This week: the third installment of the Planet of the Apes reboot. Also this week: four horror movies. A reasonable person might think that maybe putting out four horror movies in a week is excessive. Someone with a business background might naturally suspect, at the very least, that it wouldn’t be good business. But veterans of this industry know that the local cinema release schedule doesn’t seem to be governed by logic or a desire for everyone to do good business. Clearly, it is driven by a desire to summon an elder god, the chaos wrought by the bizarre scheduling attracting otherworldly beings, turning the whole world into a horror movie.
If you aren’t into apes or horror, you might want to check out the TOFARM film festival, which will be screening six new Filipino films that are supposed to tell stories about farmers.
Young stars Janella Salvador, Elmo Magalona, and Ronnie Alonte are chased around on an island by a violent slasher. Crayons are involved somehow. This project has been in development for quite a while now, having gone through several announced directors before finally ending up in the hands of genre veteran Topel Lee. Hopefully, the delay was a result of very deliberate care being put into creating the absolute best film possible, and not a sign of a troubled production.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
The third film in this reboot of the classic science fiction film series has intelligent ape leader Caesar (still played by Andy Serkis, underneath a lot of science) going up against a mad colonel (Woody Harrelson) leading a fanatical group of soldiers. The movie seems to have been specifically designed to bridge the gap to the future depicted in the original film, setting up for another direct remake of the 1968 movie. Because more than ever, the world clamors for remakes. Remake everything!
Jocelin Donahue stars as a social worker looking into the cases of people who died in their sleep. If you’ve ever experienced sleep paralysis, this movie appears to have been crafted to exploit the particular horrors of that affliction. The marketing materials tout the film as being from the creator of Final Destination, which isn’t really a selling point, but okay.
A teenager (Joey King) acquires a box that grants her seven wishes. She uses these wishes to make things better for her, but because stories have to work a certain way, bad things start happening to the people around her. This is directed by John R. Leonetti, probably best known at this point for directing Annabelle. But as cinematographer on Insidious and The Conjuring, he’s a big reason mainstream horror movies look the way they do. That’s either high praise, or an indictment, depending on how you feel about all that.
The real title of this film is Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies. It is from 2016, and at least partly a comedy. The local marketing doesn’t at all reflect that fact, because local distributors seem to dislike people having an informed choice. So: the movie is given as generic a name as possible, and the poster is changed to a shot of just zombies hanging out in the woods. But yeah: it’s a comedy. From Austria. Be informed.
TOFARM FILM FESTIVAL
This is the second edition of this rather unusual festival, which gives out substantial grants to filmmakers for films that showcase the trials and tribulations of farmers and other stewards of agriculture. Six new films were made this year, and they’ll be screening at SM Megamall, SM City Manila, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Metro East, Greenbelt 1, and Gateway Cineplex.
The Japanese film festival continues to roll on at the Shang Cineplex. Go see Japanese films for 100 pesos. It’s good for the soul.
Pamilya Ordinaryo wraps up its run on Thursday, and is replaced by Michael Tuviera’s The Janitor, which casts Dennis Trillo as an ex-cop on the trail of a gang of criminals who took part in a bank robbery that went horribly wrong.
AT THE UP FILM CENTER
The Film Center isn’t done celebrating Pride Month. They’re showing a pair of films that came out of Cinema One Originals: Samantha Lee’s Baka Bukas at the main theater, and Cris Pablo’s Metlogs at the videotheque. It’s an interesting pair of films to show: one from the start of the festival, and the other from its most recent edition. Watch both and see how local gay cinema has evolved.
AT THE CINEMATHEQUE CENTER MANILA
It’s a treasure trove of local indies: the criminally underseen Ari: My Life with a King, the artfully written Dagitab, the contemplative K’na the Dreamweaver, the celebrated Thy Womb, and the restored Kasal can all be seen through the weekend at Cinematheque.
CINE CLUB AT THE ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE
This week, they’re screening The Edges of the World. Next Wednesday, they’re screening the 1951 film Casque d’Or, a romance set in the lowest reaches of 19th century France. It’s a classic waiting to be rediscovered.