2009 MMFF Review

Last year, Cindy and I met up in Megamall and we watched Dayo. I was hoping to watch One Night Only because it had awesome reviews but the poster and the premise were notable examples of why Cindy was hesitant to watch the flick. I got the chance to watch it on Cinema One and the sexy comedy entertained me (Alessandra de Rossi, Paolo Contis, and Manilyn Reynes are amongst those that stood out in that film). Dayo, even with the outpour of product placements in the film’s entirety, it looked good.

Anyway, the results are in and it seems as if the usual suspects prevailed in the annual festival that actually is much more awaited than FAMAS, STAR, URIAN and other award-giving bodies that happen in middle of the year.

Frankly, they need to this type of film fests at least twice a year because 1) the foreign flicks are banned to be seen during this point, 2) film outfits wield their powers to earn the most ticket sales, and 3) because this is the point where Filipino movies shine.

So what do I think are the reasons for a particular film’s success?

Read on.

Here are their rankings (Total gross as of January 3, 2010):

7 WAPAKMAN – (Php2.6 million)

Rumors spread that Nicole of The Pussycat Dolls and WWE Champion Batista were signed to play the leading lady and the leading arch-nemesis, respectively. That DID NOT happen. Then the much publicized love triangle between Manny Pacquiao, Jinkee Pacquiao and Krista Ranillo happened (just like Ara Mina’s involvement in Pacman’s previous entry Anak ng Kumander) and still, nothing happened. Despite the tolerable CGI, the film barely broke even from its budget. Even with Manny’s successful campaign against Miguel Cotto, it seems like locals only like to see Pacman on TV when he’s wearing gloves (which is one of the reasons why Show Me Da Manny is doing well). Could this be a sign for the 2010 elections?

By the way, is Wapakman available in 3D? Ladies and gentlemen, meet this filmfest’s biggest bust!

6 NOBODY, NOBODY BUT… JUAN – (Php29.7 million)

Dolphy is the country’s King of Comedy. However, you have to also know that Dolphy is also an excellent dramatic actor. Remember when alongside sons Eric and Epi, they gave sense to the life of Markova? Yes, Dolphy is an acting demigod. The problem is, they picked the wrong time to do a drama movie. Dolphy has a bit of Adam Sandler in him that he casts people that is either related to him or is best friends with him (remember the days when Panchito and Babalu would act alongside Eric, Vandolph, and either Alma Moreno or Zsa Zsa Padilla). Even with Gloria Romero and Eddie Garcia, there are a lot of stars with zero films in the Filmfest that they could have picked up (Judy Ann, Angel, Marian, Dingdong, Richard, Bea, John Lloyd, Maricel, Jinggoy, Aga are stars with great star power). It didn’t help that the film had basically no commercials to support their movie (even Wapakman had SolarTV). And also… Markova: Comfort Gay was a direct and funny title. Nobody, Nobody but Juan is not even a good title to entice people.

5 MANO PO 6: A MOTHER’S LOVE – (Php37.0 million)

The only movie graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, the sixth installment of the Mano Po series starred Sharon Cuneta, Christopher de Leon, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Dennis Trillo, and Heart Evangelista. The movie was a powerhouse during the awards night where Sharon claimed the Best Actress trophy, Heart grabbed the Best Supporting plum and Joel Lamangan earned the Best Director award for the nth time. Hell, the film claimed the Cultural and Gender Sensitive awards totaling their trophy hits to seven. However, the film barely claimed ticket hits when 2010 reached. Usually a film that cellar dwells at the start experience some sort of boost when they bagged numerous plums but it wasn’t the case for Mother Lily’s other franchise. Moviegoers that wanted hard drama would either pick Sharon or Gabby’s flick. Usually a bankable actress, Sharon takes a backseat for Gabby and film giant Star Cinema.

4 I LOVE YOU, GOODBYE – (Php71.1 million)

Rated B by the Cinema Evaluation Board, business picked up for the film after the awards night. While it didn’t get the awards it hoped, the film still claimed the second best picture hit alongside Best Editing, Original Story, and Cinematography. Let’s face it; Star Cinema has the resources to get the finest actors, the tri-media advertising and the other avenues to make the movie strike gold. The problem is the film suffered the lack of casting logic. For some reason, I didn’t like how their top stars were benched in this point. Sending Piolo Pascual, Sarah Geronimo, John Lloyd, Bea Alonzo, Judy Ann, and even a romantic comedy flick that stars Vhong Navarro and some random hottie like KC Concepcion, Angel Locsin, and Anne Curtis could destroy box-office records given the material they have and the director they got (Laurice Guillen). While sure, Gabby, Angelica, Derek, and Kim Chiu are stars in their own right, the four characters have age issues. Even if Gabby would play father to Kim, Angelica is too young Gabby. Derek is also too young for Kim and you can blame that to the “Kimerald” tag. In terms of star power, they could have tested this pairing in a soap opera just like how they did with Zanjoe and KC in Lovers in Paris (which I felt bombed). I know Angelica could deliver big time roles and Derek is getting there, Kim needs to go add weight to not look like a kid and Gabby is tried and tested since the early 80’s but the money they pulled could have been higher had they tried these pairings first and create feedback. By the way, is this slot rightfully owned by the Erap/Ai-Ai movie?

3 SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL XI – (Php77.6 million)

Regal Films most bankable franchise returns and again conceived big money for Mother Lily. See, this is what producers can’t figure out. How a horror movie pile big dividends during the Christmas season continues to bug me. The film stars random talents from both channels where they act all terrified and spooked when random things causes mayhem and destruction. Now I doubt these actors would have fan clubs that will drive in hordes to watch their movies but the fact that the main premise of all the trilogies is to frighten the hell out of you, they are proving worthy of their longstanding success. Hell, only SRR could give the Zoren-Ruffa love team another shot for glory (I remember I few years back when the Manilyn-Keempee love team was re-featured in the MRT episode)! And while the various directors that handle these projects would go in dire straits just to make their film “stand out”, the name value alone is enough for moviegoers to unload their money to buy their movie ticket.

2 ANG DARLING KONG ASWANG – (Php83 million)

If SRR is one of the most successful franchises in MMFF history, then you can put Vic Sotto as the festival’s most bankable actor. Tell me, when was the last time you saw a Vic Sotto flick bomb? You had Lastikman… Fantastic Man… four Enteng Kabisote movies, an Iskul Bukol reunion flick, and now an overdone premise that stars the controversial kid sister of Ara Mina. Actually, just put a Vic Sotto in any movie filled with special effects and that’s synonymous for some mystical tree that grows money! Last year, the Iskul Bukol flick was made a la Indiana Jones. Fans of the original series did not like what he made. Actually, Ang Darling Kong Aswang had a lot of similarities with the 1997 Joey de Leon-starrer Takot Ako sa Darling Ko. Iskul Bukol might be a critic’s nightmare, the masses gathered for the flick that grossed Php107 million in the box office. While the story is surely to have a predictable happy ending, one pleasant thing about the Sotto movies is their ability to create a wholesome family entertainment for the whole family. Sure, one movie will stand out in these small field of choices but a Vic Sotto flick will never succumb to public snubbing. This is why despite more story-rich entries like Mano Po 6 and Nobody, Aswang still nabbed Best Sound recording and the all-important third best picture award in the joust.

1 ANG PANDAY – (Php90.2 million)

One movie is severely talked about amongst the entertainment and this is that movie. Raking a ton-load of ticket sales, Imus Productions has been one of the companies to watch out for in this annual joust. Add the fact that GMA Films is co-handling the flick (have you seen the MTV’s performed by Pupil), then this means publicity is something easy for the legendary character Fernando Poe Jr. once portrayed. One thing Panday boasts is their world-class graphics. The things that the original FPJ Panday version can’t do during their time are now being realized in the Bong Revilla version. Actually, Panday is a character that is so epic and so well-loved that messing it up would be a crime. If you look at the dragon and the immortalized sand scene that FPJ made famous, these are the things this version of Panday souped up. But still, just like the man-love for the graphics, it kind of fell to the thing I hate which is the “all graphics with no substance” mentality. The bad thing about looking sleek is that people would search for the film’s flaws to the point of searching for every small detail of the flick. On the plus side, the flick was voted the best in the festival. Aside from that Bong Revilla, Philip Salvador, and Buboy Villar claimed acting honors with the visual effects and the production design also getting raves from the committee. Another qualm I must add is that the Regine Velasquez-sang Ogie Alcasid-penned “Tanging Ikaw Lamang” barely stood out as the main song because in all honesty, the Pupil Panday song was enough to bring in the audience to watch the flick.

In all, I guess everyone won in festival because it is somewhat of a level playing field in terms of entertainment value.

Well… perhaps you could throw out Wapakman.

With the way the film grossed, it seems like Manny Pacquiao movies should stay the hell away from filmfests.

I believe in terms of language barriers, masses will pile on the flick because they don’t know shit about the Bella, Edward, and Jacob.

Hey, who would you watch: the vampire movie that sucks or that superhero movie that blows?

Game over.


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