‘Ulan’ review: Nadine Lustre’s best performance yet

In a world filled with hopeless romantics, Irene Villamor’s Ulan encapsulates the meaning of ‘finding yourself before finding love.’

Ulan tells the story of Maya (Nadine Lustre) who grew up believing her Lola’s myths of finding true love against all odds, so much that it came to an extent that she shaped her life and expectations through such philosophy. However, after being disappointed by the unfortunate events in her love life — the engagement of her childhood crush to someone else, and the painful breakup with her first boyfriend — she swears to herself that she’ll never cry again for someone else, nor hold on to the foolish notion of love coming for her.

Just as when she decides to focus on other things like her career, fate brings her to a social welfare volunteer named Peter (Carlo Aquino) who tags her into the world of charitable works. The two of them quickly get along but with both swearing a promise not to fall head over heels again, circumstances immediately lead them apart. Ironically, it is on those days when she’s alone that Maya finds the true meaning of love and gets back her identity in the process. When the time comes that she has come to terms of how she truly feels, her conviction grows even stronger that neither rain or storm can stop it.

Ulan gives us a picture of life and love, challenge by an ominous superstition in its backdrop. It perfectly places the Philippine folklore about the Tikbalang myth as it relates so much to Maya’s character journey. The subversity of the romance genre unexpectedly gives so much heart to its proceedings. As seen in the trailer, this is not your guilty pleasure hugot film, but it manages to come above that and be a fun-filled and lighthearted experience. It simply shows how life can be with the presence of a significant other, yet it does not reinforce the need for such to be truly happy. It is so poetic that it lets us discover love with our own interpretations. Aside from having a heartfelt story, viewers will also enjoy the spectacular visuals and cinematography that is less seen in a regular local film. Truly, every scene is alluring and captivating.

What’s even great is the film’s element of unpredictability as it nudges on your curiosity to comprehend its profound symbolisms. It is through these unique narrative choices that the film draws a breath of fresh air, as well as letting its audience bring out their inner child. When all is said and done, the screenplay proves to be a well written piece that it leaves you satisfied rather than having a heavy heart.

The cast members remarkably did a wonderful job in portraying their characters to make this film more watchable. There’s no pre-existing magic here since the leads don’t belong on the same love team, the film earns it along the way. Lustre stands out as a wonderful lead as she shows an array of skills that is beyond the reach of an average actor. Her endearing antics and unexpected chemistry with Aquino prove that she can stand on her own, making this film as indeed one of her bests. Aquino, on the other hand, is still charming as he plays an efficient supporting role that shows off his flexibility. Together, their chemistry builds a deep meaning that should make the viewers yearn for more.

More than just a love story, Ulan takes you to a ride to self-discovery, with a pleasant twist of the Philippine folklore experience.

4.5 out of 5 stars
Now showing in cinemas nationwide, Ulan is an original HOOQ movie produced in association with VIVA Films. Directed by Irene Villamor, and stars Nadine Lustre, Carlo Aquino, Marco Gumabao, AJ Muhlach, Perla Bautista, Leo Martinez, Elia Ilano, Limer Veloso, Andrea Del Rosario, Kylie Verzosa and Angeli Bayani.

‘Jumanji 3’ reveals ‘lean & mean’ first-look cast photo

The gang is back in this sequel to Columbia Pictures’ runaway hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Dwayne Johnson has shared through his Instagram the first-look photo of the returning cast for the highly anticipated (but yet untitled) Jumanji sequel.

Check out the photo below, which he captioned with, “Yes, you’re favorite band is back ~ lookin’ lean (ish) and mean. Even though things may not be as they seem.  So buckle up world because soon we’ll all play when a brand NEW JUMANJI drops this Holiday!  Oh the fun you’re gonna have.

Love, The Smoldering Dr. Bravestone.”

Teen actors Ser’Darius Blain, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, and Morgan Turner are set to return as the young gamers while Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart are back as their in-game avatars.

Directed by Jake Kasdan, the sequel is written by Jake Kasdan & Jeff Pinker & Scott Rosenberg, based on the book Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. The film is produced by Matt Tolmach, Jake Kasdan, Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia.

In Philippine cinemas soon, the Jumanji sequel will be distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Photo Credit: Hiram Garcia