CineFilipino Film Festival 2016 Reviews, Part 1

A Lotto Like Love 00

Directed by Carla Baful
Starring Martin Escudero and Isabelle De Leon

Its themes are endearing but how it builds its story is clumsy. A Lotto Like Love tries to recreate a proven box-office formula of the local romantic-comedy films, and though its intentions are clear, the product of it isn’t. Its characters’ priorities are unsure and ridiculous most of the time, you get the mother of Itot played by Escudero in a hospital and he, without hesitation rushes to the love of his life even though it’s obvious that that isn’t the most important thing in the world right now for Itot. The complications and solutions are conveniently presented to the protagonists and though the two leads does have chemistry, there isn’t anything new to see here.

Ang Taba Ko Kasi 000

Written and Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana
Starring Cai Cortez, Ryan Yllana, Introducing Mark Neumann

Shifting from two protagonists may give it an uneven effect but as Olga finds her love, the film finds its core. That love is celebrated and is not limited by the physical attributes, that not only the pleasantly-looking ones are can judge on how or why you are attracted to another person. Neumann’s character Noah asks Cortez’s Olga, “Bakit ikaw? Ano ba ang nagustuhan mo sa akin?” Everything the film wants to tell is addressed not just through the protagonist’s perception. Why indeed the fat girl likes or loves the hot guy? 

These characters are given a voice, not just because they represent a certain group of people but because of love. That love is unfathomable, it is weird and can’t be explained and should not be explained just because of the physical looks. That there’s more to that, and Ang Taba Ko Kasi expresses that in a non-grand but still personal way, one that all types of people will and can relate to. Cai Cortez is an actress to watch out for and director Jason Paul Laxamana continues to prove he’s an effective comedy director.

Ang Tulay ng San Sebastian 000

Written and Directed by Alvin Yapan
Starring Joem Bascon and Sandino Martin

The CGI needs more work but the story follows and stays with its characters. Ang Tulay ng San Sebastian might not scare the bejesus out of you but there’s something unique in it that will leave you wanting to revisit and solve the puzzle it presents. The film is hard to watch at times because of its darkness, maybe the decision to shoot it in daylight and convert it to night post-production isn’t a good choice but it was effective at some scenes.

There’s tension, yes but the scares weren’t that many that it’s disappointing because of the number of scary urban legends it uses. Ang Tulay ng San Sebastian benefits from being weird and embracing it until the end. And with its duo Bascon and Martin, the film relies more than just the scares but also to the effectivity of its actors which both delivered well. Yapan’s story maybe unusual but it’s the film’s objective, to awaken your inner scares from your childhood and make it come alive or at least some of it.

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