Da Possessed

Da PossessedVerdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.12 (4 ratings)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Joyce Bernal

Writers: Aristotle de Guzman, Athena Aringo-Tengco, Antoinette Jadaone

Cast: Vhong Navarro, Solenn Heusaff, John Lapus, Joey Marquez, Empoy Marquez, Smokey Manaloto, Matet de Leon, Beverly Salviejo, Joy Viado, Aaliyah Belmoro

Synopsis: Ramon (Vhong Navarro) has been seeing ghosts all his life. As a result, he’s grown up a coward. When he sees anything remotely spooky or surprising, he runs back home and jumps into his mother’s arms. To help his family keep their house, he puts aside his fears and gets a job as a landscape artist at a construction site. While on the job, he unwittingly frees three spirits seeking revenge on Don Demetrio (Joey Marquez), the owner of the property. The spirits use him as an instrument of their vengeance, possessing his body in order to carry out their plan. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 120 mins.

Trailer: 

Reviews:

3.0         Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

“Bernal spins an oft familiar yarn that’s not too far removed from her other collaborations with Vhong Navarro in the distant past. In fact, if you feel a certain degree of déjà vu while watching the movie, don’t worry, it isn’t you. But the spirited cast… more than makes up for the narrative cliché.” (Read full review)

2.5         Jecoup Asombrado (Pinoy Exchange)

“In the end, Da Possessed is a disappointing movie mainly because you could find a trace of a better story underneath all the overstuffed nonsense.”  (Read full review)

2.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“Like the erratic behavior of its lead character, Da Possessed suffers from its own personality disorder. By trying to be too many things at the same time, Da Possessed ends up being a little bit of nothing. And it all feels like part of an effort to ride on Navarro’s newfound tabloid popularity.” (Read full review)

1.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“At times, it feels like the film is just making it up as it goes along, painfully stretching out random inanity and calling it a plot. It grows pretty tedious, and it upends what little appeal it has by going for cheap jokes.” (Read full review)

Bang Bang Alley

Bang Bang Alley JP POSTER final 150Verdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.43 (7 ratings)

Genre: Thriller

Directors: Ely Buendia, Yan Yuzon, King Palisoc

Writers: Ely Buendia, Yan Yuzon, Zig Marasigan

Cast: Art Acuña, Perla Bautista, Gabe Mercado, Bela Padilla, Jimmy Santos, Joel Torre, Althea Vega, Megan Young

Synopsis: Three stories of people driven to extremes as the reality of violence creeps into their lives. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: R-16

Running time: 110 mins.

Trailer: 

Reviews:

4.0         Duane Lucas Pascua (Spot.ph)

“Judging by the technique alone, Bang Bang Alley may very well signal a resurgence of film noir in Philippine cinema. The film is gritty and rich in character and atmosphere.” (Read full review)

3.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“As a whole, Bang Bang Alley is more than worth a look. Makina is worth the price of admission alone, as it presents a story of violence that isn’t just about people pointing guns at each other. It posits a penchant for brutality that might be latent in any person backed into a corner.” (Read full review)

3.5         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

“As a showcase of new filmmaking talent, it is predictably a mixed bag. Yuzon astounds mostly because of his ability to frankly communicate his suspicious outlook of Philippine politics. Palisoc impresses with his ability to tell the deviously common tale of a man succumbing to his inner demons with a lot of clever sophistication. Buendia is sadly the odd man out.” (Read full review)

3.5         Averill Pizarro (Philippine Star)

“Watching Bang Bang Alley (is) like reading a series of crime stories the way Quijano de Manila wrote about them – with the objectivity and detail of the news, and with the heart and narrative of a good feature.” (Read full review)

3.5         Jecoup Asombrado (Pinoy Exchange)

Bang Bang Alley is far from perfect but it is worth commending for telling stories about crimes which is beyond just guns and blood. All three stories (and even the “My Way” vignette in the beginning) had something worthy to say and this is a good start for the three first-time filmmakers.” (Read full review)

3.5         Renelson Morelos (Reel Thoughts)

“Overall, the screenplay of Bang Bang Alley may still benefit from some polishing and enhancement, but the film’s technical aspects (cinematography, editing, sound, etc) and the actors’ performances can’t in any way be faulted.” (Read full review)

2.5         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

“The unnecessary shaky camerawork and weird angles are absent (in Makina) and Palisoc focused more on his characters and his narrative. Unlike the two stories, the cinematography actually enriches the film, and the editing was better than the other two stories.” (Read full review)

Diary ng Panget

Diary-ng-panget-the-movie-posterVerdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.31 (8 ratings)

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Director: Andoy Ranay

Writer: Mel Mendoza-Del Rosario

Cast: Nadine Lustre, James Reid, Yassi Pressman, Andre Paras

Synopsis: Poor, acne-ridden Eya (Nadine Lustre) is a scholar at the very exclusive Wilford Academy. To make ends meet, she gets a job working as the personal maid of campus heartthrob Cross (James Reid). Cross isn’t very kind to her, constantly making fun of her appearance and generally being a pain. But she sticks it out. Her proximity to Cross brings her all sorts of attention from the other students on campus. She soon gets caught up in the various romantic entanglements of the students of the Wilford Academy, all the while struggling to make sense of her own feelings for her new friends. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 110 mins.

Trailer: 

Reviews:

3.0         Rito Asilo (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

“Director Andoy Ranay infuses the foursome’s romantic roundelay with a youthful vibe that captures the spirit of the book’s playful irreverence, but gives short shrift to its narrative weaknesses.” (Read full review)

3.0         Pinoy Exchange

“One thing that saves the movie from failing completely is its wonderful cast. Lustre is just fantastic as she owns the role completely. It’s a star-making turn that oozes with so much charisma.” (Read full review)

2.5         Dale Bacar (dalebacar.com)

“In the end, even if it is nothing more than disposable entertainment, Diary ng Panget works because it speaks the same language that is relatable to most of us.” (Read full review)

2.0         Oggs Cruz (Spot.ph)

“The film is all gloss but with very little glee. A lot of the jokes are hampered by drab execution. A lot of the romance is killed by dull filmmaking. A lot of what could have been fun and hip is squandered by relentless posturing. (Read full review)

2.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“Whatever youthful energy might be behind Diary ng Panget is squandered by the subpar direction. The looseness of the narrative might have even been an asset if the direction was more inclined to make bolder or more well thought-out choices about how it presented the story.” (Read full review)

2.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“Because of the film’s overt reliance on cliché and stereotype, Diary ng Panget fails to deliver on the soul of any convincing diary – honesty.” (Read full review)

2.0         Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

“Director Andoy Ranay’s film adaptation of this best-selling Filipino romance novel follows this director’s penchant for glossy, upper-middle class macrocosm (Sosy Problems, When the Love is Gone). Unfortunately, this acumen does nothing but highlight Ranay’s mediocre directorial vision.” (Read full review)

2.0         Armando dela Cruz (The Pulis Rebyu)

“The script… is formulaic and flat, with little character and conflict to compel motion through the film. The direction is similarly distancing; Ranay’s previous work Sosy Problems serves as portent to his poorly executed, upper-middle class humor displayed here.” (Read full review)

Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan

norteVerdict: Essential Viewing

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 4.67 (9 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Lav Diaz

Writer: Rody Vera and Lav Diaz

Cast: Sid Lucero, Archie Alemania, Angeli Bayani, Angelina Kanapi, Soliman Cruz, Mae Paner, Hazel Orencio

Synopsis: A man is wrongly jailed for murder while the real killer roams free. The murderer is an intellectual frustrated with his country’s never-ending cycle of betrayal and apathy. The convict is a simple man who finds life in prison more tolerable when something mysterious and strange starts happening to him.

MTRCB rating: R-13

Running time: 250 mins.

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0         Noel Vera (Business World)

“Diaz doesn’t mean to present an ethics lesson; you realize this sitting through the film’s entire 240-minute length, and in fact I’d even insist it’s necessary to sit through the film’s comparatively long running time… to realize the full extent of its complexities and ambiguities, a realization which gradually seeps in, as opposed to being baldly presented on a silver platter — or not present at all.” (Read full review)

5.0         Noli Manaig (Closely Watched Frames)

“What remains most striking about Norte, however, is its embodiment of a Filipino protagonist in a seemingly foreign, postmodern characterization — distinct from the voiceless subalterns and the oppressed that dominate our present cinematic lore.” (Read full review)

5.0         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“It’s unfair that there’s only so much a writer can talk about in the presence of great art, but the inability to express and explain every aspect of its finery simply confirms its worth. Every attempt to assess Norte reflects the failure to cover countless areas of discussion it cracks open.” (Read full review)

5.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

Norte is a powerful film that digs into every nook and cranny of our sad little republic, providing the kind of examination that has become increasingly rare in a nation so willing to forget its history.” (Read full review)

5.0         Oggs Cruz (Twitch)

“According to English novelist George Orwell, ‘the most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.’ Within the four hours of Norte, Diaz has mapped the disparate but connected lives of people struggling in a society that has been skewed by a history plagued with ill motivations and half-truths.” (Read full review)

5.0         Renelson Morelos (Reel Thoughts)

“Its Kieslowskian narrative structure of intertwining lives, subtly and deftly shown onscreen, rather than confusing and putting the viewers at a loss, makes them all the more engaged. The effect is more enriching than confounding.” (Read full review)

5.0         Irvin Malcolm Contreras (A Girl and a Gun)

“It’s alternately shocking, heartbreaking, moving, suspenseful and even funny! Despite it being deliberately paced and over 4 hours long (short for Lav Diaz’s standards but long for most people), I almost never drifted away from the film nor did it feel dragging or felt too long at all. I felt like watching a master at work.” (Read capsule review)

4.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

Norte, along with a good number of other socially conscious independent films, are made for people like me: the intellectual hypocritical cowardly miseducated elite who can engage in philosophical jousting at any given coffee shop or university classroom in a patch of a city that resembles the First World.” (Read full review)

3.0         Spot.ph

“We can’t discredit moments when the film strikes gold. Sid Lucero’s character, Fabian, is engrossing – in  a similar way that a plane crash is spellbinding. Here is a character who is squandering his potential, but the screenplay gives him flimsy reasons for his actions.” (Read full review)

Unfriend

Camera poster 6Verdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.43 (7 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Joselito Altarejos

Writer: Zigcarlo Dulay

Cast: Sandino Martin, Angelo Ilagan, Boots Anson-Roa

Synopsis: Unfriend tells the story of fifteen year-old David (Sandino Martin), who on Christmas day learns through Facebook that Jonathan (Angelo Ilagan), a seventeen year-old that he’s in love with, has met someone else. The film follows him through the rest of the day as he breaks down and plans something big to prove his undying love for the one he loves. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: R-16

Running time: 90 mins.

Trailer: 

Reviews:

4.5         Tito Valiente (Business Mirror)

Unfriend must be one of the strongest films from Altarejos. It grabs you by your throat and leaves you breathless for being reminded again that extraordinary events can happen on very ordinary days. That sometimes the universe is eavesdropping on human affairs and answers all kinds of wishes and unwishes, and lets loose its unfriendliness.” (Read full review)

4.0         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

“The film shocks precisely because its unabashed portrayal of current attitudes and demeanors are too close to reality for any comfort. Infused with love and all other demons, there is no predicting what kind of monsters we may all become.” (Read full review)

4.0         Julia Allende (PEP)

“It is not a perfect movie, but what it lacks in technical perfection and suprises, it makes up for ambiance: a sense of a gradual breaking of a dam of rage.” (Read full review)

3.5         Pinoy Exchange

“The film works as a social commentary, giving us a glimpse on this generation’s penchant for social media. It is a realistic reflection of how we show our best. Even in times when we wish to show our worst, we still put on our best foot forward.” (Read full review)

3.5         Mario Bautista (Showbiz Portal)

“The liberal use of the shaky handheld camera with natural lighting might alienate those who appreciate only mainstream films, but it’s effectively utilized here to give it a more gritty grimy texture that’s appropriate to the material.” (Read full review)

2.5         Renelson Morelos (Reel Thoughts)

“Zig Dulay’s script fails to mine deeply into the psychology of what could’ve been a truly unsettling character. The result is that we have a major character who is not entirely engaging and sympathetic, with his predicament coming off as lamentably pat.” (Read full review)

2.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film is ostensibly about the isolation, alienation and exhibitionism that seems inherent in this age of social media. But the film doesn’t do a great job of making its argument. It mostly comes off as another bit of alarmist cinema that doesn’t fully understand its subject.” (Read full review)

Mana

ManaVerdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.88 (4 ratings)

Genre: Drama, Horror

Writer/Director: Gabby Fernandez

Cast: Cherie Gil, Mark Gil, Tetchie Agbayani, Ricky Davao, Jaime Fabregas, Jeffrey Quizon, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio

Synopsis: The matriarch of a prominent Negros family lies on her deathbed. Her children return to their ancestral home to deal with issues of inheritance and their dark family history. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 105 mins.

*

Trailer: 

Reviews:

4.0         Renelson Morelos (Reel Thoughts)

Mana is a commendable work for its very different take on one of Philippine folklore’s popular creatures. It does so with virtually no blood and gore and in the most economic means possible (happening only within a day’s span and in an almost single setting).” (Read full review)

3.0         Oggs Cruz (Spot.ph)

“Deliberately paced, embellished with a visual and aural design that is spare but effective, and delightfully unhinged, the film manages to balance its  horror aspirations with what it tries to allude to.” (Read full review)

2.5         Rob San Miguel (BrunPhilippines)

“The fine performances of the ensemble cast help move the narrative but the actors seem to be on their own. The screenplay and the editing impede the storytelling rather than propel it to its dramatic end.” (Read full review)

2.0         Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

“A certain degree of urgency is vital when you’re laying down ‘monsters’ on your cinematic platter. You don’t get the necessary effect based on mood or atmosphere alone.” (Read full review)

ABNKKBSNPLAko?! The Movie

ABNKKBSNPLAkoVerdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.25 (4 ratings)

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Director: Mark Meily

Writer: Ned Trespeces

Cast: Jericho Rosales, Andi Eigenmann, Meg Imperial, Vandolph Quizon, Bing Pimentel, Julio Diaz, Giselle Sanchez, Paul Jake Castillo, Gino Padilla, Lander Vera Perez, Marnie Lapus, Adrian Cabido, Solomon de Guzman, Julia Klarisse Base

Synopsis: The film follows a character named Roberto Ong (Jericho Rosales). It checks in on him in four phases of his life. In elementary school, he experiences his first brush with romance, with the affections of his friend Portia. In high school, as an awkward, acne-ridden teen, he falls hard for a transferee student he refers to as “special someone” (Andi Eigenmann). In college he comes face to face with the prospect of failure. And as working adult, he is confronted with his entire educational past as he deals with an impending reunion. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: G

Running time: 90 mins.

Trailer: 

Reviews:

3.0         Pinoy Exchange

“I appreciate the attempt to adapt ABNKKBSNPLAko?! into a movie going experience as it is a material that we all could relate to. However, I just felt that the movie focused on the wrong angle to tell how our experiences in school teach us in ways that we would only realize later in life.” (Read full review)

2.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film seems to want to rush through everything, trying to cram in as much of the book as possible. This story might have been better served by a steadier hand; one willing to let some things go in order to get deeper.” (Read full review)

2.0         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

“The movie’s insistence on evoking certain life lessons is overtaken at times by visual gimmickry and an over-reliance on throwbacks to the past. Meily can never seem to balance nostalgia and depth. He instead throws everything into the mix and comes up with a product that confuses as much as it entertains.” (Read full review)

2.0         Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

“With hardly any tension to hold the narrative aground, it was hard to invest a degree of empathy. I was personally unaffected and uninterested. The story in fact failed to relate or compel. (Read full review)

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