Friday, May 31, 2024

Smaller and Smaller Circles

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A Jesuit priest with postgraduate credentials in Forensics – a field which continues to be a niche specialization in the Philippines – Gus Saenz is the go-to person of the National Bureau of Investigation every time his expertise is required by the department. The latest cadaver ending up on his operating table once belonged to a young boy whose face has been scraped off his skull; his heart and genitals both removed. Assisted by his protégé and fellow priest Jerome Lucero, he delves deeper into the mystery and previous murders characterized by the same modus operandi, leading them to a potential serial killer preying on the poor and malnourished young boys of Payatas, a dumpsite that serves as residence and source of meager income for poverty-stricken folks. Facing resistance from a non-cooperative NBI personnel, the two priests rely on an unlikely ally, Saenz’s former student in France, broadcast journalist Joanna Bonifacio. As the NBI presents a suspect who was only tortured to provide a confession, the trio must race against time before the real killer claims another victim.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

One More Chance (PETA)

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Popoy (CJ Navato) and Basha (Nicole Omillo) have been a couple for the last five years. They finish each other’s sentences and are constantly planning for their wedding next year, which involves a lot of cost-cutting. Unable to keep up with her fiance’s suffocating demands, she decides to call it quits so she can enjoy some space and have some leeway to find herself. Belonging to the same circle of friends, things immediately get awkward during Thursday barkada nights. But that’s what friends are for. Pessimistic Anj (Via Antonio), happy-go-lucky JP (Jon Abella), hopeless romantic Chinno (Johnnie Moran), and couple Krizzy (Rica Laguardia) and Kenneth (Poppert Bernadas) do everything they can to be supportive of both friends. Soon, Popoy finds new love with Tricia (Kiara Takahashi) while Basha gets platonic friendship from new co-worker Mark (Jay Gonzaga). Just when the tension appears to have simmered down, romantic feelings are suddenly rekindled, shaking up the dynamics yet again.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Never Let Me Go

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31-year-old carer Kathy H is in a reminiscent mood, telling us all about her line of work in the healthcare industry assisting donors and helping them achieve a comfortable resting period in between donations. She also recalls her bestfriends Ruth and Tommy as well as the childhood they have spent together at Hailsham, a special school for children like them. There they were encouraged to live healthily and dabble in the arts, preparing artsy masterpieces that might be selected for Madame’s Gallery. As she drives from one center to another, Kathy H reflects on the experiences of Ruth and Tommy with their respective donations while also trying to remember the time she has spent as their very own carer at different points in their lives. Soon she receives the notice for her first donation, which has been a long time coming considering how long she has already been a carer.

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Turn of the Screw

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A governess is hired by a man to oversee his nephew and niece who currently reside at his country house in Bly, Essex. The children’s parents have passed away and he, as the uncle, is the closest living relative and, thus, their guardian. The governess receives a respectable stipend from her employer, on the condition that she will be fully in charge of the children and will, in no way, bother him about them or the house. Upon arrival she gets to meet the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose. After that, she is introduced to Flora, the young niece. Miles, the nephew, arrives a few days later after he is expelled from school for reasons unknown. Soon the governess starts seeing a man and a woman, whom she doesn’t recognize, at the premises. Upon describing them to Mrs. Grose, she finds out that the man is Peter Quint, an ex-employee, and the woman is Miss Jessel, the previous governess. There’s just one problem. They are both dead!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Q & A

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18-year-old waiter Ram Mohammad Thomas is arrested by police at Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum at the heart of Mumbai, after he is accused of cheating his way into winning the one billion rupee jackpot prize on a game show called W3B. According to the producers, there is no logical explanation for a mere waiter without an education to breeze through 12 difficult questions and laugh his way to the bank. Tortured to provide a confession, Ram almost gives up until a young lady by the name of Smita, posing as his lawyer, intervenes and takes him back to her flat to review the DVD of the episode. Asked to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, he links each round of Q&A to separate episodes of his own life, from escaping a syndicate planning to blind him and his best friend Salim to time he spent working for has-been film star Neelima Kumari. Can he prove his innocence and get his money or will he rot in jail for a crime he did not commit?

Friday, May 3, 2024

Gulliver’s Travels

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Towards the end of the 17th century, a surgeon’s apprentice by the name of Lemuel Gulliver decides to choose a life of adventure by hopping on a ship to explore foreign lands. His first trip gets him marooned on the island country of Lilliput, whose inhabitants do not exceed six inches in height. There he gets caught in a war between his host nation and the neighboring island of Blefuscu. Once fortune returns him to England, his thirst for travel has him sailing again. This time around he is abandoned by the ship’s crew at Brobdingnag, whose inhabitants stand 72 feet tall. There he becomes some kind of a circus animal, finding refuge at the royal palace, somehow being treated as the royals’ pet. Once his luck takes him back to Britain, once again he finds himself on board another ship. A pirate attack leads him to be rescued by the flying island of Laputa which is in rivalry with the grounded kingdom of Balnibarbi. Once back in his native country, he goes on yet another journey and this time ends up at the land of the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses ruling over Yahoos, which look like primitive humans.

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