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Drive-in movie launch as Japanese film fest moves online

THE POPULAR Japanese Film Festival (formerly known as Eiga Sai) has shifted to online for this year’s edition, though the opening film will follow in the steps of Cine Europa and be shown at the new SM Cinema by the Bay drive-in theater at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on Nov. 20 and 22.

Movie on in the new normal

ONE of the first things that came to mind with the dawn of this pandemic, and as social distancing became the new standard, was the following thought: This is a perfect opportunity for drive-in movies to come back in style! True enough, car enthusiasts — specifically those in car clubs — apparently thought of the same thing and worked on their concepts to delightfully usher in the revival of drive-in movies in the Philippines.

Wonder Woman director warns movie-going could become extinct

LOS ANGELES - Patty Jenkins’ new Wonder Woman movie has been delayed three times during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the director is sounding the alarm that movie-going itself is under real threat.

Facebook chides Netflix over portrayal in movie on social media

FACEBOOK has hit back at Netflix, accusing the The Social Dilemma documentary released earlier this year on the streaming platform of sensationalism.

FDCP issues guidelines for film, TV production shoots

THE Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) on Friday announced its guidelines for production shoots in the entertainment industry under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). These will include conducting casting via video and limiting production staff.

Entertainment in the time of COVID-19; Studios, networks release films and...

WITH THE whole of Luzon, including Metro Manila, under quarantine — the government is asking people to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — there’s not a lot to do while stuck at home aside from worrying. Fortunately, several studios and networks are either uploading full movies on YouTube for free or promoting their online portals to access full episodes of their series or films.

Parasite’s director did not want to sugarcoat inequality

SEOUL — The stark inequality between two South Korean families portrayed in the Oscar-winning film Parasite might make viewers uncomfortable but it was the “only path” to revealing cold reality, the film’s director, Bong Joon-ho, said on Wednesday.

Parasite backers gain $100M on film tackling inequality

PARASITE executive producer Miky Lee became an unlikely star of the 2020 Oscars when she accepted the award for best picture, praising director Bong Joon-ho and her brother Lee Jay-hyun.

Dark drama Joker leads BAFTA nominations with 11 nods

LONDON — Joker, a dark origins story about the comic book villain, led nominations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards on Tuesday, but Britain’s top movie honors drew criticism over the lack of diversity in the acting categories.

2019’s Best Movies (for lessons in Behavioral Economics)

Here’s what movie fans and insiders have been waiting for: the 2019 winners of the Behavioral Economics Oscars, known as the Becons. Isabelle Huppert, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ryan Gosling, and Jessica Chastain — where would they be without a prestigious Becon?

Not a laughing matter

I MISSED the first few minutes of The Mall, The Merrier, the first team-up of noontime show hosts and actors Vice Ganda and Anne Curtis-Smith. After sitting through it for two hours, I wish I had missed a larger part of it.

Film takes a look behind the scenes of filmmaking

A FILM about the unsung heroes of the film industry is what the Metro Manila Film Festival entry Write About Love is about, according to a production executive. The film explores the often personal journey a writer takes to create a screenplay.

The essential Christmas to-read and to-watch list

The holiday season is many Filipinos’ favorite time of the year for a reason. It checks everything off the list of qualities that defines...

Girl on Girl

THE PROSPECT of two spectacularly gorgeous, half-naked (but only their upper halves, for this movie is rated R-16) young women getting it on with each other for around a third of this nearly two-hour long feature, will surely draw in the curious crowds. However, the story of Adan, with its boldly unconventional take on the patriarchy, is more complicated than titillating, with artfully shot scenes of the taga-bundok (hillbilly) Ellen (Rhen Escano) gallivanting in sheer dresses which show off her nipples. She is practically unschooled. Her overly possessive father Lucas (Bembol Roco) was deeply traumatized by his wife’s Mara (Maui Taylor) taking off, and leaving him to raise their little daughter on his own. Thus, the mag-ama (family) have lived essentially as hermits for the last decade: off-the-grid, in near total rustic isolation, with only poultry and livestock for company.

Films on gay men, intersex person bag top prizes in film...

SILA-SILA, a film about gay men navigating through breakups and friendships, and Metamorphosis, a film about an intersex individual, won the top prizes — Best Picture and Best Director, respectively — at the recently concluded Cinema One Originals film festival.

Panama Papers law firm sues Netflix over film based on scandal

PANAMA CITY — Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm at the center of the “Panama Papers” scandal, has filed a lawsuit against Netflix Inc over its new movie based on the case, accusing the video streaming company of defamation and seeking to stop the film’s release.

Martin Scorsese says he wanted to ‘enrich’ past Robert De Niro...

LONDON — Martin Scorsese reunites with Robert De Niro in The Irishman, a 3-1/2 hour long mob drama the acclaimed director said he chose to do with his frequent collaborator to build on their past work together rather than replicate it.

Gen. Malvar’s great-grandson opposes upcoming film

A FILM about the life of General Miguel Malvar, the last general of the First Philippine Republic to surrendered to the American forces during the Philippine-American War, is facing opposition from the late general’s family with a great-grandson saying that they were not consulted regarding the biopic and that they initially thought the film was “fake news.”

Two Popes filmmakers hope Pope Francis is amused

LONDON — Director Fernando Meirelles is a fan of Pope Francis but says his new film, which tries to get into the head of the Argentine pontiff, also shows some of his weaknesses.

No kidding

YOU’D THINK the director of The Hangover doing an aggressively somber adaptation of an iconic comic-book character was a joke, but no. You’d think the movie being given an eight-minute standing ovation, then a Golden Lion at the 76th Venice Festival was meant to be an elaborate prank but apparently not.

Joker smashes Oct. record with $93.5-M debut

LOS ANGELES — Warner Bros.’ Joker laughed its way to a new record at the US domestic box office.

Gently go into that good night

LOLA IGNA by the acclaimed filmmaker Eduardo Roy, Jr. got the Best Picture and Best Screenplay (with Margarette Labrador as co-writer) awards for this year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. Its lead, the theater stalwart Angie Ferro, as the eponymous Lola Igna, won for Best Actress. Ms. Ferro, age 82, plays a 118-year-old woman who lives alone in a bamboo hovel without any indoor plumbing, amidst the rice fields of a fictitious rural barrio. Despite its deceptively bucolic setting, the film deals with such sobering topics as aging alone (because you have outlived most of your loved ones and friends), death, abandonment, and the narcissism of today’s youth.

’Tis a pity she’s a whore

HERE’S THE TWIST: this romcom deals, not with the usual BPO agents, medical professionals, corporate drones, teacher-trainers, restaurant waitstaff, or OFWs — any of the jobs most upwardly mobile millennials inevitably gravitate to — but with sex industry workers, colloquially known as pokpok. For those in the upper tiers, compensation runs into the low five figures per hour, which is the usual call center agent’s or bank teller’s starting monthly salary. At their peak, the pokpok might become tax-free millionaires many times over — within the four short years that might have been spent getting a college degree — which is something that most college-degree holder retirees with decades of service never get to.

Outrageous fortune

THE ACCLAIMED writer and director Rodolfo “Jun” Robles Lana once again proves his versatility and attention to craftsmanship as a director. The naughty but nice script by Ivan Payawal, is full of the usual cultural allusions, which have trickled down from the cornucopia of kabaklaan (Filipino Gay Culture), to enrich Filipino popular culture as a whole: e.g., the Panti patriarch’s (John Arcilla) legal wife is Nora (Carmi Martin) and his déclassé mistress is Vilma (Rosanna Roces). Apart from the obvious funny of the family name Panti, the eldest son Gabriel or Gabbi’s (Paolo Ballesteros) drag name is Vukaka and his culinary specialty is kare-kareng kokak (literally frog curry, but the joke is simply in the childish alliteration). Arcilla plays it straight and insists that his effeminate sons address him always as “Don Emilio.” He is a willing foil to everyone else. It is his character who sets the premise from which the entire film’s plot loopily spools out.

It sequel floats to $91 million

LOS ANGELES — Leave it to Pennywise to deliver a much-needed jolt to the domestic box office. Warner Bros. and New Line’s It: Chapter Two arrived with $91 million, a promising start after a lackluster summer moviegoing season.

Joker wins Venice Golden Lion

VENICE, Italy — Dark drama Joker about the origins of the villainous character won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, while Roman Polanski’s military drama about France’s notorious Dreyfus affair took the runner-up prize.

Financier for Joker has made movies into ultimate yield play

JASON CLOTH manages risk in his film-financing business just like he did as an investment banker, scrutinizing deals with one big question in mind: “How do I not get screwed?”

Hello, Love, Goodbye is now highest grossing PHL film ever

HELLO, LOVE, GOODBYE is now the highest-grossing Filipino film of all time after breaching the P880 million box office mark after more than a month in local and international cinemas.

Horror film replaces dropped (K)Ampon in MMFF lineup

THE Metro Manila Film Festival Executive Committee (MMFF Execom) has announced that Carlo Ledesma’s film Sunod will replace Kris Aquino’s comeback film (K)Ampon which was disqualified for making a casting change beyond the prescribed deadline.

OFW film in search of PHL audience

THE PRODUCERS of Still Human, a film about a Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong and her relationship with her disabled employer, are hoping to get a more widespread theatrical release in the country after its Philippine premiere in the recently concluded Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

Bollywood comes to the Shang

A FILM about a champion female boxer and the heroic deeds of a flight attendant who saved hundreds of passengers when a plane was hijacked are just some of the films featured in the first Mabuhay Bollywood film festival which runs from Aug. 23 to 25 at the Shangri-La Plaza mall in Mandaluyong City.

Disorder and early sorrow

VETERAN teleserye writer Arden Rod Condez’s directorial debut John Denver Trending is remarkable for its confidently concise, yet sensitively nuanced treatment of timely issues such as bullying (both physical and cyber), adolescent depression, fake news and the marginalization of social misfits, especially when they are poor. Condez is a master, not only of the written word but also of cinematic language. He elicits amazingly natural, complex and credible performances from his ensemble of mostly untrained, regular folks (his family and townmates from Pandan, Antique) who all manage to convey their very real though flawed humanity. We know these people.

Studio cancels The Hunt movie release after criticism

LOS ANGELES — Universal Pictures on Saturday canceled the release of The Hunt, a satirical thriller about a group of Americans who are captured to be hunted and killed for sport, following apparent criticism by President Donald Trump and a recent series of mass shootings.

Why make a dark comedy about suicide

SUICIDE RATES in Japan may have fallen — CNN reported in 2018 that the total number of suicides in the country fell to 21,321 in 2017 compared to a peak of 34,427 — but rookie director Kasumi Nojiri who directed Lying to Mom (2018) doesn’t believe in these numbers, saying that the number of people who committed suicide is probably misreported by the government.

Verdict is going to Venice

THE 2019 International Venice Film Festival has chosen Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’s Verdict as an official entry, making it the only Southeast Asian film to be chosen for the Horizons (Orizzonti) section.

Fast & Furious spin-off struggles to gain speed in cinema debut

HOBBS & SHAW, a spin-off from Universal Pictures’ successful Fast & Furious film series, got off to a slow start with North American fans, while still giving the studio one of its biggest openings of the year.

Vital signs

LIKE HIS first acclaimed Cinemalaya entry Kiko Boksingero (2017), writer-director Toph Nazareno once again brings us a deeply sympathetic and profound coming of age story. The motherless Edward (played by 15-year-old Louise Abuel who is totally amazing) must serve as his father Mario’s (Dido dela Paz) bantay or hospital bedside watcher — although in Philippine charity wards they do not sleep beside, but underneath, the patient’s bed, barely a hand’s breadth from the rusted steel matting bedframe, upon flattened cardboard boxes. They may only bathe between 4 to 6 a.m. Throughout the day and night, they must see to their patient’s feeding, hygiene, and medication, since there are not enough orderlies or nursing aides to do these tasks. Without the bantay, many patients would never make it.

A Minute With: Jason Statham, Idris Elba on Fast & Furious...

COLOGNE, Germany — Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham return as agent Hobbs and outcast Shaw in Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, their own spin-off in the hugely successful film franchise.

Good premise but…

IMAGINE waking up in a world where everything is the same, with one exception: Nobody has ever heard of The Beatles or any of their songs.

Avengers: Endgame to beat Avatar at box office

SAN DIEGO — Marvel Studios superhero movie Avengers: Endgame will claim the top of the global box office charts by Sunday, distributor Walt Disney Co. said.

Angelina Jolie in Eternals, Mahershala Ali in Blade highlight Marvel’s star-studded...

SAN DIEGO — Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios on Saturday unveiled a star-packed slate of superhero films for the next two years that includes Angelina Jolie in The Eternals, Mahershala Ali in a remake of Blade, and Natalie Portman as a female Thor.

The Lion King rules with $185 million US debut, $433 million...

LOS ANGELES — Simba and Mufasa reigned supreme this weekend as Disney’s The Lion King dominated box office charts. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the animated classic collected a massive $185 million from 4,756 North American theaters during its first three days of release.

Lion King: The power of consolidation in Hollywood

COME FOR the harmonic pairing of Beyoncé and Donald Glover as they sing the Elton John classics, stay for the comedic fireworks of Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner in Walt Disney’s live-action The Lion King.

Ten films for 15th Cinemalaya

A SURPRISING turn of events as a midwife applies to work abroad, a student’s act of theft turns into viral video, a robot’s friendship and adventure with a young boy, are among the diverse stories that will be told in this year’s Cinemalaya films.


KANETO SHINDO’s Kuroneko (Black Cat, 1968) is a horror film whose single most horrifying act occurs in the opening minutes.