Final Thoughts on the MMFF (for now)



I’m wrapping all my reviews for the remaining films in this blog post. Hahaha. It’s not because they’re not worthy of a separate space in my blog but because I felt I’m already late in posting my thoughts. As said in previous blog posts, the opportunity to watch this year’s MMFF entries were courtesy of complimentary tickets from the MMDA. Had they not given those as Christmas gifts to our organization, I might not have the luxury to pay 180 bucks or much more to watch these movies. Anyhoo, here’s a briefer version of my film reviews (arranged in order of viewing):

The Strangers is directed by Lawrence Fajardo
(Photo from www.dweetbox.blogspot.com)
The Strangers
I guess this was my first time to watch a horror film in a movie house. I’m not a fan so I don’t really spend bucks for such. The Strangers succeeds in building up terror in its first half. In the first scene, Enchong Dee and his wife are attacked by a strange creature. The screen blacks out and next we get to see Julia Montes and Enrique Gil as twins Pat and Max who’ll be celebrating their 18th birthday with family—Cherry Pie Picache is their mother, Johnny Revilla is their father and Jaime Fabregas is their grandfather. Janice de Belen plays Paloma, their grandfather’s superstitious caregiver. As soon as they blow their birthday cake, the family continues on a journey to the town of Murcia. Along the way, a series of creepy events would ensue prompting the family to stay in the middle of the forest with a group of townsfolk. Meanwhile, we see again Enchong Dee, this time he has an unusual crop of hair around his mouth. Creepier things happen and by the time the second half of the movie is shown, we already know what’s going to happen. The twist in the end may probably be good, but I felt that it took a lot of time for the director to build it up on the whole course of the movie.

In terms of effects, I like how the movie was able to establish an eerie feeling on its scenes especially those inside the forest. There were efforts to make the strange creatures look believable but it wasn’t really that good. With our love for horror films, I think this is where we should invest much on—using visual technology to create believable creatures or effects integral to elevating the movies we craft.

2 out of 5 stars.

Shake, Rattle and Roll 14: The Invasion
SRR 14 is directed by Chito S. Rono
(Photo from Star Mo Meter)
From the title we get the idea that this is the 14th installment of Regal Films’ SRR franchise. Seriously, we bought this one for that long. Ok, to be fair, previous SRR mini-movies shown during the 90s were quite ok and had succeeded in scaring the wits out of us. But the more recent installments were just plain money-making schemes. Well, ok, there may be a good episode, but seriously, just admit it. Anyway, let’s get to the movie.

The first episode reunites Regal babies Herbert Bautista (yes, the Quezon City Mayor who’s gunning for a re-election where he has greater chances of sealing a win), Nadia Montenegro and Janice de Belen as siblings who recently lost an estranged uncle who was a writer for horror comics. His butler played by Lou Veloso (yes again, he’s a former city councilor of Manila who’ll be Mayor Lim’s running mate) entrusted to them a chest full of horror comics which they have to take care of lest misfortune happen to them. Sure enough, a series of unfortunate events happen until they all converge inside their uncle’s haunted mansion. A lot more would happen inside until one of them escapes. Who is it; you’ll find out if you watch. Hahaha.

The second episode features a group of handsome soldiers (Dennis Trillo, Paulo Avelino, JC Tiuseco, AJ Dee, et al) in their quest to quell rebellion in an undisclosed territory. Their mission would then turn into a wild goose chase when several of their members were abducted, including their platoon leader who’s a Padilla (evident from his voice and kuba stance). In the middle of the forest they meet a small community of mothers and their children who strangely have no adult male population. Apparently, they were also abducted by a group of men calling themselves the Lost Command. The next scenes would show us what happened to the abducted men—it was an attempt to depict the horrors of war waged and the effects it has on the soldiers and the communities they were asked to raid. It has a shed of inspiration from zombie-themed movies which is quite ok.

The final episode was a clear reference to the Mayan prediction of the world’s impending end. We see Vhong Navarro and Lovi Poe as lovers who are about to meet the guy’s parents for a dinner when everything just crushes and blacks out. On the next scenes we see other survivors who end up dying from alien invaders. Only the lovers remain in the end where they get to talk to the chief alien who tells them they were chosen to recreate the Earth. Sorry, I was able to spill the whole plot but yeah, that’s just how it goes. They end up cloaked in alien outfit.

Of the three, I liked the first episode most because it was able to establish a relatively stronger story than that of the others. Its cast was also relatively better than the two so there. I felt that the plots were regressive in terms of development—it diminishes from one episode to another, we end up seeing a “chaka” final episode.

2 out of 5 stars.

Sosy Problems is directed by Andoy Ranay
(Photo from Wikipedia)
Sosy Problems
Sosy Problems is GMA Films entry for MMFF 2012. I wasn’t able to watch its trailer because I felt it would just be a lame parody of Sex and the City or whatever Hollywood that featured rich, spoiled, brat girls who after a series of events would emerge as better women. Actually, that was how the movie would go about. The plot was kinda predictable but what surprised me was the film’s execution. Rhian Ramos, Heart Evangelista, Solenn Heusaff and Bianca King star as the country’s it girls who have everything in life until their favorite hang-out place was bought by nouveau riche Bernice (Mylene Dizon), who intends to convert the polo club into a mall—a yaya mall according to these girls. The term yaya mall as well as a slew of other terms such as konyo, poor, and super duper rich were a bit politically incorrect or inappropriate. For one, konyo is a Spanish swear word (coño) but Filipinos use it to refer to rich kids with slight attitude problems. Hahahaha. But that’s alright because the movie’s saving grace is its strong lead cast. The girls were just like parodying themselves they end up good in their roles. I was laughing the whole time we were inside the theater—the lines were exactly delivered and the funny scenes weren’t “pilit” so to speak. Even the supporting actors were pretty good. The film wasn’t able to cap it off perfectly in the end, though. We hear a narrative telling us what happened to the girls after—different to the film’s premise where Ruffa Guttierez as a TV producer wants to expose the lavish lifestyles enjoyed by these girls. It could have been a better film had this story arc been exploited further, but as said, it was abandoned. But such does not diminish the fun this movie gave me. I think Andoy Ranay is quite successful in crafting an enjoyable movie.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

El Presidente
El Presidente is directed by Mark Meily
(Photo from www.video48.blogspot.com)
The movie is a biopic of former Philippine President General Emilio Aguinaldo. It stars Laguna Governor Jeorge “E.R” Ejercito as Aguinaldo, Nora Aunor, Christopher De Leon,Cesar Montano, Cristine Reyes, Ronnie Lazaro, Baron Geisler and a lot of other names, it almost looked like a reunion of the movie industry’s stars. The movie outlines the rise of General Aguinaldo—from the foretold childhood prophecy about his future as a leader to his gradual rise in the ranks of Katipunan and the presidency of the de facto government against the Spaniards, until the latter days of his life during former President Diosdado Macapagal’s term.  It tried to be historical but I felt it was quite different from the elementary and first year high school Philippine History lessons we had. In the movie, Katipunan’s Supremo, Andres Bonifacio (Montano) was painted as the thorn of the revolutionary government while General Miong was the true hero of the botched revolution.

I really wouldn’t believe such depiction hence my general dislike for the film. I was particularly disturbed to see DepEd’s logo flashed during the movie credits—does this mean they allowed such a film to be released? I mean, it altered history, hello. Ok, it maybe a plausible argument that the film was purely based on the General’s memoirs hence the bias towards him and against Bonifacio. But seeing DepEd’s logo there means they’re promoting a film with a biased sense of history—something we wouldn’t want our students to see. We already heard people behind us saying “Ay ganun, masama pala si Bonifacio no,” or “Ganun ba talaga siya? (referring to the lowly Andres)”. Hmmm, I guess DepEd should have looked into this before supporting such a film. Or maybe I’m just a Bonifacio-supporter. Charot.

In terms of visual effects, I think the film was able to achieve quite a feat. There were numerous attempts to suspend action and introduce excitement on the battle scenes by slowing them down. It kinda worked. The locations were also good. Geisler as the cruel Spanish General was believeable but Estregan as the lead man was such a failure. It was clearly a ploy to jumpstart his campaign for the upcoming 2013 midterm elections. Lols.

2.5 out of 5 stars.


Finally, I’m done! I wasn’t able to watch Enteng Kabisote because of time constraints plus I was kinda put off by the reviews I heard from friends. They told me it was a total waste of time—the other movies you could forgive but Enteng “daw” was just too much. I think such comments from the public should serve as a wake-up call for film outfits, the MMDA and the MTRCB to produce really quality films. You see the audience is already maturing—we’re demanding a better form of entertainment and not just some slapstick comedy or heavy dramas that glorify adultery. Seriously, one film is enough, two is just too much. A third or fourth or many more would be poison to our minds. We already had a start with Thy Womb—we mainstreamed indie cinema. It might be created for a different audience (read: the movie has European influence, I guess). Let’s do it again next year, this time with more critical views. I wouldn’t care really if the festival doesn’t get higher sales from showcasing better quality movies—it might be better than being mired into totally low quality ones.

You might also want to read my other reviews:

Thy Womb
Sisteraka
One More Try

Contenders for Oscars’ Best Picture up next. J

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

felix felicis: Final Thoughts on the MMFF (for now)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Final Thoughts on the MMFF (for now)



I’m wrapping all my reviews for the remaining films in this blog post. Hahaha. It’s not because they’re not worthy of a separate space in my blog but because I felt I’m already late in posting my thoughts. As said in previous blog posts, the opportunity to watch this year’s MMFF entries were courtesy of complimentary tickets from the MMDA. Had they not given those as Christmas gifts to our organization, I might not have the luxury to pay 180 bucks or much more to watch these movies. Anyhoo, here’s a briefer version of my film reviews (arranged in order of viewing):

The Strangers is directed by Lawrence Fajardo
(Photo from www.dweetbox.blogspot.com)
The Strangers
I guess this was my first time to watch a horror film in a movie house. I’m not a fan so I don’t really spend bucks for such. The Strangers succeeds in building up terror in its first half. In the first scene, Enchong Dee and his wife are attacked by a strange creature. The screen blacks out and next we get to see Julia Montes and Enrique Gil as twins Pat and Max who’ll be celebrating their 18th birthday with family—Cherry Pie Picache is their mother, Johnny Revilla is their father and Jaime Fabregas is their grandfather. Janice de Belen plays Paloma, their grandfather’s superstitious caregiver. As soon as they blow their birthday cake, the family continues on a journey to the town of Murcia. Along the way, a series of creepy events would ensue prompting the family to stay in the middle of the forest with a group of townsfolk. Meanwhile, we see again Enchong Dee, this time he has an unusual crop of hair around his mouth. Creepier things happen and by the time the second half of the movie is shown, we already know what’s going to happen. The twist in the end may probably be good, but I felt that it took a lot of time for the director to build it up on the whole course of the movie.

In terms of effects, I like how the movie was able to establish an eerie feeling on its scenes especially those inside the forest. There were efforts to make the strange creatures look believable but it wasn’t really that good. With our love for horror films, I think this is where we should invest much on—using visual technology to create believable creatures or effects integral to elevating the movies we craft.

2 out of 5 stars.

Shake, Rattle and Roll 14: The Invasion
SRR 14 is directed by Chito S. Rono
(Photo from Star Mo Meter)
From the title we get the idea that this is the 14th installment of Regal Films’ SRR franchise. Seriously, we bought this one for that long. Ok, to be fair, previous SRR mini-movies shown during the 90s were quite ok and had succeeded in scaring the wits out of us. But the more recent installments were just plain money-making schemes. Well, ok, there may be a good episode, but seriously, just admit it. Anyway, let’s get to the movie.

The first episode reunites Regal babies Herbert Bautista (yes, the Quezon City Mayor who’s gunning for a re-election where he has greater chances of sealing a win), Nadia Montenegro and Janice de Belen as siblings who recently lost an estranged uncle who was a writer for horror comics. His butler played by Lou Veloso (yes again, he’s a former city councilor of Manila who’ll be Mayor Lim’s running mate) entrusted to them a chest full of horror comics which they have to take care of lest misfortune happen to them. Sure enough, a series of unfortunate events happen until they all converge inside their uncle’s haunted mansion. A lot more would happen inside until one of them escapes. Who is it; you’ll find out if you watch. Hahaha.

The second episode features a group of handsome soldiers (Dennis Trillo, Paulo Avelino, JC Tiuseco, AJ Dee, et al) in their quest to quell rebellion in an undisclosed territory. Their mission would then turn into a wild goose chase when several of their members were abducted, including their platoon leader who’s a Padilla (evident from his voice and kuba stance). In the middle of the forest they meet a small community of mothers and their children who strangely have no adult male population. Apparently, they were also abducted by a group of men calling themselves the Lost Command. The next scenes would show us what happened to the abducted men—it was an attempt to depict the horrors of war waged and the effects it has on the soldiers and the communities they were asked to raid. It has a shed of inspiration from zombie-themed movies which is quite ok.

The final episode was a clear reference to the Mayan prediction of the world’s impending end. We see Vhong Navarro and Lovi Poe as lovers who are about to meet the guy’s parents for a dinner when everything just crushes and blacks out. On the next scenes we see other survivors who end up dying from alien invaders. Only the lovers remain in the end where they get to talk to the chief alien who tells them they were chosen to recreate the Earth. Sorry, I was able to spill the whole plot but yeah, that’s just how it goes. They end up cloaked in alien outfit.

Of the three, I liked the first episode most because it was able to establish a relatively stronger story than that of the others. Its cast was also relatively better than the two so there. I felt that the plots were regressive in terms of development—it diminishes from one episode to another, we end up seeing a “chaka” final episode.

2 out of 5 stars.

Sosy Problems is directed by Andoy Ranay
(Photo from Wikipedia)
Sosy Problems
Sosy Problems is GMA Films entry for MMFF 2012. I wasn’t able to watch its trailer because I felt it would just be a lame parody of Sex and the City or whatever Hollywood that featured rich, spoiled, brat girls who after a series of events would emerge as better women. Actually, that was how the movie would go about. The plot was kinda predictable but what surprised me was the film’s execution. Rhian Ramos, Heart Evangelista, Solenn Heusaff and Bianca King star as the country’s it girls who have everything in life until their favorite hang-out place was bought by nouveau riche Bernice (Mylene Dizon), who intends to convert the polo club into a mall—a yaya mall according to these girls. The term yaya mall as well as a slew of other terms such as konyo, poor, and super duper rich were a bit politically incorrect or inappropriate. For one, konyo is a Spanish swear word (coño) but Filipinos use it to refer to rich kids with slight attitude problems. Hahahaha. But that’s alright because the movie’s saving grace is its strong lead cast. The girls were just like parodying themselves they end up good in their roles. I was laughing the whole time we were inside the theater—the lines were exactly delivered and the funny scenes weren’t “pilit” so to speak. Even the supporting actors were pretty good. The film wasn’t able to cap it off perfectly in the end, though. We hear a narrative telling us what happened to the girls after—different to the film’s premise where Ruffa Guttierez as a TV producer wants to expose the lavish lifestyles enjoyed by these girls. It could have been a better film had this story arc been exploited further, but as said, it was abandoned. But such does not diminish the fun this movie gave me. I think Andoy Ranay is quite successful in crafting an enjoyable movie.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

El Presidente
El Presidente is directed by Mark Meily
(Photo from www.video48.blogspot.com)
The movie is a biopic of former Philippine President General Emilio Aguinaldo. It stars Laguna Governor Jeorge “E.R” Ejercito as Aguinaldo, Nora Aunor, Christopher De Leon,Cesar Montano, Cristine Reyes, Ronnie Lazaro, Baron Geisler and a lot of other names, it almost looked like a reunion of the movie industry’s stars. The movie outlines the rise of General Aguinaldo—from the foretold childhood prophecy about his future as a leader to his gradual rise in the ranks of Katipunan and the presidency of the de facto government against the Spaniards, until the latter days of his life during former President Diosdado Macapagal’s term.  It tried to be historical but I felt it was quite different from the elementary and first year high school Philippine History lessons we had. In the movie, Katipunan’s Supremo, Andres Bonifacio (Montano) was painted as the thorn of the revolutionary government while General Miong was the true hero of the botched revolution.

I really wouldn’t believe such depiction hence my general dislike for the film. I was particularly disturbed to see DepEd’s logo flashed during the movie credits—does this mean they allowed such a film to be released? I mean, it altered history, hello. Ok, it maybe a plausible argument that the film was purely based on the General’s memoirs hence the bias towards him and against Bonifacio. But seeing DepEd’s logo there means they’re promoting a film with a biased sense of history—something we wouldn’t want our students to see. We already heard people behind us saying “Ay ganun, masama pala si Bonifacio no,” or “Ganun ba talaga siya? (referring to the lowly Andres)”. Hmmm, I guess DepEd should have looked into this before supporting such a film. Or maybe I’m just a Bonifacio-supporter. Charot.

In terms of visual effects, I think the film was able to achieve quite a feat. There were numerous attempts to suspend action and introduce excitement on the battle scenes by slowing them down. It kinda worked. The locations were also good. Geisler as the cruel Spanish General was believeable but Estregan as the lead man was such a failure. It was clearly a ploy to jumpstart his campaign for the upcoming 2013 midterm elections. Lols.

2.5 out of 5 stars.


Finally, I’m done! I wasn’t able to watch Enteng Kabisote because of time constraints plus I was kinda put off by the reviews I heard from friends. They told me it was a total waste of time—the other movies you could forgive but Enteng “daw” was just too much. I think such comments from the public should serve as a wake-up call for film outfits, the MMDA and the MTRCB to produce really quality films. You see the audience is already maturing—we’re demanding a better form of entertainment and not just some slapstick comedy or heavy dramas that glorify adultery. Seriously, one film is enough, two is just too much. A third or fourth or many more would be poison to our minds. We already had a start with Thy Womb—we mainstreamed indie cinema. It might be created for a different audience (read: the movie has European influence, I guess). Let’s do it again next year, this time with more critical views. I wouldn’t care really if the festival doesn’t get higher sales from showcasing better quality movies—it might be better than being mired into totally low quality ones.

You might also want to read my other reviews:


Contenders for Oscars’ Best Picture up next. J

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

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