If you’re looking for a new film to watch this week, you’re luck, because there are nine of them. And that’s before the Quezon City International Film Festival kicks off. If you’re a cinephile, you should already file for leave already and take out a small personal loan so that you can fully immerse yourself in the rather excessive amount of cinema coming your way this week.
BES AND THE BESHIES
Ai Ai de las Alas returns to movies leading a cast that also includes Zsa Zsa Padilla, Carmi Martin and Beauty Gonzales. They play four friends with very different life situations, and they help each other deal with their various problems. The script is written by Ricky Lee, and the film is directed by Joel Lamangan. Expect the use of sound effects to tell the audience when the movie has made a joke.
SI TOKHANG AT ANG TROPANG BUANG
Yeah we don’t really know how to explain this one. The official synopsis for the film talks about a lady hermit named Tokhang ridiculed for how she looks who goes around exposing the corruption of the people of one particular town. Watch that trailer and hold your head in disbelief. It’s just one of those films that make you wonder, “how did this get made?”
Running exclusively in Trinoma and Greenbelt is Adolfo Alix Jr.’s 4 Days, which stars Sebastian Castro and Mikoy Morales as college friends who become a little more than friends in the days leading up to Valentine’s day. This seems like a very small, intimate film that draws comparisons to some of Alix’s earlier films, before he found his international success. It’s also a kind of gay-themed film that we haven’t really seen in major theaters in a while.
Ben Stiller stars in the latest film from Mike White, best known, probably, for being the writer of School of Rock and the creator of Enlightened. Stiller plays a parent accompanying his teenage son on a trip to Boston to check out colleges. And at the same time, he’s having a midlife crisis, questioning his choices as he thinks about where his college friends ended up. This movie ought to be insufferable, but it manages to walk a fine line as it delivers an introspective take on white male privilege.
HAPPY DEATH DAY
It’s Groundhog Day, but as a slasher. Jessica Rothe is a college student celebrating her birthday. At the end of the night, she gets murdered, but wakes up on the same morning. This keeps happening, and she takes this strange mystical development as infinite chances to solve her own murder.
ONLY THE BRAVE
An all star cast that includes Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly and Jeff Bridges tells the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters sent in to deal with a historic wildfire in Arizona. A lot of these recent based-on-true-events movies about heroism have all had their issues, but reviews for this film have been generally favorable so far. And that cast alone might make it worth a look.
Bad Genius could be this year’s Train to Busan. It’s already the most successful Thai film of the year, and it’s found plenty of success outside of Thailand. Now it’s opening here, and Filipinos will get the chance to see if this movie about a straight-A student who leads a gang of friends in trying to steal some test answers is all it’s cracked up to be.
Opening exclusively in Robinsons cinemas is Una, a movie based on the play Blackbird by David Harrower. Rooney Mara plays a woman who confronts an older man that sexually abused her back when she was thirteen. If you are at all familiar with the play, then you know that this is a complex, difficult piece of work that will not make for a pleasant afternoon viewing. If you are unfamiliar, be prepared. It’s going to get uncomfortable.
Jackie Chan drops the comedy for a film directed by Bond veteran Martin Campbell. Chan plays a former soldier whose daughter is killed in a terrorist attack. He takes it upon himself to capture the bombers, and this puts him in the path of a former leader of the IRA turned politician played by Pierce Brosnan. So the film seems interested in the complex politics of Irish independence, but is also a movie where Chan gets to kick a bunch of people in the face. Win-win!
QUEZON CITY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Qcinema is back, and they’re bringing eight new local films, plus an insane lineup for foreign films that includes The Square, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and the restored version of The Graduate. And if that’s not enough, they’re closing out the festival with the Philippines premiere of the restored Batch ’81. It’s ridiculous. Make plans.
Speaking of Qcinema, one of the last year’s entries, Best Partee Ever, takes over the Cinelokal theaters starting Friday.
AT THE UP FILM CENTER
Fallen not Forgotten, Triptiko, Ang Guro Kong Hindi Marunong Magbasa, as well the same foreign films from last week (The Canyons, Manhattan Nocturne, and Decadence) fill up the slots running up to this week end. From Monday to Wednesday next week, there will be free screenings of Cinema One Originals films, including Dayang Asu, 2 Cool 2