By now, theaters are filled with entries for the current Metro Manila Film Festival. But before you go and waste your hard-earned holiday bonus on the likes of the money-raking Vice Ganda and the annoying cuteness of the Bimby-Ryzza Mae tandem, a retrospective of this past year’s box-office smashes and critical darlings is in order.
It was a prolific year for local cinema as more mainstream releases and indie favorites grabbed the attention of viewers. And our brothers from Hollywood fared quite well, too. With 2013 coming to a close, we pop open our cheap bottles of champagne and give a hearty toast, as we welcome another prosperous year for movies in 2014.
Cheers, moviemakers and moviegoers alike!
MOST KICK-ASS LOCAL COMMERCIAL RELEASE
On the Job
Direk Erik Matti has been gaining quite the movie momentum, and with the spectacularly entertaining OTJ, he showed studios that a gritty neo-noir film about conflicted hit-men and the good guys chasing them can be just as successful as any shallow rom-com.
With an ensemble cast that includes industry vets Joel Torre and Joey Marquez, as well as young guns Piolo Pascual and Gerald Anderson, the movie was a violent walk through the shadowy streets of the Metro through the auteur’s irreverent eyes. It’s an action-packed flick that brought audiences the hope of variety…and the promise of Shaina Magdayao in a steamy sex scene!
BEST (WELL, ONLY) GIANTS VS. ROBOTS MOVIE
The term robot porn does not literally mean two mechanical androids shacking up and doing the nasty. Well, maybe in Japan it does.
But most will understand the term as getting off on the geeky excitement of seeing gigantic robots battle it out to save the planet. Add giant monsters to the equation and you’ve got a whole generation of moviegoers weaned on Gundam and Transformers coughing up their dough for a movie ticket. This was the magic of director Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim.
And if your girl refuses to see giant lizards and man-operated robots duking it out, tell her Charlie Hunnam is in it. Trust us, she’ll understand.
BEST DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SPACE SUIT
Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Sandra Bullock is probably hotter now than she was when you first laid eyes on her almost 20 years ago, barreling through a highway in a bomb-filled bus with Keanu Reeves in Speed.
Fast forward to 2013, and she’s at it again, averting mortal tragedy in director Alfonso Cuaron’s ground-breaking Gravity. Only this time she’s floating adrift in space with no Keanu to hold her hand through it. Her performance as the rookie astronaut wishing for some ground time was so natural and intense that people forgot she ever starred in The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Not sure what that is? Exactly.
HOTTEST SUPPORTING STAR IN AN INDIE FLICK
Jasmine Curtis Smith in Transit
While her sister isn’t busy slapping people and threatening to buy clubs at The Fort, Jasmine Curtis Smith enjoys acting in serious movies. And boy did she get the role of her career in Cinemalaya’s Transit, one of many independent films this year that shattered the mold of the typical indie, Vilma Santos’ Ekstra and the Lovi Poe-starring Sana Dati being two other must-sees.
The movie, set in Tel Aviv, tells the story of those affected by the Israeli government’s deportation laws, done from multiple character perspectives. It went on to win Best Film in the New Breed category of the competition and garnered Jasmine a win for Best Supporting actress. The movie eventually became the country’s official selection to the Oscars Best Foreign Language Film category.
THE BOYFRIEND'S GUILTY PLEASURE AWARD
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Admit it, when your honey tugged at your sleeve, begging you to go see the latest Hunger Games outing, the only compelling reason to hit the theater was to see Jennifer Lawrence in a body-hugging tracksuit.
But as the credits started to roll, you found yourself invested in this crazy dystopic world called Panem. You were simultaneously ogling and cheering for Katniss. You began scorning Peeta for his lack of tenacity. You prayed the revolution be successful and you revered the symbol of the mocking jay.
And as you began arguing with your friends about being part of either Team Gale or Team Peeta, your coolness quotient went down two notches. But who cares? It’s all for the love of J-Law.
NEXT: A movie that's better watched when high, and this year's scariest film!