MMFF 2016: Saving Sally and Seklusyon

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wikipedia.org

Metro Manila Film Festival or MMFF is a yearly tradition in Metro Manila where MMDA will host a festival of amazing Filipino Movies. Did I get that right? I hope so. Well technically it is a celebration of amazing Filipino talent, where families gather to celebrate the holiday season and watch these films. Normally, mainstream movies are shown, this year, they decided to feature quality indie films, as I’ve heard, missing the likes of Vice Ganda, Vic Sotto, Ai-Ai De Las Alas and Kris Aquino.

First of all, yes I am not a fan of Indie Films. Not that I don’t like them, but I’m just a mainstream person. I just like to watch feel good films, and every time I watch Indie, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered and feelings of hurt or confusion. Yep, they’re very good in story-telling and playing with emotions, but it’s a lot to handle. But yeah, why not give them a chance, right? It’s been a long time since my last Indie experience.

One of my friends has this MMFF movie pass or complimentary pass, or whatever you call it, and invited me to watch some of the films. I don’t have all the time in the world so we decided we will be watching two films. I really wanted to see Vince & Kath & James, but my friend isn’t a fan. We agreed to see Seklusyon, because of course, it’s horror! It should be in the list. I’ve also been amazed by the concept of Saving Sally since seeing its trailer online. We also agreed on seeing that first. We came to TriNoma by lunch time, good thing because there’s no much people watching yet, and the lines were short. So we got the chance to start our “movie marathon” seamlessly. It’s so cool to pay P5.00 for the films instead of P220.00, that’s a real relief, but I’m confused if I’m helping the industry with this. But hey, an opportunity is an opportunity, so I just grabbed it. :p

So we started with Saving Sally. I was so excited! I was like a kid waiting for the Avengers film to start. The movie theater wasn’t full. Again, it was noon, so there’s not much people watching. It’s already a lot of people for me for this timeslot. So the movie was fine, the animation was superb and the flow of the story is very solid. I just find it awkward that the actors are speaking in English.  I also don’t like Rhian Ramos playing the lead, they could’ve gotten some other new actress. However, the protagonist, Enzo Marcos, was very charming and did a good job, he was very relatable. Well they’re just small bumps on the road, but other than that, it was a feel good movie, something I did not expect from an Indie film. There was no roller coaster of emotions for me, I was just witnessing how this “teen” experienced heartbreak and how he used it for his advantage, and in the end, he got what he wanted, and this is real life, less the sci-fi stuff. I felt like it was a Disney short film, but in this case it was full length. I am amazed at how far Pinoy Animation has gone. I sincerely love and appreciate this film, and I hope we get more of this in the future. Screw what haters say, but this is really a great effort! ❤

Then off we go for a quick snack, and headed straight to the next movie theater for Seklusyon. Now this is what I came for, no pun intended. My MMFF experience wouldn’t be complete without a horror film! Well, Kris Aquino’s time is done, so it’s time for new comers. This time, the movie house is full, it got me more excited. As the movie started I had this feeling to focus properly, because, you know, horror films need to be deciphered, and in this case, it is also an Indie film, so a lot of understanding has to be done, or else I’m screwed. I love the setting, I am impressed with the 1940s effects, the costume is SO on point, the actors were great! Ronnie Alonte did great, but Red Bustamante was a revelation. Her expressions and gestures were just flawless! The combination of all the actors were perfect. I was really impressed. I was thinking, this film will definitely bag awards! I got thrilled, scared and surprised all at the same time. This movie served it’s purpose. The movie feeds off from your fear from evil and uses it to scare you, very clever and effective. It got me all curious and as expected, a lot of questions were left unanswered. The beginning was creepy, up until the ending, it was wickedly satisfying! But one thing I can tell you, after this film, I won’t let images of saints stay my house anymore, I better have them removed, haha. Two of the casts, Dominic Roque and J.R. Versales also made appearances in the theater to thank us after the film, which a bonus actually. I hope they felt how the audience appreciated their performances.

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                       cinemabravo.com

I wasn’t disappointed. The movies I’ve seen were impressive, and yes, I would be excited to see more. I’ll be looking forward for Vince & Kath & James, and maybe Oro. There were also amazing short films before the movie started. They were a bit cheesy, but this is still talent. I’m impressed at where the movie industry is heading, and there’s no turning back. I just hate it when people show hate for our emerging industry. Why not just support and be proud of what we can do and achieve? Why not just be excited of what our movie industry can do in the near future? I still have hope that someday, we can be at par with international standards when it comes to movie making. And how can we help? By supporting our own films, buying them instead of supporting piracy. Always remember that there is a thin line between criticizing and shaming, so we better be responsible with what we say. There’s nothing bad that I can say about my experience with the two films, but one thing’s for sure, I will continue to support and look forward. Mainstream or Indie, they’re all the same, they’re purpose is to bring entertainment to people. As long as they serve they’re purpose, the industry will continue to grow.

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The Super Parental Guardians Mega Experience

This film, The Super Parental Guardians, is Vice Ganda’s supposed entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), however it didn’t make the cut due to quality concerns. But Vice Ganda reiterated that she makes quality films. This is also her first film after the death of her friend, and supposed movie-director for this year, Wenn Deramas.

I actually forgot that Vice Ganda was going to a movie film slated for December this year. Maybe I was just busy at school, but I was really surprised to know that the trailer of her film debuted online. So I was excited, because I am a fan of her last film Beauty and the Bestie, it gave me all the laughs I could get for 2015. So again, I expected more laughs from this film, and the trailer gave what I want. From witty punchlines, to funny dialogues, the trailer gave me all the elements of a perfect comedy film. Plus it was directed by Joyce Bernal, so I was looking forward. They also did a lot of TV promotions and assured people that it is a perfect follow-up for their film last year. So that’s it, I decided that we should see this and convinced my mom to see it.

So the first scenes of the film got me interested already. Coco Martin with all his fight scenes and Vice Ganda with all her glamour and wit, it was already a perfect combination. The addition of the child starts Awra and Onyok gave pure perfection. The movie was going well, when somewhere in between I felt bored. I felt as if the story was focused more on coversations rather than making viewers laugh. It was too focused on the story. Plus, the cast seems incomplete. I miss seeing a huge cast, like the inclusion of popular loveteams and a huge cast of antagonists. They claim that this is the perfect film tradition for Christmas, but since they set the standard every year, it felt like they missed out on that standard and underdelivered. The film was funny, their tandem was exceptional, there were funny moments, but the movie was dull, it was dry. It’s missing the “Deramas Effect“, I don’t know how to say it. Sadly, my mom fell asleep by the end of the film. It was a good film, but it is a disaster compared to Vice Ganda’s previous films.

Did I enjoy the film? I did, but not 100%. Am I gonna recommend it to friends? Not really, maybe if you’re a die-hard fan, I would. It wasn’t a waste of time though, I just felt that it’s lacking the humor that her previous movies had. Maybe Joyce Bernal isn’t really for comedy? Or Vice Ganda just had to rush the film? I don’t know. All I know is this film is far better than Enteng Kabisote 10, so I can’t imagine how Vic Sotto’s film did in the box office. But one thing’s for sure, children will love this film. It is definitely a film for the whole family. And if you’re seeing this, bring your Poke Balls because you’ll definitely catch some Pokémon. 😉

A Doctor Strange Experience egnartS rotcoD A

Stephen Strange, or more popularly known as Doctor Strange is the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has the power to, other than heal patients, control time and show off amazing bright yellow circles. Kidding aside, the latest movie about him is one of the best I’ve seen from Marvel.

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truomega.ca

I was hesitant at first to see this film. I felt as if that Doctor Strange was an unnecessary addition to the Avengers and that he wasn’t popular enough for people to crave about him. Before I watched the film, some of my friends already knew who Benedict Cumberbatch was, the actor behind Doctor Strange, and he was already acclaimed with his other works with Sherlock and The Hobbit. In other words, he is a great actor, together with his other co-actors in this Marvel film. He even worked out a lot to be in great shape, such a pro. The hype already got me, especially their marketing and teasers online. What really made me watch the movie is when I saw the behind the scenes, it was already intriguing and exciting. They had a lot of yellow sparkling circles and mind-bending visuals, something I haven’t seen in a regular Marvel film, it really got me hyped. Then I told myself, that’s it, I have to see this film!

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I was waiting for an invite to watch the film; I didn’t want to watch Doctor Strange alone. My co-Marvel fanatic is already in Canada so I was waiting for someone else. Then two of my friends were gonna watch it, so I asked if I could tag along. It was a Wednesday night, and it was a night that my perspective would change about Marvel movies.

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scifiaddicts.com

So the movie started with a fight scene between The Ancient One and some thieves. I was already in awe. The fight scene is already jaw-dropping and the visuals were literally mind-bending, something I haven’t seen in a superhero film, a kind of superpower I wanted to have. Also, the back-story of Doctor Stranger got me interested in the character even more, and how his personality developed throughout the film. He was someone I can relate to, actually, or maybe there was this specific connection between me and his character? I don’t know. It’s just that the process of getting his powers and his power itself is something unique, no other superhero in the Marvel Universe got me this excited, not even Vision or Scarlet Witch. Doctor Strange was REALLY powerful. His costume was even surreal! I love how he looked sleek wearing those amazing clothing, he really looked like a mage or a magician, a classy one.  The story isn’t even boring, the humor was there, brilliant acting was there, heart-pumping twists were there, and even a small love story was evident. But Doctor Strange’s story was so relatable I felt we would have the same choices and decision in the entire film.

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criticsarena.com

I can’t say that this film has topped off Captain America: Civil War, but all I can say is that it exceeded my expectations. His character was really everybody else, someone aspiring to be the best, someone who saw his hard-works come to life and, his life may not be perfect, but he is contented. He may not be the strongest, but he is wise, he knows what he is doing. The only thing I hate about this film is that they featured a Beyonce song, they should’ve selected a Britney song instead. Nevertheless, it is still one of the best films of 2016 and it didn’t disappoint me. It got the kid in me really excited and I am looking forward for more Doctor Strange films, for more mind-bending scenes and for more intense fight scenes. Definitely, this film, Doctor Strange, has changed the game, and the next Marvel films should take notes, they did well this time and they have to exceed this on their next ones, just saying, or else they’ll have to bargain. 😉

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: An Experience

           It was a peculiar experience indeed. A total mixture of emotions, a beautiful combination of love and curiosity that incorporates innocence and vulnerability. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children definitely served it’s purpose, to entertain and express creativity.

           I’ve only seen the film’s trailer once, and I was impressed. It was something new, for me, and very much exciting. In my perspective, the film revolves around this specific house that cares for children with “peculiar”abilities. Much like X-men’s Professor X, but this is a more child-friendly version, I suppose. And when it was time to witness the actual movie, the film had much more to offer.

miss-peregrine           The film in one word? SPECTACLE. I loved how they maximized using the places they have been. Of course there were some obvious modifications but I love how they incorporated the film with nature. Huge carrots, moving trees and colorful flowers, it added beautiful effects for the movie. I also like the fact that they used unfamiliar and new actors for the film. It had this sense of mystery, very thrilling and intriguing. The actors were really good as well, Miss Peregrine’s look and personality were very fierce and beautiful at the same time. Jake’s innocence and curiosity were very convincing, it brought him to places. Samuel Jackson’s character was also fun to watch, he was a very excellent character actor, he was very effective and definitely fit for the role. Emma’s vulnerability is reflective of her ability with air. I also liked the variety of the peculiarity of the children, they complement each other. The setting wasn’t really confusing and complicated, it was really meant for children and children-at-heart. The movie also played visually, it was very creative, dark and very out of this world. Somehow it has this realistic effect that makes me feel as if this really happened, that this film is trivial and I should hold on to my seat and be prepared for revelations. The film delivered and it was very good. It’s not something that you can compare with the Avengers or Batman vs Superman, but it has its own identity. It served its purpose, to entertain and express creativity, directed to its primary market, the children and the fans of the book it was based from.

           It was a wonderful experience, I may not know the book, or the previous works of

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foxmovies.com

Tim Burton, but what’s important is I enjoyed the film. I’ve read some reviews about the film and most were not satisfied and kept on comparing his previous works with this current one. I say to you, change is the only thing that’s constant, and artistic interpretations change, too. I believe Tim Burton, the crew and the actors did a good job. And maybe, the change was necessary to join the trend, still incorporating the elements Tim Burton was known for. It’s not as magnificent as people ought it to be, but it is a spectacle. The amazing experience was also backed up as it is my first time to watch a film in Resorts World Manila. Totally different from all the movie theaters I’ve been in Manila. It is very much organized, pleasing and classic. Unlike the regular movie theaters which are just plain and basic, they offer a competitive advantage, they stepped up so that movie-goers would have a totally different experience others can’t bring.

           If there’s a take-away I have from this movie, it is to be brave and go out of your comfort zone. Never be afraid to discover, because as much as you discover new things around you, you will also discover new things about yourself. Not necessarily peculiar stuff, but something worth taking pride for, something that no one can take away. Patience, darling, as nothing is done in an instant, but once your destiny is fulfilled, you will realize that your uniqueness, your talent, your skill is what the world needs, a contributor to make the world a better place.

Barcelona: An Experience Untold

first-look-the-enthralling-poster-of-barcelona-a-love-untoldfinalposter          I’m not a Huge KathNiel fan, but since our household is for ABS-CBN, I get to watch most of their shows. I can’t say that I love them, but I don’t hate them as well. For me they are a cute loveteam, they have chemistry and they are good actors, too. I used to envy how successful they are at a young age, how they can afford to provide big things for their family and of course, how they receive unconditional love from people.

            When Pangako Sa ‘Yo ended, of course I was thinking that they were gonna have a new series, not a movie. But I was surprised to see articles that they were heading to Barcelona to shoot a new movie. Kind of exciting of course, especially most iconic Star Cinema films were shot overseas like Milan, Dubai, Caregiver, Miss You Like Crazy, the list can go on, but yes, Star Cinema and director Olivia Lamasan is a perfect combination for this new movie.

             When I saw the trailer, it didn’t give out any spoiler for the film. It was just plainly 2 people who were experiencing roller coaster of emotions, there was mystery behind the story and the characters and of course, they left me with a bitter emotion wanting to get answers, telling me to watch the film so you would know what happened. At that point, I was already looking forward. I began telling my friends and housemates about the film, and how I got carried away by a merely one and a half-minute trailer. Maybe I was just overreacting but I really wanted to share them that this might be a good film. I wasn’t really promoting KathNiel on this, but I liked how they delivered the story. I was attached, and same with me, I wanted people to get excited.

          Then my mom came to me and asked me if I wanna watch a movie, of course I said yes. And without asking her, I knew she also wanted to watch Barcelona. Before we went out, I told her to bring some tissues because I know she will use it, a lot (for crying hehe). In these moments, my mom is really my partner, especially watching local movies because I know she can relate, and she won’t be ashamed to watch one, calling it “tacky”. We chose to watch the last slot, “last full show” as they say. It wasn’t full, not like the afternoon slots, but it was better for me so at least me, my mom and my brother would feel  the cinema is exclusively ours. When the lights went off, I knew I was gonna be amazed.

       When the film started, I was really amazed at how this movie showed how beautiful Barcelona is. It was throughout the film that I kept saying “Wow”, “So Beautiful”, “I Wanna Go There!”, I was really amazed. Do they call it cinematography? Well they really did a good job, they made me feel as if I’m with the cast travelling the streets of Barcelona. There were just some points that they obviously used CGI, not with the tourist spots, but there were some closeup scenes where the background is obviously CGI. With KathNiel, I can’t deny but they did a really good job. Not much difference with their characters before, but they’re a lot mature and more experimental, they wanted to show people they wanna level up. And they proved that it wasn’t just the Barcelona, the place, they’re showing, rather the reason why they are in Barcelona. I love how they portrayed how hard life is for OFWs, they reflected what really is happening, especially with relationships within the family as seen with Aiko’s character with Joshua’s. The cast wasn’t that big, but there was enough juicy story to make everyone involved, to make everyone a part of where KathNiel’s characters are heading to. They played with my emotions effectively, I was able to relate to them. It was just light, there were heavy parts but I like how they tried to make it as simple as possible. I can say it is a great movie, but it can’t be really that iconic. It’s a turning point for Kathryn and Daniel, something fans would enjoy, but I can say there were some areas where it could have been better.

         All in all it was a beautiful experience. It was a beautiful movie and I can say the money we spent was all worth it. My mom cried hard, I liked the story and my mom and my brother kept on screaming during the kissing scene. It was a joyride. Something that only “good movies” can really offer their fans. People say local movies are always cheesy. Not everything is cheesy, people shouldn’t stereotype. We may not have the technology of international film outfits, but we have the heart, the core that makes the stories alive. People get tired of Filipino movies, but I say don’t. Just continue on giving it a try. This is one industry that keeps on entertaining us and we should be proud and support it. There’ll come a time where we will just look back and say, “Oh!, we’ve been through that!”. I have faith with the industry and I say the industry is continually evolving.

         I hope in the next projects of KathNiel, it’s gonna be something better and something out of the box. They have featured a beautiful love story in a beautiful city, and now it’s time for them to step it up again and show something new. I believe it is their time now to be innovative and lead the industry to a new path of story-telling. Who knows? With this maturity they have, they might pioneer a new trend in Filipino films, as they are known for always setting off trends in their industry.