There aren’t really any major releases this week, because in seven days, all cinemas have to give way to the twelve films of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. No distributor is going to put one of the big money tentpoles, since they know that in a week they’re going to have to give up their theaters. So this week: a Wesley Snipes film! Late-era Schwarzenegger! A British film no one’s heard of! And a new film from Toto Natividad!
AJ Muhlach and Phoebe Walker star as husband and wife forced to become assassins for corrupt cops in this era of extrajudicial killings. Toto Natividad is a director whose heyday was the action film era of the 90s. He’s best known for films like Ping Lacson: Supercop and the Lapid family venture Tatlong Baraha. The trailer calls him a “master director,” which might be stretching it a bit. But if you’re itching for old school Filipino action, this might just do the trick.
Scarlett Johansson leads a cast of comedic actresses playing a group of friends that end up accidentally killing a male stripper at a bachelorette party in Miami. Girls behaving badly has become a new staple in Hollywood, and this film seems to take it to darker places than other examples in this emerging genre. Reception has been pretty tepid overall, but there must be some value to seeing Scarlett Johansson messing with a dead stripper.
We actually thought this was opening a couple of weeks ago, but it was pushed back. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a grieving father who seeks out the air traffic controller that caused the accident that took his family. This is based on a true story, but don’t look it up if you don’t want to know what happens. But let’s just say that you don’t get Arnold Schwarzenegger to have a healing conversation with the man that caused the death of his family.
Okay, so this film is actually titled Stratton. It has nothing to do with the 1993 Jean Claude Van Damme schlock classic, or the recent sequel starring Scott Adkins. It stars Dominic Cooper as John Stratton, a British Special Boat Service commando tracking down an international terrorist cell. It’s directed by action veteran Simon West, and based on the novel by Duncan Falconer. So, this movie might have merits of its own that are separate from all that JCVD goodness. Man, local distributors can be pretty terrible.
Post-jail Wesley Snipes is doing a lot of work, apparently. In Armed Response, he stars as a member of an elite team of operatives that gets trapped inside a facility being run by a rogue artificial intelligence. Note for wrestling fans: this is the film debut of WWE superstar Seth Rollins, credited here with his real name, Colby Lopez. Other than that, the movie doesn’t really seem to have a lot going for it.
Cinemalaya is rolls on until Sunday. Check out our coverage: PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3
Kung Magarap Ka’t Magising screens until Friday. It is then replaced by a shortened run for Eduardo Roy’s Pamilya Ordinaryo.
AT THE CINEMATHEQUE CENTER MANILA
The CInematheque Center has been a little dodgy about announcing what’s being screened in advance. But today they’re screening Huling Byahe and Bambanti. And tomorrow, they’re screening a collection of regional shorts.
AT THE UP FILM CENTER
Today and tomorrow, they’re screening the Malaysian film Beautiful Pain, which is about a family dealing with autism. And then Monday and Tuesday next week, they’re screening JP Habac’s endearing I’m Drunk I Love You.