Pokwang in The Healing – July 25 2012

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Reincarnation of Aruray – “…In 1998 while she was working in Abu Dhabi, Pokwang received the sad news that her son died of a congenital brain ailment. “Of course, I felt guilty na wala man lang ako sa tabi ng anak ko nang kailangang-kailangan niya ako,” admitted Pokwang, the wacky comedienne (suspected to be the “reincarnation” of Aruray) who in real life is a serious mother. She changed moods from sadly reflective to hilariously comedic. “Shin was made in the Philippines, pero assembled by a Japanese. I met his father here before I went to Japan. Magulo ang relasyon namin. Away kami nang away, nagbabatuhan kami ng kung anu-ano, nagsasakitan kami talaga, that’s why the baby inside me was badly affected. Kawawa naman siya. When the baby was born, kami ng ama niya nagbabatuhan kami ng crib.” Ria Mae was also sired by a Japanese whom Pokwang met in Japan where she worked as a dancer. “I never lived with my children’s fathers,” Pokwang said. “Nabuntis lang nila ako.” Still haunted by the death of Shin, Pokwang is over-protective of Ria. In the four-storey house that she has built in Antipolo City, Ria has her own room but she’d rather sleep with her mom — “Malambing siya because I’m always out of the house working and we seldom see each other.”…” – Ricardo F. Lo (READ MORE)

Komiks Character – “…The name Pokwang (given to her by a friend who got it from a Universal Komiks character) must have proven a lucky charm to the woman who was born to make people laugh. “According to my mother, I was so malikot inside her stomach that when I was born, nahulog ako sa sahig.” Her victory as the Clown in a Million has radically changed the life of Pokwang and that of her family. They used to live in a humble hut several minutes walk (they couldn’t afford to ride the tricycle, you know) from the highway but near the Hinulugang Taktak. That has drastically undergone an overall improvement. Pokwang doesn’t have to walk the distance now nor ride the tricycle. She now goes around in an Adventure bought on installment basis. “That’s why I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas,” she said. “And I’ll start by giving orphans a merry Christmas…” – Ricardo F. Lo (READ MORE)

Hard Work – “…“It’s Pokwang’s time to shine. Nora Aunor made an OFW film, ‘The Flor Contemplacion Story,’ in 1995. Vilma Santos did ‘Anak’ in 2000. Eleven years later, Pokwang comes up with this. We want to update the stories of OFWs. A lot has happened including the 9/11 bombing that brought major changes.” In spite of favorable reactions from viewers abroad, Pokwang says she’s still nervous to know how the local audience would react to the film. “I kept thinking, people know me as a comedienne, so how would they respond to seeing me doing drama? It helps that I’ve done five episodes of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya.’ I learned a lot from the experience,” she says. “Even though I gave this project my all, I’m still feeling the pressure.” Pokwang claims she is not expecting an acting award for her performance. “Our focus right now is to let the people know that a film like this exists. We want to open the eyes of OFW parents about the repercussions of leaving their kids alone at home. We also want to teach kids of OFWs to give importance to their parents’ hard work…” – Marinel R. Cruz (READ MORE)

Aruray ni Dolphy – “…Aruray pala ang binansag ni Mang Dolphy kay Pokwang. Ito ay ikinuwento ni Pokwang sa preskon ng The Healing kung saan si Governor Vilma Santos ang bida. Aru kung tawagin ni Mang Dolphy si Pokwang. Sino nga ba si Aruray? Siya po ang komedyante noong araw na matagal na ring namayapa. Kahawig nga ni Pokwang si Aruray pero siyempre mas maganda si Pokwang, in all fairness. Bumunghalit ng tawa si Governor Vi nang marinig ang kuwento ni Pokwang na binansagan siyang Aru ni Mang Dolphy. Hindi naman makapag-react si Kim Chiu dahil hindi niya kilala si Aruray. Hindi pa yata siya ipinanganak nang mamatay si Aruray…” – Joe Barrameda (READ MORE)

Pokwang Marietta Subong (born August 27, 1970), better known by the mononym Pokwang is a Filipina comedienne, actress, TV host, singer, impersonator and salon co-owner. She started in a reality show in ABS-CBN and subsequently appeared in dramas and sitcoms of the network. She also received the Best Comedy Actress award from the Philippine Movie Press Club for her portrayal in the sitcom Aalog-Alog and the Best Female Comedian award from People’s Choice Awards. She became a host of the variety show Wowowee,”Pilipinas Win na Win” and “Happy Yipee Yehey”. She is also known for impersonating actress Annabelle Rama, Dionisia Pacquiao (Manny Pacquiao’s mother), and Marlene Aguilar, the sister of singer Freddie Aguilar. Pokwang is a member of ABS CBN’s Star Magic group of entertainers. She is currently residing in Antipolo. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Pokwang and Vilma Santos

“…Nakaka-amaze siyang ka-trabaho (Vilma Santos). Madami kang matututunan hindi lang bilang artista kung hindi bilang tao,” Pokwang said. “Natutunan ko sa kanya ‘yung talagang magandang pinaghihirapan mo ang lahat ng bagay. At kita naman sa na-achieve niya. Alam mo napakagaan niyang ka-trabaho, ang sarap sarap. Tapos ang hilig pang magpakain. Makuwento din siya,’ yung mga masasayang nangyari sa buhay,” she added. Asked if she feels intimidated working with Santos, Pokwang replied: “Noong una. Pero ipaparamdam niyang kumportable siya kapag ka-eksena mo siya…” – ABS-CBN (READ MORE)

The Healing (2012) – “…Stories about the Filipino tradition of going to faith healers for guidance and treatment of ailments have not yet been tackled in-depth in movies. And in our film, the viewers will not just be horrified, they’ll somehow be challenged to think as to how faith healing has already been part of our culture…” – ABS-CBN News (READ MORE)

D’Lucky Ones (2006) – “…Then there’s the silly subplot where the two friends, while trying to search for Lucky Girl, somehow fall in with a handsome young man, and both of them are fighting each other for his attention. It’s clear that he has no romantic interest in either one, who are both old enough to be his mother, but he’s hanging around as a friend. The two mothers go to a bar and join in a dance contest to impress the young man. They make their two children look incredibly mature by comparison. There’s one intense scene between Lucky Girl and her mother where Lucky Girl learns that her South Korean father abused her mother, and all the inlaws hated her because she was Filipino rather than Korean. Many times they would not allow her stay in the house with her daughter, but she begged for food on the streets. Watching Vilma Santos movies was her escape from this reality. This may also make Lucky Girl rethink her preference for living in South Korea over The Philippines (she’d been planning to return to the only country she knew as home. Heck, she only knew how to speak Tagalog from her mother forcing her to watch Vilma Santos movies.) The ending is obvious. Send the Vilma Santos fans to a Vilma Santos reunion party and get Ate Vi (Older Sister Vi) to patch up the two friends. And then everybody gets to dance. Hey, it’s The Philippines…” – That Awesome TV (READ MORE)

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The Healing (2012)

“…Gagawin ko po lahat kahit ano, gumaling lang po ako…” – Cookie (Kim Chiu)

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Basic Information: Direction: Chito Roño; Cast: Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Pokwang, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abi Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggay Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin; Production Co.: Star Cinema; Release Date: July 25 2012

Plot Description: “…Stories about the Filipino tradition of going to faith healers for guidance and treatment of ailments have not yet been tackled in-depth in movies. And in our film, the viewers will not just be horrified, they’ll somehow be challenged to think as to how faith healing has already been part of our culture…” – ABS-CBN News (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: 9th USTv Students’ Choice Awards – Best Local Full-Length Film – Star Cinema/ABS-CBN Film Productions; PMPC Star Awards 2012: 11 Nominations – Movie of the Year – Star Cinema; Movie Director of the Year – Chito Roño; Movie Actress of the Year – Vilma Santos; Movie Supporting Actress of the Year – Kim Chiu; Child Performer of the Year – Abby Bautista; Movie Screenwriter of the Year – Roy Iglesias; Movie Cinematographer of the Year – Charlie Peralta; Movie Production Designer of the Year – Erick Torralba, Richard Somes, Fritz Silorio; Movie Musical Scorer of the Year – Jerrold Tarog; Movie Editor of the Year – Jerrold Tarog; Movie Sound Engineer of the Year – Mike Idioma

Netizens’ Choice Awards – Favorite Movie of the Year (Star Cinema); Favorite Movie Actress of the Year – Kim Chiu; Vilma Santos’ 50th Anniversary Movie; The Cinema Evaluation Board of the Philippines gave this film a “Graded A” and MTRCB rated this film Rated-13 (censored version) and Rated-18 (director’s cut); Ranked 3rd on the Highest-grossing Local movies of 2012, earning 2.06M US$ (85.96M PH); Star Cinema is very happy with the box-office result of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos’ (photo) latest movie, The Healing, which has grossed more than P130M so far (and counting!).

100-million mark – Heavy rains may have flooded Luzon but that didn’t hinder to the success of Chito Rono’s most recent masterpiece “The Healing“. While expected to reach the 100-million mark, The Healing as of it’s 3rd week has grossed P85.96 million in ticket sales. The Healing actually started with an awesome 7-day gross at P80 million as reported by Star Cinema and P74.39 according to Box Office Mojo Philippines. That’s only a 6-million difference, but let’s say we consider P80 million as the first week gross of The Healing. After riding that week of wave of success, The Healing began to see a decrease in the box office earnings which may be caused by the storm that entered the country about two weeks ago (while the film was on it’s second week). And with Star Cinema’s The Reunion coming into theaters this week! I’m not sure if The Healing can still make it to the 100-million mark. Two other factors are Disney’s Brave (with 55-Million 2 weeks gross) and Philippines’ most awaited Hollywood movie event “The Bourne Legacy” which raked P110-million on its first week. Additionally, MTRCB’s two film rating cuts for The Healing (R13) and The Healing R18 might have affected their earnings. Like seriously! The malls where I went to watch The Healing are so damn strict that they looked for any identification/certification that I’m 18. Going back, the movie was given a grade “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board and was well-received by moviegoers and even the country’s top critics. “The Healing” is starring Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Jhong Hilario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abby Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggoy Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin and Pokwang. The Healing is still on its 4th week! – Mark Glenn Cabrera (READ MORE)

‘This one’s really made for Ate Vi’ – “…Horror is one of those genres na hindi talaga siya kumukupas. Once it’s done well, everybody loves to watch horror movies. Kahit na ako. masaya siya eh. Lalo na pag may matatakutin kang kaibigan, ang sarap (laughs). It’s an experience na like no other. It’s like comedy where tawa kayo ng tawa. Kasi kapag iiyak ka, medyo nahihiya ka pa. pero this one’s really made for Ate Vi. Talagang role tailor made for her. Matagal na niyang hiningi ito,” he shares during The Healing’s bloggers conference held last July 23 at the ABS-CBN compound. Direk Chito says he and Vilma had talked about making a movie together as early as three years ago. After doing movies like Bata, bata Pano Ka Ginawa? and Dekada 70, The Healing is their reunion movie after almost ten years. He adds the multi-awarded actress has already proven her worth after 50 years in showbiz. “This is our fourth movie. I’ve always said na nakita ko na ang galing ng isang Vilma Santos sa ilang dekada, sa ang daming great movies na nagawa. Parang she’s one of those people na kailangan pa ba niya i-prove ulit? Yung parang I know she now always demands for something na medyo mas substantial. Huwag naman yung mediocre. Sabi ko the concept of the movie is bagay na sa stature niya. We’ve seen her do a lot of great scenes in most of her movies. The famous monologue scenes, the famous long takes. Ate Vi yan pag sinabi mong three pages na monologue, automatic na yan sa showbiz. Bihira na lang sa industriya yung kaya gawin yan. I’m very happy na pumayag si Ate Vi na ensemble ang pelikula…” – Push, 25 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

Film Review: “…Director Chito S. Roño is a veteran in doing horror movies. In 2004, he helmed the box-office hit Feng Shui, an answer to the Asian horror movie phenomenon. The Healing, on the other hand, can be considered an answer to Hollywood’s torture-and-gore horror movie phenomenon. It may be the first local horror film to do so, and thus it is refreshing to watch. There is no shortage of shocking gore in The Healing. There are lots and lots of blood; horror movie fans will not be disappointed. The movie is also made more fun by moments of fan service, that recalls several niches of pop culture that seem to be taboo in Philippine mainstream cinema. There’s a small child wielding a ninja weapon killing groups of monks, before jumping to her death. There’s a beheading using a giant knife. There are many more.

The story also offers something new, away from familiar themes like haunted houses and vengeful ex-girlfriends. It exploits the Filipino tradition of faith healing, and the consequences of tapping this alternative form of therapy. What’s most admirable is the fact that The Healing’s actors went to great lengths to provide credence to the story. Vilma Santos, for instance, gets stabbed multiple times that you’d wonder how she can take these intense physical scenes at her age. Kim Chiu should also be praised for her handling of her character, Cookie. Her early scenes when she needs to act sick are believable and downright affecting. In summary, The Healing is suited for Pinoy horror fans. It is fun as it is shocking, and non-squeamish viewers should have no problem having a good time…” – Mark Angelo Ching, PEP, July 30, 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Santos’ spine-tingler is far from original, but as it tweaks the narrative conceit that has made “Final Destination” a box-office-busting film franchise, the movie finds innovative ways to establish an atmosphere of impending doom that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats: You feel that something gruesome is about to transpire, you just don’t know how it will play out—or when! The Star for All Seasons decided to make the film because she wanted to add something “new” to her formidable oeuvre—and, with “The Healing,” Santos accomplishes exactly that. The role doesn’t require her to do much except run in circles or look worried or scared. But, she displays flashes of dramatic brilliance when she is hounded by guilt, a motivation that presents her with forks in the road that just might lead to the resolution of the horrifying story’s main conflict. More than anything, it’s a treat to see the durable actress on the big screen again. The horror-thriller genre she dabbles in effectively introduces her to a younger (and wider) viewing demographic that derives pleasure from getting scared out of its wits….” – Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 28, 2012 (READ MORE)

“…The reason I like Chito Rono’s horror movies, and the reason I see most of them in the theatre, is because suspense-horror is a completely original genre, completely divorced from the hang-ups and expectations of movies that involve real people doing somewhat credible things. I remember when Chito Rono did a suspense project DAHAS, topbilled by Maricel Soriano and Richard Gomez. It was one of a kind. Very engaging just like the Healing. Kim Chiu, among other characters has lesser exposure here but a huge revelation. She epitomizes the typical Asian character on every horror films we watched. Her make-up was perfect and she looks so fresh on the movie. Pokwang, Janice and Martin Del Rosario did a great job as support role. Their characters are very important and happy to see Janice De Belen again on the big screen. Pokwang gave a little taste of comic on her dialogues, which gave everyone to catch their breath in preparation to next scene. Martin Del Rosario is a real charmer. Again the focus of the film is the story, its suspense package and for Vilma Santos, which they succeeded. I suggest everyone should watch the uncut version, brave the director’s cut as there seems to be obvious reason why some of the scenes are not included on R13. DISLIKE: There’s one thing I don’t like, they are trying to blur some of Vilma Santos physical feature. That looks very obvious on the big screen. But you will love the color coding (that’s for you to find out). Star Cinema gave another reason for everyone to go back to movie houses and appreciate local films. It’s another excellent film of 2012…The Movie is in honor of Vilma’s 50th anniversary, Star Cinema gathered an all-star highly acclaimed powerhouse cast composed of Kim, Janice de Belen, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abi Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggoy Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin and Pokwang. I am giving THE HEALING 10 out of 10…” – Rod Magaru (READ MORE)

“…Vilma is subjected to a lot of stressful scenes in the movie as she fights for dear life. We have to suspend our disbelief a bit in the scenes where she gets violently mauled, stabbed, hit by a chair, repeatedly hurled down into the floor, but it did elicit a lot of deafening screams from the theatre crowd. Some of her fans feel she should have just done another drama but we can understand her desire to flex her wings and do a vehicle of this sort. When we saw the movie, a lot of viewers were young people who enjoy watching scary films like this. With this, Ate Vi has successfully reached out to a new demographic, with the help of a young star like Kim Chiu, who in all fairness, also does well in her dual roles. For us, it’s a very wise decision indeed. And Chito Roño shows here to younger horror directors like Topel Lee, Richard Somes and Jerrold Tarog (Tarog did a fine job of scoring and editing the movie) that he remains to be the master of the genre who can be even playful with the orchestrated color scheme of the costumes worn by his characters in the movie…” – Mario Bautista, Malaya, Aug 6 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Roño elevated gore in this horror. From a decapitation scene in the middle of the street to a massacre inside a temple, the director inspired the MTRCB to give the film dual versions: The director’s cut rated R-18 and a trimmed R-13 that allows the fans of Kim Chiu into the cinemas. While the spooks work (including a stroke of brilliance of a popped, moving left eye when the victim becomes possessed), acting was also solid in “The Healing.” Vilma, who owns most of the frames, is convincing whether consoling her friends, guilt-ridden, confused, terrified. She’s even perfect as the ex-wife who, despite the fact that she was the one left behind for a new family, remained careful and concerned when dealing with her son and the daughter of her ex-husband because she always consider how her ex and his new wife would feel. Supporting performances are as engaging. Kim Chiu, whose Cookie is also healed but scheduled to die if Seth fails to stop the terrifying chain, traded convincing scenes with the actress/politician. Robert Arevalo and Allan Paule (Greta’s husband) offered moments of laughter and chances to exhale from the jolts and gore. Joel Torre and Jhong Hilario stole bits of the thunder in their moments leading to the climax…” – Kaye Villagomez, Manila Bulletin, Aug 07 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Vilma Santos is an icon and it is cool that she is accessible to a new generation of movie-goers. Ate Vi, this time without the benefit of long monologues or cinematic crying, proves her virtuosity as an actor in a horror movie, a genre she’s not really known for. But the good governor is indisputable as the leading lady within a great ensemble cast, including Joel Torre, Alan Paule, Janice de Belen, Cris Villanueva, Kim Chiu, and Pokwang among others. Look closely and you’ll find her photographed lovingly (by cinematographer Charlie Peralta) in almost soft-focus -is that what they call a two stocking shot? -running around in her platform mules and designer handbags. She’s awesome at looking surprised and seemed suitably spooked when a black crow flies in her face. (I will not mention any plot spoilers because the story is way too convoluted to summarize here, but I will say that yes, there is an ugly black bird in this movie)…” – Ria Limjap, Spot.ph, Aug 03 2012 (READ MORE)

To Rono’s credit, each “death scene” would top the last one as far as gore and blood are concerned. The cast did well, too. Vilma Santos is Vilma Santos. She will always be bigger than her roles. This is not to say that she did not perform well; she did. But, watching her, you see Vilma more than Seth – too strong to ignore. Kim Chiu appeared in very few scenes despite her second billing. As with her performances on TV, she would have done better if she injected more energy into her role. I did not know Martin del Rosario before this movie, but he delivered very well in his crucial role as Jed. I’m not really sure why Ynez Veneracion had to show her right boob in a scene – maybe for old times’ sake. Several camera angles used by Mr. Rono were very well-planned and executed, maximizing the tension onscreen. Like other productions (movies and theater plays) I watch nowadays, there was color coordination in the outfits/costumes of the characters onscreen. In “The Healing,” though, I did not quite get why a certain color was chosen to be the “theme” of a scene. It was too obvious, that when a scene’s color scheme continued into an unrelated scene, it became distracting. Many common scare tactics and music were employed in the film. Thankfully, there was no Sadako-like creature in this one (if you still don’t know who Sadako is, Google “The Ring” Japanese version — or search on YouTube). Overall, “The Healing” is okay. It is similar to other horror films in the way the friends of the lead female character are dying around her and it is up to her to break the curse. If it was Kris Aquino who played Seth instead of Vilma Santos, the movie would just be “Feng Shui” all over again…” – Fred Hawson, Rappler, Aug 12 2012 (READ MORE)

“…The movie has a cohesive plot. The editing is brisk. The story telling is to the point. The jolts, the surprises, the building tension as the plot thickens makes you squirm from your seat. You can’t take your eyes off the screen so as not to miss the details, the foreshadowing, the conflict resolution. From the impressive opening credits, to the alternate theme colors of blue, red, yellow & white, you know the movie is special. The ensemble acting reminds you of such sleuth movies as Murder on the Orient Express & Death on the Nile, where Rono is able to flesh out the best from each actor or actress, no matter how small the role is, whether in a group or singly . I particularly like Janice De Belen, Pokwang, Robert Arevalo (in a groovy role that Sildenafil users could relate to), Kim Chiu, Joel Torre & Martin Del Rosario. Vilma Santos is in almost every frame. It is a most restrained performance, akin to her Urian winning Amanda Bartolome character in Dekada 70 where she has mastered “doing less is more.” As the key figure or the cause of the sad fate of her friends, Vilma is able to effectively use her eyes to show fear, guilt, sadness, even remorse. Her best scenes are when she tells her son Martin to not leave Kim from his sight, while calling from a cell phone, her confrontation scene with Kim in a car while Martin is driving the van & her hair raising, thrilling confrontation scene with Kim, the evil twin…” – Mar Garces (READ MORE)

“…The Healing spends a great deal of time needlessly attempting to make sense of the plentiful contrivances it filled its plot with. Simplicity is not one of Roño’s priorities. The film indulges in so many points that require tiring explanations and expositions, some of which seem too farfetched to be believed or to be appreciated. While the genre relies heavily on the supernatural and the unexplainable, Roño’s story seems too all over the place, forcing everything to cohere seamlessly like a completed jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, the film’s insistence on forcing the details mostly backfires, creating a story that meanders a little bit too much. The key to good horror is not necessarily what is overtly shown and depicted but the quality and the extent of what is left to the imagination. Roño invests a lot in The Healing’s visual design. Practical effects are abandoned for computer-generated effects, allowing grislier and more deranged sequences to exist with absolute ease. Instead of heightening the tension, the computer-generated effects only deflates it, inviting humor with how closer it resembles cartoons than macabre realism instead of fear. The acting is also unnecessarily pronounced and hysterical, despite the characters’ unnatural reaction to impending amorality and death. There is just too little left for the audience. The film is just frustratingly cluttered, serving details and elements, motivations and reactions, all of which do not necessarily fit the material they are forced to support. The Healing is commendable only for the fact that it attempted to stray from the inanities of uninspired horror cinema that has occupied Philippine cinema for far too long. It bears ideas and an execution of such ideas that evince an ambition and effort to break away from tired conventions. Sadly, everything ends up in forgettable confusion…” – Oggs Cruz (READ MORE)

“…The film is, by turn, violent and the sexy episode given clinical treatment. The breast of Ynez Veneracion (as Greta) is fondled matter-of-factly to show that the cancerous lumps are no longer there. The series of death – suicide and murder, keep the moviegoers on the edge, screaming here and there and up to the very end when the ‘sanib’ victim Kim Chiu (as Cookie) opens her eyes. Rono has a perfect acting ensemble to make this film credible and engaging. Even with the limited exposure and dialogue that she had, Daria Ramirez was great acting personified in The Healing. Pokwang (as Alma) was another revelation. Here, Rono doesn’t allow her to take another crack at her comic talents and emerges a natural performer. Everyone has defining moments in this film from Kim Chiu (as Cookie), Janice de Belen (as Cita), Robert Arevalo (as Odong), Martin del Rosario (as Jed), Mark Gil (as Val), Carmi Martin, Cris Villanueva (as Ding), Allan Paule (as Ruben), Ces Quesada (as Chona), Chinggoy Alonzo and Simon Ibarra (as Rex), among others. Joel Torre -as the healer’s brother- turns in another winning performance. This is my first horror film with Vilma Santos in it and I must say that she acquitted herself very well. Her subtle acting in The Healing was reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. I think she should do more horror film with Rono. Like it or not, The Healing is my Horror Film of the Year…” – Pablo A. Tariman (READ MORE)

“…The cast delivers a believable performance in The Healing. For a horror film, it sure has some good humor on it. The humor usually comes from Seth’s (Vilma Santos) father Mang Odong (Robert Arevalo). But never forget that this is a horror film, you when you least expect it the film delivers this sucker punch jump scare. The Healing has a good number of jump scares which you can either love or hate. I personally prefer the more psychological and creeping form of scare when it comes to horror films. Don’t get me wrong, The Healing has these creepy elements as well. The scares in the Healing are okay which have been generally enhanced by CG-effects…Star Cinema’s The Healing is a good horror film which has some pretty suspenseful and creepy moments…The Healing is worth the time, money, and effort. The film is more of a suspense than a horror in the latter part of the film which is not bad which doesn’t diminish how the story progressed. Pinoy Movie Blogger gives The Healing (2012) an 8 out of 10 (4/10) film review rating…” – Chris A., Pinoy Movie Blogger (READ MORE)

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FILM REVIEW: D’LUCKY ONES


The Plot: Tina (Eugene Domingo) and Lea (Pokwang) are best friends who are also avid fans of Vilma Santos. They were inseparable until Lea decides to leave the country and go to Korea. They promise that someday they will really become one big happy family when their children get married. Years after, by virtue of an old vow, Lucky Girl (Sandara Park) and Lucky Boy (Joseph Bitangcol) are forced to be together by their mothers. Problem is, they hate each other’s guts. But, just when they’re falling for each other, love plays a trick on the meddling moms which threatens to bring the young lovers apart – IMDB (READ MORE)

The Reviews: D’Lucky Ones is one of those oddball, low budget comedies that still fill movie theaters in The Philippines. Hollywood would never make this movie, not because Americans have so much better tastes in films, but because it now costs too much to make B films (as they used to churn out in droves). That’s television’s job. Two best friends are both avid fans of actress Vilma Santos. They know her movies by heart. When one takes a job in South Korea, they promise that her daughter will marry the other one’s son when they both are old enough. They name the girl Lucky Girl and the boy Lucky Boy after one of Vilma’s children, Luis “Lucky” Manzano. Of course they don’t consult the children, who hate each other because of an incident they both remember differently, at a party when they were both young. When the one friend returns to The Philippines with her daughter, the girl is determined to get her revenge on Lucky Boy. What follows is a typical screwball sequence of events and misunderstandings. Lucky Girl winds up staying in the same apartment with Lucky Boy, to hide out from her mother and her plans to marry the girl to Lucky Boy, and doesn’t understand who Lucky Boy is, and gradually starts to fall in love with him. Lucky Boy, however, is working hard to get his revenge on Lucky Girl. He even gets her arrested for picking flowers at the entrance to Lunetta (Rizal Park). Considering the things that go on in the park, you’d think the police would have other things to worry about besides picking flowers, but it’s funny just for that.

Then there’s the silly subplot where the two friends, while trying to search for Lucky Girl, somehow fall in with a handsome young man, and both of them are fighting each other for his attention. It’s clear that he has no romantic interest in either one, who are both old enough to be his mother, but he’s hanging around as a friend. The two mothers go to a bar and join in a dance contest to impress the young man. They make their two children look incredibly mature by comparison. There’s one intense scene between Lucky Girl and her mother where Lucky Girl learns that her South Korean father abused her mother, and all the inlaws hated her because she was Filipino rather than Korean. Many times they would not allow her stay in the house with her daughter, but she begged for food on the streets. Watching Vilma Santos movies was her escape from this reality. This may also make Lucky Girl rethink her preference for living in South Korea over The Philippines (she’d been planning to return to the only country she knew as home. Heck, she only knew how to speak Tagalog from her mother forcing her to watch Vilma Santos movies.) The ending is obvious. Send the Vilma Santos fans to a Vilma Santos reunion party and get Ate Vi (Older Sister Vi) to patch up the two friends. And then everybody gets to dance. Hey, it’s The Philippines. Make sure you are better able to survive catastrophes than the crew and passengers of The Titanic. Get emergency preparedness kits now. Disabled and senior citizens need to check out an emergency medical alert system. – That Awesome TV (READ MORE)

“It’s obvious that ABS-CBN values Vilma Santos so much. After making a movie that is an unabashed tribute to her from start to finish, “D Lucky Ones,” they now feature her in the 15th anniversary presentation of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” “We love Vi as she’s not only a nice person but also a true professional, a committed artist who loves her craft,” says Charo Santos, top ABSCBN executive and host of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” “Fan na niya ako since her Vi and Bobot days and Iove seen her evolution as a person and as an actress. Kahanga-hanga talaga siya at ang kanyang magandang kalooban, it just radiates. You cannot fake that dahil galing talaga ‘yun sa loob. We’ve long been inviting her to guest in “Maalaala” and she was the one who gave us this story of Mrs. Daisy Hernandez, a mother so devoted to her eldest daughter who had cerebral palsy.” “I met Daisy at the SPED, special education school for special children, in Lipa,” says Ate Vi. “I met her daughter, April. Then I didn’t see her for sometime and I found April has died na pala. I told her to write down her story then I gave it to Malou Santos who thought of doing it for “Maalaala.” We started taping this last year, pero magka-conflict ang skeds namin ni Direk Olive Lamasan, so it took 6 and a half days to tape it over a period of one year at natiyempo sa anniversary ng ‘Maalaala’ at pang-Mother’s Day presentation pa.” “This is the show’s 777th episode,” adds Charo. “Maalaala has been made into a film in 1994 that gave awards to its stars, Aiko Melendez and Chin Chin Gutierrez. It has given the break to many directors like Wenn Deramas, Jerry Sineneng, Rory Quintos, Gilbert Perez, Mac Alejandre, Lauren Dyogi, Ricky Davao and Michael de Mesa. We’re proud to have Vi for our anniversary show that will be shown on May 4 and 11.” We’ve seen the preview of the episode, entitled “Regalo,” and it’s really a tearjerker that aims to wring your tearducts dry. Her fans will surely be proud of their idol anew as she shines in several scenes where she gets to deliver kilometric lines. It’s a great acting vehicle for any actress worth her salt and Ate Vi truly does justice to the role of a mother who does everything to support her disabled child only to lose her later to a viral infection. All throughout the death and wake of April” (convincingly played by Maja Salvador), Vilma is not shown crying at all. She finally breaks down after the funeral while talking to her husband (Ricky Davao, who’s equally great) and delivers some lines that will surely be added to the list of classic dialogues she has uttered in her past films and that were all used in “D Lucky Ones.” If you’re a parent with a special child, you’d be able to identify with her role. But even if you’re not, you’d still be affected by this true story of unconditional love and sacrifice. Incidentally, we finally got to see “D Lucky Ones” and we’d like to congratulate Director Wenn Deramas for succeeding to make us laugh. There are many hilarious scenes in the movie that even non-Vilmanians will appreciate, thanks to the fine performances of Eugene Domingo, Sandara Park and Pokwang. Eugene is the best among them as she doesn’t exert too much effort in tickling us. Sandy is also a natural comedienne, but Pokwang can go over the top at the times she should have been restrained a bit. The film has two highlights. First is the dance showdown between Eugene and Pokwang at the Phi Bar where they get to re-create the intricate production numbers Ate Vi used to do in her TV show. The second one is the film’s climax where Ate Vi makes a special guest appearance to reconcile the warring Eugene and Pokwang and then does a dance number with the entire cast. Most local comedies fail to make us laugh, but this one really works. – Charlie Gomez (READ MORE)

“Stand out sina Pokwang at Eugene Domingo sa D’ Lucky Ones, kung tutuusin supporting roles lamang sila dito. Nag-mukhang sina Sandara Park at Joseph Bitangcol ang supporting, dahil nadala nila ang tunay na ibig sabihin ng pagiging isang tagahanga. Litaw na litaw ang paghango ng mga linya mula sa mga pelikulang Sister Stella L., Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa at iba pang pelikulang pinagbibidahan ni Ate Vi. Oo, sila nga ay die hard fans ni Vilma Santos, at dahil dito, ang pelikula ay isang Success. Well, it’s a crime to say that Pokwang and Domingo are supporting roles, in the first place, they are the ones who named their kids “Lucky”. Lucky girl and Lucky boy. How sweet ain’t it? Every single bit revolves around the two mothers, they practically OWN the movie, everytime they are on screen they demand presence. Especially, on the Vilma quote bits, they deliver each line right to the pulp. It was so hilarious because i’ve seen those films, and they’ve captured Vilma’s nuances and mannerisms.There was one part in the film when Eugene Domingo started quoting Vilma Santos in the film, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, complete with the white free flowing dress, they even shot it on the beach, it’s oozing with cheese, it good, if you get my drift. If that wasn’t enough, they even had a dance showdown at a comedy bar, according to Pokwang, they’re just dancing just like Vilma did in the movie Burlesk Queen. Forget about Park and Bitangcol, the film belong to the two stars of all season. Majority of the jokes in the film will be lost in translation to those not familiar with Vilma’s films, and to this note, it is a film not for everyone.” – Eboy Donato (READ MORE)

“It’s been called the ?happiest movie? of this summer season, and indeed laughter rings out often and loudly in the movie house while “D’ Lucky Ones” is being shown. Much of the credit for the laughter and guffaws, as well as the charm and overall lighthearted feeling of the movie, goes to the tandem of Pokwang and Eugene Domingo. Playing a pair of die-hard Vilmanians (fans of Vilma Santos, for those out of the show-biz loop) who end up lifelong best friends who “pledge” their children to each other, the comediennes ham it up shamelessly and set the film’s blistering pace of razor-sharp dialog and comic antics. The two had previously made a name for themselves as “supporting” characters, comic foil to romantic leads or as “best friends” to beleaguered heroines. Most TV viewers, though, will remember them as “housemaids” in one telenovela and sitcom or another, a role that every aspirant in these parts needs to nail, it seems, before she can join the comic sorority. They might have been stuck indefinitely in this purgatory of second leads had it not been for “D’ Lucky Ones,” a movie that puts them front and center, gives them plenty of room and screen time to show off their chops, and allows them to mouth lines that parody the most memorable scenes from Ate Vi’s body of work-at once familiar and risible.

While the “lucky ones” in the movie are actually Sandara Park and Joseph Bitangcol, who play Pokwang’s and Eugene’s “Lucky Girl” and “Lucky Boy” respectively, the movie really centers around the mothers, who so dominate and beguile that I found myself distressed and bothered each time the movie left them and devoted time to the “love story” angle. I’M sorry to say that Park and Bitangcol, notwithstanding their “real-life” romantic relationship, hardly register any chemistry between them. Park is difficult to understand, since she has a tendency to let her Filipino lines run together. Bitangcol has yet to feel at ease before the camera, since his acting seems to consist mainly of poses and facial mannerisms. At times, one can even catch him sneaking a furtive look at the camera when he shouldn’t. So it’s safe to say that the movie succeeds despite them, which is why I hope producers don’t attribute any magical box-office prowess to the youngsters. Instead, they should pay attention to the newly gained clout of Pokwang and Domingo who, like Ai-Ai de las Alas, labored in obscurity before proving that screen charisma has little to do with an actor’s looks or figure, and everything to do with the ability to connect with the audience. Perhaps it also helps that “D’ Lucky Ones” takes a fond look at fandom, an occupational hazard for any consumer of entertainment fare, and the lengths fans go just to pay homage to their object of affection, adoration and adulation. The “Nora” and “Vilma” fans are particularly fascinating, since the two women commanded extraordinary levels of loyalty in their heyday and even today, no matter the intriguing twists and turns of their life stories.

MY friend Peachy and I-whom I roped into watching “D’Lucky Ones” after all family members refused my importuning-had an interesting discussion about the nature of Vilmanians and Noranians. We both agreed that the overall tone of the movie, which is “happy” and “sunny” and pastel-toned, wouldn’t have been possible if it had been about Nora’s fans. And this is because Nora’s oeuvre is dominated by darker and grimmer movies that don’t lend themselves easily to comic parody or satire. I consider myself a Noranian, but the film turned me into a Vilmanian, and when Ate Vi no less turned up at the movie’s finale, I felt a thrill, vicariously diving into Pokwang’s and Eugene’s obsession. I also felt a surge of appreciation and gratitude for the work of Vilma and Nora, who have dominated show business in the last decades, coming up with a truly admirable line-up of movies, showing courage in their choice of new challenges and off-beat characters, and maintaining a hold on their fans’ affections. Fans can be pests, that’s true. They tend to take their “ownership” over their idols much too seriously, to the extent of stalking them, dictating their love lives and setting up outsize expectations. But over the years, they can provide a source of affirmation and validation, especially when the bloom of one’s stardom has started to fade. Neither is this a one-way street. As Pokwang’s character reveals, watching Vilma’s movies and tracking her career provided her the only source of solace in the years she spent as a contract wife in Korea, looked down upon by her in-laws and reduced to a superfluity. Indeed, amid the vexations of daily life, being a fan provides escape and entertainment, another level of reality and a pleasant diversion. Not a bad bargain, that.” – Rina Jimenez, April 30, 2006 (READ MORE)

“…I have no question about the talents of Eugene Domingo and Pokwang when it comes to making people laugh. They know how to deliver. They give good punchlines. They can make both a simple dialogue or an already very funny line to come to terms with their humor altogether. Their characters as big Vilma Santos fans who have vowed to marry their children when the right time comes work for the comedy. But the thing is, removing all the other characters in the movie, the comedy can stand alone with Eugene and Pokwang only. Candy contributes to the humor but her character is not a vital thing in the story. Sandara doesn’t give the right timing to deliver a dramatic line or transcend the needed emotion for a scene. Nevertheless, her ‘krung-krung’ aura adds up to the comedy. Joseph has a very superficial acting. He has no depth for his character and he seems to just read and deliver his lines coming from the script. JR Valentin’s role is obviously made for the fun and for that added spice to the story’s conflict. He seems like the usual sex object exploited in the big screen (this time the sex object is a guy!) and he seems to work after all. He knows how to carry himself for the scenes without upstaging or downstaging Eugene and Pokwang. He blends with them for his sex object role. The dance numbers remind me of the 80′s flicks where such production numbers are always present in a number of flicks of the era. It’s like the 80′s dance numbers meet present day novelty songs. They are fun and the masses seem too enjoy it well. The production design and lighting department are not so impressing for this movie. Eugene’s face has not changed a bit during the flashback scenes. Additional effort for the make-up could have saved it. The room of Joseph looks newly-arranged by the art department. The set and props all look brand new when in reality, some things should have looked a bit crumpled or fading. But the funny wardrobe of Pokwang and Eugene looks effective for the genre. The editing is not seemless. Though for just a few seconds, I have noticed an overexposed shot after the bus scene. The closeup shot of Sandara during a dramatic scene with Pokwang is out of focus…” – Rianne Hill Soriano (READ MORE)

Vi and Kim in The Healing (NEWS UPDATE)

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NEWS UPDATE

Doppelganger – “…Chiu, who will play a doppelganger in the movie, said it was indeed a wonderful experience to be working alongside Star For All Seasons Vilma Santos. “It’s a wonderful experience. Ang dami kong natutunan sa kanya as an actress and as a person. And kay Direk Chito (Roño) din, sobra akong nag-enjoy,” she said. While there were times when she felt intimidated by Santos, Chiu said the acclaimed actress always encouraged her to just focus on her role. “Sabi niya gawin mo dapat mong gawin sa isang eksena. Huwag mong sasayangin. Paulit-ulit niyang sinasabi na sayang ‘yung eksena,” she said. Chiu said working with Santos helped her grow as an actress. “Parang nag-grow yung acting ko. Madami akong natutunan in terms of work sa set,” she said…” – ABS-CB Nnews, Jun 20 2012 (READ MORE)

“…She is happy daw na as an actress, napagbigyan niya ang sarili na makatapos ng isang pelikula sa taong ito. Her last film was In My Life with son Luis Manzano and John Lloyd Cruz released by Star Cinema nearly three years ago. Her new movie, D’Healing, is also for Star Cinema with Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen and Pokwang. Chito Roño directs…Pero hindi ko muna iniisip ang next movie ko after D’Healing. Kasi I want to focus on its release dahil it will coincide with the celebration of my 50th year in showbiz. “I assure the public na this movie is something new, ’di ko pa nagawa bilang aktres. Kaya sana, panoorin nila,” susog niya.” – Nel Alejandrino (READ MORE)

“Gov. Vilma Santos says Star Cinema wants to show her new movie “The Healing” on July 11. “But I told them that’s too soon,” she says at her launch as the endorser of Generics Pharmacy at Shangri-La Makati ballroom. “Aalis pa ako next week, pupunta kami ni Sen. Ralph at ni Ryan Christian sa Hawaii for a one-week vacation. Sabi ko, let’s meet when I come back. Gusto ko naman, mas mai-promote ‘yung movie kasi first time ko gumawa ng suspense thriller with Chito Roño and I’m so proud of it. Puro magagaling ang mga kasama ko like Janice de Belen, Kim Chiu, Pokwang. ‘Yun nga lang, gory ‘yung ibang death scenes dito so we’re worried na baka paghigpitan kami ng MTRCB. But Chito says ipaglalaban daw niya. The story is about doppelgangers.” After this, Star Cinema is offering another movie for her for the Metro Filmfest. “But I told them hindi ko na kaya talaga. They even want me to do a TV show in time for my 50th anniversary in showbiz in November but, I don’t know, siguro TV special na lang.” How about the indie film where she’ll play a Ma Barker character? “Adolf Alix gave me the script. Pinag-aaralan ko pa. Nothing is final…” – Mario Bautista (READ MORE)

“…Natapos na ni Governor Vilma Santos-Recto ang Chito Roño movie niyang The Healing nu’ng Sabado. Bale 37 shooting days ang ginugol ng Star For All Seasons sa movie niya na bahagi ng selebrasyon niya ng kanyang Golden Year sa showbiz. Before dinner ay pack-up ang hu­ling mga eksena kaya naman nagkaroon ng dinner kung saan nagkaroon din ng raffle para sa staff and crew. Dumating din sa kasiyahan ang mag-amang si Sen. Ralph Recto at anak na si Ryan Christian. Namigay rin ng black T shirts sa lahat kung saan naka-print sa harap ang “They survived The Healing in 37 days!” Kasama sa cast ng Star Cinema movie sina Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen, Pokwang at iba pa. After ng movie, isang malaking endorsement naman ang ilalabas ni Governor Vilma next month….” – Jun Nardo, Abante May 29 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Sa harapan ng black t-shirt na ipinamudmod ni Chito Roño ay nakasulat ang mga katagang “I Survive The Healing in 37 shooting days“. Naka-schedule na ipapalabas ang The Healing sa last week ng July…ayon sa sources, after The Healing ay wala nang kontrata si Ate Vi sa Star Cinema kaya malamang daw na tanggapin ng actress/ politician ang offer ni Mother Lily Monteverde and TV5. Naghihintay din si Chit Guerero para naman sa TV special ni Ate Vi bilang celebration ng 50th anniversary ng premyadong actress/ politician. May tatlong TV commercials and endorsements din naghihintay sa availability ni Gov. Vi.” – Jimi C. Escala (READ MORE)

SOMETHING NEW – “…The Star for all Seasons is slated to topbill The Healing with Kim Chiu. This drama-horror thriller will be directed by Chito Roño. The two actresses recently had the story conference for their movie, which will be shown during the latter part of the year. Governor Vilma told Showbiz News Ngayon that the movie: “has something to do with mga Pilipinong mahilig magpagamot sa mga healers. But at the end of the day, mga nangyayari sa kapaligiran pagdating sa…spiritual, doon iikot ang istorya. “I find this something new unang una sa story. First time akong gagawa nito plus the fact na I will be doing a movie with Kim Chiu. Definitely that is something very important. At this point in time, what is important is chemistry plus a good project, a good director.” For her part, Kim feels lucky to be given this chance to work with the Star for all Seasons. “Masaya ako and excited ako. Something new din for me to do a horror movie under Star Cinema and to work with Governor Vilma Santos.” The actress-politician then asked Kim to refer to her as Ate Vi and not Governor Vi. Kim laughed and exclaimed: Nahihiya ako!…” – PEP (READ MORE)

NA-STARSTRUCK – “…Personal na sumalubong sa kanya si Kim Chiu na makakatambal niya sa kanyang comeback movie matapos ang 2 taon. Sabi ni Chiu, “Nasa-starstruck pa ako. Teka lang, wala pa akong masabing word, nag-wave lang ako.” Sagot ni Santos, “Ang bago dito, kasama ko si Binondo Girl, excited ako ‘don.” Matatandaang unang nakita ni Vilma ang husay sa pag-arte ni Kim Chiu nang magpa-acting workshop siya noon para sa Star Magic talents. Ginampanan ni Kim ang award-winning role ni Vi bilang AIDS victim na si Dolzura Cortez. “Tingnan niyo po kung nasan si Kim ngayon, di ba? I am so proud of you,” sabi ni Santos. Nagpasalamat si Chiu rito. “Wow, thank you so much. Isang malaking karangalan siyempre ang makatrabaho ang isang Governor Vilma Santos. Sobrang thankful ako na pinagbigyan niya ‘tong chance na ‘to. Sobrang ang saya-saya.” Si Direktor Chito Roño mismo ang bumalangkas ng pagsasamahan nina Ate Vi at Kim Chiu, ang drama horror-thriller na The Healing…” – Mario Dumaual (READ MORE)

FAITH HEALER – “…The film, which is tentatively titledThe Healing, will revolve around the Filipino tradition of going to faith healers to treat their various ailments. The young actress said that she is also excited to work with her other co-stars in the said movie, like Janice De Belen. She added that she admires Janice for her acting in the teleserye Budoy. Parang idol ko na nga ngayon si Ms. Janice de Belen tapos kasama ko pa siya ngayon sa movie. So, yun, ang galing galing. Kim also shared some details about her character: Ang role ko dito, estudyante na may sakit. Lahat kami dito may sakit kaya lalapit kami sa faith healer. Exciting siya and kaabang-abang talaga ito. Kim added that she got a little scared herself when the plot was explained to her. Sobrang kakaibang horror film na parang kahit ako, habang nagkukuwento sila, natatakot na ako, bilang matatakutin akong tao. Acting alongside Vilma Santos is definitely a step-up for the young actress. When asked if she is expecting to win an award for it, Kim said that she will simply do her best and try not to think about it. Pressure? Hindi naman, basta relax lang and thankful ako na napasama ako sa pelikulang ito, she ended…” – Jamie Ortega (READ MORE)

Kimberly Sue Yap Chiu (born April 19, 1990 in Tacloban), better known as simply Kim Chiu, is a Chinese Filipino actress,singer and model. She lived in Cebu City before she went to Manila for Pinoy Big Brother. Chiu was the first winner of Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition and is currently part of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic contract artists…Chiu started performing as a regular on ASAP XV in 2006. In 2011, Chiu will have a comeback in a primetime series via My Binondo Girl. This is her first television series without Anderson and instead she will three leading men namely, Xian Lim, Matteo Guidicelli, and Jolo Revilla. She is also slated to do a horror film with Vilma Santos. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…The Healing. A Star Cinema horror film under the direction of Chito S. Roño starring Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen, Pokwang, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Maria Isabel Lopez, Ces Quesada, Cogie Domingo, Angelu de Leon, Ryan Eigenmann, and Jomari Yllana with a tentative nationwide theatrical release of May 2012…” – Chris A. (READ MORE)

“Pero ang nakakatakot sa pelikula, yun palang tatay ni Vilma, kinukuha niya ang ‘life force’ ng lahat ng mga magiging pasyente nung healer”, dagdag na kuwento pa ni Mama maribel. “Kaya siya nabubuhay, kinukuha naman pala niya ang buhay o energy life force ng ibang mga tao, at yun ang mga magiging susunod na mga pasyente nung faith healer! Shocking, di ba? Naku, sorpresa ang role ko dito, ikatatakot ng lahat. At si Ate Vi, ngayon lang muli kami magkakasama sa isang pelikula. The last movie we made was Alyas Baby tsina during the late ’80′s pa yun!” At kilala naman ng lahat kung gaano kagaling si direk Chito Rono sa paggawa ng mga horror films, no? Isa sa paboritong horror film namin na ginawa ni direk Chtio ay yung remake ng clasic film na “Patayin Sa Sindak Si Barbara!” kung saan si Dawn Zulueta ang naging bida…” – Robert Manuguid Silverio (READ MORE)

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Filmography: D’Lucky Ones (2006)

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Basic Information: Directed: Wenn V. Deramas; Story: Rose Colindres; Screenplay: Theodore Boborol, Rose Colindres; Cast: Sandara Park, Joseph Bitangcol, Pokwang, Eugene Domingo, Nikki Valdez, Candy Pangilinan, Guest appearance of Vilma Santos; Executive producer: Charo Santos-Concio, Malou N. Santos; Original Music: Jessie Lasaten; Cinematography: Sherman So; Film Editing: Renewin Alano; Production Design: Nancy Arcega; Sound: Addiss Tabong; Theme Songs: “Ang Ganda Ko” Performed by Sandara Park; “Toyang” Performed by Eraserheads; “Sweet Sixteen” Performed by Vilma Santos

Plot Description: Tina (Eugene Domingo) and Lea (Pokwang) are best friends who are also avid fans of Vilma Santos. They were inseparable until Lea decides to leave the country and go to Korea. They promise that someday they will really become one big happy family when their children get married. Years after, by virtue of an old vow, Lucky Girl (Sandara Park) and Lucky Boy (Joseph Bitangcol) are forced to be together by their mothers. Problem is, they hate each other’s guts. But, just when they’re falling for each other, love plays a trick on the meddling moms which threatens to bring the young lovers apart. – IMDB

Film Achievement: Box office hit of 2006

Film Review: “…Parang tribute kay Vilma Santos ang D’ Lucky Ones ng Star Cinema dahil galing mula sa mga hit movie ng aktres ang mga linya nina Pokwang at Eugene Domingo. Base sa trailer na napanood namin sa presscon, potential hit ang D’ Lucky Ones at may posibilidad ito na maging another Ang Tanging Ina sa takilya. May special participation sa pelikula si Vilma Santos at ayon ito kay Sandara Park na hindi yata aware na hindi pa pwedeng sabihin ang surprise ng project niya sa Star Cinema. Very Vilma Santos ang itsura ni Eugene sa poster ng D’ Lucky Ones. Mismong si Eugene ang nagsabi na “fans na fans” (fan na fan) siya ng Star for All Seasons. Take note, seryoso ang comedienne nang ipahayag ang sobrang paghanga sa award-winning actress kaya hindi niya napansin na sumobra ang kanyang letrang ‘s….” – Jojo Gabinete, Abante Tonite, March 19, 2006 (READ MORE)

Stand out sina Pokwang at Eugene Domingo sa D’ Lucky Ones, kung tutuusin supporting roles lamang sila dito. Nag-mukhang sina Sandara Park at Joseph Bitangcol ang supporting, dahil nadala nila ang tunay na ibig sabihin ng pagiging isang tagahanga. Litaw na litaw ang paghango ng mga linya mula sa mga pelikulang Sister Stella L., Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa at iba pang pelikulang pinagbibidahan ni Ate Vi. Oo, sila nga ay die hard fans ni Vilma Santos, at dahil dito, ang pelikula ay isang SUCCESS.

Well, it’s a crime to say that Pokwang and Domingo are supporting roles, in the first place, they are the ones who named their kids “Lucky”. Lucky girl and Lucky boy. How sweet ain’t it? Every single bit revolves around the two mothers, they practically OWN the movie, everytime they are on screen they demand presence. Especially, on the Vilma quote bits, they deliver each line right to the pulp. It was so hilarious because i’ve seen those films, and they’ve captured Vilma’s nuances and mannerisms.There was one part in the film when Eugene Domingo started quoting Vilma Santos in the film, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, complete with the white free flowing dress, they even shot it on the beach, it’s oozing with cheese, it good, if you get my drift. If that wasn’t enough, they even had a dance showdown at a comedy bar, according to Pokwang, they’re just dancing just like Vilma did in the movie Burlesk Queen. Forget about Park and Bitangcol, the film belong to the two stars of all season. Majority of the jokes in the film will be lost in translation to those not familiar with Vilma’s films, and to this note, it is a film not for everyone. – Eboy Donato (READ MORE)

With Eugene Domingo and Pokwang heading the cast, D Lucky Ones can really make you laugh. But everything seems to end there. And though I know a number of people from the cast to the production staff, I just can’t help but write about the booboos of this movie. It is really disappointing. A good film should have cultural correctness and accuracy even in the smallest details that may seem unnoticeable to a number of viewers. And even though such a film is clearly fictionalized, a good research should let it convey a well-established story based from the realities of life. A comedy can sometimes deviate from realistic features. But this creative freedom is always justified for every story claiming for its use.

From Korea, Pokwang and Sandara return to the Philippines via an international flight of Cebu Pacific. In fact, Cebu Pacific looks like a sponsor of the movie because of its well-advertised treatment. But the problem is not the seemingly ‘product placement’ of the airline company as it looks valid and unexploited on screen. But never did I know that there’s an international flight courtesy of Cebu Pacific other than Hongkong to Manila and vice versa. I am open to corrections if there’s really a Korea to Manila flight via Cebu Pacific. Morever, Pokwang and Sandara go out of the airport’s Centennial Terminal under Cebu Pacific when the said terminal is only meant for PAL (Philippine Airlines) passengers. Is this the most that the location managers can do for the movie? And is this the best effort that the entire staff can have just to be able to shoot the movie without acknowledging a balance between creativity and correctness of what they are bringing to the viewers? On a personal note, for a movie of one of the top film production companies of the country, I just couldn’t get the point why they are supposed to let such simple things be overlooked. It’s like they let such booboos pass because they underestimate their audience.

I try to rationalize if all these things can be excused because it is meant to be like that for a comedic effect. But this one is not justifiable at all. I try to consider if it’s possible that Pokwang and Sandara have made a stopover trip to some Visayan islands first before finally riding a plane bound to Manila since they are riding a plane with the passengers all looking like Filipinos (it’s only Sandara who looks like a foreigner in the plane). But it just doesn’t make sense. Honestly, the production number Eugene Domingo presents at the Centennial Terminal looks a bit impossible when she is not established as a very influential person in the movie to have the power to get a permit for such at the arrival area of the airport. But this one I can let pass for creative license for such a comedy. But the other things I have initially mentioned, it really tends to underestimate the viewers.

I have no question about the talents of Eugene Domingo and Pokwang when it comes to making people laugh. They know how to deliver. They give good punchlines. They can make both a simple dialogue or an already very funny line to come to terms with their humor altogether. Their characters as big Vilma Santos fans who have vowed to marry their children when the right time comes work for the comedy. But the thing is, removing all the other characters in the movie, the comedy can stand alone with Eugene and Pokwang only. Candy contributes to the humor but her character is not a vital thing in the story. Sandara doesn’t give the right timing to deliver a dramatic line or transcend the needed emotion for a scene. Nevertheless, her ‘krung-krung’ aura adds up to the comedy. Joseph has a very superficial acting. He has no depth for his character and he seems to just read and deliver his lines coming from the script. JR Valentin’s role is obviously made for the fun and for that added spice to the story’s conflict. He seems like the usual sex object exploited in the big screen (this time the sex object is a guy!) and he seems to work after all. He knows how to carry himself for the scenes without upstaging or downstaging Eugene and Pokwang. He blends with them for his sex object role.

The dance numbers remind me of the 80’s flicks where such production numbers are always present in a number of flicks of the era. It’s like the 80’s dance numbers meet present day novelty songs. They are fun and the masses seem too enjoy it well. The production design and lighting department are not so impressing for this movie. Eugene’s face has not changed a bit during the flashback scenes. Additional effort for the make-up could have saved it. The room of Joseph looks newly-arranged by the art department. The set and props all look brand new when in reality, some things should have looked a bit crumpled or fading. But the funny wardrobe of Pokwang and Eugene looks effective for the genre. The editing is not seemless. Though for just a few seconds, I have noticed an overexposed shot after the bus scene. The closeup shot of Sandara during a dramatic scene with Pokwang is out of focus.

This movie is incomparable with other well-made Star Cinema films. I am a witness to the standing room only second day/weekend showing of this movie at Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall. I have heard the laughter from fans and from those who just want to have a dose of comedy without noticing the booboos I have seen. But I would have to keep up with my stand that every film outfit and filmmaker have the utmost responsibility to come up with a film that is honest to the littlest details of make-believe. Creative license should be exercised towards excellence in all aspects of production. And they should always treat every viewer as either an intellectual or a street-smart person who deserves to watch something worth the hundred bucks s/he pays. – Rianne Hill Soriano, Jeu d’esprit (READ MORE)

D’Lucky Ones is one of those oddball, low budget comedies that still fill movie theaters in The Philippines. Hollywood would never make this movie, not because Americans have so much better tastes in films, but because it now costs too much to make B films (as they used to churn out in droves). That’s television’s job. Two best friends are both avid fans of actress Vilma Santos. They know her movies by heart. When one takes a job in South Korea, they promise that her daughter will marry the other one’s son when they both are old enough. They name the girl Lucky Girl and the boy Lucky Boy after one of Vilma’s children, Luis “Lucky” Manzano. Of course they don’t consult the children, who hate each other because of an incident they both remember differently, at a party when they were both young. When the one friend returns to The Philippines with her daughter, the girl is determined to get her revenge on Lucky Boy. What follows is a typical screwball sequence of events and misunderstandings. Lucky Girl winds up staying in the same apartment with Lucky Boy, to hide out from her mother and her plans to marry the girl to Lucky Boy, and doesn’t understand who Lucky Boy is, and gradually starts to fall in love with him. Lucky Boy, however, is working hard to get his revenge on Lucky Girl. He even gets her arrested for picking flowers at the entrance to Lunetta (Rizal Park). Considering the things that go on in the park, you’d think the police would have other things to worry about besides picking flowers, but it’s funny just for that.

Then there’s the silly subplot where the two friends, while trying to search for Lucky Girl, somehow fall in with a handsome young man, and both of them are fighting each other for his attention. It’s clear that he has no romantic interest in either one, who are both old enough to be his mother, but he’s hanging around as a friend. The two mothers go to a bar and join in a dance contest to impress the young man. They make their two children look incredibly mature by comparison. There’s one intense scene between Lucky Girl and her mother where Lucky Girl learns that her South Korean father abused her mother, and all the inlaws hated her because she was Filipino rather than Korean. Many times they would not allow her stay in the house with her daughter, but she begged for food on the streets. Watching Vilma Santos movies was her escape from this reality. This may also make Lucky Girl rethink her preference for living in South Korea over The Philippines (she’d been planning to return to the only country she knew as home. Heck, she only knew how to speak Tagalog from her mother forcing her to watch Vilma Santos movies.) The ending is obvious. Send the Vilma Santos fans to a Vilma Santos reunion party and get Ate Vi (Older Sister Vi) to patch up the two friends. And then everybody gets to dance. Hey, it’s The Philippines. Make sure you are better able to survive catastrophes than the crew and passengers of The Titanic. Get emergency preparedness kits now. Disabled and senior citizens need to check out an emergency medical alert system – That Awesome TV (READ MORE)

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