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By Sanriel Chris Ajero
More than Christmas tradition to the Filipinos, the annual Metro Manila Film Festival is host to launching a good selection of local mainstream cinema. Its reputation propelled when it started producing some of the most unforgettable local films of all time. Within its 36 years of existence, the festival spawned the creation of such all-time gems as Burlesk Queen (1977), Kisapmata (1981), Himala (1982) and Bulaklak ng City Jail (1984) . Unfortunately, the festival also accommodated the production of lacklustre mainstream efforts that now defines the Philippine cinema for the majority of the Filipinos. The decline furthered during the past decade, as the festival yielded series after series of film franchises (Shake, Rattle and Roll; Enteng Kabisote; Mano Po) with only profitmaking as its main rationale and a slew of just crappy WTF productions (Hula Mo, Huli Ko; ‘Di Kita Ma-Reach; Hesusmaryosep!) that question its very existence.
It has been, therefore, quite a daunting and difficult task to skim over all the MMFF entries of the last decade and choose my favourite film for each year (Case in point: the last 4 years when not even one film was good.) Personally, I believe the last glimmer of MMFF hope stroke during the 2003 festival and it went nowhere but downhill since. And quite a fall it has been.
Without further blabber, here are my picks for the best MMFF films for each year of the last decade. PS: I cheated on some years.
By Sanriel Chris Ajero
July, for a Filipino cinephile, equates to home-grown filmic orgasm. This, we thank Cinemalaya for. Having seen all the competing entries from the 6th Cinemalaya Film Festival and then some (35 total), I feel compelled to write at least a round up of the best I’ve seen from the fest. With this, I decided to devote my monthly viewing list to a pure Cinemalaya special. Since its humble inception, the fete has been a reliable goldmine of the very best in Philippine cinema every year. Year number 6 is no exception. With a newly opened category and an interesting mix of exhibition features, the festival gave room to more possibilities of greatness. Here’s a taste of the 10 best films from Cinemalaya 2010, highly subjected to my own bias.I
By Sanriel Chris Ajero
I had no plans of continuing this monthly logs but I suddenly got inspired to do one for July (a Cinemalaya special so watch out for that). Having said that, it also wouldn’t make much sense if I skip May and June. So I got compelled to do one (plus I really felt the need to update this blog). I’m still kinda busy so I just squeezed in a few minutes last night to create banners for the top 6 films (yes, I did not see a great deal of good films those two months) I saw during May and June. So here goes.
We are more than a quarter off of 2010 and my film viewing log has been cut to half as compared to last year. For personal satisfaction and to put myself under pressure, I will start doing a list of the best films I’ve seen per month. This first installment, however, is an exception. The first two months of the year was spent mostly to watch more films for the Best of 2009 that I did. So this list I’m doing now is basically for March and April viewing. Mind that I personally declared March to be a Filipino films month so expect more of those in the following entries.
by Sanriel Chris Ajero
Simply put, 2009 has not been regarded, both by film enthusiasts and a majority of film critics, as a strong year for film. I, for one, personally disagree. I say these people must be watching all the wrong films. Under that realization I required myself to be of aid. For the past few weeks, I’ve been troubling myself trying to fit (not fill) all the films I enjoyed into a top 30 recommendation list like I did last year. I failed. So for this year, I’m giving 40 of the best films I’ve seen in all of 2009 instead. Rest assured that these are films I truly and genuinely enjoyed. But then I failed again. As I’ll also present 5 more films I tremendously like but I believe many have not even heard of.
By: Sanriel Chris Ajero
2009 has been a generous year for the Philippine film industry. Most of the Filipinos, however, hardly even notice. It is the year when boundaries were crossed, walls were crushed, and hurdles were conquered – but nobody seemed to care. As the whole world delightfully discovers the immense array of talents our country has to offer, we were busy uncovering the latest disgrace concerning our dearly-loved wedded showbiz personalities. As the most prestigious of all film festivals, Cannes Film Fest, took its hat off to Filipino directors, we were busy marveling the outlandish skill of a doctor-turned-director in his breakthrough filmmaking career. As our small films gather thunderous uproar (whether good or bad) in the global film stadium, we were busy, glued to the screens, eagerly awaiting for the latest in the seemingly infinite collaborations of Mother Lily and Joel Lamangan. It is a sad reality, a bitter pill we, film buffs and film critics alike, have to swallow – that the majority of Filipinos are not yet ready. Be it for the giant leap in film appreciation we all want injected to each and every one, or simply for any sort of change. This is a maddeningly long process, but we are lucky to have some films keeping us company – and keeping us sane.