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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Upcoming Local Movies for your February Feels

February is already here. And we all know what that means. The Valentine season is coming right up. And what better way to spend the season of love than to watch a good movie with your family, friends or your special plus one. Well, worry no more because this February, we are going to get you your fill of Valentine feels with these local movie releases that is sure to bring you kilig and hugot to the nth power.

Sakaling Hindi Makarating (The Amazing Journey of the Letters), from director Ice Idanan, is one of the entries of last year's CineFilipino Film Festival. It's title which literally translates to In Case They Don't Arrive, pertains to the mysterious postcards that is being sent to Cielo, played by Alessandra De Rossi, a 27-year-old workaholic who was laid-off from work with a big severance check. She is then forced to move into a smaller place, an apartment that she bought with her ex-fiance from whom she just broke up with. With nothing to do but to nurse a broken heart, she feels like her life is beginning to take a turn for the worst. But the arrival of those mysterious post cards ignited something inside of her. These postcards arrive from different places, and attached to them are different artworks, made and written by the same hand. She grows fond of these letters and feels a sense of intimacy with the author. With the help of the anonymous postcards and her new neighbor Paul (Pepe Herrera), she finally decides to go on a trip using the postcards as a guide, rediscovering not only her country but also herself. Lessons are learned and friendships are made as the story of Cielo and the anonymous writer unfolds.

This is not your usual Pinoy romance film as it focuses not only to failed relationships and budding romances. It's more of a person's journey to self-discovery, a realization in life that we don't need someone else to make us feel complete. Aside from this, it features stunning visuals from different provinces in the country, from the colorful vinta regatta of Zamboanga to the breathtaking cliffs of Batanes. It also boast an incredible cast, from award-winning actress Alessandra De Rossi, Ang Probinsyano's Pepe Herrera, and Til I Met You's JC Santos, with Teri Malvar and Irma Adlawan. The film is produced by Melai Etuna and written for the screen by Ice Idanan and Petersen Vargas. The film arrives in Philippine cinemas February 1, 2017. Check out their schedules here.

I'm Drunk, I Love You is a story about two college best friends. Carson (Maja Salvador) is in love with Dio (Paulo Salvador)  for seven years, unfortunately, Dio simply do not love her back. Directed by JP Habac in his feature-length debut with a screenplay co-written with Giancarlo Abrahan, the film explores how Carson struggles to hide her true feelings for her best friends, especially now that he already have a girlfriend (Jasmine Curtis Smith) and how she deals with it. Aside from a powerful cast led by Maja Salvador, Paulo Avalino, Jasmine Curtis Smith and Dominic Roco, the film also have an awesome soundtrack, featuring the music of Juan Miguel Severo, Kai Honasan, The Out of Body Special, Ang Bandang Shirley, Cynthia Alexander, Parokya ni Edgar, as well as Ebe Dancel, Johnoy Danao, Bullet Dumas and many more. La Union. Roadtrip. Beach. Music. Best friends. Beer. You. Me. What else could possibly go wrong?
I'm Drunk, I Love You is coming to cinemas February 15, 2017.

Moonlight Over Baler is a period romantic drama film set in the 1980's and follows Fidela (Elizabeth Oropesa), a 65-year-old retired teacher who develops a special bond with a young Japanese photojournalist Kenji (Vin Abrenica). Kenji has an uncanny resemblance to her lost love named Nestor (also played by Vin Abrenica) who was about to marry Fidela in the 1940s, went off to fight in the war (World War II) and was killed. Decades later, Fidela met Kenji who was covering the EDSA revolution in 1986 in Baler. She reminisced about her past as Kenji woos a local beauty named Rory (played by Ellen Adarna). Fidela helped Kenji surpass the challenges given to him by Rory to prove his sincere feelings towards her.
It is quite uncommon for a Filipino movie to feature a period setting, but there are some examples that we're brilliantly done in the past which actually worked, like Moments Of Love (2006), Baler (2008) and She's Dating The Gangster (2014). The film, alongside many others, were submitted for consideration for the recent Metro Manila Film Festival but unfortunately, it didn't make it to the Magic 8. With this movie, director Gil Portes and writer Eric Ramos tries to connect two separate eras, hoping to create a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The film is set to be released in theaters nationwide this February 8, 2017.

My Ex and Whys tells the story of blogger Calli (Liza Soberano) and her ex Gio (Enrique Gil). The two meet again after a bad breakup and are forced to work together on a project. Later, a friend (Ryan Bang) of theirs says he's getting married in Korea and presents them with plane tickets. In Korea, the two become close again and reassess their feelings for each other. Will love knock again for a second time?
The film is the first romcom from Star cinema this 2017 and serves as their Valentine offering to moviegoers this season of love. Starring Liza Soberano, Enrique Gil, Joey Marquez, Ara Mina, Dominic Roque, Ryan Bang, Neil Coleta, Cai Cortez, Hyubs Azarcon and Arlene Muchlach, the film is written by Carmi Raymundo, Jancy Nicolas, Gilliann Ebreo, and director Cathy Garcia-Molina and is hitting the big screen this February 15, 2017.

So which of these films are you looking forward this Valentines? Share us our thoughts and leave your comments below.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ilawod Review

Horror movies are meant to scare. To give you you an unusual or unpleasant feeling all throughout. It's not just about the jump scares or the number of times you will scream. You know that a horror film is effective in it's purpose when it you feel that uneasiness while watching it. I've always loved horror movies, especially those produced locally. I remember watching Gore Verbinski's The Ring(2002) back when I was a kid and it started my interest in the genre. Then, I saw Chito Rono's Feng Shui (2004) and it ignited my dream to become a filmmaker someday and create a horror movie myself. The last good Pinoy horror movie that I've watched was Erik Matti's Seklusyon (2016) and it has set my standards for all locally produced horror flicks since then. I enjoy the rush and thrills that I feel whenever I watch a good horror movie. I loved how it kept me in my toes, watching for something scary to pop out of every corner.

This is what director Dan Villegas was most likely trying to put out in his first attempt in the genre, Ilawod. The title literally translates to downstream or water flowing in a downward direction. It is also the name of the titular water spirit that haunts and terrorizes the primary characters in the film. The film stars veteran actors and actresses like Ian Veneracion and Iza Calzado. It also features some up and coming stars like Xyriel Manabat, Harvey Baustista and Teri Malvar, with Epy quizon in a supporting role.

The film was written by Yvette Tan. According to her, the whole idea started as a joke a few years back. Dan Villegas told her that he will direct a horror movie someday and she will be the one writing it. It turns out that he was serious with the idea at that time. Villegas' wife, Antoinette Jadaone, was the one who suggested the name of the titular water spirit. The film has a pretty much straight-forward story that I'm sure anyone can follow easily. It opens with Dennis, an online journalist, with his photographer and best friend Carlo, as they follow a story about a woman possessed by an evil spirit in the province. After covering the story, Dennis unknowingly brought the spirit with him in his home. The spirit, known as Ilawod, starts to haunt and affect each member of his family. It begins with Dennis: whenever he drinks hot drinks or any liquid such as soup, he tastes nothing but bitterness. It also starts to affect his mood and he becomes overly aggressive over small things.  His wife, Kathy (played by the ever beautiful Iza Calzado) starts to feel unusually hot (and horny, I guess?) whenever she drinks any liquid or come in contact with water (like whenever she's taking a bath). At the same times, their eldest son, Ben (Harvey Baustista) becomes the point of interest of the water spirit, who appears and manifest itself as a teenage girl named Isla (Teri Malvar). Only their youngest, their daughter Bea (Xyriel Manabat) sees Isla's true form yet she cannot tell it to anyone because no one would believe her, causing her to feel isolated.  Soon, the water spirit's manifestations becomes stronger and more violent, and it also starts to tear the family apart. As I've said before, the plot is pretty much straight-forward. Which makes it easier for anyone to jump into the story. The manifestations of the titular water spirit is also somehow simple, but very effective. They start out in small and harmless, but slowly becomes a burden to each of the characters as it starts to take a toll on every one of them. 

As I've said in my other articles and posts before, I've always been a fan of director Dan Villegas. He is my second most favorite Pinoy director (next to Petersen Vargas of 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten fame). I loved all his works, with English Only Please (2014), Always Be My Maybe and How To Be Yours (2016) being my favorites. His movies have this realistic approach to it's characters. They feel like real people, in a real world. The way he builds them up makes these characters so endearing and empathetic. We actually root for his characters and hope for a happy ending for them. And that approach is what he applied to his first attempt at the horror genre. The family portrayed in this film is your average Filipino film living in the urban world. Their portrayal mirrors how most middle class families live their everyday lives. They reflect reality. Director Villegas knows that in order to scare the audience, we have to root for these characters. He have to feel their pain. We have to believe they're real. This is also the same reason why the film shines above most locally released horror movies in the past. Unlike most of these horror movies, the film is grounded in reality. The characters approach these supernatural happenings like how real people would deal with them in the real world (except for one moment which made me a bit frustrated). It's somehow way more logical than other horror movies in the past. 

Another strong element of the film is it's selection for the cast. This is quite an emsemble that director Dan Villegas was able to come up with. Ian Veneracion was a good choice for the role of Dennis. His looks and appeal is perfect for the role. His dramatic skills which, we mostly see in teleseryes these days, are prominently featured in the film. Iza Calzado is amazing as always. I remember watching her in horror movies from the past like Sigaw (2004) and Shake, Rattle and Roll 8 (2006) where she played a nanny turned aswang in one of the episodes of the anthology. She also starred in the 2007 hit by Topel Lee,Ouija, and the The Echo, 2008 American remake of her film, Sigaw. She has been a favorite in the horror genre, next to Kris Aquino. There's something in the way she projects her emotions that makes her fit for the genre. Kris Aquino has her trademark scream. With Iza Calzado, it's something else. Maybe it's her eyes, the way she expresses fear. I don't know. But she is always the best choice for a horror lead for me. And this movie is perfect for her. She embodies the modern day Filipina, and proves to be a true scream queen of Philippine cinema.

Harvey Baustista and Xyriel Manabat were also great on their roles. Harvey Baustista was quite good in portraying the young troubled son of Dennis and Kathy. He was quite disturbing to watch during the scene where he was cutting his arms with a blade. I was also so surprised to see Xyriel, all grown up, in this movie. Her acting was very mature, as compared to her previous projects. In one scene in particular, she was able to amazingly project fear in the most heartbreaking manner as she pleads her parents to let her in their room while the evil water spirit approaches her slowly. But I guess, it's Teri Malvar who really steals the show in her creepy portrayal of Isla, and the evil water demon Ilawod. If Seklusyon has Rhed Bustamente to be proud of, this movie has Teri Malvar to be applauded. Her eyes and body movements gives out a weird and unnatural feel to her character, adding up to the already creepy atmosphere in every scene whenever she's present. The way she approaches Harvey Baustista's character is sexy and serene yet uneasy and disturbing.

In addition to this, the film is also one of the most gorgeous looking horror pics I've seen from a tfor studio film outfit. It's cinematography was very beautiful and detailed. Every frame was well planned. Every scene was shot with precision and focus. It plays on it's theme of water in every sequence, with the camera panning and moving with fluidity. It has heavy focus on the dark blue palette, from the colors of the gushing waters in the river from the opening scene (which was so inviting, I must say) to the shades of the urban environment. This adds a creepy and atmospheric tone all throughout the film. The titular Ilawod was also a great antagonist for the film. Although her motives weren't that much clear. She only tells Dennis in the final act that she's doing this just because he doesn't believe, but for me it's not enough to justify her actions towards the family. But i guess no one can really expect to have a concrete explanation for the supernatural and the unknown.

The only thing that I somehow felt unnecessary in the film was the music. The soundtrack was a bit overbearing all throughout the movie. It was a bit too loud at times, which was supposed to make the audience jump, but it didn't really worked on me. It just irritated me. It was like it's trying to make the audience expect something would jump out of somewhere to surprise them, but there really isn't any. It worked in other local horror movies before like Chito Rono's films Feng Shui and Sukob (2006) because something actually ends up jumping out of the frame in the scene. But here, it only puts the audience on their toes with the musical scoring, but lets them down at the end of the scene. Director Dan Villegas attempts some jump scares here and there, but that's the part where he ultimately fails. Luckily, the film still manages to creep you out at some points. One memorable scene in particular was the part where Dennis and Kathy were shown the CCTV footage showing one of their children. It reminded me of a infamous CCTV video clip of Elise Lam back in 2013 who was seen in riding an elevator and acting weird, as if talking to someone invisible, and turning up dead a few days later, her body floating in the water tank of the hotel she's staying.

The film may not be the conventional horror movies that most of us are accustomed to as it lacks enough scares (for me) that will make you scream or jump out of your seat. But Dan Villegas' film is sure to give you some goosebumps all throughout the film. It succeeds in making the viewers feel uneasy and tensed with it's quiet yet creepy approach at the genre. It's not exactly scary, but it's damn good for a Filipino horror film. And that's enough for me.
Rating: 1/2 out of 5

Ilawod (2017)
Starring Ian Veneracion, Iza Calzado, Xyriel Manabat, Harvey Bautista and Teri Malvar
Written by Yvette Tan, directed by Dan Villegas

Friday, January 20, 2017

2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten review

Sometimes, movies become something more than what it usually is. This happens when a movie tells a story that really strikes something inside the audience, which in turn, reminds them of a memory, a feeling, a person, or a moment from their lives. The audience then starts to live the story being projected on screen, seeing themselves in the protagonist's shoes. They see, hear, smell, taste, and feel every single thing that the main character encounters. They live in the moment, in the thrills, and in the excitement of what unfolds next. But this instance come so very rare. But then, at one point in your life, you get that once in a lifetime chance to experience one, that you just have to grab every opportunity to feel that same feeling again.

I've always had a penchant for watching independent Filipino films ever since, but after seeing Ice Idanan's Sakaling hindi Makarating last year at UP Cine Adarna, my craving for indie films grew more and more. Ever since then, I frequently watched indie films every once in a while or when I get the chance. Honestly, I think most of the time, indie films are better than mainstream movies. This is mostly because indie films tend to have better quality than the ones produced by big film companies. There is freedom with what the director can do with his/ her film without the worry of being controlled by the studio producer. But I have never imagined that an indie film can actually have the power to affect me this much and change my entire life. I know that sounds too much but it is true. That is what happened to me after I experienced the emotional roller coaster of Petersen Vargas' 2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten. I honestly have no idea what the whole film was all about not until I actually watched it during it's gala premiere at Cinema 1 of Trinoma last year, November 17, 2016. It was my first time watching a Cinema One Originals entry during the festival run itself. It was also one of my most memorable movie experience ever. This prompted me to watch the film multiple times. Let me tell you why.

2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten follows Felix Salonga (in an unforgettable performance by Khalil Ramos) a friendless, overachieving top notcher in a typical public high school in the province of Pampanga during the late 1990s. The whole film is told from his point of view, and is usually narrated through passages from his daily journal (which was supposed to be a project for their English class). He looks over his classmates as inferior to him because he is intellectually inclined, unlike the rest of them who usually spends their dull time playing sipa, basketball or hanging out with their barkadas in the vicinity of the campus. "I am in a conundrum... It's not my fault that I'm stuck with these unremarkable individuals in this forlorn school," he writes in his journal. He even calls them "little brown monkeys", forgetting the fact that this term used by Spanish and American colonists to call Filipinos like him during the era of their occupation. His daily routine is all about coming to school, getting the top spot in class, and nothing more. But Felix' life is then turned upside down after the Film-Am brothers Magnus (Ethan Salvador) and Maxim Snyder (in an award-winning performance by Jameson Blake) transfers to his his school. Felix becomes curious at the two mestizos, particularly with elder Magnus, after his first glance of the boys. Later on, after failing the test from one of his subjects, the elder Snyder boy decides to ask for help from Felix. Although he was a bit adamant at first, he eventually gives in and agrees. Magnus then brings him to his home, where he meets their mother (Ana Capri) and the other Snyder brother. They start off a bit awkward, with Magnus calling him a weirdo after seeing him checking out his Omegaboy TShirt (or his chest, maybe?). But as days passed, he soon develops a strong, unusual friendship with the brothers. He gets to know more of their background, particularly their family. As things get more complicated, this relationship with the Snyder brothers ultimately leads him to be entangled in a dark path involving a plan for murder, his sexual awakening and his first heartbreak.

Two brilliant minds combining their forces is what lies behind this little indie gem.The clever script which was originally titled Dos Mestizos, was written by Jason Paul Laxamana (director of the savagely entertaining dark comedy Mercury is Mine, 2016). Laxamana's script mixes social satire with nostalgic yet humorous references from the 1990s era something that a lot us can really relate to. From references to Noli de Castro's Magandang Gabi, Bayan, The Flor Contemplacion movie, and the Backstreet Boys. Felix, a teenage boy that symbolizes the common Filipino, is mystified and attracted to the mysterious Fil-Am Synder brothers- a stab on the Filipino mindset that Americans and other Western nations are superior to us. We Filipinos look up to them. We worship them. We want to look like them. We are obsessed with them. Every Filipino's American Dream. This theme is the same recurring theme of his previous work, Mercury. The setting of the story, the province of Pampanga, also reflects our view on the Americans. The Clark Airbase, a modernized community that has been improved by the US. "Our little America with picturesque houses and fascinating individiuals, like Magnus Snyder," as he wrote down in Felix' journal. A reflection on how the West is controlling the country's economic aspect. The director, Petersen Vargas, in his full-length debut, breathes life to this complicated story of a teenage boy as he goes through one of the hardest phases of life, growing up. A point in every teenager's life where he/ she starts to discover who he/she really is. Vargas, who have been making short films and music videos before, has been using this theme in some of his works. His short film, Lisyun Qng Geografia, which I am yet to watch (hopefully), has been making rounds with different film festivals and has entered competition at Cinemalaya before. The film, which is also about love and friendship between two high school boys, shares a similar theme with 2 Cool. In this movie, as Felix starts to get to know the Snyder brothers more, he also discovers a lot of things about himself. As director Petersen explained in one of his interview, here we have Felix, a blank person. He doesn't have any friends, even though he keeps on telling himself that he's not disconsolate, as he haven't met anyone "worth befriending." But after meeting the Snyder boys, he learns how great the feeling of having a friend. He discovers how it feels to fall in love for the first time. Yes, the film also plays themes of young love. According to it's producer, Alemberg Ang, during their Q&A sessions in UP Cine Adarna (which I was so lucky to catch), they originally envisioned the film to be a little love story between two boys, with a coming-of-age backdrop. But after further revisions, there were a lot of things that were changed. Some new scenes were added. And the themes were changed.

To be honest, I have no idea of what to expect when I first watched the film during it's premiere night in Trinoma last year. I've only seen the trailer once and thought it was a good coming-of-age film (which I'm a big sucker for), more of a barkada-type of movie. But as I watched the film and slowly realizes the underlying themes of the film, I can't help but feel nervous for the characters as things get awry for them. I felt somewhat connected to them. At one point of the film, I suddenly realized that I've been seeing myself in Felix' shoes all along. It was like I was watching selected moments from my life being projected into the screen. Yes, I admit that there were a lot of moments in my life that was exactly the same with what's happening in the story (with the exception of the sexual awakening thing and the murder plot). I guess that is one of the main reasons I got drawn into watching it over and over again, five times to be exact. (Updated 2/ 16/ 2017: I have just watched the film again after the 5th Freedom Film Festival for the sixth time already). It's because Felix' character speaks to me. I understand him and somewhat felt that he's someone that I've known for a very long time. I remember a classmate of mine telling me before that it's better to fall in love with fictional characters unlike loving a real person. Real people can hurt you, unlike these fiction characters. But I don't agree with that. To me, Felix and Magnus felt like they were real people. And their characters have induced pain and heartache to me which I never expected the first time I went to see the film. I know it sounds crazy but even though I've seen the film so many times already, somehow, deep in my heart, I'm still wishing that they would have a happy (or a better) ending for Felix. Although it's obvious that the ending will not change after repeated viewings. I guess it's just me wishing myself (as I see in Felix' shoes) to have a better ending too.

The film's young actors, led by singer-actor Khalil Ramos, is also what makes the film so raw and realistic. Ramos as Felix has the exact looks of a typical Filipino teenage boy. But don't get fooled by his young looks. His acting prowess is undeniable in his portrayal of the main character. His eyes says it all, from the very first frame after the genius opening credits of the film which features his character, as he stake a beetle with his compass and smiles after seeing his work, to the shot of him as he walks out of the Snyder household after a confrontation with one of the brothers. He captures all the emotions with his body language. Those slow, quivering movements of his lips when Magnus compliments him. Those innocent stares from his eyes that hide his true feelings. All of these things capture all the emotions of every scene. One of my favorite moments from the film involved him as he curses one of the Snyder Brothers, screaming "Putang-ina mo!" (You son of a bitch!) and punches him brutally. I really love how he acted out that scene to the point that I would whisper his same words along with him every time I watch that moment of the film. Ethan Salvador, a singer-actor who was part of the talent competition Pinoy Boyband Superstar plays Magnus Snyder. No one would usually expect an amazing performance from this young artist thinking that this film is his first acting role. But you would be amazed after seeing him in this film. He plays his role with gusto and he shows great chemistry with his co-actors. He proves that he is not just your average eye candy but is also an actor who's serious with his craft. Jameson Blake, a former Pinoy Big Brother housemate, a product endorser, an actor and a member of the dance group #Hashtags from the noontime show Showtime, portrays Maxim Snyder. Blake plays his character with an unbelievable amount of angst and wickedness, as his character soon pushes Felix into a darker path in the story. He bravely takes on the role that most young actors would refuse to accept. His controversial and most talked about masturbation scene is equally sexy and disturbing and makes the whole totally unforgettable (including the infamous line from Felix, "Make it hard"). His passion for acting is definitely outstanding, as seen in his praise-worthy and award-winning performance in the film. I met him last December 2016 and he told me that he has a new project this year, a Cinemalaya entry, if i'm not mistaken. Hopefully that will push through because he is one talented actor that has a lot to offer to the industry. Then, there's the very talented Ana Capri. Her short but very effective quips brought everyone in the theater to laughter. But aside from her humorous scenes, she also proves to everyone her acting prowess during one of the most emotional moments of the film. I can't help but shed a tear in that scene where she said to Felix how she can no longer remember her husband's face, after he left them.

Aside from the powerful acting talent, no one would also miss the technical creativity behind the film. Shot in a perfect square frame, an aspect ratio of 5:4, the film looks like an old photograph, like a Polaroid picture coming to life. This unusual framing of the film, according to what I've heard, also adds up to the multiple symbolism in the film. The square frame stands for Felix' world, a small and enclosed space of loneliness. That is until he meets the Snyder Brothers. Whenever he and Magnus gets a close-up shot together, Magnus always takes over a big portion of the frame. I also noticed this after seeing the film three times now. Magnus' image is always overlapping Felix during their close-ups, evoking a feeling of congestion. From the scene after the two of them had a short race to a lamp post, the scene where they were talking about the day that Mt. Pinatubo erupted, and the part when Magnus was lying beside Felix in the latter's bed. It signifies that Felix's growing obsession with him, and that the Snyder Brothers have taken over his space, his life and his world. The color palette used all throughout the film, a mixture of light blue tones, evoke the sense of nostalgia. A lot of items, sometimes even their wardrobe, are colored blue which were all carefully handpicked. The music that accompanies the film adds up and completes the over-all feeling and atmosphere of the whole movie. Sometimes mysterious, sometimes nostalgic of the old times.

I recall asking director Petersen about the first thing he thought about when he watched the film's final product. To my surprise, he said he was actually disappointed with his film the first time. But I beg to disagree. This is a full-length debut that it's director and actors can be proud of. This coming-of-age film is sweet, humorous, romantic, yet turns dark and disturbing as it moves along, dragging the willing audiences back into one of the hardest phases of a person's life-growing up. Despite it's period setting, any teenager or young adult  of this generation can definitely relate to this film as it bravely tackles themes of friendship, love, sexual awakening, teenage angst, death and adulthood mixed with social satire. No wonder it won the Best Picture award for the 2016 Cinema One Originals. It's an experience not to be missed.
An experience that's too cool to be forgotten. No pun intended.
Rating: ✰ out of 5

2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten (2016)
Starring Khalil Ramos, Ethan Salvador, Jameson Blake, Ana Capri
Written by Jason Paul Laxamana, directed by Petersen Vargas
Winner: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Jameson Blake), Best Cinematography (Carlos Mauricio)

Official Poster

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Baka Bukas review

Sometimes, films tend to represent a culture, a lifestyle, or in this case, a generation.

This is exactly what Samantha Lee's film, Baka Bukas, is all about. The film portrays a generation of people in an era where technology and social media has taken over almost half of everyone's lives. A movie depicting the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram generation. A generation I am part of. And proud to be part of. A movie about today's millennials. Baka Bukas (Maybe Tomorrow) is one of the full length entries in last year's Cinema One Originals 2016. It is also the winner of the Audience Award in the festival, and after finally seeing it for the very first time, I couldn't agree more. Imagine the me and the rest of the jam-packed audience's reaction while we were watching it last Monday, January 16, 2017 at the UP CineAdarna theater. I've been trying to watch this film after missing it's theatrical run last November 2016 to the point that I've been messaging their official Instagram account for possible screenings in the future. Luckily, the UP film Institute had a re-run of the films from last year's C1 Originals Festival and this is one of the first films that they screened during the first week. And so I decided to take this chance to finally watch this film and I was not disappointed.

The film follows a 23-year old gay girl named Alex, in an award-winning portrayal by Jasmine Curtis Smith (she grabbed the Best Actress award in the festival) who has been come out as a lesbian to her mother, and all her friends except her best friend Jess (played by  Louise delos Reyes) as she is secretly in love with her. But one night changed everything, and Jess finally discovers her best friend's secret. They are then forced to face and confront their real feelings towards one another along the way. Based on the story, I guess it is more of a personal film by director Lee. She probably drew a lot of inspirations from real life experiences as the events in the movie are somehow very similar to real-life situations. The thoughts and ideas presented in the film are not far from reality. And it's actually scary to think about it. “One of the scariest things about coming out is finding out if the ones you love will stay after,” says Alex to her friend Julo, after she came out to her best friend Jess. Yeah. I agree.

I don't think the film wouldn't work if it weren't for Jasmine Curtis Smith's performance. Her portrayal of Alex is spot on, as if she have been living in the real world. Her character acts, talks, and feels like a real person stuck in this kind-of complicated situation. She's normal. She's just chill. She always tries to keep her cool. She doesn't over-react or exaggerate to the point that it is too dramatic or irritating. She is the exact anti-thesis of all the other female leads we've seen before in romance films and television series. Jasmine Curtis shines the most in her quiet moments. Those scenes where she's just there, staring blankly in space or lying alone in her bed. Her emotions are highlighted more in those scenes where she doesn't need to speak out what she's feeling at all, because it's all expressed by her eyes and body movements. Louise Delos Reyes adds fun to the movie as the quirky and most of the time, over-dramatic best friend Jess. I loved watching Louise Delos Reyes on screen, not only because she's just so pretty to look at but also because she can easily nail a part and be that character in just a wink of an eye. She can be anyone, and you wouldn't even feel any awkwardness seeing her in that role because she can perfectly fit into the character right away. Her portrayal of Jess might come a bit over-exaggerated at times but that let's face it, we know a lot of people like that in our lives. Which actually makes her character so fun to watch, because it's like seeing someone we knew in her image. also, the humor she brings in to the story adds more enjoyment to the overall experience. The film is too much based in reality and it comes off a bit of heartbreaking most of the time. So her character's presence gives the audience some time to breathe for a moment from all the stress and heartaches that we get while watching the movie. Her lines like "This isn't about you. This is about me!" will definitely bring a smile or two to your face.

Samantha Lee's direction is also one of the best things about this film. She manages to weave a film that greatly departs the usual romance films we see in local cinema. Her focus and treatment of the lesbian and gay characters in the story makes the film relatable to anyone in the audience. She presents them as real people, just like us. The way she creates tension and resolves it afterwards feel so real, as if it happened to her in real life before. Every aspect of the movie is raw and accurate, to the point that it felt like watching one of your friend's life in the big screen. Sometime along the way, we eventually would find one character that would speak to us. A representation of who we actually are, how we live and how we survive the reality of our our times.

Another cool aspect of the film is it's visuals and music. The whole film itself is such a joy to watch with all it's gorgeous colors and themes. The way the whole film was shot evokes the look of those photos that we post on Instagram and other social media sites. It's as if the every scene utilized those Instagram filters, making it look like art coming to life. The cinematography is gorgeously maneuvered, from the angles to the lightning. One of my favorite scenes from the film was the part where Alex and Jess stole a mask (a cute cat half-mask) and they both ran away from the shop. They ended up climbing and reaching a dark and empty floor where they stood by the glass windows and shared a kiss. That scene alone is worth the price of the ticket admission. It was just so beautiful to look at. These beautiful visuals are perfectly accompanied by an awesome soundtrack, you can't help but love this film.

Featuring an outstanding performance from it's two leads and a story that almost anyone of us can connect to, add in some stunning visuals and a matching soundtrack and we've got ourselves a film that portrays our generation in a harsh yet realistic manner. Everything feels so real. And that makes it at times funny and heartbreaking. We seldom see movies like this in our screens, and I am for one grateful that one director was brave enough to make a film like this.
Rating:  out of 5

Starring Jasmine Curtis Smith and Louise Delos Reyes,
Directed by Samantha Lee
Winner, Cinema One Originals 2016 Best Actress (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), Best Sound (Andrew Milallos), Audience Choice Award

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Vince and Kath and James review

Romantic films can be cheesy and predictable most of the time. But when the formula is done right, you'll be surprised with how affecting it can be.

The same can be said with Theodore Boborol's teen-oriented romantic comedy film Vince and Kath and James. An adaptation of the hit online text-serye, the film stars Julia Barretto, Joshua Garcia and Ronnie Alonte in the lead roles. It is the only film produced by a big house movie company (Star Cinema) in the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival 2016. And surprisingly, it doesn't feel like most of it's studio's other films. In fact, it's better than most of Star Cinema's previous romance films.

The film follows Vince (in an outstanding performance by Joshua Garcia) a hopeless romantic college guy who is secretly in love with his bestfriend, Kath (Julia Barretto). Afraid to tell his feeling for her in person, he decided to create a blog where he expresses all his feelings for her through short but meaningful words. Kath is the school's beauty queen, who attracts the attention of Vince's cousin, the school jock James (Ronnie Alonte, in his second MMFF entry this year). James in his behalf through text, hiding behind the nickname Var (short for varsity). Then, James would meet up with her to introduce himself as Var. But things becomes more complicated as Vince can no longer hide his true feelings for his bestfriend. Will he accomplish the task? Or will he finally take the risk and decide to tell her his true feelings? At first, the story may come as too common for those people who have watched quite a lot of romantic films before. But I guess, what makes this film stand out from it's genre is the execution of the film. Sometimes, with the right people and the right skills, the most common stories can become a surprisingly amazing film. This is exactly the case for Vince and Kath and James. With the right people behind and in front of the camera, they were able to create a heartwarming film out of this typical romcom story.

I've been following Theodore Boborol and his works this past two years already. I remember watching his film, Just The Way You Are starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil way back in 2015. The film was also another adaptation of an online series entitled The Bet. Then, I saw his second romcom that same year, Everyday I Love You, starring Liza and Enrique again, but this time, with Gerald Anderson as the third party. From his two films, one will notice that he is able to bring out the chemistry between his actors, and uses it to the film's advantage. The uses the same technique to his latest work which I must say is one of the best romance films from last year. He has this amazing skill that allows him to bring as much as chemistry he wants from Joshua Garcia, Julia Barretto and Ronnie Alonte whenever they are on screen. This gives him more control over his story, letting him create and weave those sweet moments overflowing with kilig for the audiences. I remember when I watched this film, girls inside the cinema were actually shrieking whenever they would see the leads being paired together on screen.

The script is also one of the best things about this film. The dialogues are so hip and updated and doesn't sound too corny and artificial. You know that feeling when you're watching movies and television series and you hear the characters talking. Sometimes, when they speak, their lines feel like they come from a different era, like they're from a movie from the 1990's to early 2000's. It doesn't feel real and authentic. But with this movie's script, you will really feel like you're watching real people on screen. They talk the same way that people (teens, in particular) talk in real life. They act like a normal teen in the the real world would act. They think like a real person would think in reality. I guess it is also the same reason why this movies best fits millennials like me. The film gives a lot of focus on social media, as all of the characters are using it one way or another. The film uses it as a technique or device to move the story forward. From texts, to blogs and online social networking sites, the writer knows that these things are important to the average millennial today, and so it uses it to tell stories, create conflict and at times, provide resolutions. The film also uses it as a way of creating those cute "awww" moments, those sweet one liners and quotes that will leave a mark on your heart and mind. 

Of course, the film wouldn't work if not for the amazing performances of it's lead. Julia Barretto proves that she is indeed worthy of her Barretto name. She is perfect of the role of Kath. I can't think of any actress that could pull of that role aside from her. She shows dedication to her craft, and I know for sure that she will continue to do good in this business. Ronnie Alonte is also good in his portrayal of James. Although just like his other MMFF film, Seklusyon, his acting isn't on par with the rest of his co-actors. I don't know why but whenever I see him, his face feels a bit blank and lacking enough emotion during those dramatic scenes. I guess he just needs a little more workshop. But when it comes to the romantic moments with Julia Barretto, he manages to get everyone tickled with sweetness.

But the one who really stood out from this film was Joshua Garcia. I have followed this kid from the start. i've watched him during his days as a housemate in one of the past editions of the reality show Pinoy Big Brother and I've seen him act in television series like Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita and films like Barcelona : A Love Untold (2016). I've watched him grow from a teen to a bit more mature actor. He is the central character of the film for me. He manages to steal our attention and focus during his scenes. He is able to make everyone fall for Vince. To like him. To love him. And to root for him. He even made me shed a tear or two while watching the film. One of my favorite scenes from the film was that moment he saw his mother (played by Ina Raymundo) after a long time of being away from her. That scene (and I guess all their scenes together) really made me cry. Then, there's that scene with Julia Barretto as he brings her a pint of ice cream and comforts her after some family issues (there's a lot of it in the film). He's like a younger version of John Lloyd Cruz, although he still have a long way to go. But I know and I believe that with the right guidance and selection of projects, he gonna be one of the best actors to watch out for in the future.

But aside from this, the biggest thing that makes this film memorable is it's infectious soundtrack that adds more sweetness and kilig to it's moments. One can't help but sing while the song O, Pag-ibig! by Ylona Garcia and Bailey May or when Simpleng Tulad Mo by Daniel Padilla is playing in the background. These earworm music quicly lifts up the audiences emotions, making the film more engaging as it can be.

No wonder the committee picked this film as one of the eight entries for the recent Metro manila Film Festival. This movie is a proof that with the even big house studios can actually produce good quality films with the right material and the right handling and execution. Featuring outstanding performances from it's leads, a relatable set of characters, realistic script and amazing direction, this is undeniably one of the better Filipino romance film from last year.
Rating:  out of 5

Starring Julia Barretto, Joshua Garcia and Ronnie Alonte,
Directed by Theodore Boborol

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Top 10 Filipino Films of 2016

2016 has been a year for change. It is notable that the past year marked the new beginning of the new administration, led by our new president, Rodrigo Duterte. As he took over the seat as the head of the nation, a lot of drastic changes have arrived too. And these changes happened not only in our government, but in our Philippine cinema too.
In the previous year, we saw a sudden wave of independently produced films have taken over not only the cinemas across the country, but also the hearts of many. There has been a couple of successful independent film festival sin the country that have produced some of the year's best films - from Unitel's CineFilipino to this year's Cinemalaya, up to Cinema One Originals' very own film festival. but the biggest and probably, most talked-about change in our movie scene last year was the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival. In this past year's MMFF, the committee has chosen to favor quality over the box-office appeal of the film. This is why none of the usual festival's usual entries from Vice Ganda and Vic Sotto's comedies to the annual shake, Rattle and roll anthology from Regal Films were included. Instead, seven out of the eight film of entries were all independently produced, and only one was released by a major film company. This caused a bit of hesitation from moviegoers at first, but later on, after the positive word-of-mouth from people who have watched the films, people start to flock theaters to see the movies for themselves.
Indeed, change has come not only in our government, but also in our cinema. And these changes are all producing positive results: we are getting more and more quality films for the Filipino audience. And I personally think that we should keep on pushing these changes more. We should stop dividing mainstream and indie films and instead, we should look at these movies as one. That is why in my own countdown of my Top Ten Best Filipino Films of 2016, you will notice that it's a mix of commercially released local films to independently produced ones. I wanted to show to everyone that there shouldn't be any line dividing the mainstream from indie films because they are both proudly produced by our very own Filipino filmmakers.

So if you're ready, here comes my Top Ten Filipino Films of 2016.

10. Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery)
Directed by Lav Diaz, Starring Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Hazel Orencio, Alessandra de Rossi, Angel Aquino, Cherie Gil, Bernardo Bernardo.
Yes. I am very proud to say that I survived a Lav Diaz film. And it's not like just any of his previous works but his longest film to date. This is the first time that I've watched a film from Lav Diaz and it turns out to be one of my most unforgettable movie experiences. I never thought I could survive being holed up inside the cinema for a almost half a day while watching this film. Local mythology and folklore meets Philippine Literature in this unique blend of fantasy and history as Lav Diaz weaves the story of Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo with the search of Gregoria De Jesus for the body of her husband, Andres Bonifacio after the latter was executed. Along the way, they encounter mischievous mythical creatures prolonging their journey (and the film's running time). Despite it's long running time, this 8-hour opus never had any dull or boring moments. It's stark black-and-white cinematography is a beauty itself. It's long, lingering shots pulls the audiences into the scene, adding an immersive experience to it. No wonder it won the Alfred Bauer Prize at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
Although Lav Diaz released another epic masterpiece last year, the Charo Santos starrer Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left) which competed at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival where it won the Golden Lion award, this movie is still my pick. I don't know. I guess this film is just way too memorable for me. Plus, it's John Lloyd Cruz and Piolo Pascual. C'mon.

9. Apocalypse Child
Directed by Mario Cornejo, Written by Monster Jimenez, Starring Sid Lucero, Gwen Zamora, Annicka Dolonius, Ana Abad-Santos, Archie Alemania and RK Bagatsing
Although the film actually had it's premierre last 2015, the film just had it's commercial release last October 2016. The film follows Ford, a man in the surfing town of Baler, who is believed to be the son of famed Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola. The director shot his film, Apocalypse Now, in the their town during the 1970's and was believed to have impregnated a young local. In the course of the film, Ford meets his estranged bestfriend, who keeps a grudge against him due an incident during their younger years together. Ford is forced to face this grudge from the past, alongside the secret of his identity.
The film is more of a character study. It focuses on Ford and how he affects the rest of the people around him. It takes time in building each of these characters, without losing the focus on Ford. These are characters are so beautifully written and brought to life by each actor that they feel so real and natural to me. Then, the film brings all these character together in a mind-blowing twist and turns of events during the third act, making everything go wild and crazy. It also features Annicka Dolonius and Sid Lucero in probably their best performance to date. Plus, it boasts some gorgeous surfing moments that will invite you to actually visit the Baler and take a dip in their waters. It's probably the best Pinoy summer movie, not released during the summer season.

8. Always be my Maybe
Directed by Dan Villegas, Starring Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz
One might find the story of this romantic comedy from Star Cinema a bit familiar and cliched. Jake, a carefree bachelor who have finally decided to settle down, proposes to his girlfriend. Unfortunately, she has already decided to dump him after years of dealing with him being with other girls. On the other hand, Tintin, a make-up artist, becomes viral on social media after she posts a make-up video tutorial wherein she ended up ranting about her ex-boyfriend whom she found out is already engaged to another woman. They came across one another and they end up spending one entire night drinking and talking about their personal lives until dawn. Before they part, they exchanged numbers and agreed to meet in Manila. I know the story sounds so common and recycled. Yet what makes this film different from the rest of the romcom genre is the way the story is told and portrayed.
I've been a fan of director Dan Villegas after I've seen his 2014 hit English Only Please. He has been one of my most favorite directors when it comes to the romance genre. I love all his films because they don't feel so corny and cheesy. He is able to bring these characters to life and make them look like they're really in love. And this movie is no exception. It's like the whole film is playing on every guy's fantasies, and Arci Munoz' character embodies that. That' probably why many calls it a romance movie made for boys.

7. Pamilya Ordinaryo
Directed by Eduardo Roy, Jr, Starring Hasmine Kilip and Ronwaldo Martin
Some may call Eduardo Roy, Jr's tour de force just another of those poverty-porns, an independent film that focuses too much on the gritty side of life among the less-privileged citizens of this country and exploits the theme it to a pulp. Call it whatever you want, but it is undeniably one of the most harrowing and unforgettable movie experience from last year's Cinemalaya film Festival. It follows the lives of a pubescent couple, Jane and Aries, who lives in the streets of the city, stealing wallets and cellphones for a living. But one day, they came across a young innocent baby that they've decided to adopt for themselves. They treated the child as their own and decided to raise it as their real son. But fate turns back to them and they find themselves in a frantic search for their child.
The film may feel a bit too long, despite a short running time of one hour and forty seven minutes due to it's long and elaborate sequences. But despite that, the film will surprise you in many ways you haven't imagined. The couple's search for their stolen baby will take you to a nightmarish trip across the city, as they tries to do everything and go through all lengths so that they can to get their kid back. The above-average obstacles they had to pass to retrieve their kidnapped baby may be too much, but it's what makes the whole film one crazy and exhilarating ride.

6. How To Be Yours
Directed by Dan Villegas, Starring Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson
The second film from director Dan Villegas in my list, and probably my most favorite from all his work to date. This film is a realistic portrayal of a couple, Anj and Nino as they struggle to balance their life as a couple. The film starts with the day they first met, and continues as they fall in love with each other and starts a life together. Then, a change in career and shifting of priorities starts to put a strain to their relationship.
Just like what I have previously stated, Dan Villegas has this amazing gift of bringing his characters to life. In this film, he's able to bring out the surprising chemistry between the two leads, Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson, and squeeze them out to the film's advantages. It features a plot so real and familiar to each and everyone. It makes us feel as if we are watching the lives of someone we know or even our own lives coming to life on screen. The dialogues are so raw and natural. The characters are so lifelike. The story, so grounded in reality. Every moment is heartfelt, and at times, heartbreaking. This film is definitely one of the best Filipino romance films I've seen to date and one that I highly recommend to everyone.

5. Sunday Beauty Queen
Directed by Baby Ruth Villarama, Starring Hazel Perdido, Cherrie Mae Bretana, Mylyn Jacobo, Leo Selomenio, Rudelyn Acosta
I'm not really a big fan of documentaries. The only closest thing to this genre that I have seen and enjoyed watching was the mockumentary Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay by Antoinette Jadaone. I thought the genre was just way too serious for me. I usually find it hard to focus my attention for a long span of time when watching these types of films. I'm just not built for them. But the recent MMFF changed that with the first documentary to enter the festival,Sunday Beauty Queen.
Baby Ruth Villarama's documentary follows the lives of different overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, as they go through their everyday routine, and their preparation for the annual beauty pageant for OFWs held in that country. It tells the true stories of these migrant workers, the loneliness they carry in their hearts, the longing to go back home to be with their families, the hardships they go through everyday and the joy and satisfaction that their annual event gives them. The film is surprisingly good. It's full of heart and will make you laugh, cry and smile at every point. I can't remember how many times I shed a tear or two all throughout the film. No wonder why it won the Best Picture award from the recent Metro Manila Film Festival. You can check out my full review of Sunday Beauty Queen here.

4. Mercury is Mine 
Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, Starring Pokwang and Bret Jackson
The first entry from the crazy but clever mind of Jason Paul Laxamana in this list. In this dark comedy about an aging woman who lives alone and runs an eatery at the foot of Mt. Arayat. Her business is barely even making any profit, so she has already decided to close it down. But one, rainy night - the same night she has decided to close down her eatery - a lonely young American boy asks for her help. Adamant at first, she changes her mind and offers the teenage blonde some food a place to stay for the night. In exchange, she takes him as her assistant and she reopens her eatery which, surprisingly start to attract customers (all of which are curious about her new foreign assistant). Things started to go crazy when she becomes obsessed of this blonde boy and decides to be his very own mother.
Jason Paul Laxamana writes and helms this crazy dark comedy which tackles the Filipino's fascination with foreigners and our obsession with the Western culture. The film takes over themes of murder, sex, and loneliness in a loud and funny way. Pokwang excels as the obsessed Carmen and Bret Jackson will sweep you away with his performance as the innocent blonde Mercury. This is probably my most favorite Cinemalaya entry of all time.

3. Ma' Rosa
Directed by Brillante Mendoza, Starring Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Baron Geisler, Jomari Angeles, Neil Ryan Sese, Mercedes Cabral, Andi Eigenmann, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Felix Roco and Mon Confiado
A powerful drama about the harsh realities of life, this critically acclaimed film the one and only Brillante Mendoza plays themes of poverty, drugs, police brutality, corruption and injustice to maximum effect. In the film, Rosa, a mother of four, runs a sari-sari store in a squatter's area in Manila. Their income coming from the earnings of the small convenience store business isn't enough to meet the family's daily needs, so she decided to secretly sell illegal drugs particularly "ice" or crystal meth. One day police officers raid their store and arrest Rosa and her husband for "pushing" or selling drugs and ask them for "bail money" or a bribe for their release. Rosa's children, left on their own to deal with the struggles of daily life, tries to find a way to free their detained parents.
The film's documentary style cinematography adds grittiness and raw look and feel to the whole movie. The realistic acting of it's amazing cast mixed with the director's bravura direction makes this film a superb masterpiece. Jaclyn Jose stands out with her outstanding performance, earning her the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for 2016.

2. Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2
Directed by Marlon Rivera, Written by Chris Martinez, Starring Eugene Domingo, Kean Cipriano, Cai Cortez, Khalil Ramos with Joel Torre and Jericho Rosales
The sequel to the 2011 box-office hit from Cinemalaya, this sequel follows Rainier (Kean Cipriano), a director, as he and Jocelyn (played by Cai Cortez), his production manager together with their newbie production assistant, Lennon (Khalil Ramos) as they try to convince Eugene Domingo (who plays an exaggerated version of herself) to star in their new project, a romance drama film. This film entitled "The Itinerary", written by Rainier himself, is about his personal struggle in his marriage. He has a vision already of how the film would look like, yet as Eugene Domingo comes on board with the project, she requests a lot of drastic changes to the final product, causing a rift between her and the director. 
While the first movie was a satire on Filipino indie filmmakers as they exploit the so-called poverty porn genre, this sequel is a satirical take on the mainstream film industry in the country and the cliches and stereotypes of the Pinoy romance genre. This clever meta-comedy film serves as Eugene Domingo's comeback vehicle after staying away from the movie scene for at least two years. Here, she gives out a one of a kind performance as an over-acting control freak actress. Check out my full review here.

1. 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten
Directed by Petersen Vargas, written by Jason Paul Laxamana, Starring Khalil Ramos, Ethan Salvador and Jameson Blake
This dark coming-of-age tale is another brilliant product of Jason Paul Laxamana's demented mind (the second in this list), this time with Petersen Vargas helming the film in his outstanding full length feature debut.
2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten follows Felix Salonga (in an unforgettable performance by Khalil Ramos) a friendless, overachieving top notcher in a typical public high school in the province of Pampanga during the late 1990s. The whole film is told from his point of view, and is usually narrated through passages from his daily journal (which was supposed to be a project for their English class). He looks over his classmates as inferior to him because he is intellectually inclined. He usually spends his time alone. Felix' life is then turned upside down after the Film-Am brothers Magnus (Ethan Salvador) and Maxim Snyder (in an award-winning performance by Jameson Blake) transfers to his his school. He became acquainted with the two brothers and soon develops a strong, unusual friendship with them, which ultimately leads him to be entangled in a dark path involving a plan for murder, his sexual awakening and his first heartbreak.
As I watched the film during it's initial theatrical run, I felt somewhat connected to the film's characters. At one point of the film, I suddenly realized that I've been seeing myself in Felix' shoes. It was like I was watching selected moments from my life being projected into the screen. Yes, I admit that there were a lot of moments in my life that was exactly the same with what's happening in the story. I guess that is one of the main reasons I got drawn into watching it over and over again. Gorgeously photographed and brilliantly acted, this film is definitely the most unforgettable Filipino film for me from 2016.

Did your choice get into the list? Share us your thoughts int he comments section below. Don't forget to share this post!