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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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NEW YORK — It was the moan heard around the world.
LOS ANGELES — The much-anticipated new version of animated movie classic The Lion King landed with a whimper rather than a roar on Thursday with critics hailing it as visually impressive but tame in terms of character and storytelling.
SUREFIRE crowd-pullers once again dominate the first four film entries for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), which is set to run from Dec. 25 to Jan. 7 in cinemas nationwide.
THE satirical comedy, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, is back for a third installment. This time the cult favorite tackles the issue of historical revisionism, with comic Eugene Domingo playing herself as a director and main actress in a Josephine Bracken biopic.
LOS ANGELES — Superheroes were once again around to save the day as Spider-Man: Far From Home ignited a much-needed boost in the domestic box office. The web-slinging adventure easily dominated in North America, delivering a $185 million debut from 4,636 venues during its first six days in theaters.
STANLEY KUBRICK, reportedly dismayed by the poor box office of Barry Lyndon, decided his next project would be a horror film; he skimmed through the first few pages of a stack of books (tossing those that failed to hold his attention in a growing pile), and ultimately settled on Stephen King’s The Shining, about a haunted hotel that turns an alcoholic father against his wife and telepathic son.
LOS ANGELES — British rock band Queen sold more albums in North America than any other artist in the first half of 2019, as music featured in movies and television sent streaming and downloads soaring.
AFTER months of consultations with industry stakeholders and the general public, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has released a memorandum circular which will move the opening days for local and foreign films from Wednesday to Friday and ensures a minimum seven-day run for every film booked in theaters starting July.
SEOUL — South Korean actors Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong-ki are splitting up less than two years after their fairytale marriage, the couple said on Thursday, shocking fans across Asia.
SOUTH KOREAN actor Park Bo Gum concluded his multi-country fan meet tour which started in Seoul and ended in Manila on June 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena (MOA) in Pasay City.
NOW ON its 22nd year, the Eiga Sai Japanese Film Festival presents a selection of 17 full-length features from a variety of genres to “show not only one side of Japanese culture,” said an organizer.
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).
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’ 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.
ROME — Franco Zeffirelli, who directed the world’s greatest opera singers and brought Shakespeare to the cinema-going masses, has died. He was 96.
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.