Friday, January 10, 2014

G.A. Villafuerte's Ghost Lover - Horrific Spareness of Acumen

It’s been awhile since I last wrote about a Pink Film, but people just obviously love my rants about this genre that despite paucity of blog entries in Blush, this site still averages 250 to 400 page views a day! How's that for an inactive blogsite? Before I serve the annual “Best and Worst of 2013”, here’s my “gift” to the pink lovers. 

Film year 2014 has officially started with the release of G.A. Villafuerte’sGhost Lover”, before it shifts into high gear next week with Robin Padilla’sSa Ngalan ng Ama, ng Ina at Mga Anak”, Benito Bautista’sMumbai Love”, and Mae Czarina Cruz’sBride for Rent”.


When Josh (Alvin Duckert), a violinist, and his girlfriend Dianne (Renee Gozon) moved to a recently departed aunt’s old house, they didn't realize they were sharing it with its restless, albeit phantasmal inhabitants. Doors shut at will; persistent knocks are heard in the wee hours; and the weirdest thing: Mobile phones lose signal. Eh? “Di ko siya ma-contact. Ang weird,” remarked Josh who must have never heard of poor signal from Globe and Smart telecom. To keep it interesting, Josh’s cousin and friends join the fray for a rather dubious excuse of a holiday. The young couple hasn't quite settled down, yet they already have guests. How fun.


Director G.A. Villafuerte once again dabbles awkwardly into familiar territory (“Lihim ng mga Nympha”, “Bahid”) but like previous efforts, the end product is nothing short of elementary. The sound is uneven; most conversations are unintelligible, scenes are underlit and cinematography is typically Villafuerte’ish, i.e. appalling. You get the nagging suspicion that his scenes were shot using a cellphone camera. This director likewise boasts of having done 15 flicks in film year 2013. Not even box-office director Wenn Deramas can duplicate that feat, having only released 4 movies last year. Unfortunately, Villafuerte’s acumen remains spare of any proof of film making adeptness or writing prolificity.

It’s been 3 years since Villafuerte’s directorial debut but he never acquired mastery of the medium, except for his propensity to finish principal photography in 24 hours. Imagine a gag-inducing flick like “My Little Bossings” shooting for, say two months. For that duration, Villafuerte is capable of churning out 60 flicks ready for exhibition in dingy, sperm-coated, third-rate movie houses. Such source of inspiration, debah?

Alvin Duckert, Renee Gozon and RJ Saycon
Alvin Duckert, also seen in Villafuerte’s “Bagong Paligo” last year, returns to display his bratwurst in two shower scenes. After all, what’s a Villafuerte flick without his male leads tintinnabulating their bells in sheer wetness? This sublime scene was punctuated by Alvin’s use of a foamy shampoo as he lathers his derriere with raw determination. In another scene, a spirit (of a jealous girl) possesses Josh – which conveniently sets the stage for a man-on-man action between Duckert and newcomer RJ Saycon who plays Xander, Josh's childhood friend. In another scene, Ace Toledo’s character Luke couldn't contain his urges so he plays with himself while two of his friends (one of them female) sleep closely beside him. Couldn't he even rush to the bathroom for an accomplished and satisfying, errr… manhandling?

But let’s attribute all these inanities to the director’s myopic vision and extremely limited imagination. Case in point: In his epilogue, the last scene has our characters driving away from the house. Just when we thought they've rid themselves of those pesky ghosts, Josh suddenly kisses Xander, imputing Josh’s possession. Hasn't this been done before in Villafuerte’s “Lihim ng mga Nympha” where the main protagonist is suggested to still be under the influence of a nymph? And wasn't that portrayed also by Alvin Duckert who has since taken 3 dozen energetic showers in various Villafuerte flicks? And wasn't “Lihim ng mga Nympha” a shameless, unattributed remake of a better film? Barely three years into his craft and he's already repeating himself. 

Someone’s artistic aptitude (if you call it that) is in desperate need of inspiration and is dwindling fast – and it’s just January! Tsk tsk tsk.     


Anonymous said...

Yehey! Excited na ako sa magiging review ng Sa Ngalan ng Ama, ng Ina at Mga Anak. Nobody says it as raw and as vicious as this blog!

- juan

Cathy Pena said...

@ Juan:

Raw and vicious? Thank for being very kind. Haha... :)