Burlesk Queen, Reyna ng Pelikulang Pilipino

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Celso Ad. Castillo’s Burlesk Queen surpasses past attempts to integrate cinematic qualities in a film and Castillo’s own previous experiments, which critics found bombastic and purely commercial. Like no other film by Castillo or other directors, Burlesk Queen, with its synchronized techniques and the significance of its message successfully gives substance to the trendy subject of sex-for-sale. The movie tells of a teen-age burlesque dancer in the ’50s, who suffers deprivation, personal crises, alienation, and in the end, an abortion as she dances her grand finale for survival. With such a simple plot, the movie laudably brings together the talents of director Castillo, screenwriter Mauro Gia Samonte, musical director George Canseco, actors Vilma Santos, Rollie Quizon and Roldan Aquino, cinematographer Ben Lobo, and editor Abelardo Hulleza. Castillo’s creativity is seen in the use of radio darma and music, meaningful gestures, and visual metaphors or allusions to give added psychological and emotional dimensions to dramatic situations. Lucid exposition and delineation of the conflict are carried out through particular techniques like ensemble acting to reveal the individual characters’ needs, emphasis on visual details rather than talky dialogues to drive home a point, and active camera movements (cuts) to suggest the passage of time in the burlesque dancer’s career. The tragic ending is prepared for by a logical presentation of what happens eventually to all the characters. Artistic form and meaningful content merge to convey the film’s statement on society’s view of low-class entertainment. Moralist censure burlesque dancing, but as the stage impressario in Burlesk Queen asks, what form of entertainment then should be given to ordinary people who cannot afford to watch shows which are exclusively for the rich who dictate the community’s morals? The irony lies in the fact that while audiences are entertained, the performers’ lives are none of their concern. For these cheap entertainers who dare to live outside society’s moreal laws, there is only condemnation. – Jun Cruz Reyes, The URIAN Anthology 1970-79, reported by Simon Santos, Video48 Blogspot, 27 August 2018

Maraming reklamo ang tagasubaybay ng pelikulang Pilipino. ‘Yun nga namang mga paksa noong “nineteen forgotten” at panahon ng kopong-kopong tulad ng pag-iibigan ni mahirap at ni mayaman ay siya pa ring kinagigiliwang tema hanggang ngayon. Sabi nga, ang mga ganitong pelikula ay maikukumpara sa mga dulang panradyo. Puwedeng ipikit ang mga mata sa loob ng sinehan at pakinggan na lamang ang usapang kinargahan ng waring walang katapusang “ngunit papa” at hagulhulan. Kung nakakaasar ang pelikulang mala-radyo ay ganoon din ang pelikulang mistulang pang-TV naman. Ito ang klase ng pelikula na ang mga tauhan ay pirming nasa sala at nagwawalis habang nag-uusap dahil wala nang ibang set na mapuntahan. Sa ganitong pelikula ay waring tinatamad ring kumilos ang isa o dalawang kamera. Sa dalawang salita, ito ang klase ng pelikula na tinipid at pinag-ubra. At siyempre ang resulta ay basta-basta. Mayroon ding pelikula na para namang komersiyal na dadaanin ka sa ganda ng sinematograpiya na sa biglang akala’y parang maganda, pero tulad ng paninda’y walan naman palang lasa. Sa madaling salita nawawala ang tinatawag na pelikulang de-kalidad at ang sangkap nitong “refreshing touch.” Sa pag-eeksperimento ng mga direktor, may ilang nakahulagpos sa pelikulang mala-radyo at mala-pang-TV. Gayumpaman, marami sa nag-eksperimento ang hindi makakapa ng tamang pormula, ang pagtutulungan ng maraming tauhan sa paggawa ng pelikula, tulad ng kombinasyon ng magandang istorya, mahusay na direktor, makinis na sinematograpiya, matinong editing, mahusay na set, angkop na tugtugin at mahusay na pag-arte. Kapag napag-isa ang mga sangkap na ito, nakakapanood na nga tayo ng isang mahusay o namumukod-tanging pelikula.

Si Celso Ad. Castillo ay marami nang naunang ekspiremento. Pero pumaltos sa pamantayan ng mga manunuri. Maraming nagsuspetsa na may ibubuga siya, pero hindi lang talaga maibuga nang nasa tiyempo. Malimit ang kanyang pelikula ay maingay at maraming sobra. Halimbawa, maraming karahasan na wala namang katuturan ang kanyang Madugong Daigdig ni Salvacion, seksing walang kadahilanan (pinagandang garapal) ang kanyang Pinakamagandang Hayop Sa Balat Ng Lupa, numero unong manggagaya ang kanyang Maligno, at sabog-sabog ang kanyang pinakamagandang nagawa, ang Daluyong at Habagat. Kung may magkamali mang pumuri kay Celso, iyon nama’y halos pakunsuelo-de-bobo lamang, at hindi ito sapat para itaas ang kanyang pedestal sa ranggo nina Bernal, Brocka at Romero. Wari ngang napako sa komorsiyalismo ang direktor na inaabangang maglalabas ng natatagong talino. Lalong nagduda sa kanyang kakayahan ang mga kritiko nang kumalat ang balita na gagawa siya ng serye sa TV na ala-Cleopatra Jones na papamagatan naman niyang O’Hara. Pero ang direktor na ipinapalagay na laos ay biglang pumalag nang walang kaabog-abog. Bigla’y nabalitang may inihanda raw itong pang-festival na ikinataas na naman ng kilay ng kanyang mga kritiko. “Aber tingnan,” ang pasalubong sa balita. At sa preview ng kanyang Burlesk Queen, biglang napa-mea culpa ang ayaw maniwalang may ibubuga nga si Celso. Tiyak na naiiba ang Burlesk Queen, kahit ikumpara sa mga naunang trabaho ni Celso at sa iba pang direktor na nagtangkang tumalakay sa paksang ito. Matagal-tagal na rin namang nauso ang kaputahan sa pelikula, pero walang nakapgbigay ng katarungan sa lahi ni Eva bialng Pilipina at bilang puta. Sa Burlesk Queen, para kay Celso ay hindi nangangahulugan ng pagpapakita lamang ng utong, puwit, o singit, kung hindi isang kapani-paniwalang dahilan na nangyari sa isang makatotohanang kapaligiran.

Sa kanya, ang tao ay hindi bast maghuhubad at magtatalik. Maraming pangyayari sa buhay ang dapat munang linawin at unawain, at iyon ang basehan ng kasaysayan. Simple lamang ang plot. Isang tinedyer si Vilma Santos na alalay ng isang orihinal na burlesk queen, si Rosemarie Gil. May tatay na lumpo si Vilma, si Leopoldo Salcedo. Si Rosemarie naman ay may kabit na hustler, si Roldan Aquino. Nang iwanan ni Roldan si Rose, nagwala ang huli. Naging lasengga siya at tumangging magsayaw sa tanghalan. Mabibitin ang palatuntunan, kaya’t si Vilma na talaga namang may ambisyong magsayaw ang pumalit. Hit naman sa manonood si Vilma. Sa bahay, pilit kinukumbinsi ni Vilma si Pol na payagan na siyang maging full-time danser. Ayaw ni Pol, mas mahalaga sa kanya ang prinsipyo at delikadesa. Sapagkat wala namang ibang pagkakakitaan, si Vilma rin ang nasunod sa bandang huli. Nag-suicide si Pol nang hindi na niya masikmura ang pasiya ng anak. Si Rollie Quizon naman ang binatilyong masama ang tama kay Vilma. Nagtanan sila at nagsama. Pero hindi sanay sa hirap si Rollie. Sa pagpili sa pag-ibig o ginhawa sa buhay, ang huli ang pinahalagahan niya. Nagkaton namang buntis na si Vilma. Sa pag-iisa sa buhay, nagbalik siya sa pagsasayaw. Nagsayaw siya nang nagsayaw hanggang duguin siya sa tanghalan at malaglag ang kanyang dinadala. Bagama’t simple ang plot ay hindi naman masasabing simple ang pamamaraang ginawa rito ni Celso. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ay nangyari sa isang pelikula ang pagsasama-sama ng magandang istorya, mahusay na direksiyon, magaling na pag-arte ng mga tauhan, masinop na musika, magaling na editing at angkop na sinematograpiya.

Sa Burlesk Queen ay nagsama-sama ang talino ni Celso (direktor), Mauro Gia Samonte (story and screenplay), George Canseco (musical director), Ben Lobo (cinematographer), at Abelardo Hulleza (editor). Kung may ipipintas sa pelikula, iyon ay ang hindi malinaw na pagbuhay sa panahon na nangyari ang kuwento. Kung minsa’y maiisip na nangyari ito sa panahon ng kasikatan ni Elvis noong 1950s. Pero kapag pinansin na maraming ekstrang may mahabang buhok, may wall paper at sintetikong sako ang bahay nina Vilma ay maari namang sabihing baka naman pa-Elvis craze lamang ang mga tao roon. Pero may pulitiko, at Yabut, at may dagdag pang Connie Francis bukod sa motorsiklong Lambretta at mga kotseng Buick. Kunsabagay, maliliit na detalye lamang ito na agad makakalimutan kapag ang inasikaso ay pagbubuklat sa magagandang punto ng istorya. Tingnan natin ang ilang magagandang eksena sa pelikula. Sa ikalawang eksena ay nagtatanong si Vilma kay Rosemarie kung puwede rin siyang maging danser. Walang malinaw sa sagot ni Rose, pero ang timing ng background music na “It’s Now or Never” ay makahulugan. It’s Now or Never nga, payo ni Elvis. At kung kailan siya maaaring mag-umpisa. Tomorrow, sabi ng kanta. Ang ganitong sagot ay nasa mukha ni Rose, pero hindi na kailangang sabihin.

Ang ganitong pamamaraan ay tinatawag na creativity ng direktor, na nagdagdag ng ibang pamamaraan sa paghahayag ng damdamin ng tauhan. Sa paglakad ng istorya, dapag ding pansinin kung paano ang karakterisasyon ay binubuhay dito. Halimbawa, sa isang eksena na nangyari sa isang patahian ay nag-abot sina Dexter Doria, ang bagong kabit ni Roldan Aquino, at si Rose. Naroroon din si Vilma at sa hindi kalayuan ay si Rollie. Maliwanag na may kaniya-kaniyang pangangailangan ang mga tauhan at magkakasama sila sa iisang eksena. Walang nakawan ng eksena na naganap dito. Nag-insultuhan sina Dexter at Rose, natameme si Roldan at waring walang pakialam sina Rollie at Vilma na panay-na-panay ang kindatan. Lalo namang walang pakialam ang dalawang pulubi na tumutugtog ng biyolin (na siya ring background music) sa mga nagyayari. Limos ang mahalaga sa kanila. Sa eksenang ito’y may gamit ang lahat ng tauhan, wala sa kanilang nagsilbing dekorasyon, walang nag-o.a. at pare-pareho nilang ginawang makatotohanan ang komprontasyon. Magandang halimbawa ito ng orchestrated acting. Kung allusions naman ang pag-uusapang, marami ritong mga sariwang metapora na mababanggit. Isa rito ang mahusay na pagpapakita ng birhen pa si Vilma sa sex act nila ni Rollie. Habang sa likod ng tanghalan ay may nagaganap sa magkasintahan, sa tanghalan ay nang-aaliw naman ang mga akrobat na sinundan na isang madyikero na tumutusok ng sariling noo, nagbabaon ng pako sa ilong at lumululon ng espada. Masakit tingnan iyon. At ganoon din ang nararanasan ni Vilma sa likod ng tanghalan sa piling ni Rollie. Hindi rin madaldal ang pelikula. Kung itatanong kung paano tinanggap ni Pol ang pasiya ng anak, nagtulos na lamang siya ng isang makahulugang kandila sa altar na para na ring sinabing “bahala na ang Diyos sa iyo.”

Kung paano naman ipinakitang naging mananayaw na nga si Vilma, sapat nang ipakita ang isang trak na nagbababa ng isang wheel chair na ipapalit sa lumang tumba-tumba ng ama. Maging ang paglakad ng panahon ay nararamdaman din ng manonood kahit hindi ikuwento o ipakita ang kinagawiang pamamaraan at ulat ng “nalalaglag na dahon ng kalendaryo o dahon ng puno kaya.” Sunod-sunod na cuts na nagpapakita sa uri ng palabas sa tanghalang kinabibilangan ni Vilma ang ginawa ni Celso. Saka ito sinundan ng kuha naman sa bahay nina Vilma at Rollie. Nag-iinit ng tubig si Vilma habang nakikinig ng dula sa radyo tungkol sa buhay ng isang asawang tamad at ireponsable. Ganoon nga ang nangyayari sa buhay ng dalawa, at may kasunod ring “abangan sa susunod kabanata.” Sa paghihiwalay ng dalawa, sapat na ring iparinig ang awiting “You’re All I Want for Christmas” para buhayin ang irony na nagaganap sa relasyon ng dalawa. Kung makinis ang eksposisyon at pagbuhay sa tunggalian ng istorya, malinaw rin ang paghahanda sa wakas ng pelikula. Si Rose na laos na ay naging mumurahing puta. Si Dexter kahit hindi ipakita ay maliwanag na sumama na sa ibang lalaki. Si Roldan ay may bago nang kabit at napatay sa spiral staicase ng tanghalan na siya rin niyang dinadaanan sa paghahatid sa dalawang naunang kabit. Si Rollie, ang mama’s boy, ay natural bawiin ng ina. Si Vilma ay nagsayaw nang nagsayaw. Sa simula’y mahinhin at nakangiti at kaakit-akit hanggang sa pagbilis ng pulso ng tambol at pompiyang balakang, upang sa pagbuhay sa damdamin ng manonood ay siya namang maging dahilan ng pagkalaglag ng sanggol na kanyang dinadala. Sa labas, matapos ang pagtatanghal, may tatlong bagabundong naiwan na nakatanghod sa larawang pang come on ng burlesk queen, habang ang kadilima’y bumabalot sa kapaligiran. Kung matino ang kaanyuan ng pelikula, ay ganoon din ang masasabi sa nilalaman. Makatotohanan at masinop ang pagtalakay sa buhay ng isang abang mananayaw. Tinatalakay rin dito kung paano siya tinatanggap ng lipunan at inuusig ng mga tagapangalaga raw ng moralidad. Maging ang empresaryo ng tanghalan na ginampanan ni Joonee Gamboa ay may konsiyensiya rin at nagtatanong sa atin kung anong panoorin ang dapat ibigay sa isang ordinaryong Pilipino na hindi kayang pumunta sa mga mamahaling kainan upang manood halimbawa ng Merry Widow at Boys in the Band. Ang stage show ang munting kasiyahan ng isang Pilipinong hindi “kaya ang bayad sa mga eksklusibong palabas ng mayayaman.” Samantala’y abala tayo sa paglilibang at sa kanila’y walang pakialam ngunit may handang pintas at pula sa mangahas lumabas sa batas ng moralidad sa lipunan. – Jun Cruz Reyes, The URIAN Anthology 1970-79, reported by Simon Santos, Video48 Blogspot, 27 August 2018 (READ MORE)

Dekada ’70 is 16 years old!

Original Released date: 25 December 2002

Festival Official Screenings:

  • 2002 Metro Manila Film Festival – Manila, Philippines (25 December 2002)
  • 2003 New York Asian American International Film Festival – New York, USA (28 June 2003)
  • 2003 Cinemanila Film Festival – Manila, Philippines (17 August 2003)
  • 2003 Montréal World Film Festival – Montréal, Canada (31 August 2003)
  • 2003 Hawaii Film Festival – Hawaii, USA (7 November 2003)
  • 2004 Fukuoka Film Festival – Fukuoka, Japan (14 September 2004)
  • Festival Paris Cinéma – France (5 July 2008)
  • Filipino International Film Festival – Los Angeles, USA (17 October 2009)

Plot Description: Dekada 70 is a story of a family caught in the midst of a tumultuous time in Philippine history – the martial law years. Amanda (Vilma Santos) and Julian (Christopher Deleon) is a picture of a middle class couple with conservative ideologies, who must deal with raising their children, five boys – Jules (Piolo Pascual), Isagani (Carlos Agassi), Emmanuel (Marvin Agustin), Jason (Danilo Barrios) and Bingo (John Sace) in an era marked by passion, fear, unrest and social chaos. As siblings struggle to accept the differences of their ideologies, as a father faces the painful dissent of his children, a mother’s love will prove to be the most resonant in the unfolding of this family’s tale, will awaken to the needs of her own self, as she embarks on a journey of discovery to realize who she is as a wife, amother, a woman and a Filipino. – Star Cinema

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Fine Film

FILMS - Karma 3

The Technical preview of “Karma” the other night was delayed for about an hour but I didn’t mind waiting because I was quite certain that I’d be seeing a fine film. To while away the time, “Firecracker”, co-starring American actors with local talents like Chanda Romero, Vic Diaz and Rey Malonzo was shown. Chanda and Vic delivered their lines themselves but surprisingly Rey didn’t. Before one whole reel could roll, the prints of “Karma” arrived. “Don’t stop it yet, a bed scene is coming,” Mario Bautista protested.

FILMS - Karma 2Happily, “Karma” turned out to be as good as I expected. It’s performers are first-rate – Vilma Santos, Ronaldo Valdez, Tommy Abuel, Chanda Romero – so their award-winning acting didn’t surprise me at all. The script was outstanding but even that was expected, coming from director Danny Zialcita. What impressed me was that minor parts were played by name actors. The housekeeper who appeared in one short sequence could have been played by any elderly woman but those who made the movie wanted nothing less than Etang Discher. The psychiatrist could have been played by any decent-looking man but they didn’t settle for anybody less than Vic Silayan. The male lover at the start of the story had to be acted out by Dante Rivero, that at the end by Christopher de Leon.

The movie boasted of several bold scenes. Those involving Vilma weren’t much as we know for a fact that Vilma could show only so much. One scene showing Chanda was a different story. It showed her with absolutely nothing on, yet it didn’t offend anybody as it was executed in style, shot with great care. There was just one thing which looked unnatural to me – the way in which one of the main characters killed himself. “That’s all right,” Danny assured me. “Before we shot it, we doublechecked its possibility.” Reincarnation and transference are undoubtedly mindboggling subjects but, to his utmost credit, Danny managed to present them simply, bringing them down for everybody to understand. “Bala lang yan. Katawan lang ito. Babalik at babalik kami sa mundong ito,” Dante vowed. Come back they did as they promised building the foundation of the story. – Bob Castillo, People’s Journal, 12 December 1981 (READ MORE)

Our Lady of Peñafrancia (Patroness of Bicolandia) (1970)

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Basic Information: Original Music composed & Directed by Prof. Felipe P. de Leon; Screenplay and Direction Romy Villaflor; Cast: Ric Rodrigo, Zeny Zabala, Dindo Fernando, Rosa Mia/ Also Starring Joseph de Cordova, Cora Maceda, Willie Dado, Tibo Legaspi, Ven Medina, Jimmy Javier, Angel Confiado, Dante Rivas and Rolly Lapid/ In very special roles- Vilma Santos, Pedro Faustino, Priscilla Ramirez, Jose Villafranca, Pablo Raymundo, Sabas San Juan and Priscilla dela Paz; Cinematography Tommy Marcelino; Production Company: NGI Movie Productions, Inc.; Release Date 1970

Plot Description: “…Our Lady of Peñafrancia (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia in the Philippines, and Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia or Virgen de la Peña de Francia in Spain) is a wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines patterned after the one in Peña de Francia (Salamanca, Spain). It is currently housed at the Basilica Minore. Millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists arrive in Naga City — also known as the Pilgrim City and the Queen City of the Bicol region — in the Philippines every September for nine-day festivities in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the Principal Patroness and Queen of Bicol who is endearingly addressed by Bicolanos as Iná (mother). The shrine in Naga gathers more than five million devotees every year and is known as one of the biggest Marian pilgrimage sites in the world. On 3 December 2015, a mosaic image of the Virgin Mary under this title was officially enshrined at the Vatican Gardens for the 14th slot at the pontifical mandate of Pope Francis. The ceremony was attended by the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III who was given the honor of unveiling the image as among the selected 14 Marian images from around the world…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Pe%C3%B1afrancia

Film Achievement: No Available Data

Film Reviews: “…Please note, this film was posted by Video 48 blog and not previously listed in filmographies of any of the lead actors featured in this film, this include: Rosa Mia, Zeny Zabala, Ric Rodrigo or Dindo Fernando. The film poster credited Vilma Santos in special role…” – RV

#OurLadyofPeñafrancia, #PatronessofBicolandia, #VilmaSantos, #RosaMia, #ZenyZabala, #RicRodrigo, #DindoFernando

One More Time T-Bird At Ako

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Starring: Vilma Santos, Nora Aunor, Dindo Fernando, Tommy Abuel, Directed by Danny Zialcita

That Danny Zialcita’s T-Bird at Ako is entertaining cannot be doubted. The plot situations are funny. The lines are witty. The pacing is fast. The lesbian love of Nora Aunor for Vilma Santos, moreover, is extremely clever, since the two superstars in real life would not be caught dead in such a relationship. Zialcita has made a career of doing impossible things. He made he-man Dindo Fernando a homosexual in the Mahinhin series. He now makes Aunor a lesbian. When he tries to make Santos a low-class beerhouse dancer, however, he fails. That makes his record two out of three impossible things, not bad for normally sedate local cinema.

This film shows Zialcita at his best – irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, unconcerned with larger themes, focused on obsessive sexual relationships. Let’s take the dialogue first, which cleverly juxtaposes the fiction of the film with the reality of the careers of the two superstars. Thus references are made to Santos’ being a “burlesque queen.” One character is even named “Rubia,” after Rubia Servios (1978), Santos’ competition film against Aunor’s Atsay (1978). More than these allusions, however, the film features sparkling exchanges between Santos and Aunor. Most impressive of all the lines perhaps are those in the court room sequence, since the opposing arguments are easy to follow, yet logical in structure.

The direction is tight and masterful. Although one always gets reminded in a Zialcita film of sequences from foreign films, there is a minimum of unmotivated blocking in this film. Each sequence contributes to the whole film (if there is copying, in other words, and I do think there is in this film, the copying is not done simply to be cute or clever, but in accordance with the logical requirements of the plot). The performances, as expected of a Zialcita film, are excellent. Aunor is more effective as the confused lesbian, primarily because Santos is not able to get the rough and ready quality of low-class hospitality girls. Tommy Abuel is terrific in his role as the patient suitor. Fernando is given too little space to develop his character, but what he has, he makes good use of. Captivating is Suzanne Gonzales, though she has to learn to use her face a bit more to express varying emotions. In their brief roles, Anita Linda and Odette Khan are delightful. – Isagani Cruz, Parade, 22 September 1982 (READ MORE)

“…The restoration campaign focuses on directors primarily. In the case of the 33-year old ‘T-Bird at Ako,’ it’s vintage Danny Zialcita with his snappy dialogue and witty repartee. It’s also the last time that Nora and Vilma co-starred in a movie and with such a daring theme for its time. “T-Bird at Ako” tells the story of a sexy dancer (Santos) accused of homicide. She is defended by a female lawyer (Aunor) who tries to keep their relationship professional as the latter struggles with confusion as to her sexual preference. T-Bird at Ako is among the 75 films restored by ABS-CBN Film Archives, in collaboration with Central Digital Labs, since it started its restoration project in 2011. Some of these restored films were already screened internationally via film fests, screened locally via red carpet premieres, aired on free-to-air and cable television, viewed via pay-per-view and video-on-demand, distributed on DVD, and downloadable even on iTunes…” – LionhearTV, 26 February 2015 (READ MORE)

“…The 1982 blockbuster T-Bird At Ako was not the first movie to star rival screen icons Nora and Vilma, but it played up the rivalry of the two, even coming up with a circular “billing” so you couldn’t tell whose name appeared first. It also has a titillating premise: Nora Aunor plays Sylvia, a successful lawyer who finds herself sexually attracted to Vilma Santos’s Isabel, a nightclub dancer/hostess accused of murder. The movie is absolutely delightful, and its two stars never looked better, but if you’re looking for a serious discussion of LGBT issues, look elsewhere. As writer Portia Ilagan said in her introduction, she and the director had a spat over the “redeeming” ending, which in the tradition of old Tagalog movies suggests that homosexuality is a temporary phase that can be cured…In T-Bird at Ako, every character is a character, and even the most minor characters get to unleash verbal zingers. Many of these zingers seem like throwaway remarks, so you need to pay close attention. “Saan tayo?” says the taxi driver. “Sa impyerno,” says Vilma Santos, and the movie doesn’t make room for the audience’s laughter but barrels right into the next scene. It occurred to me that Danny Zialcita’s movies, which were marketed as melodramas, are really screwball comedies, the genre I love most in the world. The plots are preposterous, the story is only loosely related to real life, and everyone is clever. It doesn’t try to be like the actual world, it wonders why the world isn’t more fun like a movie…”

“…Nora Aunor has the more difficult role. Her Sylvia is a cerebral woman who has never paid much attention to her feelings and suddenly finds herself swamped with them. Could she be a lesbian? The movie’s timidity and its fear of offending the traditionalist audience doesn’t help her: she is reduced to being petulant and jealous when Vilma’s Isabel stays out late at night. But Nora uses her famous power of understatement to convey the confusion, discomfort, and amazement of emotional awakening. It’s also refreshing to see her play an established, affluent character whom no one would think of oppressing. Make her api at your own risk. Vilma Santos is in her element playing the quintessential Vilma role: the woman of feeling who has no qualms about expressing them. She also has a nightclub dance sequence that, far from portraying her as a downmarket floozy, makes her look like she should be headlining a TV variety show. Oh right, she’s done that. And her line readings are hilarious. Under cross-examination by Tommy Abuel, who asks if she can understand his questions in English, she says, “Opo, hindi naman malalim ang English niyo.” Offhandedly, without turning it into a moment…” – Jessica Zafra, Interaksyon, 27 February 2015 (READ MORE)

“…Ang husay talaga ng director na si Danny Zialcita. And the actors in the movie were equally good. Sa court scene, hindi nagpatalo sina Johnny Wilson at Tommy Abuel as the prosecutors. Ang gagaling nilang magbitaw ng mga dialouges. At hindi rin nagpatalo ang Superstar as the defense lawyer. Superb ang exchange words sa court room. We wondered kung sino ang scriptwriter ng pelikula. But Manay Ethel Ramos said na si Danny Zialcita is an expert on that area. Halos hindi maalis ang tutok ng lahat kay Ate Vi with her sexy dance number and she was in a red skin tight outfit with the lower part exposing very shapely thighs and legs. Sabi nga ng anak naming si Julienne who was with us during the viewing of the film, “Ang ganda ni Vilma lalo na ‘yung ilong niya. Girl na girl talaga siya. Ang ganda rin ni Nora pero pang-masa talaga ang dating niya. Very convincing siya as t-bird. Paglabas ko, Mommy, ng film center, tumatak sa akin na t-bird talaga siya.” Nandun sina Aiza Seguerra at Liza Dino to support the film since the film is about same sex relationship. Nandun din si Direk Perci Intalan who is, as everywone knows, married to writer Jun Lana. Kay Portia Ilagan (the right hand of Sen. Bong Revilla) pala ang kuwento ng T-Bird at Ako. Kuwento diumano ito ng buhay niya. Dahil yung same sex relationship ay hindi pa masyadong accepted nung time na ginawa ang movie, sa ending, hindi nagkatuluyan sina Vilma at Nora. May mga dialouges pa si Ate Vi na “Nandidiri ako sa ‘yo.” nung mag-attempt si Ate Guy na haplusin siya. So, sa ending si Nora ay napunta kay Tommy Abuel at si Vilma naman kay Dindo Fernando. Sey kuno ni Portia sa isa namaing kasamahan sa panulat na nag-interview sa kanya, ang ayaw niya sa ending ay pinag-bestida raw si Ate Guy. She accepted the ending na napunta si Ate Guy kay Tommy Abuel pero ang di niya nagustuhan ay pinagsuot ito ng bestida. In real life kasi, never sigurong nagsuot ng dress si Kabsat Portia…” – Len Ramos Llanes, Bulgar, 27 February 2015 (READ MORE)

“…Na-miss ng film critics at ng showbiz industry ang style ng yumaong Danny Zialcita sa pagdi-direk. Ilan sa kanyang mga obra ay ang Nagalit ang Buwan sa Haba ng Gabi at marami pang iba tulad ng T-Bird at Ako na ipinalabas sa UP Film Center las February 25. Ang bida ng classic film na ito ni Danny ay ang dalawang superstars ng local film na sina Vilma Santos at Nora Aunor. Ang said film ay ilan lang sa mga restored film into its original na gawa ng ABS-CBN Film Restoration. Ang mga nauna nang restored films na ipinalabas sa said venue ay ang tatlong pelikula ni Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto like Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa at Anak. Anyway, dumating si Nora sa UP Film Center nang mas maaga sa takdang oras ng palabas na 6pm. Unfortunately, walang Vilma na dumating although nagpasabi ito sa kanyang mga Vilmanians na hindi siya makakarating due to important committment sa Batangas. Bagama’t wala si Ate Vi, kumpleto pa rin ang Vilmanians sa pangunguna ni Jojo Lim na siyang nag-asikaso sa mga press people na kanyang inimbitahan. Pagkatapos ng welcome speech ni Leo Katigbak, ang head ng Kapamilya Film Restoration, sumunod na nagpasalamat si Ate Guy sa mga dumalo sa event, maka-Nora man o Maka-Vilma. Nasa 4th row nakaupo si Ate Guy habang ongoing na ang viewing. Binulungan kami ng aming katabing isang radio host-columnist na “Tumatakas na si Nora.” True, napansin ng lahat na nu’ng ipinapakita ng ilaw, bakante na ang kinauupuan ng Superstar. Tuloy, ‘di na naman nakalusot sa intriga ang bulilit aktress at biro ng aming katabi, “Nag-walkout yat? e, kasi nga, kahit wala si Vilma, mas malakas ang palakpakan sa kanya,”sey ng aming katabi. Bago pa ang screening ng T-Bird at Ako sa UP Film Center, nagpaunlak ng pahayag si Nora at naitanong ng katotong Morly Alinio kung papayag ba ito sakaling magkaroon ng T-Bird At Ako part 2 kahit na pareho na silang may edad? Sagot ni Ate Guy, “Why not? Depende siguro ‘yun sa istorya,” sey sa amin. “Wala namang problema sa amin ng mare ko,”na tinutukoy ay ang Star for all Seasons…” – Ador Saluta, Bulgar, 27 February 2015 (READ MORE)

“…Ang kuwento ng T-Bird At Ako ay tungkol sa isang dancer (Vilma) na naakusahan ng homicide. Ipagtatanggol siya ng isang abogada (Nora) na susubukang panatilihing propesyunal ang kanilang ugnayan habang nilalabanan ang pagkalito sa kanyang sexual preference. Si Portia Ilagan ang sumulat ng script ng T-Bird At Ako at ayon sa kanya, magkakaroon daw ito ng remake. Ang gusto niyang magbida sa bagong version ng pelikula ay sina Angel Locsin (dancer) at Bea Alonzo (lawyer). Gusto rin niyang maging part ng pelikula sina Vilma at Nora, Aiza Seguerra at asawa nitong si Liza Dino…” – Leo Bukas, Journal, 28 February 2015 (READ MORE)

#noraaunor, #VilmaSantos, #TBirdatAko1982, #DannyZialcita

Everything About Her (2016)

Pag nagkakamali ba ang nanay, di mo na siya nanay? Pag binigo ka niya, nababawasan ba ang pagkananay niya? Nanay pa rin kami. Nanay niya pa rin ako.” – Vivian Rabaya

Di mo naman sinabing impakta ang potah!” – Jaica Domingo

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Basic Information – Direction: Joyce Bernal; Screenplay: Irene Villamor; Story: Mia Concio; Cast: Vilma Santos, Angel Locsin, Xian Lim, Michael De Mesa, Nonie Buencamino, Khalil Ramos, Devon Seron, Alexa Ilacad, Jana Agoncillo, Vangie Labalan, Buboy Villar, Niña Dolino, Dante Ponce, Bart Guingona, Sharmaine Buencamino; Executive Producers: Malou N. Santos, Charo Santos-Concio; Production Company: Star Cinema; Official music video of the movie ‘Everything About Her’ titled ‘Something I Need,’ performed by Piolo Pascual and Morissette, Arranged by Paulo Zarate, Mixed and Mastered by Dante Tañedo; Original Song from band, One Republic; Music Production by Jonathan Manalo; Language: Tagalog, English; Release Date: 27 January 2016; Country: Philippines; Also Known As: All of My Life

Plot Description – Powerful but ill-stricken business woman, Vivian Rabaya (Vilma Santos) navigates her complicated relationship with her caregiver, Jaica Domingo (Angel Locsin) and her estranged son, Albert Mitra (Xian Lim) in this story about acceptance, love and forgiveness. – IMDB (READ MORE)

Film Achievement – The film earned ₱15 million on its first day of release; As of February 5, 2016 the film has earned ₱100 million; The film is graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) and is rated PG (Parental Guidance) by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (Wikipedia); All-Time U.S. and Canada Box Office – Weekend of Feb. 12, 2016 -Feb. 14, 2016 Weekend Gross #32 $245,000; Cumulative Gross for two weeks: $1,248,700 (59,474,956.65 Philippine Peso); # of Theaters: 50 (NY Times); Star Cinema’s most heartwarming movie of the season, “Everything About Her,” has already earned P208M worldwide since it opened in cinemas. Star Cinema Ad Prom director Roxy Liquigan posted the good news via his Twitter account last February 16. (Star Cinema ABS-CBN)

Film Reviews – “…Please note that there may be other services under each category that you may be aware of. We recommend that this list be a starting off point to a more comprehensive search for services. The Housing Help Resource Tool Kit’s Housing Stability section has been updated to include these news resources as well. The story is simply told thus giving it a natural flow. The direction makes the film appealing for both millennials and non-millennials alike. You are almost tempted to wish and hope the film would end ala-Ishmael Bernal or ala-Lino Brocka. But Direk Bernal is into her own generation and knows her present audiences at the palm of her hand. Some dramatic scenes actually ended up funny but the actors were so versatile you end up laughing and in tears at the same time. Indeed, the performances of both lead actors and supporting cast were so compelling you felt almost everyone in the cast deserved an acting award. The surprise actor in the cast was Xian Lim who delivered not just a focused performance but a highly stirring one. His hospital scene with Vilma Santos was a stand-out one could hear people quietly sobbing behind me. Angel Locsin has no match as a supporting actress, the part of Nonie Buencamino (as the padre de familia) has all the hallmark of a good actor and the part of Shamaine Centenera Buencamino and Vangie Labalan (no matter how brief) registered with layers of pathos. Most of all, this could be Vilma Santos’ best performance todate. The transition of her character from corporate mogul to repentant mother revealed the true artist in her. The musical scoring blended with the story but my favorite part is the household scenes with the character of Vilma Santos noting the significance of the chandelier in the living room with a movement from Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in the background. The grandness of the music matched the leading character’s grand ambition. It is also gratifying to find classical music find its way in a family drama…” – Pablo A. Tariman, Arts News Service, 6 February 2016 (READ MORE)

“…Given that she plays a character that teeters towards caricature, Santos is tasked to humanize Vivian, which she does with astounding ease. She manifests a quiet understanding of the character, depicting the role of an uncomplicated woman without the histrionics that one often sees from comediennes who are required to portray dramatic roles and the discomfort that one often observes from serious thespians who are forced to be uncharacteristically comical. Locsin provides Santos more than ample support. She is charismatic and amiable but not to the point of patronizing a character that is written to champion the diligence of the working class, or in this film’s case, the members of the nursing profession. Their scenes together are mostly golden, with the two actresses effortlessly earning chuckles or tears from their innate understanding of their characters ludicrous situations. Lim plays the angst-ridden man-child well enough. The role only requires him to brood and be emotionally impenetrable. Unfortunately, when the story requires him to be softer, he persists to play the stoic son, squandering the opportunity to maximize a role that explores various spectrums of an adult who is still haunted by his childhood. Lim is simply unable to grant his character depth beyond calculated gestures, welling eyes and fumbled lines…It is a film that does not necessarily earn its fairy tale conclusion, but its efforts in allowing its audience to bask in feel-good escapism is not completely wrong. In the end, it deserves its rainbow, even though the rains that precede it is blanketed in all the conveniences formula affords. Bernal has the sense to treat all the tropes with levity, inflicting comedy when necessary, and then toning everything down when the story steers towards seriousness. This balancing act is commendable, as it results in a film that is initially silly and whimsical, but essentially heartfelt where it counts…” – Oggs Cruz, Rappler, 29 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Larger-Than-Life Portrayals – “…Vilma Santos’ latest starrer, “Everything About Her,” is a worthy addition to her pantheon of exceptional screen portrayals. Right from the get-go, she affirms her versatility by playing a “new” character for her, a powerful and abrasive property magnate who reduces her victims to quivering masses of protoplasm….the production’s thespic crown firmly rests on Vilma’s head, due to her daringly strong character choice and ability to come up with a suitable larger-than-life portrayal, despite her slight and light physical frame. Even more compellingly, Vilma is able to dig really deep and summon up the especially strong emotions needed to make her inordinately powerful character believable—while still being able to shift naturally and depict her at her most vulnerable. Finally, “Everything About Her” is a revelatory change of pace and tone for its director, Joyce Bernal, who’s usually identified with more light-hearted and “cheeky” film fare. Her adeptness at humor leavens this film’s tragic scenes, while not diluting them—a tough directorial feat to pull off! It’s a testament to Bernal’s maturing skills that she’s able to do it—and, in the process, show us a bracingly new facet and prism to her directorial scope and oeuvre…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Generous to Co-stars – “…Vilma Santos diehards will not be disappointed as Ate Vi handles her role with much understanding. At first, the character is almost caricaturish, with people she interviews shown breaking down or throwing up after talking to her. But Ate Vi knows how to humanize her Vivian with little knowing nuances here and there. Even in her heaviest dramatic scenes, she shows an intrinsic understanding of Vivian by not resorting to histrionics. Hindi na niya dinadrama pa ang mga dramang eksena, even in that scene where Angel is expecting to be fired and she just says quietly: ‘Kunin mo ang putanginang gamot ko.’ And she is so generous to her co-stars in their scenes together, allowing them to shine on their own, especially to Xian Lim in that hospital scene where he delivers a long aria of how much he hates his mother. Honestly, we were feeling uncomfortable for Xian on how he’d handle that scene of a son haunted by an unhappy childhood, but in all fairness to him, he manages to acquit himself quite well. Since this is a production of Star Cinema, you can expect a feel good happy ending. There is the obligatory fairy tale romance between the caregiver and her boss’ son. In photos, they’re even shown being wed and having a baby. Needless, as far as we’re concerned but, hey, the movie has to be very family friendly. So give escapism a chance. We’re sure Director Joyce Bernal was told to treat it all with levity. And that’s exactly what she did. If you want a more serious film about a dying woman, watch Ate Vi’s similarly themed classic film directed by the other Bernal…” – Mario Escobar Bautista, Journal, 12 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Credit to Make-up Artists – “…That is where I found out from E.R. Tagle that the movie “Everything About Her” was showing at a nearby cinema house. He was all praises for it, so I told him that any movie starring Ms Vilma Santos was worth watching. I am happy to catch a few on TV. The following day, I had to drag myself out of bed, fearlessly cross our busy street, risking life and limb to see the movie. It wasn’t the last full show; it was only 12:15 noontime, and the movie was just starting. But already we had to rise for the Philippine National Anthem. I told our “street facilitators” from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (“The joy of being useful,” Opinion, 1/29/16) that anyone who can sing our national anthem and not choke up with emotions rising from their breasts and leaving a lump in their throats do not love their country enough. They agreed with me, but I have my doubts about the last sentence—about dying for my country. Well, if push comes to shove, maybe. As expected, the movie was excellent despite a few things, but the main thing was I enjoyed the movie, was fully entertained even if more than half of it had tears rolling down my cheeks and, to top it all, I didn’t have any tissues with me. I must say, the cinematography was something to rave about; the acting was superb, the leading man was handsome as he should be, and the two leading ladies’ acting skills were flawless. Some credit must go to the makeup artist whose skilled hands transformed Ms Vilma’s character into a tough and uncompromising business person. I regretted it had to end, and I stayed for the credits to find out who performed the theme song and to give a chance for the crowd in the ladies’ room to clear…” – Shirley Wilson de las Alas, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Pinakamahusay na aktres ng bansa sa kasalukuyang panahon – “…Mahusay si Vilma Santos sa kanyang papel bilang pangunahing tauhan ng pelikula. Sino pa bang kukuwestiyon sa kanyang husay bilang aktres? Wala na. Maituturing mo siya talagang pinakamahusay na aktres ng bansa lalo na sa kasalukuyang panahon. Every inch, every scene napakahusay. Dahil sa husay ng kanyang performance, mahirap malimutan ang pelikula at maaaring siya na uli ang best actress ng 2016. Makatuturan ang pagbabalik ni Vilma sa napakatalino niyang desisyong piling-pili ang uri ng ginagawa niyang pelikula. Mas effective sa akin si Xian Lim. Mahusay! Nauunawaan niya ang role niya. Sumabay talaga siya kay Vilma Santos na generously ay sinuportahan siya. Sa lahat ng eksena nila, nilalamon ni xian si Angel ng buung-buo. Napakasinsero umarte dito ni Xian na kita mong bawat bitiw niya ng emosyon ay galing sa puso…Sa kabuuan, typical Star Cinema pa rin ang pelikula. Maganda na sana pero dahil kailangang bigyan ng resolusyon lahat sa ending, pilit na pilit; very unrealistic; pumangit lang tuloy ang dulo. Ganda na sanang sa party na nag-end ang movie habang nagsasalita si Vivian (Vilma) at may hope na tatagal pa ang buhay niya. Bakit kailangan pang ipakita thru collage photos na kinasal at naging mag-asawa sina angel at xian?! Yuck! Ok na sana kahit wala silang romantic angle tatayo ang pelikula. To beginwith, mukhang tiyahing tibo ni Xian si Angel. Pero dahil Star Cinema nga ito, kailangang babuyin ng ganun ang ending ng pelikula na sinasabi nilang pang masa, na sa tutuo lang, iniinsulto nila di lang ang masa kundi ang mga manonood na nasa matinong pag-iisip…” – Ronaldo C. Carballo, Facebook, 08 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Symbolism of the Chandelier – “…The cinematic devices and motifs the film employs to drive its narrative have given it much advantage. Particularly noteworthy is the symbolism of the chandelier that Vilma is shown to gaze at in one of the many heartfelt moments of quiet drama the film boasts of. The convulsion scene is carried out in a single take that only an actress of Vilma’s caliber could ever pull off with much aplomb. Vilma proves her comic mettle and efficacy in at least two scenes. One is the long shot of an open field with her voice heard clarifying with her staff the exact number of executive people she is about to have an exclusive meeting with. Another is the one upstairs at her residence as she confronts Angel’s character with the latter’s wrongly sent phone text referring to Vilma’s character as a creature from hell and a whore…” – Nonoy L. Lauzon, Young Critics Circle Film Desk, 08 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 – “…Indeed, the performances of both lead actors and supporting cast were so compelling you felt almost everyone in the cast deserved an acting award. The surprise actor in the cast was Xian Lim who delivered not just a focused performance but a highly stirring one. His hospital scene with Vilma Santos was a stand-out one could hear people quietly sobbing behind me. Angel Locsin has no match as a supporting actress, the part of Nonie Buencamino (as the padre de familia) has all the hallmark of a good actor and the part of Shamaine Centenera Buencamino and Vangie Labalan (no matter how brief) registered with layers of pathos. Most of all, this could be Vilma Santos’ best performance todate. The transition of her character from corporate mogul to repentant mother revealed the true artist in her. The musical scoring blended with the story but my favorite part is the household scenes with the character of Vilma Santos noting the significance of the chandelier in the living room with a movement from Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in the background. The grandness of the music matched the leading character’s grand ambition. It is also gratifying to find classical music find its way in a family drama…” – Pablo A. Tariman, Arts News Service, 06 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Iconic Maternal Roles – “…Everything About Her has good and bad parts. This can probably be said about most Star Cinema movies — as the fulfillment of formula has made these qualities distinguishable, knowing where it goes well and where it nose-dives — but with Vilma Santos and Joyce Bernal, the desire to endorse it, and make a good case for it despite its inevitable shortcomings, is strong. It is convincing at first, from the start when the characters and conflicts are established and all the way through the piling up of challenges for both female characters. But in an effort to close it with something remarkable and leave the audience with warmth, it decides to be generic and resort to platitudes that dilute the inspired moments, in turn weakening what could have been a moving depiction of female (and maternal) strength. Ate Vi gets away with the many times she repeats herself (her approach and sentiment) from her previous movies, and this showcase of recognizable maternal roles makes her iconic in this regard. But Everything About Her does not find its soul in her but in Angel Locsin, delivering what could be one of the best Star Cinema characters in years…” – Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula, 08 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Uber-Bitch – “…Vilma Santos has fun with her role, and she looks terrific. We do take issue with the scenes in which her character telegraphs to the audience that she’s not as bitchy as they think she is. As one who is extremely familiar with the species, a bitch does not care whether you like her or not. In fact an uber-bitch would prefer to be loathed so that she doesn’t waste time pandering to the tender feelings of people she doesn’t give a shit about. You know what words a bitch finds irritating? “You’re nice naman pala.” “Hugot” lines do nothing for us, but there is one line in the movie we especially like. In one scene, Vivian gets nauseous and starts to throw up on her bed. Jaica grabs Vivian’s designer bag and dives across the bed to catch it. “Kunin mo na rin yung Balenciaga bag ko,” Vivian says, deadpan, “Doon ko gustong sumuka uli.” Bitch, that’s a bitch…” – Jessica Zafra, Interaksyon, 05 February 2016 (READ MORE)

The Heart of the Story – “… Speaking of Albert, Xian Lim’s character was the central source of drama in the movie. The scenes of Vivian and Jaica were mostly comedic and amusing, but it was the introduction of Albert that brought more heart to the plot. Albert’s character is what drives the conflict – with Vivian struggling to re-establish ties with her son, and how Jaica’s job seemed to get more complicated with her feelings for Albert. Xian was definitely revelatory in this film, and my initial doubts of having him as the leading man faded with my impression that he’s only good for rom-coms. Surprisingly, he had great chemistry with Vilma Santos an Angel Locsin, and he was able to add more dimension to his otherwise uptight character by being emotional when needed. This and the fact that he had similarities with the features of Vilma Santos made it hard for me to think of anybody else more perfect for the role…Vilma Santos still has her charm and her performance was nothing short of remarkable. She was able to fuse the two sides of Vivian seamlessly together – one was this terror business magnate who’d go out of her way and ride a chopper to Tagaytay just so she could fire someone personally, and the other was this loving mother who longs for the forgiveness and embrace of her son. The role allowed her to once again showcase her versatility as an actress, and the heart and dedication that she gives out to every scene transcends effortlessly to the audience…Angel’s role was what brought comic relief and lightness to the story. She no doubt demonstrated her flexibility as an actress in the film however, there were several unnecessary comical moments from her character…” – Geoffrey Ledesma, GeoffReview, 03 February 2016 (READ MORE)

Biggest revelation – “…The iconic actress (Vilma Santos) embraces her character’s flaws and fortitude with affecting clarity in a superlative portrayal that is passionate but never coercive. Her meticulous insistence on honesty guarantees that no tear is unearned—and no emotion manipulated…Angel also comes up with a focused performance that, for the most part, benefits from the film’s propulsive dramatic proceedings…Xian may not have Angel’s earnestness or Vilma’s finely calibrated bravado, but he is the movie’s biggest revelation. He figures in some of the film’s most gripping dramatic sequences—and delivers his moving moments with aplomb. It doesn’t hurt that Xian is cast in a role that fits him to a T: Albert is distant, guarded and spiteful, and is armed with an emotional axe to grind! Bernal makes clever use of those elements to thrust the heretofore phlegmatic performer outside his self-limiting comfort zone. Result: Xian’s finest portrayal to date!…” – Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 30 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Affectionate Charm – “…Whereas the film’s proceedings come across as yet another orchestration of a familiar film cliché, it strikes a chord by remaining adherent to a formula, that maybe too predictable at times, but nonetheless works because of its relatability. There is an affectionate charm in its humor and subtle comic attempts, and it massively works when injected on the film’s emotional moments. It is barely a surprise how Santos pulled off Vivian with undeniable credibility here. She delivers her character and its layers with profound depth, believability, and artistry that probaly only someone with her caliber, could do. On her character’s most heartbreaking moments, Santos delivers exactly what a woman faced with the wrath of death, while also struggling to reach out for a son she might probably don’t have enough time to spend together with, would feel and look like, an act she easily carried out with searing capacity. Locsin, on the other hand, has an equally impressive maneuver of Jaica, who on most occasions, is presented as the film’s comic effort, acting as one of the narrative’s heart and its very symbol of hope. The character is commendably pulled by Locsin with irresistible charm and affection, a capacity she maintains even on the character’s very own moments of breakdown. But the biggest commendation, perhaps, should go for Lim, who emerges here, with an unfamiliar but convincing versatility. This is probably the actor’s strongest performance yet, having gotten across with the necessary power required by his character, whose wounds and struggles are equally as deep and excruciating as his mother’s…Rating: 3.5 out of 4…” – LionhearTV, 27 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Most Effective Actress – “…The film highlights the importance of family during hard times and how these obstacles bring forth understanding and forgiveness. I find myself crying at times and relate to scenarios that, we somehow deny or refuse to accept…Vilma Santos kept her promise and profile. She remains one of the most effective actress for all season. Her execution brought tears to every single scene. Bernal successfully defined her character at the beginning of the movie. They approach Vivian as a figure in a time-honored character template in which a convenient plot mechanism allows the bitch to revisit sad chapters in her life so that we can understand that it was quite a life, indeed. But she failed to understand motherhood that her son suffered from missed opportunities being with her because of her profession. It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters…9/10…” – Rod Magaru, Rod Magaru Show, 28 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Familial Attachment – “…Innate to Bernal as a filmmaker is her unmistakable grasp in comedy. On crucial points where comic relief might not be necessary, her cast carries out effectively—not just to call for laughter but to keep the audience drawn to these characters, their motivations as well as their individual dilemmas. It is just nice to laugh it all off and see how these characters react and clash with one another. Aside from the kinky Balenciaga scene (“Kunin mo na rin ang Balenciaga bag ko. Do’n ko gustong sumuka ulit”), notable is that one where Jaica, after getting confused with the text message from the hospital head doctor, mistakenly sends a hate text message to Vivian. “Di mo naman sinabing impakta ang potah!” is such a winning line (or at least a memorable one at that)…In spite of the predictability of the story right from the very beginning, the entire ride is memorable, granted how the story is weaved without compromise—without fear that the audience would not stay put. As it wants to stir up sadness towards its ends, it controls itself by giving into the tested formula of the outlet. True enough, it works fine on that note. There is a stinging sensation at the end of the line but happy thoughts prevail and make use of its impact. Before the last frame, Vivian cries, “But in the end, even if we die alone, we need other people.” As we hold onto her last words, there is really much to relate to in her story as there is much to believe in ourselves. Familial attachment is everything about her. And we are more than familiar with that…” – J Bestillore, Cinemabravo, 27 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Final Title – “…Everything About Her ang final title ng pelikula nina Batangas Governor Vilma Santos at Angel Locsin. Hindi natuloy ang balak ng Star Cinema na lagyan ng salitang “life” ang pamagat ng pelikula dahil sa paniniwala na masuwerte kay Vilma ang mga project na may title na “life…” – Nitz Miralles, Pilipino Star Ngayon, 07 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Theme Song – “…Ayan, may playdate na ang All of My Life movie ni Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos sa Star Cinema at kung hindi magbabago, pang-opening salvo raw ng Star Cinema ang nasabing pelikula for 2016. Mula sa hit song ni Diana Ross ang All of My Life na ang theme song ay kakantahin ni Kyla. Teka, parang si Kyla na ang favorite ng Star Cinema at ABS-CBN na kumanta ng theme songs ng kanilang movies at teleserye. Anyway, marami na ang excited sa All of My Life dahil for the first time ay magkasama ang future magbiyenan na sina Gov. Vi at Angel Locsin. Wise decision ang pagba-backout ni Luis Manzano sa movie, iwas kontrobersya dahil tiyak na uusisain sila ni Angel sa kanilang relasyon…” – Nitz Miralles, Pilipino Star Ngayon, 21 October 2015 (READ MORE)

#EverythingAboutHer, #VilmaSantos, #XiamLim, #AngelLocsin, #JoyceBernal, #SomethingINeed, #EAH, #RonaldoCCarballo