It’s been a difficult year for us, but we feel oddly triumphant to have made it. Our advocacy on watching all commercial Filipino releases has been a tall order; one that challenged our stamina to sit through some of the most banal cinematic works - week after week. We sometimes doubt the essence of “Tangkilikin ang Pelikulang Pilipino” because patronage has to be deserved. More often than not, they don’t. The good news is, there have been a good number of releases that truly energized our resolve. The bad news: many of them don’t even have commercial exhibits.
But we're placing a premium on the films that made it to regular screenings – 2011's commercial releases!
NOT MEANT FOR PINOYS
These movies constitute the “real” Filipino Mainstream Cinema, offered on celluloids and silver screens to the 95 million movie-loving Filipinos all over the archipelago. What good is a triumphant Cannes-winning flick that never gets screened in his country; or that Locarno-winning Pinoy movie inaccessible to his countrymen? Sure, they’ve been screened and even won accolades in festivals in Siem Reap, Delhi, Maldives, Goa, Cairo, Vesoul, Durban, Chanchun, Ahmedabad, Eilat, Tehran, Thrissur, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram, Kyoto, Abu Dhabi, Antananarivo, Somalia, Mar del Plata and Dushanbi, but do they really deserve our adulation when they’re not even meant for Pinoy consumption?
Despite this unsavory fact, we still read about such triumphs at the Inquirer. They’re not even meant for the Pinoys, how can we gallantly embrace them?
HAZARDS OF DOCUMENTATION
Corollary to our advocacy is the more daunting task of writing about them. To be honest, this isn’t a very healthy endeavor. I had nightmares writing about “Panday 2”. I was highly febrile after watching Nigerian director Fellyx Honeyfield’s “Sexventure”. I braved the stench of a dank cinema in downtown Manila just to catch Rad Francisco’s “Bikini Boys”, thank heavens Kyle my BFF was with me. We're inflicted with Last Quarter Syndrome every year. The last 3 months of the year becomes a challenge; our spirit turns defiant. It gets harder to scribble our thoughts. This is the reason why our last quarter blog entries have been incomplete. But make no mistake; we have seen every single commercial movie released in 2011. And we’re here to take stock of the harvest.
The big number – 80! We’ve included Christian Bautista’s Indonesian film, “A Special Symphony” in this list for completion. In the same list is John Sayles’ “Amigo” which had Filipino production cast and crew comprising about 80% of its manpower, thus its inclusion. It’s interesting to note that this film output has relatively increased from 2010’s 73 Filipino films released commercially.
Pink Films – those homoerotic, neuron-depleted, male-oriented, genitalia-waving soft porn ouvres – dominated 2011’s line-up with a staggering 25 titles; that’s more than a fourth of the whole output. The female erotica has taken the backseat – headed by Lawrence Fajardo’s “X-Deal”, the only masterly crafted flick in a genre comprising some of the worst films ever made (Fellyx Honeyfield’s “Sexventure”, John Ad. Castillo and Z Lokman’s “Untamed Virgins”, Noli Salvador’s “Haliparot: Mana sa Ina”).
Crisaldo Pablo, the exponent of low budget (with equally low cerebral activity) male exploitation flicks, managed an enviable output of 6 theatrical releases (“Subok”, “Hinala”, “Manong Konstru”, “M2M 3: Sex Eyeball The Movie”, “Dose, Trese, Katorse”, “Wanted: Male Boarders”). What’s alarming is that this Moron Cinema (plotless gay films) is a burgeoning industry and Pablo’s cohorts are too glad to follow his lead, many of them clueless with the visual medium: there’s Noli Salvador, Paul Singh Cudail, Lucas Mercado, Rad Francisco, G.A. Villafuerte, Edz Espiritu and Jigz Recto. And by the way, what’s with the letter “Z” and mediocrity, Z Lokman? There’s even Monti Parungao and his sperm-concocted lattes (“Kape Barako”). Even Vince Tan – aka Neal Tan - has joined the fray with 3 releases: “Private Nights”, “Anton Tubero”, “Laro”. Let’s not forget “HIV: Si Heidi, Si Ivy at si V” where he was re-billed “Neal Buboy Tan”. At least his male leads are real lookers (James Pinca in “Private Nights”, Lance Lopez in “Anton Tubero”) instead of the “dugyutin-type” and tuberculous-body frames of the guys in Crisaldo Pablo’s masterpieces. However, Pink Films produced a gem in Archie del Mundo’s “Taksikab” – the sole flicker of light in an abyss of artless, mindless penis-loving subculture.
Star Cinema (the uncontested leader of high-profile mainstream commercial titles in the country) released 20. A few of these titles were as mere distributing arm: Robin Padilla’s “Tum: My Pledge of Love”, Cinema One and EJ Salcedo’s “Third World Happy”, Paul Soriano’s “Thelma”, Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s “Ikaw Ang Pag Ibig”, among others. GMA Films managed a measly 6 films. This settles the issue on which outfit lorded it over in terms of cinematic supremacy. Who makes real “artistas” instead of television stars? It’s a no-brainer really. Marian Rivera, GMA’s ultimate star, only managed to appear in Chris Martinez’s “Temptation Island” alongside half a dozen other talented actresses. Ah yes, there’s Mac Alejandre’s brain-numbing “Panday 2” which is hardly Marian’s vehicle. In the film, she portrayed the role of a dancing dragon that couldn’t even kill anyone significant in the movie. So much for career progression. Dingdong Dantes, GMA’s uber leading man, succeeded to appear in one movie, Joyce Bernal’s “Segunda Mano”. The irony here is: Dantes’ only starrer for the year is co-produced by GMA's rival, ABS CBN, Kris Aquino and Dantes himself. Something in the equation doesn’t add up, don’t you think? But things are looking up for GMA: Yam Laranas’ “The Road” is a solid artistic and commercial success. If that’s any indication, then 2012 might be a better year for the “Kapuso Network”.
Vice Ganda could runaway with the year’s biggest moneymaker in Wenn V. Deramas’ “Praybeyt Benjamin”. He should be an easy choice for an awkward “Box Office King” - unless Vic Sotto's "Enteng..." surpasses the 350 million mark. Anne Curtis may just get the crown for the Box Office Queen title over co-star Cristine Reyes for their surprise hit in Ruel Bayani’s “No Other Woman”. To get the rightful champ, they’d have to factor in the cash returns of Curtis’ “Who’s That Girl” and Cristine Reyes’ “Tumbok” both shown in 2011. Curtis should be triumphant, if that’s the case.
However, if you look closer, there’s one name that could outdo Curtis and Reyes – Eugene Domingo! Domingo amazingly starred in eight – yes, EIGHT! – money makers: as desperate Ivy in Chris Martinez’s “Gunaw” in “My Valentine Girls”; the unhinged Belinda Eduque in Wenn V. Deramas’ gag-inducing “Who’s That Girl?”; as Mila and as herself in Marlon Rivera’s rollicking “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank”; as Lauren Young’s free-wheeling mother in “Zombadings Part 1: Patayin Sa Shokot si Remington”; as Precy in Jose Javier Reyes’ annoying “Wedding Tayo, Wedding Hindi”; as the manic mistress Aida in Jose Javier Reyes’ “My House Husband”; as Ina Montecillo’s lovestruck bestfriend Rowena in Tony Y. Reyes’ “Enteng ng Ina Mo” and as the phobic factory owner in Chris Martinez’s “Rain Rain Go Away” in “Shake, Rattle and Roll 13”.
Viva Films seems to have made a successful turnaround (In the 90’s, they were left churning out girlie eroticas), co-producing flicks with Star Cinema: “Praybeyt Benjamin”, “No Other Woman”, “Won’t Last a Day without You” and “Catch Me I’m In Love”. Let’s not forget Sharon Cuneta’s return to Viva, a partnership that made Viva Films the biggest film outfit (bar none) in the 80’s.
Among the 80 films we’ve seen in cinemas, I wasn’t able to come up with articles for some titles: Joel Apuyan’s low-brow Robin Hood slapstick, “Law Law Gang: Umpisa Pa Lang ‘To”, Yapan and Ang’s poetic ode to affection “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa”, Yuan Santiago’s (literally) dark tale “Babang Luksa”, Somes-Tarog-Martinez’s “Shake, Rattle & Roll 13”, Jose Javier Reyes’ “My House Husband”, Yeng Grande’s “Ritwal” and the execrable Reyes-Montero’s “Batang Ifugao” where the pink film phenomenon fledglingly invaded the Ifugaos. That doesn’t mean I can’t write about them in 2012, does it? LOL. Having said that, 67 synopsis and reviews aren’t a bad number. I am not sure though if I can still keep up with this resolve for 2012. I’ve shelled out an estimated P14,400 for these movies alone (and probably triple that number for the English titles). Not a bad business for the film industry, considering I’m just one of the hundreds of film lovers in the country.
And to that DINGBAT who doesn't have the spine to even name himself/herself, if you are confused with my reviews, STOP READING, honey. You dislike these pages so much yet you persevere by reading a dozen entries? STOP BEING A MORON! Don't punish yourself. Nose bleed can kill, I'm told! It isn't my fault your intellectual quotient resembles that of a dodo! Grow a BRAIN first, then grow a spine and stop hiding in the comforts of your anonymity! If you require anti-psychotic drugs and anti-neurotic medication, I'd gladly refer you to my Tito who may have free samples for a tortured soul like you.
READERSHIP AND HITS
On a lighter note, “Make Me Blush” has evinced growth in readership, something that I didn’t even envision when I started this blog in late 2008. Why people are interested in my thoughts is still a mystery to me. I curse and I scoff and can be pretty blunt, but between that and my self-indulgent ramblings (this is my personal page, after all) are daily page reads that waver between 1,000 and 1,400. It’s still a paltry number compared to Dana’s 5,000 daily hits (Successful blogger Dana is Jamilla Obispo’s character in Lawrence Fajardo’s “X-Deal”), but it’s enough flattery when I see one person read a single article in a day. Funny thing is, 40% of these page hits come from anonymous, albeit untraceable sources (page subscriptions are anonymously encrypted, my cousin informed me). But keeping Make Me Blush is high maintenance so we’ll see what the future holds for us.
To everyone: A Very Prosperous 2012! Let’s all head to the cinemas. May there be better local films this 2012.
Without further ado, here’s a rundown of 2011’s commercial releases:
Crisaldo Pablo's "masterpieces" for 2011.
Ray Gibraltar's Brod
Dom Zapanta, Chris Martinez and Andoy Ranay's My Valentine Girls (Soulmates, BBFF, Gunaw)
Chito Rono's Bulong
Crisaldo Pablo's Subok
Noriel Jarito's Rindido
Adolf Alix Jr.''s Presa
Noli Salvador's Haliparot (Mana sa Ina)
Topel Lee's Tumbok
Robin Hood Padilla's Tum: My Pledge of Love
Lucas Mercado's Bata Pa Si Rafael
Noli Salvador's Ang Lihim Ni Adonis
Crisaldo Pablo's Hinala
Z Lokman's Seksing Masahista
Mae Czarina Cruz's Catch Me I'm In Love
Rad Francisco's Bikini Boys
Tony Y. Reyes' Pak! Pak! My Dr. Kwak!
Dan Villegas' Mayohan
Chris Martinez's Senior Year
John Ad. Castillo & Z Lokman's Untamed Virgins
Wenn V. Deramas' Who's That Girl?
Edz Espiritu's Masikip sa Tatlo
Chris Martinez's Temptation Island
Marlon Rivera's Ang Babae sa Septic Tank
Cris Pablo's Dose, Trese, Katorse
Cris Pablo's Manong Konstru
Cathy Garcia Molina's Forever and a Day
Joel Apuyan's Law Law Gang: Umpisa Pa Lang To (Lara Films)
Vince Tan's Anton Tubero
Crisaldo Pablo's M2M 3:Sex Eyeball - The Movie
EJ Salcedo's Third World Happy
Olivia Lamasan's In The Name of Love
Lucas Mercado's Rigodon
Carlo Alvarez's Lamog
Jonison Fontanos' Ombre
Jose Javier Reyes' Wedding Tayo, Wedding Hindi
Michael Gleissner's Deep Gold
G.A. Villafuerte's Bahid
Lucas Mercado's Trabajador (Men @ Work)
Jade Castro's Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington
Vince Tan's Private Nights
Mark V. Reyes’ Tween Academy
Jerry Lopez Sineneng's Way Back Home
Soxie Topacio's The Adventures of Pureza: Queen of the Riles
Jigz Recto's Dulas
Fellyx Honeyfield's Mainit
Awi Suryadi’s A Special Symphony
Paul Singh Cudail's Sulot
Monti Puno Parungao's Kape Barako
Ruel Bayani's No Other Woman
Quark Henares' Rakenrol
Darry de la Cruz's Bingwit
Jun Lana's My Neighbor's Wife
Marilou Diaz-Abaya's Ikaw Ang Pag-ibig
Paul Soriano's Thelma
Crisaldo Pablo's Wanted: Male Boarders
Lawrence Manalo's X-Deal
Rad Francisco's Playmates
Vince Tan's Laro
Han Salazar's 4some
Joel Lamangan's Sigwa
Raz de la Torre's Won't Last A Day Without You
Alvin Yapan & Alemberg Ang's Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa
Jerold Tarog's Aswang
Wenn V. Deramas' Praybeyt Benjamin
Fellyx Honeyfield's Sexventure
Erick C. Salud's Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me
Mac Alejandre's Panday 2
Jose Javier Reyes' My Househusband
Tony Y. Reyes' Enteng ng Ina Mo
Joel Lamangan's Sigwa
Chris Reyes and Carlo Montero's Batang Ifugao
Yuan Santiago's Babang Luksa
Yam Laranas' The Road
Lee Meilly, Imee Marcos, Nelson Caguila's Pintakasi
Yeng Grande's Ritwal
Neal "Buboy" Tan's HIV: Si Heidi, Si Ivy at si V
Sid Pascua's Dyagwar: Havey o Waley
Adolf Alix, Jr.'s Haruo
Shake, Rattle & Roll 13 (Richard Somes' Tamawo, Jerrold Tarog's Parola, Chris Martinez's Rain Rain Go Away)
Bb. Joyce Bernal's Segunda Mano
Jun Lana's Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Tikoy Aguiluz's Manila Kingpin - The Asiong Salonga Story