See, every Christmas season, the Philippines sets aside a couple of weeks or so for the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). This 2016, the festival will run from December 25 to January 7, 2017, which translates to two weeks of all-Filipino, no-foreign film screenings in theaters all over the country. Luckily, you still have a few more days to watch:
Starring: Auli'I Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Scherzinger
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker
MTRCB Rating: G
Summary: When her island is threatened by a mysterious dark force, Moana journeys to find the demigod Maui to keep the dark force at bay and save her people.
At first glance, this looks like your typical Disney princess flick: Strong-willed girl sets out to save the world/look for something/make a name for herself. Haven't seen that kind of plot before, right?
But, in all honesty, this one is worth a shot. Aside from taking place in Polynesia (a not-so-usual setting in Disney and Hollywood films in general), the movie also features a strong cast of female characters, a subversion of the usual hero tropes, and a memorable soundtrack that's a trademark of almost every Disney film ever released. If you want to watch a movie about love, courage, and wonder, "Moana" is a must-watch for anyone of any age.
Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)
Starring: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Etsuko Ichihara, Aoi Yuuki, Kana Hanazawa
Directed by: Makoto Shinkai
MTRCB Rating: G
Summary: Mitsuha is a girl living in the country town of Itomori. Taki is a boy living in Tokyo. When they find themselves switching bodies at random, they set out to uncover the truth. Meanwhile, a danger looms closer and closer over Itomori…
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you may have heard about "Kimi no Na wa" ("Your Name") at some point. It's broken quite a few records since its release in Japan last August 2016, and is set to be one of the highest-grossing films in Japan of all time.
Why the mass appeal, you ask? Perhaps it's the typical love story with a not-so-typical conflict. Perhaps it's the gorgeous animation, which enhances rather than takes away from the movie viewing experience. Or perhaps it satisfies the human desire to have a special person do everything for us no matter what. Without giving away too much, let's just say that "Kimi no Na wa" will pull your heartstrings in all the right places.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)
Starring: Kento Yamazaki, Anna Ishii, Suzu Hirose
Directed by: Takehiko Shinjo
MTRCB Rating: PG
Summary: Arima used to be a prodigious piano player, until a personal tragedy forced him to stop playing. That was, until he met Kaori, a free-spirited violin player who had a secret of her own. Can their friendship redeem both of them?
This isn't exactly an anime, but it is based on one. Like its animated counterpart, the live-action version of "Your Lie in April" was positively received, earning 245 million yen upon its premiere in Japan. Also, the main characters spent 6 months practicing their instruments prior to filming, so their performances in the movie should be a treat to watch!
Underworld: Blood Wars
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Tobias Menzies, Lara Pulver
Directed by: Anna Foerster
MTRCB Rating: R – 13
Summary: Caught in the longstanding war between the Vampires and Lycans, Selene decides to end the conflict once and for all. However, her decision may come at the cost of her life.
The fifth installment in the "Underworld" franchise, "Blood Wars" sees Kate Beckinsale reprise her role as Selene. Beckinsale describes her character as "tragic," and says that it's been "nice" working with a female director in the franchise for the first time.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
MTRCB Rating: PG
Summary: Set between Episode 3 and 4 of the main "Star Wars" storyline, "Rogue One" tells of the Rebel Alliance's attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star, the most destructive weapon in the Empire's arsenal.
Of course, you can't talk about this week's movies without mentioning "Rogue One." As one of the most anticipated films of 2016, "Rogue One" had a lot to live up to, and — judging by the rave reviews and the box office performance — it didn't disappoint. It's fun, it's Star Wars, and it's everything a diehard geek could want. What more can you ask for?
Hopefully, you'll give at least one of these awesome films a try. If you haven't seen any of them yet, why not drop by your nearest theater now?