Here are some of the movies I watched during this on-going lock down. Some of them you can stream for free (links provided) courtesy of TBA Studios, CinemaOne Originals and the folks of Lockdown Cinema Club (you can check their FB page, they have a lot of short films and they’re accepting donations for film industry workers affected by the lockdown). Jerrold Tarog’s Bliss is also available on YouTube though there’s a glitch (there’s no audio near the end of the movie). Other notable movies available for streaming are Matangtubig, Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cantupay and Khavn dela Cruz‘s Alipato.
Unli Life (2018). It takes a few restarts before the jokes start to land. And if you’re not a fan of Vhong Navarro’s usual shtick you probably need more convincing to buy into the movie’s time-travel shenanigans which is brought about by drinking a glass of “Wishkey” in a mysterious bar called “Turning Point” that seems to appear not just out of nowhere but also out of plot convenience. Wait, I forgot, this is a comedy and none of what’s in the movie is supposed to make sense despite some seemingly obvious yet aborted attempts to say something (i.e., the main character grew up without his OFW mother and is a podcast DJ who’s kind of a jerk). In the end, the movie doesn’t really say anything worth of note but man, was it a fun ride. That vaudeville sequence set during the Japanese occupation is probably the best sequence / episode in the movie. Watch it for its irreverence and funny nonsense, Joey Marquez and his daughter Wynwyn, nods to Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part 1, Back to the Future, Final Destination and that one joke involving Matangtubig director Jet Leyco playing a security guard. Oh, and that Zander Ford cameo too.
Dormitoryo: Mga Walang Katapusang Kwarto (2017). This is a full-length movie that grew out of the short “Endless Room”—just two barely naked people inside a room, talking, post-coitus. The movie added a few more characters renting and occupying different rooms in the same dorm. Like the short film, this works on the strength of its screenplay. Memorable characters too, especially the two desperate lovers played by Jun Sabayton and Wowie de Guzman, with their ten painfully funny ways to die. [Link]
Blue Bustamante (2013). There’s an endearing geekiness to this premise: an engineer in Japan lost his job and became a stunt double in super sentai TV series Force Five, the same show his son and his friends are so crazy about in 1990’s Philippines. George Bustamante probably never dreamed of playing the superhero. But by happenstance, he became Blue Force, his young son’s favorite character from the TV show. The movie isn’t quite as funny as Unli Life or that other comedy set in Japan (Kita Kita). But the film’s production team gets the TV show’s props and sets just right—down to the tiny geeky details. The movie plods at times and mostly comes to life when either Jun Sabayton or Dimples Romana is on screen. Still, the movie managed to be heartfelt in the third act. And with its not so subtle “OFW’s as (super) heroes”, I’d put this a notch above any Star Cinema movie about OFWs. [Link]
Brownout sa Neighborhood Namin That Day (2011). Not much really happens in this nealy 40-minute short film by Judd Figuerres. Except for what is implied in the title and explicitly shown in the opening scenes. Pretty much like a day in the suburbs when there is no electricity, it drags. Which is probably the point. It’s one long wait and build up to the movie’s sexy funny climax. Great use of Prettier than Pink’s “Cool Ka Lang”. Great lighting too. And good performance by someone credited as Juan Miguel Severo. [Link]