Posts Tagged ‘shake rattle and roll


Movie Review: Shake Rattle and Roll XIII

Ever thought a 1984 horror flick about a haunted spirit in a glass, a killer fridge and a visceral monster would spawn a dozen more sequels? I guess no one did but the movie-going audience made it possible, creating a strange Christmas tradition. Welcome to the Philippines where people spend cash for cinematic goosebumps during the merriest of seasons. Indie filmmakers are pumping much needed fresh blood to the longest-running horror franchise series in local cinema. For its 13th installment, directors Richard Somes, Jerrold Tarog and Chris Martinez delivered three stories that – I think – will ensure its continuation. Not bad for a horror series named after a popular rock ‘n’ roll hit.


Director: Richard Somes

Cast: Maricar Reyes, Bugoy Carino, Zanjoe Maruo, Celia Rodriguez, Ronnie Lazaro, Rez Cortez, Ervic Vijandre

Summary: After his uncle (Ronnie Lazaro) died, Allan (Zanjoe Marudo) took over his job in the province. He brought his blind wife Isay (Maricar Reyes and her son Bikbok (Bugoy Carino) with him, promising a fresh and better start in life But an old mistake interrupted their future plans as murderous fallen creatures are out to settle a score.

Of the three episodes, this for me is the weakest since it is reminiscent of past Shake Rattle and Roll (SRR) stories. Not that it’s bad but kind of like a been-there-done-that product. There are apparent rehashed elements including a) the courageous kid and b) the undin plot line. Carino’s Bikbok is quite similar with Nash Aguas’ Benjo in the 8th installment. Both heroic kids protective of their mothers and infant siblings. Not to mention a penchant for slingshots. For those not interested in local pop culture junk, the undin is one of the most popular creatures in SRR lore. Taking a page from its stolen spawn plot, the wheels of tamawo revenge began turning when one of its unborn went missing. I am not sure if there is an existing folkloric basis for a tamawo but it looked like a big-haired ’80s rockstar with bad make-up and uneven alabaster skin. As explained in the film, “ang tamawo ay tinanggihan ng langit at inuwal ng lupa, halong maligno at diwata.” Suffering from over-acting – not including Carino – and an exhausting over-the-top ending, this episode is a disappointment. Flashing sculpted abs did not help its cause either.

Rating: C+


Director: Jerrold Tarog

Cast: Kathryn Bernardo, Louise Delos Reyes, Sam Concepcion, Dimples Romana, Julia Clarete, Lloyd Samartino, Ina Raymundo, Ara Mina

Summary: Best friends Lucy (Kathryn Bernardo) and Shane (Louise Delos Reyes) had an accident in an abandoned lighthouse during a class trip. As if that is bad enough, their parents are in the middle of a messed-up affair. The last thing their shaky friendship needs is a pair of rival mangkukulam (Dimples Romana and Julia Clarete) out to end their age-old battle.

Tarog is a lock to make another episode because he directed one of the best in the storied horror franchise. I felt a conscious effort to come up with an original or a fresh take on the concept of kulam and ghost possession. Too conscious. Divided into three sets of characters of different age and generation, parallelisms are sewn using broken friendships as its main thread. However, in an effort to tie all loose ends, the weaving got convoluted. I mean, the ultrasound results?! SERIOUSLY. To end on a positive note, the ghosts are really creepy, especially the way they sneak up on people. I’d like to see a Ruana-Cornellia (the rival mangkukulam) spin-off. If the West has witches and wizards then let us make an epic mangkukulam film.

Rating: B


Director: Chris Martinez

Cast: Eugene Domingo, Jay Manalo, Boots Anson Roa, Edgar Alan Guzman, Tess Antonio

Summary: Long-time couple Cynthia (Eugene Domingo) and Mar (Jay Manalo) moved to a high-rise condominium after a traumatizing experience during Typhoon Ondoy. Their new residence should keep them safe from floods. Unfortunately, it does not keep off wandering ghosts.

I like this episode because it made me think. I had to guess the identities of the ghosts, the reason for their continued haunting and the tragic incident that started it all. Using the recent natural calamities as backdrop, the film was able to include issues on environment, child labor and class differences. Despite touching important issues, do not for one second think it is complicated. It is just well-made. Something expected of a Chris Martinez-Eugene Domingo collaboration.

Rating: A-


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Movie Review: Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay

I guess the life of a movie extra is indeed both sad and hilarious. You are not the star. You get strapped in a chair while industrial fans attempt to make you look like a horrific mad ghost. You work hard. You become a horror staple. You work harder. You earn lines then it end up in the cutting floor. You hope for another project but the calls do not come. You get another project but this time it is different. You are not going to be an extra in horror film. You are going to be the lead character. You are the star. You are provided a script. You get documented. You get a terrific movie poster. You get a terrific movie trailer. You are part of an indie film fest. You receive a nomination as a lead actress. You win. You go on a campus tour. You see people lining up. You see a full-packed theater. You hear applause. You hear more applause. I guess the life of a movie extra is indeed both sad and hilarious.

Must be the poster. Must be the title. Must be the trailer. The moment I caught a glimpse of it, I knew am going to see this. Losing hope because I was not able to catch the Shang screening, a Cinema One Originals campus tour made it possible to realize this wish. Choosing over a chance to see David Beckham, I watched the first starring role of the most historic movie extra in local cinema.


I do because am a huge fan of the old Shake Rattle and Roll series.

This is the first question thrown to men on the street and some actors at the start of the film. None of them recognizes the name. Quite shocking, since it includes Kris Aquino who co-starred with her in Shake Rattle and Roll. “Ako ang bida doon kasi ang title, Ang Yaya,” Lilia quips. With that, she sends the audience in a chorus of laughter.

LILIA CUNTAPAY had us in the palms of her iconic hands.

She dons a pair of sunglasses and people find it funneh. She lists names for her acceptance speech and people find it funneh. She reacts at the exorbitant prices at a popular coffee shop and people find it funneh. She rehearses her precious lines with her assistant and people find it funneh. She sketches a movie poster co-starring Chuck Norris with her name in bigger font size than the action star and people find it funneh.

I am not sure if it is correct to use funneh but am seeing a number of friends describe humorous retorts and incidents as fun-neh. So there. Fun-neh.
Yes. LILIA CUNTAPAY can reduce Chuck Norris to a mere doodle and people will find her adorable. You are no longer the man, Chuck. You are no longer the man.

This fact-fiction mash-up film is both an homage and a love letter to LILIA CUNTAPAY. Toiling for decades as an extra, she gets her chance to take the lead in perhaps, one of the most entertaining movies in the past decade. The approach reminds me of another indie, Mga Anak ni Brocka, wherein it also blends fact and fiction interspersed with interviews and video clips. Similarities end there because Six Degrees of Separation is far better. (Considering the subject matter, the fiction part of Mga Anak ni Brocka felt too manufactured when it could have concentrated on the interviews, which are both amusing and enlightening. Plus it is too long. So I applaud the strong directorial hand of Antoinette Jadaone for creating a solid and engaging film.) This movie benefits from an interesting premise, LILIA CUNTAPAY is nominated for best supporting actress for the first time and a filmmaker documents her ride to a possible acting triumph. But it benefits more from its inspired lead star.

This is all about LILIA CUNTAPAY. She made us laugh and she made us shed tears. It is not all hilarious snaps for there are all also poignant scenes such as 1) her not being permitted to use the portable toilet 2) her long distant relationship with her daughter 3) her constant inquiries if someone calls her for a project 4) her crumpling of the supposed speech and 5) the non-inclusion of her interview in a primetime news program. The last one is both sad and hilarious because she prepared food and VIP seats so that her neighbors can watch her interview but some idiot edited her in the final report. Deft balancing of the humorous and the heart-breaking characterizes this film. Something mainstream comedies should learn. That and loads of ORIGINALITY. It helps a lot LILIA CUNTAPAY is an original.

Films like this are an indication Philippine Cinema is far from dead. No. It is not dead because LILIA CUNTAPAY is rockin’ it like a mad ghost.


Note: separation of KEVIN BACON and LILIA CUNTAPAY

KEVIN BACON co-starred with JACK NICHOLSON in A FEW GOOD MEN who co-starred with LEONARDO DI CAPRIO in DEPARTED who co-starred with CLAIRE DANES in ROMEO+JULIET who co-starred with LILIA CUNTAPAY in BROKEDOWN PALACE.


The Top 5 Child Stars in the Shake Rattle and Roll Series

You are true fan of the iconic Shake Rattle and Roll series if you can remember episode titles without much help from Google. Consider this post: just from memories of a movie rerun-filled childhood. Except for a couple of series most are from the first five instalments. I cannot help it because the originals are much better scarefests despite crude special effects. I swear some people still remember the Manananggal episode of then teen icon Herbert Bautista with amazing details. Unlike the present crop of local horror films that are relying a bit too much on the colossal success of Japanese scare flicks – Shake Rattle and Roll continues to mine our rich folklore. Though maybe not as a good as the earlier episodes but the Filipino-ness still attracts an audience. There is nothing wrong dealing with aswang in the 21st century as long as the narration is fresh and exciting such as the Carla Abellana-led Punerarya episode in Shake Rattle and Roll XII. She is simply awesome. It helps a lot she received ample support from the superb Sid Lucero and the engaging child star Nash Aguas. Children are staple characters in Shake Rattle and Roll. These kids take on heroic roles when adults lose their sense of logic in the face of the paranormal. I guess the idea of an innocent child battling and triumphing against evil is a tale that never grows old.


Shake Rattle and Roll X


Villar is the perennial sidekick of Marian Rivera in her top-rating programs. It is not surprising to see him once again besides the primetime star in her first Shake Rattle and Roll stint. As Junie – the kid brother of a first-rate jerk – he begged Nieves (Rivera) to take him as a student of the famous enkantolero. He endured a difficult training in fighting and healing. Junie used these skills to defeat the engkanto making his brother sick and of course help Nieves in her most important battle. We all cheer for the good-hearted kid. Junnie is one of them.


Shake Rattle and Roll V

EPISODE: Impakto

Before he became DJ Tom, the younger brother of Antoinette is one of the top child stars of the ’90s. Sort of the male counterpart of Camille Pratts. Though most famous as Cedie the Little Prince, Tom did a couple of Shake Rattle Roll films including this one where he played the precocious brother of Manilyn Reynes. The episode is a kidnapping gone horribly wrong when a trio of amateur kidnappers lost their hostages in an abandoned house. Unknown to them, an Impakto (Chuck Perez) haunts the premises for his regular kills. Taus had to do most of the thinking as Reynes endlessly frets about her shoes and non-existent love life.  In one memorable scene, Reynes confronted the impakto with her silver necklace without success. Confused, Taus asked, “Bakit di ka natakot?” The Impakto answered, “Hanggang ngayon naniniwala pa rin kayo sa chismis? Bakit ako matatakot eh Katoliko ako.” Not really one of the best episodes but Taus made it bearable.


Shake Rattle and Roll IV


For the uninformed, the host of the showbiz-oriented gabfest Juicy is a former child star. Mendoza is Teks, the son of Gina Alajar in this urban-set manananggal episode. Metro Manila is in throes of panic as manananggal victims continue to pile up. One night, a manananggal (Aiko Melendez) got herself tangled in the electrical lines near the make-shift resting place of Teks. While his mother and aunt (Ai-Ai Delas Alas) tried to shoo the monster away, Teks found himself moseying around a nearby abandoned warehouse where he saw the lower torso of the manananggal. The following day, he went back to the place and to his surprise, saw a nun leaving the premises. He decided to take action and started gathering anti-manananggal stuff such as hot sauce and the all-important salt. With her aunt in tow, he returned to the warehouse to kill the menace once and for all. Talk about a proactive kid. Let me add that any monster will die from the natural cute antics of IC.


Shake Rattle and Roll IV

EPISODE: Kapitbahay

Any list involving local child stars is incomplete without one or more appearances from Aiza Seguerra. This one is no exception. Nikkie (Seguerra) is in the middle of a huge transition: her family is moving to a smaller condo after the latest business venture of her father (Al Tantay) failed. As if that is not enough, she has to contend with tree-dwelling creature called Witawit with a penchant for abducting children each time trees are cut down. Obviously following the successful template of the Undin episode, this one tries to inculcate lessons of protecting the environment to the audience and ends up being a bit too preachy. Thank goodness Aiza seldom fails. I am curious if this particular Shake Rattle and Roll series was screened during the environment-themed Metro Manila Film Fest. We all should agree themed film fest is NOT a good idea.


Shake Rattle and Roll VIII


Nash Aguas is the grand winner of the first Star Circle Quest Kids Edition. He beat another outstanding child actor Sharlene San Pedro. Right from the get go I already felt Aguas has the edge over his competition because he does not rely on nauseating cuteness. He is quite a quick thinker and a serious performer. When reviews came out for this episode, most critics agreed he has an acting range far better than most actors twice his age. In Yaya (not a remake of the Kris Aquino episode), Benjo (Aguas) is a scourge to hapless house-helpers but a dependable big brother to his baby sister. His prankster days ended after his mother (Sheryl Cruz) hired a new yaya in the person of the mysterious Iza Calzado. Benjo suspects she is an aswang after his pet dog went missing so he researched for countermeasures with the help of his teacher. There is something genuine in Aguas as the kid brother who will do anything to save his baby sister from harm. If I had my way, this incredible child actor will have two entries in this list for I will include the aforementioned Punerarya episode. Unfortunately, it does not fall under the heroic criterion I set because of its surprising twist at the end. Carla Abellana is not the ONLY person he fooled because the rest of the audience did not see THAT ONE coming.



Movie Review: Dalaw

Kris Aquino’s latest Tweet reads: “Good morning! Dalaw January 5 (Day12). Total Gross to Date (12 days): P90,357,820.44. Thank you God! Thank you moviegoers! Still showing in more than 100 theaters!” The number of exclamation point is good news to one of the movie’s executive producer, Kristina Bernadette Aquino. Yes. Kris stars in a film she herself produced. (Click here to validate her box-office gross campaign. But then let us just take her word for it.) Starring in a couple horror blockbusters, it is a no-brainer that this is her genre of choice as a first-time producer. Tampering something the masses have been lapping up several times over is not a good idea. Fixing something that isn’t broken is bad business. This film looks like Feng Shui. Feels like Feng Shui. So it must be just as entertaining as Feng Shui. Not. It is entertaining but for an altogether different reason.

Need to ‘fess up something: I lost my peacock earrings last night from laughing too hard watching this supposed horror flick. The operative term is “supposed” because I kept thinking, “I thought this one is supposed to be scary.” Apologies are in order because I thought Shake Rattle Roll (SRR) will continue its this-is-a-comic-movie-and-not-the-horror-franchise-before. Regal should thank the third episode for saving from total disaster. Thus I bestow the recognition of Funniest Non-Comedic Movie of the Film Fest to Dalaw. (I love that earring but I still laughed even after I found out that I lost it.) No wonder this blogger said, “So if you’re planning to watch Dalaw, save your time and money and buy Andok’s instead.” In the age of Chooks to Go, she had to use Andok’s as a better alternative for the latest Kris Aquino opus.

For the just plan curious, the movie revolves around the disastrous marriage of Stella (Aquino) and Anton (Diether Ocampo and a just-his-back-cameo appearance of James Yap). Sowing fear and havoc in their lives is a ghost cover in mud (No sh*t.) Their misfortune began during their wedding when Anton’s mother Milagros (Susan Africa) had a stroke in the middle of the ceremonies. This prompted her to trade her spacious home for an old eerie one to take care of her mother-in-law. Helping her in the household chores is an eerier neighbor named Olga (Gina Pareno) who claims to see ghosts through her damaged eye. (Stay with me.) The creep factor swelled when the ghost keeps getting more violent. Stella thought it was her dead first husband who has a domestic abuse record that is doing all the paranormal crap. (You know I am nearing the drone-zone when I describe ghost attacks as paranormal crap. Here goes.) To cut the crap, a lot of people died; the not so twisted twist was revealed; and Stella and her nemesis ghost went mano-a-mano. The end or as Kris delivered her line (something to this effect), “Anton! Tapos na. Hindi na niya tayo guguluhin!” Thank goodness! The film has ended.

I am quite hard to scare but I appreciate horror movies. I think people need a good scare on a regular basis because it keeps them in on their toes (and it’s such a gas to see scared faces). However, this film does not fall under good scare. Good laughs or it’s-bad-it’s-good entertainment. Still, this did not deter me from getting bothered. One characteristic of a good or passable horror flick is if it bothers the audience. But like its entertainment value, Dalaw bothered me for (not wrong) different reasons.

1. I am bothered because the concept of dalaw is not utilized to its fullest potential. Instead, it hinged on a boring surprise. Aquino starred in Sukob, a good albeit a bit dragging movie that put a twist on our superstitious belief that sibling should not wed in the same year or something as bad as death happens. (Plus Maja Salvador is part of the cast. She uplifts a scenes and makes life better.) This Star Cinema-Cinemedia-MJM collaboration did not provide much details on the reason and resolution to unwanted ghostly visits. In hindsight, please tell me MJM is not a smart-a** invention to sound a lot like MGM.

2. I am bothered because this is another MMFF competing movie that tried to use the PSSSB formula. PSSSB stands for Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara, the classic movie that prompted Quark Henares to include it in his top ten Filipino horror films of all time even if has not seen it just because “readers will react violently if they don’t see this on the list!” The PSSSB drill is familiar: avenging ghosts returns from hell to deliver his brand of justice to people that mistreated his life. See the first episode of SRR XII. Haunted doll?! PSSSB is like been there, done that. In Dalaw, the ghost is a jealous lover. Jealous lover?! PSSSB is like been there, done that.

3. I am bothered because I do not understand the character of great Gina Pareno. Is she a comic relief? Is she some sort of a dalaw expert that holds the answers to all of Stella’s questions (She carries an old book that contains procedure for resolving that sort of problem.)? Is she such a professional actress that she delivered those lines with a straight face? Is she the local version of Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody character of the Harry Potter novels? Ms. Pareno should have been awarded with the heftiest paycheck after letting her go through such suffering. Still love her.

4. I am bothered because the character of Diether Ocampo reminds me so much of James Yap. Not the face but the characterization.  Is it just me or are those potshots against the basketball superstar? An almost spineless husband who is not proficient in English and earns less than her better-educated wife. The tabloids have been painting him as such ever since she married the Queen of All-media. All-media? Take that Oprah.

5. I am bothered because the contortions I mean emotions of Kris is so consistent. Consistent is good but not all the time. This is one of those times.

But I am not bothered that the audience reacted with laughters instead of scream. That I guess is the most appropriate feedback. Harsh but true.



Movie Review: Shake Rattle and Roll XII

1984. The long-running popular horror franchise began in the year I was born. To provide a concrete example, Rey “PJ” Abellana starred in the first Shake Rattle and Roll (SRR) and now his daughter Carla headlines the latest chapter. That long. But is it that durable? Can a pop culture staple keep reinventing itself when even Madonna is in a slump nowadays? The answer is a YES and a NO. Yes because indie filmmakers have been injecting fresh blood in the ageless (or aging) series. On the flipside, a disappointing no due to tired (or tiring) and tested (or testy) formulas. The original SRR remains the best because it demonstrated three forms of scaring people. Episode 1: Baso utilized a notorious urban legend – the spirit of the glass – and the formulaic reincarnation device. Though it is the weakest episode of the three, it is still effective. Episode 2: Pridyider employed the haunted inanimate object (in this case a refrigerator) as the central terror mechanism. Quite ahead of its time. Like ahead of Shutter (the camera) and The Ring (the video). A national artist for a director also helps. Not to mention the coldest rape scene ever. Episode 3: Manananggal dealt with one of the most horrific mythological creature. One of the scariest. One of the best. If not the best.

Unwittingly, the succeeding installments more or less followed the lead of its iconic predecessor. Some succeeded. Some failed. SRR XII. Goodness. XII?! SRR XII establishes the promise and the hopelessness of things to come. But if people continue lining up to witness a good scare, who are we to stop it?


Director: Zoren Legaspi

Cast: Shaina Magdayao, Elijah Alejo, Ricky Davao

In a Nutshell: a haunted doll terrorizes a family

Forgive me, but this has to be one of the worst episodes of all time. Laughable narration. Horrible lines. Ridiculous resolution. I stopped counting the loopholes because it felt like being engulfed in a massive black-hole. I am being kind. THIS ONE SUCKS BIG TIME. In caps because it does. There is no redeeming value unless the red-blooded male audience consider the form-fitting white tops Shaina wore throughout the film a consolation.


Director: Topel Lee

Cast: Andi Eigenmann, Rayver Cruz, Kristel Moreno, Regine Angeles, John Lapus

In a Nutshell: a lustful elemental disrupts the island vacation of three single ladies

Better than the first but is such a snoozefest. I took quick naps in between scenes. No thanks to one hell of a boring engkanto. FYI: the operative word is “enchanting.”  These creatures are supposed to be enchanting but this one is just brutish and forceful. Boo. The idea of peeling potatoes has more charm. In hindsight, I had a sudden appreciation for the painstaking special effects created for the engkanto kingdom in T2. At least, the frustrating Maricel Soriano flick got the enchanting part right.


Director: Jerrold Tarog

Cast: Carla Abellana, Sid Lucero, Nash Aguas, Odette Khan

In a Nutshell: a funeral parlor owner hires a private tutor for his children endangering their deep dark secret

Ever watch a basketball game that turned out to be boring until a most spectacular behind-the-back-pass made the ticket cost more than worth it? If not then go queue up for this film. Sleep in the first couple of episodes then prepare for the last one. Carla Abellana is so good that she deserves the controversial nomination. It is hard enough to be in the same stage with the Sid Lucero but to equal or surpass him in certain scenes is an achievement. (I hope the Eigenmanns share their secret to the other stars to make our world a better place.) Abellana’s handlers is not steering her career in the right direction. She does not need a love team partner but a role where she can display her mature determination. Big factor is the deft handling of Jerrold Tayog. The music. The camera angles. (Like I f**kin’ know something about camera angles.) Plus Odette Khan. Deep-voiced Odette Khan is the stuff nightmares are made off.

Note: Thanks to reader Mark for pointing out the mistake on Jillian Ward and Elijah Alejo.


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