The Metro Manila Film Festival is back with a vengeance this year. (Yes, that statement is fully loaded but let’s not even go there.) The usual suspects have returned with Vice Ganda and Bossing headlining the roster of films. But after the game-changing #MMFF2016, let’s see what else we can look forward to this time.
First off, we have the film directorial debut of Coco Martin with Carlo J. Caparas’ Ang Panday, carrying his real name Rodel Nacianceno as his directorial persona. It has been widely known that he might as well be billed as the director of the longest running soap as of the moment FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. I’m quite excited to see how he handles such an epic and iconic material such as Panday, and I’m full of optimism, that he takes the franchise to greater heights. Surely, this entry is poised to rake in millions in the box office, catering to fantasy-loving family of viewers. But will it live up to the hype? I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
Gandarrapiddo, The Revenger Squad is our answer to the slew of superhero movies that Hollywood has been dishing out. Just kidding. But I’m a fan of Bb. Joyce Bernal’s brand of humor, so I’m banking on her magic to make this entry at the very least, hilarious AF. But what I’m more looking forward to is seeing Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach finally headlining a film. She has been an actress since she was in her teens, so let’s just see how she takes this new royalty status to the big screen. In addition to Vice Ganda and Daniel Padilla in the lead, she’s definitely an extra dose of eye candy to this entry.
Bossing is back! Not with a fantasy flick but with a family comedy by Chris Martinez, Meant To Beh. What I’m excited about this, though, is his choice of tandem who is none other than ethereal beauty Ms. Dawn Zulueta. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Vic Sotto doing Enteng again with her as Faye. Other than that, this entry looks like it’s gearing towards the typical and expected, so ho-hum.
Jennylyn Mercado x Derek Ramsey x Dan Villegas. Sounds familiar? That’s 'cause it’s a reunion of sorts for the tandem that brought us English Only Please. Basing on the trailer, it seems that All Of You is much more mature and serious with the film’s subject matter, which seemingly delves into the nitty gritty of commitment. Villegas was successful in doing so with #WalangForever and I’m hoping he can pull it off again for this one. Word-of-mouth would be essential in this film’s success that cannot just rely on it’s love-story-loving target audience that can be easily lured by the other family blockbuster films in the roster.
Siargao by Paul Soriano is evidently the alternative to the previous film in terms of genre. Set on such a picturesque backdrop which the film is named after, this entry could actually give All Of You a run for its money, as long word-of-mouth feedback backs it up. The trailer is actually more exciting and much hipper so I am hoping that this Jericho Rosales-Erich Gonzales-Jasmine Curtis-Smith starrer would truly deliver.
And, of course, since the franchise Shake, Rattle, And Roll is not around anymore, there has to be a horror entry to complete the MMFF roster. Haunted Forest fills this spot. Aside from Ian Loreños at the helm, whose films I’ve never seen and the cast that does not really pique my interest, this is one of the entries that I’ll wait for feedback first before braving it in the cinema.
A sort of surprise inclusion to the roster, though not really, is Ang Larawan. I’m going to predict as early as now that this film is poised to bring home a lot of awards and may eventually be the runaway winner come Gabi Ng Parangal. It’s such a risk to make a musical film especially here in the Philippines where the market for such a genre is so limited, so I really commend its producers for their aplomb in bringing this material to the silver screen. Whoever thought that Loy Arcenas would ever have helmed a film for the MMFF? He is the perfect choice, though, to direct this material given his theater background and film sensibility. From it’s lead cast, theater royalties, Rachel Alejandro and Joanna Ampil to the music of Ryan Cayabyab, this film is a definite must-watch and I suggest that you put it first on your list.
Another left of field entry, though not really, is Deadma Walking, a film based on a Palanca Award winning screenplay. I feel that this was included in the roster because of the success of last year’s Die Beautiful. Could this duplicate it’s predecessor’s success when it comes to LGBT films in the MMFF? I am just not the target audience for this brand of humor so again, I will wait it out to hear feedback regarding this film, before I give it a chance.
So, on my list of top films to watch in the MMFF now, I’ve got Ang Larawan, Siargao, and nothing else, really. Will probably weigh out the reviews and the box office returns of the other entries to see what will be worth my time in the cinema. What are your top choices?
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Banner Image courtesy of 'Siargao'