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QCinema announces docu lineup for 2019

A 41-year-old man learning his ABCs, a woman living her life between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, and an alien recounting the lives of Filipino men and women — these stories highlight the lineup of documentary films for this year’s DocQC category at the QCinema International Film Festival (QCinema).

Buy Bust is big winner at Gawad Urian

ERIK MATTI’S BUY BUST, a “zombie-like action” film about the current administration’s war on drugs, won Best Picture and three technical awards (Cinematography, Production Design, and Music) at the 42nd Gawad Urian awards night on Tuesday at UP’s Cine Adarna.

ALV Films releases 2nd film in ambitious 12-film line-up

ALV Films’ second film for the year, Because I Love You, is a Cinderella story about a feisty, street-smart firefighter who falls in love with a wealthy heir. It opens in cinemas nationwide on June 26.

Hollywood’s sequel factory churns out summer duds

MORE than a month into the summer movie season, one thing has become clear: Many of Hollywood’s sequels, reboots, and reimaginings are falling flat.

Franco Zeffirelli, Italian film and opera director, 96

ROME — Franco Zeffirelli, who directed the world’s greatest opera singers and brought Shakespeare to the cinema-going masses, has died. He was 96.

4 contemporary Spanish films to be shown

ON JUNE 20 and 21, Instituto Cervantes and the Embassy of Spain will present “Contemporáneos,” a film cycle featuring four contemporary Spanish films. The screenings will take place at the UP Film Institute in UP Diliman, Quezon City.

The courage needed for Pride

FRANKLIN Delano Roosevelt is believed to have said: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

Ai-Ai’s latest comedy tackles fitting in with Millennials

OLDER PEOPLE trying fit in with millennials and eventually finding love with each other is the crux of the story of Rechie del Carmen’s comedy Feelennial which opens on June 19 in cinemas nationwide.

Comic book hero

LAMBERTO AVELLANA’s Lapu-Lapu (1955) is about as straightforward a biopic as you can get about the famed Mactan warrior, other than the fact that this was adapted from Francisco Coching’s highly romanticized (to put it mildly) komiks (comics) serial.

Trouble in Y’allywood: Abortion law rattles No. 1 film state in...

NO ONE meant for this to happen: That’s the quiet buzz in Georgia’s film and business communities this week, as more major Hollywood studios threatened to leave the US’s top movie and television production state because of its new abortion ban.

Men in Black Hemsworth and Thompson suit up for 4th installment...

MOSCOW — The Men in Black are back — wearing the same suits and sunglasses but different faces.

Godzilla from radioactive colossus to unlikely climate hero

LONDON — Ever since Godzilla first rampaged across cinema screens 65 years ago, film critics have seen the reptilian anti-hero as a symbol of the fears gnawing away in the deepest recesses of moviegoers’ minds.

Stream with Pride: Netflix’ suggestions for Pride Month

IN celebration of Pride Month this June, Netflix has come up with a list of movies and shows about how love and family come in all colors and stories.

Filipino and Panitikan: We found them at the movies

DESPITE the hue and cry on social media about the banishing of Filipino and Panitikan (Philippine Literature) from the G.E. (General Education) curriculum, these weren’t even required subjects during much of the last century. Filipino Literature (classics like Balagtas’ Ibong Adarna or translations of Rizal’s Noli and Fili) was taught in high school, and Balarila (Filipino Grammar) in the elementary grades. This was way before the millennials’ time. Today’s high school SAP (Special Arts Program) syllabus may include digital filmmaking. Anyone with a smart phone can be a filmmaker or actor, using social media to distribute one’s creations. The recent scholarly conference “Interseksyon: Pelikula, Panitikan at Wikang Filipino” drew an unexpected crowd which necessitated changing the original venue from the UP Mass Comm Auditorium to the much larger Cine Adarna. National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Vice-Chair Teddy Co cited film and TV as the convergence of various art forms (e.g., performing arts, literature) with new technologies.

Relationships and family are the focus of the French Film Festival

FOR ITS 24th year, the French Film Festival will have a slate of 15 films which “explore the depths of human relationships and the importance of family.”

Elton slams Russian cuts to Rocketman gay scenes

LOS ANGELES — Elton John on Friday criticized Russia’s reported censorship of gay sex scenes in the new movie musical based on his life, Rocketman, calling the decision “cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.”

Box Office: Aladdin taking flight with $105 million in North America

DISNEY’S live-action Aladdin is flying high with an estimated $105 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Rocketman builds on new music biopic

LONDON — With hit tunes, a plot about one of the world’s best known performers and flamboyant costumes, Rocketman brings Elton John’s story to the big screen, the latest musical biopic offering a concert-like experience at the cinema.

Darkly comic Parasite gets critics buzzing at Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, France — Parasite, a thriller that doubles up as a wickedly funny satire about class struggles, has upped the ante at the Cannes Film Festival, with South Korean director Bong Joon-ho emerging as an strong contender for an award after impressing critics.

Craig to have ankle surgery; Bond remains on schedule

LOS ANGELES — James Bond actor Daniel Craig will undergo ankle surgery after injuring himself while filming the spy franchise’s latest installment, but the movie remains on schedule for an April 2020 release, producers said on Wednesday.

Quietly, delicately breaking our heart

GIVE IT to master Filipino filmmaker Lamberto Avellana: he knows how to start a picture. Badjao had a horn blown to gather a village of house canoes, forming a seaborne village; Huk sa Bagong Pamumuhay began with a detonating grenade; Anak Dalita evoked Roberto Rossellini in neorealist mode, tracing the ruin of a church from its fractured belfry to the people teeming at the base of its crumbling walls. Kundiman ng Lahi (Folksong, 1959), Avellana’s last film for LVN studios, trumps them all I think: no blown horn, no explosives, no church ruins, just the monotonous thumping of a wood pestle milling rice in a mortar. An obvious symbol — we’re the rice, the husk (our innocence, our sensitivity) pounded out of us by the relentless pestle — but also a sexual one, the phallic pestle pounding into the accepting mortar, turning hard seed into tender food.

What to see this week

3 films to see on the week of May 24 — May 30, 2019

Survivor type

YET ANOTHER Lamberto Avellana film on Mike de Leon’s Citizen Jake vimeo site, this one arguably his most famous: Anak Dalita, or Child of Sorrow (1956).

A whole new version of ‘A Whole New World’

IN 1992, Filipino singer Lea Salonga, having just made a splash on Miss Saigon, got what many believed was a gig of a lifetime — a chance to sing what was sure to be a worldwide hit for a Disney animated movie. “A Whole New World” from Aladdin introduced her — or at least her voice — to a new generation of fans worldwide.

Will Smith brings own Genie to new Aladdin

LONDON — Hollywood star Will Smith was reluctant at first to play Genie in the live-action remake of Disney’s Aladdin as it meant following in the big footsteps of late comedian Robin Williams who voiced the character in the 1992 animated film.

Disney delays Avatar 2, sets dates for new Star Wars films

LOS ANGELES — Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday pushed back the release of James Cameron’s sequel to box-office champion Avatar by a year, to December 2021, and announced debut dates for new Star Wars films starting in December 2022.

Avengers: Endgame fastest film to hit $2 billion in the box...

LOS ANGELES — Disney’s Avengers: Endgame became the fastest film to gross $2 billion globally in just 11 days, crushing Avatar’s record of 47 days internationally. The Marvel juggernaut now stands as the second-biggest movie of all time with $2.188 billion worldwide.

Viva joins Lionsgate’s international film group

GLOBALGATE Entertainment, the local-language film consortium of American entertainment company Lionsgate, has added the Philippines’ Viva Communications, Inc. to its 13-country entertainment network which signal’s Viva’s strengthening efforts to make its productions available to the international market.

Five years later, sequel to Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa to screen...

IF Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa (2015) became a cult favorite because of its “rawness” as described by the film’s director, its sequel — which comes four years after the first — is anything but as Nestor Abrogena wanted to make Tayo sa Huling Buwan ng Taon, which opens in cinemas on May 8, something more than its predecessor.

Twilight rises again, this time as a concert tour

LOS ANGELES — Twilight is coming back from the dead with a live concert that will tour the world.

Avengers: Endgame shatters PHL box-office records

THE final film of Marvel’s Avengers Infinity saga, Avengers: Endgame, shattered Philippine box- office records as it posted P937.5 million over the four days since it opened on April 24, making it the film with the biggest opening weekend of all time.

Films on the impact of technology on modern life to be...

A COLLECTION of animated science fiction films which focus on the impact of technology on modern life and its political and ideological concerns is featured this month at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Museum of Contemporary Art and Design.

World turns out for record Avengers: Endgame movie debut

LOS ANGELES — Fans around the globe packed movie theaters for the debut of Avengers: Endgame over the weekend, pushing total ticket sales for the Walt Disney Co. superhero spectacle to a stunning $1.2 billion and crushing records in dozens of countries.

Rom-com Hypothalamus is big winner at FAMAS awards

DWEIN BALTAZAR’S romantic comedy Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus bagged the Filipino Academy for Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards’ top categories including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, beating Filipino auteur Lav Diaz’s rock opera Ang Panahon ng Halimaw for Best Picture and Best Director.

Brocka and Philippine electoral politics: Passions big and small

LINO BROCKA would have been 80 this April, if he hadn’t been killed in a car crash on May 21, 1991. He was only 52, and had directed around that many films too in the last two decades of his life, though his oeuvre also spanned TV and the legitimate stage, both as an actor and a director, and occasionally, even as a writer. His creative output is probably unequalled by any other Filipino artist in those fields. He was bluntly matter-of-fact about having to grind out five cinematic potboilers to subsidize each worthwhile passion project, such as Insiang (1976), the first Filipino film to be shown at the Cannes Directors Fortnight.

Tolkien film looks at the early years of the Lord of...

LONDON — J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastical world of hobbits, elves, and orcs have won over fans around the world in the decades since The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings stories were published.

Superheroes and a king may set movie records for Disney

LOS ANGELES — The final chapter in a decade-long superhero saga and the remake of a big-screen classic could topple box-office records during a summer movie season expected to be dominated by Walt Disney Co.

Netflix, streaming services win Oscars cinema rule fight

IN A WIN for Netflix, Amazon, and other internet streaming services, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted not to change its rules for winning an Oscar, Hollywood’s top prize.

Superpsychocebu: God Bless This Trip

SUPERPSYCHOCEBU has been touted as the first Pinoy stoner film. It’s a wonder that it ever got made in a country with, notoriously, among the harshest penalties for marijuana possession and use. On the other hand, House Bill 180 on medical marijuana and the bill to revive the death penalty were passed practically together, one after the other. (The House approved the bill legalizing medical marijuana on Jan. 29 this year while the bill to resume capital punishment passed the House of Representatives in February 2017. Both stalled in the Senate. — Ed.)


THE FILM Badjao or The Sea Gypsies (1957) starts with an image of waves lapping onto shore, the divide between land and sea stretching diagonally across the screen. With his first frame Lamberto Avellana (collaborating with the great cinematographer Mike Accion) summarizes what the film will be all about: the tension between sand and surf, between people of differing loyalties, communities, ethnicities. A man standing beside a roof of dried palm raises his horn against a clouded sky and blows; cue the bombast (and lovely lilting melody) of Francisco Buencamino, Jr.’s theme music.

Contemporary art films the focus in Italian film fest

FOR ITS fourth year, the Moviemov Italian Film Festival is presenting a selection of art films at the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Cinematheque in Manila.

Fox PHL gambles on exorcism film

FOR ITS first foray into scripted entertainment, Fox Networks Group (FNG) Philippines, decided to take a gamble on Mark A. Meily’s Maledicto, a “character-driven horror film” about exorcism and a skeptical priest which is set to premiere on May 1 in cinemas nationwide.

The eagle has landed

HUNTING and deforestation are the two major causes of the decline in the number of Philippine eagles, said Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) Director for Research and Conservation Jayson Ibañez during the Q&A portion following a screening of the multi-awarded documentary Bird of Prey at Cine Adarna of the University of the Philippines recently.

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker sees return of emperor Palpatine

CHICAGO — The ninth film in the original Star Wars saga will be called The Rise of Skywalker, and will feature the return of the evil emperor Palpatine to threaten the young heroine Rey and the Resistance, Walt Disney Co. revealed on Friday.

Sex tape

JOSELITO ALTAREJOS’ Jino to Mari (Gino and Marie, 2019), about a pair of sex workers hired to do a Japanese porn film, is (to put it mildly) fairly explicit — about as explicit as a Filipino independent film probably gets nowadays without actually being porn.