Best Performances of the Decade So Far (Nos. 80-61)

  1. Jess Mendoza, The Natural Phenomenon of Madness (2011)

80 Jess Madness

Character: Unnamed, a young man forced to reckon with the consequences of a past crime he committed

How can you make viewers interested in a rapist character? First you ensure that the character is multidimensional enough to warrant attention, and then you cast an actor sensitive enough to pull off the nuances of the role. Director Charliebebs Gohetia lucked out on Mendoza, whose brooding performance as a conflicted young man made it possible for viewers to understand that a past sin does not define a person’s character.

  1. Arnalyn Ismael, Halaw (2010)

79 Arnalyn Halaw

Character: Daying, a 9-year old Badjao girl who tags along with her father across an illegal boat ride to Malaysia to look for her mother

A non-professional actor, Ismael is a screen natural as a precocious girl oblivious to the dangers of the journey she is taking. Her spunky character buoys up the rather tense proceedings and allows viewers to gravitate towards her as a beacon of hope.

  1. Carmina Villaroel, The Road (2011)

78 Carmina The Road

Character: Carmela, an abusive mother with a dark secret

“She browbeats with sinister abandon. You hardly hear her voice rise, but the menace is all there.” – Cathy Peña

  1. Coco Martin, Noy (2010)

77 Coco Noy

Character: Noy, a family breadwinner who gets hired as a journalist after submitting a fake diploma

“Coco delivers the passion required of his breadwinner character. There are shades of angst, frustration, and a little hope.” – Fidel Antonio Medel

  1. Kristoffer King, Ad Ignorantiam (2012)

76 Kristoffer Ad Ignorantiam

Character: Robert Igawad, an ill-tempered messenger who becomes the prime suspect in a robbery

The role of Robert does not really call for many opportunities to showcase any acting skill because Ad Ignorantiam is more idea- than character-driven. Trust King to suffuse a thinly written character with so much passion and charisma that there’s no way for the viewers to go but side with him in his quest for justice even if we don’t really know for sure if he’s guilty or not.

  1. Ronaldo Valdez, The Mistress (2012)

75 Ronaldo Mistress

Character: Frederico, a wealthy man whose mistress falls in love with his son

“Valdez makes a career-best performance as he depicts Frederico, the man who wants to have his cake and eat it too. His emotive cadences are spectacular, e.g. his argument with John Lloyd at the office. One moment he tells his son that he needs him (“Anong gusto mo, luluhod ako sa harap mo para pumayag ka?”), then he tells Eric how he owes the company his attention. Even when he drops emotionally charged lines (“Ano’ng karapatan mo, Sari? Kerida lang kita!”), you don’t feel the mawkishness of the scene.” – Cathy Peña

“It’s Valdez who delivers the most textured characterization—he’s hard, uncompromising, kind, selfish and loving at the same time!” – Rito Asilo

  1. Aga Muhlach, Of All the Things (2012)

74 Aga Of All the Things

Character: Emil, a bar exam non-passer who, in his depression, buries himself working as a notary public instead of re-taking the exam

“Muhlach succeeds to personify Emil with all his emotional pathos. Muhlach’s silent moments are a virtual force of nature, like when he finally admits to his father how he needs his help (to review for his retake). His scenes with Abuel are heart breaking.” – Cathy Peña

  1. Sandino Martin, Esprit de Corps (2014)

73 Sandino Esprit

Character: Abel Sarmiento, a military cadet competing for the position of commanding officer

2014 is undoubtedly stage actor Martin’s breakout year in film, appearing as lead in Joselito Altarejos’ Unfriend and as a brooding aspiring writer in Giancarlo Abrahan’s Dagitab before showcasing his full potential in Kanakan-Balintagos’ film. Playing an ambitious yet conflicted cadet, Martin seduces both his commanding officer and us viewers with his magnetic presence.

  1. Arnold Reyes, Kasal (2014)

72 Arnold Kasal

Character: Sherwin, a lawyer specializing in annulment who refuses to come out as gay for fear of ostracism

Reyes, in arguably a career-best turn, seems to have bottled all his past performances as homosexual men in indie films and distilled them here to a pure, honest form in playing a man totally in love with his partner yet as totally averse to the idea of revealing his true self.

  1. Mark Gil, Amok (2011)

71 Mark Amok

Character: Rogelio Vasquez, a struggling stuntman who gets deceived by a transvestite

“Gil displays the vulnerability of a desperate soul without dismissing the inherent humor borne out of his situation.” – Cathy Peña

  1. Bembol Roco, Isda (2011)

70 Bembol Isda2

Character: Miguel, a drunkard husband of a woman who gives birth to a fish

“Roco moves around as though a joke’s being played on his family, and we feel his helplessness.” –Cathy Peña

  1. Ronnie Lazaro, Ishmael (2010)

69 Ronnie Ishmael

Character: Ishmael, an ex-convict who discovers the horrors inflicted on his village by a cult leader

“Lazaro plays the title role with gusto. No sense of remorse is seen on his face as he wields his bolo and delivers the entire town to their final destination.” – Fidel Antonio Medel

  1. Andy Bais, Violator (2014)

68 Andy Violator

Character: Mang Vic, a prison utility worker who is haunted by a past crime

It’s definitely those eyes. In Violator, Bais, looking like a lovechild of Nora Aunor and Gollum, is the scariest of them all because his monster is the realest.

  1. Edgar Allan Guzman, Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me (2011)

67 Edgar Allan Ligo Na U

Character: Intoy, a horny college student who meets his match in a sexually carefree classmate

“Guzman exhibits a winking portrayal that displays both his dramatic and comedic skill, all in one coherent, insightful package.” – Cathy Peña

  1. Matt Daclan, Soap Opera (2014)

Matt Soap Opera

Character: Noel, a struggling young father who uses his family to deceive a foreign man

In Soap Opera, Daclan embodies the everyman. Even if his character has gone to the proverbial dark side from the very beginning, viewers will him to make things right because we want him to succeed in life. And a large part of it has to do with Daclan’s compassionate performance.

“Matt Daclan is just fantastic in Soap Opera, a major find for 2014.” – Cathy Peña

  1. Donna Gimeno, Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria (2010)

65 Donna Damgo

Character: Terya, an island woman about to depart her village as a mail-order bride

Gimeno, as the boyish Terya, fully understands her character’s dilemma. She knows that she’s just delaying the inevitable and that she’d eventually acquiesce to her parents’ wishes of marrying her to a man they only know by name. Gimeno avoids all melodrama and instead hides her true feelings with playful interactions with her well-wishers.

  1. Pen Medina, Layang Bilanggo (2010)

64 Pen Layang Bilanggo

Character: Paul, an ex-convict who checks himself in a home for the aged to become close to the daughter he abandoned for several years

“Ang pinakamalaking risk siguro sa pelikulang ito ay ang aktor para sa lead character. Naitawid ni Pen Medina nang maayos ‘yung pinaka-critical na bentahe ng materyal. Kung pumalpak ang bida, papalpak din ang kabuuhan.” – Manuel Pangaruy

  1. Rocco Nacino, Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (2011)

63 Rocco Sayaw

Character: Dennis, a college student who gets infatuated with a fellow male classmate

Probably one of the most head-scratching Urian nomination snubs of all time is its exclusion of Rocco Nacino in Sayaw. He portrays Dennis, the more sexually assured of the two boys, with a nuanced combination of desire and wariness.

  1. Joey Paras, Babagwa (2013)

62 Joey Babagwa

Character: Marney, an online scammer who uses a young man to deceive unsuspecting women and gays

Paras almost steals the movie with his ferocious performance as a scheming operator who never grows a conscience.

  1. Mark Gil, A Philippino Story (2013)

61 Mark Philippino

Character: Bastian, a gay painter who falls for his young househelp

Gil, in his last great performance, displays open-hearted fragility as a man who has seen it all but still takes a stab at a romance that he knows will be doomed anyway. His heartbreak at the end of the movie is ours as well.

*

PART 1: Nos. 100 to 81

PART 3: Nos. 60 to 41

PART 4: Nos. 40 to 21

PART 5: Nos. 20 to 11

PART 6: Nos. 10 to 1

INDIVIDUAL BALLOTS

Best Performances of the Decade So Far (2010 to 2014)

Performance has always been one of Philippine cinema’s most popular film elements. We know, of course, that it is just but one of myriad components that make up a film. Yet when we watch movies, we tend to ask “Who’s in it?” rather than “Who made it?” Still, no one would argue that actors can make or break a film. A good actor can make watching a crappy film tolerable while a bad actor can ruin an otherwise okay movie.

To celebrate the country’s best film performances of the decade so far, Pinoy Rebyu invited six bloggers/journalists who have been following and writing about Philippine film since 2010: Rito Asilo of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Fidel Antonio Medel of Pixelated Popcorn and formerly of PEP.ph, Carl Joseph Papa of whatevercarl.com, Manuel Pangaruy of Tagailog Special Presents, Cathy Peña of Make Me Blush, and Pinoy Rebyu’s own Skilty Labastilla, to list down what they think are the greatest performances from 2010 to November 2014. Each of the six submitted a list of 100 best performances and we tallied them and came up with the top 100.

Starting today, we will roll out the list in increments, starting from 100.

100.  John Lloyd Cruz, Unofficially Yours (2012)

100 John Lloyd Unofficially Yours2

Character: Macky Galvez, a romantic yuppie who falls hard for a woman who does not want commitment

As Star Cinema’s top male romantic draw, Cruz has perfected the art of playing the ultimate dreamboat who more than makes up for his lack of hard abs by turning on the charm full blast. When Cruz uses those puppy-dog eyes to express deep emotion, even Angel Locsin won’t hesitate serenading him to win back his affection.

  1. Felix Roco, Ang Nawawala (2012)

99 Felix Nawawala

Character: Jamie Bonifacio, the lead character’s dead twin brother

The Roco twins were born to play the roles of upper class brothers in Marie Jamora’s engrossing tale of loss and redemption. Felix plays the departed twin, now free from the mundane worries of the living, with sexy, uber-cool nonchalance.

  1. Archie Alemania, Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (2013)

98 Archie Norte

Character: Joaquin, a poor family man imprisoned for a crime he did not commit

In Diaz’s bleak Norte, Alemania, who is more known as a comic actor, shows his range in a way that doesn’t call attention to his subtlety.

  1. Nonie Buencamino, Dagitab (2014)

B001R1V4

Character: Jimmy Tolentino, a Humanities professor in search of his muse

It’s never easy playing a professor: an actor has to possess that mix of gravitas, intellect, and warmth that all students look for. Buencamino displays all three, yet adds an extra layer of vulnerability, portraying Jimmy not as a typical bookish academic but as a complicated, full-blooded husband/lover.

“His work in Dagitab keeps you guessing. It is not trivial, it is just that it seems that he is thinking differently from the way he acts. That line reading scene was quite heartbreaking (del Rosario and Buencamino square off, WOW).” – Carl Joseph Papa

  1. TJ Trinidad, Sana Dati (2013)

96 TJ Sana Dati

Character: Robert Naval, a politician about to get married to a woman he just recently met

The go-to mode of most actors who get cast as a foil to a romantic pairing is to tap into their character’s unflattering side. Thankfully, Trinidad is not most actors. It’s a testament to his skill (though undoubtedly aided by Tarog’s fully realized script) that viewers actually root for Robert to end up with Andrea .

  1. Lovi Poe, Mayohan (2010)

95 Lovi Mayohan

Character: Lilibeth, a young woman from the barrio in charge of an annual festival ritual

“Lovi Poe is luminous all throughout (thanks in part to the brilliant cinematography) taking her character Lilibeth with edifying intuition. It’s quite palpable why young boys would fall for Lilbeth.” – Cathy Peña

  1. Dennis Trillo, The Janitor (2014)

94 Dennis Janitor

Character: Crisanto Espina, a dismissed cop tasked to assassinate suspected bank robbers

“The most fully realized performance by any actor in the Director’s Showcase at this year’s Cinemalaya was turned in by Dennis Trillo, who delivered a thespic high-wire act as a disgraced cop who is as ruthless as an assassin as he is gentle as a much-abused son in Mike Tuviera’s exceptional action-drama.” – Rito Asilo

  1. Raquel Villavicencio, Niño (2011)

93 Raquel Nino

Character: Raquel, a US migrant returning to the Philippines to sell her ancestral house to salvage her own economic woes abroad

Villavicencio is one of very few filmmakers (she’s an award-winning scriptwriter) who are also very good actors. In Niño, she plays a villain type (she knows that her actions will lead to depriving her aunt of a home) yet, through her sympathetic performance, she makes the audience understand her plight.

  1. Irma Adlawan, Vox Populi (2010)

92 Irma Vox Populi

Character: Connie de Gracia, a mayoral candidate in a small town

Adlawan, one of the country’s top theater products, delivers an expertly controlled performance as a political greenhorn who realizes she is gradually crossing over to the dark side but can’t yet decide whether she is principled enough to change the system or weak enough to allow herself to just be swallowed by it.

  1. Jodi Sta. Maria, Aparisyon (2012)

91 Jodi Aparisyon

Character: Sister Lourdes, a novice nun who gets attacked outside her convent

Sta. Maria has that face that immediately draws attention. She is not conventionally attractive yet she possesses that serene confidence that only comes with life experience. In Aparisyon, she is devastating as a promising young nun whose dreams are crushed by a random act of violence.

  1. Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino, Requieme! (2012)

90 Shamaine Requieme

Character: Swanie, a barangay captain who turns a high-profile crime into a vote-generating opportunity

Buencamino, along with theater contemporary Adlawan, has successfully straddled the worlds of theater, TV, and independent film.  In Loy Arcenas’ tragicomic Requieme!, she displays both expert comedic timing and touching pathos as a woman who desperately needs emotional closure.

  1. Archie Alemania, Slumber Party (2012)

89 Archie Slumber Party

Character: Jhana, an outrageous gay man who becomes party to a hostage-taking

Violence should never be funny, but Alemania, in a riotous performance as a lascivious molester, sure missed the memo and is not apologizing for it.

  1. Opaline Santos, The Natural Phenomenon of Madness (2011)

88 Opaline Madness

Character: Unnamed, a woman coping with the impacts of a traumatic sexual violence

Only an actor as unafraid to be unlikeable as Santos could have pulled off her brave performance as a rape victim who, after a couple of years, is still in love with her rapist.

  1. Eugene Domingo, Instant Mommy (2013)

87 Eugene Instant Mommy

Character: Bechayda, a woman who pretends she is pregnant to keep her foreigner boyfriend

Domingo has emerged over the last decade as arguably the country’s biggest female comic draw and her talent is in full display here as she plays a family breadwinner who has to keep up appearances in fear of losing her man.

  1. Dido dela Paz, Amok (2011)

86 Dido Amok

Character: Dido, a sidewalk vendor who runs amok in Pasay Rotonda

Theater vet dela Paz is a horny husband one moment and a menacing hooligan the next in Lawrence Fajardo’s riveting portrait of a sweaty, throbbing, chaotic Pasay. The moment dela Paz’s character loses his temper, we know bad things will happen.

  1. Arron Villaflor, Astro Mayabang (2010)

85 Arron Astro

Character: Astro, a brash, xenophobic teenager who finds himself falling for a Filipino-American

Villaflor burst onto the local film scene with his sure-footed portrayal of a young buck who overcompensates for his impotence with hollow braggadocio.

  1. Jodi Sta. Maria, Chassis (2010)

84 Jodi Chassis

Character: Nora, a young mother forced into prostitution by dire circumstances

“Jodi Sta. Maria performs in almost every scene. She is the spark that gives Chassis life and flesh-and-blood realism. Her Nora is a portrait of a mother consumed by love for her daughter—a love powerful enough to drive her to the extreme. Similarly, Jodi pushes her limits in portraying a character radically different from anything she has done on TV and movies. She downplays the determination of her character for a haunting effect, and then bares her emotions in the heart-wrenching final act.” – Fidel Antonio Medel

  1. Irma Adlawan, Transit (2013)

83 Irma Transit

Character: Janet, an OFW mother who needs to keep her teenage daughter from being deported by Israeli authorities

Adlawan demonstrates her acting skills in a restrained performance as a mother torn between respecting the choices of her Hebrew-speaking daughter and instilling in her more Filipino values.

  1. Sue Prado, Mga Dayo (2012)

82 Sue Mga Dayo

Character: Alexandria Caballero, a boyish newspaper photographer in Guam forced to enter a green-card marriage

“Sa dulo, nakarating sa akin ang lungkot ng mga karakter at hindi maiikailang malaki ang naiambag dito nina Sue Prado at Olga Natividad. Sa katunayan, kapag naaalala ko ang mga eksena nila, nakukurot pa rin ako. Para sa akin, naibigay nila ang pinakamahusay na pagganap sa buong festival.” – Manuel Pangaruy

  1. Dick Israel, Badil (2013)

81 Dick Badil

Character: Ponso, a local politician’s trusted aide

“Recently recovered from a stroke, Israel’s slump and slurred speech do not diminish but instead add to his role’s respectability and gravitas. It takes extreme charisma to command the screen even when the body is failing, and Israel, bless his heart, has it in spades.” – SCL

*

PART 2: Nos. 80 to 61

PART 3: Nos. 60 to 41

PART 4: Nos. 40 to 21

PART 5: Nos. 20 to 11

PART 6: Nos. 10 to 1

INDIVIDUAL BALLOTS

The Trial

The TrialVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.25 (4 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Chito Roño

Writer: Kriz Gazmen, Enrico Santos

Cast: John Lloyd Cruz, Jessy Mendiola, Gretchen Barretto, Richard Gomez, Sylvia Sanchez, Vincent de Jesus, Enrique Gil

Synopsis: Ronald (John Lloyd Cruz) is a developmentally delayed adult working towards an elementary school diploma at the university where he works as a gardener. He receives tutoring from teacher Bessy (Jessy Mendiola), with whom he is in love. A video emerges of the two of them depicting what very much appears to be a rape. Charges are filed against Ronald, and he is confronted with the possibility of being sent to prison. The story is mainly told from the perspectives of Amanda and Julian (Gretchen Barretto and Richard Gomez), the parents of a deceased friend of Ronald. The two have a marriage that’s fallen apart, and they’re in the process of separating when this case suddenly pops up. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: R-13

Running time: 130 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

4.0         Bernard Santos (My Movie World)

“Ang ganda ng istorya ng pelikula na umikot talaga sa pagmamahal at masasabi natin at the end of the film na ang lahat at may karapatan magmahal at mahalin anuman ang katayuan o kalagayan nito sa buhay.” (Read full review)

3.5         Spot.ph

The Trial is a compressed telenovela. All the good bits are preserved and nothing is stretched so far that the sensibilities get lost.” (Read full review)

3.0         Skilty Labastilla (Pinoy Rebyu)

The Trial is an engaging, if a bit high-strung, family/courtroom melodrama that features a ferocious supporting turn by Sylvia Sanchez as John Lloyd Cruz’s father.”

2.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

The Trial is compelling enough, but it remains an uneasy proposition. It’s laudable that it even attempts to tell this kind of story, but it’s kind of disappointing that it leaves so much of this premise unexplored.” (Read full review)

Asintado

AsintadoVerdict: Do Something Else

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 1.77 (13 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Director: Louie Ignacio

Writer: Socorro Villanueva

Cast: Aiko Melendez, Gabby Eigenmann, Miggs Cuaderno, Rochelle Pangilinan, Jake Vargas, Benjie Felipe, Madz Nicholas, Maita Ejercito, Jak Roberto

Synopsis: In the middle of the preparation for Taong Putik Festival, a young man penniless and in love, takes on a drug courier job that goes terribly wrong. To save him, his mother now makes the most difficult decision of her life.

MTRCB rating: R-13

Running time: 105 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

3.0         Nood.ph

“Melendez, in her big-screen comeback, proves she still has acting chops to portray a widow that has the worst stroke of luck. Vargas’ performance is also commendable.” (Read full review)

3.0         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

“Overall it’s a decent film that manages to deliver an interesting story, but is hampered by a slow start and an ending that strains the viewer’s suspension of disbelief.” (Read full review)

2.5         Patricia Denise Chiu (GMA News)

Asintado succeeds in telling the story it wants to tell. But it ends there, missing the mark for a potentially larger narrative that could have explored distinctly Filipino familial relationships amid personal tragedies.” (Read full review)

2.0         Zig Marasigan (Rappler)

“The script relies too much on exposition and very little on action, with the story picking up too late to feel relevant. What should have been an exploration of redemption, sacrifice and moral ambiguity ends up as a wasted opportunity to share something genuinely insightful.” (Read full review)

2.0         Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special Presents)

“Promising ang umpisa sa pagiging talky ng mga nakatira sa purok (mga tsismisan at iba pa) at bumabad ang camera sa mga ganitong eksena. Hindi masama. Nag-umpisa lang dumating ang delubyo nang nararamdaman mo nang nagaganap na ang premonition na nakita mo sa unang sampung minuto. At hindi nga nagkamali. Ang masama rito ay ubod ng sama. Ang mabuti, ubod ng buti.” (Read full review)

2.0         Jansen Musico (Philippine Star)

“The characters, as if plucked from a dreary Dramarama sa Hapon episode, lay the groundwork brick by banal brick before we, the audience, get rewarded with a brisk and arresting final act ushered in by consistently strong performances from Melendez and Cuaderno.” (Read full review)

1.5         Emil Hofilena (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“For all the ambition Asintado had, the production is really a letdown. It’s as if it ran out of budget at a certain point. And this is one movie that died in the postproduction stage. The editing was so bad, I don’t know what happened.” (Watch full review)

1.5         Nicol Latayan (Tit for Tat)

Asintado seems like a late entry from Ignacio to join the poverty porn bordering on social commentary bandwagon that has already gotten old many years ago. Much of it feels contrived and tries way too hard to be taken seriously whether it’s the darker complexion of the characters, their appear one time slash disappear another accents, the situations of the characters up to the pivotal resolution part.” (Read full review)

1.5         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“The direction doesn’t know how to handle even its lightest moments in a convincing or interesting fashion, and much less so when it goes into darker territory. It doesn’t help that its main characters are incredibly dumb, and that its heftiest conflict arises from the contrivance of their idiocy.” (Read full review)

1.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“There are all sorts of clumsy storytelling choices along the way, the film exhibiting little control over the tone of its scenes. There’s a soap opera quality to all of it, the scenes often lingering a little too long on a reaction, as if waiting to cut to a commercial break.” (Read full review)

1.0         Richard Bolisay (Lilok Pelikula)

“One can only scowl at how proud it is of its stale stereotypes and trite plot turns, but Louie Ignacio is disposed to make things worse, revealing one rotten cliché after another, until it reaches this laughable conclusion and embarrassing postscript.” (Read full review)

1.0         Carl Papa (Whatever Carl)

“A lot went wrong in this film. It had a weird, unintentionally funny and borderline silly but still trying to be serious story.  Uber exposed and TV looking cinematography (but heck some TV shows look better than this). Wooden acting. And the list goes on.” (Read full review)

1.0         Armando dela Cruz (Film Police)

“Awash in earthen and dusty tones, Asintado essentially propels from one overlong reaction shot to the next, calling it a ‘narrative.’” (Read full review)

Tumbang Preso

TumbangVerdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.60 (5 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Kip Oebanda

Cast: Kokoy de Santos, Kean Cipriano, Teri Malvar, Ronnie Lazaro, Dominic Roco, Star Orjaliza, Kerbie Zamora, Jaclyn Jose, Shamaine Buencamino, Ron Cieno

Synopsis: Carlo (Kokoy de Santos) and his younger cousin Jea (Teri Malvar) work inside a sardine factory. They spend their days under inhumane conditions stuffing sardines into cans, tearing up their hands on the sharp edges of the containers, and sleeping every night in a tiny locked room with all the other workers. They were recruited into this line of work under false pretenses, tricked into joining the work force with promise of a scholarship in Manila. While the rest of the workers in the factory are resigned to this life, Carlo dreams of escape. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 110 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

3.5         Dicot Alvarado (Letterboxd)

“It doesn’t quite reach the emotional heights needed for its characters, but when it comes to the presenting a picture of the dark place where these characters are trapped in, it can get it extremely well, which makes the film terribly engaging.” (Read full review)

3.0         Nood.ph

“There are some magical moments in cinematography in this movie. It is also full of cinematic devices that they tell you about in film class: strong opening and closing shots that are linked together, parallelism and contrast between reality and fantasy, shots that foreshadow later events, strong use of lighting to set the mood, motifs.” (Read full review)

2.5         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film settles for what’s obvious and what’s righteous. While that makes the movie correct, it doesn’t make it compelling.” (Read full review)

2.0         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

“If relevance is the only barometer for quality, then Oebanda’s debut work has it in the can. The truth of the matter is that the both the film’s excesses and deficiencies make it less compelling than the advocacy it proudly champions.” (Read full review)

2.0         Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

Tumbang Preso is well intentioned, but it is hobbled by so many shortcomings, both narrative and technical, you eventually end up with a lot less sympathy.” (Read full review)

Dementia

dementia-posterVerdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.25 (18 ratings)

Genre: Suspense, Drama

Director: Percival Intalan

Writers: Renei Dimla, Jun Lana

Cast: Nora Aunor, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Bing Loyzaga, Chynna Ortaleza, Yul Servo, Althea Vega, Jeric Gonzales, Lou Veloso, Lui Manansala

Synopsis: Rachel (Jasmine Curtis-Smith) and her parents Elaine and Rommel (Bing Loyzaga and Yul Servo) move back to the Philippines from the US to help take care of her aunt Mara (Nora Aunor), who is suffering from Dementia. They bring her to their old family home in Batanes, hoping that the familiar surroundings will help with her ailment. And living in the house does unearth a few old memories, but they bring with them strange apparitions and terrible consequences for Mara and her family. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: PG

Running time: 100 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

4.0         Arvin Mendoza (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Dementia is heart-wrenching poetry in picture. Its visual verses beguile the senses to absorb the character’s prosaic state, rhymed with its aural rhythms lulling the terror that looms ahead.” (Read full review)

4.0         Eric Cabahug (InterAksyon)

Dementia is that rare Filipino horror drama that packs a solid emotional wallop. You won’t forget it soon after leaving the theater. A lot of it has to do with debuting filmmaker Perci Intalan’s mostly firm grip on his material and his relatively sophisticated approach in presenting it.” (Read full review)

4.0         Lyndon Maburaot (Table Stretcher)

“Perci Intalan is precise down to the dot, his achievement here are his pacing and control of the material, so unbelievable for a first-time helmer. His sensibility is obviously mainstream, giving in to the demands of the genre: banshee, jump scare, dolls. But it is during his quieter scenes that he shows ability, the deftness is in the way he blocks a scene and how he positions the camera with regards to the characters.” (Read full review)

4.0         Fred Hawson (Fred Said)

Dementia does not have the garish and noisy shock effects that we see in most mainstream Filipino horror films. Instead, its unnerving quietness which effectively communicates a sense of danger, on top of the compelling lead performance of Ms. Nora Aunor, gives this film high marks of cinematic excellence.” (Read full review)

4.0         Macky Macarayan (The FilmSoc Report)

“Cinematographer Mackie Galvez (Sana Dati) captures the visual tone that complements the story’s demands, and levels with the acting caliber of Nora Aunor.” (Read full review)

4.0         A Moot Point

“A rarity in Pinoy horror genre, Dementia stays away from blood & hysterics, instead, it capitalizes on the gothic setting & tension. Nora Aunor blows us away with her mesmerizing non-verbal performances, that we pardon the average plot  – something that the usual nitpicking critic will tear apart if it wasn’t for Aunor’s superb acting and Intalan’s impressive direction.” (Read full review)

3.5         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

Dementia has a lot of breathing space, a lot of protracted moments for thought and pondering. This is clearly a thinking man’s horror film.” (Read full review)

3.5         Rob San Miguel (Brun Philippines)

“Similar to Joel Lamangan’s Hustisya, Aunor is burdened by a thin script so she has to make do with trite lines spoken in between her quite moments. Fortunately, Intalan was smart enough to focus the camera on Aunor near the climax of the film.” (Read full review)

3.5         Armando dela Cruz (Film Police)

Dementia is a thing of curious alchemy…It is not a story strictly about the haunted, but of fractured psyches and corrupted moralities.” (Read full review)

3.5         Irvin Malcolm Contreras (A Girl and a Gun)

“It is essentially a pretty rote, standard horror film with all the familiar narrative beats. But this film benefits from the acting talent of one of the Philippines’ best actresses, Nora Aunor who gives the pulpy material its weight and substance. It is worth seeing for that alone (and for the travelogue-esque on-location cinematography).” (Read full review)

3.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“The film is solid enough, with its handsome production work and talented cast keeping the film watchable through the narrative’s lack of cohesion. It’s just that there’s a nagging sense that there could have been more.” (Read full review)

3.0         Julia Allende (PEP)

“With its paper-thin storyline, the film relied mostly on surprises, on strategically placed apparitions to make the heart lurch and the ears reverberate with ghostly sound effects.” (Read full review)

3.0         Nood.ph

“Bilang manonood, hindi ka magsa-suffer sa panonood ng Dementia dahil ang haba nito ay akma sa takbo ng kwento. Malinis ang pagkakakwento ng mga pangyayari, hindi ka iiwang hanging sa kahit anong punto.” (Read full review)

3.0         John Tawasil (Present Confusion)

Dementia is an okay film that I recommend seeing more than once, just to see the nuances in Nora Aunor’s acting after the revelation at the end. As a horror film it is pretty run of the mill, but as a psychological film it is quite effective.” (Read full review)

2.5         Tito Genova Valiente (Business Mirror)

“Nora Aunor as Mara is not served at all by the cinematography. The long minutes of Mara in the isolation of the landscape fail to capture the delineation of an actor who is able to sublimate all kinds of theatricality to serve an intense recipe of homegrown guilt and hurt. The story is promising; could it have been the screenplay that neglected to honor the presence of a great actor?” (Read full review)

2.5         Renelson Morelos (Ramblings of a Film Urchin)

Dementia could have been better than it is. Intalan knows how to sway viewers into a ‘false’ belief by creating mood and tension in accordance with the horror genre. It’s in how the ‘trick’ is finally let out of the bag, something that is inappropriately downplayed rather than packed with a visceral whallop, that douses cold water over the previously fever-pitch proceedings.” (Read full review)

2.0         Urbantribe.ph

“If you’re looking for a ‘scary movie,’ it is a bit difficult to recommend Dementia. It has a strong cast, lovely cinematography, and notable sound design, but it just lacks the punch.” (Read full review)

1.5         Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

“Effective horror plays to our psyche, not bullyrag our auditory senses. And a story teller creates an atmosphere of impending doom. Lesser equipped film makers resort, on the other hand, to cheaper artifice, by creating ‘sudden noises’ – the ones that actually break eardrums!” (Read full review)

Ibong Adarna: A Pinoy Adventure

Ibong AdarnaVerdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.21 (7 ratings)

Genre: Adventure

Director: Jun Urbano

Writers: Jun Urbano, Angelo Hernandez

Cast: Rocco Nacino, Leo Martinez, Joel Torre, Angel Aquino, Benjie Paras, Lilia Cuntapay, Patricia Fernandez, Ronnie Lazaro

Synopsis: Sultan Mabait (Joel Torre) rules over a small kingdom of warring tribes. His scheming brother Datu Mangimbot (Leo Martinez) asks a witch to place a curse on the Sultan, striking him with a mysterious illness. Mabait’s son Sigasig (Rocco Nacino) goes on a quest to find the mythical Ibong Adarna, whose song can cure any ailment. The dangerous journey has the young hero facing stormy seas, dense jungles, a savage tribe, magical fairies, and the bird itself, which may be the most fearsome threat of all. (Click the City)

MTRCB rating: G

Running time: 90 mins

Trailer: 

Reviews:

4.0         Philbert Dy (Click the City)

Ibong Adarna isn’t a perfect film by any means, but even its missteps are kind of endearing. The movie has a very distinct voice, a sort of classical approach that is sorely missing from a lot of comparable local G-rated movies.” (Read full review)

3.0         Oggs Cruz (Rappler)

“It seems that Urbano believes that there is a certain level of consistency in how children see the world, that despite the constantly changing politics and philosophies of the world, children would still appreciate the utter simplicity and frankness of a morally-grounded fairy tale.” (Read full review)

2.5         Benedict Bartolome (PEP)

Ibong Adarna the Pinoy Adventure aimed to elevate the Filipino movie viewing experience by bringing culture and dignity to the screen but it ultimately falls back to tried and true simple comedy.” (Read full review)

2.0         Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

“There are moments that for a split second take you back to your childhood. But these are way too fleeting to really indulge or enjoy. Once reality slaps you right back, you realize that, in this film adaptation, there isn’t much to munch on other than its predictable strain.” (Read full review)

2.0         Nood.ph

“Hindi ko alam kung dahil aimed at kids ang pelikulang ito, pero medyo nakakainis na sa una palang ay kita mo na kung sino ang masama at kung sino ang mabuti. Kalimutan man natin ang super-obvious na name suggestions, masyadong clear-cut kung kanino ka dapat mag-root.” (Read full review)

1.0         Fred Hawson (Fred Said)

“The acting was terribly cheesy, way beneath the known talents of the actors gathered for this project. The visual effects were like the quality of a regular TV fantasy program only, no effort for believability and obviously cartoonish. They do not inspire awe nor wonder at all, even for the kids.” (Read full review)

1.0         Emil Hofileña (Cinemil Movie Reviews)

“There’s no tension, there’s no sense of wonder to anything. You’re just seeing things unfold. Same goes for the characters. You should not settle for archetypes, even if they were in the source material.” (Watch video review)

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