This is one of those weeks where one movie basically takes over all our cinemas. There are a couple of other releases out there, as well as a couple of other special engagements, but for the most part, it seems that our local cinemas are convinced that only one movie will be taking up people’s time this week.
Yes, there’s actually a local film opening up against the Guardians juggernaut. This film was part of last year’s CineFilipino film festival, and stars Darwin Yu as a young man who cracks under the pressure of studying at a prestigious university in Manila, and returns home to face the wrath of his mother, played by Lotlot de Leon. It’s a sweet, relatable little film that works best when it eschews antics and lets the characters directly address their tensions. But boy there are antics.
OPENING AUGUST 26
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
When the first Guardians of the Galaxy opened back in 2014, there was some talk that Marvel had finally bitten off more than they could chew, making a movie out of a barely known roster of characters and giving the reins to James Gunn, a director with sensibilities that may not necessarily fit with big-budget requirements. But everybody loved it, and here we are with a highly-anticipated sequel that doubles down on all the quirkiness that made the first film feel so fresh. Seriously, this is a weird blockbuster. One of its most compelling scenes is Kurt Russell explaining a song.
Check out our full review over at The Neighborhood.
THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE
Opening up against the big-budget behemoth is The Zookeeper’s Wife, which is an adaptation of the non-fiction book of the same name by Diane Ackerman. Jessica Chastain plays Antonina Żabińska, wife of the director of the Warsaw Zoo back in 1939, and the woman whose efforts would save the lives of 300 Jews. It’s directed by New Zealand filmmaker Niki Caro, best known for the 2002 film The Whale Rider. It’s smart counter-programming against the sci-fi fun of the Marvel movie, because nothing is less sci-fi fun than the Holocaust.
OPENING AUGUST 29
SWORD ART ONLINE THE MOVIE: ORDINAL SCALE
So SM has been doing this thing where they sometimes open an anime movie or a Japanese concert film on a Saturday and just have it screen over the weekend. The latest film to get this treatment is Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, a film that should probably only be seen if one is already deeply familiar with the source light novels and all the accompanying media, because the synopsis seems to indicate that this is just the next chapter in a story that has been going on for a long time.
The FDCP recently made a deal to screen movies in selected SM Cinemas under the label “CineLokal.” It actually started last week, with Himala and Spotlight screening in eight SM Cinemas across the nation. Starting this Friday, CineLokal will be screening Mel Chionglo’s Iadya Mo Kami and Ruben Maria Soriquez’s Of Sinners and Saints. I can’t really recommend either of those films. Of Sinners and Saints actually has the distinction of being the only film I’ve walked out of in ten years of reviewing movies. But sure. That’s out there.
AT THE UP FILM CENTER
In case you missed it in cinemas, the UP Film Center is still screening Petersen Vargas’ 2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten, a film that, according to the MTRCB, has no redeeming social values. Come and be corrupted. On April 27, they are also screening a program called CineResbak: Visions of Resistance, which will feature short films, a forum on the war on drugs, and a screening of Pepe Diokno’s Engkwentro.
AT THE CINEMATHEQUE CENTER MANILA
The Cinematheque Center is in the middle of a program called “YOLO Films.” When you’re done rolling your eyes, go there to see films like Apocalypse Child and 2 Cool 2 Be Forgotten.