2014 proved to be another banner year for the local film industry. As promising as the previous year, I am so delighted with the number of movies I have seen. Quite amazed with how great and rave worthy they are, too. The following reviews, however, are based solely on my observations and reactions. As I have mentioned the last time, I do not consider myself a film critic. Please do not expect anything grand. 🙂 So without further adieu, errm, ado, beaming with pride, here are my top 15.
15. BITUKANG MANOK, Alec Figuracion
This is my kind of horror/thriller/suspense movie. The premise alone enticed me, and sure enough it didn’t disappoint. I feel like I was part of it; like I was one of the barkada, or the brother of the family on vacation, or probably one of the truck drivers. That’s how engaging the characters were. The only minor flaw, for me, was the ending (I won’t spoil hehe). It’s as if it was rushed or probably they ran out of idea on how to end it. But it didn’t ruin the film’s entirety so it’s all good.
14. SUNDALONG KANIN, Janice O’Hara
Ahh, I will never forget how emotionally scarred this movie left me. The ending crushed my heart into tiny little pieces. Ang bigat sa dibdib. What I loved most is the film’s focus – the kids and their stories. No need for big stars and extravagant acting. Just them doing what they’re good at.
13. MULA SA KUNG ANO ANG NOON, Lav Diaz
A one-line review said it was “hauntingly beautiful.” Indeed it was, and as expected, long. Almost 6 hours. This is another Lav Diaz masterpiece. The long shots were impressive. Blink and you’d miss a single and important detail. I especially liked the scenes at the beach – mysterious, intriguing, full of clear and crisp images. And it’s in black and white, which gives the audience the film’s sharp and stark outline.
12. BWAYA, Francis Xavier Pasion
The aerial shots were breathtakingly beautiful. It transported me to this small Agusan town, had a taste of how a Manobo’s daily lives and routines were, and felt the grief of the townsfolk when tragedy struck them. This is Angeli Bayani’s most riveting performance, I’d like to believe. The scene when she learned that her daughter was attacked by a crocodile and was found dead is absolutely heartbreaking.
11. BANG BANG ALLEY, Ely Buendia, King Palisoc, and Yan Yuzon
A first of its kind – a murder and crime trilogy. And that alone is enough for it to land a spot in my list. It has its strong and weak moments yes, but altogether a pretty good film. It was so nice to see Jimmy Santos on the big screen again. I wished more of his part and his story. The episode I liked the most was the second, Makina. Gabe Mercado aced the acting!
10. KUBOT The Aswang Chronicles 2, Erik Matti
I wasn’t able to watch Tiktik, but Kubot was a treat for me. Those blue-blooded aswangs (not zombies) who aren’t afraid of bawang but instead of bagoong, Elizabeth Oropesa and her big wild pubic hair-like hair, and Nieves, the character played by Lotlot De Leon, I believe are the film’s aces. I love how it introduces different kinds of aswangs in each movie (yes, there is a third part), it will make the audience crave for more. I will look forward for it next year.
9. SOAP OPERA, Remton Siega Zuasola
A young superhero with an unknown past, a pair of lovers torn between the magic of their romance and the reality of life, and a portrait of a family who will stop at nothing just to provide for its members. This film’s view of soap operas and how it affects its Pinoy viewers was a breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Daclan and Natileigh Sitoy’s performances. If this movie is a three-course meal, their story is the main dish.
8. MAGKAKABAUNG, Jason Paul Laxamana
This film depicts one of the many ironies in life. A coffin maker who can’t even provide a coffin and a decent burial for her daughter. Told mostly in Kapampangan, which I think gave it more zest. It sounded foreign to me. Allen Dizon’s character is one of my favorites this year. His scenes with her daughter are golden. Ah, things a parent would do for the family. It’s heartbreaking and so real I felt it.
7. THE TRIAL, Chito Roño
This film has the right balance of drama and comedy (which most of the time a hard thing to pull off), a well written screenplay, good directing, and impeccable acting. John Lloyd Cruz is the heart of this film. I had lumps on my throat in that scene where Sylvia Sanchez was beating him. Vincent De Jesus, on the other hand, was such a delight to watch. A comic relief that balances out all the intensities, emotions and drama of the whole situation.
6. VIOLATOR, Dodo Dayao
It was like I’m in a different dimension. That’s how it felt like watching this extraordinary film. Those series of vignettes haunted me in my sleep. I have never seen anything like it. Eerie and creepy. After watching, it made me question myself if I am able to find and eventually fight my own demon. Just the thought of it is giving me creeps. And oh, this movie also gave a new and different meaning to “The subscriber cannot be reached. Please try again later.”
5. DAGITAB, Giancarlo Abrahan
A long, sad, painful, but beautiful journey. This film can be poised as a classic, in my opinion. Easily became a favorite Cinemalaya film. Eula Valdez and Nonie Buencamino gave a very powerful and moving performance. The narrative was quite impressive, all done in good taste and it made me fall in love with poetry all over again.
4. LORNA, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
A roller-coaster ride of a film. Hilarious, yet very sincere. Almost half the time the cinema was filled with hearty laughter, and the next minute you would hear “Awww” followed by sniffles. That is how the people felt this movie. I am glad Shamaine Buencamino finally had a title role. There can be no other Lorna than her. A notable character though, was that of Maria Isabel Lopez. She brought the house down! And yes, Lav Diaz!
3. THAT THING CALLED TADHANA, Antoinette Jadaone
First minute alone, and I am sold. Seriously. The heart and the arrow – it’s like it pierced right through me. I knew I was watching something different, something I would remember and will not forget. And true enough. Days…no, weeks after watching it, the beauty, the sadness, the pain, the heartaches that this film gave the audience stayed with me. Whitney Houston’s Where Do Broken Hearts go was playing in my head for weeks. I am pretty sure a lot of people will relate to Anthony and Mace, the characters played by JM De Guzman and Angelica Panganiban. Tadhana also made me want to go and see the glorious Sagada. Favorite line: “Eh sorry, mahal ko eh.”
2. NORTE, HANGGANAN NG KASAYSAYAN, Lav Diaz
It was 4-hour long, but I wanted more. I actually wished it never ended, or at least it was longer. Fabian (Sid Lucero) was such a character; a beast of a man, he devoured the rest. My favorite was that of Mailes Kanapi – her acting speaks volume and it haunted me for several days. Angeli Bayani and Archie Alemania did not disappoint either. I hope that this film will FINALLY bring us our first Oscar nomination, and win too.
1. BARBER’S TALES, Jun Robles Lana
Powerful and exceptional. Every minute, every scene, every symbol in this film is perfection. I may be exaggerating but this is a movie every Filipino should see. Masterfully done, set in the 70’s but kept itself relevant, worth every peso. Equally powerful is Eugene Domingo. None of those TV Patrol/elevator acting but pure and raw emotions.
I have seen more, and it’s too difficult to make a list of just 15. Hoping for more quality Filipino films in the years to come, and eventually more people to embrace and support these type of movies. With NORTE having a lot of Oscar buzz, and lots of amazing pool of directors and writers showcasing their talent each year, our film industry is indeed in good hands. See you at the cinemas! 🙂
Four days til the Academy Awards! I was able to watch all 9 Best Picture nominees this year, a first for me. Much thanks to online streaming and torrent sites, and some literal pirate bay I went to one Monday afternoon. Having said that, let me dish out my predictions on who and what films are going to win (or for some, who I would want to win) in the major categories. I am not much of a film critic, just fond of watching movies so spare me of being biased. This time, however, will be a little different, for I will do a “who should win and who would win” sort of thing. Let’s get the ball rollin’, shall we?
Actress in a Supporting Role
Who should win – JUNE SQUIBB for Nebraska. She is my most favorite this year! She did not necessarily play the good part, her role was not at all charming but altogether lovely and funny that you just can’t help but gave her a loud cheer. If last year there’s a catchphrase that went, “Argofuck yourselves!” hers is “You can all just go fuck yourselves!”
Who would win – JENNIFER LAWRENCE for American Hustle. Let’s admit it, she’s an Academy favorite. I can’t blame them. I loooove her, too! She’s very effective in this film; her craziness, her being a beautiful domineering careless and sometimes dumb wife, her lip-locking with Amy Adams! Maaan! She never fail to surprise me. Note: I am ready for a Lupita Nyong’o upset.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Who should win AND who would win – JARED LETO for Dallas Buyers Club. You can probably say his role for this film is an Oscar bait. Maybe. But Leto delivered here. Performance wise, transforming wise, nobody else should get it but Jared. And if it’s indeed a bait, the Academy got themselves a big fish at that!
Actress in a Leading Role
Who should win – MERYL STREEP for August: Osage County. First 5 minutes of the film, and I am sold. Acting in spades. Can she do no wrong? I can watch her in this film all day and I you will not hear me complain. It’s THE Meryl Streep, anyway.
Who would win – AMY ADAMS for American Hustle. I can go all day telling you about how fine an actress she is; from Enchanted, Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master, etc. She never fail to mesmerize me. But let me just say this… It’s about time!!
Actor in a Leading Role
Who should win – MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY for Dallas Buyers Club. First, he transformed. It was a totally different McConaughey. Then, he gave an incredible performance backed up with an amazing and based in true events story. It’s Oscars written all over, I tell you.
Who would win – LEONARDO DiCAPRIO for The Wolf of Wall Street. Just give him the golden trophy, PLEAAASE!! DiCaprio is also an Academy favorite…. snob, that is. I think, and I hope, this will be his year. I gotta say, he wowed me in this film. For the first time, I did not see Jack Dawson in him. I think that’s the problem with Leo. After all these years, we still see that young Mr. Dawson in each film he’s making. Let’s see if this would be an exception.
Who I want to win – HER, Spike Jonze. This is the film I can relate to the most, hence it’s my pick for the Best Picture category. It’s a long shot, but who cares. Joaquin Phoenix made me cry, yes. That’s why when I found out he wasn’t even nominated, I cried too. Nah, just kidding 🙂 “Despite its initially unsettling romantic premise, it speaks volumes about how and why we need to love.” to borrow a quote I retweeted.
Who would win – AMERICAN HUSTLE, David O. Russell. I’m not really a fan of this movie, honestly. But the buzz and hype for this film is loud. I may have to watch it again for me to appreciate it more. I loved the songs, though. 🙂
So, there. Whoever wins among the ones I listed, I’m good. I can’t wait for the Oscars on Monday morning (Philippine time). It’s another field day for all film buffs like me. See you all at the Red Carpet! 🙂
Inspired from an article by Jessica Zafra titled “Is this a Golden Age of Philippine Cinema?”, I am also posting my top 10 best-list of Filipino films I have seen this year. As a firm believer and a supporter of what film making in the Philippines has become, seeing its growth the past couple of years or so, making a list of just 10 became quite a challenge. Although I have not seen all of the other good ones released (pressed by time and sometimes budget too), I believe I have seen enough that would testify and prove that the Philippine movie scene is thriving and is something to be proud of.
*clapper board* Action!
10. AMOR Y MUERTE, Ces Evangelista
A 16th Century period film, which means Love and Death. I think this is Ama Quiambao’s last film before she passed away. I loved how she played her role here, a crucial one. Newcomer Althea Vega sizzles as a Filipina married to a Spaniard played by Markki Stroem, but somehow fell for the snake-wielding Apitong. Note: Huwag pakawalan ang sawa! 🙂
9. DEBOSYON, Alvin Yapan
Idyllic setting, a haunting and mysterious lady, poetic, and lyrical. This film will have you very quiet and attentive, well at least that’s how it was for me. Quiet in a way that it will keep you focused with what’s going to happen; and attentive, for lack of a better word, because it caught my attention. A mix of myth, legend, and religion, it was an overall good film.
8. EKSTRA, Jeffrey Jeturian
A very light, funny, and touching movie. Easily became a favorite Ate Vi film. I didn’t see a Vilma Santos as an extra; what I saw was a lady, a mother doing all her best for her daughter, and is passionate in what she’s doing. A star for all seasons, indeed.
7. PUROK 7, Carlo Obispo
A happy and a sad film at the same time. Touching base on a sensitive but known Philippine issue, though not entirely dwelling on it, this movie was a breath of fresh air – from its setting, characters, and how the story was told. Krystle Valentino, the girl who played the lead role, was a natural. I won’t be surprised to see her in other films in the succeeding years. The ending made me feel better for Diana and her brother, and that’s enough for me. And oh, it’s on the 7th spot! I didn’t notice that. 🙂
6. TUHOG, Veronica Velasco
This is a Eugene Domingo film, I have to say. I love how she owned this movie. There are other stories and characters, of course, but I don’t know, I was engrossed by her role. Leo Martinez did great, too. I like his story and I really see him as this retired employee struggling with his time and family, and finding comfort through his friends. What made this film effective, I think, is its heart – speaking to its audience and sending a message across that all our lives are somehow connected and that we can all relate to each and everyone.
5. ON THE JOB, Erik Matti
Probably the most hyped and acclaimed Filipino film this year. But who can even argue – a big cast, a gripping tale of assassins and hired killers, Piolo Pascual, and yes, Cannes! Setting all those aside, it was a great film. Although I have to admit I got a bit hesitant to watch it because it stars big names, but it didn’t disappoint. This, however, belonged to Joel Torre. What a moving performance!
4. BABAGWA, Jason Laxamana
I was raving after watching this film, wanting for more. A nail-biter of a story, I believe most of the audience in the theater was just as pumped as I was waiting for the next scenes to happen. What a ride, this film is! Fresh, current, and engaging characters. MORE!!
3. ANG HULING CHA-CHA NI ANITA, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
A film so brave, yet so sensitive; funny yet so heart-warming, candid, insightful and amusing. It discussed a lot of topics and issues most of us Filipinos are well aware of, but are just too “personal” to be willing to be shared at. The film succeeded in bridging and crossing that gap, in a very light and non-intuitive manner. Aside from the premise, what I loved most were the kids – very charming and natural. I believe they are one of the film’s strength. Definitely a must-see!
2. SANA DATI, Jerrold Tarog
Engulfed. Encaptured. These two words can probably best describe the feeling I had after watching this gem of a film. I know I can speak for some others who have seen it, and I know there are more fitting words. Or maybe not. This is Lovi Poe in her most defining moment. I may be exaggerating, but yeah, I felt her pain and longing the entire time. The supporting cast did not fail either. And when Up Dharma Down’s Indak was played at the end…t*@$#!^%!!
1. TRANSIT, Hannah Espia
Moments after seeing Transit, I tweeted that it can very well be our entry to the Oscars next year. A month or so after, it became official! But this film being an Oscar material is not the main reason why I picked it as my number 1 film. It’s at the top spot, simply because it is deserving to be at the top. I am not a film critic, really, I am far from being one. I just love watching movies, and I really believe in this film. Whether or not it becomes successful in bringing us our country’s first ever Oscar, or even a nomination for that matter, Transit will remain a favorite of mine.
So, there. I hope to see more quality Filipino films next year and the years to come. I hope that the promise these films are giving becomes a trend, and that directors and producers won’t get tired of coming up with good ones. We need more and more of these type of movies! Let us encourage other people to watch and support our very own. It will be a good start.
*clapper board* Cut!
July, for several years now, will be synonymous to the word “Indie” as Cinemalaya once again showcase the best of Philippine independent films. Now in its ninth year, it will have a 10-day run in CCP theaters, Greenbelt, TriNoma and Alabang Town Center cinemas from July 26 until August 4, 2013. This is the event cinephiles like me have been waiting for! Here are some trailers of the upcoming films:
For the Directors Showcase category
AMOR Y MUERTE (Cesar Evangelista)
LIARS (Gil Portes)
PORNO (Adolfo Alix, Jr.)
EKSTRA The Bit Player (Jeffrey Jeturian)
SANA DATI (Jerrold Tarog)
For the New Breed category
BABAGWA The Spider’s Lair (Jason Paul Laxamana)
DIPLOMAT HOTEL (Christopher Ad Castillo)
NUWEBE (Joseph Israel Laban)
REKORDER (Mikhail Red)
QUICK CHANGE (Eduardo Roy, Jr.)
PUROK 7 (Carlo Obispo)
DAVID F. (Emmanuel Quindo Palo)
INSTANT MOMMY (Leo Abaya)
DEBOSYON (Alvin Yapan)
I wasn’t able to find videos for the other three films under the New Breed Category, but just the same, seeing these trailers and teasers is making me more excited to watch! I can’t wait for July 26! I hope to watch more, if not all, films this year. See ya all at the theaters! 🙂
TRANSIT (Hannah Espia)
I don’t know why I said I am missing three videos when in fact it’s just one haha! Anyway, these are all the trailers and teasers for this year under the Directors Showcase and New Breed categories. Let’s all watch and support Cinemalaya! This is much better than the MMFF haha 😀
My tweet was featured on Rappler.com!
Cancelled pala ang premiere ng Les Mis? Tsk. Uwi nalang kayo, maligo at magFantine. Eponine nyo ang lakas nyo sa sunod na sched. #Waley—
Paul Ignatius (@paulignatius) January 09, 2013
It was last week when I tweeted about the cancellation of Les Misérables premiere at Resorts World. I was actually exchanging DLJ type of tweets with a Rusher and with Chico Garcia, and thought of tweeting that. Moments later, another Rusher tweeted me that it got featured on Rappler, sending the link of the article. I was like, whaaat?! I couldn’t believe it haha! No wonder, at that time, it got several retweets and favorites. I guess it pays to be corny sometimes. 🙂
Read the complete Rappler article HERE.
Wow. Another year just ended. Seemed like it just breezed by. 2012 was a bit difficult for me, but I will not dwell on that. As I mentioned on Twitter, it was not that bad at all. Here’s a look back at the year that was – some personal stuff, events, achievements, songs, personalities and characters that shaped my 2012.
Family, Friends, and Personal. It was a roller coaster of emotions. Friendships has been tested but some remained strong, patience and determination were put on the line, we lost our Lolo just last month and almost lost an uncle after an operation; there’s a lot of gray skies throughout the year. But still we managed to endure all of it, made it through, moved on, and continued with life. Here’s to hoping for improved relationships, and better health for every family member.
Travel. I didn’t get to explore that much last year, yes that’s sad. But a notable trip was with longtime friends Dema, Chyrene, my inaanak Kurt, Sherron, and with my twin brothers in Ilocos Sur. We also went to Vigan. I also spent a summer in Subic with officemates last April, in Pampanga for Hot Air Balloon festival, in Tarlac and Cavite for a climb (photos of which I will post in a separate category haha) No out of the country for me, boohoo. Here’s to hoping that will change this year. Fingers crossed.
Akyat-Bagal Gang. That’s the name of my mountaineering group haha! We didn’t get to climb that much last year, but at least we had two. We first conquered Mt. Marami in Maragondon, Cavite – a difficult but very rewarding climb. We also joined the Freedom Climb, as usual, this time at Mt. Damas in Tarlac where I got injured but it’s all good. Here’s to hoping for more mountains to climb. Or should I say, for our schedules to meet the demands for our need to hike anew. 🙂
Weddings and Babies. No, not my wedding and baby. Not just yet. I am talking about weddings and babies of my longtime college friends Dhang and Niña, my dear officemate Rachel. Two of them gave me two more inaanaks last year! Here’s to hoping for their happy and strong married life, and for more babies!
Work It! Around mid-August, I believe, me and my remaining batch mates/teammates were transferred to a different team because our team leader resigned. At first I was not that positive about it, especially that the team is a performing team. But it turned out they were nice bunch of people, and they all love to eat! Haha! There has been some issues, but we’ll just shrugging it off as it is not good for the team and to feed ourselves with negative stuff. Here’s to more fun and more food, Tyrians!
FraP-ed! Allow me to indulge myself. It all started out when THE Francine Prieto visited the RX booth for The Morning Rush, and the rest they say is history. She became friends to some Rushers, even followed some, including me! 🙂 We would sometimes visit her at WOW FM where she works as a DJ, and we even surprised her on her birthday. She’s really nice, down to earth, walang ere ‘pag kasama, and fun to be with (parang slumbook lang haha). I’m glad she became a part of my 2012 🙂
Concerts and Shows. I only got to watch three shows last year – Lifehouse, Aiza Seguerra’s Bente Singko anniversary concert, and James Morrison’s The Awakening tour. I was also able to meet and greet The Fray, although I didn’t get to watch their concert. Here’s to hoping for more this year. Right now I am excited for The Script’s #3 tour, we already got “almost” front row tickets! Yay!
KDDs In Concert! Speaking of concerts, my group KDD (Kadodo) and I had one haha! Dru invited us to perform for their company Christmas party, and we did five songs. It was such an experience – from forming the set of songs (naks), to the rehearsals, to the actual performance. That was the first time I performed for a company party, and the first time I got paid for singing haha! So thanks to Dru and Norsy. Here’s to more concerts this year! 🙂
Cinemalaya. No Spanish and French film festival for me, but instead I made sure to support our local films. Much thanks to Cinemalaya, and for holding screenings at TriNoma, I got to watch 8 films. The ones I liked the most were Ang Nawawala, Bwakaw (Philippines’ official entry to the Oscars), Kamera Obskura, Mga Mumunting Lihim and Santa Niña. My mom, my brother and I also watched Six Degrees of Separation by Lilia Cuntapay and enjoyed it. Here’s to more quality Filipino films this year!
Boob(s) Tube. 2012 was the year I went back to watching “old” reality TV shows like American Idol, The Amazing Race, and Survivor. Well of course because Survivor was shot here in the Philippines, and because of Jessica Sanchez haha! I also followed The Voice and Modern Family again, and got hooked with Game Of Thrones! I already have A Song of Ice and Fire book set to read this year! Here’s to more boobs, I mean boob tube mania!
Music and Me. I had quite a number of artists on repeat in my iPod the entire year, but the few notable ones were Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away (of course hehe), The Script’s #3, James Morrison’s The Awakening, Ed Sheeran’s +, and Karmin’s song Brokenhearted. Yes, Oppa Gangnam Style and Call Me Maybe are not in the list. 🙂
Pagbasa ang Pag-asa. I saw that slogan somewhere in the QC area. Which reminds me, I need to read more this year. Good thing a friend of mine gave me a set of Game of Thrones book, all five of them. Last year I only got to read three books – Ian McEwan’s Atonement, which I really liked; John Grisham’s Street Lawyer, which could actually pass for a movie adaptation; and of course The Best of Chico, Delamar, and Gino’s The Morning Rush Top 10 Book 2 (where four of my entries made it hehe) 🙂
Online Fad. As expected, I spent most of my time online last year. Be it on Twitter, Facebook, or playing games. Yes, I went back to playing games again because of Chico Garcia’s raves about DragonVale haha! And since I am on Twitter most of the time, here are some Twitter conversations I would like to share and look back to – when Jeffrey Hidalgo RT’d my video singing Can This Be Love, when Kara David replied to one of my tweets, and when Mike Skupin of Survivor RT’d, favorited, and one time tweeted me!
RUSHERS! And more of them in the coming years, I believe. Last year, I ended my year end post about them and I think it’s just fitting to do the same this year. As what I posted on our TMR group, they have been a big part of my 2012 – from the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Pampanga, Enchanted Kingdom EB, Yahoo OMG awards, Gandang Gabi Vice taping, book signings, and countless EBs, be it planned or unplanned. They’re like my second family; I even talk to them (online) much more than my family here at home haha! Here’s to more happy years with the Rushers, Chico, Delamar and Gino!
Looking back, it was not bad. At all. I’ll just probably need to decide on something big so I can have an equally big 2013. I am really praying hard for that to happen. Thank you to everyone who became part of my 2012! It was an amazing journey, I’d like to say. Time to leave all the negativity behind, and be positive and create more happy, meaningful and beautiful memories this year. This will be my year, and I am claiming it. Even if it means I’d get bitten by the water snake, then so be it. I can feel that this would be a great year for me. Until then! 🙂