Saturday, August 11, 2018

BuyBust

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The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is conducting a buy bust operation to smoke out big-time drug pusher Biggie Chen (Arjo Atayde). In the middle of this game of Hide and Seek between criminal and police is a squad just following orders. Nina Manigan (Anne Curtis) is still traumatized from a previous mission that saw her team decimated by the enemy. Finding it hard to put her life in someone else’s hands again, she often butts heads with platoon leader Bernie Lacson (Victor Neri), even though the rest of the team prove to be more welcoming. As they are ordered to pursue their assignment all the way to a shady shantytown, they will soon realize that they are but mere pawns in this game of chess between the country’s powers-that-be.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Musmos Na Sumibol Sa Gubat Ng Digma

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An old man and his grandson traverse the marshes on a small boat in search of an important item from his past that he holds dear. Nostalgic, the grandfather narrates the story of three children who have gone through the same journey decades prior. Falling victim to Rido, a term widely used down south to refer to inter-familial feud featuring warring clans, twelve-year-old Eshal (Junyka Sigrid Santarin) is forced to seek refuge in the harsh forest of Marawi with her infant brother after the murder of their father. There she meets Ahmed (JM Salvado), another Muslim kid who is also on the run from the same threat, an endless cycle of revenge passed down from one generation to the next as dictated by tradition and culture.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Liway

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Born in a prison camp for rebels and criminals, Dakip (Kenken Nuyad) spends his childhood deprived of seeing the outside world. His mother Day (Glaiza de Castro) tries her best to provide some semblance of normalcy through imagination by telling him stories featuring an enchantress called Liway. Her husband Ric (Dominic Roco) thinks it’s a bad idea, but it’s not like they have a lot of options anyway. As more and more citizens begin to march against Martial Law, the family sees a glimmer of hope that they can hold onto for getting their lives back but this is almost immediately crushed as the threat for detained rebels grow ever larger. Not wanting her son to suffer a fate that he does not deserve, Day has to make a quick and hard decision to save his life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Distance

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Liza (Iza Calzado) gets a surprise visit from Anton (Nonie Buencamino), the husband she left half a decade ago to elope with her one true love. Asked why he flew all the way from Manila, he tells her that he has come to bring her back home where she belongs. The first few days of the family reunion is tense and filled with awkwardness. Initially reluctant, her younger daughter is quick to open up to her and let her in, but her eldest proves to be quite the challenge. She has not been welcoming at all and is not even making an effort to hide it. As the estranged mother gradually worms her way back into her children's lives, past decisions will come back to remind her that there really is no easy way to bring back trust once it is broken, and that forgiveness can’t be given overnight.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Kuya Wes

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Kuya Wes (Ogie Alcasid), as he is known to many, processes wire transfers at Western Remittance. Ever optimistic and always ready to serve with a smile, he dedicates his daily existence to make sure that everyone around him gets what they need, whether it be the timely release of his customers’ money sent from abroad or his share of bills in his brother’s household. A bit naïve and scatterbrained, he is often taken advantage of by the people he deals with. It’s a good thing that his colleague (Moi Bien) serves as a big sister figure for him, even encouraging him to go after Erika (Ina Raymundo), their monthly client whom he ends up fancying. His growing friendship with her causes a rift between him and his brother (Alex Medina) as far as finances are concerned. In the end, he has to make a stand and fight for what he wants, but will someone fight for him?

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Mamang

http://www.cinemalaya.org/mamang/
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Mamang (Celeste Legaspi) lives with her son Ferdie (Ketchup Eusebio) in an old house somewhere in Manila. He has been fired from his job as a teacher for undisclosed reasons, and she is ever supportive. Her son’s situation, however, might force them to relocate somewhere else, but her deteriorating condition might pose a challenge for them both. Her efforts to improve her physical and mental state eventually go south as she begins to receive visitors from her past, something her son dismisses as mere hallucinations of an aging mind. She makes him swear not to leave her all alone in the world, but sometimes promises are meant to be broken.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Lookout

http://www.cinemalaya.org/the-lookout/
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A brother and his sister are sold as children by their mother to a syndicate. The siblings are forced to go their separate ways for survival, only to meet later on under not so ideal circumstances. Lester Quiambao (Andres Vasquez) grows up as a hired gun, raised with precision in handling a pistol as well as a thirst for killing by the cruel Timothy (Rez Cortez). Always one step ahead of the police force hunting him, he starts to go soft with the arrival of Travis (Jay Garcia), his gay for pay love interest who eventually becomes his reluctant lover. With several murders committed and more lies unveiled, the boys realize that acknowledging the tricky nature of the world they operate in might be their best bet to get out of it alive.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

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Stressing over the grand reopening of Hotel Bella Donna, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) finds it hard to balance her obsession to make her mother proud along with her role as a wife to husband Sky (Dominic Cooper). It doesn’t help that she is stuck on Kalokairi while he is pursuing a career in New York. Sam (Pierce Brosnan) is with her for support, although she wishes her two other dads Harry (Colin Firth) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) could be there, too. As opening night looms closer, Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters) also arrive to bolster their de facto niece. All the reminiscing on the island paves the way for an origin story of sorts to be told, on how one summer a young and optimistic Donna (Lily James) fell in and out of love with her child’s three possible dads: a younger Sam (Jeremy Irvine), Bill (Josh Dylan), and Harry (Hugh Skinner).

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Ang Huling El Bimbo (Resorts World Manila)

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Covered with newspapers, a woman’s corpse lies motionless in a dark alley. Three men are invited to the police station for questioning. Emman (OJ Mariano), Anthony (Jon Santos), and Hector (Gian Magdangal) have not seen one another for a few decades now and identifying an old friend’s dead body in a morgue is probably not the best venue for a reunion party. As they bicker over unfinished business and grudges past, they can’t help but recall their carefree college days back when they would spend lunch breaks and study sessions at Toyang’s, an eatery run by Joy’s (Tanya Manalang) Aunt Dely (Sheila Francisco) where a young Anthony (Topper Fabregas) becomes the BFF; Emman (Boo Gabunada), the older brother from another mother; and Hector (Bibo Reyes), the love interest harboring a secret crush. As they go on a joyride to Antipolo to celebrate graduation day, what could have been a lovely evening ends in tragedy, and their relationship as friends will never be the same again.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

VIRGIN LABFEST 14: Set E

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BIRDCAGE – Three BPO agents clash as they discuss life's everyday realities during lunch break. Peter (Jerom Canlas) is leaving his post to go back to the academe and fulfill his dream of studying again. He has not decided on a course program just yet, but Arthur (Gie Onida) is already convinced that the young lad will be back soon enough after he has squandered his savings on his worthless academic venture. Playing referee is Ed (Aldo Vencilao) who ends up reminiscing about his own what-ifs as he confronts the lonely fact that is his status as one of the company's long-tenured workers.

It is not difficult to understand why this play made it to this year's revisited set. It is just so damn relatable. Witnessing two opposing perspectives unfold, it is up to you based on where you are in your life at present to decide whether you will side with aging realist Arthur or support young idealist Peter. It's hard to decide because at certain points in our lives, we're both, but perhaps it is Ed who characterizes most of us, the undecided. If anything, the narrative just harks back to the common favorite theme that self-aware existentialists usually debate on. As such, this material will never get old because it refers to a topic that will always be relevant in today's society.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

VIRGIN LABFEST 14: Set A

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MGA BATA SA SELDA 43 – Ino (JM Canlas) and his older brother Philip (Tomas Santos) find themselves in what seems to be a jail cell labeled #43. What they have done to end up there is unclear, but the bond between the two is evident. They deal with the uncertainty of the situation by sharing anecdotes and annoying each other like typical siblings do, but their musings are interrupted by the arrival of Ed (Rafael Tibayan) who emerges from the shadows explaining how he has been trapped there for the last three decades. He also reveals the truth to his two new inmates, a fact that they might not just be ready to accept.

This one starts off making you think that it's going to be another play with a lot of talk and reflection about life, but the spick and span nature of their jail cell is just a little bit too unrealistic for the Philippine setting. This leads you to believe that there is a twist halfway through, and there is indeed. In any case I couldn't have guessed it. All the while I thought it was going to turn into some X-Men wannabe of sorts. The twist is heartbreaking, even more so when you see what happens next. For that alone I'd even dare say that this is one of the best entries this year as far as emotional impact is concerned, if only for the wet eyes in the audience when the lights finally turned on.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I Love You, Hater

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Joko (Joshua Garcia) lies to his family pretending that he is working in New York after an illegal recruiter runs away with his money. Zoe (Julia Barretto) works hard to get recognition from her father who denies her existence as an illegitimate child. When social media mogul Sasha (Kris Aquino) begins her search for a new assistant, Joko inadvertently gets the job after exchanging smart graphic design quips with her during a chance encounter on the company elevator. Being a persistent fan and believing that the position is her destiny, Zoe challenges the decision, her being blunt catching the attention of her potential boss. When she reiterates how their target audience mainly consists of women and gay men, a desperate and cash-strapped Joko lies again, pretending to be homosexual and, thus, qualified for the role. Sasha decides to put both of them under probation for three months, after which she will choose who is better suited for the job.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

VIRGIN LABFEST 14: Set C

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LABOR ROOM – Fearing that her baby might come out with abnormalities, Veh (Hariette Damole) is wheeled into the waiting room as preparation for induced labor. There she meets Ate (Skyzx Labastilla), a first-time mom wannabe who just suffered a miscarriage. Minutes later, Nay (Sheryll Ceasico) also comes into the room for dilation and curettage, which happens to be her fourth time. As more pregnant women come and go, Dok Jean (J-Mee Katanyag) and her assistant Nars (Kiki Baento) try to make do of whatever facilities, or lack thereof, their local hospital has to offer.

Labor Room is a pleasant surprise. We have all experienced being born, but giving birth is something exclusive to mothers and not everyone will get to witness this beautiful phenomenon live. There are various factors at play from moral to logistical, which is where this one-act play succeeds. It doesn't just give you a glimpse of reproduction from a biological standpoint, it also shows you the various aspects that affect it at present. The ladies' anecdotes, for example, tell you all about the cultural dimension. The doctor's attitude and candor are a critic of the socio-political factor, while talks about abortion and the like allude to the moral side of things. The mood is nevertheless kept light and the narrative avoids melodramatic territory thanks to the funny banter among the women.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

VIRGIN LABFEST 14: Set B

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ROSAS – Merto (Bembol Roco) and Anding (Crispin Pineda) meet once again at Home for the Aged, a nursing home for senior citizens who either have no family left or simply not welcome in the family home anymore. The two men reminisce and share stories of their younger days while also reflecting on the current state of their lives and how they ended up on a swing at a garden with roses aplenty. As the discussion continues, their past catches up with them, something they eventually have to confront.

Rosas starts this set in a nostalgic note that seems a bit too melancholic. The overall vibe can be a little loaded albeit monotonous, leading you to ask whether the management’s decision to place it ahead of the other two is ill-advised. Nevertheless, Roco and Pineda don’t disappoint. The blocking leaves something to be desired, though. Given how the narrative is anchored in its two lead characters and there is nothing much in the minimalist set for distraction, not being able to see either actor’s face is a bit disappointing especially if you are on the side bleachers.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp

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Following the events of Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been under house arrest for almost two years now. He misses the action, but also takes advantage of the downtime to be with his daughter. With his sentence ending in a couple of days everything seems to be alright, until he makes a phone call to Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). In his dream, he is Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) playing hide and seek with her daughter. Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her dad are both on the run due to their involvement with Lang, but resume contact with him after his revelation, thinking that perhaps his dream wasn't a dream at all but rather a call for help from deep within the Quantum Realm. Father and daughter work hard on building a quantum tunnel in an effort to rescue the original Wasp, not knowing that a figure in the shadows also wants their tech for personal reasons.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tag

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A group of friends from Spokane have been playing the same game of tag for the last three decades or so during the whole month of May. This year, it's different. After applying at Bob's (Jon Hamm) company as some sort of covert operation just for the sake of tagging him, Hogan (Ed Helms) convinces his friend to fly with him to Denver to pick up their pothead friend Chilli (Jake Johnson). Afterwards, the trio crash Kevin's (Hannibal Buress) psychotherapy session before they all fly home to Washington for their special mission. Jerry (Jeremy Renner) has never been tagged ever since they started playing the game in their childhood. He also plans to retire after getting married to his fiancé before the month ends. With Wall Street Journal writer Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis) who plans to cover their story in tow, the group attempts to tag their friend one last time, but nobody said it's going to be easy.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

VIRGIN LABFEST 14: Set D

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MARAWI MUSICALE – Jhong (Jonathan Tadioan), Khristina (Lhorvie Ann Nuevo), and Richard (Nazer Salcedo) are all Manileños who find themselves in war-torn Marawi to facilitate a feeding program as well as a music therapy project, an advocacy geared towards a semblance of normalcy for the province’s children. They are joined by Khalid (Popperts Bernadas) and his sister-in-law Salanka (Bayang Barrios) who both await the return of her husband, fearing he has already been captured by ISIS. Preparing meals with the sound of bombs exploding in the background, the group has to remain steadfast and unfazed, trying to make a difference by focusing on what they do best.

This is a musical and the lyrics of the songs, while few and still incomplete, do tug a heartstring here and there. What we have to thank this mini-musical for is its introduction of the issue with individuals involved. Mindanao is not in a different country, although we who live here in the capital two hours away by plane only ever hear about the conflict in the news, seeing statistics instead of faces. We can say that the issue is humanized here. Instead of being bombarded with numbers that we will never really care about, we are confronted by the plights of Jhong, Khalid, Salanka, and the like. We are all reminded that this issue is as real as it can be and, perhaps, that awareness is all we need to start giving a damn.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Incredibles 2

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A few months post-Syndrome, the Parr family once again find themselves confronting another super villain. After their failed attempt to stop the Underminer, combined pressure from politicians and the media alike results in a harder time for all superheroes, forcing them to embrace the mundane existence that their alter egos entail. That is bound to change with the arrival of telecommunications tycoon Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), whose vision of a world where supers are back in the limelight is underpinned by reliance on reputation and how it is projected to the world at large. In an effort to bring his perceived future to fruition, he enlists the help of Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to revamp the image of the everyday hero, documenting her every move with advanced camera technology. Unbeknownst to them, a new threat under the synonym of Screenslaver is just looming in the background, attempting to sabotage their every move in an effort to outlaw supers forever.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hereditary

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Grieving her mother's recent death, miniaturist artist Annie (Toni Collette) is not ready for yet another heartbreak, but tragedy strikes when you least expect it to. With no one having the guts to take either blame or responsibility, the family disintegrates in the midst of mental illness and supernatural mayhem. Steve Graham (Gabriel Byrne), her husband and a psychologist, believes that his wife is just having manic episodes to cope with her grief. When their son Peter (Alex Wolff) begins to act strangely and reports weird visions and apparitions of his own, the family must confront the possibility that their problem might just be way beyond whatever solutions modern psychology can offer.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Ocean's 8

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After spending five years in prison, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is not just ready for a new heist, she is also hell-bent in exacting her well-planned revenge. Her target is this year's MET Gala, the event where she plans to steal a $150M Cartier necklace from the neck of airhead actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). Relying on connections both old and new, she assembles a team of pros to accomplish her con: long-time partner in crime Lou (Cate Blanchett); suburban mom and fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson); has-been fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter); jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling); pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina); and hacker extraordinaire Nine Ball (Rihanna). Dodging CCTVs and the necklace's own team of assigned bodyguards, the team executes their plan. However, there will always be a surprise or two along the way. Are they joining their mastermind on her trip back to prison or will they be laughing their way to the bank with millions of dollars each in tow?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sid & Aya (Not a Love Story)

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Stock broker during the day and insomniac by night, Sid (Dingdong Dantes) frequents a 24-hour café to kill time. There he meets Aya (Anne Curtis), a working girl juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet. After breaking the ice, the two engage in a business relationship: He pays her a thousand pesos per hour and she keeps him company in return. As they spend more paid time together they get to know one another better. He tells her about his open relationship with his girlfriend Dani and how he screws people over for a living. She shares her familial frustrations as well as her plan to go to Japan to convince her mother to finally come back home. As time goes by, what starts off as transactional becomes platonic, and eventually turns romantic. But as they insist, this is not a love story. Or is it, really?

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Kasal

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Lia Marquez (Bea Alonzo) is marrying the guy of her dreams. Philip Cordero (Paulo Avelino) is the scion of a wealthy political clan in Cebu. Considered as the city's most eligible bachelor, his future in politics should already be a given, but the emerging popularity of the opposition catches them off-guard. Aside from the planned wedding, Lia also suggests repairing an old bridge to endear her future husband to the people. Enter Wado dela Costa (Derek Ramsay), the hotshot engineer who takes on the challenge who also happens to be Lia's ex. Wanting her back in his life so bad, Wado hatches one plan after another to break the engaged couple apart, but his efforts are in vain. When he discovers his rival's darkest secret, he doesn't hesitate to pounce. In the end, who gets married to whom?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Deadpool 2

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Right on the heels of a personal tragedy, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) hits rock bottom and decides to end his life, even though he is well-aware that it is never going to happen. Rescued by his X-Men friend Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) from his slumber, he gets to spend time recuperating at the X-Mansion until a new mission comes along, which turns him into an X-Men trainee. Russell (Julian Dennison), a young pyrokinetic mutant, decides to wreak havoc at the orphanage whose staff he claims to be torturing him. After the mission goes awry, the two are arrested and transferred to a high-security mutant prison where they are subsequently attacked by Cable (Josh Brolin), a cybernetic mutant who wants the kid dead for future crimes. Considering the teen as his new raison d'être, Wade resumes his life as Deadpool and recruits a group of gifted individuals to help him with his mission against the time-traveler, collectively branding themselves as the X-Force.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

My 2 Mommies

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8390790/
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Events coordinator Manu (Paolo Ballesteros) manages his own company and is open about his homosexual life with his sister and friends, even though he still keeps it a secret from his conservative Aunt Baby (Maricel Soriano). His live-in setup with partner Ronnie (Joem Bascon) is put to the test with the return of old flame Monique (Solenn Heussaff) after 8 years of absence. She introduces her 7-year-old son Tristan (Marcus Cabais) and tells him that he is the father. Hesitant to get to know the boy at first, he eventually warms up to him and the two begin to make up for lost time. However, it does not take long until the two mommies find themselves at loggerheads with each other, not just over child rearing techniques but regarding custody as well. Will the best mom win?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers:_Infinity_War
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As early reviews already mentioned, Infinity War is Civil War multiplied by 20. It is a montage of fight scenes characterized by teamwork you can only dream of seeing on the big screen. The storyline is straightforward: Thanos (Josh Brolin) collects the Infinity Stones while heroes from across the galaxy band together to stop him from wiping out half of the universe as we know it. Forget every naysayer acting all smarty-pants claiming that this is not the ultimate cinematic crossover event of our time. IT IS. It is obviously not the first attempt, but it definitely is a game changer not only for the superhero genre but for cinema as a whole. Dialogues are laced with humor most of the time, which is a good counterbalance for the gravitas of the situation. Those light moments are essential once you realize how grim the actual scenario is.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Arsenic and Old Lace (Repertory Philippines)

http://www.repertoryphilippines.ph/2018-season/
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Aunt Martha (Jay Valencia Glorioso) and Aunt Abby (Joy Virata) are two sweet old ladies who spend much of their time maintaining the Brooklyn family home as well as taking care of their nephew Teddy (Jeremy Domingo), who thinks he is Theodore Roosevelt. Beneath the mundane façade, however, is a dark secret that the three of them share, which involves some murder and a little bit of cover-up on the side. When youngest nephew Mortimer (Nelsito Gomez) accidentally discovers what, or rather, who, is under the window seat, he begins to realize that every family has skeletons in the closet after all. It just so happens that his has 12, and they are buried in the cellar. When prodigal nephew Jonathan (Apollo Sheik Abraham) returns after a long absence with his very own excess baggage, this shakes up the family dynamics, leading to a hilarious dark comedy that can only be as enticing as Elderberry wine laced with arsenic.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Ready Player One

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ready_Player_One_(film)
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The year is 2045 and virtual reality gaming is elevated to new heights as a refuge from the harsh realities of everyday life. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) lives in a slum area in Columbus, Ohio known as “the Stacks” but spends most of his time plugged into the OASIS, a massive computer-generated dream world where he is known by his avatar Parzival. After the death of its creator, it is revealed that an Easter Egg has been hidden in the game. The first person to find three keys, which serve as prizes for each level challenge, will not only be declared as champion but also be awarded full ownership of the virtual world. Given the economic and social upgrade such victory entails in the real world, players all over the globe try their luck but to no avail. When Parzival finally cracks the first challenge, he becomes the target of Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a giant video game conglomerate with an army of players hell-bent on getting their hands not just on the Easter Egg, but the lives of the millions of users connected to it daily as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Silent Sky (Repertory Philippines)

http://www.repertoryphilippines.ph/2018-season/
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Growing up at a farm in Wisconsin, Henrietta Leavitt (Cathy Azanza Dy) makes a bold decision when she accepts a job offer to work at Harvard. Considering herself as an astronomer and having finished her studies at Radcliffe, she gets the surprise of her life when instead of a teaching position, she is relegated by teaching assistant Peter Shaw (Topper Fabregas) to Professor Pickering’s “harem”, the duo of suffragette Annie Cannon (Sheila Francisco) and former housekeeper Williamina Fleming (Naths Everett). Also referred to as “computers”, the trio keeps themselves busy mapping out the stars on their desk based on photographic plates handed out to them by the men, who have exclusive access to the university’s telescope. Left at home, Henry’s sister Margie (Caisa Borromeo) takes care of their ailing father while raising a family of her own, forever asking her sister when she is coming back. As she navigates her way through the male-dominated academe, Leavitt’s inquisitive and curious nature will lead her to a groundbreaking discovery no other man has stumbled upon before.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

'night, Mother (PETA)

https://petatheater.com/nightmother
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An otherwise routine evening takes an interesting turn when Jessie (Eugene Domingo) tells her mother out of the blue that she is going to commit suicide before the night is over. Alarmed, Thelma (Sherry Lara) works hard to convince her daughter that life is worth living. She also makes it a point to repeatedly blame herself for her daughter’s choice, believing that she has failed her as a mother. For her part, Jessie is steadfast, already convinced that her decision to end it all is the best solution for all parties involved. As the evening gets darker and emotions start to run amok, secrets are revealed and tears are shed, but will all the drama suffice to save one of them from the clutches of impending death?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lady Bird

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Bird_(film)
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Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is not a big fan of life in Sacramento. Almost done with her senior year at a Catholic high school, she believes that her future awaits at the east coast, far from the cultural stagnation hounding her in California. Her teenage angst serves as a constant trigger for her misunderstandings with her mother. Marion McPherson (Laurie Metcalf) loves her daughter alright, but thinks that she needs to be in touch with reality and be more appreciative of what they are giving her. Lady Bird struggles to be amicable with her family as she attempts to navigate the ups and downs of adolescence, celebrating the highs and bemoaning the lows.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Red Sparrow

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Sparrow
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Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) watches her life fall apart after a career-ending injury leaves her with not a lot of options. Having to take care of her ailing mother, she finds herself in a desperate situation. Enter Uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts) with an interesting proposal: Work for him and be a sparrow. And so she is sent to spy academy where headmistress Matron (Charlotte Rampling) oversees her transformation from dancer to weapon, teaching her the basics of manipulation via seduction. Her first mission has her tailing CIA agent Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), who becomes the object of her affection. But are sparrows allowed to love, or is this nothing more than an elaborate ploy to secure classified information? In the end, who is fooling whom?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Meet Me in St. Gallen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meet_Me_in_St._Gallen
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Celeste (Bela Padilla) and Jesse (Carlo Aquino) meeting at a cafe after a really bad day marks the beginning of a passive-aggressive friendship. What starts as antagonistic quickly turns platonic as they converse over coffee, and later, booze. As the night progresses an opportunity for something romantic is explored, but does not quite hit the mark. A few years later, they meet again. Will it be love this time around, or will yet another chance meeting end up in regrets and tears?

What the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight trilogy does in a span of 18 years, Meet Me in St. Gallen attempts to compress in two hours, coming up with an end product that tastes like a diet version of the original. No, this is not a rip-off, but it’s one of those movies where two people talk, have sex, then talk again. They also walk from point A to B from time to time to take advantage of the scenery. That’s where St. Gallen comes in handy. In the last few years such genre seems to have sparked a revolution in the local entertainment industry, where formulaic romantic comedies reign supreme.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Shape of Water

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shape_of_Water_(film)
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Baltimore, 1960’s. Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) is a cleaning lady at a top-secret government agency. Needless to say, she is immersed in an environment of mystery and strange secrets that will require you top level clearance to access. Being mute, her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) serves as her voice, even though their job does not really require a lot of talking to begin with. Her homosexual neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins), is her confidante and best friend. When Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) drags in a water tank contents unknown all the way from South America, Elisa’s curiosity is piqued, even more so when she discovers that inside there’s a humanoid creature capable of non-verbal communication. Realizing how they share some similarities brought about by their uniqueness, the two form an unlikely bond. When she finds out that he is about to be killed and dissected for the name of science, she decides to make a stand, but can she really outwit a fully-equipped state facility on her own?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Black Panther

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_(film)
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Oakland, 1992. Opposing political ideologies fracture the relationship between two Wakandan siblings, giving rise to a succession dilemma that will manifest decades later. At present day, the aftermath of King T’Chaka’s untimely demise sets his son T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) ascension to the throne in motion, but becoming king is never easy. Facing stark opposition from one of the kingdom’s not so friendly tribes, the young king eventually proves himself worthy to lead the kingdom and assume the mantle of the mythical Black Panther. Meanwhile, the appearance of an old foe paves the way for the return of a prodigal son Wakanda never knew existed. With his legitimacy questioned and the threat of the country’s exposure at stake, T’Challa must play his cards right or suffer dire consequences.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Call Me by Your Name

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_Me_by_Your_Name_(film)
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17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) is spending another eventless summer in Cremona with his parents and his French girlfriend. His father, an archaeology professor, invites a PhD student to help him with his academic research while on holiday at the family’s country home. This year that academic assistant happens to be Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 20-something-year-old head-turner whose aloofness the teenager dismisses as sheer American arrogance. With their personalities being almost polar opposites, Elio's resentment towards their visitor intensifies by the day, but inexplicably so does his attraction to him. As secret admiration is confessed and feelings are reciprocated, the two are faced with the realization that summer eventually has to come to an end.

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