‘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.

LOOK: ‘Jane Got a Gun’ gets three new character posters

The three new character posters has been unveiled for Jane Got a Gun, the upcoming action-drama western film directed by Gavin O’Connor and written by Brian Duffield.

The film is starring Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, and Rodrigo Santoro.
“Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) has built a new life with her husband Bill “Ham” Hammond (Noah Emmerich) after being tormented by the Bishop Boys gang. She finds herself in the gang’s crosshairs once again when Ham stumbles home riddled with bullets after dueling with the Boys and their relentless leader, Colin (Ewan McGregor). With the vengeful crew hot on Ham’s trail, Jane has nowhere to turn but to her former fiancé Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) for help in defending her family against certain death. Haunted by old memories, Jane’s past meets the present in a heart-stopping battle for survival.”

Opening across the Philippines in February 2016, Jane Got a Gun is released and distributed by Captive Cinema.


Director John Paul Su explores dreaming big in ‘Toto’

Set in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Toto is a comedy/drama about a young Filipino room service attendant whose determination to attain a U.S. visa precipitates an odyssey of universal import. Undeterred by his lack of education and scant prospects, Toto (Sid Lucero) schemes relentlessly to achieve his goal. When his antics put the lives of his loved ones in danger, however, he is forced to question the extremity of his actions and to re- evaluate the cost of fulfilling his dreams.

Toto American dream MMFF New Wave 2015

In this film, all the characters have dreams and aspirations, be it about love, career, or simply friendship. But how far will one go to reach his dream?

As an immigrant himself, John Paul Su deeply attracted to Toto’s story for the way it speaks to the tension between integrity and compromise in the journeys of all outsiders. In moments of self-doubt, do you give up or do you soldier forward in pursuit of the dream? This is a question that, as a filmmaker in a new land where he was a complete unknown, he was constantly forced to ask myself time and time again.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the huge divide between rich and poor in the Philippines, “dreaming big” is an integral part of the cultural DNA, and Toto is, on one hand, a satire of the veneration of wealth and celebrity in a society where opportunity and resources are still scarce.

But it is also an allegory of the immigrant experience in general, seizing upon the luxury hotel where Toto works— with its glamorous classic Hollywood facade — as a symbol of the American Dream, and the sordid infrastructure as a persistent reminder, to Toto and to us, of the often treacherous underworld upon which that facade depends.

Toto aims to take its audience on a fun emotional roller coaster ride that, hopefully, will leave them inspired and moved. After all, there’s a Toto that resides in all of us.

Toto is an official entry to the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival – New Wave which will run from December 17 to 24 at SM Megamall, Glorietta 4, and Robinsons Place Manila.

Toto movie poster MMFF New Wave 2015




MOVIE REVIEW: No Boyfriend Since Birth (2015)

In Jose Javier Reyes’s No Boyfriend Since Birth, Carla Abellana’s Karina Miranda, better known as Carrie, works as an executive assistant in a bridal shop. We get the usual snappy boss in Mylene Dizon’s Mimi. The clash is always pro-boss with Carrie bowing down with her mouth shut. She is questioned by her parents if she still wants to stay but she keeps insisting that she’s happy with what she is doing and that she’s learning a lot from her boss.

That could have been a good motivation for Carrie as a character: keeping herself strong amidst the pressure of work as singled out by Mimi’s temper. That despite  the urge of her loud, corny friends Glenn (Ricci Chan) and Hannah (Bangs Garcia), she remains strong and passionate for work. However, the story chose to flow with Carrie’s “love” towards Carlo (Tom Rodriguez) whom she meets again years after graduation.

True to the concept the title refers to, Carrie has never been in a romantic relationship but there is this one guy she has always been waiting for all her life: her high school crush Carlo Joaquin Mercado. For ten long years, she has believed in a school fair prediction that her first and last boyfriend and eventual husband would be someone bearing some letters, for which she calls out to the fortune teller a name the latter approves. And so it takes that long a time for her to hold onto something  that she would just later on let go of. That is simply petty and out of the context of her preservation of memories–that all these tears are too painful to bear.

On the side, we encounter Mike Tan as a wishful guy that does not aid for a love triangle. His character Paolo is pretty much a necessary addition to the usual crowd of mainstream movies but does not give any conflict to serve the spice required. He just suddenly appears out of nowhere, pushing himself to a reppelent Carrie, and winds up being present in one of the conventional confrontation scenes.

It just does not connect well, much less not at all. For a love story that follows the struggles of a woman who is supposed to be smart enough to be cautious, Carrie’s character is underdeveloped making it too hard to grasp onto her ambitions in life. It is as if she is just clouded by the fantasy of getting Carlo as a partner. It just got to be difficult to sympathize.

Not to mention, Carlo only needs her as a business partner. Nothing else, much to the dismay of Carrie. She does not give up hoping, though. She looks into every possible way to get his attention and to win his heart if ever. This includes earning concert tickets from a client and asking him to join her just for it to appear they share the same interest. Sure enough, they get to be close to each other as she falls deeply for him.

Carlo’s character could have been interesting if it does not fall flat on the surface of monotony. This is the same attack of acting Rodriguez has exhibited in So It’s You, his previous pair-up with Abellana. At times, it feels like the dubbing was rushed and the post-production team had to resort to hiring voice talents. Or is it just that off-synch?

no boyfriend since birth 4

As a romantic comedy, No Boyfriend Since Birth fails to deliver the comedy it promises to possess from the outside. With closer inspection, one would right away recognize how forced the jokes are. In its core is the intention of being more on the romantic side but all the audience could get are the typical exchanges of smiles that turn infatuation into love. It could have drilled further into acknowledging the innocence brought about by being NBSB but right from the start Carrie is firm that she knows love even if she hasn’t got a boyfriend her entire life. Her experiences in arranging other people’s wedding of other people are her foundation towards the man of her dreams. How inconvenient it is for her to have that attractive look, that indispensible charisma, that pretty smile only for her not to have any relationship at the age of 26.

The spark between Carla and Tom has already flourished right from the television phenomenon that is My Husband’s Lover and straight to their next series My Destiny. But down the line, as apparent in their latest project, it is just about time to look for other opportunities. Anyway, they are happy together as unlabeled item and we are all glad they happened to each other.

111115 No Boyfriend Since Birth

‘Spectre’ conquers PH box-office with P65.1-M in 3 days

MANILA, Nov. 9, 2015 – The writing of Spectre’s success is on the wall as the latest James Bond action adventure opened big at No. 1, with a smash three-day opening weekend nationwide gross of P65.1-M (Nov. 6-8). This was announced today by a spokesman of Columbia Pictures, the film’s local distributor.

“Spectre’s” three-day opening recorded for Columbia Pictures its biggest bow for the year, outpacing recent hits “Insidious: Chapter 3,” “Hotel Transylvania 2” and “Goosebumps.”

Estrella (Stephanie Sigman) and Bond (Daniel Craig) in the crowds of El Dia de los Muertos procession in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE. Tolsa Square, Mexico City.
Estrella (Stephanie Sigman) and Bond (Daniel Craig) in the crowds of El Dia de los Muertos procession in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE. Tolsa Square, Mexico City.

The charge to the box-office was led by SM Mall of Asia (P2.66-M), SM Megamall (P2.42-M) and SM North EDSA (P2.22-M).

In the Top Ten are Power Plant (P2.15-M), Greenbelt 3 (P2.14-M), Trinoma (P2.13-M), SM Aura (P2.03-M), Shang Cineplex (P1.78-M), Glorietta 4 (P1.67-M) and SM Cebu (P1.58-M).

Also posting huge receipts are Greenhills Promenade (P1.52-M), Alabang Town Center (P1.45-M), Eastwood (P1.355-M), Ayala Cebu (P1.350-M), SM Clark (P1.27-M), Newport City (P1.12-M), Bonifacio High Street (P1.11-M), Gateway (P1.05-M), Robinsons Magnolia (P991,390) and Robinsons Galleria (P922,780).

Rounding up the Top 30 cinemas are Fisher Mall (P849,999), Centrio Mall Cagayan (P801,005), SM Southmall (P721,889), CommerCenter (P713,755), SM Lipa (P698,762), Century City Mall (P696,250), Robinsons Ermita (P670,183), SM Lanang Davao (P651,140), Gaisano Davao (P635,565) and SM Marikina (P610,500).

The film’s juggernaut debut in the Philippines is reflected internationally. After setting new box office opening records in nearly every country in which it opened last weekend, “Spectre” opened wide around the world with stunning results from an additional 72 territories, including the United States, bringing the film’s worldwide cume to $300 million in less than two weeks.

In the US, the film is the #1 movie in America, dominating a crowded box office by taking in $73 million for the weekend.

Internationally, the film is a blockbuster, opening #1 in all 71 international territories in which it bowed this weekend, taking in $117.8 million in total, with 40% of markets yet to come, including France, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and China.


“We are absolutely thrilled by this weekend’s results,” said Gary Barber, MGM’s Chairman and CEO. “The worldwide support for `Spectre’ is a testament not only to the dedication of our amazing fans around the globe, but also to the incredible team involved with this film who worked so hard both in front of and behind the camera.”

Josh Greenstein, president, Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for Sony Pictures, said, “We are thrilled by the staggering numbers coming in from all corners of the globe, and we are very proud to be able to bring this legendary franchise to new heights. Congratulations to our partners at EON, Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, Gary Barber at MGM, and Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes and the entire filmmaking team behind `Spectre.’”

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of `Spectre,’ added, “We’re astounded and thank all our fans worldwide for this incredible response to `Spectre.’”

Now playing across the Philippines, Spectre is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.


FDCP pitches ‘Escape to Manila’, ‘The Bells of Balangiga’ at AFM

The Film Development Council of the Philippines is organizing a Philippine film production pitching session entitled “Love, War and History” at the upcoming American Film Market (AFM). The pitch will feature the films Escape to Manila and The Bells of Balangiga and will be held at the AFM studio on November 7 (Saturday) at 10:00am, in Santa Monica, California.

Foreign producers and distributors are expected to attend the session. FDCP hopes for an international co-production with the Philippines on both film projects.

“Escape to Manila” is a romantic adventure that tells the story of two Jews, Anna Cassel and Ralph Preiss, who must forget their old lives to forge new ones, as they escape Nazi tyranny and head for the Philippines, after President Manuel L. Quezon helped allow for the safe entry of Jews into the country. The script was written by writers Amado Angelo Lacuesta and American producer and screenwriter Scott Rosenfelt.

The “Bells of Balangiga” depicts a historical event where a nation’s pride and freedom rang out against America’s colonial presence in the idyllic tropical town of Balangiga. In the unequal battle between Krag and bolo, the brief shining moment of liberation becomes a victory that is pyrrhic—and poetic—sparking a century-old struggle to return the bells back to their rightful home. The script was written by Jose F. Lacaba and placed 1st in the FDCP’s “kaSAYSAYan: Historical Scriptwriting contest” back in 2010.

The American Film Market (AFM) is the premiere global marketplace where Hollywood’s decision-makers and trendsetters all gather under one roof. The AFM is a marketplace where production and distribution deals are closed, with over 8,000 industry leaders in attendance.

GUIDE: Cinema One Originals Festival 2015

With its 11th year’s theme Kakaiba Ka Ba?, Cinema One Originals Festival 2015 will run from November 9 to 17 at Trinoma, Glorietta, Resorts World Manila and SM Megamall with the presentation of nine feature films in competition, 10 short films in exhibition, 12 foreign films, four restored classics and two special presentations.

cinema one originals 2015 ticket rates

Here are the screening schedules per venue along with the master schedule of screenings across all venues:



The nine feature films in competition are the following: (Click the movie title to view trailer.)

  1. “Baka, Siguro, Yata” by Joel Ferrer
  2. “Bukod Kang Pinagpala” by Sheron Dayoc
  3. “Dahlin’ Nick” by Sari Dalena
  4. Dayang Asu” by Bor Ocampo
  5. “Hamog” by Ralston Jover
  6. “Manang Biring” by Carl Joseph Papa
  7. “Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso” by Raymond Red
  8. “Miss Bulalacao” by Ara Chawdhury
  9. “The Comeback” by Ivan Andrew Payawal

Joel Ferrer’s cross-generational screwball rom-com “Baka Siguro Yata” stars Valerie “Bangs” Garcia, Dino Pastrana, Ricky Davao, and Cherie Gil.

Sheron Dayoc’s religious horror gothic “Bukod Kang Pinagpala” featuring real-life mother and daughter Bing Pimentel and Maxie Eigenmann as a mother and daughter in the grip of sinister forces.

Ivan Andrew Payawal’s comedy about suicide and celebrity “The Comeback” features Kaye Abad as a fading star whose life takes an unexpected turn.

Sari Dalena’s “Dahling Nick,” an experimental docu-fiction hybrid that celebrates the life and work of Nick Joaquin with Raymond Bagatsing in the eponymous title role.

Bor Ocampo’s “Dayung Asu,” featuring Ricky Davao and Junjun Quintana as a father and son enmeshed in a life of crime, is a homage to Pinoy action set in a unique milieu.

Ralston Jover’s “Hamog” blends neo-realism and magic realism with Zaijan Jaranilla and Teri Malvar as street children.

Carl Joseph Papa’s fully-animated “Manang Biring” is the touching story of a terminal patient and her estranged daughter with Erlinda Villalobos in the title role.

Raymond Red’s “Mga Rebeldeng Walang Kaso” is a look back at the early days of the first wave of Philippine independent cinema with Felix Roco, Epi Quizon, Earl Ignacio, and Nicco Manala.

Ara Chawdhury’s “Miss Bulalacao”, which introduces performance artist Russ Ligtas in his first film role, is a comedy about a young drag queen whose life is changed by a strange encounter.


In commemoration of revolutionary cinema, Cinema One Originals 2015 will pay tribute to the first wave of Pinoy indies–the short filmmakers from the 80’s led by Raymond Red, Nick De Ocampo, Rox Lee and Joey Agbayani who are tagged as the pioneers of alternative cinema. As an auxiliary program, there will be a showcase of 10 short films from the Philippines, New Zealand and Iran.

The following are the 10 short films to be screened this year:

  1. “Junilyn Has” by Carlo Manatad
  2. “Sanctissima” by Kenneth Lim Dagatan
  3. “Dindo” by Martika Ramirez Escobar
  4. “Pusong Bato” (2013) by Pam Miras
  5. “Reyna Christina” by Pia Dimagiba
  6. “Memorya” by Jovanni Tinapay
  7. “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas” by Bor Ocampo
  8. “Anino” by Raymond Red
  9. “A Love Story” by Steven Baker
  10. “The Tenant” by Mohsen Mahkmalbaf


The 12 foreign films under “World Cinema” category are the following: (Click the movie title to view trailer.)

  1. “The Assassin” by Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Taiwan)
  2. “Journey to the Shore” by Kurosawa Kiyoshi (Japan)
  3. “Right Now, Wrong Then” by Hong Sang-Soo (South Korea)
  4. “Interrogation” by Vetri Maaran (India)
  5. “The President” by Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Georgia/Iran)
  6. “Arabian Night” by Miguel Gomes (Portugal)
    – Volume l. The Restless One
    – Volume ll. The Desolate One
    – Volume Ill.  The Enchanted One
  7. “The Lobster” by Yorgos Lanthimos (Ireland)
  8. “Rams” by Grimur Hakonarson (Iceland)
  9. “The Treasure” by Corneliu Porumboi (Romania)
  10. “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on its Existence” by Roy Andersson (Sweden)
  11. “Mustang” by Deniz Gamze Erguven (France)
  12. “Frenzy” by Emin Alper (Turkey)


Cinema One Originals will also present four digitally restored and re-mastered classic Filipino films.

  1. Gala premiere of Ishmael Bernal’s “Ikaw ay Akin”
  2. Lino Brocka’s “Insiang”
  3. Olivia Lamasan’s Sana Maulit Muli”
  4. Marilou Diaz Abaya’s “Karnal”


The festival will open on November 8 at Trinoma with the invitational screening of Erik Matti’s “Honor Thy Father” starring John Lloyd Cruz.

honor thy father

There will also a special presentation of Cinema One’s production of Sherad Sanchez’s found footage horror film “Salvage,” starring Jessy Mendiola as a reporter lost in a haunted jungle.

Join the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/882873195130605/