This week, a lot of long-awaited movies collide in our cinemas. One of the more popular films from last year’s Cinema One Originals, Changing Partners, dukes it out with Oscar-contender Call Me By Your Name. The absurd pop musical The Greatest Showman shares space with the generally well-reviewed Paddington 2. If you are a cinephile, we hope you’ve saved up some money, because this week is going to hurt.
Based on the stage musical of the same name by Vince de Jesus, Changing Partners is the story of one couple told in four different ways, with different permutations of gender and sexuality represented as the movie jumps seamlessly between realities. Jojit Lorenzo, Agot Isidro, Sandino Martin, and Anna Luna deliver performances that won them a special jury prize at the Cinema One Originals festival. It’s a clever little film that builds off the very simple idea that regardless of sexuality or gender or whatever social constructs we might adhere to, breakups suck. We can all relate to that.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Showing in select Ayala Cinemas. Timothée Chalamet stars as a teenager living in a villa somewhere in Northern Italy in 1983. An older graduate student played by Armie Hammer stays over at the villa for the duration of the summer, and the two develop an attraction to one another. This is one of the most celebrated films of the year, and was constantly sold out during its brief run at the Cinema One Originals festival. If you’ve heard about this film, you probably already want to see it. Now’s your chance.
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Hugh Jackman plays the role of PT Barnum in this loose biopic, tracing his rise from poor tailor’s son to entertainment impresario. And oh, it’s also a musical. The very idea of selling PT Barnum’s story as something that would work within the context of a boisterous, happy musical is a little weird, but like Barnum himself, the movie generally seems to care little about the truth. Don’t expect things to get uncomfortable, unless you are already familiar with the history of Barnum.
The sequel to the surprise 2014 hit. This time, the titular bear finds himself in prison, and has to work with a motley crew of inmates to get out and save his family from a dastardly conman. Once again, the local version replaces the voice of Ben Whishaw for Xian Lim’s. That’s always going to feel like an odd choice. To be fair, replacing Whishaw the last time didn’t seem to make all that much of an impact overall, as Lim seemed to be instructed to just hew as close to the original performance anyway. What a weird business.
Watch out: another horror movie “based on a true story.” The true story involves the house built by Sarah Winchester, who was left with a fortune following the death of her husband. She then went on to spend that money constructing a bizarre house for the next thirty-six years. The film takes that little factoid and builds a horror movie around it, casting Helen Mirren as Winchester, and turning the house into some sort of prison for vengeful ghosts. Just like in real life!
A BETTER TOMORROW 2018
Ding Sheng, the director behind the 2013 revival of Police Story has been given the reins to another Hong Kong classic. This time, it’s John Woo’s 1986 classic A Better Tomorrow. This new version seems to be using the same story template: reforming ex-criminal tries to reconnect with his estranged law-abiding brother. Rising stars Kai Wang and Tianyu Ma take the place of then-rising stars Chow Yun Fat and Leslie Cheung. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but Ding Sheng has a fairly good track record overall.
7th BRAZIL FILM FESTIVAL AT THE UP FILM CENTER
Cine Adarna hosts the 7th annual Brazil Film Festival, featuring the theme “Brazilian Music at the Movies.” They’re screening six Brazilian films over the next three days.
SCREENINGS AT CINEMA CENTENARIO
Cinema Centenario’s February lineup includes Ang Larawan, Deadma Walking, I Love You Thank You, Ang Nawawala, Puti, Sonata, 1st Ko si Third, Patay na si Hesus, Respeto, Dubai, Moral, Kamera Obskura, and plenty of other films. Go check out a midnight screening. Those ought to be fun.
Starting February 2, Gino Santos’ Lila returns to cinemas. Janine Gutierrez stars as a young woman who reads too slowly to save herself from a killer. No, seriously. It’s a bad movie.