<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 30, 2013

Cinemalaya Review: 'Babagwa' Is Well Acted, 'Purok 7' Is Endearing

AS OF THIS writing, we’ve seen nine Cinemalaya entries so far: “Liars”, “Babagwa”, “Purok 7”, “Nuwebe”, “Rekorder”, “Debosyon”, “David F”, “Quick Change” and “Amor Y Muerte”.

Four of that, we like a lot: “Liars” (which we’ve already reviewed in full in a past column), “Babagwa”, “Purok 7”, “Quick Change”.

“Babagwa” features great non-acting by Alex Medina in the lead role of Greg, the internet swindler who assumes the identity of Bam (portrayed as an alter ego on screen by Kiko Matos) in winning the confidence of lonely gays from whom he borrows huge sum of money. Alex is superb because he’s not acting at all. He’s the character, especially when compared with his partner in crime, Joey Paras, who’s very obviously acting. Giving great support is Alma Concepcion as the new target of Alex, but he relents in duping her as he really falls in love with her. But then, there’s a big twist in Alma’s character. The film is written and directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, who redeems himself after the atrocious “Astro Mayabang” which he did for Cinema One, in a very engaging manner, but the ending comes out for us as very sudden and abrupt. We were expecting a bigger pay off especially after the audience was already reacting with excitement and anticipation in the scene where Alex skypes Alma and she’s about to reveal how she looks. We heard they have a different, much darker ending for the film in the original script but they changed it at the last minute.

“Purok 7” written and directed by Carlo Obispo is a real charmer. Set in some rural area and starring a teener (Krystel Valentino) and her brother (Miggs Cuaderno) who live in a hut all by themselves, it’s the most wholesome and innocent among the entries we’ve seen. The others are full of sex scenes, perversion scenes, vomiting scenes, murder scenes and animals being ruthlessly killed on camera, but this one has nothing gory or weird in it. There’s even no contravida here. The kids have a stepmother (Angeli Bayani) but she turns out to be very caring towards them. Krystel delivers a totally winning performance that grows on you as the teener who has a big crush from a boy from Manila (“Anna Karenina’s” Julian Trono who has the makings of a heartthrob) and is bravely facing the challenges of life despite the fact that their mom is languishing in prison in China and has been sentenced to death for being a drug mule. Arnold Reyes gives great support as the kids’ father who lives far from them but remains to be concerned. The only fly in the ointment in this heartwarming film is the girl who plays Krystel’s best friend who’s supposed to be afflicted with cerebral palsy. It’s very off putting because you know she’s just acting, and not very convincingly at that. It’d have been better if she was no longer given any disability.

Tomorrow, “Quick Change”. The others, for which we have some negative remarks, we’ll just review later