It is difficult to find a running theme among the films showing this week. It’s a pretty strange lineup: a new love team tries to make it in cinemas, an action movie sidekick directs what appears to be a pro-Duterte screed, Tom Cruise smuggling drugs for the Pablo Escobar, Charlie Sheen in an elevator, and Steven Soderbergh returning to movies. And in very limited release, we’re getting Sean Penn’s latest directorial effort. There’s a lot going on here, even if none of these are what you’d call a tentpole release.
LOVING IN TANDEM
Maymay Entrata plays a hopeless romantic who literally asks God to help her meet the love of her life. She immediately runs into the character played by Edward Barber. Hijinks ensue, a lot of it likely based on how Barber’s character doesn’t really speak Filipino. Entrata and Barber, who are better known online under the portmanteau “MayWard,” get the chance to test the limits of their appeal in a Star Cinema romcom. May these kids find happiness in their lives and all that.
DAD: DURUGIN ANG DROGA
Take a look at this poster. So many questions. Is this really directed by Dinky Doo, the faithful sidekick of Ronnie Ricketts in countless action movies? Is it really abbreviated as DAD? Is it about a dad? Why does that one dude look like Guy Fieri? Nina? The “Soul Siren?” What’s happening? Are we all still alive? Is this a simulation? What are we doing with our lives? Who really killed JFK? Et cetera.
Tom Cruise reteams with Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman to play Barry Seal, an airline pilot who became a drug smuggler for the Medellin cartel back in the 80s. The film leans hard on the theory that Seal was actually doing work for the CIA. This doesn’t seem to be true, but the film pretends that it all is anyway, chasing a jittery fever dream of hubris and excess on the way to depicting the perils of American interventionism.
THE LAST FACE
Exclusive to Greenbelt and Trinoma, The Last Face stars Charlize Theron as the head of an international aid agency and Javier Bardem as a relief aid doctor. The two are in Africa, smack dab in the middle of a nation undergoing social and political upheaval. It might be worth nothing that the film is directed by Sean Penn, who must have found time to put together this film in between setting up interviews with drug lords. Cool.
Steven Soderbergh wasn’t very good at being retired. He produced and directed every episode of The Knick, did Behind the Candelabra, and kept releasing silly little editing experiments on his website. He returns to the big screen with Logan Lucky, which stars Channing Tatum as a down-on-his-luck mechanic who gathers his family to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s like Oceans 11 minus the glamour of Las Vegas, the film using its genre trappings to explore the brokenness of capitalist America.
Dylan O’Brien plays a young man with a tragic backstory who gets recruited into the CIA to do black ops work. He’s trained by a veteran of the Cold War played by Michael Keaton. The two end up working together to investigate a series of killings that seem to be designed to spark war in the Middle East. Presumably, the movie will make some vague point about the price that the US must pay for training people to kill. Also, presumably: the heroes will kill a lot of people. C’est la vie.
This week in really bad ideas: Charlie Sheen plays a man trapped in an elevator in the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the planes crash on September 11, 2001. He’s in there with four other people, and they need to all pull together in order to get to safety. Whoopi Goldberg is in this, too. If you watch the trailer, it looks and feels like a Saturday Night Live sketch. And yet, here we are. The movie actually exists, and it is coming to our cinemas. Then again, this is the week that DAD: Durugin ang Droga is coming out, so everything is certainly possible.
This Korean film stars Yum Jung-ah as a mother who moves her family back to her hometown. One day, she runs into a young girl out in the wild, and decides to take her in until she can find the girl’s parents. And of course, strange things start happening, as the young girl she’s taken in seems to have a really weird, unsettling ability to mimic others. If you’re a fan of K-horror, it might help to know that this film is from the director of Hide and Seek.
It’s the 20th year of Cine Europa! This year’s lineup is a killer, because they’re not just showing recent films. They’re showing stuff like Run, Lola, Run and Jules et Jim. The chance to get to see these films on the big screen should never be missed, even if they weren’t free screenings at the Shang Cineplex. Go!
CineLokal actually has a new film to show people this week. I Found My Heart in Santa Fe stars Roxanne Barcelo as a resort manager in Cebu who finds a romantic spark with a tourist played by Will DeVaughn. The film is directed by Bona Fajardo, best known for the 2009 war/romance Cinemalaya movie Iliw.
AT THE UP FILM CENTER
Tomorrow and Friday, Cine Adarna will be host to Sandaan: Philippine Cinema Centennial Conference. It’s a part of the celebrations surround the 100th year of Filipino filmmaking. On Tueday, September 19, they’re going to be screening Cinemalaya best film Respeto in advance of their commercial run on September 20.
AT THE CINEMATHEQUE CENTRE MANILA
The PPP isn’t quite over at the Cinematheque Centre. This weekend, they’re screening Pauwi Na, Star na si Van Damme Stallone, Paglipay and Patay na si Hesus. Also: tomorrow there are going to be screenings of Halaw and Rekorder.