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Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2018 entries reviewed

signal rock review

It's ironic how we reached another tough time for Philippine cinema when in fact there's a film festival out now that's celebrating its existence nationwide. Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) is no perfect in execution. In fact, it's far from being flawless. Unjust distribution schemes, calibre content receiving zero grades, these past few days has no shortages of controversy. 

But that's a separate post. And a lot of people might accuse me for being a crybaby if I speak once more about it. This year, PPP has eight entries from the main line-up, with six full-length films under the "Special Feature Section" banner.


signal rock review

Probably the best from those eight bunch is Chito S. Roño's Signal Rock. I really don’t like making comparisons, but I recall on ‘The Martian’ while watching this. Both films dealt with the celebration of teamwork and how brotherhood destroys the boundaries of long-distance tragedies. Here, Christian Bables plays Intoy, an errand boy who seeks help from his neighbors to get the justice his sister, fighting for her child custody overseas, can’t reach. 

It’s a very uplifting watch, seeing how piece by piece this small neighborhood tries to solve quite a puzzle. But it’s also a painful one, because justice fixed by this are hard to come by. Roño compelled the townspeople into solid one, but slowly peeled off by the struggles of its women conforming to foreign marriages as a gateway to poverty. 


signal rock review

Bables is at his best here. And that’s to top his supporting role in ‘Die Beautiful’ which was quite a memorable feat. See this film for the optimism. But obviously, it’s more than that. 


ang babaeng allergic sa wifi review

Ang Babaeng Allergic Sa Wi-Fi excels when it goes for quirky antics. Much of its needed charm can be found on its two leads Jameson Blake and Sue Ramirez. I honestly don’t see any chemistry between the two, but its teen romance was as pushy as it should be. 


ang babaeng allergic sa wifi review

I admire its simplicity, and also the directions wherein it tries to be more serious. However, the emotional power it seeks to surrender in its final minutes wasn’t as strong and effective as I want it to be. I guess it’s just me, because a lot of people in my theater actually cried, but I wish there’s more given how likeable Blake’s character was. 

we will not die tonight review

I really don’t know what to feel about We Will Not Die Tonight. It actually took awhile for me to take on the hellish ride director Richard Somes crafted up to its production design. This is a film that demands to not be taken seriously aesthetically. Like Erik Matti’s BuyBust, another action film that i’m also quite iffy to compare, violence is treated as entertainment. It’s a confined slaughterhouse that’s actually fun to explore. 


we will not die tonight review

Albeit its interesting action, a lot of these are hard to follow. One character running from a villain will be intercutted with another one doing the same. It seems the dimensions they walking are endless, resulting to a very exhaustive watch. I really want to enjoy it as a B-movie, but it’s difficult to be invested on a group of people about to be chopped in half when you never gotten to invest yourselves in the beginning. Did that came the wrong way? 


the day after valentine's review

The Day After Valentine’s, the best way to put it, is a passable movie. I didn’t hate nor go gaga over, I think some of its elements work precisely as its formula demanded to. It is heavily reminiscent of Jason Paul Laxamana’s 100 Tula Para Kay Stella with regards to story beats and dramatic draws. Plenty of people seem to love this heart-tugging stunt, but on the long-run melodrama can be a tiresome, and in this case, its romantic pay-off can be seen miles ahead. 


the day after valentine's review

The pairing of JC Santos and Bela Padilla works best when they are talking and arguing as “friends” in a scene and never as potential lovers. There’s simply no room for any longingness of attachment between two characters that never tasted an ounce of real affection. After a prolonged confrontation, they fooled around at each other to laugh it off. Never change, you too. All fine.


bakwit boys review

On the contrary, I extremely adore Laxamana’s other entry in PPP, Bakwit Boys. Here, we follow four brothers and their dream into stardom through the help of a girl they just met. It’s A Star is Born with the charm of Sing Street.


bakwit boys review

Our local cinema only has a handful of great musicals. This one is a worthy inclusion on that list. It’s really impossible to not fall in love with its characters, especially Vance Larena and Devon Seron’s characters. Larena plays the eldest brother from the group while Seron is the volunteer to get their songs on the radio. As polarizing as their roles, the two plays an exquisite empathy as people struggling if they could actually make it big in an industry populated by well-backed up brands.

The road to success in the entertainment industry can be unfair, and painfully temporary if you actually get there. Laxamana has a knack to push for melodramatic motifs in his films. This is, I think, is where it hurts the most. 


kiko boksingero review

I have re-watched a few films on the Special Feature Section of the festival. All are extremely great. But I highly endorse Kiko Boksingero. It’s easy to incorporate empathy on a story of innocence, but the effect is put up to maximum on the film’s ending scene. I cried a lot when I saw this way back in Cinemalaya. Nothing really change on my experience now. We are all Kiko at some point, looking for validation and recognition through someone. And we are all also Kiko when this point of recognition is not going to be with us eternally. Heart-wrenching stuff!


paki giancarlo abrahan review

Giancarlo Abrahan’s Paki blown me away. There are times where I thought I was watching a raw footage of my grandparents. It felt too real for me, probably because there’s a sense of familiarity in all of it. I cried also, particularly on the idea that the family on-screen may never work, and only on a photograph were smiles were mere masks for pain and anger.


gusto kita with all my hypothalamus review

I saw Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus earlier this year at CineFilipino, and never got the chance to talk about it here. I remember the confusion upon leaving the theater. So as the other audience from that screening, I think, because everyone was mum. I decided to reflect on what I just saw and not simply talk about it. 


gusto kita with all my hypothalamus review

In the film, we see lust as an arena for libido, as infatuation, as love, and a mystery. Director Dwein Baltazar orchestrated lust in its most personal way, in a manner that’s so reflexive. As to what I actually feel after watching it, I don’t know either. But it certainly change the way I see Recto, or any place, for the good. That’s some powerful stuff! 

I have seen Balangiga: Howling Wilderness also, but I’ll save my sentiments on another post. See you on the other side.








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