Again, direk Cathy doesn’t disappoint
STAR BYTES By Butch Francisco
Thursday, November 22, 2007

Director Cathy Garcia-Molina never disappoints. She never fails from the time she did one episode in the trilogy Bcuz of U (with Hero Angeles and Sandara Park) to the full-length films You are the One (Toni Gonzaga and Sam Milby) and I’ve Got You (Gonzaga, Milby and Zanjoe Marudo) and now, One More Chance. Molina’s works even improve with every installment.

Somehow, Molina manages to come up with entertaining, but intelligent enough film projects even if she is boxed-in by commercial considerations: Boy meets girl (usually under unpleasant circumstances), fall in love, drift apart, but eventually end up together.

With One More Chance, however, she tries to break free from the usual formula (with less hard sell commercial component) and succeeds beautifully.

One More Chance is actually the underside of a romantic relationship. Early in the movie, we are introduced to the characters of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, who are sweethearts from way back when they were students at the University of Santo Tomas (there are actual shots of them at the school’s football field — with the main building in the background) up to the time they get to work in an architectural firm.

Bea shouldn’t have anything to complain about John Lloyd’s character. He is faithful, caring and responsible and diligent at work. He is practically Mr. Right — Mr. Perfect even. Trouble is, he is controlling and runs the relationship — even Bea’s life.

Feeling suffocated, Bea cries for independence, gets a life for herself and becomes her own person — her own woman. John Lloyd also moves on with his life and gets into another relationship (with Maja Salvador). But it is obvious that Bea and John Lloyd are still in love with each other. It is the tumultuous road to their reconciliation that makes the film very interesting till the very end.

Anyone who has gone through a breakup would be able to relate to the situations presented in One More Chance. I’ve never met Cathy Molina or any of the film’s two writers, Carmi Raymundo and Vanessa Valdez and absolutely have no idea with regard to their affairs of the heart, but I suspect that they must have incorporated into the movie some of their personal experiences and hurts (ouch!) because everything seems so real. Or they could have really done a very good research, which shouldn’t be difficult to do because in this life, most everyone has fallen in love and has suffered a broken heart. All these you see in One More Chance.

It also helps that the dialogues provided by Raymundo and Valdez are your day-to-day language and not some phony cinematic lines. Listening to the movie characters speak is like eavesdropping on the conversation of young people sipping their coffee in Starbucks.

But contributing a lot to making One More Chance as close to real life as it can get are the performances of the cast members — led by Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz. I’ve always been impressed with these two young performers and here in One More Chance, my respect for them as actors has even gone a rung higher, especially since they are able to chew on a good screen material that gives them the opportunity to shine even more.

In the case of Maja, her role here may be a lot shorter than the one she played in My Kuya’s Wedding, but it is definitely solid. In the scene were she finally realizes that John Lloyd is still in love with Bea, her dialogue is minimal, but you see the hurt in her eyes and the pain all over her face.

Derek Ramsay also delivers a good performance, along with the rest of the supporting cast, particularly James Blanco, Dimples Romana (she has always been good) and Janus del Prado (very effective and funny as the tactless barkada).

Credit, of course, goes to director Cathy Garcia-Molina, for motivating and guiding her actors well. The entire movie is actually well-orchestrated and I have to give it to Molina for coming up with an even better movie each time. One More Chance is so entertaining it leaves us asking for more.


Insight, instinct drive chemistry-fueled romantic drama
By Rito Asilo
Inquirer, Nov. 17, 2007

“One More Chance”
D: Cathy Garcia-Molina
S: John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Derek Ramsay and Maja Salvador

MANILA, Philippines—In Cathy Garcia-Molina’s latest film, “One More Chance,” the filmmaker examines romantic relationships with far less crowd-pleasing tricks than are usual in Star Cinema’s rom-com vehicles. As a result, she imbues the John Lloyd Cruz-Bea Alonzo starrer with a deeper and more cohesive perspective.

For the most part, Molina succeeds in dissecting the unusual love story of Popoy (Cruz), and Basha (Alonzo), lovers who find themselves drifting apart after five years.  Interestingly, the lovers don’t really fall out of love—they merely find themselves unable to cope with the changes that come with adulthood and maturity.

As Basha struggles to understand the growing resentment she feels for Popoy’s bossy demeanor, the latter tightens his domineering hold over his indecisive, subservient girlfriend as he begins to contemplate a life of wedded bliss.

Basha eventually finds her own voice—a successful career, artistic growth, financial security, etc.—after she gathers enough courage to break up with Popoy, who falls apart when she breaks the news to him.

But, when Basha sees Popoy with his new girlfriend, Trisha (Maja Salvador), she realizes that she still loves him! What’s a girl to do to make amends?

The movie initially falters by taking an unconventional expositional style that confounds more than it clarifies—it utilizes a cheeky, comedic style to introduce the story’s dual narrative strands (Popoy’s and Basha’s).

Unfortunately, the storytelling tack then becomes protracted and soon feels languorous and self-indulgent. Moreover, for a Star Cinema production, the film’s photography is surprisingly not as polished.

However, when Molina finally decides to take her subject matter seriously, we see the subtext-coated directorial insight that is initially cluttered by her attempt to use wit and the requisite sight gags to generate humor and light-hearted fun.

The production’s best assets are its leads and its talented supporting cast. It’s not hard to be drawn to Cruz and Alonzo’s characters because the talented pair doesn’t just go through the motions—they really go for the thespic jugular! You see the consistency of the characters’ respective journeys, so choosing a side doesn’t come easy for the engaged viewer. After all, isn’t life a series of hard decisions and ambiguous choices?

Cruz knows how to make viewers empathize with him, but so does the lovely Alonzo, who looks lovelier without the unwanted fat. Their undeniable chemistry, dramatic instinct and timing fuel Molina’s intelligent romantic drama. Giving Cruz and Alonzo ample support are Derek Ramsay and Dimples Romana, who come up with above-par performances as Popoy and Basha’s friends and confidantes.

There is, however, one lovely actress who almost runs away with the movie: Maja Salvador, who uses every second of her limited screen time to provide the necessary conflict between the two leading characters. A scene with Cruz alone demonstrates the young actress’ depth and intelligence—an award-worthy, head-turning stealing turn, indeed! We can’t wait to see her in more challenging roles!

With Cruz, Alonzo and Salvador’s help, Molina’s film deftly examines the anatomy and psychology of a break-up and reminds viewers that pain and failure are sometimes integral to growing up. As Ramsay’s character advises, “It takes grown-ups to make relationships work!”


John Lloyd and Bea show maturity
By Phillip Cu-Unjieng
Saturday, November 17, 2007

The current offering of Star Cinema, Cathy Garcia-Molina’s One More Chance, is something of a departure for this lady director. Known more for her excellent handling of light, romantic comedies, One More Chance’s screenplay, credit to Carmi Raymundo and Vanessa Valdez, is an angst-ridden examination of the process of separation. As in real life, there are shafts of humor, but this is not your twenty-something bubbly love story, but an in-depth look into how anxiety, hurt, a search for renewal and equilibrium, and a whole load of misunderstanding, accompanies the end of a “young adult-love relationship.” Vanessa was responsible for the box-office hit, A Love Story, so expectations run high in terms of the texture and depth with which this probe will be made. And on this count, both director and screenplay writers deliver with aplomb.

John Lloyd Cruz (as Popoy) and Bea Alonzo (as Basha) work in an architectural firm, he as an engineer, and she as an architect. They’re well into their relationship as the film unfolds and as a twist, we’re treated to Basha entertaining doubts on whether the relationship is growing and going anywhere. It’s this impending end to the relationship and the aftermath that drive the storyline from the outset. John Lloyd and Bea come into their own in the movie, showcasing their range and developing maturity as actors. We saw hints of this when John Lloyd played Aga Muhlach’s younger brother in Dubai, and we’ve seen it in Bea’s more complex teleserye characters. It all comes to fruition in the film, as John Lloyd and Bea essay roles that stand out as multi-dimensional. The confusion, the anguish, the drive for resolution and closure, the success and failure of all the above, are given their turn under the microscope and it’s wonderful to see the gamut of emotions playing on their faces and in their body movements and gestures. There’s even the play of “I may be saying this, but not feeling it” and it works precisely because of the range of our two leads, and the way direk Cathy makes them go through their paces.

The support cast superbly adds texture to the film, giving it a veneer of reality and complexity. The barkada element is an engrossing detail and even made me wonder how the restaurant/bar they’d meet in could survive given that every time we have it as a setting for the action, the members of the barkada are the only customers. Maja Salvador and Nikki Gil perform creditably as the women John Lloyd’s character interacts with, and Derek Ramsay has a relatively meaty role as the architect who befriends Bea’s character, and helps her discover herself professionally.

My only reservation about the film would be its ending. After all we’ve been led to understand about our two main protagonists, the bittersweet parting on campus (a poetic nod to where the relationship initially blossomed) strikes a much more consistent note than the ending we have with Popoy coming back from two years in Qatar and seeking Basha on the construction site of her latest project. But I accept that commercial considerations would have submitted a “suicide note” if it was my preferred ending. We still want a wistful and hopeful ending to our mainstream films.

My other comment would be that is it would take a “needle in a haystack” kind of search to come up with the kind of men we have in the film. John Lloyd’s and Derek’s characters are the stuff women’s dreams are made of. One is so in touch with his feelings, there is never a hint of macho posturing. The other is that straight best friend always there and yet never hits on you, even when there is a hint of sexual tension. Men in some feminist heaven won’t come any better than these two creations of a female director and two female screenwriters. Having said that, it doesn’t mean they make the film any less realistic or credible. In fact, they become potent points of discussion for young couples who will watch the film. One More Chance is a wonderful product that deserves a wide audience as it tackles a lot of the issues that accompany break-ups and heartbreak.


Giving it One More Chance
Posted by: JM in Movies [ 8 Comments ] 32 views

Nov. 15, 2007

Okay, I know this is going to sound cheesy to some but this is far by one of my most favorite guilty pleasures of all time.

Yesterday, friends and I watched “One More Chance,” a Star Cinema film starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.

But wait!!! Before you close this tab and browse other websites out of sheer disappointment, let me explain. Haha. One More Chance is a good film, especially because I can relate to it so much (okay, that’s too personal). In any case, John Lloyd and Bea, I admit, are two of my most favorite Filipino actors to date. They’re young, they know their craft, and not to mention they look good together.

The last Bea-John Lloyd film I watched was Close To You, and, just like this time, I was able to relate so much (again, that’s too personal to divulge). I don’t know, I just have this penchant for this tandem because they have good chemistry onscreen.

Before I babble too much, lemme tell you about the film. One More Chance, unlike most cheesy Pinoy films being produced these days, is different. Instead of the conventional boy-meets-girl kind of angle, this one focuses on a ruined relationship and the hopes of getting it back. I swear, it pierced right through me like a thousand needles through the heart.

Honestly, just watching the trailer made my tear ducts wiggle in over excitement. Who wouldn’t be affected by lines such as “Sana ako pa rin, ako na lang, ako na lang ulit” and “She had me at my worst, you had me at my best… but you chose to break my heart.” Egaaddssss, it’s just so wrong. Hahaha. My eyes were almost swollen because of too much crying I think I would’ve needed an operation with Northern Virginia eye lid lift surgery to bring my great eyes back.

What’s best about the movie is that it keeps you hanging even though you already know what’s bound to happen in the end. It somehow defies the convention of The Happy Ending but justifies it with the needed maturity of the two main characters. It’s a feel-good ending (of course, it has to be) but you just have to agree that it really had to end that way.

Also, it’s a departure from the usual teeny-bopper craze we’re so used to John Lloyd and Bea seeing. Just as how their respective characters matured, I believe the two actors have matured in their own rights as well. Besides the superficial fact that they play older roles and perform more mature scenes (read: a bed scene), their acting has gone to the point where you just have to admire every flex of their facial muscle for sheer mastery of control, expression and projection. Just seeing John Lloyd pout and well up in tears makes one turn even just a bit at the edge of one’s seat. It’s that amazing.

So if you have time, take the opportunity to watch it, you won’t regret it. =)



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