With the dry season slowly making its scorching presence felt, it is bound to be more sizzling, scintillating if not titillating, with the arrival of the first Summer Metro Manila Film Festival which happens this April.
If we are to judge the trailers of the eight films in competition, one can surmise that we have an impressive roster of motion pictures that aims to arouse the curiosities of the viewing and discerning public.
Most of the entertainment media present during the press conference held at Novotel are in agreement that finished films should and must be the basis of choosing an entry in a film festival and not just a finished script.
The criteria used in choosing the lucky eight were: Artistic Merit (40 percent), Commercial Viability (40 percent), Promotion Of Filipino Values (10 percent) and International Appeal (10 percent).
For those who are already wondering, the lineup includes a testosterone-infused action flick, a horror movie that guarantees the jolt and all the screaming and shouting, family dramas with their requisite domestic and personal issue.
The most likely to slug it out in the box office supremacy race are Love Or Money, a romantic comedy which stars the King of ABSCBN, Coco Martin and comely actress Angelica Panganiban, A Hard Day with Dindong Dantes and John Arcilla sharing stellar billing, which is based on a 2014 South Korean movie with the same title and of course, The Missing, with Ritz Azul and Joseph Marco in what seems like a potent Philippine contribution to the Asian horror genre.
Martin and Panganiban spell fun and refreshing, a team-up that audience will experience for the first time. Martin is no Cardo Dalisay in this one, and Panganiban, of course, is in her best element when it comes to being a damsel in distress with a lot of naughtiness and oomph.
Dantes, when he portrays a protagonist acting and living like an antagonist is always a delight to view and him, exchanging acting duels with the John Arcilla screams must-see.
We do not need the rules of economics and laws of science to make a conclusion that horror movies always make a literal killing at the box office that is why The Missinghas win-win written all over it.
The first in the lineup of the family dramas is Isa Pang Bahaghari with the trio con brio of acting royalties Nora Aunor, Phillip Salvador, and Michael de Mesa with competent support coming from Zanjoe Marudo, Joseph Marco, and Sanya Lopez.
What makes this family drama interesting is the pink element in it, Aunor, Salvador, and Michael are part of a different kind of love triangle.
Former senator Jinggoy Estrada’s comeback film, Coming Home is the other family drama serving. His co-stars are Sylvia Sanchez, Edgar Allan Guzman, Shaira Cruz, Martin del Rosario, Ara Arida, Vin Abrenica, and Samantha Lopez.
For the romance offerings, if you want a more mature and textured depiction of what makes relationships and falling in love reach its complicated levels, Tagpuan is the perfect choice. Its major stars are Iza Calzado, Alfred Vargas, and Shaina Magdayao.
If you want it sugar and spice and all that is nice with a dash of ghost element in it but not in a scary way, Love The Way U Lie with Xian Lim, Kylie Versoza, and Alex Gonzaga promises to satisfy your cinematic saccharine craving.
Bittersweet, friend-zoned, unrequited, what you see is what you get, no labels, all this are explored and presented in Prime Cruz’s Ngayon Kaya, with two of the Philippine’s most beautiful, Paulo Avelino and Janine Gutierrez, in this T-Rex Entertainment film offering which many opine will be the sleeper hit of the SMMFF.
Is the marriage of artistic appeal and commercial viability possible? With these formidable film selections, is it safe to conclude that the submission of finished scripts as basis to be part of the MMFF in December is now a thing of the past, a done deal? And most importantly, come April 11 when the films in competition open in cinemas for a week, will the public go out of their cocoons and halt their vacation plans and give these motion pictures the love and support?
Ah… as they say in a song, the answers my friend, are all blowing in the wind. Let us keep our collective fingers crossed and yes, see you at the movies.
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