the IT list #12: Watch List

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #12

#ONE
2013 isn’t over; but I could honestly say that this is arguably one of the finest years for Philippine cinema ever. Cinemalaya kicked it off for me with the premiere of films such as Transit, Sana Dati and Ekstra. It was then followed by a mainstream release that definitely raised the bar for local Pinoy action movies — On The Job. New film festival Cinefilipino also produced some noteworthy films such as Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita, Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin and Ang Kwento ni Mabuti. Even Kung Fu Divas exceeded my expectations and truly delivered on the laughs with its unique story and execution. Hooray for Philippine cinema, indeed!

(L to R): Ekstra, Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita, On The Job, Transit, Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin

If you have the chance to catch any of the above films, please do try to watch them. Special mention goes to On The Job, which just blew me away, and Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita, which I couldn’t help but fall in love with as I was watching. Here’s hoping more fine local films are produced in years to come!

#TWO
I finished the well-written, well executed, overall awesome show Breaking Bad last weekend, and I still can’t get it off my head. From beginning to end, this television show has delivered an amazing, well-rounded story without ever dipping in quality. As icing to an already delicious cake, the series finale satisfied me as a fan. Just brilliant.

A lot of the credit goes to Vince Gilligan (for creating it) as well as the talented cast led by Bryan Cranston (for breathing life into these complex characters). Thank you for bringing this show into our lives; and I will never forget it… ever.

#THREE
As I waited for the regular TV season to begin, I decided to check out some new shows from Netflix‘s foray into original programming… and they are AMAZING.

Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are two very different series — one is a black comedy set in a women’s correctional facility and the other is a drama set in the halls of power in Washington, DC. Both are unique. Both are extremely engaging shows in their own ways. Both are exciting additions to my must-watch list. Best of all, Netflix, as a content distributor, is changing the landscape of television by releasing full seasons in one go. No more waiting week after week for new episodes!

If these two shows are any indication of the bar set by Netflix with anything they release, then I’m on board with whatever they produce.

#FOUR
Gravity is the second film I watched in IMAX this year; and that’s pretty rare for me. Still, much like Pacific Rim before it, the film is well worth every peso. Alfonso Cuaron’s latest is an absolute visual masterpiece.  I was glued to every moment. I was gripped. I was in suspense. And for something that in essence only has two characters in it, that says a lot of the directing and the acting that went into the whole thing.

Catch this movie if you haven’t. Watch it in IMAX if you can. For me, it is definitely one of the best films this year.

#FIVE
Wicked is finally coming to Manila! I flew on a quick trip to Singapore over a year ago to catch this musical; and I absolutely loved it. Immediately after, my friend and I promised each other to watch it again when it arrives in Philippine shores. Needless to say, we’ve bought our tickets; and I’m so excited to relive the music, the story and the magic. This is definitely a must-watch! The show opens on January 22, 2014 at the CCP Main Theater. Tickets available at Ticketworld.

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THE Month for Pinoy Movies

I know people who’ve sworn off Pinoy movies altogether. It’s either a personal choice or given the track record of recent releases, it’s probably something formulaic… What’s the point, right? You’re not going to miss much even if a good one does come along.

Personally, I still like watching and supporting local movies. Nevertheless, I am choosy about what I watch. I feel around for good word of mouth (and positive reviews). I consider the people behind the production (good director? quality cast? interesting storyline?). After which, I make an informed decision: To watch or not to watch?

(L to R) Judy Ann Santos for “Mga Mumunting Lihim”; Tippy dos Santos for “I Do Bidoo Bidoo”; Eddie Garcia and Princess (the dog) for “Bwakaw”; Dominic Roco for “Ang Nawawala”

In the next few weeks, however, some theatrical releases are well worth your time and money. If you are looking for the perfect opportunity to give Pinoy movies a chance, this is the time to do it.

Mga Mumunting Lihim (Those Little Secrets) – NOW SHOWING

Have I watched it? YES. Why should YOU watch? It’s Jose Javier Reyes’ entry in the recently concluded Cinemalaya Film Festival. This film won both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress accolades for its talented ensemble (Judy Ann Santos, Iza Calzado, Janice de Belen, Agot Isidro). It’s a dramedy that demonstrates how little we may know about our friends… and what they say about us behind our backs. The highlight of Mga Mumunting Lihim is a particularly lengthy argument in a restaurant that had the audience entertained, to say the least.

I Do Bidoo Bidoo – AUGUST 29, 2012

Have I watched it? NOT YET. Why should YOU watch? The songs of APO Hiking Society weaved into a story of love and family. A stellar cast that you never imagined would come together on the big screen… ever (Gary V, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Ogie Alcasid, Eugene Domingo). An “A” rating by the Cinema Evaluation Board and deafening positive buzz from its stars and the press. This is the musical movie event of the year. I’m positive that it will be a big hit; and you shouldn’t dare miss it. I definitely won’t.

Bwakaw – SEPTEMBER 5, 2012

Have I watched it? YES. Why should YOU watch? You will love this movie. I guarantee it. Eddie Garcia (Best Actor: Cinemalaya 2012) turns in an amazing performance as an aging gay man whose only family is his dog Bwakaw. The story is simple. The noteworthy moments range from light to heavy. It’s just a thoroughly enjoyable film and a definite crowd pleaser.

Ang Nawawala – SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

Have I watched it? YES. Why should YOU watch? The film won Audience Choice Award in Cinemalaya 2012. With a simple story of first love, this film is able to tell it in such a unique way… set in a world that very few are a part of. It is fascinating and engaging, with good music that sets the mood and a back story that slowly reveals itself.

Be sure to check your nearest cinemas for these releases and support our local film industry. Mabuhay ang pelikulang Pilipino!

Septic Tank and Oscars in One Sentence

It’s official. Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank has been selected as the Philippines’ entry to the upcoming Oscars.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_4LrcK7dwQ]

The movie first made waves when it dominated this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival. It then garnered even more attention during its nationwide release last August. If you’re in the Philippines and haven’t heard about this movie, then you must be living under a rock. Here’s just some of the buzz that surrounded the film:

The twitterverse has spoken. The public has spoken (biggest box office draw in Cinemalaya history, over Php30 million box office during national release). Now, the movie is thrust into a new challenge… be the first Pinoy film nominated in the Oscars. Truly, may the force be with us.

The film has officially been invited to Vancouver, Busan, Hawaii and Udine (Italy).  Now, it’s making its way to Hollywood. Being selected as the Philippine representative is an honor in itself; but that’s just the beginning. This is going to be a HUGE endeavor. There’s plenty of politics, tons of press screenings to be done and most importantly… lots and lots of campaigning! Let’s get the buzz going!

This is a very big deal for the people involved in the film. Knowing them and working with them in production has been an honor. I’m so happy for Marlon Rivera, Chris Martinez, Ms. Eugene Domingo, the staff and crew. (Congratulations Straight Shooters!) I wish you all the best. This film has come a long way; but it’s got a lot more road to cover. So exciting!

Simulan na ang pangangampanya!