User Reviews (3)

Add a Review

  • 3xHCCH18 July 2013
    "Tuhog" presents us with an unusual situation. A major bus accident along Commonwealth Avenue (but of course!) freakishly lanced together the bodies of three random people (hence the literal title). As their doctors try to save their lives, we get acquainted with each of these three victims and what led them to be on the bus on that fateful day.

    Tonio (Leo Martinez) is a recently retired employee, whose eccentricities are getting on the nerves of his wife (Carla Martinez) and his disrespectful children. Fortunately, he still gets his support from his group of friends with whom he plays poker. One day, he suddenly decides to invest his entire retirement pay to build up his own dream bakery, perfecting his own special pan de sal.

    Fiesta (Eugene Domingo) leads a life not as happy as her name would seem to imply. She is a tough-as-nails bus conductor, having a reputation as a terror. But behind the tough exterior, she has a big problem with her alcoholic father (Noel Trinidad). When the young newly-hired bus driver Nato (Jake Cuenca) signifies his love for her, she did not know what hit her.

    Caloy (Enchong Dee) is a student who is in a long distance relationship with his girlfriend Angel (Empress Schuck), now working in Dumaguete. While he eagerly awaits the semestral break when they would reunite and finally lose their virginity together, he could hardly keep his jealous thoughts nor his raging libido in check.

    The script (by Jinky Laurel and director Veronica Velasco) was quite interesting the way they weaved the stories together with those intersecting situations told from three different points of view. The editing is critical in a film like this, and I thought it was done pretty well.

    There were some parts during the individual stories which tended to be repetitive, could have been shortened a little to pick up some pace.

    Medical accuracy could be shaky. They did try to explain some issues, albeit in highly simplified terms. In reality though, assuming the victims actually survived and could still talk after a terrible accident like that, they should have been immediately rushed to a better-equipped tertiary medical facility. But I'd give them a pass for artistic license in this aspect.

    I was a bit bothered by the mystical beggar boy (Maliksi Morales), who also connected the three main characters. What did his presence really mean to say? I guess that is one of those things which the audience can think and discuss about after watching the film.

    The actors were all quite into their characters. Leo Martinez is right in his comedic element as he deals with senior citizen issues. Enchong Dee tackles a more daring role here with some pretty risqué bed- shaking scenes. Jake Cuenca does well in his conflicted role, but his chemistry with Eugene is tenuous at best. Noel Trinidad's portrayal is spot on and moving, as usual for this dependable actor. I enjoyed the cameos of PETA actors Vincent de Jesus (as bus company operator) and especially Meann Espinosa (as a nutty professor).

    But the real center of the whole movie belongs to Ms. Eugene Domingo. She holds the whole story together. Her performance as Fiesta ran the gamut of emotions, from simple girlish joy to complicated mental torment. You will take her seriously here. Black comedy becomes her.

    Overall, this is a different kind of Filipino movie that tries something innovative. The material is not common nor commercial (especially for a Star Cinema production), but fortunately, the featured stars could really perk up interest among viewers. The story was carefully thought out and plotted. The execution by the director was meticulous which was impressive for a complex script like this one. Highly recommended!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Tuhog is about the lives of Tonio (Leo Martinez), Fiesta (Eugene Domingo) and Caloy (Enchong Dee). Their lives actually crossed paths several times aboard the bus before an accident impaled the three of them in a steel bar, piercing their abdomen. As this is a movie and a comedy, filmmakers ask us to suspend belief that the three actors did not die instantly by comparing our body to a tetra pack juice. The steel bar somehow acts as a tamponade. Sure! But inside our body, the aorta would have burst and cut off blood supply (Spoiler alert) to the uterus of Fiesta. And where was the driver anyway? Jake Cuenca playing Fiesta's love interest was the one driving, he seemed fine on a later scene, he said he loved Fiesta, but he couldn't be with Fiesta in the hospital? Another thing is that Fiesta didn't look pregnant at all during the accident. The doctors are even surprised she's pregnant. And yet in the final scene,(Spoiler) a healthy baby was shown being carried by the doctor looking like 2 months old. Among the three stories, Tonio's story is the most engaging and inspiring. It's not a waste of time to watch this. Perhaps some polishing with the (medical) details will help.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    TUHOG is a breath of fresh air from the usual saccharine romcoms and turgid melodramas Star Cinema churns out every so often. Directed by Veronica Velasco (who made such a lasting impression on me with her MALING AKALA in 2007, starring Victor Basa and Jodi Sta Maria, and the terrific LAST SUPPER NO. 3 in 2009, featuring Jun Paras) from a script by Velasco and Jinky Laurel, TUHOG is actually a parable, although the corny tagline "Sino ang dapat mabuhay?" is too much of a tease-on, as the character who DOES deserve to live actually lets go (No spoilers).

    I don't want to litter my review with too many spoilers, but suffice it to say that TUHOG, in Velasco's unique style, is actually a series of interconnected vignettes, dealing with the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of life for three major characters. The first segment concerns male menopausal Tonio Sicat (Leo Martinez), his group of card-playing friends (Bodjie Pascua, Jon Achaval, Menggie Cobarrubias), and his dreams of baking or owing a bakeshop. Solid mixture of family drama (wife Carla Martinez, daughter Nikki Valdez, son-in-law Manuel Chua, son Nico Antonio), witty one-liners and an elderly man's frustrations. Despite the family's discouragement and the initial setbacks, Tonio Sicat obstinately holds on to his freshly realized dream of a pan de sal bakery.

    Second segment zeroes in on bus conductor Fiesta Dacanay (Eugene Domingo), a no-nonsense, almost shrewish cipher of a woman, and newbie bus driver Nato Timbancaya (Jake Cuenca)'s efforts to adjust. In one scene, Fiesta nonchalantly punches Cuenca unconscious! Fiesta's standoffish exterior is actually a facade, as she cares for a drunkard of a father (Noel Trinidad). Erratic episode examines the milieu of the streets, an odd coupling, and the tragedy wrought on by alcoholism (it is NOT only Fiesta's father who has a problem with the bottle). Scenes of the tomboyish Fiesta putting on a dress and heels, and clumsily slicing a pizza in probably her first decent restaurant, garnered the loudest laughter from the movie audience.

    Third segment is the slightest, centering on teenage hormones and the antics of a libidinous young guy, Carlos (Enchong Dee) as he alternates between "doing" it with his less-than-honest girlfriend Angel (Empress Schuck), and preserving his chastity for marriage. Not helping matters any are Caloy's equally lusty friends Mark (Rodjun Cruz) and Wayne (Joe Vargas) -- and the classroom tease (Beauty Gonzales) who helps Caloy get revenge on Angel's indiscretions.

    The movie becomes a parable with the enigmatic appearance of a vagabond kid (Makisig Morales) who predicts death and doom for the characters he crosses paths with, and who glues together the trio as well, as fate conspires to bring them together for the titular bus accident.

    Comic support is lent aplenty in the three segments; the card-playing barkada of Mr Tonio, as well as the protestations of his close-knit family; the love-and-hate relationship blossoming between Fiesta and Nato; and the voyeuristic antics of Caloy's friends-roommates. Alas, toilet humor finds its way in (not the usual case in Veronica Velasco's previous films), and you have to see it to believe it. Clue: the most drastic concerns Enchong Dee, a shaking double-decker bed, and porn on his cellular phone.

    Dee's earnest performance and the sensitive handling of teenage heartache make up for the thin and obvious plot, while Domingo and Martinez more than capably overcome the condensation of their characters' limited backstory screen time. As the operating doctors discuss the possible things to do, the trio reflect on their lives, their decisions, their failures and their destinies. The supporting cast are uniformly brilliant, especially Carla Martinez and Noel Trinidad. Cuenca more than holds his own against the comic and dramatic skills of Domingo, although this odd coupling takes a predictable turn that feels like a cop out when Fiesta learns of Nato's real family status.

    The conceit of the titular bus accident is novel but timely, and Velasco even uses the recognizable, but infamous Commonwealth Avenue ("killer highway") to drive home the point of life's fickle-mindedness. One minute you're alive, the next minute you could be a cold cadaver lying in a morgue. So what have you done? Can you die now, knowing that life will go on for the ones you leave behind? Can you let go?

    TUHOG is a parable, a dark comedy, and a movie ripe with powerfully subtle performances -- see it now!