The Metro Manila Film Festival Entries, Ranked

Unless you’re living under a rock, you should be well aware that December officially breezed through us and now, we are counting down the days till Christmas.But in the Philippines, apart from Jose Mari Chan returning to the airwaves, the bazaars, and the endless phalanx of last-minute gift-shoppers, Filipino Christmas won’t be complete–admit it or not–without movies made into a family tradition by the Metro Manila Film Festival.

The official list of entries has already been out months ago and unlike other years, it was, well, controversy-free, to say the least. So, here, we rank the eight films you could go to the cinemas to with your families and friends this season.

Aurora

Starring: Anne Curtis and Marco Gumabao. Directed by Yam Laranas for Viva Films

Why you should see this: Yam Laranas, the young auteur who brought masterpieces like hair-raising horrors Sigaw (then turned into Hollywood film, The Echo), The Road, and even the well-storyboarded Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon, makes a return to the MMFF stage and brings with him Anne Curtis on the lead for a horror-mystery that we expect to be well-crafted and intelligently-written, like most of his films.

Rainbow’s Sunset

Starring: Eddie Garcia, Tony Mabesa, Gloria Romero, and Sunshine Dizon. Directed by Joel Lamangan for Likhang Silang Entertainment

Why you should see this: Inclusion has since become the most powerful statement ever to come in recent years, with loud calls for acceptance more than tolerance in today’s divided world–and in the middle are people in the LGBTQ community who are fighting for abolishing prejudice and misconstrued perceptions across the world. Rainbow Sunset appears to be an interesting take on unconditional love. With actors Eddie Garcia, Gloria Romero, and Tony Mabesa in the lead, we can only expect a well-acted piece. Joel Lamangan has since become regarded as an expert actor’s director, churning out good performances from his actors due to his theater and film background prior to his venture to directing. He may have had a few misses in his filmography, but we still believe that this film could ignite beautiful realizations among its viewers and it couldn’t have picked a better time to screen than the MMFF to cast a wider net for its audience.

The Girl in the Orange Dress

Starring: Jessy Mendiola, Jericho Rosales, Tom Rodriguez. Written and directed by Jay Abello for Quantum and MJM Films

Why you should see this: Who doesn’t like a well-made romantic-comedy? Quantum Films, the young and edgy film outfit that has brought some of the new wave romantic films that the MMFF has seen, brings this Jessy Mendiola and Jericho Rosales starrer that may explore typical storyline tropes but appear to be a good mix of romance, comedy, drama and mirror of modern life. Rosales, plays the most sought after actor in the country, while Mendiola acts as a girl who randomly ends up with the celebrity. The rest is pure chaos.

 Mary, Marry Me

Starring: Toni Gonzaga, Alex Gonzaga, and Sam Milby. Directed by RC Delos Reyes for Ten17 Inc.

Why you should see this: Christmas time, of course, is a good time to spend with your family. Mary, Marry Me, produced by the Gonzaga sisters, along with Director Paul Soriano of Ten17 Inc., presents an interesting premise. A doting older sister and a bratty younger one, who end up having a common interest: a man who has come at different points in their lives. Sam Milby returns to the MMFF and gets reunited with his original love team partner, Toni Gonzaga, and for what it’s worth, a good romantic comedy with themes touching on family is always a good choice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTitTfjM8qk

Jack Em Popoy: The Puliscredibles

Starring: Vic Sotto, Coco Martin and Maine Mendoza. Directed by Michael Tuviera for MZet, APT, and CCM Productions

Why you should see this: Let’s face it, no matter how hard critics pan comedy films like this in the MMFF, it still hits all the right marks for the movie-going public and will rake in the money. This year, phenomenal celebrities Coco Martin, Vic Sotto, and our first-ever covergirl Maine Mendoza, appear on the big screen for a movie event that will sure be a hit for families, especially kids. If anything, this film is a celebration of oneness among celebrities–coming from rival networks, all in the hopes of making a happy Holiday movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL-lppf7YAo

Fantastica: The Princess, The Prince and The Perya

Starring: Vice Ganda, Maris Racal, Loisa Andalio, and Maymay Entrata. Directed by Barry Gonzalez for Star Cinema and Viva Films

Why you should see this: Vice Ganda and his string of MMFF box office hits may elicit polarizing views on the people’s choices of fleeting laughter over substance, but the whole economy of big-buck-earning films with the comedian at the top billing is undeniable. Year by year, Vice Ganda has churned out hit after hit and we are sure that this would rake in the big dough. For kids and families, for sure, this film would become part of their Holiday festivities.

Otlum

Starring: Ricci Rivero, Jerome Ponce. Directed by Joven Tan for Horsehoe Productions

Why you should see this: In the tradition of horror flicks making the cut in the festival, as led by long-running franchise, Shake, Rattle, and Roll, it comes as no surprise that this teen-oriented horror film gets showcased this year. Ricci Rivero, ace basketball heartthrob, and newcomer Jerome Ponce lead a cast of teens in an attempt to elicit fearful screams from the audience. Your barkada trip to the movies this Holiday season will sure be fun–good film or not–with this one.

One Great Love

Starring: Dennis Trillo, Kim Chiu and JC De Vera. Directed by Eric Quizon Regal Films

Why you should see this: There’s no doubt that film outfits, during MMFF season, still pitch in a heavy love-centered drama for its demographic of hopeless romantics. One Great Love talks just about that, starring Kim Chiu after a bit of an absence from the big screen, opposite Dennis Trillo and JC De Vera. If only for this return, and of its director, Eric Quizon at the helm, you should see this.

The Metro Manila Film Festival remains as one of the biggest avenues to showcase and reinvigorate the Filipino film industry. This year’s awards’ night will be held on December 27, 2018 at the Theater in Solaire. The festival runs until January 7, 2019.