Children’s Show

Children's ShowVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.62 (21 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Roderick Cabrido

Writers: Ralston Jover, Roderick Cabrido

Cast: Buboy Villar, Miggs Cuaderno, Divine Grace Aucina, Gloria Sevilla, Nathan Lopez, Allen Dizon, Suzette Ranillo, Jacob Clayton

Synopsis: Children’s Show is a film based on a real-life story of children aged 10-15 years old being used by a syndicate for underground wrestling.

MTRCB rating: PG-13

Running time: 90 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0         J. Neil Garcia

“This basic plot line might appear to come straight out of a ‘poverty porn writing workshop,’ but the film does an amazing and altogether tremendous job humanizing–and yes, dignifying–this entirely hopeless world, by peopling it with characters who come to cinematic life in all their simple and luminous brokenness… and so, it’s true: wonders never cease; here and now i admit to standing shamefully corrected: there’s a way to depict abject poverty and suffering in our cinema, without the whole thing turning repulsively patronizing, orientalist, or patently exploitative, and it’s through the beatitude of good filmic storytelling as well as simple and effective dramatization–artful decisions that shun the perfunctory ironies and allegorical mannerisms most flagrantly in evidence in works that channel the Brocka legacy.” (Read full review)

5.0         Jessica Zafra (InterAksyon)

“In Roderick Cabrido’s film, life beats people to the ground, but they refuse to be broken. On the surface the film appears to follow the miserablist social realism template of ‘serious’ Filipino indie cinema (i.e. poverty porn), but then it turns around and offers, if not hope exactly, then the possibility of it.” (Read full review)

5.0         Katrina Stuart Santiago (Manila Times)

“The greatness of Children’s Show was the effort it took to tell this story with a careful hand, creating two lead characters who face the adult world as children, and seeing that task to its unexpected end.” (Read full review)

5.0         Gelo dela Cruz (Beyond Your Five Senses)

“I love how (Cabrido) effectively draws his audience into a blackhole of downward emotions without being didactic. The most notable is the juxtaposition of the ill conditions of the protagonists as they render service being pedicab drivers to students who are as old as them.” (Read full review)

4.5         Jason Jacobo (Young Critics Circle)

“The striations of social thought which keep Ralston Jover’s screenplay taut are unraveled with a directorial verve that sure knows which cobalt tones of atrophy must be intimately grafted into the panoramic argument as image and sound through Mycko David’s igneous photography (the delirium that consumes that fight under firelight is astonishing) and Bryan Dumaguina and Jonathan Hee’s sedimentary musicality (the punk irreverence of the sound that tracks the noise around the frenzied fight club runs on a beat syncopating what could be a deathly heartburn).” (Read full review)

4.5         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

“Working on a strong screenplay written by Ralston Jover, Cabrido neither passes a judgment on nor makes an apology for the kids’ awful plight. Utilizing a cinema verité style, the film in fact offers no hope for the children finding a way out from their lives inside the ring. The film is quite grim and unflinching in how it suggests that through force of circumstances and the children’s resignation, such a way of life is bound to continue for long.” (Read full review)

4.5         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Malinaw ang gusto nitong ipakumpara sa pagitan ng boksing at totoong laban sa buhay. At madalas na natatalo ay ang mga bata mismo. Impressed ako sa mga sinulat ni Ralston Jover at hindi kakaiba ang pelikulang ito.” (Read full review)

4.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

Children’s Show is gritty, brilliant and bold. Its approach may not be entirely original, but director Roderick Cabrido managed to infuse some originality in an unexpected way.  Beautifully photographed and skillfully edited, the film is engaging to follow.” (Read full review)

4.0         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“It provides a terribly compelling look at what happens when people force children to act like adults and make mature and dark decisions far beyond their capacity at such a young age. And it does so with some hefty skill in staging and visuals.” (Read full review)

3.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“My main reservation with this movie is in the way the fights are shot. I’m not entirely comfortable with how stylish they look. They look like they could be scenes out of Ong Bak, the movie almost fetishizing the violence with its penchant for slow motion and dramatic lighting. It undoubtedly looks great, but one has to question the decision to make these awful, awful fights look great. Otherwise, this is a pretty solid movie with a smart dramatic core.” (Read full review)

3.5         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“There is no denying the exemplary rawness of the rest of the film, not simply in its fights, but its characters. While other films would condemn its subject matter by punishing characters who advocate it and liberating those who don’t, Children’s Show relies on none of those. Instead, it presents its characters in a way that allows audiences to pass their own judgment.” (Read full review)

3.5         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

“Visually the film hammers down the physical aspect of that violence into our eyes with gritty slow motion shots of kids getting the crap beat out of each other. It’s normal for us to see this in your usual action movie, but seeing kids get the same treatment? It’s a bit unsettling (and that was likely the point.)” (Read full review)

3.5         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“The way the film goes back and forth to hopeful and depressing is mostly smooth, and its intensity really crosses the brink and just a little bit beyond. There’s a certain amount of rawness with the two lead actors’ deliveries that make it more affecting than expected, and it just pulls you in” (Read full review)

3.5         Mario Bautista (Showbiz Portal)

“The film works mainly because we totally sympathize with the two boys and the miserable life they live. It’s truly an injustice for any child to be subjected to the kind of existence that they have. We just wish their story were given a better conclusion.” (Read full review)

3.0         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“The fights could have been directed or edited much, much better. I kinda get that you don’t really want to show the fights too gratuitously because it is kind of a delicate subject matter but you could have still edited them in a way that didn’t seem fake or didn’t seem like you were missing a frame or something. Same goes with the sound. They really should have paired up these visuals with better sound because when you watch these kids fighting and you don’t really hear any of the punches, it takes you out of it.” (Watch full review)

3.0         Jaynormous Mind

Children’s Show successfully incorporated a compelling drama about family while conveying the sad truth of poverty. The two main characters Al and Jun’s tough love for each other is fun to watch and it made for a sadder story when they had to face their biggest obstacle in life as brothers – it’s not the underground wrestling or poverty, it’s their father (Allen Dizon) who likes to steal their money.” (Read full review)

2.5         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“Director Roderick Cabrido deviates from it to favor a drama that is, by all means, engaging and worthy to look at, but he fails to consider that the viewer itches to learn more about these gruesome matches and discover details and nuances, how these arrangements have come to pass, what allows this terrible system to continue, and in what way does it implicate the failure of many social institutions to be on the side of the poor and help them lead better lives.” (Read full review)

2.5         Don Jaucian (Philippine Star)

“Cabrido builds an interesting world off these characters, with Villar and Cuaderno’s chemistry fleshing out their uncanny zest for life despite the miserable world they live in.” (Read full review)

2.0         Dustin Celestino (Filipino Freethinkers)

“In Children’s Show, the characters seem to have been robbed of any chance for improvement. There was nothing any of the characters could have done, there was no decision the characters could have made, to significantly affect where the story was headed.” (Read full review)

2.0         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“I felt unaffected.  Maybe because of the sub-genre being worn out.  I just wish that something new was shown apart from the humongous chicken apparition.  It was one common sequence after another.  I could not shake that feeling of ‘only dismal things happen to poor people’.” (Read full review)

2.0         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

“By making the fight scenes look and feel like they’re inspired by Van Damme kickboxing movies, complete with super slo-mos and thrilling drum beats, Cabrido unwittingly fetishizes the very violence and exploitation that the film ostensibly exposes.”

The Janitor

JanitorVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.27 (15 ratings)

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Director: Michael Tuviera

Writers: Aloy Adlawan, Michael Tuviera

Cast: Dennis Trillo, Richard Gomez, Ricky Davao, Dante Rivero, Irma Adlawan, LJ Reyes, Derek Ramsay, Raymond Bagatsing, Alex medina, Jerald Napoles, Nicco Manalo

Synopsis: This is the story of Crisanto Espina, an ex-cop dishonorably discharged because of a fatal mistake. Currently teaching at a security guard training school, Crisanto is tasked to liquidate the people who masterminded the robbery/massacre. As he diligently executes his orders while dealing with his own personal demons, he begins to realize that the whole circus of the investigation will eventually consume him and make him question his own brand of justice.

MTRCB rating: R-13

Running time: 112 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0         Wanggo Gallaga (Juice.ph)

“It is never simple and it is never black and white and is unafraid to ask the tough questions and smart enough to not have an answer for them. It is a great example of a film that shows and never tells and by doing so, it is compelling, engaging, and thrilling. It will keep you at the edge of your seat the whole time.” (Read full review)

4.5         Julia Allende (PEP)

“Beyond its physical beauty, it is a rich, complex movie that never runs out of surprises, with the dark histories of the characters revealed though dialogues and flashbacks in snippets, a trick employed for sure to titillate and intrigue.” (Read full review)

3.5         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“Those scenes in which Dennis Trillo works out and shows off his shapely muscles, sex cuts, and tattoos, exuding this masculinity that makes the female and gay spectator shudder in gratefulness, feel unnecessary but justified on the basis of carnal pleasure, director Michael Tuviera aware of how cinema is about gaze and the gratification gained from it. Within this context, especially when the audience has come to a point where it looks forward to the next hot guy to appear onscreen, The Janitor works so well—there is brisk dynamics in its tease and homoeroticism—but even outside it, even in the framework of an action genre, it satisfies.” (Read full review)

3.5         Emil Hofilena (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

The Janitor is just fun viewing. What makes it fun is it has a very unique structure compared to a lot of the other movies this year. It becomes quite obvious about what it is leading up to somewhere in the middle but it’s still very fun to watch. It’s very cool in a campy way and because of that it never really loses intrigue even when you kind of know where it’s heading.” (Watch video review)

3.5         Fred Hawson (Fred Said)

The Janitor is an entertaining and exciting action film which the mainstream audience will also like. Director Michael B. Tuviera has succeeded to create an indie film with a definite commercial look, feel and appeal.” (Read full review)

3.5         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Maliban sa kalinisan ng pelikula (‘yong editing na lang, naghuhumiyaw na ibigay sa pelikula ang award para sa Best Editing), gusto ko rin ‘yong dark na commentary n’ya sa kapulisan. Trite na pero hindi ako nagsasawa dahil hindi dapat binabalewa.” (Read full review)

3.5         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

The Janitor remains to be an effective piece that stands on its own. It still serves as a commentary on corruption, not only how it affects Philippine society, but also how that corruption scars us as persons.” (Read full review)

3.0         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

The Janitor mixes elements of East Asian neo-noir, Pinoy family melodrama, and mixed martial arts to create a perfectly serviceable actioner with some solid perfs (Trillo, Reyes). Would have benefited from a slightly slower pace to give viewers time to emotionally latch on to any character.”

3.0         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“For the most part, The Janitor is really entertaining as its approach to the retelling of the incident is straight to the point. But then again, straight to the point can be too straight to the point that it now borders on formulaic. And that’s how the first 3/4 of the film ended up.” (Read full review)

3.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

The Janitor may also be mistaken as Dennis Trillo’s work out videos, and Derek Ramsay’s fitness commercial.  Despite the male body exposure, female characters still ended up showing more skin, including pubic hair.” (Read full review)

3.0         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“The rest of the product doesn’t come as close to the cleverness of what it tries to attempt, but the way it goes through it all is more or less capable of satisfaction.” (Read full review)

2.5         J. Neil Garcia

“The falsest note in all this is–despite claims to the contrary–his unbelievably slow deductive skills: he is no Sherlock Holmes, obviously, but the blatant sketchiness of his mission (to exterminate the supposed perpetrators of a famous provincial bank robbery/massacre) just dawns on him rather late (alas, too late) in the game… this paucity in reasoning or investigative skills comes across as a huge narrative disappointment, especially since the film takes pains to show this character being responsible in other ways. for instance: earnestly working out and flexing his copious bodily muscles (on the frame of the shorty actor Trillo, a bit of a visual overkill). the result of this portrayal is a sense of misplaced priorities, that stretches the viewer’s credulity (and patience) to very near breaking point.” (Read full review)

2.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“Whatever commentary the film tries to build is ultimately squandered as it spirals into its morass of nonsense. And whatever sense of coolness it generates is lost as it emerges that the hero is too slow to put things together.” (Read full review)

2.5         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“Because of the film’s predictable plot and contrived story, The Janitor is bogged down by a lack of efficiency. Most of the film is chopped up between fast-paced action scenes and droning character moments. While weaving the two is no simple task, the lack of skillful layering keeps the story from hitting its stride.” (Read full review)

2.5         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“For a crime/thriller film about the dirt and grime of being a cop, the film looks and feels tad tidy.  It lacked grit.  Plus the action sequences could have been amped. It need not be The Raid level, I just wish it had been more exciting.  The revelations were to revealing as well to not keep me guessing because we can easily guess the end.” (Read full review)

Kasal

Kasal Poster_OfficialVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.26 (23 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Joselito Altarejos

Writers: Zigcarlo Dulay, Joselito Altarejos

Cast: Arnold Reyes, Oliver Aquino, Rita Avila, Maureen Mauricio, Rener Concepcion, Ruby Ruiz, Ron Cieno, Chloe Carpio

Synopsis: Kasal is a slice of life drama of a gay couple whose resolve to stay together is challenged as they attend a wedding. It also is an examination on how a gay couple navigates through the different institutions in Philippine society.

MTRCB rating: R-18

Running time: 120 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0         Tito Valiente (Business Mirror)

“Joselito Altarejos matures as a director in Kasal. Where his artistry was closeted in his other films, hiding behind grand opera resolutions, or behind pastel hues in stories happening in remote islands, here in Kasal, he outs his very simple story and allows the parable to talk to us in a voice that is surprisingly degendered.” (Read full review)

4.5         Shayne Zalameda (Misstache)

“On top of everything, the film will let you see and understand love and its struggles from a different standpoint. And maybe at the end of it you’ll say the world is indeed unfair.” (Read full review)

4.0         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

Kasal is a brutally honest depiction of a relationship in crisis that expertly situates the characters’ private troubles in a larger cultural milieu that’s still oppressive to non-heterosexual unions. It’s an age-old theme but Altarejos and writer Zig Dulay avoid the pitfalls of the typical Pinoy gay cinema by focusing not on sex but on the very real fears and anxieties of gay yuppies. The project calls for actors brave enough to expose onscreen their souls more than their skin, and Arnold Reyes and newcomer Oliver Aquino both give their all.”

4.0         Ian Rosales Casocot (The Spy in the Sandwich)

“This is a film that does not hesitate to wallow and meander in the minutiae or ordinary joys, ordinary hurts, and ordinary devastations. You could call that a director going about without a sense of design but I choose to call it honesty instead. It is not a perfect film, but it is brave.” (Read full review)

4.0         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

“Moreover, Kasal has shades of such troubled homosexual relationship dramas as Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together and Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color. But rather than chronicling several months or years of a beleaguered affair, Kasal puts it on the hot seat on a single day by way of a joyous wedding, which makes the poignancy all the more telling and immediate.” (Read full review)

4.0         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“The entire movie feels like you’re just kind of eavesdropping on them. It’s amazing what they do because even during the sex scene, it’s not gratuitous at all. It doesn’t try to sensationalize anything. It really is just you watching these extremely intimate moments played out so well. There’s no melodrama in anything. It feels so raw and so real.” (Watch video review)

4.0         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Ang baseline talaga rito ay ang statement tungkol sa same sex marriage at ang mga bagay na kaya nitong protektahan kapag naisabatas ito. Pero hindi kailanman isinubo sa manood ang gusto nitong i-preach. Subtle ang comparison na ginamit tungkol sa isang kasal na magkahiwalay naman ang loob.” (Read full review)

3.5         J. Neil Garcia

“This film tends to be heavy-handed in its critique of the heternormative bias entirely naturalized in both the secular and religious domains hereabouts, but what moderates and finally saves it is the closely observed life of its central characters, the lovers Paolo and Sherwin, performed excellently by Oliver Aquino and Arnold Reyes, respectively.” (Read full review)

3.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film is overly political, at times too obviously so. The film might be a little too eager to point out the tragic ironies of our country’s approach to marriage and commitment. The film tends to work better when it focuses on the emotional side, with two characters clearly in love but weirdly separated by their own ideas of what their relationship should be.” (Read full review)

3.5         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

“Visually the movie excels. The shot composition is excellent; there is one scene where we see one person’s eyes through the rearview mirror with water splashing on the windshield while he is talking about the impermanence of some things. The water splatters and is wiped away by the windshield wipers.” (Read full review)

3.5         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“It is beautifully acted, at times beautifully shot but it is not the technical aspects of the film that is the heart of the film, it is the sincerity of the story and how it is told.” (Read full review)

3.5         Ghio Ong (Philippine Online Chronicles)

Kasal (The Commitment) may have failed to produce buckets of tears, yet it may have helped open more minds and spark more intelligent and fruitful discussions.” (Read full review)

3.0         Jonell Estillore (Film Police)

Kasal examines the fragile human capacity to love with such admirable honesty and boldness, and in its fullness, an exploration of feelings: that punch inside one’s soul, that tinge of desire ultimately overpowered by affection, that irrefutable torment of getting hurt. Longing is encapsulated in every frame of Altarejos’ magnum opus.” (Read full review)

3.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“For a film made for the independent scene, Kasal struggles against melodrama but occasionally slips right into it. Moments of fragile silence are cracked by scenes where there’s unnecessary noise. One scene early on nearly breaks the film in half, forcing friction where there is none. Thankfully, Kasal ends with a solemn and silent pause, because there are no words for those we lose.” (Read full review)

3.0         Don Jaucian (Philippine Star)

“When Kasal isn’t busy on the hysterics and the political, it shines as a devastating portrait of an ordeal, one that isn’t just based on homosexuality alone, but the whole emotional machinery of relationships as well.” (Read full review)

3.0         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

Kasal‘s premise lives in the harsher reality that a wedding, of all possible events, will further test the relationship of a gay couple when they’re deprived of such in their own country. Where the film completely succeeds is its sincerity in depicting such. I could have lived without the unnecessary additional statements (that of indies and commercial filmmaking as for starters), but when the film shifts back its focus to its main message, it delivers.” (Read full review)

3.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

“The film skidded along melodrama but not fully crossing the line. Inevitably, incomplete characterization is the main hindrance why Kasal falls short on its goal. Paolo (Oliver Aquino), the younger lover, is the character that should draw audience sympathy, but Aquino could not rise about the limits of the script, and he is still not yet experienced to deliver a more nuanced performance.” (Read full review)

3.0         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“A lot of the film remains quite poorly done. The overall craft of the film is inelegant, and its ideas implemented in a fashion that is too obvious. There is still a lot within its thinking which makes it worthy of consideration, but it still feels like a missed opportunity at something truly great.” (Read full review)

2.5         Fred Hawson (Fred Said)

“This film tackles love and commitment in the context of a homosexual couple, but such issues also hold true for any couple, gay or straight.  In fact, we have seen this same story in various incarnations with various characters, in both local and foreign films. This is a very universal conflict that no one group holds exclusively.” (Read full review)

2.5         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“It’s a film that gays of all sensibilities would be so open to love—for it deliberates a pertinent subject at a time when discussions like this deserve attention, boasting a pool of skilled actors devoted to its beliefs and driven by a desire to approach things from a sober perspective—but it is weakened by the tendency to overexplain and repeat its arguments, and as the narrative comes to an end it’s hard to tell whether the reaction evoked is sympathy or tolerance.” (Read full review)

2.0         Jaynormous Mind

Kasal could have used a little more cuts in some of its scenes. Because there are scenes that will make you look at your watch and probably roll your eyes and I’m not even referring to the more or less 10-minute sex scene.” (Read full review)

1.5         Jason Jacobo (Young Critics Circle)

Kasal purveys the heteronormative romance that infantilizes homosexual arrangements in the country by choosing to stage the dramaturgy of erotic failure within the idiocies of a rural matrimonial rite mystified further by bourgeois wedding videography. The queer melancholia that one will countenance here can only run contiguous with an affliction almost clinical in its histrionics. Certainly, one of the year’s most affected films.” 

1.0         Katrina Stuart Santiago (Manila Times)

Kasal as such is but a tired old love story, which was also way too long, had an unbelievable wedding at its center, and was badly edited. It is beyond me why this was screened at all. That it won in the Cinemalaya X Awards? Consider me floored.” (Read full review)

Sundalong Kanin

SUNDALONG KANIN POSTER_1Verdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.60 (19 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Janice O’Hara

Writer: Jerry O’Hara

Cast: Nathaniel Brit, Isaac Cain Aguirre, Akira Morishita, Elijah Canlas, Marc Abaya, Art Acuña, Gardo Verzosa, Via Veloso, Enzo Pineda, Paolo O’Hara, Ian de Leon, Che Ramos, Diana Alferez, Dante Balois, Angelo Martinez

Synopsis: Set during the Japanese Occupation, four friends (Nitoy, Benny, Carding, and Badong) aspire nothing more than to become soldiers fighting the Japanese… until they are confronted by the realities of war that threaten to destroy their families and their friendship.

MTRCB rating: PG-13

Running time: 120 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“In Sundalong Kanin, there are no innocent victims. There is no good and evil. Everyone, from the highest ranking officers to pedestrian civilians all play a role in the brutality of conflict. It is an ambitious film, not simply because of its setting, but also because of its complex script. Fortunately for audiences, it all comes together in a way that makes Sundalong Kanin one of the must-see films of the festival.” (Read full review)

5.0         Shayne Zalameda (Misstache)

“After watching it, you will end up devastated and wonder why war, the most selfish and unnecessary concept of mankind, even exists.” (Read full review)

5.0         Gelo dela Cruz (Beyond Your Five Senses)

“Janice O’ Hara’s courageous efforts in showcasing the loss of child innocence during war times is remarkable as the Philippine cinema rarely tackled it. She magnificently presented the harsh times during that era (with a limited budget!) which was told through the eyes of the children but she made sure that it was not your-ordinary-period-film-used-in-history-class as she focused rather on the friendship of the four characters that underwent into a drastic change.” (Read full review)

4.5         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“What it has up its sleeve is a heartbreaking coming of age tale of what happens when you’re confronted by your dreams at an early stage in your life. Director Janice O’Hara’s approach of opening the film in a somewhat comedic manner before seamlessly shifting to serious made the whole transition more effective.” (Read full review)

4.5         Ghio Ong (Philippine Online Chronicles)

“The film’s harsh depiction of the theme successfully brought out the seriousness of the children to survive the war amid their innocence, especially acting-wise… The film may have no powerhouse cast, but all the actors – especially the four children – had their brilliant moments.” (Read full review)

4.0         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

“The film lives up to the promise of Cinemalaya, which is to showcase outstanding works of emerging indie filmmakers. The loss of childhood innocence in war-time has been mined by many filmmakers but not nearly enough in the Philippines, and the O’Haras craft a heartbreaking yarn where kids are forced to come of age for them to survive.  It is a potent argument that a period film need not require a humongous budget and big-name stars: it only has to tell an engaging, humanistic story; feature excellent acting (the four boys here are uniformly superb, though the notoriously hammy Marc Abaya nearly ruins it with his bug-eyed villainy); and be imaginative with its visual design. A spectacular debut. Mario O would be proud.”

4.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film is pretty great. The plot is simple, but the emotions get crushingly complex. In the end, this isn’t a movie about a simple conflict between two sides. The real battle here is between the ideals of the kid characters and the brutal reality of warfare. There are no clear choices. No real good guys or bad guys. It’s all just a bunch of people trying their best to get through a terrible situation.” (Read full review)

4.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

“Director Janice O’Hara skillfully balances the poignant, the terror, and surprisingly, even the silliness of conflict. Class conflict is not ignored, and simplistic moral judgment is not shoved down your throat. The young actors gave heartfelt and brave performances but Marc Abaya stands out from the rest.” (Read full review)

3.5         Jason Jacobo (Young Critics Circle)

Sundalong Kanin tackles the world-historical in an instance of war through children’s woeful apprehensions of bare life. The method that instructs the recalcitrant gang to distinguish between homicide and sacrifice can only be fraught with a neurasthenic impulse to reckon with the passage of time as if a decision between manhood and humanity should also be cast. Caught in this nebulous thought, the film encounters a problem with milieu; the visual design cannot quite decide on what dark patina of traumatic enervation should remain in the foreground, but the young ensemble manages to locate the urgency of a reverie to participate in an amorphous historical instance. The finale is a gripping set piece that intimates the vibrance of contemporary cinema’s premier sister act: Janice and Denise O’Hara presenting a slice of Mario’s Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and completing the case for a cinema that refuses to derive from the world time’s incalculable losses.” 

3.5         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“While the production design isn’t great, you’re still invested in this world, you believe you’re in the Japanese Occupation. Whatever deficiencies this movie had visually, the script and the direction were good enough to not make us worry about that so much.” (Watch full review)

3.5         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

Sundalong Kanin is relentless in its depiction of war and the effect it has on those most vulnerable to it. Additionally, it depicts war where the emotional and physical damage can come from both sides of the conflict. It pulls no punches in the way we are dragged through the personal hell these four kids, and the people of the village go through.” (Read full review)

3.5         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“It shows what happens when people are driven to extremes and the unreadiness people, especially children, experience when they are caught within dreadful situations. But though it deals with a topic which is more than superb, I’m afraid I’m not entirely sold on the experience as a whole, mostly due to the fact that the film could use some better, cleaner, and maybe smarter presentation.” (Read full review)

3.5         Irvin Malcolm Contreras (Letterboxd)

“This should have been the Filipino entry to the subgenre of war movies from the POV of kids/teens: Hope & Glory, Ivan’s Childhood, etc. By the end, it reached its potential but the road getting there was very clunky.” (Read full review)

3.0         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

“Viewers can clearly see how one thing leads to another, how a character’s action is met with a corresponding reaction. In the film’s war-torn universe, poetic justice is what governs the order of things. This is all fine, if only things didn’t always appear to be having an urgent need for an operatic turn of events.” (Read full review)

3.0         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“Major kudos to the kids who acted in the film. I thought they were all great. They overshadowed all the older actors in the film even though some of them are overacting.” (Read full review)

3.0         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“As it is, ayos naman sa akin ‘yong finished product. Ang problema ko lang sa kanya, hindi na ako masyadong nabigyan ng espasyo upang namnamin s’ya. Isiniwalat na lahat. As in lahat-lahat, wala nang itinira.” (Read full review)

3.0         Jaynormous Mind

“You can never go wrong with Sundalong Kanin: even if it’s flawed, it managed to be likable and engaging. It’s funny, light-hearted, deep, heart warming, depressing, crazy, suspenseful.” (Read full review)

2.0         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“The crudeness is understandable, leaving this air of innocence and inexperience suited to its gruesome coming-of-age story, but the moment the kids talk about the imminence of war and take reckless actions during the Japanese occupation, it turns into a disappointing high school production where efforts are rewarded based on tolerance, the viewer predisposed to allow its good intentions eclipse the obvious flaws of execution.” (Read full review)

1.0         Ian Rosales Casocot (The Spy in the Sandwich)

“What it finally becomes is an exercise of unfortunate and clumsy filmmaking. The actors are miscast, the script has a porous consistency, and the production design — crucial for a period film — is virtually non-existent.” (Read full review)

Mariquina

MARIQUINA POSTER MYLENE 20X30_ABC4(high-res) copyVerdict: Essential Viewing

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 4.24 (21 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Milo Sogueco

Writer: Jerrold Tarog

Cast: Mylene Dizon, Ricky Davao, Bing Pimentel, Che Ramos, Barbie Forteza, Dennis Padilla, Mel Kimura

Synopsis: Unlike the former Philippine First Lady, Imelda is indifferent towards shoes. To her, they are fraught with the bittersweet nostalgia of childhood, one that was marred by a difficult relationship with her shoe-maker father, Romeo. Growing up, all of hers were handmade by him. Now a mature woman, she takes a pivotal call from the morgue, spurring her search for the perfect pair of shoes for her dead father. The deeper she searches for the perfect shoes, the more she finds herself.

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 120 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

“All cast and crew deliver their A-game in this tastefully crafted drama that refuses to cut corners, hits all the right notes, and thus completely earns its big-hearted sentimentality. What a joy to experience a work of art that’s as close to perfection as it gets. And I’m now officially on the Bing Pimentel bandwagon. My favorite local film of the year so far.”

5.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“Even if Mariquina was nothing but its performances, it would be worth seeing. There’s almost too much great acting in here from the likes of Mylene Dizon, Ricky Davao, Bing Pimentel, Che Ramos, and Barbie Forteza. But the film is so much more than its performances. It’s a simple story in the end; a document of one man’s tragic inability to be what his family needs him to be. But it is expertly crafted through and through, every detail of the production so lucidly designed.” (Read full review)

5.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

Mariquina is a fine, rare piece of local cinema where all its component parts come together to present a story that is both poignant and moving. It is wondrous in its ambition, but also near flawless in its execution. But at the end of the day, it’s a film about the ordinary. The kind that sits in front us without catching our attention. But when it is gone, there is only regret, and the promise, that maybe someday, we will do better.” (Read full review)

5.0         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“Major props to Sogueco for bringing the the best in his cast and creating what could be the best Filipino film of the year so far.  It was a quiet take on a frequent noisy and bickering story of family problems.  He opted for real emotion as opposed to histrionics that made the film more powerful and lingering.” (Read full review)

5.0         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

Mariquina is just brilliant. It provides an incredibly simple, but still heartbreaking and wholly beautiful portrait of small family lives. It presents the seemingly mundane in a fashion so painfully genuine, one cannot help but be captivated by its tales and its characters, and moved to great emotion and even to tears.” (Read full review)

4.5         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“One of the pleasures of watching Mariquina is being overwhelmed by its generosity: how it finds the compelling in the ordinary and feels grateful for every particle of dust that settles.” (Read full review)

4.5         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

“The power of the film lies not so much in what is spoken, but in what is seen and felt, those emotions conveyed through glances and body language. And just like the shoes crafted with loving skill by the father (wonderfully portrayed by Ricky Davao, in a role that was originally intended for Joel Torre), one can likewise see how the film was lovingly made and shows genuine affection for the town and its popular craft.” (Read full review)

4.5         Emil Hofilena (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“Fantastic directing from Milo Sogueco who really knows when to bounce between these two time periods and really knows how to tie them together without feeling too jarring at all. The way he shoots certain scenes is so restrained and just allows the action to take place. He has a good control over his actors and over the emotion. At the center of Mariquina, though, are the titanic performances from this entire cast. They’re so good.” (Watch video review)

4.5         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

“Much like last year’s Sana Dati, this film is about emotions not expressed, words not said, feelings not brought to the surface. Mylene Dizon (and her younger counterpart) is perfect for the role, and Ricky Davao proves once again how awesome he is: vulnerable and heartbroken, yet an enigma to his daughter. A technically superb film, with and exquisitely tender soundtrack, Mariquina is an emotional wringer that will make tears fall.” (Read full review)

4.0         Oggs Cruz (Twitch)

Mariquina is a work of admirable restraint. With a narrative of daunting breadth that traverses various decades, Sogueco was able to craft a film without any unnecessary histrionics or false political agenda, notwithstanding the very rare cameo of the very politically alienating former First Lady Imelda Marcos.” (Read full review)

4.0         Wanggo Gallaga (Juice.ph)

“Jerrold Tarog’s script is marvellously tight and the script rings with truth and never veers towards the over-dramatic. Everything settles just right. Milo Sogueco has an amazing control of his material and keeps everything at a very low frequency, everything just bubbling under the surface, and while I enjoy the restraint (as opposed to the usual Filipino films that tends to go overboard), I felt that it was too controlled and too restrained.” (Read full review)

4.0         Fred Hawson (ABS-CBN News)

“The performances of two supporting actresses actually become bigger highlights of this film. First is Bing Pimentel, who is a riveting presence, drawing attention every time she is onscreen. She was so classy as the younger Tess, and was absolutely sublime as elderly Tess. Second is Barbie Forteza, who gave a heart-tugging performance as the adolescent Imelda. That scene where she was left waiting in the restaurant by her parents was quietly eloquent, with only her eyes conveying her conflict of emotions.” (Read full review)

4.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

Mariquina is good artisanship at work. All the pieces fell into their proper places: a tight screenplay, music that highlights a scene than drown it, appropriate production design, fluid editing, good cinematography and a powerful ensemble cast. Its ambition may not be as grandiose or as philosophically lofty as some independent films, but the beauty of Mariquina is in its smallness.” (Read full review)

4.0        Jenilee Chuaunsu (PEP)

Mariquina is a beautifully shot film that tugs at the heartstrings.” (Read full review)

4.0         Adele Ann Oqueriza (The FilmSoc Report)

“The film manages to build a painful yet beautiful story that is nothing short of heartbreaking. Sogueco and Tarog tell everything in a way we’ll be haunted. The presence of shoes and its meaning to the characters will also leave us thinking about that one thing that defines us. ” (Read full review)

4.0         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Sa kabila ng katahimikan, na-hook ako sa buong palabas. Siguro primarily dahil sa cast at dahil well defined ang mga karakter. Mylene Dizon is never boring on screen. ‘Yong presence n’ya ay presence ng isang makabagong babae na malakas ang loob at hindi agad-agad nagpapa-outwit sa buhay.” (Read full review)

4.0         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“Is it melodramatic? Well one can easily accuse of it as such. But what’s far more interesting in it is how it never lets the melodrama take over by injecting humorous punches during the more dramatic scenes. It was careful and aware enough of its material to know where to control the drama. And that’s rare to happen since in the hands of another writer, they would have highlighted the drama more.” (Read full review)

4.0         Armando dela Cruz (Film Police)

Mariquina is a film exploring familiar dramatic terrains yet remains a captivating tale of change.” (Read full review)

4.0         Gelo dela Cruz (Beyond Your Five Senses)

“The simplicity of the story matched with a great storytelling and visual impact made the film beautiful. Milo Sogueco, the director, did not only capture the perfect picture of a teenage girl disgruntled with the separation of her parents with reasons unknown to her, but also, the evolution of Marikina (the shoe capital of the Philippines) from an empire of shoe business that is socialized properly amongst local shoemakers until it has been demolished by foreign brands and gigantic monopolized business.” (Read full review)

3.5         Dodo Dayao (Philippine Star)

“When it becomes apparent that this is less a film about patriarchal failure as it is about a daughter who commits the very crimes of apathy and infidelity and betrayal she accuses her father of, the emotional wallop it packs is tough to deny and even tougher to resist.” (Read full review)

2.5         K. Montinola (Philippine Star)

“I wanted to like Mariquina more than I did, because it had all the right ingredients: a compelling story, an important period and setting, dedicated mood pieces that could have been plaintively beautiful. In the end, though, instead of making a statement, it either made too many half-formed ones, or chose to say nothing at all.” (Read full review)

K’na the Dreamweaver

K'naVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.06 (16 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Ida Anita del Mundo

Cast: Mara Lopez, RK Bagatsing, Alex Vincent Medina, Nonie Buencamino, Bembol Roco, Erlinda Villalobos

Synopsis: When K’na, a young T’boli woman, becomes a dreamweaver, she has the chance to weave together her village’s warring clans. But, will she give up true love to do so?

MTRCB rating: G

Running time: 90 mins

*

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0         Macky Macarayan (The FilmSoc Report)

“I immediately liked K’na the Dreamweaver because of its unpretentious attack on a cultural tale. It is simple, straight, and yet arrestingly beautiful. It takes you on its arms and almost lulls you into a dream, and by the time it ends, it leaves an unforgettable poignant impression worthy of a second experience.” (Read full review)

4.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

K’na the Dreamweaver runs like a fairy tale. And perhaps it should be analyzed as a fairy tale following a set of aesthetics unique only to folk stories and fairy tales. The slow pace and the folk tale-like dialogues also give the film an interesting demeanor.” (Read full review)

4.0         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“The film is quite an exquisite experience. It tells its simple tale with an eye for gorgeous visuals and staging, and with gentle handling. Most of the times, the film can really reach some pretty entrancing heights.” (Read full review)

4.0         Gelo dela Cruz (Beyond Your Five Senses)

“The film did not only accomplish to tell a great tale of a t’nalak weaver but also introduced how amazing the culture of the indigenous tribes here in the Philippines. This is a must-see!” (Read full review)

3.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The movie is kind of a gentle little fairytale, telling the story of a princess made to choose between true love and duty to her people. The languid pace will certainly be a challenge for a lot of people, but it’s entirely appropriate to the milieu. What’s less appropriate is the strange tendency for the camera to jerk at certain moments, breaking the tranquility of the image. ” (Read full review)

3.5         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

K’na the Dreamweaver is near magical in its quality, with a tone that is both poetic and uplifting. But it is, more importantly, a testament that dreams like those of the T’Boli tribes in South Cotabato should not be forgotten.” (Read full review)

3.5         Irvin Malcolm Contreras (Letterboxd)

“This is a film with a strong concept and ambition but the execution is a little rocky. Still a fine, well-made film.” (Read full review)

3.0         J. Neil Garcia

“The commitment to the trope of dreaming and dream-weaving proves less than wieldy, as well as less than effective: this otherwise promising trope doesn’t really take magical flight in this nativist drama (the gratingly untrained and audibly twangy T’boli dialogue being mouthed by the leads certainly doesn’t help its cause any), even as its figurative pursuit is visibly and eagerly indulged in by del Mundo, to the detriment of such basic narrative requisites as motivation and inner depth: to be frank, the characters in this film just aren’t ‘realized’ enough, for they act too much like the mythic ‘types’ that they are.” (Read full review)

3.0         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

“There really isn’t much more to say about this film. It’s not a film for everyone, and it is relatively simple as films go, but it’s a treat for those willing to explore the nuances of another culture.” (Read full review)

2.5         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Mababaw nga lang ang premise pero kahit papaano ay naabot naman ito sa pinaka-human na paraan na hindi kinakailangan ng stop-over sa peace and order situation sa Mindanao. Medyo kahawig nga lang ng Limbunan (Gutierrez Mangansakan II) ang punto kaya wala nang masyadong epekto sa akin ang redeeming value ng pelikula.” (Read full review)

2.5         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

“By focusing on the fairly predictable tragic love story of the lead characters (and not even enough of the dreamweaving process), the film wastes a massive opportunity to highlight issues that are more relevant to the lives of present-day T’bolis, such as their gradually diminishing land and natural resources due to the encroachment of lowlanders and their commerce.” (Read full review)

2.5         Wanggo Gallaga (Juice.ph)

“Because of its setting and its ambition, the film demands an epic feel and while the visuals are stunning, the film never really manages to reach its full potential. It’s a gorgeous story and the script works but del Mundo has yet to have a firm grasp on the medium to truly give the story the treatment it needs to truly soar.” (Read full review)

2.5         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“I wish they’d focused more on the T’boli culture rather than the romance. There’s nothing wrong per se about the tale of romance featured in the movie, but it would have ended up with a different effect had it tried to do other instead.” (Read full review)

2.5         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“The story never really develops through the different cultural aspects. We’re shown different rituals like the actual weaving, a marriage ceremony, a funeral ceremony. We’re show all these things but it feels like a documentary: we’re just being shown them. There’s no thread really going through them. When this movie actually goes through a plot and a story, it just feels like a distraction.”  (Watch video review)

1.5         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“The film, instead of treating its subject with maturity and wisdom, settles for the dull kind of picturesque, dipping its toes into several sociopolitical issues just to enliven its core but failing to leave any remarkable impression, capturing only the unexciting luster of complexities and preferring blindness to insight. K’na keeps mentioning the importance of design, but its own is not even worth a second look.” (Read full review)

1.5         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“I think that the film, though feeling a bit like Limbunan (a far superior Cinemalaya film by Gutierrez Mangansakan II), was a wasted opportunity.  You have the environment and the setting so rich that you could think of other stories that would at least be a little unique.  Instead the film was just a normal story set in this beautiful place that is obviously has a more beautiful story to tell.” (Read full review)

Bwaya

buwaya cinemalaya 2014Verdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.24 (21 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Francis Xavier Pasion

Cast: Angeli Bayani, Karl Medina, RS Francisco, Jolina Salvado

Synopsis: Divina is preparing for her daughter Rowena’s 13th birthday when she hears shocking news: her daughter has been attacked by a crocodile, her body still missing. As Divina searches for the body of her daughter in the marshlands of Agusan del Sur, she learns a lesson more tragic than her fate: not all predators are underwater. The film is based on actual events.

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 98 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

4.5         Jennifer Dugena (PEP)

Bwaya doesn’t push audiences to root for, side with or wish punishment for anyone or anything. It allows audiences the freedom to just watch and see so that (in the words of the real-life Divina) the world will (hopefully)”not forget” about her daughter.” (Read full review)

4.0         Oggs Cruz (Philippine Star)

“As with all of his works, Pasion, by making his own methods of filmmaking as bait for discourse on the thin line that separates art and exploitation, establishes countless layers within a simple tale of grief, making Bwaya a film that satisfyingly perplexes as much as it sensually pleases.”  (Read capsule review)

4.0         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

“This commitment to authenticity elevated a culturally distinct story into something universal, which is the pain of losing a young child and having no control over powerful unfathomable forces.” (Read full review)

4.0         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Tahimik ito, payapa at parang natural light lang ang ginamit na ilaw. Hindi ito naghuhumiyaw at nagsasabing s’ya ang bida sa pelikula kahit na breathtaking na mismo ang nasabing lugar. Dahil dito, maayos na naipinta ang contrast ng pagiging kalmado n’ong community (kabilang ang relasyon ng mga tao rito) at ang turmoil mula sa trahedyang naganap.” (Read full review)

4.0         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

“Pasion tells his story in a deliberate and deceptively calm manner that it tends to evoke that there’s something sinister and dangerous lurking beneath and around the tranquil marshland – and not necessarily in the form of predatory reptiles.” (Read full review)

3.5         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

“A gorgeous-looking, well-meaning film that unfortunately stumbles towards the last act as it searches for a purpose higher than the mere retelling of a tragedy. The ‘crocodiles on land’ thesis is not well fleshed out, and I’m not sold on the decision to include the interviews and footage of the real parents as it makes the film feel like a TV documentary, which ironically makes the filmmakers seem complicit to the very media exploitation that the film criticizes.

3.5         Jason Jacobo (Young Critics Circle)

“Angeli Bayani inhabits the role of a hysteric so well that she herself can no longer predict the pendulum of breakdown, save for that moment of waking upon fake filigrees strewn all over her forlorn face. The last mistress of screen madness could only be Lolita Rodriguez, until this actress.” (Read full review)

3.5         J. Neil Garcia

“On one hand, not even the shamanistic voiceover of an ancient Manobo crocodile story can render the tragic incident’s actual (deadly) reptile mythically resonant; on the other, there’s that commonsensical question that isn’t remotely answered by the film–of how this horrific ‘event’ couldn’t have been the first that this riverine community has had to face, and yet it seems to be that way, going by the film’s dramatic focus on the mother’s singular and bottomless grief (a role played exceptionally well by the increasingly formidable Angeli Bayani). (Read full review)

3.5         Jonell Estillore (Film Police)

“The cinematic direction boasted in Bwaya is just the tip of the iceberg; the story in itself is consuming that it is impossible to easily let go of the phantasmagoria it intends to create inside one’s soul.” (Read full review)

3.5         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“The allure of Bwaya is not simply that Divina is a special case among mothers, but that she is special because she is a mother. And that resounding statement, whether it’s communicated through fact or fiction, is elegantly conveyed in Bwaya.” (Read full review)

3.5         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

Bwaya is a fascinating look into the lives of these people in the marshes. But with an ending that feels incomplete the overall effect is blunted a bit.” (Read full review)

3.5         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“There is no denying the fact that Bwaya is a really well made film. It is masterfully shot. There were moments of just pure beauty. Those aerial shots were stunning and just beautiful.  The pacing and the shifting from documentary feel to the narrative was fluid… However, compared to Pasion’s other works, I was not that affected or emotionally connected to it.” (Read full review)

3.5         Misstache

“The cinematography was simple yet beautiful especially the aerial shots, the opening wide shot of the lake, the cloud-filled sky, and the rainbow. The whole film evokes a sense of calmness and terror at the same time. I liked how they did not resort to exaggeration; its simplicity is its asset.” (Read full review)

3.0         Jessica Zafra (InterAksyon)

Bwaya may be an impressive achievement, but when will this talented filmmaker stop aiming for ‘achievement’ and take a real risk? When do we see the soul behind the technique? That’s something to look forward to.” (Read full review)

3.0         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

“What faults I find in its approach were almost made up by the fantastic visual scenes in the film. Those wide aerial shots of the rivers and the boats are just breathtaking to see, and given the difficulties and circumstances of shooting there, it was really impressive. Angeli Bayani continues her streak of great performances; her portrayal of Divina is both heartbreaking and vulnerable.” (Read full review)

3.0         Macky Macarayan (The FilmSoc Report)

“While the film makes the crocodile who snatched Rowena the obvious antagonist, it also carries an understatement that not all predators are underwater, as Divina (Angeli Bayani) finds out. The only regret in Bwaya is that Pasion could have explored this understatement further, instead of just mentioning it as a matter-of-fact.” (Read full review)

3.0         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“The cinematography tells the story so much better than the actual dialogue and plot. Through mood alone that these shots establish, it adds so much to the story. However we’re really not given that much to chew on. There’s so much room here for substance and sometimes this movie tries to go into these deeper topics but it just does not at all. We’re left with a slow-paced story that is extremely straightforward.” (Watch video review)

2.5         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“Amongst the fictional staging, the film also presents dialogue with people who seem to be the actual individuals the film is based on. It ultimately tries to bring these two parts together, and adds some moments of abstract experimentation as it goes along. It’s intriguing, but it’s inconsistent, and really doesn’t seem to work and doesn’t seem to make sense.” (Read full review)

2.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The movie almost seems to exist as a form of grief counseling for the bereaved parents of Rowena. And that’s fine, I suppose, but I’m not entirely sure it’s something that should be seen by other people.” (Read full review)

1.5         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“What is sick about it is not the film, which, removing the meta elements, is in fact a persuasive look into the various layers of violence experienced by being born and raised poor, but the filmmaking—the insistence on pointing a finger, the tenacity to draw attention to oneself and appear bright and thoughtful in the midst of anguish, and the nerve to make the audience feel such disproportioned terror, showing the infinity of excuses that comes with freedom of expression.” (Read full review)

1.5         Ian Rosales Casocot (The Spy in the Sandwich)

“The film seems to provide an answer near its long-awaited end: to concretise in film the memory of a girl eaten by a crocodile in the marsh’s shallow waters. But the attempt honestly feels so derivative and so superficial, one is rather tempted to forget.” (Read full review)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 90 other followers

%d bloggers like this: