Tag Archives: Sofia Andres

tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Mama’s Girl’ is Anchored on an Insufferable Main Character

Though the sentiment is sweet, this coming-of-age film struggles to resonate

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Mama’s Girl is about Abby (Sofia Andres), a young woman just a year out of college. The movie spends its opening moments establishing her relationship with her mother, Mina (Sylvia Sanchez). Mina is seemingly indefatigable in her support of her young daughter, no matter what kind of challenge Abby happens to be facing. And then, Mina dies. Abby soon finds herself struggling to keep her head above water as everything starts falling apart around her. But it turns out that her mother left her a package, and from beyond the grave, she gives Abby a series of challenges meant to guide her to a more fulfilling life.

The overall sentiment of this movie is sweet enough. No one would object to a loving tribute to mothers, a film that celebrates their selfless nobility and wisdom. But the film is anchored on the arc of what turns out to be a pretty insufferable character. Abby, as written, is so unbelievably helpless as a human being that she becomes a little tough to watch after a while. The whole story becomes about how little she actually learned from her mother while she was still alive, and how she ends up literally getting instructions to fix her own problems.

The film just spends too much time on Abby being wrong about everything. And isn’t a case of a character trying her best and just happening to fail. We don’t really get to see much effort from her to try and make things better. If anything, she seems to be actively trying to sabotage herself. The film paints this a complex: an inability to cope with failure. That’s an interesting idea, but the movie doesn’t have any real insight into it. The film seems to write it off as a generational quality, which comes off as weirdly condescending.

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This is all tied up with an inert romance with her best friend from childhood. The movie has her at first going for a handsome rock star who is later revealed to be cheating on her. The movie then settles on her holding on to the possibility of getting back together with her rock star ex, in spite of him continually rejecting her. The film ends up portraying a willingness to make a scene as some sort of emotional triumph, which doesn’t quite feel right. Meanwhile, the real romantic plot crawls along, with another character thoroughly devoted to Abby in spite of her bad behavior. It just isn’t very interesting.

There is some merit in how the film is put together. It tries some quirky things, and occasionally attempts long, complicated takes filled with activity. But they don’t mask the core deficiencies of the movie. Sofia Andres does seem to be trying very hard, pouring her heart into this character. But the character just doesn’t deserve all that effort. Sylvia Sanchez is an appealing presence as Mina, but there really isn’t much to this character, either. She becomes defined by her unequivocal support for her daughter, and never really given the chance to show off a life beyond her care for her child.

Mama’s Girl is just too reductive. The relationship between mother and daughter is one bursting with complications, especially as the daughter enters adulthood and tries to define who she is. But the film doesn’t seem interested in who Abby is without her mother. She is a just a young person in need of guidance, unable to accomplish anything on her own. Rather than being a story of a young woman learning to appreciate what her mother did for her, it’s the story of a disaster of a young person who only learns to survive because her mother tells her how.



Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
culture by Jacs T. Sampayan

Watch: Anti-bullying campaign rally voices from around the world

A slew of local and international names—from Kaia Gerber and Mario Maurer to Ronnie Alonte and Jimmy Alapag—celebrate differences

According to studies, bullying usually starts when you are perceived to be different, and that one out of two Filipinos have experienced or witnessed this in schools. With the advent social media, this harsh behavior has taken a more contemporary, relentless form. “Our society—especially today’s youth—faces this harsh reality,” says Jeff Bascon, Penshoppe’s brand director. “But being different is something to celebrate and be proud of.” That’s why the clothing brand launched its first public CSR project, #IAmDifferent, aiming to get more people to love their individuality. “We believe that there is a need for us to use our voices and influence everyone to take a stand,” he says.

72717E57-5050-4C0A-B5F4-AF6E559EEDFF560DA3BD-7D74-4A02-A477-B55E437B3D4DA video campaign was launched featuring ClubPenshoppePH members, ambassadors of the homegrown label, and other well-known personalities. These include Kaia Gerber, Mario Maurer, Lucky Blue Smith, Bella Hadid, Sandara Park, Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte, Sofia Andres, Tanner Mata, Maria Fabiana, Emilio Perez, Alab Pilipinas’ Jimmy Alapag, SheTalks Asia co-founder Vicky Herrera, Denise Lazaro, Airess Padda, Patti Grandidge, and Keika Necesario, who all wore their uniqueness on their sleeves.

A collection of tees (marked by unique serial numbers) and caps with the campaign statements “I Am Different,” and “Different Is Good” launched alongside this. Proceeds from this limited edition line will go to developing a module with Teach For The Philippines that addresses bullying and encourages acceptance among public school children. “We know we have a long way to go, but we hope that this campaign will start a movement, educate and encourage many Filipinos to be involved and to do their part,” Bascon says.


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Jacs T. Sampayan
He's the current Editor of the The Neighborhood, Managing Editor for Rogue, and an editorial consultant for a top public relations firm. In his spare time, he helps run a volleyball training camp, hosts trivia nights, channels all sorts of drama into whacking a tennis ball, walks along major highways to surpass his FitBit goals, and sleeps as little as possible. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @jacs_do_it.
tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Bloody Crayons’ Uses Slasher Tropes to Test the Limits of Young Friendships

Though it doesn’t completely hold together, Bloody Crayons is youthful, violent fun.

NBHD movie 3-2 ticketsBloody Crayons follows Eunice (Janella Salvador) and her friends, who have all traveled to a creepy old house on a remote island to help aspiring director Kiko (Elmo Magalona) shoot a short film. Tensions quickly rise among the friends as romantic entanglements get in the way of work. These tensions come to a head one night, when a seemingly innocent game ends with one of them suddenly dying. Things only get more dangerous from there, as the kids find themselves locked in the house, unsure of who to trust as the body count continues to rise.Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.42.55 PMThe film takes a good long while to get to the killing. The setup gets a bit awkward, as the movie doesn’t seem fully equipped to portray young people getting along and having fun. But it starts to get more fun as the story applies pressure on the characters. The film builds something compelling by testing the limits of these supposed friendships and then just breaking them. It largely gets around the problem of horror movie characters making bad choices by embracing their fragility. It takes these dumb kids ruled by hormones and emotion, and stresses them to the point of violence.Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.43.55 PMThe fun really starts when the characters start pointing fingers at each other. The film exposes the shallowness of these relationships, and amplifies every dumb emotion to dangerous ends. So, what might seem like playful tension between two characters later becomes something much more overt and physical. Petty, hormone-driven jealousy might grow into suspicion, later leading into a fight between characters who really ought to be helping each other. The film creates something potent as it takes what could be small issues and just sticks them in a pressure cooker of proximity and violence.Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.44.21 PMThe result is fairly fun, even if it doesn’t completely hold together. The story overreaches a bit when it gives one of its characters a tragic backstory. Given the effect that the film is trying to create, it might have been better to leave that character more of a mystery. And though the film does largely justify these characters acting illogically, there are still moments where it feels like they go too far off the rational scale. But the film does make up with this with solid genre mechanics. The movie really flexes its muscles in scenes where a character is hiding from someone else, finding clever ways to express the nearness of danger.Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.45.34 PMThere are odd technical hiccups here and there, but it isn’t really enough to distract from the overall craft. The film gets a lot out of its location, the production design amping up the natural eeriness of the house. The young cast is good enough. Janella Salvador ends up being saddled with the least compelling character, but she makes do. There’s a fragility to Elmo Magalona that serves his character well. Ronnie Alonte can make awkward line deliveries at times, but he just brings so much presence to the screen. Everyone really starts to shine when the pressure’s on, these actors doing a great job of conveying the fear and confusion surrounding their characters.Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.44.50 PMBloody Crayons, if nothing else, doesn’t feel like most locally produced horror movies. Its threats aren’t these abstract supernatural ideas that tend to pop up in the background of scenes, inexplicably idle as the film attempts to oversell the moment with a loud stinger. The film instead finds its danger in the fragility of young friendships, which can go from one extreme to the next in a split second. The cracks show every now and then, but there is a sense of youthful energy that helps keep things fresh and fun. And that’s enough, really.

Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Pwera Usog’ Follows the Wrong Characters Around For Too Long

This awkward film feels like a mashup of two unrelated stories.

NBHD movie 2 ticketsPwera Usog is about Jean (Sofia Andres), who produces online prank videos with her friends (Albie Casiño and Cherise Castro). They, along with Jean’s ex-boyfriend Sherwin (Joseph Marco), go on an out of town trip one day, where they encounter a homeless woman in an abandoned building. They play a prank on her that goes horribly wrong, their victim reacting violently and then falling off the roof. Bizarrely, the woman’s body disappears. Then, these young people start encountering all manner of strangeness. Some of them fall victim to a mysterious affliction that seems to stem from their encounters with the supernatural.Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.50.32 PMIt is around this point that the movie takes a turn. Jean actually becomes a bit of a tangential character, as the story gets into the arc that really matters in the end. The focus shifts from the fate of Jean and her friends to the efforts of a pair of albularyos to save a young woman possessed by a malevolent spirit. In fact, it becomes a little weird that Jean is still around at all, her involvement in the events of the last half of the film coming off pretty forced at best. The film has some interesting directorial touches, but the structure of the overall narrative is pretty tough to swallow.Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.46.54 PMSo the film invests a good chunk of its time in sketching out the specifics of Jean’s situation. She is a young woman from an affluent family. She has a bad relationship with her father, who is always away on business. She is apparently able to support herself financially through her online videos, and she is very sensitive to how people online perceive her. That’s a lot of stuff to sit through, and it’s all placed on the backburner once the film makes its narrative shift. The film makes some loose connections between what’s happening in the story and Jean’s personal journey, but those links are tenuous at best.Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.47.10 PMSo what happens is that the film becomes too much about how awful Jean is, and not enough about how she’s changing that. Instead of depicting her journey towards some sort of redemption, the film basically puts her in the sidelines and lets other characters take focus. The film pins its eventual resolution on her, and has her take center stage again in the denouement. But none of that is earned. The characters later introduced are also underserved by this structure. They may have become the protagonists, but there is investment in what they’re doing since they entered the story so late.Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.50.19 PMThe film is at its best when things get weird. The scares are fairly rudimentary, largely involving the sudden appearance of something behind something else. But there are a couple of wackier sequences involving bodily fluids that show off a fairly wicked sense of humor. The performances are a little weird, perhaps owing to the unusual structure. Sofia Andres never really gets the time to show the growth of her character, and Joseph Marco is basically relegated to comic relief at some point. Koko Estrada and Aiko Melendez, without the benefit of proper set up, are mostly stuck playing one note.Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.45.52 PMPwera Usog feels like at least two movies awkwardly cobbled together. There is a movie here about YouTube pranksters getting their just desserts from a supernatural force, and there is a movie about albularyos having to deal with an evil that they’ve ignored for two long. There are merits to either one, but few of them survive in this mashup of narratives. There are a couple of thrilling moments that somewhat recall the sensibilities of Sam Raimi, but as a whole, the film feels pretty clunky.

Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.