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Weighing in on the 2019 MMFF entries

/ 12:05 AM December 23, 2019

Since I’m a member of the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB), I have already watched all the movies included in the Metro Manila Film Festival (except “Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity”). Among all the films, we, at CEB, gave a grade of A to “Miracle in Cell No. 7,” “Mindanao” and “Culion.”

This Christmas, take a break from “Netflixing” and “YouTubing” and go “MMFFing” for a change. What better time to support local movies than now that we are celebrating 100 years of Philippine Cinema? Merry ScreenMas!

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Here are my thoughts on the MMFF entries:

Aga Muhlach and Xia Vigor in “Miracle in Cell No. 7”

‘Miracle in Cell No. 7’

Among all the entries, this one is my favorite. It will make you laugh until you cry, and make you cry until you laugh. Aside from Aga Muhlach’s award-worthy portrayal, the film’s supporting actors made their mark, as well, especially John Arcilla, JC Santos and Joel Torre, who are true to form.

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Child star Xia Vigor is too adorable for words. I’m willing to bet that she and Aga will bag numerous awards for their superb portrayal as father and daughter. The film reminds us that kindness never fails, and the simplest joys are the truest ones.

Coco Martin in “3pol Trobol: Huli Ka Balbon”

‘3pol Trobol: Huli Ka Balbon’

Coco Martin works his magic à la FPJ. It’s like the movie version of “Ang Probinsyano.” His scenes where he pretends to be a woman, Paloma, will endear Coco to the audience all the more. Jennylyn Mercado’s scenes as a guy are so amusing. Mayor Isko Moreno’s presence in the movie is a welcome delight. If you want pure entertainment, this is the movie you’ve got to check out.

Anne Curtis in “The Mall The Merrier”

‘The Mall The Merrier’

Vice Ganda and his team badly need to refill their “creative juices.” Vice’s previous MMFF entries were a lot better. The punchlines have no punch at all. It’s a dizzying mix of antics that tries to make OA seem OK. The only scene I liked was when the millennial stars had a duel as Team Rizal vs Team Bonifacio. It’s quite a cute touch and a refreshing take on our history.

‘Culion’

Lead stars Iza Calzado, Meryll Soriano and Jasmine Curtis-Smith nailed it. The screenplay by Ricky Lee about the ordeal of a leprosy-stricken community will hit you where it matters. John Lloyd Cruz’s cameo appearance is something to watch out for. He has no dialogue, but his eyes say it all.

‘Mindanao’

This collaboration of Judy Ann Santos and Direk Brillante Ma Mendoza works. The actress and director brought out the best in each other, and it shows in every scene. I won’t be surprised if Juday bags the best actress award in this year’s fest. The tear-jerking masterpiece of the Cannes-winning director will make you ponder upon which is more important—duty to your work or love for your family?

Miles Ocampo in “Write About Love”

‘Write About Love’

A very millennial film. Writer-wannabes will totally relate to this movie. Rocco Nacino and Miles Ocampo make quite a cool pair. Joem Bascon and Yeng Constantino are also in the film, but they lack chemistry. For rom-com lovers, this is a must-see so they will know the story behind the story.

‘Sunod’

As the only horror movie in this year’s MMFF, those who want a good scare should check out this flick topbilled by Carmina Villaroel. The combined genius of Paul Soriano and Quark Henares redefine the horror/suspense genre. INQ

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TAGS: Mindanao, Miracle in Cell No. 7, MMFF
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