After a couple of relatively lighter weeks of movies, we are getting nine new (or new-ish) movies in our theaters this week. Three of them, though, are mid-budget thrillers that we will all end up seeing on Cinemax on a Sunday afternoon some time in the future. It is inevitable. Accept your fate.
Opening May 17
DEAR OTHER SELF
Jodi Sta. Maria goes all Sliding Doors in a movie where she plays a young woman whose story splits into two very different paths. In one, she devotes herself to her career and providing for her family. In the other, she travels the world and seeks adventure. In both narratives, it seems, she ends up dating some hunky dude, because this is all that really matters in a Star Cinema movie.
Opening May 17
Anne Hathaway plays an unemployed, recently heartbroken woman who returns to her hometown and discovers that she is somehow connected to a giant monster that has been attacking Seoul, South Korea. Please do not go into this movie expecting a straight-up kaiju flick. If reviews are anything to go by, the real monster in this film is alcoholism.
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
Guy Ritchie offers his take on the King Arthur tale, casting generic-leading-man-du-jour Charlie Hunnam as the titular king-to-be. Because Guy Ritchie is who he is, the film portrays Arthur as the leader of a gang of street toughs in medieval London, shaking down merchants while trying to protect the prostitutes that raised him. Of course, because this is also a big-budget blockbuster, that personality has to eventually give way to VFX-heavy battles, which Ritchie seems to have little interest in.
Here is the review over at The Neighborhood.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL
The latest movie franchise to get a cast reboot isn’t a superhero movie. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul brings a whole new set of fresh young actors to play the kids, and ‘90s mainstays Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott to play the parents. You are old now. There is no getting around it. In the trailer, the two sing a Spice Girls song. The plot involves the Heffley family going on a road trip and getting into all sorts of trouble along the way. So it’s basically G-rated Vacation.
A couple (Eion Bailey and Bethany Joy Lenz) are on vacation with their kid in the Caribbean. They get stuck on a remote island, and are found by a fisherman (Captain Phillips’ Barkhad Abdi) who then, as the title suggests, extorts them. It’s kind of amazing that Hollywood took Abdi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Captain Phillips, and stuck him in another role where he plays a seafaring rogue that yells threateningly at a white man.
KURUKO’S BASKETBALL: THE LAST GAME
The anime hits keep on coming. Kuruko’s Basketball: The Last Game is the first film adaptation of the popular manga, which had an equally popular TV anime run. An American team called the Jabberwocks travels to Japan for a friendly game and ends up mocking the entirety of Japanese basketball. And so, the best players of a generation of high school basketball are banded together to show these Americans what’s what.
Adrien Brody tries out film noir playing a reporter asked by the movie’s presumptive femme fatale (Yvonne Strahovski) to help her look into the mysterious death of her husband. Everyone involved seems to be fully embracing the film noir label, with Brody delivering his lines with a growly murmur that is all at once appropriate and infuriating. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of this movie, it’s because this is one of those direct-to-VOD deals.
REDIVIDER: THE END OF DAYS
Redivider has been retitled Kill Switch in the States, but it looks like we’re keeping the original title here. The movie expands on a short film by the director called What’s in the Box?, and is told from the perspective of a pilot (Dan Stevens) who has to go save the world when a free energy experiment goes haywire. And we do mean told from his perspective, as most of the movie is shot from a first person view. Hope you don’t suffer from motion sickness.
Noomi Rapace plays a CIA interrogator tricked into providing information to the wrong side, which then leads to a possible biological attack on London. The film is directed by veteran British filmmaker Michael Apted, and brings some heavy acting guns in the supporting cast with the likes of John Malkovich and Michael Douglas coming in to say ominous things to the main character. Unfortunately, the title of the film is still “Unlocked,” which is just about as generic as a movie title can be.
OUTDOOR SCREENING OF RESTORED FILIPINO CLASSICS
ABS-CBN Film Restoration is screening a small lineup of their restored films over at the Globe Circuit Events Grounds this weekend. Entrance is free, so if you haven’t had the cash to catch these films when they were in theaters, now’s your chance. Hopefully, the power of these classics will help you cope with the lack of air conditioning.
THE BLACK BERET COMPETITION AT THE UP FILM INSTITUTE
Want to see the future of Filipino cinema? Check out the Black Beret competition this Thursday at 1PM at the UP Film Institute. There you’ll see a lineup of undergraduate works, and probably get a glimpse at a student destined for cinematic greatness. You’ll also see people who will inevitably sell out and lose their souls in an industry that cares little for their visions. Que sera sera.
THE SHORT FILMS OF CARLO MANATAD AT THE UP FILM INSTITUTE
In honor of the acceptance of his short film Jodilerks dela Cruz, Employee of the Month at Cannes’ Semaine de la Critique, the UP Film Institute is screening Carlo Manatad’s prior short films this weekend. Hopefully some of them are hilariously bad, if only to keep the young filmmaker’s feet planted firmly on the ground. Rogue offers its sincerest congratulations, Carlo!
WERNER HERZOG RETROSPECTIVE
The third weekend of the Werner Herzog retrospective over at the Cinematheque Manila brings us 1987’s Cobra Verde and 2005’s The Wild Blue Yonder. These two films aren’t really the most well-regarded among Herzog’s oeuvre, but they both beautifully capture Herzog’s general disdain for humanity in ways that are surprising and enthralling.