Jennylyn Mercado, Jericho Rosales paired in ‘Walang Forever’

Producers of the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Walang Forever” did right in choosing award-winning actor Jericho Rosales to be Jennylyn Mercado’s leading man in “Walang Forever.”

“Walang Forever” is from the same producers that brought us the 2014 MMFF sleeper blockbuster “English Only, Please,” which also topbilled Jennylyn, who won the MMFF best actress award for the said romantic-comedy.

Echo perfectly fits his role as Ethan, a Taiwan-based website developer who falls for Jen (MIA), a well-accomplished and famous romantic-comedy writer. Echo and Jen’s undeniable chemistry will set the screens on fire with their initial team-up as both gave justice to their respective roles in the film. Echo and Jen shows us a different take on love in “Walang Forever”. In addition to this, 2014 MMFF best director Dan Villegas, handled and gave this new project a fresh twist.

In the movie, Mia’s (Jen) screenplays begin to suffer from her personal problems after breaking up with boyfriend Ethan (Echo). They agree to part ways due to differences in priorities. Mia’s family comes first while Ethan’s world solely revolves around Maita. After the breakup, Ethan decides to work and start a new life abroad. Just like his ex-girlfriend, Ethan no longer believes in the concept of “forever,” and so, he chose to stay far away from home.

Years later, however, Ethan is forced to return to work on a few things. He crosses paths with Mia again during one “barkada night.” The encounter turns ugly as the ex-lovers blame each other for the failure of their relationship. In the end, though, Mia admits to her shortcoming of not fighting for her love for Ethan. The evening ends up with Ethan and Mia together in bed. But the question remains: Do they give the relationship another chance at forever or should they just leave their love behind?

Surprise love teams join the film as characters in flashback scenes reenacting Ethan and Mia’s (Jericho at Jennylyn’s) happy moments as a couple. So far, the teaser and full trailer together have earned almost million views on social media. Some scenes were even shot in Taiwan to give the movie a new flavor.

Producer Atty. Joji Alonso explains their choice of title, “The message of the film is wala naman talagang forever. Forever is how you live each day. When you share it with somebody, the memories will always be there forever.

“Gaya rin ng istorya sa movies ang ‘Walang Forever.’ The stories will linger forever,” the lawyer-producer adds. Whether or not one believes in forever, moviegoers will surely adore Jericho and Jennlyn forever as Ethan and Mia.

“Walang Forever” opens December 25, 2015 in theaters nationwide as an official entry to the 41st Metro Manila Film Festival.

MOVIE REVIEW: Tandem (2015)

Tandem begins with a man ready to shoot a dog point blank. He dons a fierce look which makes the tension tighter and lets the audience anticipate the thriller that is yet to unfold. As another man approaches, it gives a first look at the main characters: two men who wear mask, hides guns in their pockets, and ride motorcycles to rob unsuspecting victims. They are criminals, they are partners, but ultimately they are brothers. The story later on climaxes in that same place, nighttime, with the two brothers confronting each other with the same intention to shoot point blank.

While Tandem largely looks into the corrupt systems in the country, it further explores the core of the lives of those brothers—Roman (Nico Antonio) and Rex (JM De Guzman)—who work as partners in plying the metro to snatch purses, cellphones and bags. Their relationship as siblings are oftentimes tested by the circumstances they get into. They resort to low-level criminal acts and eventually end up concocting bigger plans in their desperate attempt to live a better life. Despite the risk, they take these activities as a part of their system.

Halfway through the story, two corrupt policemen are introduced: Alba (Alan Paule) and Lucero (Paolo O’Hara). They are frequently paid off by the two brothers in exchange of making sure that the latter does not get arrested whenever they get into trouble. When a robbery on a local construction site has gone awry and they are blackmailed by Alba and Lucero, no other choice becomes available for Roman and Rex but to turn themselves into hitmen to a high-ranking officer. As everything does not go smooth as planned and in the fear of getting caught by the police, the two brothers go into hiding only to find themselves inside their very own sphere of chaos.

The women in their lives heavily influence their disposition. Roman’s wife Cha (Rochelle Pangilinan) worries for the safety of his husband. She bears their first child and wants the best for their family’s future. On the other hand, Nadine (Elora Españo) impacts Rex life as his on-and-off girlfriend who gives pleasure even if she is not up for any commitment. Towards the end, he wants her to come with them in their escape. In the same manner that they are focused in their respective romantic relationships, they also give importance to their brotherly love towards each other, noting that one cannot do his acts without the other. The mutual understanding and reliance are founded on something beyond familial bond. It could have gone deeper into what ties them together but all the same it looks fine.

In a number of scenes, though, Tandem seems to lack a tight grasp when it comes to executing believable circumstances, consequently making it hard to rely on its storytelling. Inasmuch as it wants to show the harsh, prevalent world of robbery, it misses out on details that would be hard to get attached with. In a couple of instances, small-time crimes are immediately reported by TV news programs with their reporters in the scene of the crime right away, together with the victims (of this small-time crimes just so we could emphasize) who are in turn very much handy for any interview. There is even this scene where a lady is withdrawing from a darkly-lit ATM. The brothers in their motorcycle are assessing how much they could get from the lady as they wait for the perfect timing for a hold-up. Out of the blue, a kid, presumably her child, goes out of a nearby car to embrace her from the back. This is abruptly followed by a man, presumably her husband, who goes out of that car as well without even minding that somebody should have stayed there. The whole point of that “family reunion” is laughable but it gives a glimpse of the light-heartedness of the two brothers when they just pass it off and drive away. It could be that they have a soft spot but the acts that follow are too heavy to support this.

For something that has the objective of providing a reasonably good action film to the Filipino audience, Tandem succeeds in putting forward a noir melodrama that shows a reality that is neither exploitative nor miscalculated. JM De Guzman renders an effective performance that does not merely go along his steaming sex scenes with Elora Españo. As for Nico Antonio, he has always been a reliable actor that delivers more than what is needed. He definitely deserves to have more lead roles after this one. Together, De Guzman and Antonio make a perfect tandem that speaks louder and is more meaningful than the title itself.

The chemistry between the two brothers is there for the audience to absorb their miseries and motivations. It would have worked better, though, if this is delved further into and if it has pushed the boundaries that the limited runtime begs off. There is that pinch of slowness as far as the pacing of writer Zig Marasigan’s screenplay is concerned, right from the beginning up to its first hour mark when the drive has finally revved up but it has still managed to maintain a provocative and insightful suspense. Richer than his stint in last year’s crime anthology film Bang Bang Alley, director King Palisoc has showcased how to keep the low tone consistent while ensuring a breezy atmosphere that alternately amuses and frightens. The nooks and crannies of the metro are craftily painted by Pong Ignacio with the masterful editing of Benjamin Tolentino.

Not to mention, Tandem does not particularly make any statement as to whether the crimes depicted or such environment should be patronized; it just stays true to its intention to tell its story which is heavily centered on the relationship between Roman and Rex in the midst of a chaotic setting. In every decision that these characters make, there is an underlying reason that evidently presents the truth in how a Filipino everyman lives. As to whether the reasons are good or bad, it is not an issue as long as it observantly peeks into such slice of life with honesty: a painful reality only to be swallowed unless acted upon. With characters that represent our kind of people, Tandem upholds itself with sincerity and that is where it stands remarkably.

Tandem will be screened at the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival – New Wave from December 17 to 24 at SM Megamall, Glorietta 4 and Robinsons Place Manila.

121715 Tandem poster

GUIDE: Metro Manila Film Festival 2015

Now on its 41st year, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) offers 8 full-length feature films. As a rule, no foreign films are shown in Philippine cinemas and theaters in order to showcase locally produced films. However, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will still be shown in IMAX theaters during the film festival.

This annual event is organized by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). The film festival runs from December 25, 2015 until first week of January 7, 2016.

The following are the official entries to MMFF 2015:

ALL YOU NEED IS PAG-IBIG

all you need is pag-ibig mmff posterRated PG, 116 mins.
Starring: Kris Aquino, Derek Ramsay, Jodi Sta. Maria, Ian Veneracion, Kim Chiu, Xian Lim, Bimby Aquino Yap
Directed by Antoinette Jadaone
Studios: Star Cinema, K Productions

To remind everyone how inspiring it is to love and to feel loved, the powerhouse ensemble – Kris Aquino, Derek Ramsay, Kim Chiu, Xian Lim, Jodi Sta. Maria, Ian Veneracion, Nova Villa, Ronaldo Valdez, Pokwang, James “Bimby” Yap, and Julia and Talia Concio – join forces for this 2015 Metro Manila Film Fest entry. A heartwarming romantic and family movie, “All You Need Is Pag-ibig” explores and celebrates the complexity of human relationships in all their forms. The movie features varied forms of love: family love, sibling love, puppy love, unrequited love, ruined love, prospering love, in denial love, jaded love, and true love, among others. After all, what the world needs now is love.

BEAUTY AND THE BESTIE

beauty and the bestie mmff posterRated PG, 116 mins.
Starring: Vice Ganda, Coco Martin, James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Ellen Adarna, Marco Antonio Masa, Alonzo Muhlach, Isabel Oli, Karla Estrada
Directed by Wenn V. Deramas
Studios: Star Cinema, Viva Films

Estranged best friends Ericka and Emman, played by Vice Ganda and Coco Martin, respectively, will be “reunited” for the latter’s special mission as a spy agent. Emman must convince Ericka to pretend as the missing beauty pageant contestant Natalia Thalia who got abducted during her stay in the country. This is to keep the country safe from the wrath of Natalia Thalia’s father, who is capable of annihilating the entire Philippines. Of course, the hit tandem of James Reid and Nadine Lustre is also there to complete the fun and kilig.

BUY NOW, DIE LATER

122515 Buy Now Die Later posterRated PG, 126 mins.
Starring: Alex Gonzaga, Vhong Navarro, TJ Trinidad, Rayver Cruz, John Lapus, Janine Gutierrez, Lotlot de Leon, Jojit Lorenzo, Elora Españo, Paolo ‘O Hara, Kiki Baento
Directed by: Randolph Longjas
Studio: Quantum Films

The film is about a compendium of five interrelated stories brought together by the proprietor of a curio shop selling unusual items. Santi (portrayed by TJ Trinidad), who says the role is kind of demonic. Each of the character’s story is weaved around the five senses – sense of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste.

HAUNTED MANSION

122515 Haunted MansionRated PG, 100 mins.
Starring: Marlo Mortel, Janella Salvador, Jerome Ponce, Sharlene San Pedro, Iza Calzado, LJ Reyes, Janice de Belen, Dominic Ochoa, Ingrid dela Paz, Joem Bascon, Allan Paule, Eliza Pineda, Phytos Ramirez, Archie Adamos, Devon Seron, Paulo Gumabao, Lilet, Sue Prado, Vangie Labalan
Directed by: Jun Lana
Studio: Regal Entertainment

A group of high school students spends the night in an old mansion. When they learn that the house is haunted, they set to look out for ghosts just for fun, but they find out soon enough that the urban legends are real.

HONOR THY FATHER

122515 Honor Thy Father posterRated R-13, 105 mins.
Starring: John Lloyd Cruz, Meryll Soriano, Khalil Ramos, Tirso Cruz III, Yayo Aguila, Dan Fernandez, Krystal Brimner, Perla Bautista, Dalin Sarmiento, William Martinez, Lander Vera Perez, Boom Labrusca
Directed by: Erik Matti
Studio: Reality Entertainment

A family is caught in a financial ruin after being involved in a ponzi scheme.

MY BEBE LOVE: #KiligPaMore

my bebe love kiligpamore posterRated PG, 107 mins.
Starring: Vic Sotto, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza, Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Valeen Montenegro, Paolo Ballesteros, Louise delos Reyes, Yassi Pressman, Lovi Poe, Ryzza Mae Dizon
Studios: GMA Films, OctoArts Films, M-ZET TV Production, APT Entertainment, MEDA Productions

Dondi (Alden Richards) is a nerd and an obedient nephew to his aunt Cora (Ai-Ai de las Alas) who makes decisions for him. Meanwhile, Anna (Maine Mendoza) is a stubborn and rebellious girl who seeks the attention of her father Vito (Vic Sotto). Dondi and Anna cross path and their different personalities collide. They eventually fall in love with each other and solve their own problems. Vito and Cora are bitter business competitors and because of their rivalry, they disapproved the romantic relationship between Dondi and Anna.

NILALANG

nilalang mmff posterRated R-16, 90 mins.
Starring: Cesar Montano, Maria Ozawa, Meg Imperial, Yam Concepcion, Roxanne Barcelo, Troy Montero, Pocholo Barretto, Kiko Matos, Dido de la Paz, Aubrey Miles
Directed by: Pedring Lopez
Studio: Haunted Towers Pictures, Inc.

Nilalang tackles the underbelly of corrupt Philippine cops with the Japanese ‘Yakuza’ and its links to a centuries’ old curse that may be responsible for the spate of serial killings happening in Manila.

#WALANGFOREVER

122515 Walang Forever posterRated PG, 124 mins.
Starring: Jennylyn Mercado, Jericho Rosales, Lorna Tolentino, Matet de Leon, Jerald Napoles, Carlo Aquino
Directed by: Dan Villegas
Studio: Quantum Films

Mia, a celebrated writer of romantic-comedy films, is at a turning point in her life which makes it difficult for her to believe that love could last. Everything comes to a head when Ethan returns, only for her to find out that he has become a cynic of lasting love because she broke his heart.

‘Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo’ screens producers’ cut in cinemas

Historical films, which were once considered unexciting, have now crossed over to mainstream pop culture thanks to the unprecedented success of the movie Heneral Luna. The film has sparked a yearning and curiosity among Filipino filmgoers for movies with a similarly rich historical and cultural value. Among the films that have gained renewed attention is the 2014 epic Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo.

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo earned the Best Picture plum at last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (as well as this year’s Star Awards and FAMAS) and is considered to be the unofficial kick-off to the historical wave that Heneral Luna started. The film even featured a mid-credit teaser of Heneral Luna during its cinema run.

With the same producers behind both films, movie fans will now have a chance to relive the revolution and see Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo once again with the limited theatrical release of the movie’s Producers’ and International Cut.

Bigger, better, and more action-packed, this particular version contains never-before-seen footage and new content delivered by its lead star Robin Padilla. Featuring English subtitles, the local release for the film will also coincide with a US premiere in New York this coming November 30 in time for the celebration of the birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio. Earlier this year, the producers’ cut of Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo was honored with a standing ovation during its European premiere in Barcelona.

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo Producers’ Cut is produced by Fernando Ortigas for Tuko Films Productions and Eduardo Rocha for Buchi Boy Films.

Distributed by Solar Entertainment, the international version and producers’ cut of Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo opens on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 in cinemas in SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, SM Manila, SM Fairview, and SM Sta. Mesa.

GUIDE: MMFF New Wave 2015

Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) has just announced the finalists for its three categories: Full-Length Features, HOOQ Short Films and Animation. MMFF New Wave 2015 will run from December 17 to 24 at SM Megamall, Glorietta 4, and Robinsons Place Manila.

Here are the screening schedules of MMFF New Wave 2015 per venue:

(See the screening schedules per date further below.)

mmff new wave 2015 megamall schedule  mmff new wave 2015 glorietta schedule

mmff new wave 2015 robinsons manila schedule

Here are the finalists of MMFF New Wave 2015 for each category:

Full-Length Features

(Click the movie title to view trailer/teaser.)

  1. Ari by Carlo Enciso Catu
  2. Mandirigma by Arlyn Dela Cruz
  3. Tandem by King Palisoc
  4. Toto by John Paul Su
  5. Turo-Turo by Ray An Dulay

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MMFF 2015 New Wave Full-Length Films

HOOQ Short Films

  1. Daisy by Brian Spencer Reyes
  2. Ding Mangasyas (Tough Guys) by Justine Emmanuel Dizon
  3. Lapis by Maricel Cariaga
  4. Momento by Jan-Kyle Nieva
  5. Mumu by Jean Cheryl Tagyamon

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MMFF 2015 New Wave Short Films

Animation

  1. Alamat ng Giraffe by Alyssandra Kyle Mallari
  2. Buttons by Marvel Obemio, Francis Ramirez and Jared Garcia
  3. Geo by John Aurthur Mercader
  4. Little Lights by Rivelle Mallari
  5. The Seed by Joven Maniaol and Larreina Bianca Libuton

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The Best Picture winner will receive P 300,000 (for full-length category), P 100,000 (for short film) and P100,000 (for animation).

MMFF New Wave 2015 will run from December 17 to 24 at SM Megamall, Glorietta 4, and Robinsons Place Manila. The MMFF Awards Night will be held on December 27, 2015.

Here are the screening schedules of MMFF New Wave 2015 per date:

MMFF New Wave 2015 Dec 17 schedule MMFF New Wave 2015 Dec 18 schedule MMFF New Wave 2015 Dec 19 schedule MMFF New Wave 2015 Dec 20 schedule MMFF New Wave 2015 Dec 21 schedule MMFF New Wave 2015 Dec 22 schedule MMFF New Wave 2015 Dec 23 schedule MMFF New Wave 2015 Dec 24 schedule