Pinoy films give American films exacting fight at the box office

Except perhaps the much talked about Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic of the late Freddie Mercury and his band Queen, Hollywood and the English speaking cinema have not much to crow about the past week and this week.

And so Filipino film producers seem to be enjoying the merriment of not having unnecessary competition from English-language films.

What are the films that Pinoy cinephiles and fans are talking about?

First, there’s the travel romance Through Night and Day (Alessandra de Rossi and Paolo Contis) shot in Iceland where travelers go for the Northern Lights or aurora borealis. The general consensus for this film is, with the two leads’ competent performances, it is palatable enough to sit through for less than two hours in the darkened cinemas across the archipelago.

Then there’s TBA Studios Kung Paano Siya Nawala with Rhian Ramos and JM de Guzman. The film by advertising commercial director Joel Ruiz is a test in patience for audiences as it is about a guy whose mental condition is one in a million – he can't remember faces.

Rhian Ramos and JM de Guzman star in  Kung Paano Siya Nawala.  Both are also executive producers of the film

Rhian Ramos and JM de Guzman star in Kung Paano Siya Nawala. Both are also executive producers of the film

Lio (De Guzman) on the surface is a normal cute guy that any young woman can fall far, except that when you meet him again most likely he will never remember you.

Yet Lio has a constant company (Shana) whom, due to her recurring presence in his life, seems to have made an imprint on his mind despite his inability to recognize faces.

In short, this is not the kind of film that when you go out of the cinema you will with a smile, because as the title suggests, Lio will also lose Shana, hence Kung Paano Siya Nawala.

The film opened Wednesday last week and the producers are hoping it has enough strong legs to waddle through several weeks more in theaters.

Today, two films from the indie front are debuting in theaters.

Lisang (Gina Pareno) and Manolo (Eddie Garcia) meet in  Hintayan ng Langit

Lisang (Gina Pareno) and Manolo (Eddie Garcia) meet in Hintayan ng Langit

Interestingly, the first film is about two geriatrics that meet each other in what the filmmaker calls, Hintayan ng Langit, sort of a holding room or halfway house before the keeper of heaven let’s one in.

A scene from Hintayan ng Langit

A scene from Hintayan ng Langit

It is based upon Juan Miguel Severo’s one-act play of the same title and stars iconic actors Eddie Garcia and Gina Pareño (Lisang) who has overstayed in her waiting room in purgatory, occasionally causing other souls trouble for her own entertainment. But today her waiting ends. Finally, she is set to cross over and her room is to be leased to a new tenant, Manolo (Garcia), who turns out to be her recently deceased ex-boyfriend. But life—or death—takes a heartbreaking turn as Lisang and Manolo get a second chance to get to know each other again and, in the process, begin to realize what it really means to be “alive” again.

As Lisa and Manolo look back in retrospect and they examine the decisions they made in their lives, they can’t help but ask what if....

Hintayan ng Langit is a co-production between Globe Studios and Project 8 Corner San Joaquin Projects, a film production company owned by top filmmakers Dan Villegas and Antoinette Jadaone. The movie adaptation is directed by illegas for QCinema and premiered in October. It won the Best Actor and Audience Choice awards.

Also opening today is Jose Javier Reyes’s romcom called Recipe for Love from Regal Entertainment with Christian Bables who zoomed to popularity as a cross-dressing gay man in Die Beautiful playing the best friend of the character played by Paolo Ballesteros.

Then aspiring actor Bables hurdled the curse of being typecast (as a gay man) and is now playing a romantic lead in Reyes’s film as the love interest of the character played by the ex Pinoy Big Brother Lucky 7 housemate Cora Waddell.

Asked how she feels about finally getting a starring role, she beamed,"Sobrang exciting, syempre naman, na mabigyari ka ng chance na ipakita kung kaya mo. And maswerte ako na yung leading man ko ay si Christian. Very experienced siya. Sobrang seryoso siya sa craft niya, kay a ako yung swerte don. So he helped me a lot."

Christian Bables and Cora Wadell star in Recipe for Love

Christian Bables and Cora Wadell star in Recipe for Love

Recipe For Love·tells the story of Calix (Christian), the chef of an upscale Filipino restaurant, who meets Val (Cora), a foodblogger and aspiring magazine editor.

While Calix and Val start off on the wrong foot, they eventually hit it off and romance starts to brew.

Eventually, just like the dishes that they cook and review, Calix and Val discover the different tastes of being in a relationship, such as its bitterness and sweetness.

Being entirely opposites, will their relationship still have a happy ending?

Cora, who recently tied the knot, firmly believes that two opposite people can still make .a relationship work, based on her own experience.

She just got married and is now expecting her first child. 

"Ang isang relasyon gay ng pagpapakasal ay gaya ng kanin na pag isinubo at napaso ka iluluwa mo:

"Mahirap siya. Bago mo suungin ang isang relasyon, dapat sigurado kayo sa isat-isa," Christian

explained. '