This week: the first major franchise releases of the year all come out at the same time, with sequels (or in the case of The Lego Batman Movie, a spinoff) of three major hit series arriving in cinemas. Blockbuster season starts earlier and earlier this year. On the local front: another film that was entered into the 2016 MMFF, but didn’t get in. We’ll find out why together.
MOONLIGHT OVER BALER
Sadly, this isn’t the Oscar-nominated film, Moonlight. It is, instead, the latest film from Gil Portes. He wanted it to be part of the Metro Manila Film Festival, and when it didn’t get in, he lashed out on the selection committee, having very choice words for Krip Yuson in particular. Anyway, the movie is set in 1986. A 65-year-old retired teacher (Elizabeth Oropesa) meets a young photojournalist (Vin Abrenica) who looks exactly like the love she lost long ago. Things presumably get freaky.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2
John Wick cast Keanu Reeves as a retired hitman who decides to go back to killing because some dude killed his dog. John Wick 2 reportedly doesn’t involve a dog, but has the title character once again donning a suit and killing people in stylish ways. This time, it’s in Rome. Maybe people should leave John Wick alone!
And the Train to Busan fallout continues. This week, South Korea gifts us with a film that stars Gang Dong-won as an anti-corruption investigator looking into a massive fraud case involving a multi-level marketing operation headed up by the very charismatic Lee Byung-hyun. It sounds this is a film for people who aren’t open-minded! There were scenes shot in the Philippines.
In very limited release this week is a 2015 film described on IMDB as “A 100% Australian Suspense Thriller filmed in Western Australia. Using the state of the art Red Dragon camera.” There’s a longer synopsis farther down the page, but it’s much more important for people to know what camera this film was shot on.
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (Opens February 9)
Everyone made jokes about The Lego Movie when it was first announced. Then it turned out to be pretty good, and a global phenomenon at that. And so now, one of the breakout characters from the first movie gets his own showcase. And odds are, this is going to be a better Batman movie than whatever it is that Ben Affleck didn’t want to direct.
AT THE UP FILM CENTER
It’s a hodgepodge of local indies this week with K’na the Dreamweaver, Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, the recent Nora Aunor films Hinulid and Tuos, and the new short films from last year’s QCinema.
AT CINEMA ‘76
The microcinema has recently added the horror film Ilawod to their lineup of regulars. This is a good thing, if you like movies with an emasculated Ian Veneracion.
AT THE CINEMATHEQUE CENTRE MANILA
The FDCP’s cinematheque has finally started screening films again. Starting February 10, they’re screening a series of romantic films in the leadup to Valentines day. Local favorites Ang Nawawala, Sana Dati and Sleepless once again get a chance to break your hearts.