VIDEO: 2016 Movie Highlights

We’re almost one full month into 2016, but it’s still fun to look ahead and see what the remaining eleven months have in store for us. Since I don’t really know how to measure my own anticipation, here’s a run-through of movies set to be released in 2016 that have piqued my interest. Take note that I am nervous about every movie that comes out ever, so I’ll always have my doubts. Here’s to a year of being proven wrong!

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Always Better on the Big Screen: Preserving the Theater Experience

From the Loyola Film Circle’s Fete du Film. A room of college students and professors watching REC (Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, 2007).

Context: Here in the Philippines, we don’t really get a lot of movies. Our online streaming services are nowhere near as content-rich as those in the United States. Our video stores’ selection of DVDs are bafflingly limited and seriously lacking in films released before the 2000s. Local movies (no matter how popular) that aren’t backed by major studios almost never get DVD releases after their theatrical runs (no matter how long). Television channels have a bad habit of showing the same movies for weeks on end, and of showing the same kinds of movies day-in, day-out.

And in cinemas, local mainstream film studios are lucky to release more than two films every quarter. The independent scene is staying strong, but indie festival runs are restricted to a select few theaters for one to two weeks–and then most of the entries never see the light of day again. Additionally, foreign film distribution isn’t as strong as I feel it could be. Once in a while we get gems like Boyhood or Whiplash, but most of the time we miss out on big awards contenders when they’re released in other parts of the world during the fourth quarter of the year (partially because of how the Metro Manila Film Festival effectively shuts down foreign film screenings for two weeks every Christmas). In their place, we get direct-to-DVD schlock and “movies” that seem like they were greenlit for theatrical runs by mistake.

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VIDEOS: Best and Worst Movies of 2015

Working on a new (long) post and it’s been taking a while, so I’ve decided to keep this blog updated by sharing videos from my YouTube channel! Expect to see a lot of these kinds of posts. I will not be posting regular reviews on this WordPress site, since I’d prefer to keep my content varied across these different platforms.

Anyway, first up, here’s my own personal top 15 films of 2015! The list only contains films released in Philippine cinemas in 2015. Not as many big blockbusters as 2014’s list had, but lots of under-the-radar gems and excellent genre pieces.

Of course, what good would a best-of list be without a worst-of to complement it? Here’s my top 5 worst films of 2015 as well. This list is also only made up of films released in Philippine cinemas last year. I don’t find it very fun to talk about terrible movies, so I also attempt to articulate the deeper issues that I think these movies point to!

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Why I Love Movies: An Introduction

My first legit acting gig, for the short film Kaarawan (Matthew Ng, 2015). Photo by Sam Ganzon.

At the beginning of every self-proclaimed “epic novel” in the Captain Underpants series, two fourth graders named George Beard and Harold Hutchins present a crudely constructed comic book that explains their previous adventures and the origin of their mean school principal-turned-accidental-superhero, Captain Underpants.

In their comics, words are constantly misspelled, character models are drawn inconsistently, and none of the panels ever line up properly. And yet–reading these books as a fourth grader myself–I thought they were perfect. Back in 1997 when the series’ author, Dav Pilkey, published The Adventures of Captain Underpants, educators and librarians lost their minds, citing obscene content and miseducation that would make their students less intelligent and more naughty. But I thought to myself then (and I still think to myself now) that there was no other way it could have been done.

Continue reading “Why I Love Movies: An Introduction”