Tag Archives: Filipino Films

Film Review: 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten (2016)

Director: Petersen Vargas
Cast: Khalil Ramos, Ethan Salvador, and Jameson Blake, Peewee Ohara, Jomari Angeles, Joel Saracho, Mean Espinosa, Ana Capri

I hate to be the party pooper  here since everyone seems to be loving this dark coming-of-age film about a nerd who befriended two Filipino-American brothers who made such an impact in his young life but if I’m being quite honest,  this film just didn’t work for me for so many reasons save for the amazing performances of  its lead actors – James Blakeson, Ethan Salvador and Kahlil Ramos.

In case you didn’t know (like moi), 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten was part of last year’s Cinema One Originals Film Festival garnering the Best Picture honor as well as Best Supporting Actor for Blake Jameson and Best Cinematography for Carlos Mauricio.

I just want to say first that the cinematography award was very well-deserved because Mauricio was able to encapsulate the contrasting beauty of the lahar-ridden Pampanga, the fascinating dreams of Felix (Ramos) and the youthful vibrancy of the actors playing the main characters. Even before I watched it on the big screen, I was already all over it towards its beautiful cinematography when I Initially viewed its trailer on Facebook.

Secondly, (see, I wasn’t aware of the said Film Festival so boohoo! on me) Jameson Blake winning an award for his role is not that surprising. After watching the film in Trinoma last Saturday (March 18, 2017) I was asked by my seatmate in the cinema how I find the film, I told him outright that the guy who played the role of Maximillian was simply enigmatic! He’s very effective and the eye-candy thing was just a bonus! They’re all good in their roles but Blake just stole the thunder from Ramos and Salvador on this one.

Now, let me make it clear that I do not hate the film. I just don’t like the development of the story. I wasn’t expecting it to be cheesy and all that stuff but I thought the dark twist revealed midway was rather an unsavory surprise. Twists tend to do that but that subplot just made me cringed because it felt forced for me. I thought I knew what the writer / director was trying to convey but incorporating said plot was rather over the top in my opinion.

We’re already all over Felix’s (Khalil Ramos)  sexual identity crisis and the angst of the Snyder brothers and I thought the story could lead into a more subdued yet impactful resolution – instead we’ve got the subdued yet very strange conclusion.

But hey, who am I to judge like an expert? After all, I’m just a movie-goer hahaha! Kidding aside, I think it’s a case of “it’s me, not you” thing so I think people are still going to enjoy watching this one but as for me – I’m okay with watching it once for now.

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

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Film Review: Sakaling Hindi Makarating (2017)

sakaling-di-makarating-posterAfter watching Ice Idanan’s Sakaling Di Makarating last weekend, I was on the fence about it being a rip-off of “That Thing Called Tadhana” or perhaps just ‘a way better storytelling’ ala-Before Sunrise trilogy which ‘Tadhana” obviously tried to emulate. What I didn’t consider is the message within the film. Sakaling Di Makarating in comparison to the profanity-laden “Tadhana” has a much deeper message and obviously is more aesthetically pleasing.

What initially enticed me to watch the film is that it features the diverse beauty of the Philippines. Its beautiful landscapes being one of the focal points of the story should be a fantastic watch for a traveler like myself yeah? Then I found out that Alessandra de Rossi will star in it and I was absolutely sold! I knew I have to see this on the big screen.

A series of mysterious hand-illustrated postcards take a young woman on a journey throughout the Philippines in search of its anonymous writer.

The film didn’t disappoint with its aesthetic value. It felt like you’re traveling with Cielo (de Rossi) here – discovering the beauty of this tropical country whilst accompanying Cielo on her search for M.

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Cielo’s journey is a way for her to alleviate her pain and to find the answers to the many whys of her failed relationship. Cielo for all her strength is only human though. She’s in the process of grieving and trying to decipher what her next move would be. Her journey to finding the postcard sender, M, is her journey to finding herself again. Some of us call it soul searching but more than anything else, I’d like to think that it’s finding a reason to live again. The places she’s been to, I’d like to think, made her realize that there’s so much more to life.

The storyline, however, felt a bit disjointed for me. It’s like I’m watching a movie within a movie, rather it felt like watching two films altogether. The connection between the first and the latter part of the film was startlingly obvious but it felt forced. Good thing, the kid who played Sol (Teri Malvar) is an absolute joy to watch! When the spotlight was focused on her, ‘girl just kick some ass like no other.

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I have to be honest though. I actually enjoyed the latter part of the film more. The beginning which I find a bit mechanical was too reminiscent of ‘That Thing Called Tadhana.’ The dialogue were a bit off and Paul’s character was unnecessary in my opinion. The short affair involving Manuel (JC Santos) was a rather welcome distraction from the bleak narrative of the first half of the film. The parallelism of their scenes in connection to M at the latter part was just too clever! I just loved how so apt it was. I’m not sure if it’s just me who thought of it but if you think about it, there’s a rather eerie similarity.

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Overall, this film was able to deliver a solid ending. The story may or may not work with many but there’s a chance for it to have a sequel. I’d love for it to have a sequel! I want a storyline with more of Paul in it. Maybe, I’m just not giving him a chance. The story could be everybody’s story who struggle not only with their love life but simply every day and are looking for an escape. The film won’t fix your problems but it will inspire you to go out there. Have the courage to search for what you’re looking for and as corny as it may sound, you have to remember that you only live once…

Director: Ice Idanan
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Teri Malvar, JC Santos, Pepe Herrera

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Review: Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank [The Woman In The Septic Tank] (2011)

Director: Marlon Rivera
Cast: Eugene Domingo, JM De Guzman, Kean Cipriano, Cai Cortez, Cherie Pie Picache, Mercedes Cabral

Ang Babae Sa Septic TankThis film has got to be one of the best Filipino films in years. From the actors to the script – it speaks volume and when I said volume, it totally has its own voice! It’s funny, evocative and just pure genius!

It chronicles a day in the life of three budding filmmakers as they set out to create an Oscar-worthy film! JM De Guzman, Kean Cipriano and Eugene Domingo totally delivered on this one! I loved how most scenes were written with humorously but with the subtlety of provoking its viewer’s thoughts.

Its mundane exterior was just a subplot to carry us through a ride where the actors delivered their lines with sheer conviction. Kean Cipriano stood out for me here playing the uber-OC director of the movie while JM De Guzman provided the support he needed to give a sense of additional sensibility to the screen. Cai Cortez as the production manager was also someone you’d remember.

Eugene Domingo’s portrayal as Mila, the mother of seven children and as her fictional ‘self’ helps the film to find its balance giving support to these newbies.

I won’t tell you guys any more spoiler since the film is obviously available everywhere since its release in 2011 (so far I’ve seen it a few times now) but if you have not seen this one, what are you waiting for? Oh and yes, my friend asked me before if I thought the film “in reality” was an Oscar-worthy one – I say, Why not?

 The film was chosen by the Film Academy of the Philippines to represent the Philippines in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards.

 Rating: 9/10