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Viewers prefer movies that excite and surprise

/ 12:30 AM September 14, 2017

Scene from “Love You to the Stars and Back”

Producers tend to be safe and predictable in their casting choices, resulting in “formula” films and shows that fail to excite and surprise. It’s heartening to note, however, that more unexpected casting decisions are being made this season, with “surprising” successes at the box office that have made more timorous producers and directors re-think their own casting options and decisions.

Even established stars have realized that they can’t keep doing “expected” projects and roles that don’t challenge them to crawl out of their comfort zone as performers.


A recent example of this is Sharon Cuneta’s first indie starrer, “Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha,” which did so well at the 2017 Cinemalaya festival that it’s being released in cineplexes this month.

The teen flick, “Fangirl/Fanboy,” fields the new love team of Ella Cruz and Julian Trono, while “Love You to the Stars and Back” firms up the audience appeal and clout of another young love tandem, Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia.

The current interest in fresh casting choices and stellar combinations was recently boosted in a big way by the standout success of the indie “sleeper” hit, “Kita Kita,” which some observers attribute partly to its decidedly unexpected stellar combination—Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy Marquez.

Empoy who? Precisely: the fact that second-tier comic Empoy came “out of nowhere” —and did so well —made “Kita Kita” a very pleasant surprise that film buffs “had” to see to remain “in the know.”

The hope is that the same “surprise” plus factor will also work for at least some of the new movies set to be shown this year.

They are paced by Mike de Leon’s “Citizen Jake,” which has “surprised” the socks off viewers’ feet by casting broadcast journalist, Atom Araullo, in its prized title role.

The production’s unique combination of master filmmaker and “unexpected” lead player makes it a must-see in connected film buffs’ book. Everyone is eager and even antsy to see for himself if Mike’s faith and trust in Atom are well-placed and inspired! Knowing the “level” of the people involved, we believe that it is—so, we urge everyone to make it a point to watch “Citizen Jake” when it’s finally screened.

Other 2017 productions to be vetted by viewers on point of astute “surprise” casting include Erik Matti’s “Buy Bust,” an actioner made special by its unexpected stellar combination of action lead Brandon Vera—and Anne Curtis, who’s more usually associated with ditzy or sexy roles. Can she convincingly make the drastic transition to action-drama lead?

Then, there’s the heroic epic, “Goyo, Ang Batang Heneral,” with Paulo Avelino portraying the young Philippine Revolution general and martyr, Gregorio del Pilar. Will his heroic starrer measure up to the exceptional success of “Heneral Luna”?


Finally, there’s the latest “Darna” film, unexpectedly topbilled by teen charmer, Liza Soberano. Will she fly high as the local movie screen’s most popular superheroine, who has been played by the more “physically fit and right” Anjanette Abayari, Lorna Tolentino, Rio Locsin, Nanette Medved, Angel Locsin, Marian Rivera—et al?

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TAGS: Alessandra De Rossi, Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha, Empoy Marquez, Fangirl/Fanboy, Kita Kita, Love You To the Stars and Back, Sharon Cuneta
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