Oggs Cruz

Cinemalaya 2013 Review: Jason Paul Laxamana's BABAGWA (THE SPIDER'S LAIR) Is a Thrilling Look Into the Sordid Lives of Facebook Scammers

Jason Paul Laxamana's Babagwa, an exploration of the proliferation of deceit in a rapidly virtualizing world, centers on Greg (Alex Medina), who fronts himself online as Bam Bonifacio (Kiko Matos), an affluent and handsome model whose sexual orientation depends... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Cinemalaya 2013 Review: Mikhail Red's REKORDER Is An Enthralling Exploration Of A Media-Addicted Society

Mikhail Red's Rekorder is the story of Maven (Ronnie Quizon), a tragic drifter who with his old camcorder records movies currently showing in theaters to sell the footage to pirates. The parting image shows Ronnie in the movie theater without... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Cinemalaya 2013 Review: Alvin Yapan's DEVOTION, A Marriage Of Passionate Love And Religious Fervor

Alvin Yapan's films have always been influenced by his being both a literature professor and a writer of short stories. They are never empty vessels of creatively plotted stories that are heavily embellished by cinematic techniques and visuals. The charm of... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Cinemalaya 2013 Review: Baby Ruth Villarama's JAZZ IN LOVE, An Endearing Documentary About Long-Distance Love

A telephone conversation between Ernesto "Jazz" Tigaldao and his German boyfriend Theo Rutkowski opens Baby Ruth Villarama's Jazz in Love. As excited words are exchanged, Villarama's camera lingers heavily on Jazz's face, examining its longing lines and careful contours, forcing... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Review: Veronica Velasco's TUHOG is a Film that Bridges the Gap Between Smart and Sentimental

Veronica Velasco has always found humor in the cruelty of fate. Her films have always been grounded on premises where an act of fate results in absurd and sometimes torturous scenarios that test the limits of humanity. In I Do... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Review: Cathy Garcia-Molina's FOUR SISTERS AND A WEDDING Wants To Relate With Earnest Charm

Predictably, Four Sisters and a Wedding is plagued with all the deficiencies and excesses of a movie that caters to the masses. It suffers from an identity crisis, but that identity crisis is its biggest selling point, especially in a... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Review: Cesar Apolinario And Marnie Manicad's DANCE OF THE STEELBARS Is A Melodramatic Mess That Completely Misses The Point

After a rap-fuelled montage of various shots of Cebu City's bustling streetscapes, the gravelly voice of Patrick Bergin introduces the provincial jail of Cebu as some sort of hell on Earth. The images that accompany Bergin's lengthy opener seem... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Review: Jade Castro's JUANA C. THE MOVIE is a Caricature that Seeks to Both Tickle its Audience and Tackle Pressing Issues

An actress working mainly in theater for several years, Mae Paner landed her greatest role when she, along with a ragtag team of advocate artists including esteemed playwright Rody Vera and other theater performers, uploaded a video on YouTube... More »
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Review: Chris Martinez's I DO BIDOO BIDOO Is A Musical Crafted For Erstwhile Pleasures

Chris Martinez's I Do Bidoo Bidoo is a film whose acclaim is more a product of sentiment than cinematic merit. Its plot is characterized by clichés. Its charm is but a product of nostalgia and novelty. It contents itself in... More »
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Review: Emmanuel Palo's A MOMENT IN TIME Tells A Story Not Worth Telling

Emmanuel Palo's A Moment in Time is an exercise in barefaced mediocrity. There is absolutely nothing in the film that exhibits any effort from the filmmakers to be anything other than fodder. Like an overgrown child who is unable to free... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Review: Sherad Sanchez's JUNGLE LOVE Is An Erotic Ride To The Pleasurable Unknown

At first glance, Sherad Sanchez's Jungle Love seems needlessly indulgent. Rebelling against traditional concepts of what is deemed to be acceptable and tasteful in cinema, the film is littered with exposed flesh, dark, wrinkled, blonzed or tattooed, interacting with each... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Review: Mark Meily's EL PRESIDENTE Is A Historical Annoyance

A lot has already been said and written about the historical inaccuracies of Mark Meily's El Presidente, how the glamour project dastardly re-portrayed historical figures to suit enlarged egos and their enlarged pockets. Andres Bonifacio (played with a notable lack... More »
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Review: Armando Lao's AD IGNORANTIAM is Too Much a Chore to be Pertinent

Armando Lao's Ad Ignorantiam can be divided into three unequal parts. The first part, tediously shot real time, details one afternoon in a busy city intersection where a hapless victim (Ina Feleo) of purse snatching, and her friend (Kimmy Maclang)... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Review: Brillante Mendoza's THY WOMB Is A Fascinating Look Into Nature, Culture And Humanity

Thy Womb opens with a woman giving birth. Shaleha (Nora Aunor), a midwife, accompanied by her husband Bangas-an (Bembol Roco), assists the soon-to-be-mother in delivering her child. Shaleha then routinely requests for the baby's umbilical cord. She brings the keepsake... More »
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CinemaOne Review: Maribel Legarda's MELODRAMA NEGRA is as entertaining as it is artificial

Like Loy Arcenas, Maribel Legarda has several years' worth of theater experience to guide her first foray into filmmaking. Unlike Arcenas, whose first film is from an original screenplay by Rody Vera, Legarda chose to adapt for the screen... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

CinemaOne Review: Emmanuel dela Cruz's SLUMBER PARTY is Pleasurable Yet Disconcerting

Emmanuel dela Cruz's Slumber Party is a film of undeniable charms. It revels in color. It delights in diversity. It sustains with mainstreamed queer wit, the type that makes use of self-referential humor for much of the laughter earned. The... More »
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Cinemanila 2012 Review: Gym Lumbera's TAGLISH, Alienating and Hypnotic

In response to a query as to when he felt his feature film was already finished, director Gym Lumbera replied with a statement of disarming practicality. Floodwaters have damaged the prints of Tagalog, prompting Lumbera to use them as... More »
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CinemaOne Review: Ato Bautista's PALITAN, Where Souls Have a Price Tag

Ato Bautista's Palitan (roughly translated as Exchange) opens with a business transaction. Ramiro (Mon Confiado, who gives a performance that carries the film from start to finish), the shrewd owner of an electronics shop, is convincing a client to buy... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

CinemaOne Review: Arnel Mardoquio's ANG PAGLALAKBAY NG BITUIN SA GABING MADILIM Sums up War Within a Very Human Context

Arnel Mardoquio's Ang Paglalakbay ng Bituin sa Gabing Madilim (roughly translated as: A Star's Journey into the Dark Night) is essentially L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz had it been set in present-day Mindanao and draped in reality... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  

Review: Erik Matti's RIGODON Tackles A Sensational Subject With Careful Realism

Erik Matti's Rigodon, unlike the many infidelity films that have plagued local theaters in the Philippines, eschews glamour for grit. Its sex scenes do not have the luscious lighting or the saccharine scoring of the various romantic sequences of its... More »
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