December 20, 2009

Movies Opening This Week: MMFF special

Aside from Avatar, there probably won't be much foreign fare to look forward to, so instead of featuring movies that'll simply open in January anyway, I'll simply go on a leg and get some trailers for the entries in next Friday's Metro Manila Film Festival, as well as the other films that'll release alongside them that aren't participating.

People have associated the punch with the onomatopoeia "Wa-pak!" so perhaps this is where the punny origins of Wapakman lie. Punny because it stars the people's champ, Manny Pacquiao.

It's basically Manny Pacquiao acting like... Peter Parker at first, and then proving himself to be a hero.
It's directed by a surprisingly decent man, Topel Lee, and it's shaping up to be a Spiderman rip-off... at best.

Based from the trailer, it looks like the titular character will be fighting quite a few bad guys. Will they collaborate in a style ala the third Spiderman? I'm inclined to think so. And how about those different girls? Will they be Peter's... I mean, Pacquiao's love interests ala... Spiderman 3 again? Maybe.

Oh, and Kuya Kim is there!

To the movie's credit, the computer animation looks decent, and the movie looks to aim for a semi-campy, semi-serious tone, even though they're pretty much advertising it as all serious. It's not. Dude, the poster. Look at the poster.

Shake, Rattle and Roll 11
While it's commendable that Wapakman, while unoriginal, is at least a new intellectual property, Shake, Rattle and Roll 11, yet another trilogy of "scary" short films released by Regal, is quite the opposite.

It's hard to know when this series will actually stop, but seriously, now I know why the folks release it at Christmas: it's unintentionally funny- and they know it.

I mean, a possessed gown? WTF. And then the line, "Ako ay fashion designer! Ikaw ay gown!" was actually quite funny. And how about the aswang/diablo? That was cheesy and laughable. Also, I think I'm reminded of another movie when I see the campers part. I just can't get it out of my tongue...

For all it's worth, the technology is quickly improving, but not really up to par with anybody's standards really. It's either you make a low-budget film with traditional effects, or you make a low-budget film with distractingly crappy CGI.

Speaking of CGI, this next film has a lot:

Ang Panday
This reboot of the storied series is a CGI-heavy action flick that stars, once again, Bong Revilla as... uhh... the titular blacksmith.
The CGI looks more than decent enough to watch, but damn it, you can't expect me to watch a movie if the trailer starts out with a Mang Ramon like voice! GOSHDARN IT, DONG!
And seriously... while Panday needs a love interest, it's just awkward to see Bong Revilla with a relatively young'un sharing a kiss. -shudder-

Also, I find it surprising that, as far as I know, there aren't really any copyright issues with the name. I mean, doesn't ABS-CBN have a Panday series (whose season is long over, of course)... and this Panday is a GMA film? So who owns the trademark?

Mano Po 6
Hmm, at this rate, you may think that I'm alternating this post between new IP and sequel, but I'm not.
AAAANYWAY, this particular installment of Mano Po has once again relied on Chiang Kai Shek's facilities to shoot (and so close to its release date too), so the participants probably have this movie in a relatively special place in their heart. Clapping... clapping... clapping...

Let's not get carried away though, the more important thing about this Mano Po is the inclusion of... Sharon Cuneta. Almost any movie that includes her is very much, a big fu**ing deal, because she is famously particular of her scripts... even though I think the bff thing was corny, at best (I don't blame her for being in that movie... she probably owed Ai-Ai a favor).

So to say that this new Mano Po is actually something of note is an understatement. While the series has been notorious for depicting the Chinese community in a stereotypical way (and really, I think this movie won't make a difference about that), the inclusion of Sharon and the fierce passion she radiates as a mother trying to regain the love her child, while struggling to get acceptance from her in-laws (who are... pure Chinese who speak Filipino?) due to her mixed lineage (it happens, but the first thing that really came into my mind was, "uso pa to?"). It seems compelling... but will it really match up to the pedigree of its lead actress?

Oh, and it's hard not to laugh at the slap at the end. Panira.

Nobody, Nobody but... Juan!
Speaking of great actresses, it seems that a much respected treasure of cinema, Gloria Romero is in this Dolphy movie about an old man in a retirement home who wishes to reunite with his old flame through a Filipino noontime show (*cough*Wowowee*cough*). And actually, even Eddie Garcia is in there too! WTF? Is there something about this movie that's gonna be... special?

No, not really.

The concept is actually quite unique, but the execution looks less than stellar. (The fact that the trailer I watched was in incomprehensible mono doesn't help) Also, any movie that simply feels the need to advertise the show Wowowee (not to mention show Dolphy in underpants more than once) is something I automatically do not feel like watching.

In consolation, let's just say Chicago looks really good.

Ang Darling Kong Aswang
If Nobody had a pretty unique concept, Ang Darling Kong Aswang is pretty much almost out of hope. And as I suspected, it's from the makers of the Enteng Kabisote series.
"Nakita ko ang ningning ng mata mo nang makita ang gwapong lalaki."


Vic Sotto doesn't strike to me as someone of leading man material. And while the concept of the menacing girlfriend is kinda funny, it's only something that'll work solely in a sitcom- and strictly so.

Oh, and the CGI sucks. Maybe it's intentional though. Also kind of reminds me of Zombieland, in a weird way.

Seriously though, it's a B-movie in every way you look at it, so maybe if you do watch it with that in mind, perhaps a little more enjoyment can be had.

I Love You, Goodbye
A very, very promising flick, this Kapamilya-studded flick is looking like the winner of the festival. Not only does it have a love story, it has several. And not only does it have just a love story composed of two young people fresh out of college, it's made of several mature people who lead lives and have emotions and are seemingly three-dimensional.

Now, I don't like Kim Chiu, but it might be the "breakthrough performance" her career needs. Same applies for Fil-Am Derek Ramsay.

Now the story goes like this: Gabby Concepcion's character has found a younger woman (Angelica Panganiban) who he loves, and his stepdaughter (Kim Chiu) doesn't like it. Meanwhile though, Kim Chiu's character wants Derek Ramsay's character to like her, but it seems that Ramsay only wants to go back to Angelica Panganiban. The trailer spoiled a tad bit too much, but since this movie actually has a pretty unique twist to the average love equation found in Filipino movies based from song titles, I'll let it slide.

Simply put, more filmmakers need to experiment with the audiences in this way. It's likely to do as well as In My Life, a Vilma Santos starrer which had her and her son Luis shooting abroad with John Lloyd Cruz... only thing is, Luis Manzano's character is in love with John Lloyd's. So maybe you didn't need that recap, but what I just want to emphasize is that Filipino movies that put small twists that make big risks can definitely do very well. I can expect this May-December affair to fare just as well, if not slightly better since Laurice Guillen is actually at the helm.

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