Reviews

6 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Homecoming (I) (2003)
9/10
An effective drama
1 January 2009
Homecoming is a very low budget film even by Filipino standards. Nevertheless, it is an excellent film that shows a family (mainly focused on de Rossi's character) going over a tough time. It doesn't solicit the audience's sympathy in an obvious manner. It doesn't glamorize life nor does it feature the over the top acting in other Filipino films. In fact, it is very brutal in portraying the dynamics of migrating and the changes it brings to one's family life/extended community. I would have given this a 9.5 if not for the lackluster film transfer. Note: I watched this in the original language w/o subtitles. Therefore, I can't comment on it.
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Ouija (2007)
4/10
It could have been better
1 January 2009
This film borrows heavily from other more successful horror films. There were times that it seems like Ouija was lifting scenes from the original Grudge series and other successful J-horror films. The scary scenes are generic yet moderately effective, but I give it credit for exploring the family conflict while delving into the supernatural aspects and the location shooting added a bit. Picturesque locations contributed a bit. Not that there is anything wrong copying more successful trends, this film just doesn't add enough originality of its own. I expected more from the cast. With Calzado and Santos (and yes she can turn in wonderful performances, armchair critics!) onboard with some good actors around, acceptable performances can be considered a let down from them. While Filipino horror films like Sukob, Feng Shui, and Pa-Siyam featured local Filipino superstitions, Ouija is happy to borrow trends, successful ones at that. Try those horror films before renting this. Those films can compete with the best the continent can offer. Horror fans and those looking for Filipino films could certainly pick better films than this.
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9/10
A great Filipino romcom. It only needs a bit of editing.
1 January 2009
(8.5/10)) Quite a humorous flick that steers away from cheesy and corny territories. In addition, it is able to touch upon the issues involved between the Filipinos who have a desire or not to go abroad and the point of view of foreigners who are of Filipino descent who find themselves in the country. Keep in mind that the film is able to keep the humorous tone and scenes while doing that. The two leads have chemistry and do well in general. There are a few instances when the plot is unfocused and the pace breaks down a bit. Gonzaga has talent and shows potential for more, but she goes a bit overboard at times. A bit of restraint coupled with her talent and potential would help her in doing great in future projects. Compared to Filipino romantic comedies, this film would garner at least a 9.5/10. Compared to other romantic comedies from all lover the world, I rate this one an 8.5/10 at the least. If you want something that is similar, check out "All About Love".
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8/10
Worth checking out
1 January 2009
This is a sweet and lovable film about two people who can communicate with each other through a phone despite being in different timelines 50 years apart. Don't expect major twists and revelations to appear in the fairly straightforward story. Calzado and Dantes matches up pretty well. Calzado's excellent performance leads to her character being root worthy and garnering sympathy. This is another of many films where people can communicate despite time/space barriers. This came out months earlier than the "Lakehouse". Compared against that, I prefer "Moments of Love" because the two leads as a whole performed better. The "Lakehouse" is more overwrought as well. Sandra Bullock had to carry significantly more weight on it due to Reeves' being out of his elements outside of action and scifi roles. If you liked this, check out "Eternity". It is from the same director and features the similar elements. More importantly, it also has Calzado in a lead role (Yes, I'm a fan in you haven't realized by reading this review).
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Santa santita (2004)
5/10
It didn't live up to its potential
1 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The trailer for this film presented itself as a supernatural tale revolving around a stubborn young woman who develops the ability to make prayers come true with a heavy emphasis on the supernatural elements. The film never lives up to the considerable promise of the trailer. The focus of the film is all over and at times lacking. Malen's, the lead character, transition from stubborn teen to miracle worker to doubt laden person is never explored adequately. At times, it seems the film is deliberately side stepping the issue. There were side stories that are not even delved in as well. The mom and the priest's stories and progression are barely focused upon. The ending also didn't give closure to Malen's situation and her assessment of it while the film shifts its focus on a minor character. The film had multiple opportunities for a subtle filmmaker to showcase socioeconomic portrayals and critique. Guillen avoids doing so and I don't hold it against the film or the filmmaker itself. Ultimately, Santa Santita never lives up to its gripping trailer that promises so much. Honestly, if not for Panganiban's pretty face, I would have given this a 2 or 3.5 rating.
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Pa-siyam (2004)
10/10
Refreshing horror that does not copy trends.
1 January 2009
Pa-Siyam is a truly rare Filipino horror film that can compare well to the other well known and copied Asian horror counterparts. While many horror films copy the usual Ringu, Ju-On, and Dark Water trio, Pa-Siyam draws upon local superstition as a source. The film builds up the tension and atmosphere to deliver scares that are not cheap. Special kudos to Paulate who is tremendous and is able to break out of the usual fare he was involved in. The rest of the cast did good as well. Despite the small budget, the film delivers the goods in a more efficient and effective manner than some of the bland and big budget copies of successful horror trends. Note, I didn't use the subtitle so I can't comment on it.
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