Yesterday, my friends and I decided to watch Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes from Star Cinema, Quantum Films and IdeaFirst Company. It stars Judy Ann Santos as Lianne and Angelica Panganiban as Cindy. Two young wives with one common problem. Their husbands cheated. Inasawa ng asawa nila ang isa’t isa.
I entered the cinema without expectations. Joke. It was directed by Jun Robles Lana so I had expectations. I haven’t seen a trailer but I read an article on PEP that portion of the movie was shot in Taiwan during gay pride. That’s where I found out that the husbands were played by Joross Gamboa (Gary) and JC De Vera (Felix). Continue reading “Must-Watch: Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes”
Star Cinema‘s post-Valentine offering, Always Be My Maybe is probably the bravest rom-com movie in recent localrom-com history. For me, it does not try to impress. It doesn’t have complicated backstories. The characters don’t have complicated family problems. There are no product placements (at least that I caught). Minimal unnecessary cameos. It just keeps everything simple and that’s how it became effective to keep the audience applauding and wanting more.
It stars Arci Muñoz, fresh from A Second Chance, and Gerald Anderson. A super-duper random pairing if you ask me.Coming from nowhere, you see a movie teaser showing Arci doing a make-up tutorial viral video, and Gerald down on his knees, proposing to an unknown girlfriend but ultimately rejected. This is enough to make me go line up and watch this movie. Thankfully, I did.
Seeing Gerald and Arci on the big screen feels refreshing like when I saw Jennylyn and Derek in English Only, Please, which coincidentally was also directed by Dan Villegas. Their chemistry is undeniably natural. Arci Muñoz as Tintin is Arci Muñoz being the reliable actress that she is. Ever since Starstruck, she has always proven that she’s competent to handle any role. And as Tintin, she does it again. She’s effortless (and super funny too!). Gerald Anderson (Jake), on the other hand, may have just found a new career in romantic-comedy. He makes the audience kilig even as a “dirty” playboy with a beard and lots of bad tattoos. He gives the depth and maturity required by the scenes. As an actor, he is effective and, as Jake, he is as lovable as ever. (And his laugh is cute!)
The film tries to steer away from the conventional style of storytelling. It has many scenes where the characters just have long conversations like in the Before Sunrise trilogy. Conversations you think are irrelevant to the development of the story but, subtly, these effortless dialogues form the almost invisible puzzles at the end. The slow build-up is worth it in the end. You’ll find yourself watching two strangers meeting each other, going on friendly dates and hanging out early in the morning. And as they fall in love, unknowingly, you also fall in love with the movie.
If you’re looking for a simple, funny and a little sexy feel-good movie that makes you want to hope and love again, I recommend watching Always Be My Maybe. If you’re going on a date, DTR muna! Watch the trailer below:
Have you seen Always Be My Maybe? What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.
Erasto Films‘ Lakbay2Love is a romantic, coming-of-age, environmental advocacy film by director-producer Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil (Boses) starring actors and real-life bikers Dennis Trillo, Solenn Heusaff (two of my fitspirations!) and Kit Thompson.
Dennis Trillo, reliable as ever, fits the bill as forest ranger and biker Jay-R. He bikes during his free time based on his social media (I promise I’m not a stalker!) and it shows. He seems to have done all the biking stunts on his own, even climbing up to a high mountain peak. It was a beautiful visual, and it felt like I was transported to the mountains, but I was holding onto my seat for dear life.
Solenn Heussaff plays half-Filipino half-French photo journalist (or was she a videographer? Not really sure) Lianne. Reeling from her boyfriend Macky, played by Kit Thompson, recently leaving her, Lianne accepts an environment-focused project at Jay-R’s request. She, along with her work companion and friend Monday, played by Patricia Ismael, embarks on this project and immerses herself in the world of biking. There’s a funny bit where Lianne says that growing up as a half-French people asked her weird questions including “what does voulez-vous coucher avec moi really mean?” LOL! IMO, this is Solenn’s best acting piece so far.
The film features actual biking events and the people involved in these kinds of projects. We get to visit a vintage bike shop, witness a bike race, and see padyakeros on and off the tracks. We even get to travel to different bike trails in and around the metro. The Benguet trail looks so gorgeous and beautifully captured on film. Aside from the beauty, we also briefly see the ugly side of things, poignantly depicted by the felled logs caused by illegal logging. Having seen that Lianne realizes that all of her problems seemed so petty. It also made me realize that the environment is still not a primary concern in our country, and that needs to change. To those running for office this coming elections, please focus on these issues. Include the environment in your platform and you have secured my vote.
We can’t just stop at watching this beautiful environmental film. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you have to keep moving.” That also applies to our fight for the environment. Let’s start supporting more environmental advocacy projects. Let’s pick up a bike and ride around the metro to decrease pollution. Let’s spread the message of this film and make this a personal journey for all of us—a journey to love for Mother Nature. 🙂
If you’re looking for a light feel-good movie that packs a message, I recommend watching Lakbay2Love. Support Philippine indie films. Watch the trailer below:
When the world is crumbling around you, love may just find you a new trail. Starring: Solenn Heussaff, Dennis Trillo, Kit Thompson Directed by: Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil Screenplay by: Layeta Bucoy & Elle Marfil Produced by: Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil
Have you watched Lakbay2Love? What did you think of the film? Are you into biking? Do you suddenly want to buy a bike, learn it, and ride all around the country? Sound off in the comments below.
Apocalypse Child is the story of surfing instructor and Baler native Ford (Sid Lucero), who is apparently the son of famed director Francis Ford Coppola. At least that’s the story, nay the urban legend even, in town.
By Mario Cornejo (writer-director) and Monster Jimenez (writer-producer), Apocalypse Child was an official entry to the QCinema International Film Festival Circle Competition just last month. It went home with four awards including Best Film, and Best Director for Cornejo. I was already eyeing to see this during the festival but alas my schedule got in the way. So when they held a charity screening at Rockwell earlier this week, I immediately grabbed the chance to catch it. I must admit: I came for Sid Lucero (I’m a huge fan!) but I stayed for the beauty of Baler and the mysteries that surround it. I’ve only been to Baler once, but this film is tempting me to go back.
Some, after watching the trailer, might dismiss this as merely a surfing movie, but it is much more than that. It isn’t even just the story of Ford. The people around Ford also get their space to share their own tragedies. Chona (Ana Abad Santos) is Ford’s mother who firmly believes that Francis Ford Coppola is Ford’s father, and is determined for father and son to meet in the future. However the truth is much bleaker than that. Fiona (QCinema Best Supporting Actress Annicka Dolonius) is Ford’s girlfriend, in town to tend to her dying grandmother. Ford’s childhood friend Rich (RK Bagatsing) left Baler for several years but has now returned to fulfill his duty as newly-elected congressman. He and Ford were as close as brothers before but time, distance, and conflicts happened, causing a rift in their relationship. If that’s not enough tragedy for you, he also has a damaged eardrum preventing him from surfing ever again. Serena (Gwen Zamora) is Rich’s fiancee, but spending time with Ford during surf lessons might give her second thoughts about her relationship. Jordan (Archie Alemania), Ford’s close friend, is the fifth wheel paving the way for comedic moments in the film.
I can’t say this enough, but Apocalypse Child is a visual and aural (thanks to Up Dharma Down’s Armi Millare) feast. Sid Lucero really fits the bill as the laid-back, carpe-diem-believing surfer. When the scene requires intensity and passion, he gives in spades. (I think I blushed a little during that scene.) Annicka Dolonius deserves the accolade as she shines in every scene that she is in. I have to give props to that scene when Fiona ambles to Ford’s house and asks him to hug ang console her for the last time. Pretty intense. I’m not too familiar with RK Bagatsing’s filmography but I’m looking forward to see more of him in films like this. On the flipside, I am familiar with Gwen Zamora’s work as a TV actress, but this film showed a new side of her. Archie Alemania is in a lot of films lately (my first reaction to seeing him on screen was siya na naman?) but his every-man character works perfectly in this film providing the comic icebreaker for when times might get overly dramatic. Finally, I have to commend Ana Abad Santos’s performance as Chona. I love how at the beginning she was just being Ford’s cool young mom and then slowly unraveling to a woman who has gone through a tragic childhood and coping. I was at the edge of seat in that scene where she was recounting the events leading to Ford’s conception at her young age of 14.
Here’s hoping there are more screenings (or even a commercial run) in the works soon. In the meantime, here’s the trailer for Apocalypse Child:
Have you watched Apocalypse Child? What did you think of the film? Are you, like me, wanting to return to Baler, feel the sun, surf the waves, and immerse in the town’s culture?
I had high hopes when I first heard that Dennis Trillo will be making a movie for Star Cinema (co-produced with Regal Films), and with Maja Salvador no less. Star Cinema has been making quite satisfactory films recently and I wondered how they would utilize Dennis. I had always wanted a good romantic-comedy material for Dennis. I’ve been a fan since his Twin Hearts and Mulawin days by the way. I’m also a fan of Maja. I’m not fond of the fact that she has an album and a singing career, but I do love her acting. I’m also sad that Gerald Anderson broke up with her. Tsk!
Anyway, the movie You’re Still The One was promising at least looking at Dennis’ Instagram posts. I was excited about how they would bring us back to the 90s. His Nick Carter haircut. The university setting. I had really high hopes. But sadly, I was just disappointed. I almost walked out of the movie house not because of the performances of the two leads but because of the bad writing and poor direction. There seemed to be a disconnect among all the elements of the movie. Nothing was jelling. I didn’t feel that I was transported back to the 90s at all. I guess the director just decided to put a pager and some old peso bills in some scenes and called it a day. The supporting characters did not support at all. They weren’t utilized well. They were just there.
I’m not gonna make this post long because I already wasted my time tonight. (Mind you, I’m very patient with movies especially local ones.) Dennis and Maja were good (as always) though their dialogue could have been MORE natural. Maybe it’s the script. UGH. Just recalling the terrible storyline makes me want to barf. I don’t know.
Sorry, but Dennis and Maja deserve better material than this. Watch it, just so you’d know what I mean. Or like me, watch it just to support Dennis and Maja.
When I first saw the teasers of Sinag Maynila last year, I thought that it was just one of those movie festivals that would come and eventually would go. To add, I hated disliked the teasers. They portrayed the most common themes in the independent movie industry (and in black and white too). Women crying. Children being wrongfully accused of theft. You know the drill. The scenes were just a bit over-the-top for my taste. However, whatever my first impression was, I was proven wrong. After watching the five films claimed to be “significant”, I laughed and cried. I was moved and inspired. I was changed. I was a different person each time I went out of the movie theater.
More than a week ago, the first Sinag Maynila Film Festival was launched. Knowing that it only showed five movies and that internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza served as a the festival director, my inner indie film fanatic curiosity was switched on. I ran to the nearest mall after work (SM Aura) and to my surprise, the gala screening for three of the films were going to be held there. I literally ran to the ticket booth. There, I saw a familiar face. It was Junjun Quintana (Quick Change, A Philippino Story)! Junjun originally played the role of Rodel in the play version of the Virgin Lab Fest entry with the same title. I wanted to take a picture with him but he disappeared before I could gather the courage to do it. After buying tickets for Balut Country and Imbisibol, I went to the food court area and there he was, just sitting with other indie film people. I was too shy to directly approach him there and there so I did something ridiculous and a little stalkery-ish. I sat on the bench adjacent to where he was sitting. So we were sitting back to back. I could hear them talking but I wasn’t listening of course. My mind was too busy rehearsing how I would ask him for a photo.
Set in a remote rural town during the reign (specifically after the declaration of Martial Law) of former President Ferdinand Marcos, Mga Kuwentong Barbero (Barber’s Tales), directed by Jun Robles Lana told different stories beautifully embroidered into a simple delicate handkerchief.
I actually had no idea of the existence of Unfriend until I saw the trailer in JackTV. Instantly, I had to watch it, I thought. As I searched about it in the web, I was surprised when I realized that the movie was based on a not so old piece of news years ago about a shooting incident in a mall involving two teenage boys.
This sparked my interest and curiosity. As I continued researching, I found the news sad and frustrating. It could have been prevented since all the clues were on the victim’s Facebook wall. (This could always be one of the cons of social media. Not everything’s taken seriously, even something that could lead to a gruesome crime.)
Naturally, I wanted to know how the movie would play out this story that was misunderstood by most people not only because it was about homosexuality but also it involved two young minors.
Unfriend put viewers in the eyes of David (Sandino Martin) a homosexual teen presumably younger than his former-boyfriend Jonathan (Angelo Ilagan), who dumped him on Christmas Eve.
The movie revolved around David’s desperation to get Jonathan back. He would struggle with his emotions and develop some sort of obsessive and a self-destructive behavior. Although he had a loving grandmother that had no idea about his online life, his sole outlets were computer games and social media.
As the title suggests, Starting Over Again is a film about a love that has been lost and revisited by the main characters Marco Villanueva (Piolo Pascual) and Ginny Gonzales (Toni Gonzaga).
We all know from the trailer that Ginny’s the one that pursued her then History professor, Sir Marco during her college years (2004) as an architecture student. Being Ginny, a bubbly, enthusiastic, hopeless romantic that she is, she eventually wins Marco’s heart. All goes well until Ginny decides to leave Marco for unknown reasons, for an unknown acceptable reason (to quote the movie).
Fast forward to 2013, Ginny and Marco meet again. Both have changed and are more successful. This creates (false?) hope for Ginny and doubt and confusion for Marco as he already has a new girlfriend in the person of Patty (Iza Calzado). As the former couple goes down memory lane, they are reminded of the feelings they once felt for each other. The love, joy, excitement and of course, the pain.
Both are searching for closure. Ginny wants to know if there is a reason why destiny has brought them back together and Marco, on the other hand, needs to know why Ginny left him in the first place. Will they get the closure that they need? Or the one that they want?
Judging from its past releases, Star Cinema has been slowly becoming more and more radical in its films’ themes and story lines. It is slowly distancing from forgettable romantic comedies titled with love songs and brainless comedies.
At least for me, the paradigm shift started with My Amnesia Girl. My Amnesia Girl’s trailer has promised a story that is supposed to be familiar and in parallel with the plot of similar films like 50 First Dates or A Moment to Remember (Korean). However, like what is done in Kim Chiu and Xian Lim‘s second film, Star Cinema plays with the viewers’ expectations and shifts them in an at least less predictable perspective. It’s the same formula but just a different equation.
Bride for Rent introduces Kim Chiu as Raquelita Dela Cruz a.k.a. Rocky, 24 years old from Sampaloc, Manila. She is your typical cinematic breadwinner with a big family, a big heart and an over-the-top bubbly personality. She sidelines as a direct seller of bras and make-up and a commercial model. Xian Lim, however, plays a spoiled Lola‘s boy with commitment issues caused by childhood emotional baggages. Rocco also has a trust fund (yet to be received unless he’s married at the age of 25), which basically is the reason why the two opposite characters will meet.