A Quick Look At The PPP 2018 Entries

August is a great time to be a Pinoy movie fan! Right on the heels of the recently concluded Cinemalaya is Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2018. Running from August 15 to 21, it’s a week-long showcase of Filipino film where only the eight competing titles and a couple of special features will be shown in cinemas nationwide; think of it as your MMFF in August.

Without further ado, here are the eight films in competition for PPP’s second year.

Ang Babaeng Allergic Sa Wifi
Directed by: Jun Robles Lana
Starring: Sue Ramirez, Jameson Blake, Markus Peterson
Logline: A girl develops an allergy to Wi-Fi and is forced to live in a remote province, pushing her to re-evaluate her relationships and the boy she believes is her one true love.

My take: Sue Ramirez finally gets her own launching film so I’m quite excited about that. Despite producing a sizable filmography in just a couple of years, Jameson Blake continues to be utterly underrated. Let’s hope this becomes their Kita Kita or Mr. and Mrs. Cruz. The story itself has a novel idea behind it and we have Jun Lana at the helm, so I have my hopes up.

Bakwit Boys
Directed by: Jason Paul Laxamana
Starring: Nikko Natividad, Mackie Empuerto, Ryle Santiago, Vance Larena, Devon Seron
Logline: Four brothers known as the Bakwit Boys get a shot at their dreams when a rich city girl discovers their music talent.

My take: Jason Paul Laxamana is fond of setting most (if not all) of his films in his native Pampanga, which is admirable for him as a director. The Pinatubo tragedy seems to have a profound effect on him based on 2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten and now this, Bakwit Boys. I’m a bit skeptical whether the movie’s novice cast would be able to pull the story off, but I’m prepared to be surprised. Hashtags represent!

Madilim Ang Gabi
Directed by: Adolfo Alix Jr.
Starring: Phillip Salvador, Gina Alajar
Logline: A couple is caught up in [the] drug war when their son goes missing.

My take: We’ve seen several films in recent years tackle EJKs or the ongoing war on drugs, such as Kabisera, Bomba, and Buy Bust, testament to how affecting the current sociopolitical conditions are to the themes we see onscreen. Director Adolf Alix is one of the leading figures in the growth of indie films in the Philippines but has ventured more into television, so it’s nice to see him back to his roots.

Pinay Beauty (She’s No White)
Directed by: Jay Abello
Starring: Edgar Allan Guzman, Janus del Prado, Chai Fonacier, Maxine Medina
Logline: Pinay Beauty is about the perennial quest of a typical Filipina to look Caucasian and the cost [it entails].

My take: I’d like to see how Pinay Beauty plays around with its subject matter — will it go full-on comedic a la Beauty in a Bottle or dark and tragic? Chai Fonacier bags the lead after a string of successful (read: award-winning) supporting roles. If her Cinemalaya short film Get Certified is any indication, her good sense of timing might be exactly what this movie needs.

Signal Rock
Directed by: Chito S. Rono
Starring: Christian Bables
Synopsis: Intoy, a carefree no-hoper in a small town decides to help his sister in Finland win a child custody battle.

My take: Chito Rono? You have me sold! Also, this seems like an acting showcase of Christian Bables. After being typecast by playing the iconic Barbs in Die Beautiful, this is his chance to show his versatility and range. Nice to see Keanna Reeves as well for the fun of it!

The Day After Valentine’s
Directed by: Jason Paul Laxamana
Starring: Bela Padilla, JC Santos
Synopsis: A distraught man named Kai meets Lani, a woman who helps him mend his brokenness and soon tags her as his “Ms. Repairman.”

My take: The hugot king and queen are back! JC and Bela are like the Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda of PPP. Say what you want about their launching film 100 Tula Para Kay Stella, but it’s the top grosser of last year’s festival and helped establish the hugot film as a genre that’s here to stay (at least for the time being). I appreciate that they try to mix it up and transform for their roles. When you see Bela’s bangs, you see such commitment!

Unli Life
Directed by: Miko Livelo
Starring: Vhong Navarro, Winwyn Marquez
Logline: Benedict, a famous podcast DJ, is given several chances to travel back in time to change events that [affect] his lovelife whenever he drinks “wishky” in a bar called “Turning Point.”

My take: Vhong Navarro is a constant choice for these magical/supernatural films — you have Buy Now Die Later, Mang Kepweng, as well as Woke Up Like This — but they suit him quite well. He has a humble, down-to-earth, relatable persona as the perennial everyman that anchors these out-of-the-ordinary films. I look forward to another adventure in Unli Life.

We Will Not Die Tonight
Directed by: Richard V. Somes
Starring: Erich Gonzales
Synopsis: Kray is a stuntwoman, an aspiring actress, and an all-around racketeer who can’t seem to get a break. A botched deal gone into a total haywire will challenge her principles and skillset.

My take: After watching Buy Bust and ML, my expectations are quite high for We Will Not Die Tonight. I hope it isn’t just gory for the shock value but instead offers insightful commentary. Erich is a reliable actress fresh off her standout role in Siargao and am sure she will deliver.

Catch your favorite films at a cinema near you, then sound off in the comments below.

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