2013 MMFF: Uplifting the Filipino Spirit

For the local film industry, December 25 until the first week of January is synonymous with the metro Manila Film Festival wherein Hollywood films take a backseat and local films occupy the front row.
There are eight films to be shown, and surprisingly there is the absence of the regular entries: No Enteng Kabisote, No Panday, No Shake, Rattle,Roll. No Bong Revilla No Ai-Ai De las Alas. But the other new regulars are back: Vic Sotto, Kris Aquino and the addition of Vice Ganda and ER Ejercito.
MMFF usually offers a variety of film genre to cater to various audiences – and this year is no exception. But what is obviously missing are family melodrama and the usual infidelity-themed love stories. This year, it’s dominated by comedy films and biopics.

Here are the 8 films shown on Christmas Day:


My Little Bossings
Vic Sotto is and will always be a box-office winner whoever we pair him with. Directed by Marlon Rivera and written by Bibeth Orteza, starring Vic Sotto together with the latest child sensation, Ryzza Mae Dizon, James “Bimby” Yap, Jr. and of course Kris Aquino. This is pegged to be the top-grosser for this year, and no doubt it will be. I just hope that the actual film will be as funny as its trailer. Another reason why this film will be a hit is the fact that a monotone Jaclyn Jose plays a villainess to another monotone Kris Aquino. Only that the former is better than the latter. Aiza Seguerra is playing mentor to Ryzza Mae Dizon, and how will Jose Manalo manage the absence of Wally Bayola? I’m pretty sure, Bossing Vic has a lot of surprises to offer.

10,000 Hours
Robin Padilla is back to what he does best: action films. This time in the loose adaptation of Sen. Ping Lacson’s life three years ago when he went into hiding as he was involved in the Salvador Dacer and Emmanuel Corbito case. The personality that Robin portrays may not be as amiable as Ryzza Mae, but the trailer seems to be a promising one. Helmed by ace director Joyce Bernal, 10,000 hours will also feature some great actors of the past, the present and the future: Eddie Garcia, John Estrada, and Baron Geisler.
Why would this be a great “Pamasko”? While the film’s plot is a bit controversial, its ‘trailer’ is indeed exciting. Politics aside, this can even give Robin Padilla his Best Actor, and the film a Best Picture nod.

Kaleidoscope World
Another promising film that breaks the mold of fantasy-comedy film fest is the hip-hop dance musical Kaleidoscope World – a fitting tribute to The late Francis Magalona. This movie is relatively “small” compare to the regular giants. But I will consider watching this film alongside with FrancisM fanatics because of the freshness it brings to the Pinoy moviegoers. The concept seemed to be very Hollywood. I’m pretty sure some scenes are lifted from Step Up movies and other great hip hop films. I just hope it doesn’t disappoint. It stars some “unknown” names in the industry, but really is worth a try. And by the way, two of my favorite dance acts are in here: The Philippine All-Stars and the UP STREET. So, yes, I will dance with Francis in his Kaleidoscope World.

Pagpag: Siyam na Buhay
If this is starred by Kris Aquino, I’m sure it’s going to be a hit, and can even go against My Little Bossings. Not that Kris is a great actress, but she has this great contrast with horror films. With her face exerting all effort scaring us, we end up laughing. Here we have serious youngsters trying to scare us. Putting variety to the entries is a good idea. And I am hoping the “Joaquin” and “Chichay” can scare us the way they have made us giggle in their tv series. I am really looking forward to Matet De Leon more than anybody else. She is like her sister Lotlot who brought the goods in Feng Sui, and I’m pretty sure she will deliver. As to the rest of the cast, like Shaina Magdayao, I have yet to see a good performance from her. Let’s find out what Frasco Mortiz have done to make the film exciting. The trailer contains the cliches of an Asian horror film. But, yeah why not give it a try after watching all comedy films? Besides, this is the only film that Regal Films has. Mother Lily dominates the festival year after year prior to this.

Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel
The gang is back, and I’m quite half-hearted if this film would do better than the others considering a not so good second installment. Box-office wise, it may not topple Vic and Kris but, Eugene Domingo is Eugene Domingo! She is so good in this series that you really have to finish the last one to have a complete picture of Kimmy and Dora. Sam Milby’s addition may not really be exciting, but with Eugene around, that’s going to be special. The James Bond-esque comedy film is set before the events of “Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme,” the first movie in the series, wherein the twins are seen disputing the ownership of the family corporation. Though unseen in the trailers, Miriam Quiambao has made such an impact that aside from Ariel Ureta and Moi Bien, she is back as Uge’s hardworking assistant! Chris Martinez directs Uge once again, and he has mastered the tricks that will work best for Uge. As Uge would put it, this movie promises to be “mas masaya, mas madaming paandar at mas pinabongga!” And their marketing strategy, she gets the best kiss from Sam Milby. She always get the best kiss anyway.

Boy Golden: Shoot to Kill
The plot seems interesting, and again, ER Ejercito will impress us with a great cinematography. When he first joined the festival as The Manila Kingpin, it was something really very interesting. Last year’s El Presidente was also promising. And having Chito Rono helmed this film is what I look forward to. And it should not be taken out of the equation comes awards night. Set in the 1960s, the action movie is based on the life of a notorious Manila gangster, Arturo “Boy Golden” Porcuna. Judging by the poster, Ejercito might have taken the role to its core. The movie was earlier excluded from the MMFF this year due to excessive violence, but was later reconsidered after the film “My Super Kap” starring Senator Bong Revilla withdrew. But having ER and KC in one film is quite odd. Poster-wise it looked good. I’m not sure if I can take out my bias from this two. ER has proven himself worthy of some accolades; KC is still trying to find her accolade. Will see what this brings us. I will do my best to finish the film.

Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy
Not this year, Vice. Having one Vice Ganda is enough; and having four of them maybe too much. I’m not sure if this is good for Vice at this point of his career. I mean, I know he is displaying his versatility as actor and I respect that. I know it was a bit challenging to him and to the rest of the cast. But I think we all had enough of his sarcastic jokes. This film wants to be number 1, because of the presence of Wenn Deramas and Vice himself. I’m sure Ryzza and Bimby will block their way to the top. Will Vice succeed on this one? It can be a box-office contender, but I’m not sure if it’s going to be right to the top. And I’m happy seeing Maricel Soriano back in the movie scene, but not in this role. If she plays villain to Vice’s character, that would be hilarious. Her being the mother to Vice is not so good, methinks. Well, having personalities of Kiray, Ruffa and Joey Marquez might just create a magic. I’ll force myself to watch this one.

Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir
This is an inspirational movie, wrong filmfest. San Pedro Calungsod’s life is an inspiration to the Filipino people. And it is but fitting that a film is made in his honor. The historical biopic film centers on the life of the young Filipino Pedro Calungsod, who joined the missionary Fr. Diego San Vitores in his mission to Guam. It focuses on how the Filipino saint changed the natives of Marianas Islands, how he fought for his faith, and how it led to his death. It’s either too late or too early for the film to be shown. It could generate more audience if it’s not in competition in the film fest. The movie (and not the personality) is not as big as the others being shown. Nacino (not San Pedro) is but a small star in the galaxy. But you know what they say with saints, they create miracles. If JM de Guzman took the role, I’m sure he will deliver a better portrayal, and a better way of wearing the wig.

Support the local film industry by trying to catch at least a film or two.