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Exciting comers topbill ‘corruption-seduction’ drama

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“ESPRIT DE CORPS.” Everything isn’t what it seems. ADRIAN GONZALES

“Esprit De Corps,” a Cinema One entry set during martial law that follows two student cadets and their senior officer in the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), is notable not only because it is based on the first play director Kanakan-Balintagos (“Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros”) wrote at age 17, but also because it casts exciting young comers, Sandino Martin (as Private Abel), Lharby Policarpio (as Private Cain) and JC Santos (as Maj. Mac Favila), in crucial roles.

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JHud in a dancing mood

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HUDSON. Releases ’70s-style, funk-and-disco-fueled third album.

Jennifer Hudson, “American Idol’s” Oscar- and Grammy-winning alumna, isn’t just making news with her transformative, 80-lb-plus weight loss: With the release of her ‘70s-style, funk-and-disco-fueled third album, “JHud,” crafted with some of pop music’s most reliable hitmakers (like Pharrell Williams and Timbaland), she’s out to prove that schmaltzy ballads aren’t the only songs she can sing with show-stopping flair and aplomb.

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Moving dramas put Brad Pitt and Robert Downey Jr. through the wringer

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PITT AND DOWNEY. Portray battle-hardened soldier and cocky lawyer, respectively.

Two of the most thrilling films we’ve seen this year have been shown a week apart from each other: Damien Chazelle’s exhilarating, Oscar-worthy drama, “Whiplash,” about an ambitious drummer (Miles Teller) and his cruel mentor (JK Simmons), and David Ayer’s harrowing World War II tale, “Fury,” starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman.

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John Lloyd Cruz’s crackerjack portrayal anchors compelling legal drama

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CRUZ. Effective emotional conduit.

Chito Roño’s “The Trial” is an emotionally involving legal drama presented with sufficient flair and built around the crackerjack portrayal of John Lloyd Cruz as a 27-year-old simpleton, Ronald Jimenez Jr., accused of raping his tutor, Bessie Buenaventura (Jessy Mendiola).

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Singer-comedian reinvents himself–as a dramatic actor

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BAIS AND LAMANGAN. Costar in Eduardo Dayao’s Cinema One  fest entry, “Violator.”

We’ve rapped a good number of the early feature-film entries of the Cinema One Originals indie festival, because of their relative incoherence and vacuous pretensions. But, the film event’s line-up last year was particularly significant—in fact, it was better than this year’s startlingly underwhelming yield at Cinemalaya.

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