Padre de Pamilya

Padre de Pamilya (Click on the title for my review) is a film directed by Cesar Buendia starring Ariel Rivera, Jacklyn Jose and Tessie Tomas. It is also being endorsed by Bishop Socrates Villegas.

Padre de Pamilya will be screened in SM Theaters starting April 29, 2009. For every ticket you will buy, part of it will be used in the fund raising to buy five million Bibles.

Padre de Pamilya Official Website



Sumpa is a sexy-thriller film directed by Carlos Agustin and Melvin Brito. It stars Joross Gamboa, Mocha Uson, Maricar dela Fuente and Mark Gil.
It will be shown in selected theaters starting April 22, 2009.


The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela

The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela is a drama film directed by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson. It is about a Filipino transexual who dreams of making a new life in Paris. It stars Raquela Rios as herself.The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela will be shown in theaters starting April 11, 2009.

Queen Raquela Official Website


T2 (Tenement 2) is a suspense-horror film starring Maricel Soriano. The movie is directed by Chito Rono with members of the cast include Derek Ramsey, Eric Fructuoso and Mica dela Cruz. T2 will be shown in theaters starting April 11, 2009.

T2 Official Website


Just a Coincidence?

Race to the finish line

Padyak is not a very bad film nor is it very a good film either. What you will expect from Padyak is a different film narrative. The film is derived from a Palanca Award winning literary piece; therefore it explicates the peculiarity of the story structure. The good side of encrusting the film with epigrammatic interconnected stories makes the entire film experience stimulating. But there is also a fallback. The variety of stories offered by the film is too lengthy. It demulsifies the idea they had in mind and in effect, the crust of the story becomes loose. This creates a stigma to the audience that once they are beginning to be cranky, they detach their selves to the possible ‘feel’ for the film.

Noel (Jay Aquitania) is a pedicab driver that wishes to study with the help of his earnings and the love and support of his mother Pacita (Irma Adlawan). One day, he helped a customer named Helga (Katherine Luna) with her groceries up to her condominium unit. They have a chat about anything under the sun. Soon enough, Noel gets information that Helga fell from the building. Noel seems to have been struck with the awareness that life could end and contemplates the meaning of his own existence.

The film has other meatier stories within it and there is a hint that it is related to Noel’s life: A bloody ménage-a-trios affair of a drug addict (Rita Avila) and her younger lover (Arnold Reyes) who is in love with the maid (Mercedes Cabral), a somewhat silly children’s cooking segment where Angel Jacob (reprising her role as a cook?) has a semi-dysfunctional family, and a schizophrenic geeky wanker played by Baron Geisler.

Padyak lingers towards the genre existentialist film, with a probable background of social realist pragmatism. There are insights on Noel’s life who he thinks his way of life could not be substantiated to have meaning but rather opts to reflect on the shortcomings it has given to him. To justify his importance, the writer concocts unfamiliar people that might coincide to the aim of this parable.

I have no qualms with how Aquitania has freshened up the character. He gives rawness and excitement to this ordinary guy. I am also amazed with the risks made by Avila. She deserves to be applauded for her uncanny portrayal of a sadistic junkie. Although Geisler gives out an invigorating yet campy portrayal of a person suffering from dual personality, the attitude is there but the direction could have been more polished.

As the story progresses, I sensed something could have been wrong with the film. There is a need to reassess the story treatment. The pacing is just slow and downright sprawling. The way the scenes unfold might have been composed for non-linearity’s sake but as an audience, there could be more ways to make it cohesive (not on a technical way of writing) but to make a right kind of flavor to the interrelated scenarios. There are films that has done multi-layer stories and it must decide from the very beginning what they really wanted to point further.

At the end of the film, we are reminded that our existence makes this world a better place. We are unaware of this as we human beings are living our own lives. Seeing the world turn makes it meaningful and if ever there are doubts, we begin to see the gray side of coincidence. But this ordinary guy seems innocent to skeptics and philosophers. Doing what is right is natural to human behavior. Although there are numerous mishaps within the film, Padyak has the persona of a human full of flaws. It might interest viewers if it could have been made with a more careful rendition.

Charlie Koon's Rating:


Cheap Labor of Love

Best way to start the day

Pasang Krus (Affliction) is a film that lives up to its title; to the one who will go to see it. It is nearly two hours and it is as if I am watching it with my knees on the ground while struggling my way up to Mount Eternity. Watching this film is synonymous to perpetual agony. I don’t care about the allegory of the film or even the payoff that could have been installed along the course of the story. Apparently the efforts of some of the actors are discernibly sufficient. But Pasang Krus as a whole is pretty much an addition to the indie film’s bandwagon of pretentiously self-proclaimed masterpieces.

Rosanna Roces plays the role of Herminia, a poor mother whose fate brings her to unfathomable misery. Her husband got killed fifteen years ago. Her eldest son and her only daughter got lost along the way when they try to escape from the murderers. Presently, two of her sons have become criminals; one is a murderer (Christian Burke) and the other a kidnapper (Ketchup Eusebio). The other one played by Beejay Morales is a teenager who is always with Herminia in times of despair. She hopes to see two of her lost children but is stacked-up with more gruesome events.

The intentions are there and yet I could not convince myself that it deserves the praise. I have seen the story unfold and I could not imagine some illlogical things that are happening in Herminia’s life. I could forgive that along the way two of her children got lost. But to have two criminal sons doesn't hold up to the film’s depiction of a mother who only wants the best of her children. How did she nurture them? The way she acts does not correspond to the outcome of her children’s outlook in life.

But don’t fret; Roces gave her best to the performance. There is the infamous crucifixion scene which she had done in actuality. I could only blame the direction on parts wherein Roces did not give the intended meaning to some scenes. She could be the sole reason that this film is watchable. Morales also gave a decent performance unlike the other actors in this film. Eusebio for example did not adequately portray the character with the correct tone. His facial muscles tweak every time he shells out discontent. The acting could have been guided more.

I have seen Tan’s body of work in the past and it suffers the same mistakes. It could have been the taste the filmmaker has in mind and it just underscores the indie films’ supposition that it has more artistic panache than any mainstream film could offer. Even the social commentaries and poverty issues layered therein do not even uplift the status of the film to film artistry. Its usage has no merits in terms of making the film more engaging. It just offers something that has been achieved decades ago by our most prolific filmmakers. But now, it is getting more boring and hollow.

Hopefully the films slated for this year will offer something that could gain interest to the audience whether works are intended for a more commercial market or for the more intelligible artistic works. As for Pasang Krus, it just made its way for the audience to feel the title of the film in an unappealing gesture. Bit by bit it has promise, but once it is knitted together, it looks an unlovely piece of work crafted without any hint of creative advantage.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

Nothing Scary

I see ghosts, people!

Sundo could be compared to a kind of bomb that explodes quickly. It merely tries to scare and once the fright passes, you’ll say: that’s it? I am not after the explosion as it vanishes into thin air. What the film lacks is the ideal anticipation within the story. They could have exploited this element as this could be its strength. Apparently they are aware of this but they used it in a wrong sense. It is not the bomb explosion that would give the scare. It is how they will hide the bomb, move it, displace it before detonating it that even the keenest of the spectator will go berserk once it shows up.

What I am talking about is that the anticipation for the horror phenomena to happen is too uninspired. They are trying this effect every now and then in the film but it does not give out the scare. It’s too derivative from other horror features and the slightest feeling of anticipation might never transpire. To create a story is not only having the potential to scare (whatever you call it) as fear itself is a primal emotion in its quiddity. But the director must constantly find means of extracting the viscera from the audience in ways that are culturally and temporally relevant.

The story is about Romano played by the ever robust action-star Robin Padilla who recently got a terrible accident in a military operation. After he was healed, he goes back to his hometown in Baguio to live in seclusion. Things changed after Louella (Sunshine Dizon) pays a visit and offers a peace offering (due to a family feud years back) by helping Romano’s sister Isabel (Rhian Ramos) for her eye operation. He accepts the offer and they go to Manila with Louella.

The strength of Sundo is rendered through its cinematography. It is well thought off and could be an achievement on a technical aspect in making horror films. The screenplay could have the similar formulas of Asian Horror films that have proliferated in the past decade. If it could have layered the story more, it is possible to have more edge especially if it will be compared with its contemporaries. Actually, it is not entirely the story that could be the problem with the film. The style is there, but obviously, the execution of the film is just too lethargic to each horror scenario.

In the story, the horror started during their travel to Manila. Romano has a premonition that their van will encounter a horrific accident. So Romano has made all means to stop it from happening and he now sees ghosts every now and then. They seek help from a local necromancer and it is confirmed that the ghosts Romano sees are their ‘sundo’ and they could not get away from their macabre fate.

If they could have played more with our local beliefs, the film could have been more interesting. I am not getting frightened and I am bored to death with what is happening within the story. I think the audience too will agree with how the film has delivered and going back to the worth of what they paid for in this film, they should be offered half the ticket price. Sundo certainly disappoints in most aspects (except for the cinematography). Its promise of terror did not reach my expectation as a viewer who wants to be flabbergasted with how rich our culture could possibly inspire a good horror story.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

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