2017

Finally Found Someone (Star Cinema)

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

Finally Found Someone is a story about Aprilyn who is left by her groom on the day of their wedding. That event became viral online. Devastated by the event, she met Raffy who works at a PR agency hired by the father of the groom who will help her move on. This movie is directed by Theodore Boborol under Star Cinema and Viva Films.

Casts: John Lloyd Cruz, Sarah Geronimo, Joey Marquez, Christian Bables, Yayo Aguila, Tetchie Agbayani, Dennis Padilla, Enchong Dee, Axel Torres, Justin Cuyugan

Genre: Romatic, Comedy, Drama

Previous Movies of Theodore Boborol: Vince & Kath & James

Previous Movies of John Lloyd Cruz: Ang Babaeng Humayo (2016)

WHAT I LIKE?

Finally Found Someone has everything you need to expect from the hands of Star Cinema and the undeniable magic and on-screen chemistry of John Lloyd & Sarah. Truly, they are one of the best and rare loveteams in PH that really sells and hit blockbuster figures despite their conservative status on all of their films. They are just a couple with magic and charm that flawlessly manifests on screen. Plot-wise, it has a new take in the almost tiring Pinoy RomCom formula. This time, the plot is playing around PR industry but still involving those romantic clichés that really seems to sell in a wide variety of audience. The central plot really supported the turnaround of the story despite some inconsistencies. The general theme and phasing was good. I like the cinematography and musical scoring as a whole. Production-design fits with the storyline’s simple approach. Acting-wise, I see a much mature Sarah this time. A little bit far from Lyda Magtalas but she is mush more genuine and natural here which I really love. Lloydie on the other hand is just pure talent and charm and is really one of the reasons why you should watch the film. His strong presence and appeal really goes beyond your internal organs. JL’s smile is to live for. As a couple, there is no doubt that they still have that strong chemistry we love from their previous movies. At some point, you wished that are couples in real life. JL and Sarah effectively created that inspiring and feel-good emotions you expect from real-life couples.  They were just so lovely to watch. The supporting characters were good too. I also love the formula of family values present in the movie. I am moved with JL and Tetchi scene. It was a scene with a pinch in the heart. Overall, Finally Found Someone is a pure joy to watch if you are a fan and if you don’t mind its inconsistencies and technicalities.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Given a slightly new take on its plot, I expected the movie to somehow stand out from beginning to end. For me, the film was lost. It lost grip with its main plot. They could have played much intensity in the PR Industry and its conflict with the love story of the characters but the movie was consumed much on its formulaic and predictable ingredients. It could have been a new approach but it still followed the formula they believe would sell much on the public. Well, I can’t blame them. I also find a lacking character build-up with some of the casts and lacking backstory presentation. Well, still a good movie though I think that this is not their best movie.

RATINGS:

7.5/10 Popcorns.

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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

Darkroom somehow delivers. A risk on Pinoy’s first ever found-footage film.

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

Darkroom is the first ever mainstream found footage film ever produced by any Filipino Filmmaker. The film follows a story of teenage friends who found themselves on an abandoned house for some ghost hunting activity. After watching a video from a camera they found inside the house, horrific events began to unfold. Darkroom is produced by Viva Films under the direction of  Pedring Lopez.

Casts: Ella Cruz, Bret Jackson, AJ Muhlach, Donnalyn Bartolome, Andrew Muhlach, Rose Van Ginkel, Caleb Santos, Samantha Capulong & Jack Reid.

Genre: Documentary, Horror, Suspense

Here are some of my Reviews for movies produced by VIVA FILMS: Working Beks, Bakit Lahat ng Gwapo may Boyfriend? & Camp Sawi

WHAT I LIKE?

The risk of Viva Films to finally produce the first ever found-footage film generally delivers to be a decent addition in the genre. For me, it is even better from the 2016 Blair Witch movie (Check Review HERE). Setting aside that is a local film, Darkroom has played well on the major elements of the genre. The movie started off with an intriguing introduction followed by some candid moments of the characters while going to the haunted place to set-up the film’s mood. The phase was just right. What’s great about the movie is it utilized different camera angles from the characters’ cellphones, video cameras, Go Pro and even CCTV cameras from public establishments. Well, for this kind of genre, the horrible part usually takes long to occur. But in Darkroom, the tension slowly builds up the moment they entered the house. I loved also the disconnection effects of the cameras to somehow support the found-footage formula. They were some eerie and decent scares along the way. It was both creepy and bloody. Saw some unexpected and hair-raising scenes as well. Lots of gory scenes to watch out. At some point, I did close my eyes. The film took risk as well in casting fresh faces in the industries. Majority of them are Viva Artists. I must say that Viva did a great job in training the casts. Acting-wise, I am generally satisfied. Aside from the fact that they are all charming especially Jack Reid (the brother of James Reid), all of them have delivered their respective roles. Overall, the film was good. I became proud of it actually. It may not be as scary as hell as it should be but the film was able to send chills while watching it. Considering its a found-footage film, I expected the scary scenes to be cut-short. And in all fairness, Darkroom executed all the scenes well.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Well, they could have chosen a bigger and creepier house that is located in a remote area. The house did not feel abandoned amd secluded since it has neighbors on it. Also, production design needs improvement as well. This is vital in adding to the film’s dark theme. Some lines are cheesy and inappropriate too.

RATINGS:

7/1o Popcorns

2016

Working Beks

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Working Beks is indeed one of Viva Films’ sensible films to date. I loved the film. Perhaps, the best reality-based Pinoy film about Gays ever made. Loved the variety of the 5 gays in the movie that became mirrors of what the world is all about in our own eyes. The film is a celebration of love and respect. I admire how the director was able to put into pieces the five different stories into one powerful and inspiring piece. Scenes are simple. Lines and scenarios are pretty much relatable as well. The conflicts shown in the film were also very realistic and an eye-opener thing. From the issue of AIDS, discrimination and being true to ourselves, Working Best was able to hit those spots with maturity and even right amount of comedy. Acting-wise, I am pretty impressed with TJ Trinidad, EA Guzman & Prince Stefan on this one. The addition of John Lapus & Joey Paras added light feels as well. I just find the ending to be a bit off. The director did not how to end the film. The ending should have been better for me. Despite a very hanging ending, I still loved the whole film. Giving it 4/5 stars.

2016

Bakit lahat ng Gwapo may Boyfriend?!

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Cheers to Viva Films’ best film to date and I must say the GAYEST Pinoy film ever. Bakit lahat ng Gwapo may Bakla actually exceeded my low expectations with the lackluster and lousy movie projects of Viva lately. I ended up pretty satisfied after the movie that literally gave me some solid laughs. Loved the way the whole material was utilized well. From production design to the Cinematography, the film will never disappoint. The film’s strength lies in Anne, Paolo, Yam and Dennis. All of the 4 actors complimented well with each other and has given justice in their respective roles. I must give it to Paolo for this one. He is the biggest revelation of the film. Anne and Dennis pulled out some chemistry as well. Generally a bit too mainstream but the film was able to caught its audience with relatable conversations and real scenarios that are very familiar to Gays and the like. Anne was fit for the role. Dennis on the otherhand is scorching hot. The first half of the film is truly-entertaining. The other half is a bit slow as it focused more on the realizations of the characters. Nevertheless, the film’s flawa were forgivable, The film is highly-recommended sa mga bakla out there, discreet or loud. 4/5 stars.

2016

Camp Sawi

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Camp Sawi is actually good. From all of these disappointing and non-sense Viva Films lately, the film is actually a rare stand-out. From its very relatable plot and very engaging conversations, Camp Sawi invested well on its HUGOT & Moving on formula that is very appealing to everyone. Aside from the plot, the film showcased the beautiful island of Bantayan in Cebu. Lastly, the film’s strength lies with its talented cast. Bella Padilla is impressive. Arci and Yassi are on their normal best too. Yes, Arci is nailing it again here. The complexity of the conflict may be as shallow as the whole plot, but the mix of drama and comedy, made the film enjoyable to watch. Some valuable lessons in love along the way too. Not be as memorable as others but loved the film as a whole. 3/5 stars

2015

The Break-up Playlist

 

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A not-so-quirky Sarah G and Piolo at his best. The Breakup Playlist silently touch its audience with love through music. It is not your typical Star Cinema RomCom with loud formula. I love how the director arrange the sequences and song numbers just enough to blend in its overall concept of music and love. Song choices were good. The plot is well-crafted with engaging conversations and a relatable storyline. For me, this is Sarah G’s most mature acting performance to date. Oh well, Piolo is Piolo. Still, a Star Cinema’s finest. 5/5 stars.