The big release this week is the final chapter of the Fifty Shades trilogy, which will be screened in all cinemas except SM, since the film presumably earns its R-18 rating through its very mild, mainstream-friendly depiction of a BDSM relationship. I, Tonya continues the string of February prestige releases. On the local front, we’ve got Irene Villamor’s Meet Me in St. Gallen vying for your pre-Valentine’s pesos.
MEET ME IN ST. GALLEN
Bela Padilla and Carlo Aquino star as a pair of young people who have a one-night stand and reconnect by chance a couple of years later in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The film is written and directed by Irene Villamor, whose credits include Relaks, It’s Just Pag-Ibig and Camp Sawi. The film seems to make direct references to the 2012 romcom Celeste and Jesse Forever, which is interesting, given that the movie never came out in the Philippines. Let’s hope the plot doesn’t hinge on knowing anything about that movie.
FIFTY SHADES FREED
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan return as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in the third part of the BDSM-themed romantic series. When last we left the couple, they had decided that they were going to get married. But Jack Hyde, Ana’s creepy former boss, has become a full-on stalker, and seems to be intent on ruining things for everyone. If the last two movies are any indication, this chapter is going to be weirdly puritanical in its attitudes toward kinky sex, while at the same time exploiting it to attract its viewers. But don’t miss your last chance to see two people who clearly don’t like each pretend that they’re having great sex. That’s always fun.
Margot Robbie plays Tonya Harding in a movie based almost solely on a pair of interviews conducted by the screenwriter with Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gilooly. Margot Robbie and Allison Janney are nominated for Oscars for their roles in this movie, and the project as a whole has been garnering plenty of accolades throughout awards season. It’s an interesting little film that seems to relish in ridiculing Harding and her compatriots even as it ostensibly calls for sympathy for her. Your enjoyment may depend on your ability to accept both sides of this story.
ALONG WITH THE GODS
Korean film Along with the Gods is adapted from a popular webcomic, and stars Cha Tae-hyun as a fireman who dies and is brought to the afterlife, where he will be tried seven times over the course of forty-nine days to determine what his eternity is going to be like. It should be noted that this is just the first part of this story, with the next chapter scheduled to be released later this year. This is already one of the most successful Korean films of all time, though, so if you’re looking for your Train to Busan fix, this might be it for you.
FATE/STAY NIGHT: HEAVEN’S FEEL
Screening exclusively in select SM Cinemas this week is the first part of a planned trilogy of anime films. Fate/stay Night: Heaven’s Feel I: Presage Flower tells the story of a couple of young people who get entangle in a war between magic users seeking a powerful artifact. This is actually an adaptation of the third part of the original Fate/stay Night adult visual novel, though presumably, they’re leaving all the porn-y stuff out of it.
Jackson Rathbone is Samson, the Hebrew hero with supernatural strength who fights against the Philistine only to be betrayed by his love Delilah, played here by Caitlin Leahy. You already know this story, but this film adapts it to mid-size blockbuster proportions. It could be worth knowing that this film is from Pure Flix Productions, the same overtly Christian outfit that brought us God’s Not Dead and The Case for Christ.
ON WINGS OF EAGLES
This is a pretty obscure movie from 2016, starring Joseph Fiennes as Eric Liddell, a Scottish athlete whose story has been told in cinema before in the film Chariots of Fire. This film tells the story of his later missionary work in China, which lands him in an internment camp when the Japanese invade. But in the camp, Liddell becomes a leader, and brings Christian charity to a bad situation. Two Christian-themed films in one week. Is this enough to offset Fifty Shades Freed? Only time will tell.
SINGALONG SCREENINGS OF THE GREATEST SHOWMAN AT SM CINEMAS
Did you enjoy The Greatest Showman, but struggled to keep yourself from singing out loud with the soundtrack? Well stop holding yourself back, because this week you can sing along to your heart’s content in select SM Cinemas.
SCREENINGS AT CINEMA CENTENARIO
Twenty-four titles will be screening all month at the Maginhawa micro-cinema. Might we recommends the wonderfully titled classic Nagalit ang Buwan sa Haba ng Gabi? They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.
SCREENINGS AT THE UP FILM CENTER
MMFF Films All of You and Siargao travel to UP, sharing the screen with the Adolfo Alix Jr. film 4 Days and the Oscar nominated animated film Loving Vincent.
The Adolfo Alix Jr. film 4 Days will also be taking over Cine Lokal cinemas starting Friday.