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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Movie Experience: The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin

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The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin, 2014

This film is a big disappointment! This is the second most disappointing film from Vice Ganda, just after “Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy”. I’m not sure if it is, but the film seemed rushed, most of the scenes were not polished, especially the fight scenes, where you can see security guards and civilians just walking from afar. It seemed like the movie was just a high school project. I was really expecting a lot because the first movie, “The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin”, was really more than funny, epic and delivered its purpose, to make people laugh. The sequel’s cast was promising, the beginning was also a bit interesting, but as the film progressed, I became a bit bored, the film didn’t have substance and only Alex Gonzaga made me laugh. This movie didn’t fulfill its promise, to entertain people. Even though Kris Aquino and James Reid made cameo appearances, it still didn’t compensate how horrible the film was. I hate to say it but it was a waste of money. Hopefully, Vice Ganda would realize this and would start coming back with quality comedy films like what he had before.

Film Rating: LIMITED

Movie Experience: Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo

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Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo, 2014

This is one of my most anticipated films from MMFF! I was really excited when I saw the trailer, because I always root for historical film entries every year. I got more excited seeing Robin Padilla as Andres Bonifacio, because I know he makes good movies and he strives for excellence. After seeing the movie, I knew to myself that I wasn’t disappointed, I got what I wanted, historical depiction, action and entertainment, I can honestly say, too, that they have surpassed the film El Presidente by E.R. Ejercito. The only thing that got me worried is the flow of the film, it was promising at the beginning but it got a bit confusing at the latter part. I was waiting for the film’s climax, and then I just realized the film already ended. There was only one action scene, whereas I was expecting a lot. I didn’t expect Robin to delve more into comedy and drama, they should’ve utilized Robin’s expertise, ACTION! But then again, Robin did really good and he deserved to be, and should’ve been, crowned as the Best Actor, he was really intense and you can film him growl and be soft all at the same time. The setting, the costume and the cast, everything was all perfectly in place. I can say one of the best films of 2014 MMFF, just needed a little more spice.

Film Rating: LIMITED

Movie Experience: English Only, Please

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English Only Please, 2014

When you say MMFF, films are usually grand, festive and are highly produced. Since this is the trend, English Only, Please was never an option for me to watch. I had this first impression that the film is just like other low-budgeted MMFF films that weren’t popular and were easily forgotten. Though the film won a lot of awards it still didn’t give me the initiative to watch it. Then the day came where I was invited to watch it, and to my amazement, all these negative things about the film, that I thought, were all gone. THE FILM IS SIMPLY BRILLIANT! It may not be as grand as the others, but this is something new and fresh for an MMFF entry. It’s different, it’s not really like the others who needed a big cast, or a big production or heavy scripting, everything was simple, from the setting to the script. The story was easy to understand, the situations were all funny and romantic, the scenes were all something you can relate to. I can say Jennylyn Mercado did a great job, however I think Derek Ramsay didn’t fit the role. All in all, the movie is really good, it’s a must see movie, if it’s still showing, grab the chance to see it. I can definitely say, I’m a fan.

Film Rating: LIMITLESS

Limitless Movie Review: Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel

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Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel, 2013

3.5-starsKimmy Dora 3 is a promising film. I had this expectation that it can be a cool James Bond film done the X44 way. The poster is enticing, the cast is amazing and the story line is promising. The movie lacked 2 things. First, the fight scenes were predictable and an example of a very classic Filipino comedy, they could’ve put some more effort since it’s an “action” slash comedy film, and when you use the genre “action”, effort is really important. Second, the musical scoring is beyond boring, the effect and ambiance of the “action” thing going around the film does not fit the comedic childish music they used, at least Agent X44 got a little serious touch. Major props for Eugene Domingo for doing a great job as 2 separate characters. And what do you expect when Joel Torre and Angel Aquino are together? Fierceness! The movie was really promising, it could have been the best film out of all the entries in MMFF 2013, but then again it looked as if it was also rushed just like some of the film entries.

Limitless Movie Review: Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy

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Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy, 2013

3-stars-out-of-5I’ve always been a Vice Ganda fan, but I never thought I would come to this. His new movie, “Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy”, barely made me laugh. There were only “some” prime moments, some jokes were outdated and were re-used, and the story was very shallow. Same with the movie Pagpag, maybe if they had more time they were able to make a better story. Praybeyt Benjamin and Sisterakas were more hilarious, and made me think what happened to the Star Cinema magic. What amazed me is how great Maricel Soriano was in the film. She was remarkable and definitely deserved the award she recently had for the film. I was expecting an explosive part for Ruffa Gutierrez, probably a revenge scene, but in the end, they made her role unnecessary. The story was so fast, it’s like you’re watching a sitcom that never happened. The effects of the quadruplets were really good, and I can say Vice Ganda did a great job portraying four different characters. Well, the movie may lack a good story, at least their actors did well and delivered a satisfying performance.

Limitless Movie Review: Pagpag

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Pagpag, 2013

3.5-starsPagpag is the horror film entry for the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival. The story revolves around a group of teenagers plagued by the consequences they did for disobeying certain beliefs when attending a funeral. Filipinos are very strict when it comes to following certain beliefs, especially the elderly, and the younger generation has slowly forgotten these valuable beliefs our culture has. I am not saying that we should live and follow these beliefs, but what I admire about this film is they highlight how important our culture is and they bring them back to life, and bring back awareness and showcase the impact of our culture to the modern generation. Ultimately the film scared me, some scenes we’re really horrifying, but I can say that I won’t pay to watch this again. It has  not reached the quality of Star Cinema’s previous horror movies, Sukob and Feng Shui, has. I think it lacks thrill and the story is very predictable, I believe if they had more time they could’ve made a better story. But overall, even though it’s an Insidious and Final Destination rip-off, the movie is okay, it scared me and KathNiel was awesome.