2017 · Pinoy Indie

Pauwi Na (2017)

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

Pauwi Na is one of the Official entries of the 2017 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino that tackles a story a struggling family who traveled from Quezon City to Bicol Region on a pedicab. A series of unfortunate events will test their determination as they finally make their way home. This movie is directed by Paolo Villaluna under Universal Harbester Incorporated.

Casts: Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano, Jerald Napoles, Jess Mendoza & Chai Fonacier.

Genre: Family Drama.

Previous Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino Movies: Patay na si Hesus (2017)

WHAT I LIKE?

I am just so impressed with Pauwi Na. For me, one of the best Pinoy indie drama made in years. Finally, it is so great to see a quality movie about poverty and family values wrapped in a simple package yet cuts deep with your emotions. Actually, I am literally blown away on how the movie creatively played with its story-telling technique and cinematography from visual editing to production design. At some point, I can see Poverty on beautiful setting. This is somehow a good thing for light-hearted moviegoers since majority of the scenes are not so directly hard-hitting. The scenes are subtle enough to portray hardship and poverty because it will allow you to feel it instead. What I like is the insertion of creative scenes and metaphors in between major setbacks in the story. These interpretations are just brilliantly executed. The plot of the movie flows naturally with very relatable sequences that were all shot beautifully. I also loved their interpretation of Jesus in the movie. Aside from a very impressive Cinematography and Plot presentation, Pauwi Na’s strength is mostly attributed to its very talented casts. Bembol and Cherry Pie were just so delightful to watch on-screen. They both gave meaningful performances. Jerald and Chai were great as well. I must say, all of them were pretty good. Overall, the movie is heartwarming and very inspiring. Its definitely worth-watching.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

I can’t say any negative about the film. I enjoyed it as much as I was inspired by its very relatable and light-hearted plot.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorns.

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Yes, you may still watch some of Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino Films here in Davao City. until September 23, 2017.  Visit FDCP Cinematheque Davao here at Palma Gil Street, Davao City. You may call them at (082) 282-4579.

Here’s the Schedule below:

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PISTA NG PELIKULANG PILIPINO (FDCP CINEMATHEQUE DAVAO)

2017 · Pinoy Indie

Patay na si Hesus (2017)

 

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

When Iyay, a single mother, learns that her estranged husband has died, she drags the entire family on a road trip from Cebu to Dumaguete to attend the funeral. This movie is one of the Official Entries of 2017 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino under the direction of Victor Villanueva.

Cast: Jaclyn Jose, Miles Canapi, Chai Fonacier, Albert Chan Paran, Olive Nieto, Sheen Gener, Melde Montanez & Vincent Viado

Genre: Family, Drama, Comedy

WHAT I LIKE?

Patay na si Hesus was a fun ride from beginning to end. The movie was generally light and funny most of the time. What I like about the movie is how creatively the director played on simple scenes and conversations and make it work on the Visayan language and somehow make a striking appeal for its general audience as whole. The plot is actually simple. Its a road trip of a family to pay their last respects for their father. What makes it colorful is their journey towards their destination. The story is not so cluttered with complicated stuffs and sticked only to the realistic side and back stories of each character. Aside from the official medium which is Bisaya, the film really depicts the culture and the way of living of the Bisaya people. The consistency is really there. Well, it was shot in Cebu so its really consistent and faithful to its entire premise. What I love about the movie is it featured good scenes along the Cebu-Dumaguete route. Also, the movie has lots of metaphors and very unexpected scenes that will truly delight your viewing experience especially on the climax part. The simplicity and the genuine approach of the movie is really felt. Cinematography is actually good. Sound engineering is the best since they included lots of Visayan Pop Songs in the movie. Its more of a celebration of the Bisaya culture. I must commend all the characters in the movie. They all did well. Hats off to Jaclyn Jose for being such a brilliant actress. Overall, Patay na si Hesus is light-hearted and heartwarming at the same time. No need to overanalyze the story. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

I really can’t point out any negative as I did not focused much on the technicalities of the film. If you are in for some fun, Patay na si Hesus is the right choice.

RATINGS:

9/10 Popcorns.

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

Kita Kita (2017)

 

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FILM INFO

Kita Kita is a unique love story of Two Filipinos living in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. The story begins with Lea who suffered temporary blindness. She then met Tonyo who happens to live right across Lea’s house. Aside from finding a “kababayan” in the quiet neighborhood, Lea and Tonyo gradually became closer and realize that there is a genuine connection between the two of them. This movie is directed by Singrid Andrea Bernardo under Spring Films.

Casts: Alessandra de Rossi, Empoy Marquez,

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

Previous Movies of Alessandra de Rossi: Sakaling Hindi Makarating

Previous Movies of Empoy Marquez: Bloody Crayons

WHAT I LIKE?

Probably one of the best Pinoy Romantic Comedy Film ever made. Kita Kita is definitely a masterpiece. The movie is genuine, light-hearted, subtle and very emotionally-compelling. I have never watched a film full of heart, laughters and emotions from a very unusual but effective chemistry of the main characters. What I like about Kita Kita is its simple tone and story-telling formula. I love how the scenes started off so simple yet striking. I like how the Director sprinkle some on-point and simple interpretation of the whole film’s romantic formula. I really love how a simple storyline could have a genuine impact from a viewer’s point of view. Aside from a very creative approach in presenting Leah and Tonyo’s lovestory down to an emotional turnaround that will redefine how we perceive about love, the movie was brilliant enough to showcase two sides of the story. Moreover, the comedy is on its perfect timing. Conversations were simple but very engrossing at times. Kita Kita will make you laugh, cry and even fall in love. Alessandra and Empoy’s chemistry from being a romantic and comedic duo were just a beautiful sight. They were both great and I am amazed of their strong connection in the film. Aside from a simple yet striking plot, the movie is shot beautifully in the beautiful Sapporo Japan. The place is just so perfect for the film’s tone. What more I can say? I fell in love with Kita Kita. Worth-watching and highly recommended.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

There is nothing to hate about this amazing film.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorns.

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz

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FILM INFO

A newly assigned cop in a small town was faced with a mysterious case of a young girl who is believed to be possessed by demons. Aside from solving the girl’s case, the cop must learn to surpass the evils surrounding her and her vulnerability with this dangerous mission.  This movie is produced by Erik Matti and directed by Katski Flores under Kamikaze Pictures & VIVA Films.

Casts: Sarah Lahbati, Shy Carlos, Julian Trono, Jim Paredes

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Suspense

Other Films of VIVA: Darkroom somehow delivers. A risk on Pinoy’s first ever found-footage film.Working BeksBakit lahat ng Gwapo may Boyfriend?!Camp Sawi

Erik Matti Films: Seklusyon

WHAT I LIKE?

Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz is no doubt a major breakthrough Pinoy film in the genre of exorcism & suspense-thriller. Actually, it is not a straight horror film so don’t expect some screamfest we enjoyed from the mainstream ones. However, this film is straightforward in bringing in disturbing and spine-chilling feels that lingers even after watching it on the big screen. Story-wise, I really like the way the Director position Ruth’s backstory (Sarah Labahti) through flashbacks and brilliantly integrate it to the whole plot which is the mystery behind Leah’s strange phenomenon. Also, the scenes weere executed well and the phasing was just right to give way to a very thrilling climax. It has some good twist and turns too. The whole storytelling technique was consistently serious and dark. Suspense-filled scenes were executed well too. Its not overrated generally. It invested on the psychological aspect and played well with shadows and whispering voices that are pretty scary and hair-raising. I like the shadow and subtle interpretation of the devil. My most favorite scene is the library scene (Watch it to find out why). The library scene is pretty unique and cool for a suspense-thriller movie. I also like the sound engineering. It was on-point especially on scenes were you are trying to hold your breath if something horrifying will happen. Production design and cinematography is comendable too. I love their locations. It feels so laid back and adds more to the dark atmosphere of the whole film. Camera angles were impressive. I love the shots specifically the tight shots of faces and things. The technique used gave a relentless feel of tension and fear. Aside from an impressive attack on the plot, the film’s strength lies with its characters. For me, I must give it to Sarah Labahti. She was stunning and very convincing as a troubled policewoman in the movie. She is monotonous, brave and less glamorous here and she really fits the role. Shy Carlos was a big revelations too. Being the one who was possessed, her role is the most demanding of them all. She was able to impressively gave justice to her character. I am really amaze with her acting skills here. Lastly, Julian Trono was a great support actor too. He was also effective being a young brother-like figure and his acting during the climax was commendable. Overall, I really enjoyed the film. I am very much happy that a lot of film-makers are coming up with quality suspense-thriller movies nowadays. Highly-recommended for fans of the genre.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

If you are expecting a horror movie, this movie is not for you. It is actually a suspense-thriller one. Also, if you get easily bored with less conversations and more symbolism via creative shots and eerie atmosphere, this movie is not for you. Personally, what I don’t like about the movie is the casting of other supporting characters. They could have found a better parents for Leah and a better and younger character to portray Sister Eloisa which plays an important role in the whole film. Being Spoiler-free at all – a certain death scene in the movie could have been way better in terms of execution. Moreover, the movie faltered a bit in terms of execution during the climax. Don’t expect Leah to be tied up on a bed and floating in the air. The movie ventured another angle of that. Not much of the details of the climax but it lacks substance and there was something missing. It feels like the momentum went down because of the camera angle used and the choice of the setting. Not minding this forgivable flaw, Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz will go down as one of the best Pinoy suspense-thriller movies and the best of the genre after Sanib.

RATINGS:

7/10 Popcorns.

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

A breakthrough film in the Psychological thriller genre- Bliss proved to be the film to beat in terms of creative execution & an effective take on a risky plot.

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FILM INFO

BLISS is a story about an actress named Jane Ciego who entered showbiz at a young age. Jane, now in her 30s, has become tired of the usual projects she’s been getting. She decides to produce her own film to win some respect in the industry. A terrible accident on the set of her dream project leaves her temporarily crippled, trapped in a house filled with bizarre phenomena and under the care of her unfeeling husband and a strange nurse. With the horrors and madness escalating each day, Jane’s simple dream becomes an endless nightmare. This movie is directed by Jerrold Tarog, the director who gave you Heneral Luna under TBA and Artikulo Uno Productions.

Cast: Iza Calzado, TJ Trinidad, Ian Veneracion, Adrienne Vergara, Michael de Mesa, Shamaine Buencamino, Audie Gemora, Stephanie Sol & Star Orjaloza

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Drama (R18)

WHAT I LIKE?

Bliss is for me a breakthrough film in the field of Psychological thriller. Perhaps, this is the first ever full-length movie and the most consistent masterpiece in the genre that was able to fully show a wide scale of a risky cinematic formula that effectively brought its audience to a whirlwind of twist and turns. More than part of the 12th Osaka Asian Film Festival, Bliss has every right to brag about its material and the brilliantly-crafted elements that will scare and disturb you at some point. For me, I am pretty amaze to finally see a Pinoy creation in this bold and risky take on dream versus realism. The entire flick is a dream within a dream and a movie within a movie. The main plot was presented in a very creative yet confusing manner that will raise lots of questions to the viewers. It evolves around Jane, who is exhausted in her career and wanted to explore more. After meeting an accident, Jane spent her recovery in a huge house where she began nightmares and hallucinations. What amazes me more is the magical hands of Direk Jerrold Tarog investing on various symbolism in the movie and the effective repetition scenes that will confuse you if the scene is a flashback, a dream or a reality. Kudos to the consistency of the symbols used and if you pay attention to the details of it, you can even figure out the plot right away. I loved how Direk Jerrold will take you on different perspective of Jane’s experiences and will raise questions and doubts as the story progresses. I really like the technique applied in the story-telling. Everything is a mixed tape of dream, reality and imaginations with a touch of disturbing and sensitive scenes about homosexuality, greed, sex & even poverty. Bliss is also a metaphor of show business and the ugly side at the back of the camera. I really loved how Direk Jerrold placed a movie within a movie showing back scenes of an ordinary movie shot and a glimpse of the ugly side some celebrities are experiencing. Plus, showing a little bit of conspiracy behind the camera was really fit for the plot. It was just breath-taking. Never a dull moment for me. It was a psychological thriller that is well-crafted with the right balance of disturbance and artistic approach. Kudos to the cast as well especially Iza Calzado (Osaka Asian Film Festival Best actress) for giving a powerful and her best performance yet. I really can see the hard work of Iza here. After her performance here, I must say she deserve that award. I mean, I am speechless with her acting prowess. TJ Trinidad and Ian Veneracion were also a great compliment. They have both gave justice to their roles and I think they were made for it. Adrienne on the other hand, made a surprising performance as a creepy nurse. She was a revelation in the film. The Location of the film were also great. It was consistent with the demand of the plot and the scene. Musical scoring was also good and on-point. I also would like to commend the Cinematography and editing. New techniques were shown in the movie and it did blend well with its dark and eerie atmosphere. Loved the visual editing and the transition. It was on point and very creative. Bliss will require you to look beyond its material and plot. For me, the best and most creatively done Pinoy film to date. Cheers to the cast, crew and Direk Jerrold Tarog.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

This is more of a disclaimer: BLISS contains disturbing images, sensitive social issues, nudity and profanity in language that’s why it got R-18 from MTRCB.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorns.

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

Loving every frame and details of the story. 2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten is not your ordinary coming-of-age film.

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FILM INFO

Felix, in his sophomore years, found his love for journal writing as his outlet from disappointments in life. His life changed after the arrival of the half-American Snyder brothers, entangling him in their dark ambitions. This Cinema One Originals is directed by Petersen Vargas.

Casts: Khalil Ramos, Ethan Salvador, Jameson Blake & Ana Capri

Genre: Romance, Drama

WHAT I LIKE?

2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten has effectively interpreted Homosexuality and Friendship into a much deeper meaning. The film is generally mature and conservative as it does not follow the formula of other coming-of-age Pinoy Gay Films produced in the past. What is good about the movie is that its subtle phase, cooler feel and tone, controversial plot, on-point cinematography and some pretty good acting performances from all characters blended well to come up with a very emotionally-engaging and charming masterpiece. It may go in darker tone as the story progresses but the film’s sequence and build up of tension is just right to give way to a lingering and a bit shocking ending that will truly stir your emotions and imaginations as well. I loved the concept of narration on majority of scenes. These were helpful on the creative side. The sequence and scenes are panned out well. loved the film’s color and texture too. The film is also consistent with its timeline. Shot in the 1990’s in Pampanga right after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Character build-up was also good. Each characters in the film are given justice and time to shine. The film’s strength lies in its 3 main characters that are truly eye-candy to watch. Khalil as Felix, being the senior actor, has done an impressive portrayal of a naive, discreet, curious and intelligent boy who is in his journey to discover his true gender. Khalil’s performance was powerful. he was just fit for the role. On the otherhand, newcomers Jameson and Ethan were great support too and they too were impressive on their respective roles. Jameson was effective in being a violent, stubborn and hard-headed boy. His controversial scene in the movie is just unforgettable. Ethan was also a revelation. in the movie. He was impressive in terms of acting too. Just like Jameson, Ethan also has a charm and a talent. The movie makes me wanna compare it to Thai Gay ones that are conservative in nature. For me, the best Pinoy Gay coming-of-age film that will truly glue you from beginning to end.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Watch out for some profanity in language and obscene acts not suitable for younger audience. By the way, this is R16 in Cinemas.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorns.

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

I felt a disconnection with Sakaling hindi makarating

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

A devastated Cielo wen on travelling around the Philippines after her boyfriend for 11 years break off their engagement two months before their wedding. When a series of hand-illustrated postcards are delivered to her, she went on a journey across the country in search of the anonymous writer. Aside from healing herself from the break-up, Cielo aims to find something as she go wandering the beautiful places in the Philippines. Written and directed by Ice Idanan.

Casts: Alessandra de Rossi, Teri Malvar, JC Santos & Pepe Herrera

Genre: Romantic, Drama

WHAT I LIKE?

Filipinos loved stories about heartbreak and the process of moving on. We even find it more fascinating if that involves travel or the find-yourself-in-another-place kind of storyline. Sakaling Hindi Makarating is the film for you. Started off with a very organized and somehow predictable plot, the movie will focus on the journey of Cielo in the process of healing and finding the author of the post card. I loved the little bits of flashback focusing on the backstory of the heartbreak. I also loved the conversations. It was made in a subtle way with very simple words that pierced through your heart at times. When Cielo started travelling, this is the part where the film found its strength. The movie was able to feature 5 different places in PH namely Zamboanga, Batanes, Marinsique, Siquijor & Ilocos (Pagudpud). Glad to be with 3/5 places in the film during my personal travels. For me, the film is very relatable at many points. Aside from that, I loved how Tourism has somehow shown in the film as well. Alessandra de Rossi was the star of the film. She was just amazing. Her acting was real and consistent. The addition of Teri, Peppe & JC were also vital in the movie. They all did a great job. Cinematography is superb. Loved the canera angles especially the drone shots. The movie is inspiring. Glad to have travelled 3 out of the 5 featured places in the movie: Pagudpud in Ilocos, Siquijor Island & Zamboanga City.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

The greatest weakness of the movie is the disconnection I felt as a whole. I was never emotionally moved as I expected it to be or  perhaps the message of the movie didn’t reach me as well. It maybe as inspiring and beautiful especially on the travel side but Sakaling Hindi Makarating lacks flavor and spices. I did not find justice in the ending and the turning point. Moreover, I wish they could have spent more time in Siquijor. I have been to that island and it was magical. Also, the places Cielo have been were not utilized well to set emotions and realizations. It was too vague for me. They could have use more angles on sunsets, winds and waves and highlight the emotion the character is undergoing. I felt the disconnection on those aspects. The realization left me hanging and I felt that the character deserve it. I can’t somehow find the significance of her travels until the last credits. Watching it with low expectations will help a lot.

RATINGS:

6.5/10 Popcorns.

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