5 Best Movies to Watch From Black Sheep

Staff & contributors

Third World Romance is what it says in the tin– it’s a love story that blooms in the rundown side of the capital of a developing country. The plot is familiar, especially for people familiar with Filipino rom coms, but writer-director Dwein Baltazar approaches this with a grounded approach. With fancy dinner dates substituted with shared packed rice meals and emotional apologies interrupted by their shifts in the grocery, Bree and Alvin carve out a love that still feels passionate, perhaps made even more so, as they navigate a city where they are disenfranchised. Charlie Dizon and Carlo Aquino’s excellent performances keep their characters’ struggles real, but also make their love feel joyful in spite of that.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Ana Abad-Santos, Archie Adamos, Carlo Aquino, Charlie Dizon, Donna Cariaga, Gardo Versoza, Iyah Mina, Jun Jun Quintana

Director: Dwein Ruedas Baltazar

Though only currently available on Prime Video Philippines, Carlo Francisco Manatad's critically acclaimed drama boasts the kind of directorial vision and technical brilliance that deservedly kept it on the international festival circuit throughout 2021 and 2022—and that deserves to be seen around the world. Through textured cinematography and sound design, and art direction that situates its story halfway between reality and a dazed state of mind, Whether the Weather Is Fine isn't so much a factual retelling of life after Typhoon Haiyan but a meditation on what home and freedom mean to those who no longer seem to have it.

Manatad's background in experimental short filmmaking shines through in how the film seems comprised of so many irregular parts, but the emotional through line is unmistakable. Three incredible performances—from Daniel Padilla, Charo Santos-Concio, and Rans Rifol—illustrate the different ways that people try to escape or cling to hope in the wake of devastation. It's the furthest thing from "resilience porn," as the different perspectives of these characters clash and inevitably push each other away. And while that might not sound like the film offers a constructive point of view on disaster management, its intense psychological focus feels like something we haven't seen on screen before.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Charo Santos-Concio, Daniel Padilla, Francis Magundayao, Johnny Manahan, Joji Alonso, Mercedes Cabral, Nico Antonio, Rans Rifol

Director: Carlo Francisco Manatad

In the years since Fan Girl's original release in the Philippines, its ultimate message and execution has become polarizing: is it enough that the film shows the corruption of a parasocial relationship into an abusive one, without offering much hope? Is its vision of justice actually constructive or disappointingly limited? No matter where you fall, it's exciting that a movie can stir up these kinds of questions through a bizarre dynamic between characters, in a place that's clearly set somewhere between reality and delusion. The narrative is circular and frustrating for a reason—a constant push and pull as the titular fan girl keeps getting drawn back into the celebrity's orbit—and the film only grows more disturbing with each repetition.

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Actor: Bea Alonzo, Camille Penaverde, Charlie Dizon, Gie Onida, Micko Laurente, Milo Elmido Jr., Mina Cruz, Paulo Avelino, Sheenly Gener

Director: Antoinette Jadaone

Rating: PG-13

Unlike in other films that only seem to evoke a previous era to make a target demographic feel warm and fuzzy inside, there's something vaguely artificial about Death of Nintendo's air of nostalgia—which is exactly what helps it tell its story. There isn't anything particularly novel about this movie's plot or characters, but Raya Martin's direction has us consider various themes between all the stuff you'd expect to see in a young adult movie. In moments of quiet unease that seem to punctuate every other sequence, we're drawn towards the absence of father figures, the inability of the women to get through to their sons (already embedded in patriarchal customs), and the idea that one's childhood in a Catholic country seems to be marked by physical pain. Beyond the film's feathery lighting and colorful production design, there's a surprising amount to think about.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Agot Isidro, Elijah Alejo, Jigger Sementilla, John Vincent Servilla, Kim Chloe Oquendo, Lou Veloso, Mailes Kanapi, Nikki Valdez, Noel Comia Jr., Ramon Bautista

Director: Raya Martin

The tags raunchy and irreverent get thrown around on Netflix like I throw around the word fascinating. But make no mistake about it, this was disgusting right off the bat. There’s not a lot to the jokes, though, other than terrible accents and caricatures and small dick references. It feels like a reenactment of a mid standup comedy bit that went on too long. It's a fun bro movie that tells conservative Pinoy culture to suck it, but it’s a visual and narrative mess, and it has the balls to try and end on a meaningful note when it never attempted any semblance of it throughout.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Caira Lee, Donna Cariaga, Enrique Gil, Kenneth Won, Kumron Jivachat, Miguel Almendras, Mihk Vergara, Nikko Natividad, Pepe Herrera, Red Ollero, Sahatchai Chumrum, Sunshine Teodoro, Vern Kaye, Wipawee Charoenpura

Director: Victor Villanueva