By: NICOL LATAYAN of Tit for Tat

Follow on Twitter: @nikowl

Since we’re off to a five-day holiday streak, if you still plan to catch the‪#‎MMFF2015‬ movies this year, I’d share what I enjoyed from this year’s bunch.

1. Honor Thy Father (Erik Matti) — I’ll just sum this up with what Meryl Streep said when she won the Golden Globe for The Devil Wears Prada back in 2007: “The reason why you can see The Devil Wears Prada is because it was played on every theater screen across America. And if you can’t see Pan’s Labyrinth or Volver, then you’d have to go down to your theater manager and ask them “Why?” Because it’s amazing how much you can get if you quietly, clearly, and authoritatively demand it.” (4.5/5)

2. Buy Now, Die Later (Randolf Longjas) — Somehow reminds me of the 2010 film “Cinco” (also made up of five stories titled after different body parts). When people say that MMFF is about family entertainment, I’m reminded that yes, somehow it’s correct, but you can balance family entertainment and quality just like what Buy Now, Die Later did. (3.5/5)

3. Beauty and the Bestie (Wenn Deramas) — Unlike what the internet has taught us (that Wenn Deramas/Vice Ganda films = basura), I tend to be more appreciative of his works (for instance, I liked This Guy’s in Love With U Mare). Let’s just say that this year, the duo is more reserved than usual, probably due to Coco Martin’s presence (bringing in the action) which complements Vice Ganda’s antics. Unlike before when Vice is paired with a wooden actor like Richard Yap (in Praybeyt Benjamin 2) or when he’s joined by other comediennes which is too much to bear like Aiai delas Alas (In Sisterakas). (3/5)

4. All You Need is Pag-ibig (Antoinette Jadaone) — Some parts work, some parts didn’t. The ones that did were wonderful, the one that didn’t dragged it down. Ian and Jodi’s segment was the best,and I’m not sure it would have captured the same effect if it were a different pair. I like Kim’s story alone, but when paired with Xian… meh. Pokwang’s probably needed one to two scenes more as it felt incomplete. Nova and Ronaldo’s scenes were touching but it’s something we’ve already seen before. Kris’ narration was good (I somehow felt that if she wasn’t in the movie and just served as a narration, it would have been a better decision). (2.5/5)

5. ‪#‎WalangForever‬ (Dan Villegas) — It’s ironic that despite the title, the movie felt like it was running forever. It started out strong, but I just did not buy/wasn’t invested with the latter half of the story. I’m baffled with people praising it as “parang Nicholas Sparks movie” because that’s really not a compliment in the first place. Jericho and Jennlyn were aces though and it’s probably a blessing in disguise that JM de Guzman dropped out of it. Also, I’m happy for Jennylyn cementing her spot as some sort of a rom-com queen since English Only Please. I wouldn’t have voted for either of them as Best Actor and Best Actress, but (especially in Jennylyn’s case), we already saw it coming. (2/5)

6. Haunted Mansion (Jun Lana) — probably one of the more enjoyable things watching a horror film in cinemas is the audience reaction, and I’ve got a dose of that when I saw this. We’ve seen this twist happening a mile away, and I see Lana probably tried to go more old-school than usual here (though the effects were as polished as ever). If anything, I like the use of the set piece here which was maximized well enough. Small quip but it still bothers me a bit whenever Janella Salvador and Jerome Ponce are still being paired as loveteam considering they were siblings for two years in “Be Careful with My Heart.” (2/5)

7. My Bebe Love (Jose Javier Reyes)– There’s a somewhat decent story in this film about Vic Sotto and Aiai delas Alas’ characters. Sadly, they were unfortunately sidestepped to cash on Aldub’s popularity, which probably is good for its commercial aspects seeing its likely the festival’s top earner. That said, I’ve endured a lot of what we call “series of commercials disguising as a movie” and this easily joins “Hating Kapatid” (that Judy Ann Santos/Sarah Geronimo film) as the worst. (1/5)

Haven’t seen Pedring Lopez’ Nilalang because it’s probably running in just five theaters now, so I can’t comment on that.

Honor Thy Father should have won Best Picture, Director, Actor for John Lloyd Cruz (that final scene alone), Actress for Meryl Soriano (I’m really sold she believes in Yeshua), Supporting Actor for Tirso Cruz III, and Editing.

Supporting Actress is Nova Villa for All You Need is Pag-ibig with special mention to Nadine Lustre in Beauty and the Bestie. Production Design is obviously Buy Now, Die Later’s, Cinematography is Haunted Mansion, Original Song is All You Need is Pag-ibig (trust me a man was humming it on a urinal one time).

Anyway, I hope you’d still get to watch as many movies as possible, but I’d be biased here and say prioritize Honor Thy Father if you can. That’s a film that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible, regardless if it’s MMFF or not.