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Funny but Unwitty (Mamarazzi Movie Review)

10 Sep

Single mom Violy,  a funeral parlor owner, lives a seemingly positive and happy life with her gay bestfriend (John Lapuz) and her 3 kids (Andi Eigenman in a dual role and AJ Perez) whom she managed to raise despite the disappearance of  Carlo (Diether Ocampo) their alleged father (and her bestfriend’s lover) before they were even conceived. Life runs pretty normal until Carlo returns one day to patch things up. Long kept secrets started to reveal that would teach all of them lessons they will never forget.

Director Joel Lamangan’s dramatic works  are bold, refreshing and imaginative, no wonder he’s one of the busiest directors this decade. From those high-budgeted period films to his socially relevant works, he always gets rave reviews from critics.On the other hand, his comedy flicks seems to lack wit and new ideas. Mamarazzi is funny but it doesn’t have that magic to keep the crowd from coming in to theaters.

Eugene Domingo at this point should start choosing her projects. No doubt, she sells like hotcake these days but she wouldn’t be able to sustain her current status if she chooses quantity over quality. She is a natural comedienne and it shows pretty well in Mamarazzi.

There’s nothing really much to mention among the rest of the cast. Their performances range from poor to average and it would make you feel that here, there’s really nobody else to watch but Eugene Domingo.

Most of the comedy films that reach critical and commercial success are those that boast a well crafted storyline composed of witty situational humor and a stellar cast. Sadly,  Mamarazzi doesn’t have any of those.  Like in any other comedy films by Joel Lamangan,  humor occurs in random and yes it’s funny but  it seems like it doesn’t make any sense at all.

Predictably Surprising (Sa’yo Lamang Movie Review)

8 Sep

The problem with a typical Filipino film is its tendency to be predictable. Given around five sequences, you will be able to guess the next scenes to happen or worse, the ending of the story without any challenge. Sa’yo Lamang is no excuse because there’s really nothing new with it. What sets it apart from the rest is the experience it offers while you involve yourself in the picture. It’s simply engaging.

Sa’yo Lamang narrates a story of a broken but seemingly happy family that is troubled one day by the arrival of the father, Franco (Christopher de Leon) who abandoned them for another woman ten years ago. Everybody seems okay with his return save for the eldest daughter Diane (Bea Alonzo) who assumed his responsibility as the head of the family when he left. Despite Diane’s objection, the mother (Lorna Tolentino) had to decide for everybody so Franco stayed. Unexpected events happened just after things started to get better that led to emotional outbursts and unraveling of secrets that will test their faith and the strength of the bond that ties them together as a family.

Sa’yo Lamang’s storytelling lacks a little of fluidity. Some scenes are inserted without a clear connection from the previous one and there are a number of times when characters shift from one extreme emotion to another extreme. It could be one disadvantage of having more than one scriptwriter. I remember one flashback scene with Lorna and Boyet which I found a bit ridiculous. I don’t really have issues with flashbacks but here, I think they could have stayed away from it or maybe they could have done it better. It was a scene that’s supposed to have the couple look 20 years younger but they didn’t appear to be like one.

Despite the flawed storytelling, the story in general is surprisingly heartwarming and inspiring. The story was definitely patterned after Tanging Yaman(2001) but unlike its predecessor, Sa’yo Lamang is more focused and  more specific as its story revolves around only one family. It gives more opportunity to build fewer characters thus the viewers get to know them fully and connect with their emotions easily.

The cast is the movie’s strongest point. Star Cinema has gathered talented lead and supporting actors whose acting can suffice and compensate for the unsound aspects of the film. Indisputably, this is Bea Alonzo’s film as she stands out among the rest. She has shown great potentials in her previous roles and as Diane in Sa’yo Lamang, she is simply overwhelming and astounding. Lorna Tolentino and Christopher de Leon have undeniably mastered their craft. They can throw emotions and shift from one to another effortlessly and watching them do it, you are carried away. The supporting ensemble is nothing but estimable as well.

Many would regard this film as one of those typical Pinoy films that’s predictable and boring. I differ to that because with Sa’yo Lamang, you know what’s going to happen but it’s a surprise how every scene and the characters’ emotions significantly affect your own.

Star Cinema Gets Serious with Saýo Lamang

16 Aug

On its 17th  anniversary, Star Cinema continues its tradition to offer serious heartwarming and memorable family drama via  Sa’yo Lamang which will open on September 1, 2010 in cinemas. How can we forget Ama Ina Anak, Madrasta, Anak, Dekada 70 and Tanging Yaman? These are a few of Star Cinema’s unforgettable family dramas that have already left a mark in the history of Philippine Movies.

Saýo Lamang boasts its bunch of talented actors in the cast. It stars Grand Slam Best Actress (1993) Lorna Tolentino, Drama King Christopher de Leon and Box Office Queen (2007) Bea Alonzo in major roles.  Isn’t that heavy? That’s not even enough as the supporting cast is star studded as well.  It has Diether Ocampo, Coco Martin, Empress, Lauren Young,Zanjoe Marudo, Shaina MAgdayao, Enchong Dee and Miles Ocampo. This must be the biggest film ensemble in 5 years, I guess.

Award-winning director Laurice Guillen leads the making of this another potential hit. She has directed great movies in the past like Tanging Yaman (2000), Amercian Adobo (2001), Santa Santita (2004) and the most recent I Love You Goodbye (2009). Through these remarkable works, Guillen’s talent in film making has received rave reviews from critics and most of the time, her films are doing fairly well in the box office.

Juris, former vocalist of MYMP, lends her soothing angelic voice to sing the movie’s theme song.

Invite your friends and family and watch Saýo Lamang on September 1 because its going to be this year’s Family Day.

Hating Kapatid collects 64.4M in Two Weeks

6 Aug

Hating Kapatid, Viva Films’ latest offering, has earned P64.4 M two weeks after its first screening. This data is based from the latest post of Box Office Mojo.

Hating Kapatid which opened on July 21, 2010 stars two box office queens, Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo and directed by Wenn Deramas, a box office director. What will you expect? Will this big project make it to the P100 M mark? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, Star Cinema’s Cinco, which was reported to have earned 11 million on its first day only, has not upheld its initial streak as for last three weeks; it has only managed to earn P56.5 M. . It’s not bad for a typical local film but for a Star Cinema project with all the vast promotions and back ups; that’s just way too little

In Your Eyes Poster- A Love Story Part 2?

1 Aug

The first time I saw the official poster of  In Your Eyes, Viva Films and GMA Films’ joint movie offering this August, it immediately reminded me of a Star Cinema hit movie in 2007, A Love Story. There is just a big difference in the color scheme but nevertheless the whole package appears very much the same. The production’s creative department should have thought better. Well, there’s nothing wrong with it; originality just matters alot.

In Your Eyes  stars three of today’s hottest stars, Richard Gutierrez, Anne Curtis and Claudine Barreto. It happens to be Claudine’s first movie outside Star Cinema since 1994. If this film rakes millions in the box office, then it would be a testament of her bankability as an actress. We’ll see.

The movie which also features Joel Torre, Leandro Muños and Maricar de Mesa opens on August 18, 2010 in more than a hundred cinemas nationwide.

Cinco rakes 11M on Its First Day

17 Jul

The first Horror film of the year opened with a very promising start. According to the hosts of E-Live on July 17, 2010, Star Cinema’s Cinco earned 11 million in the box office despite the disturbing heavy rains and strong winds of Typhoon Basyang.

Cinco is a 5-episode horror film that stars Mariel Rodriguez, Pokawang, Zanjoe Marudo, Jodi Santa Maria, Maja Salvador, Rayver Cruz, AJ Perez, Sam Concepcion, Robi Domingo and many more and it was directed by 5 talented directors who are all new to the horror genre. It opened last Wednesday, July 14, 2010 in more than 100 cinemas nationwide.

I’ll Be There Earns 42M in 3 weeks

13 Jul

The controversial team-up of father and daughter Gabby and KC Concepcion didn’t turn out be a big box office hit as Box Office Mojo posted only a 42M earnings for the movie’s 3-week run. Though it’s not that bad, it is just way too low for a Star Cinema flick not to mention the powerhouse cast that  includes Jericho Rosales.

The Tale of Two Sisters Continues with Hating Kapatid

9 Jul

It seems that stories about two female siblings have become  favorite subjects of the movies ever since. In Korea’s most successful film to date, The Tale of Two Sisters; the daunting story focuses on siblings Su-Mi and Su-Yeong who both experience paranormal experiences. They went through a lot of tough, painful and scary events that led to insanity and death of some of the characters at the end of the story. The story of the melodramatic My Sister’s Keeper (2009) also revolves around two sisters. It narrates a sad story of Ana, an artificially conceived daughter who was brought into the world by her parents to be a genetic match for her sister who suffers from leukemia in order to keep her alive. In 2005, Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette played the role of two sisters with nothing in common but their shoe size in In Her Shoes, a funny but moving film about sibling relationship.

The concept is also popular in the local movie scene. In Nakagapos na Puso (1986) Sharon Cuneta played Elaine, a submissive sister who lived all her life under the silhouette of her older sister (Lorna Tolentino) who is more assertive, more intelligent and more appreciated. When she realized that she had to fight to live her own life, Elaine threw this unforgettable line: Oo ate, oo ate, puro na lang oo ate. Daig ko pa ang manikang de susi Iginapos mo na nga ang aking mga paa’t kamay, pati kaluluwa ko iginapos mo na rin”.

Similar type of sibling rivalry occurs in Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat sa Akin (1995), the Philippine’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film Category in the 70th Academy Awards. This is so far, the most tragic story of two sisters ever produced by the Philippine Cinema. The film focuses on the story of an incestuous neurotic named Jacinta (Maricel Soriano) who struggles for love and attention over her prettier, more intelligent and more loved younger sister Clarita (Snooky Serna). Ikaw na lang palagi ang maganda, matalino, busog sa papuri. Pati ba naman pagmamahal ni Itay ay gusto mo pang agawin sa akin? Malandi! Haliparot! Inagaw mo ang lahat sa akin. Lahat lahat.” Nothing beats that dialogue.

Most recent additions to the list are Viva Films’ Magkapatid (2002) with Judy Ann Santos and Sharon Cuneta and Posh Productions’ Ate (2008) that featured real life sisters Ara Mina and Cristine Reyes.


On July 21, another tale about two sisters will be shown in the cinemas as Viva Films, Mel Mendoza-Del Rosario and Wen Deramas bring together box office queens Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo in Hating Kapatid. The drama-comedy film talks about a story of inseparable sisters Rica (Judy Ann) and Cecil (Sarah) whose parents flew overseas for work. At the later part of the story, the siblings are faced with trying situations that will test the strength of their relationship.

Since the people behind this movie are also the brainchild of Star Cinema’s Ang Tanging Ina series, everybody is expecting a side-splitting yet touching story from this big project. Not to mention the supporting cast that includes trusted actors like Cherry Pie Picache, Ms. Gina Pareño, Vice Ganda, Luis Manzano, JC de Vera and many more.

Mark your calender so you’ll not miss this big event

20 Catchiest Pinoy Movie Titles

6 Jul

Have you noticed the titles of our local mainstream films lately? You Changed My Life, You to Me are Everything, Miss You Like Crazy, I’ll be There, Paano na Kaya, Nandito Ako,Babe I Love You, Close to You, A Very Special Love, Let the Love Begin. Ahhh so boring and cheesy, right?. I am an avid fan of the local movie industry but honestly, I can’t help but look down on this crappy idea. Filmakers today seem to have run out of artistic ideas or  maybe they just don’t  want to  think of better titles  anymore. Arggh..

The title is as important as the plot, the cast and the trailer of a film. A catchy title can already make a movie on its own. Directors, production companies, actors, screenwriters, and directors must all have some say when choosing a movie  title. It should be something that register in the audiences’ conscious. A good storywith a bad title is a bad movie, well I guess.

 Star Cinema’s One More Chance (2007) starring John lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo was a commercial and citical success. Every part of it falls in place save for the title. Star Cinema could have picked a  more profound title.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________ Continue reading


6 Jul

A year is not complete without a local horror movie shown in our cinemas. Our Christmas vacation wouldn’t be as fun without watching the latest spin off of Regal Films’ Shake Rattle and Roll. To sum it up, Mother Lily has produced 33 horryfying stories since 1984 through this popular franchise. Whew! How we love to be scared.

Star Cinema will be the first to scare us this year with Cinco that will start screening on July 14, 2010 in our favorite cinemas. This promising horror flick sets a milestone in the local movie scene as it is the first film to have 5 episodes. Yes, it’s like Shake Rattle and Roll to the next level. Directed by Box-office director, Cathy Garcia Molina and four other new directors; Cinco stars Rayver Cruz, Maja Salvador, Robi Domingo, Sam Concepecion, Aj Perez, Pokwang, Zanjoe Marudo, Mariel Rodriguez and Jodi Santamaria.

Here are the 5 episodes to watch out for:

Uno: Braso

  • Cast: Sam Concepcion, AJ Perez, Robi Domingo
  • Director: Frasco Mortiz


Dos: Paa

  • Cast: Jodi Sta. Maria-Lacson ,Joy Viado
  • Director: Enrico Santos


Tres: Puso

  • Cast: Zanjoe Marudo, Pokwang, Malou de Guzman
  • Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina


Kwatro: Mata

  • Cast: Maja Salvador, Rayver Cruz
  • Director: Ato Bautista


Cinco: Mukha

  • Cast: Mariel Rodriguez,Jayson Gainza,Ketchup, EusebioSoliman Cruz
  • Director: Nick Olanka

More Local Films Showing This 2010

2 Jul

It seems that the local movie industry needs a big time catching up as of the past 6 months more or less 15 Pinoy movies have only been shown in the cinemas. It causes a big-time anxiety to all the moviegoers and the people behind the film business because the numbers have never improved since the last 5 years. Could this be the darkest decade of the Philippine Cinema?

So far, three films had surpassed the P100 Million mark this year. The movie reunion of Bea and John Lloyd via Miss You Like Crazy and Marian and Dingdong in You to Me are Everything prove that romance films are still the most watched genre in the Philippine local cinemas. Completing the big three is Chris Martinez’s comedy flick “Here Comes the Bride”.

There are six more months to go before the year ends and on the positive note, there are quite a number of films in store for us from our local movie makers. Showing this 3rd quarter are Cinco, Mamarazzi, and Hating Kapatid. “Cinco” is Star Cinema’s horror offering this July 14 that stars Mariel Rodriguez, Pokwang, ASAP Giggerboys and Maja Salvador in 5 different episodes. “Mamarazzi”(Regal Films) is a drama-comedy film that features Kapuso and Kapamilya stars headed by Eugene Domingo and Diether Ocampo. Box-office Queens Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo will test their Box office prowess together starting July 21st with their first movie team up under Viva films entitled “Hating Kapatid.” Main cast includes Luis Manzano, JC de Vera, Gina Pareño, Vice Ganda and Cherry Pie Picache.

Viva Films has also started to shoot some movies but the play dates have not been announced yet. On their third team up, Regine Velasquez and Aga Muhlach have started filming “Of All the Things” under the direction of Joyce Bernal. Anne Curtis, Richard Guttierez and Claudine Baretto, on the other hand are almost done with “In Your Eyes a joint production of Viva  GMA films. Vice Ganda in his first starring role will reprise Roderick Paulate’s character in a 1988 comedy hit, “Petrang Kabayo

Regal Films has already publicized their upcoming horror film “White House” to be directed by Topel Lee and the remake of Maricel Soriano’s “Super Indayto be topbilled by Marian Rivera. Super Inday is one Mother Lily’s entries to the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival. A remake of 1980′s sexy comedy flick Temptation Island will feature kapamilya and kapuso stars Andi Eigenman, Katrina Halili and Carla Abellana together in one project.

Star Cinema has a promising line up of movies this year. Grand slam best actress Lorna Tolentino has started filming her first film in 3 years after Katas ng Saudi in 2007 via ‘Sa’yo Lamang’, a family drama that will surely touched hearts of many like any other Star Cinema family drama films in the past. The most awaited movie team up of Robin Padilla and Toni Gonzaga is happening soon through “Promise Me” (tentative title). It’s going to be a romantic comedy to be directed by Joyce Bernal. Ai- Ai delas Alas is set to battle against the surprising collaboration of Bong Revilla and Vic Sotto (“Ang Agimat ni Enteng”) in the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival with the 5th spin off of her Ina Series entitled “Ang Tanging Ina Mo Rin (Last na ‘to).

Other films that will compete in the 2010 Metro Manila Film festival are: PMG, animated feature from Star Cinema, Dalaw, a suspense thriller, Cine Media, Rosario, a biopic by Cinema Buhay, starring Dennis Trillo, Jennylyn Mercado, and Sid Lucero, Father Jejemon, a drama comedy by RVQ Productions starring the King of Comedy Dolphy, Shake, Rattle and Roll XII, a horror-suspense by Regal Entertainment and Ana Salamangka from Reality Entertainment.

Art films fanatics should go to the Cultural Center of the Philippines from July 9-18 for the 2-week screening of the 10 finalists for the 6th Cinemalaya. The finalists are: Halaw by Sheron Dayoc; Limbunan by Gutierrez Mangansakan II; Mayohan by Dan Villegas and Paul Sta. Ana; Magkakapatid by Kim Homer C. Garcia; Rekrut by Danny Añonuevo; Sampaguita by Francis Xavier Pasion; Sheika by Arnel Mardoquio; Si Techie, si Teknoboy at si Juana by Art Katipunan; Siya ang Mayor Ko (Vox Populi)” by Dennis N. Marasigan; and The Leaving by Ian-Dean S. Loreños.

Looking at the number of films that were already shown and yet to be shown in the next six months; it seems that 2010 is not going to be any better than the last 10 years in terms of quantity in movie production for the local film industry. 30-40 mainstream and independent movies a year is a proof of a declining movie business considering the hundreds of films shown every year during the 60’s and the 70’s. Our movie industry needs our support so we must watch local movies more or as often as we watch foreign flicks. We have talented directors and writers that can be at par with the foreign ones. Despite of the decline in quantity, our filmmakers continue to increase the quality of Pinoy movies.

Box Office Actresses of the This Generation

9 Jun

The 7o’s was the decade when Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos ruled the Box Office Records. Sharon Cuneta and Maricel Soriano followed with unmatched stardom in the 80′s. And in the mid 90′s to the early years of the 21st century, Judy Ann Santos and Claudine Baretto won the hearts of many with their box office movies.

At present, there are 6 young actresses  showing big potentials to be crowned as the next movie queens of the Philippine cinema.

Mga Pinakapinarangalang Aktres ng Dekada

12 Feb

Kahalintulad ng mga talang kumikislap sa kalangitan, halos hindi rin  mabilang ang mga bituin na nag aalay ng ningning sa telebisyon at pinilakang tabing. Taon taon humigit isang dosenang butuin ang nadaragdag sa listahan hanggang ang isang buong dekada ay tila hindi na dumidilim.

Daan daan man ang mga nagniningning na bituin sa Pilipinas, mabibilang lamang sa daliri ang mga aktress na may kakaiba at nakatindig balahibong  galing. Galing na hindi dapat palampasin ng mga kritiko at mga samahang taga gawad ng parangal sa pag arte local man o buong mundo ang sakop.

Sa kasalukuyang dekada, masasabing hindi masyadong maningning ang pelikulang Pilipino na dahil na rin baka sa suliranin sa pirata at sa walang humpay na pagpapalabas ng  mga banyagang pelikula. Kung ihambing sa mga naunang dekada, nangangalahati na lang ang naipapalabas na pelikulang lokal sa mga sinehan at ang karamihan pa nito ay ang mga indie films. Kaya ang ang mga butuin sa telebisyon na lang umaarte madalas. Subalit hindi naging hadlang ito sa ating mga magagaling na bituin na patuloy nag aalay ng kamangha-manghang kislap at talento.

Vilma Santos

Tama lamang na Star for all Seasons ang tawag kay Vilma Santos dahil mahigit apat na dekada na ang kanyang pamamayagpag simula noong dekada 70. Masasabing napag iwanan na ng Gobernadora ang dating kasabayan nitong si Nora Aunor na halos limang taon nang walang proyekto.

Humigit kumulang 15 tropeo bilang pinakamagaling na aktress ang natanggap ni Ate Vi sa dekadang ito para sa mga pelikulang Anak (2000), Dekada 70 (2002), Mano Po3 (2004) at In My life (2009).  Hindi lang yan, natanggap niya ang kanyang ikaapat ng grandslam best actress noong 2004 para sa pelikulang Dekada 70 na hango sa nobela ni Luhalhati Bautista. Nagpapakita lamang ito na hanggang gumagawa ng pelikula ang ina ni Luis Manzano, hindi titigil ang pag-ani niya ng parangal.

Cherry Pie Picache

Maituturing na isa sa pinaka underrated na mga artista si Cherry Pie. Kung galing lang sa parte ang pag-uusapan, walang duda kung si Isadora ang isasalang mo sa harap ng kamera. Mapadrama o comedy, bida o supporta lamang, mainstream o indie  bibigyan ka ni Marlene pagganap na hindi mo malilimutan.

Ang natural na pag arte ni Cherry Pie ay hindi lang naghakot ng parangal dito sa bansa kundi pati na rin kung saan saang sulok ng mundo. Tatlong international Best Actress ang natanggap niya mula sa Cinefan at Durban International Film Festival para sa mga pelikulang Foster Child at Kaleldo ni Brillante Mendoza.

Kaliwa’t kanan din ang mga parangal niya dito sa Pinas para sa nakakantig at natural niyang pagganap sa Foster Child noong 2007 at sa nakakatuwa niyang pagganap sa sexy-comedy na Bridal Shower ni Jeffrey Jeturian. Ilang best supporting actress na tropeo din ang naiuwi ni Pie para sa mga pelikulang Twilight Dancers (2007) at Ako Legal Wife (2006).

Maricel Soriano

Kahambing ng isang diamante, ang nag-iisang Diamond Star ay walang tigil sa pagkinang sa kanyang bawat pagganap sa pelikula. Halos apat na dekada na rin siya sa industriya at walang tigil ang pagtanggap niya ng parangal sa mga madamdamin at makatotohanang pag arte sa pelikula man o telebisyon.

Labindalawang Best Actress trophies sa pelikula at isa sa telebisyon (Vietnam Rose, 2005) ang nahakot ni Maria sa dekadang ito. Kung pag aaralan ng maigi halos lahat na ng genre ng pelikula ay napanalunan na ni Maricel. Mapa drama, comedy, horror pati dramedy, mapapatungangaga ka sa galing ni niya.

Ang mga pelikula ni Maricel na umani ng parangal ay Filipinas (2003) I will Survive (2004), Inang Yaya (2006) , Numbalikdiwa (2006), Bahay Kubo (2007) at A Lovestory (2008).

Judy Ann Santos

Pinaka bata man sa listahan, hindi pahuhuli ang tinaguriang Young Superstar. Bata pa lamang ay nakitaan na ng galing sa pag arte at sa kanyang mga kasabayan, siya lang ang nanatiling walang tigil ang pagningning sa telebisyon man o pelikula.

12 Best Actress Awards, 1 Best Supporting Actress at isang Best Actress for TV (Krystala, 2006) lang naman ang nahakot ni Juday sa dekadang ito. Halos lahat na ng award-giving bodies sa bansa ay napahanga ni Juday maliban sa Young Critic Circle Film Desk (YCC).

Ang mga pelikulang nagpataob sa mga kalaban ni Mrs. Ryan Agoncillo ay: Mano Po 2 (2004), Sabel (2005), Kasal Kasali Kasalo (2006), Ouija (2007) at Ploning (2008).

Gina Pareño

Kung si Ate Vi ang Star for All Seasons, para sa akin si Gina Pareño naman ang Actress for All Seasons. Habang tumatagal, tila mas lalong gumagaling at tumitinkad ang kislap ni Gina. Sa galing, nahigitan pa niya ang naitala ng Superstar na si Nora Aunor sa pinakamaraming International Best Actress awards. Apat na tropeo mula sa Amiens, Brussels, Asian at Cinefan Film Festivals ang naiuwi ng magaling na aktess para kanyang napakahusay na pagganap sa pelikulang Kubrador (2006) at Serbis (2009). Hindi lang yan, nasungkit din niya ang Best Actress in a single performance mula sa Asian TV Awards noong 2007 para sa episode na “Rehas” ng MMK (ABS-CBN)

Hindi pwedeng hindi rin mapuna ng mga lokal na kritiko ang galing ni Gina. Inulan din ito ng parangal para sa mga nabanggit na pelikula kasama na rin dito ang kanyang nakakatuwang pagganap bilang ina ni Judy Ann Santos sa Kasal Kasali Kasalo. Napahanga din hindi lang ang madla kung hindi pati na rin ang PMPC  sa kanyang pagganap bilang si Lola Gets sa teleseryeng Tayong Dalawa ng ABS-CBN noong 2009.

Ang Tanging Pamilya Review

16 Nov

I usually refrain from reading movie reviews before watching a certain film as they greatly affect my viewing. But lately I’m experiencing a slight financial crisis that I had to make sure the movie I’m watching is worth my money so I thought reading reviews by plausible people might be of big help. Thus while Ang Tanging Pamilya (A Marry Go Round) was rolling before my eyes; I was already armed with anticipation and expectations I have assimilated from the not-so positive reviews I’ve read from trusted critics.

Ang Tanging Pamilya is a funny story of Sunshine (Ai-Ai delas Alas) and Dindo (Joseph Estrada) who are faced with a conflict that involves their past after their eldest and only daughter Charlie (Toni Gonzaga), decides to tie the knot with Prince (Sam Milby), her half American online boyfriend for two years. The arrival of the groom’s mom, Marlene (Dionesia Pacquiao) all the way from Hawaii exacerbated the trouble as she wants everything done her way. All of them are put into a test on how they will be able to survive these trying (and humorous) situations before the bride and groom can harmoniously and finally say I do.

Generally, there is nothing wrong with the story, save for the scenes that were inserted for the sole reason of making people laugh and not because they serve a part in the development of the story. The film could have ended 45 minutes earlier without these, but it would have been less funny. So I guess it’s just okay.

The cast has done their part fairly well. Ai-Ai delas Alas is called the Comedy Queen for nothing and Joseph Estrada, despite his 20-year break from making movies, has never lost that innate deftness every genuine actor should have. Toni Gonzaga was okay and Sam Milby, was a revelation. Not even in my wildest imaginations did I think he could be as funny as that. More comedy films for Sam please.

Supposedly this ought to be a part of the preceding paragraph but I decided to give Mommy Dionesia a bigger space as among all, it is she who caused me the best laugh ever.  Her partaking in the film was rather short than expected but her mere presence in it I tell you is more hilarious than Ai-Ai’s funniest punchline. And that’s an understatement. A movie with Mommy D in a title role in the future would surely give Ai-Ai, Eugene and Pokwang a run for their money.

Wenn V. Deramas has unquestionably mastered the art of making people laugh with his tried and tested comedy.  Well, it’s all been the same since Ang Tanging Ina and the other Wenn- Ai Ai tandems that follow. But it seems that the people are not getting any tired of it as proven by its reported box-office earnings after a week that draw figures beyond expectations. The harmonious laugh of the audience in all walks of life I witnessed is another testament to Deramas’ almost universal humor.

So don’t mind those reviews you’ve read. Grab your family, watch Ang Tanging Pamilya and have a good laugh.

Rating: *  * and 1/2

Top 10 Loveteams of 2009

13 Nov
Here are my choices for the 10 most successful loveteams of 2009

A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino

10 Nov


Repertory Philippines' A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino

It was one idle afternoon as I was rummaging through some tattered folders of my old papers when I chanced upon a xerographic copy of A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino written by National Artist Nick Joaquin. This literary treasure was introduced to me through a course on Philippine Literature in English in college with my professor who knows the play by heart. Her keenness towards it was very contagious that I got infected by it like flu. Since then, I started this habit of reading it at times when I feel the need to reminisce this masterpiece known to be as the Philippine National Play.

With a Pre-world War II background set in Intramuros, the play tells a story of two Marasigan sisters, Candida and Paula with their father, Don Lorenzo, a well known painter. The family is going through a serious financial crisis and to make ends meet, they hire a male boarder. People around them including their other siblings are compelling them to sell their house and their father’s self portrait but both shook their heads to it. As a result the sisters are faced with trying situations and events that will test how they will be able to patch up the demanding conflict of preserving their old cultural models and at the same time coping with the domineering modern values and Western influences they can’t say no to.

A number of adaptations of the play have been staged which featured high caliber movie and stage actresses like Gina Alajar, Irma Adlawan and Anna Abad Santos to name a few. Zsa-Zsa Padilla, Rachel Alejandro, and Celeste Legazpi also gave life to it carrying the title “Larawan” with a musical touch. Critical and commercial success of these productions prompted Reyna Films to conceptualize a script to bring it to the silver screen which eventually didn’t push through. Dawn Zulueta, Chin Chin Gutierez and Jericho Rosales were supposed to top-bill the said project under the direction of Carlitos Siguion Reyna. It could have been the second play by Nick Joaquin made into a movie after Tatarin in 2001(correct me if I’m wring).


Even just the thought of translating the play into a movie makes me thrilled.  Seeing it on the silver screen would be more than delight especially if it stars two of the country’s biggest stars, Sharon Cuneta and Maricel Soriano to play the dilemmatic Marasigan sisters. This could be the most awaited answer to the Sharonians and Maricelians request to see their idols together in one film. They’ve been in the business for over 30 years yet we haven’t seen them shine together in a movie. Well, I bet Larawan is the best vehicle for this biggest team-up in history of Philippine Cinema after FPJ-Erap and Nora-Vilma tandems.


6 Nov

Pacquiao versus Cotto

The much awaited bout of the year is happening on November 14, 2009 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as our very pacquiao-vs-cottoown Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is set to fight for his 7th world title against Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico. Boxing trainer Freddie Roach has predicted Pacquiao to knockout the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion and every Filipino is crossing their fingers to that.

Yanggaw versus Patient X

 yanggawIt’s like David and Goliath. It is a clear example how genuine craft outdoes hype and patient xcommercialism in film making. Yanggaw despite being an indie film helmed by a newbie director, top-billed by non bankable actors and with a scant working budget of a million pesos, has bested any local horror films I’ve seen in the past 15 years. I’ve seen Yanggaw just recently and I have nothing but praise for this masterpiece that seldom happens in the local movie industry. With superb acting from the cast and an impeccably sound storytelling matched with breathtaking cinematography, you can never go wrong with this 2008 Cinema One Originals finalist. In contrast, Patient X which seems to be a direct opposite failed to meet expectations.

Lorna Tolentino versus Chin Chin Gutierezchin lorna

I was able to catch the scene in Dahil May Isang Ikaw on You Tube that started it all . Yes, the fight scene between LT and Chin Chin was indeed very realistic. They got carried away and it looked like they were not acting anymore. Both were seriously hurt after the incident and talks about it spread like wildfire over the internet and entertainment newspapers that exacerbate the alleged controversy.  And the latest is Chin Chin apologizing to Lorna and the latter swearing not to work with the former anymore. Oh, so who’s leaving Dahil May Isang Ikaw?

Loren Legarda versus Chiz Escudero

 lorenOh well, Politics in the Philippines can turn anything upside down. Ex-tandem to be Chiz chiz-escuderoEscudero and Loren Legarda might be running at odds with each other in the 2010 Vice Presidential Elections.  What made it possible is Escudero’s unanticipated decision of leaving their political party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). Nacionalista Party is courting both senators to be Manny Villar’s running mate and LAKAS-KAMPI is more than willing to take either of them to run for VP together with their presidentiable Gilbert Teodoro.  Exciting, isn’t it?

Ang Pinakamatagumpay na Seryeng Pampelikula

6 Nov

Halos nasa sulok na ang Kapaskuhan. Ramdam na ang malamig na dampi ng hangin at ang mga tugtuging  Pamasko ay madalas nang naririnig. Isa sa napakarami kong inaabangan tuwing sasapit ang Pasko ay ang taunang Metro Manila Film Festival na idinaraos sa ganap na ika 25 ng Disyembre at minsan umaabot pa hanggang ikalawang lingo ng Enero ng susunod na taon.  Mahigit kumulang sampung pelikulang Pilipino ang sabayang ipinapalabas sa mga sinehan na pawang mga de kalidad dahil binusising maigi ng Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) ang pagpili ng mga kalahok.

Para sa ika 35th taon ng MMFF sa susunod na buwan, hindi ko maitago ang pagkasabik na mapanood ang Mano Po 6: My Mother na isa mga kalahok sa paligsahan. Itinatampok dito ang Megastar na si Sharon Cuneta kasama sina Heart Evangelista, Christopher de Leon, Zsa Zsa Padilla at marami pang iba. Sa mahigit 30 taong karera ni Sharon ay ngayon pa lamang siya makakagawa ng isang buong pelikula sa bakuran ni Mother Lily. Una ng nakapagtrabaho ang Megastar sa Regal nang siya’y nagpaunlak na lumabas bilang panauhing artista sa pelikulang pinagtambalan nina Judy Ann Santos at Ogie Alcasid na Oh My Girl! noong nakaraang Hulyo.

Katulad ng inaasahan, ang ika anim sa serye ng Mano Po ay hitik sa mga nagsilakihang bituin na hindi pahuhuli sa mga naunang Mano Po. Maliban sa mga naunang nabanggit, kasama rin sa pamosong pelikula na ito sina Dennis Trillo, Boots Anson Roa, Ciara Sotto at JC de Vera. Mahalagang papel naman ang gagampanan ni Kris Aquino bilang matalik na kaibigan ng karakter ni Sharon. Sariling pagkukusa ni Kris ang hindi pagtanggap ng bayad makahanay lamang ang Megastar sa pelikulang ididirihe ng batikang direktor na si Joel Lamangan. Sa nakaraan, matatandaang nakadalawang beses ng gumanap sa Mano Po ang bunsong anak ni Cory.

Mano Po noong taong 2002 ang nagsilbing pagbabalik pelikula ni Kris pagkatapos ng halos limang taong hindi paglabas sa pinilakang tabing. Isang katuwang na papel ang ginampanan niya sa unang pelikula ng Mano Po na nanguna sa takilya sa 28th MMFF na umani ng halos P70 million sa loob ng tatlong linggo. Hindi matatawaran ang mga artistang nagsipag ganap dito na pinangungunahan ng Diamond Star na si Maricel Soriano kasama sina Eddie Garcia, Boots Anson Roa, Richard Gomez, Ara Mina, Gina Alajar, Amy Austria, Jay Manalo at marami pang iba. Ginawaran bilang Pinakamahusay ng Pelikula ang Mano Po sa naturang paligsahan ng mga pelikula.

Ginampanan naman ni Kris ang papel ng batang Susan Roces sa sumunod na Mano Po na pinamagatang My Home noong 2003 na hinimay ng direktor na si Erik Matti at isa ring kalahok sa MMFF sa taong iyon. Pinantayan ng ikalawang Mano Po ang nauna kung pasikatan ng artista lamang  naman ang pag uusapan. Pinagsama sama sina Susan Roces, Lorna Tolentino, Christopher de Leon, Kris Aquino, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Judy Ann Santos, Carmina Villaroel at marami pang iba. Kahit hindi nagpahuli ang My Home sa bigat ng mga artistang nagsiganap, hindi nito napantayan ang nahamig ng nauna sa takilya.

Sa kabila ng hindi masyadong matagumpay na kinalabasan ng My Home, hindi nahinto ang nasimulang tradisyon ng Regal Films dahil sa ng sumunod na MMFF noong 2004, nagbida ang nag- iisang Star for All Seasons sa ikatlong pelikula ng Mano Po na pinamagatang My Love na idinirihe ng nagbabalik na si Joel Lamangan.  Nakasama ni Ate Vi ang kanyang paboritong katambal sa pelikula na si Christopher de Leon at nariyan din ang pinagsama-samang mga beterano at batang artista na sina Eddie Garcia, Boots Anson Roa, Jay Manalo, at Amy Austria na kasama rin sa unang Mano Po, Sheryl Cruz, Carlo Aquino, Jean Garcia, Patrick Garcia, Karylle, Angelica Panganiban, Cherry Pie Picache, Dennis Trilllo at John Prats. Hindi yata nakatulong ang malakas na hatak ng isang Vilma Santos sa takilya sa kadahilanang hindi man lang nakapasok ang My Love sa tatlong pinakapinanood ng pelikula sa paligsahan noong taong iyon. Mas pinanood ang mga kalahok na pelikula na may temang katatakutan at pantasya o kababalaghan.

Hindi ko lubos akalain na ang Ako Legal Wife pala nina Zsa Zsa Padilla, Ruffa Mae Quinto at Cherry Pie Picache ay bahagi ng serye ng Mano Po. Sa direksiyon pa rin ni Joel Lamangan, nakipagbanggaan sa takilya ang kakaibang komedya ng Ako Legal Wife katunggali ang ibang pelikulang kalahok sa MMFF noong 2005 na ang tema ay pawang mga katatakutan at pantasya. Hindi matawaran ang mga positibong puna ng mga kritiko sa pang-apat na Mano Po subalit nabigo ito na manguna sa takilya o pumasok man lang sa ikatlong posisyon. Nakigulo din sa pelikula sina Jay Manalo, John Prats, Bianca King, at Ella Guevarra.

Hindi natinag si Mother Lily kahit hindi gaanong humamig ng limpak limpak na salapi ang mga huling pelikula niya kaya’t ibinida niya ang pinakamainit na tambalan noong 2006 na sina Angel Locsin at Richard Gutierez  sa Mano Po 5 Gua Ai Di na kasama sa siyam na pelikulang kalahok sa ika-32nd MMFF. Sina Christian Bautista Lorna Tolentino, Tirso Cruz III, Gina Alajar, Ketchup Eusebio, Michelle Madrigal, Jacklyn Jose at AJ Dee ay nagdagdag din ng kulay sa isang kwento ng masaya at nakakatawa subalit masalimuot na pagmamahalan ng Instsik at Pinoy. Sa kabila ng napaka komersiyal na kwento at sikat na mga artistang nagsipagganap, nabigo pa rin ang Regal Films at si Direk Joel Lamngan na iangat ang kinita ng mga huling pelikula ng Mano Po na  pawang ika-apat na pwesto lamang ang narating sa paligsahan.

Nadala na rin siguro ang Regal Films nang nahinto ang tradisyon nilang lumahok ng isang pelikulang Mano Po sa MMFF sa sumunod na dalawang taon. Nalungkot ang mga nag aabang dito sapagkat nakasanayan na ang Mano Po bawat MMFF simula noong taong 2002. Kahit na nagkaroon ng Bahay Kubo A Pinoy Mano Po noong 2007 kasama si Maricel Soriano , iba pa rin ang nakaugaliang mga pelikula na pamoso, elegante at mala epiko ang dating.

Kaya’t naghiyawan ang mga kaibigan kong intsik at nagdaos naman ng isang piging ang mga kabitbahay kong Tsinoy nang  inanunsiyo ni Megastar Sharon Cuneta ang pagbida niya sa ika-anim at tinaguriang pinakamalaking Mano Po sa kasaysayan sa nalalapit na Kapaskuhan. Magtagumpay kaya sina Direk Joel, Sharon at lahat lahat na bumubuo ng Mano Po My Mother sa malaking hamon na ito?

Aging Gracefully

23 Oct

These women are already in their 40′s but like wine they seem to get better with age. See the evidence.


More Scare with Patient X

10 Oct

patient x2009 seems to be the scariest year of the  decade for the avid  movie fanatics.  Local cinemas have been swamped with horrifying flicks this year from our favorite mainstream and independent producers.   And if your sosyal who doesn’t go for indigenous stuff, I’m sure you’ve seen at least one or two among the countless Hollywood and Asian horror movies that scared us to death in the past 9 months.

Despite this, GMA and Viva Films still think we need more terror before 2009 ends thus Patient X is born. This Richard Gutierrez and Cristine Reyes starrer is an appalling story of a doctor and his special patient and the mysterious deaths in a hospital which only both of them can solve.

This is Richard’s second time working with director Yam Laranas after Sigaw in 2004 which made positive noise loud enough for American producers to hear and resulted to a Hollywood remake entitled The Echo.  The remake which was internationally shown just recently was still under his direction and had only Iza Calzado remained from the original cast.

I have promised myself several times not to be misled by trailers as they always make me end up with disappointments after seeing the whole work. I think Patient X is up to break it. Urghh..  Go click this link and see for yourself  how bad my predicament is. >

Patient X opens on October 28, 2009 in your favorite cinemas.

The Incredibles Versus the Fantastic Four

6 Oct


I have no wish to have these two gangs of superheroes fight against each other. What made me bring this up is boredom one stormy night when I scavenged for any piece of thing to provide me at least a little entertainment. The Incredibles and Fantastic Four (literally and metaphorically speaking) saved me from that pathetic plight. After the movie marathon which lasted for barely four hours I had stumbled upon a very apparent parallelism in the characters of the films, each character having its counterpart in the other movie. I’m not quite certain if this has been brought up before but I find the idea very intriguing that I was not able to sleep well that night. Or it could be the effect of drinking soda before bedtime. Not sure.

Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic), the head of the fantastic quartet has superhuman elasticity so as the incredible mom Helen Parr (Elastigirl). Both can stretch, twist and restructure their bodies into inhuman proportions.

Ben Grimm (The Thing) may be a lot more self-effacing than Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) but their tremendous strength are said to be parallel to each other. It’s just actually me who said so but basing it on the two installments of both films, it’s evident that Ben and Bob are of equal power.

Susan Storm (Invisible Girl), the lone superheroine of the mighty foursome, and the Incredibles’ only daughter Violet Parr both have the power of invisibility. They can poke you in the eyes without you seeing them.

And lastly, Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) shares a comparable rate of superhuman speed with the fourth grader Dash Parr. Moreover, Johnny has the ability to project fire from his body which Jack-Jack Parr, the youngest of The Incredibles, is also capable of.

Is it just coincidence or one really tried to copy the other?

57th Annual FAMAS Awards Finalist Announced (with surprises)

5 Oct

balermovieposterploningFilipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences, the pioneer in giving recognitions to the local cinema, has finally released the finalists for its 57th Annual FAMAS Awards to be held on October 18, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at the Grand Theater of PAGCOR in Paranaque.


Baler (Viva films), a story of a forbidden love between a Mestizo soldier (Jericho Rosales) and a Filipina lass (Anne Curtis) which blossomed in a town in Aurora at the end of 19th century, earns the most nods with 14.  Not far behind with 13 nominations is Ploning (Panoramanila Pictures, Inc.) which tells a beautiful tale of the life of a barrio lass (Judy Ann Santos) who awaits the return of her long lost love.  Baler and Ploning, along with Ay, Ayeng (Aloha Pearl Productions) Caregiver (Star Cinema) Magkaibigan (Maverick Films) When Love Begins (Star Cinema) will vie for the most coveted Best Picture Award.


Surprise inclusions in the list are Ay, Ayeng (Aloha Pearl Productions), When Love Begins (Star Cinema), Ate (Posh Productions) and For the First Time (Star Cinema) with 10, 8, 7 and 5 nominations respectively. These films were snubbed by the other local award giving bodies like the Film Academy of the Philippines (Luna Awards), Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Gawad Urian), Philippine Movie Press Club (Star Awards) and the rest.


Another unexpected finalist is Richard Gutierrez’s so-so performance in Star Cinema’s For the First Time for the Best Actor Category.  John Lloyd Cruz  should have been included in the list as his acting in A Very Special Love is way better.  FAMAS certainly never fails to surprise people.  Like what happened on April 13, 2009 when newcomer Aleck Bovick (Tampisaw) triumphed over veteran actresses Sharon Cuneta (Magkapatid), Claudine Barreto (Kailangan Kita) Ara Mina (Mano Po) and Alessandra de Rossi (Mga Munting Tinig) as she walked home with the illustrious Best Actress trophy.


Anyways, here is the complete list of the finalists for the 57th Annual FAMAS Awards.


Best Picture:


Ay, Ayeng (Aloha Pearl Productions)

Baler (Viva Films)

Caregiver (Star Cinema)

Magkaibigan (Maverick Films)

Ploning (Panoramanila Pictures, Inc.)

When Love Begins (Star Cinema).


Best Director:


Chito Rono (Caregiver)

Dante Nico Garcia (Ploning)

Ed Palmos (Ay, Ayeng)

Jose Javier Reyes (Magkaibigan)

Joyce Bernal (For the First Time)

Mark Meily (Baler)


Best Actress:


Anne Curtis (Baler)

Dawn Zulueta (Magkaibigan)

Heart Evangelista (Ay, Ayeng)

Judy Ann Santos (Ploning)

Melissa Mendez (Kalakal)

Sharon Cuneta (Caregiver)


Best Actor:


Aga Muhlach (When Love Begins)

Allen Dizon (Paupahan)

Jericho Rosales (Baler)

John Estrada (Caregiver)

Polo Ravales (Walang Kawala)

Richard Gutierrez (For the First Time)


Best Supporting Actress:


Boots Anson Roa (When Love Begins)

Gina Pareno (Ploning)

Isabel Lopez (Ay, Ayeng)

Jean Garcia (Walang Kawala)

Pilar Pilapil (For the First Time)

Snooky Serna (Paupahan)


Best Supporting Actor:


Bojong Fernandez (Ploning)

Eddie Gutierrez (For the First Time)

Emilio Garcia (Walang Kawala)

German Moreno (Paupahan)

John Manalo (Caregiver)

Philip Salvador (Baler)


Best Child Actress:


Janel Calma (Ang Tanging Ina Ninyong Lahat)

Jessica Mae Flores (Ay, Ayeng).


Best Child Actor:


Alvin Christian Flores (Ay, Ayeng)

Dominico Soriano (Ay, Ayeng)

Fender Legaspi (Baler)

Makisig Morales (Caregiver)


Best Cinematography:


Charlie Peralta (Ploning)

Lee Meily (Baler)

Rodel Bonus (Ate)

Rodolfo Aves, Jr. (Magkaibigan)

Rodolfo Aves, Jr. (When Love Begins)

Shane Sarte (For the First Time).


Best Story:


Dante Nico Garcia (Ploning)

C.Rono/J.Castro/C.Martinez (Caregiver)

Jose Javier Reyes (Magkaibigan)

Peque Gallaga (Ate)

Roy Iglesias (Baler)

T. Dinopol/C. Gasmen (When Love Begins)


Best Screenplay:


Dante Nico Garcia (Ploning)

Dennis Evangelista (Paupahan)

Ed Palmos (Ay, Ayeng)

Jose Javier Reyes (Magkaibigan)

P.Gallaga/L.Reyes/G. Tagasa (Ate)

Roy Iglesias (Baler)


Best Sound:


Albert Michael Idioma (Ploning)

Albert Michael Idioma (When Love Begins)

Albert Michael Idioma (Caregiver)

Raffy Magsaysay (Ate)

Ronald de Asis (Magkaibigan)

Ditoy Aguila (Baler)


Best Editing:


Danilo Anonuevo (Baler)

Danilo Anonuevo (Ploning)

Manet Dayrit (Caregiver)

Randy Gabriel (Ate)

Randy Gabriel (Magkaibigan)

Vito Cajili (When Love Begins)


Best Musical Score:


Carmina Robles-Cuya (Caregiver)

Jesse Lucas (Ploning)

Jesse Lasaten (Ang Tanging Ina Ninyong Lahat)

Jesse Lucas (Magkaibigan)

Vincent de Jesus (Baler)


Best Theme Song:


“Akap” composed by Imago and performed by Imago (Ate) “Sangandaan” composed by Joven Tan and performed by Jan Nieto (Paupahan)

“Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman” composed by Louie Ocampo and performed by Sarah Geronimo (Baler)


Best Art Direction:


Aped Santos (Baler)

Cyrus Khan (Ay, Ayeng)

Peque Gallaga (Ate)

Raymond Fernandez (Ploning)

Ronnie Cruz (When Love Begins)

Sonny Maculada (Magkaibigan)


Best Special Effects:


Rolando Salem (Ay, Ayeng)

Best Visual Effects: Optima Digital Color Grading (Ploning)

Bayaw Movie Review

28 Sep

bayaw_janvier_paolo_andrew2I’ll go straight to the point; Bayaw, one of thef films produced by the recently concluded Cinemalaya Cinco Film Festival, is a failure. None of its aspects especially the technical part reach the level of being average. The editing was done feebly, so as the musical score, the acting is unrealistic and everything just falls out of its place.

 Bayaw follows the story of Nilo (Paolo Rivero), an ex-cop who, along with Rhenan (Janvier Daily) his wife’s brother, runs away from the police after he accidentally killed his wife after a heated argument. The scenes that follow tell about how they survive the dangers and temptations they meet along the way as they both run for their lives.

The story is consists of a number of cluttered pieces of subplots bound together through a series of investigative questioning thrown by an officer to Nilo and Rhenen in two separate occasions. It kind of reminded me of Slumdog Millionaire which developed its story through the same manner.  But unlike Slumdog,  Bayaw’s storytelling is slack and drifting. The scenes were loosely bound together leaving the audience either confused or lost.

The movie lasted for barely two hours but you never really get to know the characters that much. This is probably the result of how poorly they developed these characters and as well as the actors’ unrealistic portrayal of their respective roles. The acting was forced.  Paolo Rivero however shows a potential to do good but the film seems to be not the proper vehicle to let it out.

The camera shots are too shaky and the framing has no distinct focus. It’s as if they were using a camera phone. There are scenes that needed strong musical score but are kept hushed.  The editing lacks finesse.  Forgive me but I find nothing worth praising about this ambitious cinematic attempt save for the effort.

Rating:  *  1/2

Ded na si Lolo is Philippines’ Official Entry for 82nd Oscars

25 Sep


I am regretful at present time for the reason that I never took the opportunity to watch Ded na si Lolo during it’s one week screening in Robinsons Movieworld months ago. Had I seen it, I would have have lots to say now that the Film Academy of the Philippines (the organization behind Luna Awards) has chosen it to compete in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the world’s most prestigious award giving body for movies- the Oscars.

 Ded na si Lolo, one of the six movies produced by APT Entertainment and the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) through its Sine Direk project, was chosen among the 12 other films screened by the committee. Together with Ded na si Lolo, Lola helmed by Cannes Best Director Brillante Mendoza, Jay of Cinemalaya and Star Cinema’s In My Life made it to the final four.

 Basing it from the film’s trailer and some film reviews from trusted critics, I would say FAP’s choice this year is not a big surprise. With more or less P2 million budget, Director Soxie Topacio and the rest of the gang behind Ded na si Lolo came up with a film more than 10x its worth. Its box-office success after almost a month of screening at the local cinemas can attest to it.

 I am crossing my fingers each year that our entry will at least be short listed in the category which remains a dream for us since 1953 when we started to take part in the competition.  We have produced champions in the boxing arena, beauty queens in international pageants, a Best Director in Cannes Film Festival. We also have penetrated the world music scene through Charice, Arnel Pineda, Apl de Ap and Freddie Aguilar. I hope this year we could earn our first nod from the Academy of Motion Pictures and the Arts (AMPAS) who gives the most coveted Oscar trophies.

Caregiver and Baler Top 27th Luna Awards List of Nominees

18 Sep


 Film Academy of the Philippines has released the final list of nominees for the upcoming 27th Luna Awards last Wednesday, September 26, 2009. Luna Awards is said to be the local counterpart of the prestigious Academy Awards in the US. Mainstream movies dominate the roll with Caregiver (Star Cinema) and Baler (Viva Films) scoring the most number of nominations with a total of nine. Ploning (Panoramanila Pictures), the Philippine’s entry to the Oscars last year follows closely with seven nods while Magkaibigan (Maverick Films) and A Very Special Love (Star Cinema) garnered five nominations each.

Two veteran actors scored an impressive double nomination. Philip Salvador is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for both his portrayals in Baler of Viva Films and For the First Time of Star Cinema. Christopher de Leon is recognized in two different categories on the other hand. His performances in Maverick Films’ Magkaibigan and in Star Cinema’s When Love Begins are nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.

Here is the complete list of nominees for the 27th Luna Awards.

Baler (Viva Films)-
Caregiver (Star Cinema)-
Magkaibigan (Maverick Films, Inc.)
Ploning (Panoramanila Pictures Co.)
Torotot (Viva Films)
A Very Special Love (Star Cinema/Viva Films)

Cathy Garcia-Molina (A Very Special Love/Star Cinema & Viva Films)
Mark Meily (Baler/Viva Films)
Jose Javier Reyes (Magkaibigan/ Maverick Films)
Maryo J. de los Reyes (Torotot/Viva Films)
Chito S. Rono (Caregiver/Star Cinema)

Jade Francis Castro, Michiko Yamamoto & Raymond Lee (Endo/UFO Pictures)
Dante Nico Garcia & Benjamin Lingan (Ploning/Panoramanila Pictures)
Roy Iglesias (Baler/Viva Films)
Chris Martinez (Caregiver/Star Cinema)
Paul Alexander Morales (Concerto /Digital Spirit Films)

John Lloyd Cruz for A Very Special Love (Star Cinema/Viva Films)
John Estrada for Caregiver (Star Cinema)
Baron Geisler for Torotot (Viva Films)
Christopher de Leon for Magkaibigan (Maverick Films)
Aga Muhlach for When Love Begins (Star Cinema/Viva Films)
Jericho Rosales for Baler (Viva Films)

Ai-Ai de las Alas for Ang Tanging Ina Niyong Lahat (Star Cinema)
Sharon Cuneta for Caregiver (Star Cinema)
Anne Curtis for Baler (Viva Films)
Mylene Dizon for 100 (Martinez-Rivera Films)
Judy Ann Santos for Ploning (Panoramanila Pictures).

Ricky Davao for Endo (UFO Pictures)
Christopher de Leon for When Love Begins (Star Cinema/Viva Films)
Makisig Morales for Caregiver (Star Cinema)
Dante Rivero for A Very Special Love (Star Cinema/Viva Films)
Philip Salvador for Baler (Viva Films) and for the First Time (Star Cinema)
Ronaldo Valdez for When Love Begins (Star Cinema/Viva Films).

Iza Calzado for One True Love (Regal Ent./GMA Films)
Eugene Domingo for Ikaw Pa Rin (Viva Films)
Maricel Laxa for Magkaibigan (Maverick Films)
Candy Pangilinan for For the First Time (Star Cinema)
Tessie Tomas for 100 (Martinez-Rivera Films).

Eli Balce (Caregiver/Star Cinema)
Larry Manda (100/Martinez-Rivera Films)
Lee Meily (Baler/Viva Films)
Charlie S. Peralta (Ploning/Panoramanila Pictures Co.)
Shayne Sarte (For the First Time/Star Cinema).

Manet Dayrit (Caregiver/ Star Cinema)
Marya Ignacio (A Very Special Love/Star Cinema & Viva Films) and (My Only You/Star Cinema)
Jess Navarro (Torotot/Viva Films)
Ike Veneracion (100/Martinez-Rivera Films).

Nancy Arcega (A Very Special Love/Star Cinema & Viva Films)
Raymond George Fernandez (Ploning/Panoramanila Pictures)
Benjamin Padero & Carlo Tabije (Serbis/Centerstage Productions)
Aped Santos (Baler/Viva Films)
Gerry Santos (Concerto/Digital Spirit Films)

Carmina Robles-Cuya (Caregiver)
Von de Guzman (Kulam)
Vincent de Jesus (Baler and I.T.A.L.Y.)
Jesse Lasaten (Ploning).

Ditoy Aguila (Baler/Viva Films)
Ronald de Asis (Magkaibigan/ Maverick Films)
Albert Michael Idioma (Ploning/Panoramanila Pictures) and (When Love Begins/Star Cinema & Viva Films)
Albert Michael Idioma & Addiss Tabong (One Night Only/ Canary Films).


Twin Treat (Kimmy Dora Movie Review)

3 Sep

kimmydoraposterIf you’ve been waiting to see a local film lately which could give you a good laugh and at the same time could melt your heart, Kimmy Dora (Kambal sa Kiyeme) comes in just right in time for you. Spring Films, along with Director Joyce Bernal, Eugene Domingo, Chris Martinez and everybody behind Kimmy Dora has successfully coalesced heart and humor into one side-splitting yet moving film of the year.

Kimmy Dora (Kambal sa Kiyeme) is a story of twin sisters Kimmy and Dora Go Dong Hae (Eugene Domingo in a dual role) who have extremely contradicting personality. Kimmy is the smarter sister which runs and bosses their enormous chain of businesses and lives in a swanky kind of lifestyle. Dora on the other hand is dumb but has a good heart which brings her closer to other people. Conflict starts to rise when both bump into an attractive man played by Dingdong Dantes.

Eugene Domingo,taking her first lead role has proven everybody that she deserves this big break in her career. She has shown an unbelievably unmatched acting range in this film as she plays a dual role. It reminds me of Maricel Soriano in Maria Went to Town in 1988. Playing exceptionally opposing characters in a single film effortlessly deserves a best actress plum. While playing two exceptionally contradicting characters in a single film and at the same time having one pretend to be the other one and vice versa (confused?) warrants a grand-slam award.

The rest of the cast provided acting performances that range from fair to outstanding. Though most of them are non-comedians, humor came out naturally and funny scenes did not appear overacted. For the most part of this, the credit should go to Binibining Joyce Bernal who helmed the filmmaking and Chris Martinez who conceptualized the script. Both were able to bring out the funny sides in them. For me, this is Bernal’s best comedy film to date. No more crappy flicks like Booba please.

Despite the flaws in the technical aspect which is of course justifiable with a budget a little less than that of a typical mainstream movie, Kimmy Dora (Kambal sa Kiyeme) sets a milestone in the local film industry which is being swamped with nonsense and clichéd comedy flicks recently. So grab a friend and give yourselves a funny and a heartwarming movie treat this September.


* * * *

Unpredictable (Tarot Movie Review)

1 Sep

image courtesy of Regal Entertainment

Starting off with a boastful A rating from the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) a director who joins the elite members of Palanca Awards for Literature Hall of Fame, bankable lead stars and a dependable supporting cast, Tarot, an early Halloween treat from Regal Films holds nothing but high expectations from the viewers. Oh yes it does meet expectations, only if people go to see it for nothing but a good scare.

Tarot is a story of Cara (Marian Rivera) who inherits psychic powers through a deck of special cards from her Lola Auring (Gloria Romero). She was not able to use it for a long period of time due to her mother’s objection. Not until she lost her fiancé during a trip to a forest that she feels a call for its necessity. Things turn out to be not the way she wants it when she unlocks the portal to a strange yet an unknowingly familiar world.

The plot seems tight, simple and easy to tell, but the movie experience is a contradiction. The storytelling treads on a long crisscross road because of the many subplots that give doubts to the viewers if they would go somewhere. Somehow they meet in a certain point but the connection is a bit obscured. Thus it ends not the way you would want it.

The acting is commendable except for Ana Capri’s over-acting. She used to be a good actress back then. Good thing veteran actresses Gloria Romero and Celia Rodriguez are up to trim whatever exceeds and add something to whatever is lacking in the acting department. Lead star Marian Rivera proves she’s more than just a pretty face. Her performance signals her readiness for more challenging roles. She’s almost there. Dennis Trillo and Roxanne Guinoo take on their respective roles fairly well.

Good camera shots matched with effective scoring and sound effects and taut editing are the film’s strongest points. I think these are Jun Lana’s forte in directing. With all these, Tarot turned out to be an offspring of his Mag-ingat ka sa Kulam last year. The film is meant to scare and that’s it.

Had the actors worn minimal make-up, I would have given the film a four-star rating.

Rating: * * * 1/2

Pixar’s Up is Breaking Records

25 Aug


Just lately, I  made a conclusion that Filipinos don’t like cartoons that much. That was after Ice Age 3: The Dawn of the Dinosaurs didn’t  reach number one in the Philippines. Considering its performance at the tills in the United States and other countries, in our cinemas, Ice Age 3 did not surpass the box office earnings of Terminator: Revenge of the Fallen which managed to stay on the top spot on its second week. The last animated movie which made it to the top was Madagascar in November 2008.

That is the big reason why the announcement of the Victor Cabrera, managing director of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International surprised me. Among the movies which opened last week in Philippine cinemas, Up performed best at the box office. And the bigger news is it made the highest opening weekend earnings for an animated movie ever in the country. It has grossed almost P 46 million on its opening week  

 Way to go Carl, Russell and friends!









Too much!

25 Aug

Efforts are pouring out to give honor to President Cory Aquino for her unparalleled contributions to our country. One of these is the bid from some legislators to declare President Cory as National Hero. It is followed by an announcement from Central Bank weeks ago to include her portrait beside Ninoy in the P500 bill. Then there’s the controversial proposal of the Office of the President to mount a monument of hers in Luneta Park. The offer was greatly censured by the Aquino siblings particularly Noynoy who doubts the motive behind it. Kris, along with her 3 sisters is also set to record a Rosary DVD to be released by Star Cinema in memory of their mom.


Vilma as President Cory

Ate Vi as President Cory

I won’t be surprised if tomorrow someone will suggest proclaiming Tita Cory a saint or adding a subject in college about her life and works (like Rizal).           


 Since Star Cinema started to publicize its plan of producing a biopic of the most loved president, Kris Aquino has been very vocal about her choice of who will play the title role. She said she could not think of anybody else who could portray her mom better than the country’s Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos. Such is going to be another milestone in Vilma’s movie career if this will push through.


But before Ate Vi takes on this once in a lifetime role, we will first see her portray a funny and heartwarming character in Star Cinema’s In My Life to be shown in cinemas this September 16. The movie is directed by Olivia Lamasan which also stars John Lloyd Cruz and Luis Manzano.


My 10 Most Loved Movie Characters

21 Aug

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