With the Academy Awards over, the release schedule is getting a little more manageable. The big Hollywood release this week is Tomb Raider, which opens on Thursday. But the most interesting story in our cinemas this week is the release of Magbuwag Ta Kay, a film from Cebu being distributed by Viva. The rise of regional cinema over the last ten years has been really exciting, and it’s interesting to see one of the big mainstream producers/distributors taking a risk by releasing a film that isn’t in Tagalog into cinemas nationwide, outside of any festival setting. That’s a good development, no matter how you cut it.
MAGBUWAG TA KAY
Roy Ucat and Akiko Solon star in this Cebuano film about a young couple forced to consider breaking up rather than trying to endure a long-distance relationship. It’s a romcom, but just the fact that this story isn’t taking place in Manila and isn’t in Tagalog should bring some interesting new dimension to the popular genre. Or maybe we’re giving it too much credit. Who knows? Either way, it’s probably worth checking out.
ANG PAMBANSANG THIRD WHEEL
Yassi Pressman plays a young woman with a shaky history with romance. She resolves to never become the “third wheel” in a relationship again, but quickly falls in love with a man played by Sam Milby. It turns out he has a kid, and the mother of the kid is still in his life. The film is directed by Ivan Payawal, best known for The Comeback and I, America, and one of the director working under the IdeaFirst umbrella. More “indie” directors working in the “mainstream,” blurring that silly line even further.
Opening Thursday is a new adaptation of the popular video game series Tomb Raider. Alicia Vikander takes on the role of Lara Croft, daughter of a missing adventurer. She travels to the island where her father disappeared, and butts heads with her father’s old partner (Walton Goggins) while figuring out the deadly secrets of the island. Was the world so desperate that we needed another Tomb Raider movie? Probably not. But it’s nice to see Vikander doing so well.
Takeru Sato, star of the Rurouni Kenshin films, lands himself another popular manga adaptation. This time he plays Kei Nagai, a high schooler that discovers that he is an Ajin, an immortal with special powers. And he soon discovers that the world really isn’t all that happy with the existence of the Ajin, and he fights both the government and other Ajin on the way to discovering the right path for himself.
The slasher from Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes center stage with a movie that goes into his origins. A disturbed child is raised in a mental hospital, and escapes with three other patients and goes on to become a real monster. This is honestly one of the worst trends in horror, with films that go into the past of popular franchises to show us the creation of these monsters. It always has the strange effect of making these monsters less terrifying, while also treading on problematic material regarding mental health. Bleh.
SELFIE FROM HELL
So yeah, there is a horror movie called Selfie from Hell. It details the plight of a German vlogger who falls strangely ill while visiting her cousin in the US. The cousin goes through the vlogs and discovers some horrific happenings, presumably having something to do with the horror of taking selfies. We are a little disappointed to learn that this movie isn’t about Bong Go taking one of his signature selfies with Satan.
Amanda Schull plays an FBI agent sent into the small town of Devil’s Gate, North Dakota, where she is to investigate the disappearance of a woman. It is immediately worth noting that IMDB tags this film under the genres “horror” and “sci-fi,” just so you know exactly what you’re walking into. The film also stars Milo Ventimiglia, Jonathan Frakes, and Shawn Ashmore. It’s a veritable collection of TV’s most ubiquitous non-leads.
Five new feature films, six documentaries, and six short films are going to be exhibited under the Sinag Maynila banner. The festival takes over the CineLokal cinemas this week, with most screenings open to the public by Friday.
SCREENINGS AT CINEMA CENTENARIO
Cinema Centenario continues to celebrate women’s month. Do try to catch Sigrid Bernardo’s Lorna, which is one of those smaller movies that really deserves to be remember, if only for the fact that the acclaimed filmmaker Lav Diaz showed his butt.
SCREENINGS AT THE UP FILM CENTER
Speaking of Lorna, the UP Film Center is screening the film along with Bernardo’s big hit Kita Kita this week. They’re also screening Ramona Diaz’s Motherland on Thursday. The biggest screening at UP Film Center this week, though, is the world premiere of Mike de Leon’s Citizen Jake.