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The Spotless Mind

Musings of a Non-Film Reviewer. I pay, I watch, I comment.

GOOD TIME (Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie, 2017)

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One hundred minutes of pure adrenaline rush accompanied by a pulsating soundtrack that made every scene as intense as my midnight snack runs. I literally had to keep wiping the imaginary sweat off my forehead.

The relationship of Connie (Robert Pattinson, delivering a career-defining, Oscar-worthy performance) and his brother Nick (Ben Safdie) reminded me so much of the same bond between Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows in Prison Break. That same immense feeling of desperation oozing off the screen was simply heartbreaking.

I also really liked the irony of the title. Nothing in this wild ride was enjoyable, but almost everything about it was definitely memorable.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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L’AMANT DOUBLE (THE DOUBLE LOVER) (François Ozon, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

So I was busy munching on some Auntie Anne’s Pepperoni Pretzel Nuggets while watching this film when the screen suddenly focused on something blurred that resembled pink lips. But then the lips were vertical and I assumed it was probably an artistic shot of someone’s mouth.

The camera began to focus on the said lips and a steel object then started prodding them open revealing what looked like pink gums underneath. Was I going to see a root canal procedure today? But wait, where were the teeth? And why did she have a huge flappy mole?

And that was when I realized I was actually looking at an extreme close-up of a woman’s vagina (labia! vulva! clit! whee!). I thought I had seen the last of them since 2007, but it must be true that your past would forever haunt you.

Oh, the movie itself was an occasionally fun and crazy thriller involving twins, and mirrors, and twists, and double twists, and a baby crawling out of a pregnant tummy. It was probably something that Brian de Palma would have made if he collaborated with Elwood Perez.

Au revoir, Auntie Anne’s!! 😭

Rating: ★★★☆☆

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

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Like a friend who had a three day fling, got dumped immediately after, then declared that life wasn’t worth living anymore (and would actually take a full month of endless crying before moving on). I wasn’t surprised at how emotionally detached I was from this coming-of-age movie since it felt more like the blossoming (discovering?) of gay lust vs love.

Although undeniably well-crafted and finely acted (I really liked the playfulness of Timothée Chalamet’s Elio in direct contrast to the intentionally restrained Armie Hammer’s Oliver), the story overall just felt lacking. I was even more affected by the family dynamics, especially that tender monologue towards the end with Elio’s father (an excellent Michael Stuhlbarg).

Several minutes were spent on the violation of a peach and its flowing cum (er, juices), but when the two lovers consummated their carnal desires, the camera seemed uncomfortable, started to look away, and instead showed us…a tree (because ahrt).

Loved the soundtrack courtesy of Sufjans Stevens. Now if only everything else felt that authentic.

Serious question in the wake of these Hollywood sex scandals, if this were a heterosexual relationship involving a 24-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl (or vice versa), would this movie be generally embraced as romantic as well?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Cinema One Originals 2017 Scorecard

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Best Picture

1. CHANGING PARTNERS (Dan Villegas) – ★★★★★

2. PAKI (Giancarlo Abrahan) – ★★★★☆
3. HAUNTED: A LAST VISIT TO THE RED HOUSE (Phyllis Grande) – ★★★★☆

4. SI CHEDENG AT SI APPLE (Fatrick Tabada, Rae Red) – ★★★☆☆

5. NERVOUS TRANSLATION (Shireen Seno) – ★★☆☆☆
6. THROWBACK TODAY (Joseph Teoxon) – ★★☆☆☆
7. NAY (Kip Oebanda) – ★★☆☆☆

8. HISTORIOGRAPHIKA ERRATA (Richard Somes) – ★☆☆☆☆
9. BUNDOK BANAHAW, SACRED AND PROFANE (Dempster Samarista) – ★☆☆☆☆

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. JOJIT LORENZO (Changing Partners)
2. CARLO AQUINO (Throwback Today)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. DEXTER DORIA (Paki)
2. ELIZABETH OROPESA (Si Chedeng at si Apple)
3. AGOT ISIDRO (Changing Partners)
4. GLORIA DIAZ (Si Chedeng at si Apple)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. NOEL TRINIDAD (Paki)
2. SANDINO MARTIN (Changing Partners)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. SHAMAINE BUENCAMINO (Paki)
2. ANNA LUNA (Changing Partners)
3. EULA VALDEZ (Paki)
4. SYLVIA SANCHEZ (Nay)

HISTORIOGRAPHIKA ERRATA (Richard Somes, 2017)

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Like a loud, annoying, and horny uncle in a family reunion that had one too many Red Horse beers delivered his unsolicited version of Drunk (Philippine) History. In his made-up story, Andres Bonifacio was played by Jett Pangan in a wig and baro’t saya, looking very much like John Lapus in drag and ready to battle the Moron 5.

His choice of metaphor for the rape of our country was Nathalie Hart with her permanent bee-stung lips literally getting passed around and pumped from all angles while delivering several variations of the line “Wag mong iputok sa loob!”.

Beware of this uncle. Tito Jo, wag po!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

CHANGING PARTNERS (Dan Villegas, 2017)

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Minahal ko ang pelikulang ito hanggang sa kinaya ng puso ko. It was a clear testament to the enormous talents on display in front of and behind the camera on just how perfectly everything worked. I didn’t see the original stage version and I am now more than curious to know how they were able to pull that one off.

It would have been so easy to get confused with the film’s multiple relationship permutations and constant character and gender switches, but the seamless transitions and excellent performances (Agot Isidro! Jojit Lorenzo!!) clearly helped a lot. Plus all that glorious singing. Totoo nga na mas dama mo kapag kinakanta ang feelings and emotions haha!

With a clear view on issues dealing with age gap differences, who wears the pants in the relationship, gut feel vs jealousy, etc., it was able to transcend the traditional hugot formula. Every sumbat that was thrown to the other partner felt raw and real and completely stung. I had been these characters and it was hard for me to hold back the tears. Never been this emotionally crushed. Never. Absolute.

Rating: ★★★★★

BUNDOK BANAHAW, SACRED AND PROFANE (Dempster Samarista, 2017)

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The screening that I attended yesterday in G4 was like a game of survival of the fittest. By the thirty minute mark, a mass walkout started to happen and I wasn’t even surprised. This was pure torture to watch and I only stayed because sayang ang aircon.

There were so many fascinating themes here (prevalence of mysticism in our country, the effects of commercialism to the place, etc.), but there was a complete lack of focus on the subject matter. We were treated to random scenes that any tourist with a videocam could have taken. And chanting. Lots of chanting.

People onscreen would reference sacred images on the wall and we wouldn’t get a glimpse of what they were seeing. Were we expected to experience these things for ourselves? With the many steep staircases and tight spaces that were shown, that would be a hard pass for me.

I remembered watching Man on the Moon where a sick Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) visited the Philippines to seek treatment from a (sham) psychic healer. Those few scenes said so much about faith vs science than the entire two hours of this tedious drone shots-filled documentary.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

SI CHEDENG AT SI APPLE (Fatrick Tabada, Rae Red, 2017)

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That throwaway scene where fresh out of the closet Chedeng (Gloria Diaz) was clipping her nails before a big date with her one true love was definitely my kind of juvenile comedy. I felt very much like Apple (an excellent Elizabeth Oropesa) poking fun at my lesbihonest friend for having talented fingers.

This had the same absurdist dark humor of Patay na Si Hesus with two bumbling Titas of Manila on the road trip of their lives. Although it also suffered from some pacing issues, it never ran out of hilarious dialogue (“Tumitindig ang tatlong natitirang bulbol ko sa’yo!”).

It really helped that Diaz and Oropesa had a natural rapport that would make one wish for their level of through thick and thin friendship. At ang ganda pa rin nila pareho! Samantala ako naka-relate kay Juana Change nung sinisi niya ang nangyari sa fez nya sa “Life. Life happened.” So true.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

NAY (Kip Oebanda, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

This movie could have learned a thing or two from Robert Eggers’ The Witch, a supernatural horror film that subtly doubled as a social commentary. This one just wasn’t a fun experience because I expected a delicious aswang flick, but ended up getting repeatedly clobbered on the head by its heavy socio-political themes.

If the blatant metaphors were not enough, it had characters actually spouting lines referencing social inequality and extra-judicial killings (in one scene, Enchong Dee looking like he got possessed by the spirit of Magnolia dela Cruz kept wailing about the innocent poor getting killed, “Bakit silahhhh? May mga pamilyahh silahhhh!!”).

I was really happy with the casting of Sylvia Sanchez (fresh from the role of a doting Alzheimer’s-stricken mother in The Greatest Love) that brought her back to her villain roots. Her menacing turn as the human kilawin-loving helper brought back my childhood fear of her evil bruha in Takbo…Talon…Tili!!

I wish there were more How To Train Your Aswang moments (I really liked the choice of the red hues when they were listening in on the busy metro; oh, and the slug transfer, really cool!) and less of the unintentional humor (one character’s reaction on learning that he was turned into an aswang: “Watdafak!”). Indeed.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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