Local cinema’s opening salvo

The Metro Manila Film Festival is finally over after its successful two-week run, but three films are making us feel as if the annual festival is extended until the end of the month. Two commercial movies are playing on the same date and there’s another that will open after a week.

From the same writer and director of the surprise hit Kita Kita come Mr. and Mrs. Cruz, another romantic island movie set in an idyllic location in Palawan. Opening on Jan. 24, the movie sees the big screen team up of JC Santos and Ryza Cenon.

JC Santos and Ryza Cenon team up in Viva's island romance, 'Mr. and Mrs. Cruz'
In this movie from Viva Entertainment, the onscreen couple plays two strangers who meet when they both travel to Palawan in an attempt to get rid of their personal situations. Gela (Cenon) is a firm believer in marriage while Raffy (Santos) wants nothing to do with it. Despite their different beliefs, they both spend their time together on the island and eventually discover their similarities.

Shot in stunning locations highlighting the beauty of the island province, it follows the tradition that This Thing Called Tadhana started and recently reinforced by Siargao. It’s good to note that Mr. and Mrs. Cruz is making some good impression this early. It is a hit among netizens with its trailer hitting almost 5.5 million views on Facebook since its upload.

Opening on Jan. 17 is Star Cinema’s opening salvo for 2018. The comedy billed as Ang Dalawang Mrs Reyes relies heavily on the tandem of Judy Ann Santos and Angelica Panganiban who both play devoted wives to their cheating husbands who turn out to be gay in the story.

With their combined forces, they are out to ensure that their husbands don’t get what they took away from them -- a happy ending.

Sofia Andres and Sylvia Sanchez play mother and daughter in Regal Entertainment's 'Mama's Girl'
But if there’s one film hitting the theaters this month that I’m really excited about is Regal Entertainment’s Mama’s Girl, which will go head to head with Ang Dalawang Mrs Reyes.

My college professor, whom I remember for teaching us how to sell ideas in the most subtle way possible, is at the helm of Mama’s Girl.

The director, Connie Macatuno, is a writer and a TV director. She’s been in the business for more than 20 years now and is known for being the director of Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Paraiso (2012) starring Jessy Mendiola and Matteo Guidicelli. But the work that I can easily associate with Macatuno is the indie film Rome & Juliet. It is about two women (Mylene Dizon and Andrea del Rosario) who become enmeshed in a lesbian affair. 

Though it’s hard to recall a film I saw more than a decade ago, Rome & Juliet left a lasting impression. It’s provocative and intelligent, with actors you would remember for the roles they played.

Judy Ann Santos and Angelica Panganiban join forces in Star Cinema's 'Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes'
With Mama’s Girl, Macatuno teams up with screenwriter Gina Marissa Tagasa. The film is a light drama about a single mom (Sylvia Sanchez) and her struggles to raise her only daughter (Sophia Andres).

But Macatuno isn’t the only reason why the film caught my fancy. Not only the film is brave enough to be up against a bigger film, it makes me think whether I would recognize someone based on what she offers on the table. Will it have the same lasting impression like her previous work? That’s something I need really need to find out. 


Topics: Kita Kita , Mr. and Mrs. Cruz , JC Santo , Ryza Cenon , Palawan , Ang Dalawang Mrs Reyes , Judy Ann Santos , Angelica Panganiban , Mama’s Girl , Connie Macatuno , Precious Hearts Romances
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