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Caged

JOHN FOWLES’ debut novel The Collector has been adapted several times for theater, stage, and big screen, most notably by William Wyler, later by Mike de Leon for a 1986 feature — Bilanggo sa Dilim (Prisoner in the Dark), shot on video.

A space prodigy

THE FIRST TIME I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey it was in a basement, in a projected 35 mm print. I was maybe 10 or 12 years old, had heard about the film, and was eager to watch.

Sailing away

IT MUST be a kick for the makeup and nifty effects people to sit in the back of a theater and soak in the reaction from the audience when a character has to stitch up that nasty cut on her forehead with a makeshift needle and thread. Or how about that moment when someone rips open a jeans leg, and we see the “bone” jutting out from a gaping wound? GROSS!

You’re it

DEEP into the astonishingly dopey, odiously off-putting and thoroughly unfunny Tag, one of the main characters says, in all sincerity:

Home is where the harm is

THE TRUE HORROR in Ari Aster’s Hereditary doesn’t come so much from demoniac forces as they do from human frailty and the cruel chaotic confusion of life.

At the bloody Hotel Artemis, amazing actors do the obvious

And she said, ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.” -- The Eagles, “Hotel California”

Citizen me

MIKE DE LEON’s first film in — has it been 18 years? — has to be an event; the latest from one of our finest filmmakers, in the same league as Lino Brocka, Mario O’Hara, Ishmael Bernal, Celso Ad. Castillo. If it’s arguably the weakest feature he’s done to date (hopefully not his last) it still stands head and shoulders above most anything out there today, Filipino or Hollywood.

Rock the Devil

NOT LONG AFTER Brillante Mendoza’s Amo (which takes its cue from Respeto’s rap-driven score) we have Lav Diaz’s take on the Duterte regime. Panahon ng Halimaw (Season of the Devil, 2018) is no small-scale response: 234 minutes long, some six minutes short of four hours. And it’s a musical.

The Devil in the details

ANG PANAHON ng Halimaw (Season of the Devil) is a musical, the way the pasyon (passion play) may be broadly and loosely defined as a musical. There are 33 songs, of varied forms, uneven musicality and occasionally strained rhymes, all of them written and arranged by the director Lav Diaz. The incantatory refrains are mesmerizing and primal as katutubo (indigenous persons) chants, especially as rendered by the Kwentista (Bituin Escalante as the Narrator, a sort of omniscient muse). Amazingly, these musical sequences are one-take wonders, performed without any instrumental accompaniment.

A really good John Hughes high school movie for the 21st...

By Richard Roeper Movie Review Love, Simon Directed by Greg Berlanti MAYBE IT’S TOO EASY to say Love, Simon feels like a 21st-century John Hughes high school movie...

An experience you’ll not soon forget

By Richard Roeper Movie Review The Florida Project Directed by Sean Baker FOR MOST of The Florida Project, I found myself rooting for unseen authorities. The police. The Florida...

Say it again, Peres

By Richard Roeper Movie Review 7 Days in Entebbe Directed by Jose Padilha THE RAID is on. Israeli commandos are about to descend on Entebbe Airport on a mission...

Wargames

Movie Review Ready Player One Directed by Steven Spielberg By Noel Vera ADAPTED from Ernest Cline’s best-seller, Ready Player One is Steven Spielberg returning to form as entertainer...

Citizen Jake: Of fathers and sons

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento Movie Review Citizen Jake Directed by Mike de Leon FILIPINO FILM auteur Mike de Leon’s varied oeuvre spans musical screwball comedy (Kakabakaba Ka Ba,...

Catholic school girls in trouble

By Noel Vera Movie Review Lady Bird Directed by Greta Gerwin HAVE TO admit that taking on actress-turned-filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s second feature gave me pause. Not my favorite...

The drowned world

By Noel Vera Movie Review The Shape of Water Directed by Guillermo del Toro GUILLERMO DEL TORO’s latest film begins with a world already underwater — fish fluttering...

Dies in darkness

By Noel Vera Movie Review The Post Directed by Steven Spielberg STEVEN SPIELBERG’s latest film may be — thanks to the timing and historical context in which it...

Inbred

Movie Review Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Directed by Martin McDonagh By Noel Vera MARTIN MCDONAGH? Much-honored playwright and to be fair I’ve yet to see any of...

Sunshine

By Noel Vera Movie Review Call Me By Your Name Directed by Luca Guadagnino AND WHAT of Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name, his adaptation of Andre...

One great show

By Richard Roeper Movie Review The Greatest Showman Directed by Michael Gracey Just about every moment in The Greatest Showman is dripping with corny and cheesy and shameless...

Small scale

Movie Review Downsizing Directed by Alexander Payne By Noel Vera ALEXANDER PAYNE’S new film Downsizing is a slyer comic take on Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels than the Jack...

Going beyond the backstage drama

Movie Review All the Money in the World Directed by Ridley Scott By Richard Roeper YOU’RE A MEAN ONE, Mr. Grinch — I mean, Mr. Getty. You’re a 20th-century...

Timeline blues

Movie Review Insidious: The Last Key Directed by Adam Robitel By Richard Roeper THE Insidious timeline is becoming so murky, even a scary ghost lurking behind a locked...

The lame Jedi

By Noel Vera Movie Review Star Wars: The Last Jedi Directed by Rian Johnson (WARNING: plot twists and overall narrative discussed in explicit detail.) YOU THOUGHT The Force Awakens...

You’ve come a long way, baby

By Richard Roeper Movie Review Battle of the Sexes Directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton “YOU’VE COME a long way, baby, to get where you got to...

Killing brain cells

By Richard Roeper Movie Review A Bad Moms Christmas Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore DEEP into the inept and lazy and uninspired A Bad Moms Christmas,...

Death on the rail

By Noel B. Vera Movie Review Murder on the Orient Express Directed by Kenneth Branagh Screenplay by Michael Green, based on the novel by Agatha Christie 114 minutes THERE’S ARGUABLY not a...

Andrew Garfield holds our attention in Breathe

By Richard Roeper Movie Review Breathe Directed by Andy Serki WE KNOW Andrew Garfield’s Robin Cavendish is going to be paralyzed from the neck down for the bulk...

Family ties: all tangled up

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento Movie Review Paki Directed by Giancarlo Abrahan THIS WARMLY photographed low-key drama unfolds in fits and starts but doesn’t quite deliver on its promises. The...

The heart wants what it wants

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento Movie Review Changing Partners Directed by Dan Villegas FOR THE multitudes of Filipinos who have never had the chance to go to a PETA...

Ain’t no mountain high enough

By Richard Roeper Movie Review The Mountain Between Us Directed by Hany Abu-Asad THAT’S SOME mountain, all right. A gigantic mountain of ridiculous, snow-covered steaming... Something. For the first hour or...

From the depths

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento Movie Review Medusae Directed by Pam Miras PAM MIRAS’s psychologically complex film Medusae draws upon women as mothers and creators, riven by the demands...

An incredible journey

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento Movie Review Balangiga: Howling Wilderness Directed by Khavn THE FILM’S director Khavn, the self-proclaimed “father of Philippine digital filmmaking” has admirable ambition and untrammeled...

Don’t overthink this

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento Movie Review Neomanila Directed by Mikhail Red MIKHAIL RED has a nice sense of the cinematic visual, but to enjoy his films, one must...

A boy’s best friend

By Noel Vera MOVIE REVIEW mother! Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Warning: overall narrative and plot twists discussed in explicit detail) CALL IT Rosemary’s Baby with a strong dose of...

Face-off

By Noel Vera Movie Review Respeto Directed by Alberto Monteras II RESPETO, a hip-hop movie which tackles the effects of the violence wrought by martial law which has...

Low rent gold

By Noel Vera Movie Review Logan Lucky Directed by Steven Soderbergh LATE IN Logan Lucky, a news announcer dubbed the racetrack robbers the “Ocean 7-11” and I can’t...

A soldier’s presence stirs desires, rivalries in haunting Beguiled

MOVIE REVIEW The Beguiled Written and directed by Sofia Coppola By Richard Roeper IT WOULD APPEAR as if the Union soldier Cpl. John McBurney has caught a lucky...

Swap heads

By Noel Vera Movie Review Ma’ Rosa By Brillante Mendoza BRILLANTE MENDOZA’s latest feature Ma’ Rosa executes the immersive handheld camera style of filmmaking as well as could...

Stilted dialogue, McConaughey’s corny villain crumble The Dark Tower

By Richard Roeper Movie Review The Dark Tower Directed by Nikolaj Arcel THE MAGIC MAN’S face is so buffed and shiny, it looks as if a Botox...

Flawed Inconvenient Sequel a valuable reminder of worsening crisis

By Richard Roeper Movie Review An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk AN AIR OF regret and lost opportunity permeates An Inconvenient...

Films on environment: No such thing as isolated case

By Juan EY Arcellana Movie Reviews Birdshot Directed by Mikhail Red Paglipay Directed by Zig Dulay TWO FILMS featured in the recent Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino dealt with environment issues...

47 Meters Down is all wet

By Heather Turk Front Row Features Movie Review 47 Meters Down Directed by Johannes Roberts IF YOU THOUGHT the trailers for the new underwater thriller 47 Meters Down made...

Handhell

MOVIE REVIEW Salvage Directed by Sherad Anthony Sanchez By Noel Vera Sherad Anthony Sanchez’s Salvage (2015) takes its title from the common Filipino slang word for summary execution,...

Children of the mist

MOVIE REVIEW Hamog Directed by Ralston Jover By Noel Vera Ralston Jover’s Hamog (Haze, 2015) starts appropriately enough with just that: a thick cloud hovering low over humid...