This Week In Cinemas – February 28, 2018

February closes with an odd mix of films

by Philbert Dy


Next in line in the Oscars parade, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, which will get a limited releases in Trinoma and Greenbelt. It’s going up against a surprising number of films, with distributors seemingly just throwing out random smaller films that just happen to have recognizable names as stars. On the local front, we continue to test Paolo Ballesteros’ viability as a star with Amnesia Love.


Local Releases:





Paolo Ballesteros stars as a celebrity who gets into an accident and washes up on a remote island with no memory of who he is. The character he plays, as it turns out, doesn’t even remember that he’s gay. He develops a bit of a romance with a local played by Yam Concepcion, which becomes a real problem when his boyfriend shows up looking for him. Ballesteros has proven to be a pretty reliable entertainer. Hopefully, this movie doesn’t as problematic as it sounds.


Foreign Releases:





Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut casts Saoirse Ronan as a rebellious, rather unusual high school student who wants nothing more than to go an Ivy League school far away from the town she currently resides in: Sacramento, California. The film has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including best director for Gerwig, best actress for Ronan, and best supporting actress for Laurie Metcalf, one of the finest actors working anywhere today. Exclusive to Greenbelt and Trinoma.





Jennifer Lawrence and director Francis Lawrence reunite in this adaptation of the 2013 novel by Jason Matthews. Lawrence plays Dominika, a prima ballerina who, after suffering a career-ending injury, is manipulated into becoming part of a special Russian program that trains young men and women to seduce and control assets. Enjoyment of this film will likely be heavily relative to one’s ability to stand American and British actors pretending to be Russian, delivering all their dialogue in hilariously-accented English.





This new movie version of Betrix Potter’s story books gives James Corden the job of voicing the mischievous title rabbit. The film has Peter and his family dealing with the arrival of Thomas McGregor (Domnhall Gleeson), a Londoner who isn’t at all amused by the antics of the animals surrounding his new house. Rose Byrne shows up as a neighbor sympathetic to Peter who also happens to develop an attraction to Thomas. The film does not at all feel like the storybooks, but that was to be expected, since Hollywood often falls back on the thinking that films for children need to be loud and crazy. Okay.





Ethan Hawke plays a CIA agent who dies in the line of duty, only to be resurrected for one last mission. As the title suggests, he’s been put on a time limit, this new chance at life lasting only 24 hours. Of course, some conspiracy is inevitable uncovered, and the people who brought him back will likely learn that maybe bringing back highly capable, principled people to do sketchy work isn’t the best idea. To be clear, we haven’t seen this movie, but in others ways, haven’t we all seen this movie?





The film takes place in a world where a zombie outbreak was thwarted, and the infected were cured. But the world isn’t so welcoming to the former zombies, with the formerly infected discriminated againsts. Ellen Page plays a woman whose husband was killed in the outbreak, and has to care for her brother-in-law, who lives with her following the treatment that restored him from being a zombie.





The actual title of this film, if you’re looking for it on the internet, is “Guardians of the Tomb.” It stars Kelsey Grammar, Li Bingbing, and sizable hunk of meat Kellan Lutz as part of a team people who have to deal with a recently unearthed mummfied Chinese emperor with bad intentions. We can’t really say if this film is any good, since we haven’t seen it. But having the title changed for the local release certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.





This 2017 Chinese film follows an MMA fighter who switches bodies with the female reporter who wrote a story about him accepting bribes. And like in all body switching movies, the two are forced to take on each other’s roles, and learn some lessons along the way. Based on the trailer, this is very much akin to the crazy Hong Kong comedies of the 90s. That could be fun, if it doesn’t feel too dated.





Opens Thursday. Bruce Willis takes on the Charles Bronson role in a Eli Roth-directed remake of the 1974 film of the same name. Willis plays a family man who becomes a vigilante following the murder of his family. Oh boy. More stories of righteous murder. Just what we needed.


Special Engagements:




Maginhawa’s new favorite cinema is celebrating women’s month with a slew of films by women filmmakers, and films with women at their center. It’s an embarrassment of riches. For this first week, we’re just going to recommends old favorites: Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay and Lorna. Both good fun from filmmakers who ended up making big hit films.



The Instituto Cervantes is hosting a series of screenings of Spanish films by female directors. This weekend, we’re getting the 2015 film La Novia by Paula Ortiz, a cinematic adaptation of a Federico Garcia Lorca play. Admission is free.




Brillante Mendoza’s acclaimed Ma’ Rosa returns to screens through the Cine Lokal Cinemas starting March 2.