The independent film side section of the Metro Manila Film Fest is currently having its run in Glorietta and Megamall. Over the last few years of its existence, this side section has featured quite a few intriguing features that have largely flown under the radar. Here's a look at what the section is giving us this year.
'Still 2' is mainly intent on giving audiences more of the same, with each story hobbled by the need to follow the Asian horror template.
'Laggies' just goes a little too far in rebelling against social norms. It just feels a little too harsh on the characters that chose to grow up, the ones that found some satisfaction in doing the things that adults are expected to do.
'Wolves' doesn't want to do the work of building substantive drama for its characters, and instead tosses in a multitude of reversals to stand in for any real narrative development.
'Gangster Lolo' is barely a random collection of disconnected scenes.
'Playing it Cool' toys with the elements of the romcom and does nothing particularly interesting in the process.
'The Homesman' is a little puzzling, but in a good way. It seems resolved to deny the audience the typical pleasures of cinema, to buck convention in its construction of its portrait of frontier life.
'This is Where I Leave You' is merely tolerable, and that’s mostly because of the Herculean efforts of the cast to raise up the material, which seems to wallow in generic family dysfunction.
'The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies' is part of an overlong whole, a trilogy that might have been better served with just two parts. Still, the movie can be awe-inspiring at points, and that might be enough to properly bring this story to a close.
After all that nonsense, 'Paranormal Island' concludes with a frustratingly obtuse epilogue that doesn't really address anything that happened to the characters.