#LizQuen’s ‘Alone/Together’ earns P265-M in two weeks

Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil’s movie “Alone/Together” has locally earned over P265,228,810.89, two weeks since it opened in cinemas.

READ MORE: “Alone/Together” review: #LizQuen plays idealiasts in an imperfect world

Black Sheep under ABS-CBN Films announced the new milestone via its Twitter on Wednesday: “Thank you for giving us the BEST reason to celebrate our third week, Sheepmates! Willing to fly to New York for you all tbh.” #AloneTogether3rdWeek

The film’s writer-director Antoinette Jadaone expressed gratitude over her Facebook account:

😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 MARAMING SALAMAT SA MGA NANOOD NA, sa Pinas o sa ibang banda, lalo sa friends and family na di na kailangang pilitin pa haha

We’re on our third week, still showing WORLDWIDE!!!! Nood na!

The new romantic drama film “Alone/Together” featuring the #LizQuen love team opened in local theaters February 13 and is now showing worlwide. It tells the story of college sweethearts Christine (Soberano) and Raf (Gil) who meet again for the first time, eight years after their breakup.

‘Alone/Together’ review: #LizQuen play idealists in an imperfect world

Despite being built around the confines of a romance story, Antoinette Jadaone’s ‘Alone/Together‘ works best as a tale of self-actualization.

I couldn’t blame Black Sheep for choosing to market this film as a romance drama. After all, the so-called formula for box-office success includes having a ‘bankable cast’—and by local industry standards, that often translates to a love team with a huge following. But Alone/Together is much more than a love story designed to satiate fan service. It is strongest when it tackles themes on growth and self-rediscovery. That’s where my semi-frustration comes from. More than anything, I want the film to be an ode to those who are experiencing ‘quarter-life crisis,’ and less of a story of two rekindling old flames. Had the film owned more of its self-actualization arc, this would have turned out into something more unconventional, and possibly, a more affecting tale. Yet here we are, heading into this film, expecting for a love story when it only holds true in its façade.

Similar to what she did in Viva Films’ Never Not Love You, writer-director Antoinette Jadaone cleverly stages a budding relationship in such an efficient and organic manner: the plot skipping all the unnecessary tropes to keep everything lean and focused. What you just need to know is that Christine (Liza Soberano) is a UP Art Studies major who has big dreams of conquering the world. Her significant other, a UST Biology major, Raf (Enrique Gil), may not be as bright, but he also wants to tag along her journey. The two vows to stay together no matter what life throws at them. At which point, the film sets up a cornerstone; we are clearly witnessing a chapter of their lives where both are driven by fervent idealism.

University feels with Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil.

Once we are warmed up from the honeymoon phase, the film finally gets into the business of employing more of its somber tones. The first act appears to be just a huge chunk of flashbacks. Here’s the status quo: they’re no longer together.

Somewhere along the way, life got in the way. From then, the film adapts a non-linear storyline, much alike to Dan Villegas’ Exes Baggage  where its audience are fed with reasons why the ex-couple should get back together. Except Alone/Together does no such thing. Christine has grown cynic and settles for a life that’s limited by her past mistake. The film lays out a seemingly artificial conflict that contributed to the wedge of their relationship. It saves up a lot of time but as soon as the film gets down to its confrontational dramatic scenes (with which Soberano delivers such an unexpected amount of grace and maturity), they oddly feel tedious and bereft of emotional investment.

Sure enough, the eventual reunion has brought a surge of nostalgia to both of them, especially Christine. To her, Raf is more than just an estranged ex-lover. He’s a symbolism of her hopeful past, her forgotten dreams and her shattered ideals: an egging conscience that pushes her to take the leap of faith. So naturally, the heart finds a way despite both of them being committed to someone else. This leads to them having multiple spontaneous rendezvous and by then, this starts to feel like one of those films that romanticize cheating: a clichéd theme that most of us have grown tired of seeing by now.

By the time you hear JM De Guzman’s mainstream rendition of Rivermaya’s “214,” you are once again reminded of Star Cinema’s roots that adhere to a formula—evident to this latest work of their newest film production arm. Soundtrack-wise, the film should’ve stuck with the more thematically-fit, indie vibe sound of Eraserheads’ “Spoliarium.”

Two old flames, meet again. Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano in ‘Alone/Together.’

That being said, Alone/Together isn’t about cheating, although the film gives an impression of that. This is a tale of self-actualization. It just so happens that Christine’s journey is built around the confines of a romance story, with Raf as the catalyst. This film resonates to those who are hardwired with youthful optimism, only to be trampled by a dog-eat-dog world. To those who beat themselves up one failure after another, wondering what went wrong. Because as much as we’d like to deny it – we often view reality as a poor cousin of our dreams.

While the film occasionally gets bogged down by its sappy dialogue, it becomes more poignant and rewarding when it finally peels off its grim layers. Christine constantly reminds her art viewers to “never forget” but later on comes to a realization that ‘never forgetting’ does not necessarily mean ‘not moving on.’ She must find the strength to turn her life around. Thankfully, this film embraces the painful truths of reality without the excessive cynicism.

It helps that Soberano anchors the film with a compelling lead performance. One of her best scenes is when her character goes to The MET and sees a Van Gogh painting for the first time, her face turning from a world-weary expression to a vibrant one. Likewise, Gil delivers a good supporting performance, albeit to a lesser extent.

Alone/Together finds itself stuck in an awkward middleground of being a romantic drama and a character study, thereby its feminist resolution seems to pack less punch. Still, this is a film that offers plenty of value-added insights whether it comes to the pragmatic take on millennial relationships particularly on the perils associated from dating your boss, or the film’s admirable effort to promote patriotism without being too preachy.

In the end, Antoinette Jadaone’s mature sensibilities overpower whatever flaws the narrative has, making Alone/Together a relevant and profound cinematic viewing.

3.5 out of 5 stars
Directed and written by Antoinette Jadaone, ‘Alone/Together‘ stars Liza Soberano, Enrique Gil, Adrian Alandy, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Sylvia Sanchez, Nonie Buencamino, Mary Joy Apostol and Xia Vigor. Run time: 120 minutes.

WATCH: Liza Soberano, Enrique Gil give all the feels in ‘Alone/Together’ teaser

Black Sheep, ABS-CBN Films’s newest indie film production arm, has just released the first teaser trailer for the much-awaited romantic film, ‘Alone/Together,’ starring the blockbuster #LizQuen love team.

Check out the official poster and teaser trailer of #AloneTogether below.

Written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone, ‘Alone/Together’ tells the love story of Raf (Enrique Gil), a B.S. Biology student at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Christine (Liza Soberano), a B.A. Art Studies student at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UP). He lives passively just to graduate and appears to have no ambition in life, while she dreams of changing the world—even if it takes tagging him along.

This new romantic film also stars Sylvia Sanchez, Nonie Buencamino, Adrian Alandy, Mary Joy Apostol, Xia Vigor, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith.

Produced by Black Sheep and Project 8 corner San Joaquin Projects, ‘Alone/Together’ opens February 13 in Philippine cinemas.

MOVIE REVIEW: Never Not Love You (2018)

Antoinette Jadaone’s ‘Never Not Love You’ is her bravest and most nuanced work to date. It paints a realistic portrait of love – the euphoria, the sorrow and everything in between.

For the most part, Never Not Love You keeps its leads, Joanne and Gio, exchanging three magical words that we all know too well: “I love you.” Somehow, it never feels contrived nor redundant because those words have a growing definition at each phase of their relationship. The first time they said it could possibly mean “I really like where this is going” as opposed to saying it again after months or years of being together which could be somewhere from “You’re important to me” to “Life gets in the way, but we’ll work it out.” Well, I’m sure you get the point. Those three words essentially lay out the film’s framework. NNLY paints a realistic portrait of love – the euphoria, the sorrow and everything in between. It does not beg to be understood; it just plays out the way it should be in real life with viewers coming up with their own realizations. It makes your usual romcom look hyped and calculated.

By all means, NNLY is an “ordinary” romance drama that works. We are presented with a lovestruck couple in their early 20s: Joanne (Nadine Lustre), a hardworking aspiring brand manager and Gio (James Reid), a carefree graphic artist. The film initially captures the giddiness of young love but as soon as real-life tensions materialize, it loses the sugar rush and transcends into a more mature and interesting dynamic. It’s nice to have a whole life planned ahead of you, with your significant other in the picture. But what happens if you choose the wrong life and get stuck with it? This dilemma dawns on Joanne as she gives up her career to follow Gio in London. She’s afraid of losing him that she starts to lose herself in the process.

The central conflict might seem like a cliche case of pursuing self-growth versus maintaining a harmonious relationship but the film goes beyond that. Life changes us and the people we love and we may not be too accepting of each one’s new version. Gio points out that she misses the old Joanne, the wide-eyed girl whose world revolves around him but ironically, he’s also not the same person as before. Both have different life philosophies and as the film progresses they manage to re-shape each other’s perspective.

The subject of long-distance relationship has also been tackled and it is anything but rosy. If anything else, the story of Gio and Joanne resonates to the couples who try their best to find a reason to stay in a relationship despite having lost the “magic” of it. The film thrives best in the long stares and silences of its characters, as they go through their moments of introspection.

It sure helps a lot to have a popular real-life couple play the leads and at the same time, it is refreshing to see them in a different light, devoid of any usual antics that make their die-hard fans squeal with “kilig.” They reportedly improvised a lot of the dialogue, which explains why it sounds so natural. Reid works his bad boy charm and Lustre effectively displays an array of mixed emotions. Admittedly, this is the first JaDine film that I saw and from the looks of it, these breakout roles only serve as a prelude to the bolder and more unconventional roles to come.

Mycko David’s cinematography permeates with warmth especially on the scenes taken at the Squid Ink. Neon lights make everything look, dare I say it, sexy. As for director Antoinette Jadaone, this is her bravest and most nuanced work to date. The third act could have been compressed tighter and thereby end with a stronger finish but without spoiling anything, I am fine with the hint of ambiguity in its ending. If you look at the bigger picture, everything is actually in there.

Clocking-in for just almost 100 minutes, Never Not Love You comes out as a fully-fleshed love story of Gio and Joanne, an unpretentious take on young and reckless love, a raw experience on the joys and pains in committing to a relationship. Nothing worth having comes easy.

Never Not Love You is now showing on PH cinemas nationwide.


4 out of 5 stars


‘Never Not Love You’ trailer hits 2 million views in 27 hours on Cinema Bravo

The new Jadine movie ‘Never Not Love You’ has already reached 2 million views on Facebook via Cinema Bravo in just 27 hours.

As of 6:40 PM today, March 16, the trailer for Antoinette Jadaone’s latest romantic film has passed the 2 million mark in terms of Facebook views, with more than 83,000 reactions and 65,000 shares, a day after its release.

On Twitter, the hashtag #NeverNotLoveYouTRAILER is still being talked about while #NeverNotLoveYouIn15Days is top trending in the Philippines.

https://twitter.com/ohmygoshbimb/status/974507487754821633

‘Never Not Love You’ tells the story of Gio (James Reid) and Joanne (Nadine Lustre) whose young, carefree, and reckless love ends when their dreams take different paths and their life choices tear them apart.

Released by Viva Films, ‘Never Not Love You’ opens Black Saturday, March 31, in Philippine cinemas. Watch the full trailer here:

‘Never Not Love You’ trailer hits 1 million views in 9 hours on Cinema Bravo

The first trailer for Antoinette Jadaone’s romantic film ‘Never Not Love You’ has already reached 1 million views on Facebook via Cinema Bravo in just 9 hours.

‘Never Not Love You’ tells the story of Gio and Joanne whose young, carefree, and reckless love ends when their dreams take different paths and their life choices tear them apart.

As of 1:15 AM today, March 16, the trailer for the comeback movie of James Reid and Nadine Lustre has passed the 1 million mark in terms of Facebook views, with more than 50,000 reactions and 39,000 shares.

Top comments show excitement and interest over NNLY.

On Twitter, the hashtag #NeverNotLoveYouTRAILER became top trending in the Philippines with positive feedback setting the night ablaze.

https://twitter.com/whenvanspeaks/status/974253687919931392

The multimedia loveteam of #Jadine has made a total of five movies prior to NNLY, namely: Diary ng Panget (2014), Talk Back And You’re Dead (2014), Para Sa Hopeless Romantic (2015), Beauty and the Bestie (2015), and This Time (2016).

Released by Viva Films, ‘Never Not Love You’ opens Black Saturday, March 31, in Philippine cinemas. Watch the full trailer here:

WATCH: James Reid, Nadine Lustre sizzle first ‘Never Not Love You’ teaser

Viva Entertainment has just released the first teaser for the latest movie of #JaDine, ‘Never Not Love You,’ from writer-director Antoinette Jadaone (‘That Thing Called Tadhana,’ ‘On the Wings of Love,’ ‘Love You to the Stars and Back’).

James Reid and Nadine Lustre plays Gio and Joanne, two young lovers who meet and fall in love. Together they build a life until career opportunities bring them out of the country, out of the comforts of home and with individual careers going different directions. The struggle begins as their love tries to survive.

Watch the comeback movie of the multimedia loveteam, James Reid and Nadine Lustre, ‘Never Not Love You.’ Coming soon in Philippine cinemas this 2018.

https://web.facebook.com/cinemabravo/videos/460265347709643/

Cinema ’76 holds fundraising screening of Jadaone’s ‘Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay’

The film industry lost one of its screen legends with the recent passing of Lilia Cuntapay. Known for her numerous roles in several horror films, Cuntapay passed away on August 20 due to a spinal cord illness. This was weeks after the screen veteran appealed for aid to help fund some of her medical expenses.

To honor Cuntapay, Cinema One Originals and Cinema ’76 is scheduling four special fundraising screenings of the film “Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay.” To be held from Thursday August 25 thru Sunday August 28, following are the details of the screenings at Cinema ’76:

  • Thursday, August 25 (8:00pm)
  • Friday, August 26 (8:30pm)
  • Saturday, August 27 (7:30pm)
  • Sunday, August 28 (5:00pm)

On Thursday (August 25), the film’s director Antoinette Jadaone together with some cast members and crew of the film will be at the screening to pay tribute to their beloved leading lady. All proceeds of the benefit screening will go directly to Cuntapay’s family to help cover her funeral cost and consequent expenses.

“Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay” was a finalist at the 2011 Cinema One Originals. Cuntapay won her first and last Best Actress award for the said film.

WATCH: First teaser trailer for ‘The Achy Breaky Hearts’ seeks relationship goals

Star Cinema has just released the first teaser trailer for its upcoming romantic comedy movie “The Achy Breaky Hearts” starring Richard Yap, Ian Veneracion, and Jodi Sta. Maria.

Directed by Antoinette Jadaone, “The Achy Breaky Hearts” revolves around the story of Chinggay (Sta. Maria), an accomplished yet single woman in her 30s. The moment she decides to enter a new relationship, she meets Ryan (Ian Veneracion) the same time her former boyfriend (Richard Yap) comes back into her life.

Released and distributed by ABS-CBN Film Productions Inc. (Star Cinema), “The Achy Breaky Hearts” opens June 29, 2016 in cinemas nationwide.

MOVIE REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe (2016)

ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE never veers away from the cinematic universe of familiar hugot where Arci Muñoz is that exploding star that lives.


“Always Be My Maybe” Review
Starring Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz
Directed by Dan Villegas

As Star Cinema’s latest offering, released just four weeks after Everything About Her (which stars Vilma Santos, Angel Locsin and Xian Lim), Always Be My Maybe might feel like a rushed project on the surface but there is a tempting flavor within it that makes the end product still lovable and ultimately charming.

Here’s the conventional boy-meets-girl story with two characters getting to know each other, leading to the blossoming of romantic feelings, up to a happy ending in spite of all the troubles caused by confrontations and third parties.

Gerald Anderson’s Jake Del Mundo is your typical handsome playboy—well-poised to propose to his longtime girlfriend Tracy, only to get rejected. On the other hand is Arci Muñoz’s hopeful Tintin Paraiso who is under the false hope that she would finally get herself a fiancé, only to discover that her guy has just got into a relationship.

Heartbroken, they respectively try to mend their feelings until they meet in the resort he owns. He quickly recognizes her as the dejected tutorial girl whose tutorial videos have gone viral over social media platforms because of her injection of witty comparisons to love’s aches and shortcomings (sound familiar, right?).

After spending one night over bottles of beer and an endless conversation about their personal lives, a dreamy Jake becomes interested with a candid Tin. The fruition of their good friendship paves the way for intimacy.

They agree to be the wingman of each other in the attempt to find a better person than their exes. What they discover are the wonders of their being together: the irreplaceable closeness, the ease of lending an ear to hear the other’s share of burdens, and the idea that someone cares.

On that note, most of the film’s interesting points can be attributed to the surprise pairing of Anderson and Muñoz. Having a dozen of entries already added to his filmography, Anderson has made a name for himself as that bankable lead star (where most of the time he is paired to Kim Chiu) and any new girl would have the spotlight on her.

When Muñoz came into the picture, curiosity sparked as to how she could pull off her first starring role in a movie after her commendable stint as the third party in the John Lloyd Cruz-Bea Alonzo starrer A Second Chance. 

With them being surrounded by a lot of supporting characters that only drive the story for comic relief or to serve as conscience to Jake and Tin, it is good to point out how their teamup singularly works and how the chemistry is more than fascinating to root for. Enticing are their love scenes and the playful and friendly exchanges of teasing remarks.

Music also plays a big role in the overall mood of the film. Reminiscent of the musical scoring done in the two previous Dan Villegas films (English Only, Please; Walang Forever), the music here gives room to immerse one’s self into both the pains and joys of remembering. Marion’s “Free Fall into Love” gives that energetic tone that reverberates as it quickly sticks to memory with her enchanting voice and the song’s catchy lyrics.

Always Be My Maybe never veers away from the cinematic universe of familiar hugot–something that has long since been a fad as it is not difficult to relate to. Not that it is has to be its shortcoming or even serve as a complaint. For as long as there is a demand for such, the supply could not be helped but to overflow.

Recently, we had movies after movies that delve into the sentimentalities of Filipinos thanks to the likes of the works of Antoinette Jadaone, who happens to be the real-life partner of Villegas. Together, in the league of others who have climbed on the bandwagon, they are able to explore this universe that is all familiar and easy to grasp.

And in this particular universe, Arci Muñoz is that exploding star that lives. She exudes with indispensable charm and beauty. This is something to note for future references (other than to figure out the relation of the movie title to the story itself—which is undoubtedly a standard in any given Star Cinema movie).

Also starring Jane Oineza, Jairus Aquino, Kakai Bautista, Ricci Chan, Ahron Villena, Pepe Herrera, Nikki Valdez, TJ Trinidad, and Tirso Cruz III, Always Be My Maybe opened today, February 24, via Star Cinema, an ABS-CBN company.