(SPOT.ph) While children are looking forward to Santa's visit on Christmas, moviegoers are just patiently waiting for the opening of the Metro Manila Film Festival. Though the controversial annual movie event often evokes mixed feelings among film buffs, especially when the selected entries are finally announced, there's just no denying the fact that there will always be people looking forward to the screenings.
The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) runs from December 25 to January 7, 2019. This year's "magic eight" has everything from the usual headline-grabbing comedies (starring MMFF favorites Vice Ganda and Vic Sotto) to melodramas and thrillers with more serious narratives. If you're not sure which movies to look forward to, here's the rundown for this year's lineup:
Director: Yam Laranas
You have to give it to Anne Curtis—her roles seem to be getting darker and darker. In this horror thriller directed by Yam Laranas, Curtis plays the role of Leana, a woman living on a small island with her younger sister. When a passenger ship sinks nearby, killing hundreds and causing dead bodies to wash ashore, Leana is tasked to find the missing dead for a bounty.
Director: Barry Gonzales
No surprise here—Vice Ganda will once again be in this year's MMFF. Directed by Barry Gonzales, Fantastica is, well, a fantasy-comedy that also stars Bela Padilla, Dingdong Dantes, and Richard Gutierrez. The full trailer isn't up yet, but judging from the teaser, the story revolves around attempts to revive a carnival, which seems to be the key to open the portal to Fantastica.
The Girl in the Orange Dress
Director: Jay Abello
If you're a sucker for romance (or for Jericho Rosales), then this film is for you. Anna (Jessy Mendiola) is a conservative girl who wakes up after a night out to find herself in a five-star hotel room with Rye (Rosales), the hottest celebrity in the country. With no memory of what happened, Anna finds herself spending time with Rye as she avoids the media and fans swarming outside.
Jack Em Popoy: The Puliscredibles
Director: Mike Tuviera
Vic Sotto, Maine Mendoza, and Coco Martin star in this action comedy film. It follows the adventures of three police officers, Jack (Martin), Em (Mendoza), and Popoy (Sotto) as they catch thieves and other bad guys. Expect action film tropes like exploding cars, shootouts, and hiding around container vans, along with Sotto's signature humor.
Director: Joven Tan
You can catch basketball star Ricci Rivero on the big screen in this horror film. Its story revolves around a group of teens forced to spend one night in an abandoned orphanage as part of an organization's initiation. It doesn't take long for them to realize they're not as alone as they think they are.
One Great Love
Director: Eric Quizon
If you've constantly been asked every which way about when you're planning to settle down and get married, then you will probably relate to Zyra (Kim Chiu). She finds herself at a crossroads when she encounters issues with her long-time boyfriend. To make things harder, her friend Ian (Dennis Trillo) starts showing romantic feelings for her. One Great Love is a movie about love and relationships, with a narrative that does not simply show the characters falling in love, but also confronts the other, less appealing idea of falling out.
Mary, Marry Me
Director: RC Delos Reyes
Revolving around themes of sisterhood and relationships, real-life sisters Toni Gonzaga and Alex Gonzaga star in their first film together. It tells the story of two sisters, both named Mary, who have always been close to each other. Things between them start to go awry when the younger Mary (Alex) decides to marry Peter (Sam Milby), Mary Jane's (Toni) ex-boyfriend.
Director: Joel Lamangan
This melodrama is centered around family values but makes itself socially relevant by tackling LGBT+ themes. A family is torn apart by an announcement made by Ramon (Eddie Garcia) to his children: He has always been in love with Fredo (Tony Mabesa), a dear friend of the family. When a disease threatens Fredo's life, Ramon decides to stay by his side, leaving his wife (Gloria Romero) and children to reconcile their differences on their own.