost 300 episode under its belt, Storyline has maintained its quality given the range of the theme of its episodes. Headlined by the tandem of Patricia Evangelista and Paolo Villaluna, this weekly documentary shows gives much of the thinking and realizing part to its audience rather than spoon feeding them about it. We need more of this in local television, but I’m also thankful that we have at least there’s one that already exists.
Photo courtesy of: laaunorsuperstar.blogspot.com
05. INSIDE THE CINEMA (Cinema One)
Host: Boy Abunda | Every first Tuesday of the month, 7PM
This informative movie talk show is probably the closest one that we’ll have in terms of tackling the different experiences of important people in the film industry with their past efforts. Think of Brillante Mendoza discussing the moment before he was announced to be the Cannes Best Director or Amy Austria discussing her disappointment with her Bubbles film, this discusses moments in movie making that are too good to be true. And for this year alone, Boy Abunda got the likes of Cesar Montano, Gina Alajar, and Nora Aunor to discuss what’s inside the cinema.
Photo courtesy of: mypinoy.tv
04. KAPUSO MO, JESSICA SOHO (GMA 7)
Host: Jessica Soho | Sundays, 7:30-9:00 PM
Just this year alone, this magazine shows has picked up awards from the PMPC Star Awards for Television, PMAP Makatao Awards for Media Excellence, USTv Student Choice Awards, Gawad Tanglaw Awards, and even the 6th Hildegarde Awards for Women in Media & Communication. Need I say more? Jessica Soho’s covered topics range from really anything and everything under the sun, and that’s what makes the show fresh when you watch it every single week.
Photo courtesy of: happyhappystar.wordpress.com
03. ZOREN-CARMINA: ALWAYS FOREVER, A WEDDING LIKE NO OTHER
Premiered: November 24, 2012
Probably the celebrity wedding of the year, there’s no better way to be a part of it than by watching how this fairy tale unfolds right before our eyes. And by the time that the couple has exchanged their I Do’s already, there’s literally not a single dry eye in the room.
Photo courtesy of: abs-cbn.com
02. WALANG HANGGAN (ABSCBN 2)
Cast: Coco Martin, Julia Montes, Paulo Avelino, Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta | January 16-October 26, 2012
Probably the year’s biggest primetime drama, this ABSCBN soap opera that included three generations of actors in it from veterans like Susan Roces and Helen Gamboa to the likes of Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta up to the next in line such as Coco Martin and Julia Montes, Walang Hanngan has been both a critical and commercial success during its ten-month run. The show has been the most widely watched and has left a lot of pop culture references in it. It will definitely go down as one of the most prominent TV dramas in soap opera history.
Photo courtesy of: wikipedia.org
01. BE CAREFUL WITH MY HEART (ABSCBN 2)
Cast: Jodi Sta. Maria, Richard Yap | Mondays-Fridays, 11:15 AM – 12:00 NN
And probably the biggest surprise in local television this year is Be Careful with My Heart. Thinking about it, this is the little show that could. And it actually did! But given more time to think, there is no surprise why this certainly hooked to all demographics. This simple tale of an optimistic young lass who aims to be a flight stewardess yet ends up as a household maid captured the hearts of the whole country with its natural and positive approach. This show proves that a program does not need a major villain for people to watch it. And it does not need a young loveteam for it to actually work. And with that, I say kapit bisig!
That’s it! What are your favorite shows in local boob tube? Pipe them in the Comments section! 🙂
And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl
I admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see director Lawrence Fajardo participate at this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. I was more surprised though that the committee gave it a green light. Not that Fajardo is bad or anything, but with the current
crap crop of movies that we see every December, but it’s more of a welcome surprise to the more mainstream filmfest. His entry entitled The Strangers stars youngsters Enchong Dee, Enrique Gil, and Julia Montes together with veterans such as Cherry Pie Picache, Janice de Belen, and Jaime Fabregas.
Twins Max (Enrique Gil) and Patricia (Julia Montes) celebrated their 18th birthday. Together with the rest of the family (mother Cherrie Pie Picache, father Johnny Revilla, grandfather Jaime Fabregas) and helper Paloma (Janice de Belen), they went off to a trip in the province. On their way there, things got worse which prompted them to stay there for the night. On the other hand, Paloma narrated the story of a famous aswang named Dolfo who was taking revenge because that’s how her wife died. How these two stories connected with each other is how the rest of the movie unfolds.
I, for one, loved how the first part of the movie dealt with simply introducing the characters. It’s a brilliant way of setting the atmosphere of fear and possible familiarity with what’s about to happen. In the end, there was a twist; one that I don’t particularly think worked well since I felt that the writing got so focused on pulling off that twist that everything else just faltered. Yes, the twist was indeed unseen, but it just got lost in the middle of everything else. When you are not engaged yet to the first scenario that was presented to you, it’s hard to suddenly jump to the next one, given that the first one was just a cover up to the second one. I felt that’s the weak part of the movie that could have affected its overall outcome.
With that said, there’s a lot of good potential in the film. The lead stars were engaging and charismatic enough to pull off their roles. Enchong Dee was obviously too committed to his role, and it definitely shows here. Both Enrique Gil and Julia Montes were decent too. The veterans were given moments to shine as well, and I even thought Janice de Belen’s Paloma was a real catch (only to be topped by Janice de Belen in Shake, Rattle, and Roll). Jaime Fabregas, Cherry Pie Picache, and Johnny Revilla were also game enough despite not having the most screen times in the film.
Technical achievements were highly commendable too. The make up, sound, and specifically the visual effects were slick and polished, not to the point that they’re difficult to the eyes. They managed to maintain a visual treat that was consistent from start to end. All in all, I felt that while the twist worked, it’s not enough to leave you breathless since the rest of the story was too weak to pull that one off. But I’d give them props for even trying.
Here are the reviews of the other Metro Manila Film Festival 2012 entries:
One More Try
Shake, Rattle, and Roll 14: The Invasion
Si Agimat, si Enteng, at si Ako
You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl