Category Archives: pelikula

Saturday ∗ 08 Jul 2017

MMFF, transparency, big words

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is all of six months away, and here we are already talking with such passion about what the film industry needs and what the audiences deserve, quality versus commercial, small film producers versus big production companies, new versus old, change change change. There is very little that we know so far, probably owing to what recently resigned MMFF Execom Member Roland Tolentino has said is a “confidentiality clause” on their work with MMFF. What… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 16 Jun 2017

Death of culture (3): Lizaso’s vision for stagnation

The shameless conservatism in Nick Lizaso’s press release about his plans and vision for the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is ironic when one considers that we have a President who questions Catholicism and dogmatism time and again, and who insists on his freedom of speech – if not his freedom to offend – over and over. President Duterte unilaterally installed Lizaso as CCP head. But even the President himself would not pass the rules and regulations that Lizaso… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 12 Jun 2017

Death of culture (2): Cultish leadership for CCP

President Duterte’s installation of Nick Lizaso as head of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is painfully ironic – if not dangerously so. On the one hand, it is clear that this President doesn’t care much about culture, so one wonders why he would appoint any of his men to these cultural leadership positions. On the other, one can see this as a statement in itself about what Duterte thinks about culture: anyone can lead it, never mind that… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 13 Jan 2017

Selling relevance, using current events

The family drama is … ahem … a Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) tradition, one that’s produced some interesting enough versions from the Tanging Ina series to Mano Po. And so it was no surprise that the purported / sold / imagined “change” via MMFF 2016 would deem it necessary to have a “family drama.” It was “Kabisera.” And while it did fulfill all the requirements for a family drama, i.e., there was a family, and there was a crisis, and the family pulled together —… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 05 Jan 2017

Beyond the horror

I’m a sucker for the Pinoy horror film formula: a scary setting, well-done sound design, the gulat factor. I’m the person in the cinema who will scream first, and the loudest, the person who is so ready to be scared. But of course the fear factor is only one of many aspects of the horror film, and one realizes given the effort that is put into a movie like Seklusyon (directed by Erik Matti, written by Anton C. Santamaria), that there is more to doing… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 02 Jan 2017

Attempted rape as teenage dream?

At the onset, having a light romance / romantic-comedy as part of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s self-proclaimed “change” and “revolution” was a good thing: it tells us that they weren’t deciding against certain genres just because these are considered “pop” and “therefore shallow” — it is after all easy to presume that all love stories are about the happy endings, and one can spot the formula from a mile away. But even formula has allowed for an amount of creativity in the rom-com through the… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 29 Dec 2016

The septic tank as critique

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough is probably the most fun I’ve had in a local film since … well, the first Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. It’s not that I do not find commercialized comedies funny — the ones that fall back on formula, the hilarious banter of every Vice Ganda movie character, even Sosy Problems from so many MMFFs ago. But there is a layer of intelligence that ABSST demands of itself, an ability at self-reflexivity that it demands of its audience, but… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 08 Sep 2016

Liza Diño, FDCP workers, martial law #culturalcrisis

Let me call it now. With 12 members of the staff terminated in the first week of her leadership, Liza Diño has put the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) under a version of Martial Law. And because Martial Law is about silencing critics, too, I hear that the search is on for who exactly my sources are. This, instead of Diño actually replying to these allegations — I would gladly be disproved after all. But what I’m looking at are not just 12 employees given pink slips by Diño. I’m… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 13 Aug 2016

A sense of cultural history #BriccioSantosAtTheFDCP

When they opened the Cinematheque Centre in Manila in December 2015, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) headed by Chairperson Briccio Santos, thought it would go the way of the four other Cinematheques they’ve opened in the provinces. That is, it would slowly gain a following as the audience for film screenings gradually grows. The slow but steady climb was a well-founded expectation. In Iloilo, Davao, Baguio and Zamboanga, the Cinematheques took time to take off, the public’s… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 15 Mar 2016

#womensmonth2016: censoring our words, our bodies

the trailer of the movie “Ang Taba Ko Kasi,” a trailer that has been online since February 1, a good month and half ago, has been deemed by the Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) as unfit for public exhibition. lead actress Cai Cortez posted the MTRCB decision on her instagram, obviously and understandably exasperated by the decision.

Monday ∗ 04 Jan 2016

15 from 2015: kultura

I wasn’t very good at doing arts and culture in the country the past year. But here’s a list of the strange, the good, the surprising in culture for 2015, not at all a best or worst list because … see the first sentence. First a critical aside: having worked as dramaturg for Kleptomaniacs and a bit with Tanghalang Pilipino in 2014 meant keeping the theater reviews to a minimum in 2015. I needed that time to let go of the little inside stories that I know,… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 04 Jan 2015

Marian’s freedoms*

If there’s anything that’s true about Marian Rivera, it’s that she doesn’t care what we all think: she presents to us what she is, which is probably the closest to a private self we’ve been treated to within the public space that is local popular TV and movie culture. And when I speak of Marian’s private self, I mean the one that we don’t usually see of our celebrities, I mean that which is usually deemed unworthy of being made public.… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 13 Oct 2014

Failing the figurative, a review of Bwaya

Fiction based on real stories – and especially ones that are of recent events – can easily fall into the trap of being like a cheap TV reenactment that seeks to teach the public a lesson or two about daily living. It also has to deal with an audience that has seen the same story unfold via sensationalist media, the kind that asks a mother who has lost a daughter to a freak accident: Ano pong pakiramdam ninyo ngayon? All… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 14 Aug 2014

CinemalayaX: the year of self-indulgent film and creative conceit

I had started watching CinemalayaX with Carlitos Siguion Reyna’s Hari Ng Tondo, Joseph Alterejos’s Kasal, and Roderick Cabrido’s Children’s Show. It was two good movies out of three, and I thought it was portents of things to come for the rest of the week’s movie viewing frenzy. After watching all 15 full length films, I realize I had it good that first day. It was downhill from there. Click here to read the rest of it over at Vera Files.  

Thursday ∗ 27 Feb 2014

not everyone can make a rom-com: a realization from watching Starting Over Again

There is standard that Star Cinema has set when it comes to the romantic-comedy as a genre, and it’s a standard that has since re-set the formula for the effective rom-com, where effectivity is proven by both a movie’s creation of it’s own cult following and box office success.

Monday ∗ 27 Jan 2014

Dolphy, national artist*

It’s difficult to imagine childhood without Dolphy, even when all he was to me was the image of a father on television, even as who I identified with was Maricel Soriano or Claudine Barretto playing his daughters in two different sitcoms, across two different generations. At some point this father image became interwoven with that of Enteng Kabisote, father to Aiza. The images are real to me, the characterization of fatherhood that was protective but had difficulty providing, that was… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 17 Jan 2014

kim chews their heads off

in truth i was so happy for Kim Chiu, showing us all how she is human — a smart one at that — who knows what she owes showbiz reporters and what she doesn’t. it’s the same joy i had about Anne Curtis going crazy in a club, where her sense of self is revealed for all the world to see, and oh yes! there is bite in the sweetie-pie image after all! the latter is why i think these moments… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 14 Jan 2014

in defense of Enteng Kabisote*

I agree with some of what Lourd de Vera says (or asks) Vic Sotto in his open letter. I agree that Bossing Vic should aim to do better than a movie filled with product placements. I agree that he should do better than a film where he’s not stuck with a non-kiddie-actor Yap and his mother Kris Aquino. I disagree that this was all Bossing’s doing.

Wednesday ∗ 09 Oct 2013

OTC: on the contrary (OTJ, Transit & the indie)

The truth is that while we celebrate local films, especially independently-produced ones, it seems important to point out that many other things come into play at this point as far as declaring any movie a critical success. That is, there is the social media bandwagon, where “public perception” is deemed powerful, and no one is allowed to think differently about a movie lest one is pounced on like some enemy.

Tuesday ∗ 24 Sep 2013

on “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti”

That not much happens in “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti,” is precisely its power. And while its premise is poverty as crisis and its context is the distance and removal that the poorer among us live with, not once did the film seem like poverty porn. Neither was it full of itself. It would of course be easy to hate this film for not doing more, not being more, when it could’ve been less restrained. Yet, there is the fact that… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 10 Aug 2013

No deception: “Babagwa” in 500

The thing with a movie like this one is that it promises a kind of darkness. Con artist Greg (played flawlessly by Alex Vincent Medina) and his gay “handler” Marney (played by Joey Paras on painfully loud and angry mode) are preying on the more gullible gays and women on Facebook. The goal is to gain their trust, move from Facebook to mobile phone calls, make them fall in love, get some cash out of them, then conveniently disappear with… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 06 Aug 2013

Long-drawn & non-instant: “Instant Mommy” in 500

What does one do with a movie like Instant Mommy? It took all my will power not to walk out of the cinema, and I can sit through the worst of our local comedies and not care about the time I’m wasting. This film made me think of all the things I could be doing instead of watching it. And no, Eugene Domingo in the lead does not save it.

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