Filthy Man-whores

Innocent stare

Dolores is a careless tale of a young girl’s loss of innocence. Even with the character’s fragile moment, the film has already shattered. Not only is it broken into pieces but pulverized to an imperceptible form. Reservations may be raised since the acts within the film are immoral. But that could also be a remarkable advantage of showing the ugly facet of carnal pleasures since it successfully disgusts the spectator. Sad to say, that is not the case. Dolores is a failure. It is in crude state when it is made and so it crumbles without notice.

Actually, Dolores starts with a good performance from Mailes Kanapi, the mother of Dolores, and then deteriorates pathetically into a Z-movie. Dolores (Lara Buenaventura) is a young lass that lives with an almost portrait-like semblance of a Filipino family in rural areas. She lives with her parents with two brothers around and her grandfather. One day, her mother Maila (Mailes Kanapi) decides to go abroad. But Maila has sharp eyes and senses that Dolores’ grandfather has a licentious liking with her daughter but just like a true Filipino, she does nothing. She is not at ease in leaving but is left no choice as she dreams to have a better life. She reminds her husband to be watchful of Dolores during her breast-baring souvenir-like coitus. After she leaves, his brother (Dido dela Paz) pays a visit and decides to stay as his devilish tiger eyes are already laid to Dolores.

Noel Casaje writes and directs this ubiquitous tale with the help of Jerry Garcia (screenplay). The idea is simple actually since it just explores innocence amongst the youth. But it has gone on the wrong side of the fence when it accentuated the lust aspect of the filthy men. It does not really hurt to polish the story. Surely no blood will burst out while ejaculating. Roughly and blatant like the idea of Casaje, that is how the film goes. Sometimes, it looks like a lampoon, and in a millisecond it appears to adapt a Z-movie kind of attitude. If that is their demonstration of our wildest desires, then it could have pushed the envelopes further. But it doesn’t as it still has a formless grip. The shape of the film is difficult to imagine more so comprehend it.

I am sure Dolores has good intentions to fully express the freedom filmmakers ought to have. But they should also be mindful that we are not in a Battle Royale arena. There is already no harmony in our local films so fusing in a little integrity might not hurt their ego. It exudes more of the selfish proclivities of the filmmaker in seeing the final product. How did he care for the characters? Was it superficial or over-the-top? Is it one-dimensional? Did the characters have true emotions? Or does it lack consistency? This could have been pondered over and over.

Dolores is the weakest and messiest film I have seen in the Cinemanila Digital Local Competition. The film’s effect is like speaking without any consonants. And the worst part is I have to make a review and extend the unspeakable qualities of the film. It could really make my review the worst I could possibly write. How I wish all films are good. Sometimes, laughing through could make the trick. Voila, Dolores is an enjoyable, funny and ‘wacky eerily crazy amorphous dark comedy – a new genre to behold. Not!

Charlie Koon's Rating:

Listen to me

Bleeding Ears

It is now true that we could make a Hollywood kind of film not that that is a meritorious feat. Yam Laranas remakes his own film Sigaw (Shout) and advance it further for the world to see. The Echo (Alingawngaw) is the result. Although it is not even near its translation, I think it is more appropriate to the feel of the film. The film’s subtle vibrations is spot-on at the start and progresses to a coherent and rip-roaring highlight of our very own Iza Calzado. The Echo is a mood-bestowed horror thriller that begins with a sigh and ends speed high.

Bobby (Jesse Bradford) is an ex-convict who moves to an apartment building where his mother resides when she was alive. The death is quite mysterious and little by little, Bobby notices weird stuff in the apartment. Later on, he meets Carly (Jamie Bloch), his previous girlfriend. Carly is hesitant to rekindle the past affair but changes her mind after a while. While fixing the relationship he have with Carly, he starts to hear noises from the apartment. Strangely, it is a voice of a woman who is getting beaten by her husband. As the story dwells unto the mysteries deeper, not only the echo becomes clear; violent revelations will be witnessed if you choose not to listen.

The pivotal role Iza Calzado plays is Gina, a battered wife that asks for Bobby’s help. There is something weird in her manifestations. This is same with her daughter who plays her fancy piano along the corridor of the building. Although it is not implied, Gina could be a Filipina; well she is played by one, obviously. She is helpless and lonely. But in her eyes, we could see her lovely stares that evanesce within the begrimed walls and her sullen appearance. Calzado reprises her role with radiance, caught unaware that a battered look could still be damn gorgeous. It is my pleasure to help her out in that situation. But no single soul cares for the weeping beauty and the trouble slowly rises.

Eric Burnt and Shintaro Shimosawa supervises the screenplay Yam Laranas made together with Roy Iglesias. The improvements are more likely an expected result since it ought to be credulous even for remakes. And I think it is the best way to showcase the great aspects of the original idea. It really is a great accomplishment for Yam Laranas to bring to light how The Echo should be made into a film. Just like an echo, it is hard to capture where it comes and he wants the film to linger in our senses from all directions. And we have to recall and be mindful that Laranas excels in the cinematography department. It really is a showcase of his talent. If he gets to be subtle and could get the most out of the use of all the senses, he will achieve a symphony of scares. Even though the traditional horror stories are a healthy exercise of connecting with an audience, he could still squeeze more ideas that no one has possibly gripped – it is for him to discover. With that, he will be a true master of Horror. The Echo is one of those credible horror films but to us Filipinos, it is a triumph.
Charlie Koon's Rating:

Z for Zloppy


I too could emphasize my dizappointment with how Joel Lamangan could actually make a film that is roughly run-of-the-mill. It amazes me how his mediocrity can still surprise people. I Love Dreamguyz has queasy visualz to begin with, followed through with a grubby story progression. The film is like choking during orgazm ‘in reverse’ while in a coma. Someone should wake them up az they are likely having a dizorder called sleep apnea. They might drown in their own saliva. If this is what the audience might have dreamed for, then so be it. And if you snooze midway, there is still the Z factor offered as a bargain.

I Love Dreamguyz is about a group of young guys who aspires to be dancers in Japan. The group is composed of five cheeky gym buff guys, having different life stories to tell - in snippets. The group leader is Rico (Marco Morales) which I could remember has no character backbone. His presence only intensifies when Jake (Jay-L Dizon) becomes close to him. Jake has a live-in partner Jenny (Niña Jose). Alvin (Sherwin Ordonez) is the beloved of the flamboyant gay talent manager Didi (Jao Mapa). Even if the story segues to Didi’s intolerable gayness and networking scam sub-conflicts, Jake is the heart of the story. He is likened by Rico who has no story to tell but has a wang to show. The other two guys are like opposing magnets. Benjo (Miggy Valdez) is the battered son while Michael (Mhyco Aquino) is the hotheaded gigolo.

I could not question the lust factor between Rico and Jake after the premise has been laid (no pun intended). Just like the concept in the product life cycle, Lamangan is quite deliberate in hauling out all possible carnality without further notice. It has been a franchise all along and the two young guys having sex with each other, not once but a couple times do matter for his vision. The sequence is not anymore relevant and substantial. The insistence might be somewhere in the decline point and so Lamangan might be avoiding any possible risk. Its shoddy production is the unyielding proof that it is near to extinction and for now, he could only milk the cow.

If this could be a trend, then what could have I Love Dreamguyz instilled in the present state of Philippine Cinema? The truth is that, a prolific director like Joel Lamangan will always embark on catering the sweet hot-dogged spaghetti the majority would delightfully consume. Would anyone have a problem with that? There will be hecklers for that matter and I assume it is no two-way channel. Lamangan has static visions and it appears in the film. But at least the film has someone who could still be honed in the dramatic genre. She could fake decency and might as well get well-rounded roles if the franchise turns obsolete. She is none other than Niña Jose.

I Love Dreamguyz could be the expected downfall of a mainstream veteran director. The film appears to be an extremely poor mise-en-scene home-made video like production. Despite the negativity, Joel Lamangan still makes films and makes even more. He might have an easy rapport with the majority perceived in the commercial success of Walang Kawala and Heavenly Touch. But for people having exotic tastes and bigotry, he will always be a failure. But he has strengths which I could affirm; he is an actor’s director. But I have issues with the tawdriness and smudgy qualities he has for now. He is expected to come up with a better output. I hope a good sleep could do the fixing – no nightmares, hopefully.
Charlie Koon's Rating:

Spoiled Humor

I'll kell you Yaya!
Yaya and Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie is like a pacifier to appease avid followers who just can’t get enough of this duo. It was originally made for a television sitcom which explores the relationship of a brat and her nanny that becomes her eager prey. Well at least the amusement is already built in place. It could easily infect laughter for their antics which also brought them to fame and become household personalities. But let us be a little shrewd as the margin of merits in the silver screen is categorically above the mark of lame topical gags from the television.

Well, the film is like backtracking the event before the rich family of Angelina got her affable and martyrish nanny. Angelina (Ogie Alcasid) is this eight years old girl, not a bubbily-baby but a pygmy sized bratling who drives her nannies mad with her extreme frolics. She may perhaps believe that a nanny must endure all the throbbing dilemmas since she knows she could get away with it. One day, there is a big explosion in their mansion and causes her ‘back then’ nanny (Regine Velasquez) to be hospitalized – she never comes back. Then, a new nanny walks in their home showing glee in her face and her name is Rosalinda.

Rosalinda (Michael V.) plays the next in line to be beatified for exemplary nanny-endurance in taking care of the rascal. The next thing she might not be aware of is that, does she have what it takes to pass death-defying exploits that Angelina is craving? Well, at least we could see in her eyebrows that she has still some time-off to pluck it out and stay in style. The key element of this comedy is to be a willing victim. And the audience itself is an extension to that.

The comedy devices they are using in the film are quite sufficient. It has a mixture of parody and heavy use of slapstick. Although the execution of the entire gag is deplorable since the film is only making reference to its television sitcom counterpart typical. It took the adventure literally and sometimes if it gets executed by the actors, the creasing moments look intentionally made for television but not for a film. I think the action sequences have its stall since it involves cues that should look hilarious and yet it looks sloppy and superfluous. The improvements could have been more with its overall aesthetics of comedy such as its treatment. I’m laughing in slow motion and that is quite phony if you will ask me. Laughing backwards could be more fun.

I might not be the right person to be asked if the film as it is could be an enjoyable treat when it is available in DVD. But mind you, television shows could be really enjoyable that is why Yaya and Angelina has the edge if it is done with caution. I have always enjoyed slapstickish comedy films which may not necessarily imply that their dumb. There is no excuse for dumb so I am no member of the Intelligentsia Club and be bigoted towards the film – no hard feelings. It’s just not the cream of the crop.

If you are a fanatic, no one can prohibit you from watching the film. People can easily admire Ogie Alcasid and Michael V. for their persistence to create characters that could be best exaggerated and charming – you bet. Alcasid has been playing opposite sex roles like Luga Luda in Desperadas 2 and Frida Akikla in Oh My Girl!. Gender switching could easily smash in instant laughter. Alcasid has created a better character now than the previous two.

Yaya and Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie could be a deadlock sign for an enjoyable treat in films. There might be a couple of laughing moments but its stay only at that point and they have to reassess that farcical comedies should have tight gears. It should deviate from the lackluster style of television as film appreciation could be astute. Yaya and Angelina might be the Starsky and Hutch of local films and we might expect more shenanigans from these two determined comedians.

Charlie Koon's Rating:


Cinema One Originals 2009

Cinema One continues with the highly anticipated 2009 Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival as it kicks off on November 13 to 17 at the Gateway Cineplex Cinema at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City with its five finalists : Si Baning Si Maymay at ang Asong Si Bobo, Bala Bala, Paano Ko Sasabihin, Wanted:Border and Maximus & Minimus.

Please click
here for the schedule.

Other films will also be shown like Yanggaw, Kinatay, Dose, Confessional, Serbis, Lola, Tirador, Altar, Masahista, Himpapawid.

Movie Ticket Price: P120.00
For block screenings and discounts, please contact Jeng Encabo at jeng.encabo@gmail.com.


Dark Fruits

Who are you?

It is fairly meritorious what Alvin Yapan has done, he took the elements of common Filipino fear and infused it into his current Cinemalaya offering, Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe, under the banner of pontifical local feminism no less. As with small-town frights, the bucolic atmosphere is first scratched by a gossip, seemingly innocuous whispers, a small bird disemboweled on the clean grass. Then it begins, under the picnic cloth of hardworking rural artisans and artificial marital civility lie a darkness that if viewed closely, is scarcely different from the desire that created it.

And how cleverly the disconcerting insinuations have been woven, which along with a few stylistic flourishes, effectively comprise the better half of the film. It almost has that Blair-Witchian factor, I never took a second thought on how disturbing a patchily woven basket of mangosteens could be. Along with some sibilant window calls stitched on a quiveringly restrained but brilliant musical score, the production has achieved a contextually nuanced film that burrows itself into a reluctantly curious consciousness. Yapan is truly a director of his time, technically proficient and with a flair for emotional urgency. Yet the film is not entirely preachy, not exactly what I would expect from something endorsed by the Women’s Crisis Center. Still it is a cautionary tale, shattering the stereotype that all abused women are bleating weaklings. Irma Adlawan’s Fe is no wilted lamb, but her helplessness provides another crude specter of societal inequity, just the type of message the foundations are gunning for. Hence it is unclear if the movie’s core lies in eliciting fear or social outrage. If you wish to scare, suck blood, if you want a rally, paint with it. One must not push to do both. The ambivalence could certainly be off-putting to the pedestrian gatherer, but what do you expect from an indie film?
Another aspect of Panggagahasa that fulfilled expectations was the title character. Rapture, rape, and the ravenous were all portrayed with an unyielding constancy that only Adlawan could deliver, the male characters only served as rocks on the opposite sides of the fulcrum. Ever since Pusang Gala, Adlawan has already exhibited a noteworthy thespian range that could approximate the breath of the modern Filipina’s psyche. In this movie that frail and elusive landscape is accentuated more with excruciating quietude than screams of pain, truly a Filipina proclivity. Black-eyes veiled under stupid excuses, ignorance mistaken for womanly trust, so silent the usages of that unfunny wound. The pleasure is portrayed similarly, but the fact that it was portrayed at all is reason enough for celebration. True to his artistic predilections, Yapan is tastefully fearless in his endeavors. The rape scene was graciously no Irreversible and the longer take of Fe burying the black fruits of her trepidation yielded so much more of the intrinsic state-of-affairs of an abused individual.

Mainstream horror films could certainly learn from this movie. Presently there is a cavity that is clawing to be filled. The franchise should start realizing that in fear, less is more. Directors from Thailand understand this, so why is the catching up so belated. This is what Yapan employed which made his work quite effective that is until the ending, definitely risky and perhaps potentially disastrous almost to the point of negating the effect that the entire movie has accumulated. But the risk is a product of his generation. Weaned with magical realism his was an expected seduction, ultimately to show the object of dread only for it to share an almost avuncular caveat to the furniture-making enemy lover. It could have been worst. I thought Fe was going to get banged on the newly carved Sala piece. In the end, post-modern directors cannot help but to be ironic, whether they decry postmodernism or not. It’s charming though. Why choose your carabao-oriented husband Dante (Nonie Buencamino), or Arturo (TJ Trinidad) for that matter when you can have a real man, one who’s not really a man, who lives in a tree of undying love. Who says there’s no romance in fear?
Written by: Alex Milla (Guest Critic)
* Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe
(The Rapture of Fe) will be shown in Robinsons Indiesine from November 11-17, 2009 (
Official Website)


11th Cinemanila Digital Lokal 2009 Pre-review

I have already seen five out of six films for the Digital Lokal Category. I will post the reviews soon.
Charlie Koon's Ratings:
Dolores by Lito Casije
Anacbanua by Christopher Gozum
Iliw by Bona Fajardo
Ang Beerhouse by Jon Red
69 1/2 by Ted Manotoc
Just a comment, what's with the strictly invitational screening for Biyaheng Lupa? I know its their premiere night but come on, I have seen four out of the five films during its premiere. They should have made a note in their brochure or even post it somewhere prior to its screening day. This kind of film should not be supported for its lack of consideration to people who go all the way to Market Market. They would not even gain profit from it as audience like me are the ones they need. We could pay whatever price they want.
The head organizer said in one of his interviews that he hopes audience will embrace what Filipino filmmakers have to offer. I hope its not for the marginal few. Its not even open to the public.
Sorry I'm just pissed.

Anyway, I do recommend Anacbanua to hardcore art-film lovers out there. The cinematography is superb. It has similarities with the poetic films made by the Russian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov and even our very own John Torres. Also 69 1/2 which is a musical comedy film. It has lots of film references that could excite most film junkies. Its a mixture of Rocky Horror Picture Show by Sharman, with a slice of Godard style and a pinch of John Waters' crass yet lovable and culty. It is very French in so many ways. If you are too hesitant to try this artsy stuff, try Iliw, a romantic period film during the Japanese Occupation about a girl who fell in love with a Japanese Captain. Vigan is used as a backdrop for the film - promotes tourism I guess. The other two are not worth recommending but if you still insist to choose, try Ang Beerhouse than Dolores.
Charlie's Picks:
Best Director: Christopher Gozum for Anacbanua
Best Film: 69 1/2 by Ted Manotoc


Fast-food Love

Take a bow

I think the point of the film Nandito Ako... Nagmamahal Sa’yo is that if two people look good together, it is ridiculous not to end it that way. I know that in romance, there is love. And possibly, the two will unite in the end no matter how ridiculous the conflicts arise within the story. Although in William Wyler’s Roman Holiday, it is an open ending. It is Audrey Hepburn’s first film that widely establishes her as an actress. It seems that the material they have used to amplify the increasing popularity of this love pair is risky but its risks made its story’s heart beat palpitate irregularly. I think the screenplay needs a doctor.

I seldom watch television so I only know the actors through films that are being shown. At least I had been familiar with the two leads for their first film appearance is last year’s Loving You. It is a four-segment kind of romantic tale that gives focus to call center agents. I remember praising Kris Bernal for her role in the film saying – She is bubbly, witty, charming and consistent. But I questioned Aljur Abrenica’s supposedly strength to be recognized as a dramatic actor. He is common in my eyes and actors sometimes need to be distinctive. Nevertheless, Aljur Abrenica is taking the lead of this film which is quite alien if you will surrender to my candid opinion that romantic films are more fervently focused with women.

Abrenica plays the role of Tata, a young teenage boy who grows only with his mother in the frenzied streets of Quiapo Manila. He wants to finish his studies as a seaman but his mother Aida (Ana Capri) deals with a sickness that hampers his yearning to study once more. Aida makes a hasty decision to go back to Tagbilaran Bohol with Tata. One day, they visited a residence and a secret was revealed with the identity of Tata’s real father.

Conflicts make the story more credulous with its substance as well as the believability of the love that is tested by different factors. But if these are not mounted well, the coherence or the flow of the story is now being undervalued. Why do we need to hurry with the love aspect if there is the intention to make blocks in between? It is time to have a progressive love story that gives values to the devices being used. Hopefully, they have disregarded the holes in between. It only makes the fantasy aspect of love they wanted to share as a convoluted pseudo-reality. Or maybe that’s the thing with love, the more real it is, the less pleasant it is to watch. A love story that is real (relatable) and beautiful is a true masterpiece.

To continue further with my discussion of the film, Tata was introduced to his father (Lloyd Samartino) and half-brother Prince (Baron Geisler) who easily accepted this supposedly odious discovery. To be honest, in real-life this is highly unlikely to happen. I could have been fossilized right at that moment. And Tata too have accepted it without any resentment. And then, a light shines in with the introduction of Stephanie, the fiancée of Prince who he had just met with her two-week stay in the United States. So we ended up with the building up of the instant liking of Tata to Stephanie and presto a multi-layered alarming conflict arises. I could have accepted the pairing of the two since its just magic that could explain everything. But the consistency it is supposed to strive for has been neglected resulting in a scrawny romantic film.

The pairing of the two is a viable love pair based on what, attractiveness is less than basic, it’s base. So when it happens, they just ignore it since they have no source of intricate emotions. And when reality sinks in, it is too late to have pondered on such sentiments. I don’t really mind if love stories are fabricated as long as the story development is cohesive. But on this one, it is one of those greasy potato fries you could buy from the fast-food chains. We eat it fast until we realize, it is not real potato. And we cry like a baby.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

Carnival Fun

I know you will lurve it

Eugene Domingo stars as the twin sisters in the comedy film Kimmy Dora. These twins are rivals. No one will dare tie them back again with their own umbilical cords. Kimmy and Dora are the daughters of Luisito Go Dong Hae, a tycoon who is estimably one of the most influential settlers of our country. I am not sure whether they are made out of dumplings or kimchi as their surname implies so, but this comedy film will not hasten to use most of your brain for further analysis of its lampoon. To simplify things up, as long as a comedy film makes you laugh, the film itself is already vindicated and could be praised for its worth.

Kimmy is the smart, career-obsessed and devilish head honcho of the company. She is moody to her staff and sadistic to her assistant Gertrude (Miriam Quiambao). But her heart softens when Johnson (Dingdong Dantes) is around despite their differences in ideas when it comes to managing business prospects. Unfortunately, Johnson is more amiable to Dora, the super-special twin sister of Kimmy who is the opposite of her radical behavior. This made Kimmy be upset even more and sibling rivalry in the past has been dug. With the tension on the loose again, the petty fights has led to the heart attack of their father Luisito (Ariel Ureta). While recovering from her father’s ailment, Kimmy finds out that the will and testament favors more to her sister Dora.

Kimmy Dora will be the newest addition in our recent comedies that are exceptional and charming like Ded na si Lolo and Last Supper No. 3. But those two have a different switch, using social satire as a way to provoke laughter. Ang Tanging Ina could be a grand similarity due to its heavy usage of farce and the slapstick. I think these four films combined define what comedy in our times works. We make films for us to laugh but at the same time, it has the aroma of being our own, something that is not time-bounded.

I have said this before and I will repeat it further even if I sound obnoxious. Yes, I am a fan of comedy films. I have high expectations from our filmmakers when these films show up in our theaters and most especially if it’s the slapstick kind of comedy. I do want to progress with my own taste for comedies even if I have sung praises for the works of Charlie Chaplin and Leonid Gaidai. I am not really fond of Woody Allen films but I do regard his works as universal. Why am I saying this? I think most of our writers have this notion that even comedies should be intelligent with its rendering. And most of them dismiss slapstick as a flawed type of comedy. I will definitely disagree and this film Kimmy Dora will prove them wrong without me saying any further. I could have slapped their coconut brains with my IPOD and entrenched them with my Chaplin Collection. That scene for sure will be hilarious. But they could use wit as their defense tactic for this is the only kind that should progress in the comedy arena. And they could mistake slapstick for being offensive and mindless.

But true to the word, slapstick is not really the type of fresh corals that will sway your brains constantly. It is more of the mechanical type, perfunctory with its domain to produce laughter. Kimmy Dora does most of its pleasing moments on this approach. I will not be surprised with its great deal of slaptickness since it’s the territory of the director Joyce Bernal, who have expressed mightily a great form of absurdity and passed it over as a great entertaining film. Chris Martinez as the sole writer has the upper hand in layering its story with humor for its script with a classifiable ordeal of figures of speech. Kimmy mostly utters her lines in hyperbole while her sister Dora is more ‘intelligent’ and discreet for her one-time use of a palindrome, naming her adopted stray dog ‘Mickey’. Kimmy could have thrust her stilettos for its obvious slur. But she is at home with word exaggeration and slang offenses. Kimmy Dora is a great blend of different comedy types and as an outcome, it is miraculously compelling and mind enthralling.

I am more optimistic that our audience will be guided better so that they will eradicate some of its wrong notions towards film appreciation. Slapstick will always be a great form of comedy - if used judiciously. I am really saddened that most of the times, the audience has lots of pretensions that comedies are garbled as a serious matter and should be viewed with all our brain cells moving towards Level Ten – Einstein brainpower. I may be misconstrued for being narrow-minded, boxing the appreciation only to a certain type of comedy. But my point of view is just simply bending the values of a good comedy. The values of our times have changed. Blame consumerism for the abhorrent proclivities towards any form of appreciation. But I don’t mind the trends. I only believe in good films. Whether it is Chaplin or Allen, as long as it makes you laugh, then it proves that the film that you are watching is a good comedy. But always remember, laugh first before you think.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

Glamour Card


Jun Lana’s first attempt in the mainstream arena in the horror film Mag-ingat ka sa... Kulam has been derided in my review. In his new film Tarot, I could now feel that he has now returned in his better form. Not as a faerie that would cast magical spells that play with our senses on the supernatural aspects of our society but as a real fabulist. After all, it is his passion and the typewriter back then could be his supernatural tool into the invention of his stories. Tarot could be a little tricky with its plot and stiff twists; yet it still deserves to be seen.

The lady Gambit of the hour is played by a reel and real enchantress, Marian Rivera. She plays the dazzling Cara who has a tragic and mystifying past. The film starts with a flashback when Mount Pinatubo erupted and the young and naïve Cara has foreseen this in the tarot cards of her grandmother played by the legendary Gloria Romero. On New Year’s Eve, Cara feels she is being called by the whispery cards. As she lays it down, she manifests the knowledge that tragic events will happen.

The film is about fortunetelling. Ironically, the film cancels out the word fortune, and speaks. A few months back, I had my first tarot card reading session given by a lady who looks quite typical for her eerie profession. She introduces her craft more as psychotherapy. She prohibits questions that will be regarding health and death. I think it’s quite disreputable for her to tackle those things so it is really something to avoid. I am astounded that two films I have recently seen have tackled the misfortune. The other film is
Ang Manghuhula by Paolo Herras. I could have bashed both films for their irregularities and being quite negligent with the repercussions it could get across to the viewers. But I assure you, both films have squeezed in other elements to make them realistic, imaginative and entertaining.

Years have passed; Cara decides to climb a mountain with his fiancé Miguel played by Dennis Trillo. They are lost in the forest side of the mountain and decide to stay in a cave for the night. When Cara wakes up, Miguel is nowhere to be found. Weeks have passed; there is no news of Miguel. Cara decides to get hold of the tarot cards of her grandmother to know where he is.

Cara seems to be highly intuitive with the things around her and this could be a great benefit on her part. I think, even without the tarot cards, you could see in her dazzling eyes the wisdom she has manifested. I think she might do a better acting foray in the horror genre like the role as Nieves in the Shake Rattle and Roll X than flaunting her comedic prowess in Desperadas 2 and even a hysterical drama stint in
One True Love. But in Tarot, she has proven again that she shines. This could be a genre she is at home with and has saturated all the excesses of the melodramatic acting.

Tarot could be your next DVD purchase and could be relished for its worth especially if you crave for audience-oriented horror thrills. This film has been sprinkled with conflicts and twists, similiar to your well-liked flavored popcorn. But sometimes flavored writing needs some buffing up and polishing despite a contentment whether between the filmmaker and the studio or with the filmmaker himself. Still, it is every man to his taste. But my intuition says, Jun Lana’s writing is in best form in Sa Pusod ng Dagat by Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

Pink Power Puff Army


I thought Harry Potter suddenly laid the “Stupefy” spell on me. I was like in a cataleptic condition at some point in watching 1017: Sa Paglaya ng Aking Salita. The film is like making a film about a Mongoloid – I know it is politically incorrect to use such a word. Aiming to make it a bona fide, they look for another Mongoloid, an actor perhaps, to act like the other. This is totally unacceptable. Suspicions will soon arise with its concealed expositions; they should not be shocked if the authorities are disgusted.

The story revolves on the lives of two friends. Jojo (Kahlel Urdaneta) meets his long lost friend Manuel (Kristofer King) during a rally demonstration somewhere along the metropolis. And then, there is an insinuation that Jojo is secretly in love with his friend. He joins his friend in the NPA probably for his undying love that is revolting for so many years. He could only express his love through poems and suspending his promise to declare what he really wants to convey from his heart. And so the film goes like a road trip with an instrumental song from Joey Ayala’s Walang Hanggang Paalam (Never Ending Goodbye) on cue.

It seems that something should be stopped. Or else, they will certainly be mocked. We may not be in the position to tell the what’s and the not’s in filmmaking else, we could have made our own film, right? But there is a collision in the story with its backdrop. It tends to dissipate principles with a resemblance of anarchism and clog it through our throats. Films are not the proper medium to beseech a millenarian way of thinking. And besides, the entire concept of the New People’s Army will not be tackled in its entirety. Is this their way of advertising their cause to the people of our country? They want to save us from oppression, repression cruelty, corruption and the unjust? How come I was not informed? Or is it more of a propaganda to put their organization in the pedestal of merits without actually considering their liabilities.

The backdrop of the film is the NPA movement. Their causes can be traced way back to the Japan Occupation. They are called the Hukbalahap. Their way of thinking is very Maoist in nature and their founder is Jose Maria Sison. They are the left-wing communist. I still wonder why up to now they have been fighting for something that is so overdue. Obviously, they have such high regard of themselves and they think they are destined to wear the crown. I can’t help criticize this aspect in the film as they only offer a one-sided view of our society. Aren’t we in the same country who strives for the betterment of all the people? So where are they heading? There is censorship from the filmmakers themselves hiding their intent with a use of a mawkish love angle between two guys. Why can’t they use a different medium and be straightforward? Why hide in films which are used to educate and retain the values that every one of us should transmit into our souls. I am doubtful of their intentions and sorrowful that film history could explain better what I am really trying to point at.

There’s an underlying proposition that minorities are being hauled to the revolution. Like the gay marriage that is being discussed in the film. They could easily lure the idiotic students who are supposedly true believers of a purified world or to that extent. They are powerful with the use of verbal wit; you could be convinced even how irrational their definition of politics is. As long as they are not yet in command, they will maneuver the development of society to something very awful since they have lost in touch of the essence of revolution. Revolution should have a cause which should not be just a petty constitutional amendment or proclamation concerning freedom of speech. It is as if they have been contented with any administration seated in the government.

Well, the film’s message is quite metaphoric in a way not because they are hiding something. They are using the film medium as a way of indoctrinating our fellow Filipinos with something that is already tainted. But the film made a clear indication of a love story in the making between two guys which could create curiosity with its peers. But does the leftist party really want to indoctrinate gays, are they that desperate? I think filmmakers must avoid using this medium to provide their political stance. A film is a medium that should have a single voice for all of us, not one that creates fragmentation. But I am not prohibiting them as I did like some films with political undertones like Bertolucci’s The Dreamers wherein it explores free love and sexuality during a student protest in France. Even the classic film Arsenal directed by Alexander Dovzhenko is a direct representation of the political era in Uzbekistan and Russia. It is an assessment of a 1928 film with a 2003 film in terms of being political in films. Anyway, I am just taking this seriously as films will also be for the edification of the society and not just an insurrection in the community.

Charlie Koon's Rating:



Boy is a film directed by Aureaus Solito starring Aeious Asin, Noni Buencamino, Madeleine Nicolas, Aries Pena and Danton Remoto.
It will be shown in Robinsons Indiesine from October 7-13, 2009.


Astig (Mga Batang Kalye)

Astig (Click on the title for my review) is a film directed by GB Sampedro. It stars Dennis Trillo, Edgar Allan Guzman, Arnold Reyes and Sid Lucero. This is one of the films in competition in the recently concluded Cinemalaya 2009 Film Festival. GB Sampedro won as Best Director for this film.
It will be shown in Robinsons Indiesine from September 23-29, 2009.
Charlie Koon's Rating:

Yaya & Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie

Yaya & Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie is a comedy film directed by Mike Tuviera. It stars Ogie Alcasid and Michael V.It will be shown in theaters nationwide starting September 23, 2009.


Bayaw (Brothers-in-law) is a film directed by Monti Parungao. It stars Janvier Daily and Paolo Rivero.
It will be shown in selected theaters starting September 23, 2009.



Mangatyanan (Click on the title for my review) is a film directed by Jerrold Tarog. It stars Che Ramos, Irma Adlawan, Pen Medina, Neil Ryan Sese and Publio Briones III. I do recommend this film to be seen by everyone. It is one of the films in competition in the recently concluded Cinemalaya 2009 Film Festival.This will be exclusively shown in Robinsons Indiesine from September 16-22, 2009.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

In My Life

In My Life is a film directed by Olivia Lamasan written by Senedy Que and Raymond Lee. It stars John Lloyd Cruz, Luis Manzano and Vilma Santos.It will be shown in theaters nationwide starting September 16, 2009.


Ang Manghuhula

Ang Manghuhula (Click on the title for my review) is a film written and directed by Paolo Herras. It is about an outcast and failed fortuneteller who returns home to save her daughter from a fate she herself escaped--the town's next fortuneteller; a fate handed down from mother to daughter. It stars Eula Valdez, Glaiza de Castro, Chanda Romero, Pinky Amador, Emilio Garcia and with the special participation of Bella Flores.It will be shown in selected theaters nationwide starting September 9, 2009.

Charlie Koon's Rating:


Lamb Chops

Christmas Lights

Kinatay’s (The Execution of P) exclusive Greenbelt screening was organized by a company which I thought is a punch line for the event. Never served as an appetizer, Adobo is the leader publication for the advertising and marketing community who is now the bearer of the Cannes Film Fest 2009 Best Director Brillante Mendoza win for Kinatay. That night was a nearly classy event for an independent film that shoots garbage bins, mutilated panties and a moribund illustration of diabolism with artistic allusion. They served wine and cocktails in the lobby and adjacent to that is the mini-museum/altar of Mendoza’s trophy collection. I thought they would also give litter bags as an understated precaution for what we are going to witness. Kitty litters are nowhere to be found in the alleys, if ever there were grossed-out socialites would dare come out from their seats. So you are obliged to politely swallow your own vomit or anything you wish to take out of your system for that matter. But even then, your imagination functions beyond thought.

Since most of the audiences are from the AB crowd, the reactions are more subdued. Or else, a castration will be the retribution for being unsophisticated towards gruesome themes. We are the elitists so the expectations from us, the audience, are also far above the ground. And the reactions are overwhelmingly soundless; as if Mendoza can shoot right there for an upcoming film. And anyone who will react with a slight shock in their face will receive a standing ovation as an indication of being over-the-top. In a way, the surrounding in the theater is quite the unadulterated imitation of what real-time is all about. For about one and a half hours screening the film will defy any real-time purist filmmakers. Agnes Varda tried to make one in her 1962 film Cleo from 5 to 7. But she exceeded thirty minutes with the ninety minute running time of the film. Mendoza’s film principles could also be his own worst enemy. With the aid of the pen and philosophies of Armando Lao, who also preaches real-time as the “New Bible” to our evolving filmmakers, Mendoza has made another film with the same theory. But the difference is that, Serbis is just about there in getting the core of the supposed strength, as they enslave themselves to the theory of real-time. But in Kinatay, they certainly fail.
Mendoza’s Kinatay is a well-orchestrated slice of life occurrence to the life of a soon-to-be police cop, who will witness another slice which is not the former, rather a slice of human brutality with the use of an old machete. Gingerbread men are fortunate enough to be molded from cookie cutters. Peping (Coco Martin) is a Criminology student who just got married to Connie (Mercedes Cabral). We follow Peping that day in these semi-voyeuristic slash rickety documentaryish camera techniques for the reality to sink into us. But despite the fact we are near the equator, our vision has no earthquake of its own. For once, I could now put forward my complaint, since the concept is all about hardcore reality. Anyway, the shots during the day are still clear; film celluloid really serve as an achievement in cinematography. As the night sets in, the inflexible obsessions of Mendoza seems to be the entirety of it – could be the reason why he have won. It does not only scratch all our senses, but also weakens his fervor towards real-time filmmaking. So there goes the re-assessment of the material. It seems that they are fifteen and a quarter steps in the wrong direction. I am certain that Kinatay disappoints on the leverage of its purpose. The purpose of which is found in the previous film Serbis. He could have setup a camera in front of us, real-time is within the screening of the film, on a purist standpoint. The impotent film Next Attraction made this statement but not in a positive and relevant motion. But it made me reassess the film and could possibly hail it as a great art trash. Its trash but a great one – it utterly deserves two and a half stars. I have never been in a formal film school but I am getting the offset concept with the rapid sprouting of extremism. It’s the opposing poles they want to achieve. So therefore, within the two films, which is more ‘a day in the life’? To whom should we give our tireless applause for conferring rapture? If it made you feel something, then it’s definitely a yarn from a basket of ribbons – colorful ones to be literal.

Kinatay might elicit a few more years of debate for its overly sensational and gritty material. And they could be praised for it. It has filled in the gaps to the scenes not explored during the Massacre Era of the nineties. Kinatay could be at par in terms of technicalities but nothing more than that. I prefer Serbis in Mendoza’s clump of films. It could make you think it is insignificant but that film could be more accurate without being too artistic or literary with its reflection. It is a slice of life that they preach and yet they are now afraid to incite boredom but opted to show a murderous night, from all of the days of our subsistence. But if you get bored stiff and jaded with nothing, it is easier to bow down to good old storytelling. Mendoza almost made a nearly insightful story and that is not what real-time had in mind. He will either chop it off, a conformist act, or do nothing.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

Men in Trees

Good boy Bad boy

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” - Henry David Thoreau

Desperate men are the most interesting species of men, at least in the theatrical sensibility. Usually dominated by a hard-boiled adrocentrist and suitcasey predisposition, normally tuned men are so difficult to capture in a colorful point of view, if they are captured at all, without the color reverting to a shade of gay futility. Apart from the sacrosanct movies of Fernando Poe and the like, men who have successfully summoned themselves in order to slay towering white handkerchiefs with womanish heads, the sheer absence of a good dude flick has the industry scrounging for fresh mojo. Astig is shrewd to fill the void, helmed by GB Sampedro and produced by the Queen of Men himself Boy Abunda, the debut of this TV oriented fraternity has the audience dashing for a second run.

The movie itself is cut into four slightly intertwining episodes, almost-Amores in its rendering but still accessibly linear thanks to Charliebebs Gohetia’s editing. The gruff and unsilken demonstration of filth and testosterone is predictable enough. These men are out to survive. The streets are rough and they have to be rougher, a survivalist mentality that permeates through the film’s entirety. But as the bricks start to crumble, the unfolding somewhat effortlessly belies the staunch but artificial rigor of the permanent Man along with his preciously defended manhood. Inevitably the latter becomes another pawnable item of the city’s vicious and voluptuous grinding.

It was refreshing to see a few mainstream actors in the process of actual thespianism. The dirty-tongued Dennis Trillo was robust and multi-faceted enough to stand as the definitive paragon of the stubborn boyness that unravels under the weight of his own dire consequences. Young men are most difficult to effectively characterize under normal circumstances without coming off as formulaic. Their desires are boxed and predictable, their reaction times calculatedly similar. The stereotypes of the weak and the strong are too two-dimensional to employ in any meaty portrayal. In this movie the addition and intimation of male emotion paradoxically adds strength to the characters. It’s always the tension of feeling that kills them in the end. A strong man is the suffering man, amusing to watch and terrific to behold in its fetish proportionality.

Aside from Trillo’s irrepressible brio and Sid Lucero’s obstinacy, the middle two episodes as presented by Edgar Allan Guzman and Arnold Reyes showed more of the despondent man, bedfellows of hard living and everything in between hard things. To relinquish one’s penetrative role as bleatingly portrayed by Guzman in the fluid-ridden movie house is a prime example of a sacrifice done on the strain of a family’s common hunger. Crying and nakedness are rampant, and the women aren’t so bad at it either. Add a few sprinklings of the occasional ill-placed but good-intentioned famous person’s cameo and you have a collective acting ordeal that could possibly surprise the mainstream observer but may casually bore the jaded indie activist. Certainly this movie is not Cinemalaya’s most cerebral, perhaps a mock symbolism of masculinity itself, but the primal grace is evident enough to enthuse. Ultimately, it is a reflection of how far humans can go and how scared we are of the predator from the bottom of the tree.
Written by: Alex Milla (Guest Critic)


Kimmy Dora

Kimmy Dora is a comedy film directed by Joyce Bernal. It stars Eugene Domingo, Dingdong Dantes and Zanjoe Marudo.It will be shown in theaters nationwide starting September 2, 2009.


Dinig Sana Kita

Dinig Sana Kita (Please click on the title for my review) is a film directed by Mike Sandejas starring Romalito Mallari and Zoe Sandejas. It won the Audience Choice Award, Children's Award & Best Original Music Score for the recently concluded 5th Cinemalaya Film Festival.It will be shown in Robinsons Indiesine from August 26-September 2, 2009.

Charlie Koon's Rating:


Tarot is a horror film written and directed by Jun Lana. It stars Marian Rivera and Dennis Trillo.
It will be shown in theaters nationwide starting August 26, 2009.


Cheesy Pizza


Perfect love does not exist. And if it did, Mother Nature will be so pissed; she will make a way to counteract it. The idea of perfect love is the premise of the film And I Love You So. The marriage between Lara and Oliver is shown in montage so as to hide their little dirty secret of unimpeachable love. But hey, five months is too long, as we too have seen so much, this has got to stop.

And so it did - good heavens. We do love to see people being forever ‘in-love’; redundancy is still not enough to accentuate this horrifying notion. Monotonous cuddling and those perfect cheesy pepperoni dialogues could make its way to a collection of flimsy love quotes. It’s a death-defying act just like what happened to Lara who at the age of twenty four has become a member of the widows support group. Her husband Oliver dies of an aneurysm a few months after their marriage. But life goes on as usual. But the writers (Vanessa Valdez and Jacqui Franquelli) are persistent. They want to use a story device that could test love and that is by mounting a good conflict.

The increasingly gorgeous Bea Alonzo plays Lara, a happily married pre-school teacher to a saintly but devilish looking husband Oliver played by Derek Ramsey. But the setup changes after Oliver dies exactly on Lara’s birthday. Seven months have passed, Lara still mourns on the death of her husband. She grows desperate as she needs money to pay for the condominium unit and the rental fee for her pre-school site. So she was advised by her brother-in-law to have her own condominium for rent. Then the story segues to another man named Chris (Sam Milby) who is quite liberated and does a lot of flirting.

It is a long row to hoe for Lara and to be convinced that she has other duties to fulfill is quite difficult. If you will notice, she talks about her husband in present tense. It is as if the departed and the living live side by side. And the film did it to an extent which could be a little spooky. But admirably, the risk it has done looks rather authentic and heart pounding. Surrealism is a crucial element in the film that gently interweaves exchanging of dialogues between Lara and the deceased Oliver. We could not guess if the dead has emotions. But if they do show some tenderness, we could not help but reciprocate it. But don’t freak out, ghosts have no tears.

The character of Chris is the ultimate seducer. The weeping beauty is the perfect victim nonetheless. But the catch is Chris did not make an offense. He might have been appreciative for other good things life could offer. Isn’t that startling from a sexually-driven man to articulate such a decent thought. That is also for you to find out. Anyway, Chris helps Lara to cope not just with the advance rental payments but something more personal. Lara needs someone that is her obverse, someone who is bold and lighthearted. Chris is the unfortunate prey. But soon the concealed intentions dissolves as there really is a potential for love to flourish through these two people.

If watching films in our recent years have been reduced as a commodity, then I won’t argue. It is almost unlikely that most of you could be convinced by critics to watch the greatest films that were actually made. I could not even let my own mother to watch Dogville, Andrei Rublev, Cries & Whispers, Rashomon, 400 Blows and not even Amelie for art’s sake. It’s easier to keep things to myself more so on serious matters. And I Love You So conjures up people’s fantasies. Its love could still be quite a mess but what would you expect from a grieving widow? It’s hard for her to be subtle but at some point she was able to compose her thoughts. She should be at an advantage since most would have depended on anti-depressants with that condition. And I Love You So is nicely written and direction by Laurenti Dyogi is fairly meritorious. I would not mind if people will flock to view it. If the love formula will be used again and again, I don’t mind either. That is why it’s called a formula.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

Same Consumption, More Cuddle

Green Shirt Pink Shirt

For me, Little Boy Big Boy is at the same boat with most of our mainstream romantic comedies with lesser decorousness. Indie films now start to use the romantic formula with a slight implication of societal function. Little Boy Big Boy could be the first to do this in its flock. To make a better comparison; if You Changed My Life made my body calories shrink into mottled skittles, and Dinig Sana Kita confined me in silence in the Himalayan Mountain, Little Boy Big Boy made me a tadpole. I could hop in all the vacant seats with every sweet gesture. It is really my mistake that I could not react so well in kilig types of films. But I could feel that my reaction in contrast could be better for people who prefer to watch this harmless entertainment.

Raymond (Paolo Rivero) has a good career as a graphic artist but he is known to be unlucky in love. He is flirty with the guys he meets and chats with. One day, he breaks-up with his partner upon knowing from a ‘kiss and tell’ guy that they had a night together. Then his sister visits and asks a favor to take care of his niece Zach (Renz Valerio) for a couple of weeks. Zach and Raymond did not get along well in the next couple of days. But with some doughnuts and hotdogs, the two could fit the perfect mold of father and son.

Raymond in simpler terms is promiscuous. He could not sustain a stable relationship with any guy he’s with. Due to his frustrations, he joins an odd speed dating event hosted by this petite guy in a Sailormoon inspired outfit. I am getting the theme of it and it’s obligatory in a way that you wear only briefs in the entire event. It could be a form of fetish for some viewers to see skimpy clad men posing in the utter darkness and searing boiler compartment of a made-up ship. It’s a bit funny that they play this boat sinking game and group them into classified orgies. They fondle each other just like sex-autobots. There should be a stall outside giving away muscular Smurf gummies in mankinis as their advertising tactic. Going back to the kinky event, he meets Tim (Douglas Robinson). Raymond made certain moves to Tim to get what he desires all along.

And there I get the entire story. I know there is a possibility for love to evolve between these two hedonistic thinkers. Zach is in Raymond’s house and the tandem he had with his uncle could have helped Tim to consider such possibility of a relationship. Zach is a very likable kid. He is not just a brat. He understands very well even considering the ambiguity of the setup as something part of life itself. So there it goes, Tim gets attached as well with Zach.

Zach has no father to speak of. Even with the openness of the relationship between Raymond and Tim, he accepts it for it is. It works in a way since there could be this hidden maternal instinct between two guys in a relationship and with Zach looking for a fatherly figure. But there the assessment stops as the two guys had more things to ponder on in their instantaneous affair. And that bemuses me a lot that these two still have a lot of inhibitions inciting to a lot of rules that need to be followed. Isn’t it given that once you love each other, you will only hold onto that and that alone - just thinking out loud. Anyway, this should be also applicable to anyone. I remember the guys’ night-out we often have in the office and a lot of crappy stories are out in the open. Even in heterosexual relationships, more rules could have been obliged by their beaus as their guys are literal whores. A chastity belt does not sound like a good idea for sanity’s sake. Men will always be in differing polarities – just take your side with caution.

Still in the same account with the cult film Ang Lalake sa Parola (The Man in the Lighthouse), the film has explored social acceptance and admittance. It is a must in order to achieve the desired happiness -- so they say. It could be a little pushy for some, lest the solution is still in the uncharted Limbo of human dignity. But the film is cool just like the two Apple computers owned by Raymond that I wouldn’t mind having. Seriously, the film could still improve with its cinematography and even camera works. If you wish not be offended with glorified nudity, it has little of it anyway, this could be a quick look of nearly there state maturity of love between the two guys – still a lot to improve upon. The story is intentionally on the lighter approach and the Zach boy is cuddly and endearing to an extent. And they should really thank Zach for that matter. It’s also hard to judge as we also have our own imperfections and crosses to carry in our lives. Hopefully, we carry it with grace and with dignity. At most, we carry it out of love.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

Unlikely Privilege

Remember me

With the struggling state of Philippine Cinema, one could not help but be lenient to first-time filmmakers. Actually it is more cause to be severe, there is no room for mediocrity. In this case, Seymour Barros Sanchez might be privileged enough to be granted such an awful justification. Handumanan is a sloppily made film. But not an utter disaster – you could still distinguish the difference. Hopefully Sanchez would not get disgruntled with the unpleasing remarks as this frankness could help him reassess the story development.

I had these little discussions with another writer through a previous film review. He said that there’s no room for common sense in art. I will perpetually disagree with it. But I’m not a theorist, if I am now sounding one. Handumanan lacks these practical and logical approaches in polishing the overall qualities of the film. Let’s look at other works of art. Van Gogh started with somber earth tones, still-life representations of life making it darker to see. Soon enough, he developed his style with use of vivid colors, swirls and visually optimistic paintings making him the pioneer of Expressionism. Dining is also an art form. If its taste is bland, pinch some salt and pepper. And why excuse filmmaking from other art, for freedom’s sake? If the story doesn’t work, then polish it.

Handumanan suffers from a narrative not because it is disjointed or the structure is not linear. It has rather lost grip to the aims of the three characters. A famous pocketbook writer Sol (Chin Chin Gutierrez) resists writing erotic stories and goes back to her province in Negros Oriental. Carlos (Akihiro Sato) is a Filipino-Brazilian model who is searching for his roots. Lean (Jason Abalos) dreams of becoming a writer but is stuck as a government auditor. Carlos finds his picture in a pocketbook written by Sol and the two eventually chats through the internet. Lean is tasked to go to Dumaguete to audit but gets delayed. He soon gets sick and is taken into custody by Sol. After a few days, the trio is completed. Carlos and Leon inundate their frustrations in life. On the other end, Sol is hushed and seemingly optimistic despite her obvious infirmity.

Some might consider the setup too contrived. In Handumanan (Remembrance), it is rather a situational type of story in order to get insights from how the characters will relate. But that’s the idea. He also incorporates the unconventional non-linearity. The effect is that the aims for the characters look improbable. It is because there are gaps in between that needs to be filled in. Jump cuts are known in editing. Incorporating this could still work but not necessarily on top form in treating the story. It is goal obsessed as the film implies it so, guess they forgot to remember. I am getting the idea in the story structure and where the director is heading. If he possesses the passion in the craft, he would certainly know the areas to develop.

Sometimes, I could not help myself to silently accuse filmmakers for being too self-indulgent. They are not supposed to waste any second for unnecessary scenes. There are famous filmmakers that I don’t necessarily understand especially when they hang around certain scenes. Just like this scene wherein Sol is chopping green peppers. Should it take ten long seconds for that shot? I mean, I understand that maybe the point is to make it the only important thing happening. It’s her focal point. It’s just a waste of scene. Three seconds will be enough.

Handumanan could have the promise just as it is granted by the National Commision for Culture and the Arts. I could not disagree with it. If it is his dream to make films, he can never be discouraged, but the fact persists, Handumanan is not really well-made. This could be his first film experience. At least for him, he could learn something from the chaos.

Charlie Koon's Rating:
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