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Invitation to CinePHlix featuring films ‘Anino’ and ‘Birdshot’

My BenildeFilm FLMART2 (Philippine Cinema) classes are inviting everyone to this term’s Filmmaker Focus in Forum (FFF), a free, public event featuring the Cannes Palme D’Or-winning short film “Anino” by Raymond Red and the first Filipino feature film in Netflix “Birdshot” by Mikhail Red at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts (SDA) Cinema on Apr. 3, 2018. Screenings at 1 p.m., forum follows at 3:30 p.m. This event entitled “CinePHlix,” features a Q&A for the featured films and filmmakers and a film forum about “the blurring line between cinema and television and the rise of

‘Bikini Open’ Film Review: On spoofs and bikinis

"Bikini Open" puts a number of serious issues into the limelight by twisting them into comic fun -- the murky side of pageantry, TV, advertising, and media as a whole, in between the struggle for ratings, mileage, and fame. Using HD camera blown up to 35mm film, this tightly budgeted cinematic offering turns out as a good watch. As a commercial fare, “Bikini Open” works with a satirical vibe. Its premise remains culturally correct and aptly representing the larger scale of realism the story needs. The film’s non-linear format provides a fitting treatment and motivation for the characters. The narrative flow makes a valuable distinction in presenting

‘La Visa Loca’ Film Review: Visa fanaticism

Comic, satirical, and mocking in its style, "La Visa Loca" offers a dose of laughs and slaps for the Filipino viewers, whether they are on the nationalistic or pragmatic side of things. This film explores the decision-making process in cases that involve one's mind, heart, pride, idealism, and most of all, economic stability. Crafted in a light and subtle way, the story works on a simple premise, which clearly promotes a social commentary on how a number of Filipinos become fanatics of the relatively elusive U.S. visa. It has a distinct statement over the madness for that "greener pasture" in the

‘Nasaan Ka Man’ Film Review: A bittersweet tale

Set in the fog-covered, cold, and mysterious Baguio which reflects the story's mood and atmosphere, "Nasaan Ka Man" explores the tale of passion, undying memories, unfulfilled promises, lost dreams, and tragic love. The film opens with a horror feel crawling into its slowly unfolding love story — musing into a suspense-filled route that somehow extends to the issues of the paranormal. A touch of horror gets injected every now and then. The plot takes on different hues and dimensions for the usual love-triangle fare. Filled with metaphors, finely orchestrated camera movements, and breathtaking visuals, the film's heaviness works well through the cinematography and acting performances. Many visual elements absorb deep-rooted emotions,

‘Let the Love Begin’ Film Review: Taking the generic ride

"Let the Love Begin" is GMA Films' comeback project after a four-year hiatus. The film outfit's last movie before it was the 2000 picture  "Death Row." Prior to this, they produced a few other projects including "Jose Rizal," "Sa Pusod ng Dagat," and "Muro Ami" — all of which were given due credit by a number of award-giving bodies. But this time, GMA Films comes back with a light love story that is quite different from its usual roster of cinematic offerings. "Let the Love Begin" hangs on such a simple premise that is pretty much scripted into contrivance throughout. The story spans a very long time frame and

‘Can This Be Love’ Film Review: The u-belt flick

"Can This Be Love" is a simple romantic tale capitalizing on the charm of one of the most popular love teams in the country to date — Hero Angeles and Sandara Park. In this movie, they are two very different people who prove that love can bloom amidst cultural differences. In a larger scope, it offers a gist of the economic issues that push young Filipinos to find greener pasture elsewhere in the globe. This rom-com flick features a very traditional story where a foreigner finds it hard to adjust to life in another country and gets branded as a weirdo along the way;

‘Bahay ni Lola 2’ Film Review: More comedy than horror

Following the footsteps of a number of successful Asian horror offerings, Regal Films revives "Bahay ni Lola" with the attempt to further break into the horror genre trend. This sequel targets those who prefer getting some creepy chills while inside the dark and cold moviehouse. Unfortunately, it isn't very scary. In fact, its comic side becomes a more appealing aspect of the presentation. For this second installment in the “Bahay ni Lola” franchise, everything turns out so contrived and way too predictable. The attempt to scare doesn't really work. This mainstream fare offers nothing new or interesting for the general audience. Even in its

‘Birhen ng Manaoag’ Film Review: Awful

I made this article two days after watching the film, just to make sure I'll be more on the critical side. I need to avoid the too emotional insights after having to sit through the very tiring chore of watching a very disappointing movie. This is pretty challenging to do for me as a production person who is from the same circle because I am aware that people who would most likely be part of the project, those who are somehow related to it, or those who may actually like it may end up seriously reacting against my review. These are

‘Dreamboy’ Film Review: Reality romance

"Dreamboy" is a commercial treat targeting those who want to get a pinch of love from a feel-good romantic tale. It talks about a game of chances in love with so much risk at stake. The story springs up from the fact that TV networks are going gaga over reality shows' newfound potential for better TV ratings. Utilizing that usual girl-meets-boy premise, the major plotpoints kick off with the romantic meet-ups between the clueless spectator Cyd (Bea Alonzo) and the ideal guys Phillip, Eboy, and Jaime (Piolo Pascual). The movie's massive publicity and promotion make it a point not to dwell much with this romantic

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