This Week In Cinemas: June 14, 2017

Filipino Cinema returns to theaters after a two-week break

by Philbert Dy

After two straight weeks of no local releases, a new local contender has entered the cinematic battlefield. Granted, it’s a Star Cinema film, but let’s not hold that against it. Apart from that, this is another lighter week of movies, anchored mainly by the third (technically fourth?) installment of a popular animated film franchise that has largely become known for introducing the Minions to the world.

 

 

Local Releases:

 

CAN WE STILL BE FRIENDS?

 

 

Arci Muñoz and Gerald Anderson star in the latest Star Cinema film with a song for a title. This one’s plot actually does seem to reflect the basic premise of the song from which it takes its name. The two play a couple that break up after eight years of being together. Both attempt to move on, but still keep running into each other, forcing them to constantly ask the question so soulfully asked by Todd Rundgren all those years ago. The film is directed by Prime Cruz, best known for Sleepless, an indie film that has consistently found audiences in the two years it’s been around, in spite of never really getting major distribution.

 

Foreign Releases:

 

DESPICABLE ME 3

 

 

The third installment of this series has Gru facing off against an ‘80s-themed villain voiced by Trey Parker, while at the same time dealing with the revelation that he has a twin brother. But who are we kidding? Nobody really cares about that. At this point, this whole thing is about those ubiquitous yellow nonsense-speaking creatures that keep popping up on your Facebook feed. Minions are our life now, apparently.

 

THE MONSTER

 

 

Zoe Kazan plays an alcoholic with a strained relationship with her teenage daughter. The film strands the two in the woods following an encounter with a wolf that leaves their car broken down. The Monster seems to be part of this new wave of low-key American horror films that attempt to use its genre elements as a greater metaphor for the struggles of the human experience, instead of just having a bunch of spooky stuff pop up on screen accompanied by a loud noise. This of course means that many people will walk out of the cinema frustrated that a bunch of spooky stuff didn’t pop up on screen accompanied by a loud noise. C’est la vie.

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE

 

 

That’s Venice Beach, California, and not Venice, Italy. Bruce Willis plays a private investigator whose dog has been stolen. In order to get him back, he ends up having to steal some drugs for a drug dealer played by Jason Momoa. In spite of the very serious looking local posters that prominently feature Jason Momoa pointing a gun, the film doesn’t seem to a) be very serious, and b) prominently feature Jason Momoa. Marketing is weird.

 

THE RECALL

 

 

Five friends take a trip out to a remote lake house for vacation. While they’re out there, the Earth is invaded by aliens. One of the film’s main selling points is that it was designed specifically to be screened in Barco Escape, a new ultrawide multiscreen experience that hasn’t really caught on and isn’t anywhere to be found locally. The other main selling point is that Wesley Snipes is in it, playing an alien abductee turned survivalist who helps the five main characters survive the impending apocalypse.

 

Special Engagements:

 

THE 22ND FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL

 

The French Film Festival continues to roll on at Greenbelt and Central Square BGC until the 17th. And this weekend, they’re doing free outdoor screenings at Circuit Makati.

 

CINELOKAL

 

Area is closing out its run tomorrow. Up next on the CineLokal lineup: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Ang Huling Cha Cha ni Anita, a coming-of-age tale about a young girl coming to grips with her sexuality in a small, provincial town.

 

AT THE UP FILM INSTITUTE

 

Tonight they’re premiering Ang Pagsanib kay Leah de la Cruz, which we’ll be seeing in regular cinemas soon. Thursday through the weekend, they’re screening Kuwentong Bayan, an omnibus presentation with films by Pam Miras, Nap Jamir, Ellen Ramos, Caloy Santos Jr., Ray Gibraltar, Manie Magbanua Jr., Jon Red, Ditsi Carolino, Milo Alto-Paz, EJ Salcedo, Raymund Amonoy, Mervyn Brondial, Jess Lapid Jr., Ronald Bautista, Topel Lee, Remton Siega Zuasola, Ogi Sugatan, JP Carandan, Angelo Carpio, and Cynthia Paz.

 

AT THE CINEMATHEQUE CENTRE MANILA

 

Today they’re screening Straight to the Heart and The Crescent Rising as a kickoff to a program they’re calling “Pelikulayaan.” This weekend, they’re advertising programs called “Cinemakulay” and “Prism: Pride Carnivale 2017,” though details on both as of this writing seem to be pretty scarce.

 

CINE CLUB AT THE ALLIANCE DE FRANCAISE

 

Scheduled for June 14 is Une Bouteille de la Mer. Next week, June 21, they’re showing Hiner Saleem’s 2013 film My Sweet Pepper Land, a pretty stunning film set in a lawless territory at the border of Iran, Turkey, and Iraq.