2017

Last Night (Star Cinema)

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

Mark, a man who is dealing with personal issues meets Carmina after they rescue an old man from the railway tracks. The two then get together and have fun. Although both of them have other partners, they decided to spend one last night together. They both learned something about each other and their struggles in life. This movie is directed by Bb. Joyce Bernal under Star Cinema.

Casts: Piolo Pascual, Toni Gonzaga, Joey Marquez, Lou Veloso, Margie Moran, Illac Diaz, Cholo Barreto, Patrick Sugui & Cedric Juan

Genre: Romance, Drama

Previous Movies of Piolo Pascual: Love me TomorrowSilong & The Break-up Playlist

WHAT I LIKE?

Last Night offers a new take and spin-off on the typical Star Cinema Romcom films especially when we talk about Piolo and Toni as love team. This time, its dark, controversial yet very creative and deep. Last Night tackles a very sensitive issue of Suicide and the struggles of life that really goes through a certain variety of audience who are not used with the way Star Cinema movies are a done. On a larger scale, the movie isn’t fully glorifying suicide but rather takes the audience to a floating idea and realizations especially when we are faced with bigger problems and hardships in our way. Despite the dark and controversial take of the plot, the movie geared away by injecting light humor and very engaging conversations throughout the movie. Aside from that, the setting and production design is superb featuring the beautiful Intramuros and iconic Jones Bridge. The phasing was just right to give away to a surprising and emotional twist. Aside from that, the Theme songs fit the movie. Glad they got Moira for this tooActing-wise, Toni and Piolo were just a joy to watch on-screen. They were both natural and their chemistry is effortless. Both of them gave justice to their roles as a whole. What I love about Last Night is its creative approach in presenting life lessons that is truly very relatable especially to mature audiences. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Last Night is dark, deep, brilliantly-crafted and relevant.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Well, if you are expecting Last Night to be a typical romcom movie of Star Cinema, you might get disappointed and even bored at times. Last Night is an entirely different spin that may hit or miss Pinoy audience. On the plot development, some hints and turnaround is presented on the first half. Somehow, this reveal lost the film’s mystery and magic as you are looking at the film on that projection already and the waiting time is a little bit prolonged. As a whole, I still enjoyed Last Night. For the record, the movie did not bring me to tears but it did moved and I can almost feel the heavy and heartwarming feel inside. Somehow, I felt the whole movie is relevant.

RATINGS:

8/10 Popcornsz

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz

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PICTURE SOURCE

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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PICTURE SOURCE

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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PICTURE SOURCE

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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2016

The Third Party

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Star Cinema’s The Third Party is one of my favorite Pinoy Film of the Year. From its very controversial and intriguing theme and a very reliable casting, the movie does not disappoint. Aside from tried and tested Star Cinema magic, the film took risk but was able to invest on refreshing and light approach from a very unusual romantic story about same sex relationships in a very engaging subplots that will satisfy you as a moviegoer. Loved the way how the story evolved from the 3 characters. I commend Angel, Sam and Zanjoe for showing great performances. The 3 blended well. The movie is pretty enjoyable as it tackled various issues in a very conservative manner still bearable to all kinds of audience except the younger ones. Light and feel-good. Some heartwarming scenes to watch out. I salute Star Cinema for coming up with this movie. This is a lighter and more enjoyable version of In my Life (of similar plot) with that of JLC and Luis Manzano’s. 5/5 stars for this R13 Masterpiece.

2015

Silong

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Watched this film with low expectations and ended up satisfied and shocked at the same time. Silong took several risks from its Cinematography & Storyline formula and somehow proved the film’s worth as a majority. Silong started off silently and started to build suspense and mystery just enough to let the audience be caught off guard with its disturbing twist and turns. A very unique Pinoy Film indeed. Kudos to some powerful acting from Rhian and Piolo. 4/5 stars.