Warning: These two films are not particularly flattering telling of love onscreen. Benefiting from its Metro Manila Film Festival boost, English Only, Please is a crowd-pleaser that charms with its imperfect yet sincere script that could definitely be improved (ex. more distinct cast). Meanwhile, Halik sa Hangin extremely disappoints in becoming a refreshing romance whose attempt to supernatural succumbs to superficial.
ENGLISH ONLY, PLEASE
Jennylyn Mercado and Derek Ramsay are amiable as the romantic leads but it’s the hearty and humorous screenplay that buoys ENGLISH ONLY, PLEASE among the mundane saccharine sea of mainstream romantic comedies. It still tangles on the genre’s cliche themes and doesn’t reinvent the cinematic love game but at least ENGLISH ONLY, PLEASE pleased viewers by its unconventional narrative that translates to a more believable set-up of emotional connections, without the need of grand display of affections that its contemporaries has long practiced.
HALIK SA HANGIN
Star Cinema starts its 2015 slate with a deceptive Goth romance that was too besotted on unoriginality and illogic. HALIK SA HANGIN takes too much time in establishing the angst and attraction between Mia (Julia Montes) and Gio (Gerald Anderson) that the hastened twists in the last 30 minutes were a clumsy send-off. This pseudo-romance is a nonsensical chimera that amalgams every plot device and cliches known in the romance and horror genres. At one point, it becomes a talky romantic melodrama that surprises into a psychological thriller (which comes off as a nice touch) but in the end, suffers from the silliness on the reveal of Gio’s true nature and Mia’s last act of redemption. The film’s fondness of meaningless cliffhangers further demeans the whole purpose of its narrative. Not even comparable to the eerie ambiance of the excellent Nasaan Ka Man, HALIK SA HANGIN is a clumsy experiment that fails in repackaging the romance genre with a mysterious and sensible skin, and overall fumbles as one of the most incoherent Filipino films of recent memory.