The annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is the biggest film event for film outfits and cinemagoers in the Philippines. One thing, during the festival’s two-week schedule, no foreign film is shown in movie houses, making it the most lucrative movie season for local producers.
Held from Dec. 25 until the first week of the succeeding month, the MMFF has been [in]famous for controversies during awards night, elaborate parade of stars, and of course a mix of different movie genres like comedy, drama, animation, action, fantasy and horror.
This year, seven films from the country’s major production houses have been chosen by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to headline the grand film fest. And like the previous editions, remakes, sequels, collaborations, and comebacks are the most commonly used words when people talk about each of the film entry and its leading stars.
Two of the most anticipated film entries this year are the big-budgeted Panday 2 and the fantasy-comedy Enteng ng Ina Mo. The Panday sequel, according to its lead star Bong Revilla, is the most expensive film he has ever made. The whole production took two years giving ample time for post production as the flick employs heavy CGI (or computer generated imagery, a technology used to create stunning and natural looking landscapes and 3D figures) and special visual effects.
Meanwhile, Enteng ng Ina Mo, a joint production of four film outfits, is a cross-over to the box-office record holders Ang Tanging Ina and Enteng Kabisote series. Like the title suggests, the flick is a concoction of Enteng Kabisote’s (Vic Sotto) misadventure and of Ina Montecillo’s (AiAi delas Alas) peculiar family life. This could be the biggest film in terms of cast members as it combines all the characters in both films, who are by the way talents from two rival networks.
The lone action film in this year’s festival is Manila Kingpin: The Asyong Salonga Story. Action film in the Philippines, by definition, is a movie where one can see a few car chasing scenes, people firing guns at each other while exchanging overrated metaphors, and some explosives blasting on the background along the way. Manila Kingpin stars another politician-actor George Estregan. Initially, the movie failed to make the cut of official entries to this year’s MMFF but when Robin Padilla’s Mr. Wong and Nora Aunor’s Hototay backed out, the slot was given to the this film.
The MMFF will not be complete without drama, heavy drama that is. Actress Maricel Soriano is back bidding for another Best Drama actress award with Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. In the story Maricel portrays a TV network executive who went through emotional struggles hurled by love and betrayal yet soon finds herself still in love with her ex-husband who is now getting married with a younger woman. Not to be mistaken as a sequel to another Regal Films ‘80’s movie Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, the Maricel-starrer flick is an entirely different film and features three generations of actors.
My Househusband, Ikaw Na!, is another drama flick but with a touch of comedy, it’s a dramady in a more popular term. Real life husband and wife, Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos are back on the big screen in a story that narrates the funny dilemma of a stay-at-home husband that does all the things that are supposed to be done by his wife.
Keeping the tradition alive at the MMFF are Star Cinema’s Segunda Mano and Regal’s Shake Rattle and Roll 13. Staple entry Shake Rattle and Roll takes another shot to scaring local moviegoers with a trilogy helmed by Chris Martinez (“Lunod”), Richard Somes (“Tamawo”), Jerrold Tarog (“Parola”). Rumor has it that this movie is the last installment of the horror series. Now, what will happen to the MMFF without it? Your guess is as good as the author’s.
The last entry, but definitely not the least, is suspense thriller that deals with ghosts haunting the people who got their most valued possessions. Entitled Segunda Mano, literally second hand, it is produced by Star Cinema, Agostodos Pictures, and CineMedia and sees the first big screen tandem of Kapuso ace actor Dingdong Dantes and Kapamilya prized talent Kris Aquino.