The last round-up of the year.
The Grave Bandits (Tyrone Acierto) *** - Two young thieves who make their living stealing valuables from corpses in a cemetery gets chased into an island populated by people infected with an alien virus that cause them to attack and eat human flesh. This film is pretty much a comedic Slumdog Millionaire meets 28 Days Later. It's often funny and at times scary though tonally, it's all over the place and frankly, I didn't like the way they resolved one of the plot threads. However, the leads are appealing and this is a better film than Tiktik and features fantastic visual effects and makeup (The best I've seen in a Filipino movie thus far!
Thy Womb (Brillante Mendoza) ***1/2 - In the southern-most area of the Philippines, there live an ethnic group of Filipino Muslims called the Badjaos who make their home in villages on stilts in the coastal waters. This is where director Brillante Mendoza's latest opus is set. A barren Muslim midwife seeks a second wife for her husband in order for him to have his own child. This is actress Nora Aunor's comeback from a rather long hiatus from acting and I have to say: she's still got it. Her talents lends itself very well to Mendoza's neo-realist style. It's a fascinating look at a different culture right here in the Philippines and the humanity all of us share. It's also gorgeously shot and beautiful to look at.