Cinemalaya starts this weekend! Also: Baby Driver!
by Philbert Dy
So here’s a fun fact: August tends to be pretty slow for movies in the Philippines. Part of it seems to be because it’s ghost month, and local distributors, producers, and cinema owners all seem to be pretty superstitious. That might explain why they’re giving up their cinemas this month for the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, but that’s a story for another week. This week, we’ve got one major foreign release and a bunch of smaller ones. And then Cinemalaya kicks off properly on the weekend. Don’t let ghosts scare you. There are movies to see.
Edgar Wright’s fifth film is one of the most highly praised films of the year so far. It’s easy to see why: Baby Driver is a rollicking, technical masterpiece of a movie that perfectly melds the car chase action movie with elements of the movie musical. Ansel Elgort turns the streets of Atlanta into a dancefloor for a succession of vehicles, and sqaures up against a heavyweight cast of supporting actors all hamming it up as various criminal personalities. It’s a lot of fun.
Bella Thorne stars in the latest film to capitalize on the supposedly true haunting that took place in Amityville, Long Island, New York. So another family unwittingly moves into the house where those murders took place, and they presumably encounter the sort of weird stuff that happens to all families that move into that home. You’d think at some point they’d just tear the house down or something. But then Hollywood would have to think of new original ideas for horror movies. Anyway, it’s ghost month, so it’s kind of appropriate.
Bruce Willis continues to cash checks in First Kill, where he plays a police chief tracking down a Wall Street broker, played by Hayden Christensen, who has been forced to recover some stolen money from a bank robbery gone wrong in order to save his family. Bruce Willis figures prominently in the poster, but if any of his recent roles are an indication, he won’t really be the focus of all this. So we hope you enjoy Anakin Skywalker.
Have you been wondering where Halle Berry has been? Well, she plays the lead in this film, where she plays a mother who takes matters into her own hands in order to recover her kidnapped son. So it’s basically Ransom, but it’s Halle Berry instead of Mel Gibson. The budget is likely much smaller, too, but that might not be a bad thing. There’s a lot to be said about focused thrillers that don’t have Mel Gibson in them.
So here’s a surprise: Wind River, the latest film from Taylor Sheridan, best known for the Oscar-nominated-film-that-didn’t-get-a-local-release Hell or High Water. It stars Jeremy Renner as a game tracker and Elizabeth Olsen as an FBI agent who team up to investigate a murder that took place on a Native American reservation deep in the heart of Wyoming. If Hell or High Water is any indication, this is going to be pretty good.
The annual festival returns, with screenings at the CCP, Greenbelt, Glorietta, Trinoma, Fairview Terraces, and Marquee Mall in Pampanga. Nine new films are competing, but there are also a bunch of other things you can see. There’s actually too much to cover for this space, but we recommend checking out the Visions of Asia program and the special tribute section that will screen films by Gil Portes, Mel Chionglo, and Lino Brocka.
Mike de Leon’s Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising takes the place of T-Bird at Ako starting Friday, August 4. If you’re at all a fan of Filipino cinema, then you already know that a Mike de Leon film isn’t to be missed.
They’re screening Avid Liongoren’s MMFF film Saving Sally today, and are going to be screening Theodore Boborol’s Vince & Kath & James tomorrow and Friday. Dexter Paglinawan Hemedez & Allan Michael Ibañez’s 1st Sem gets a series of screenings on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday.