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The Spotless Mind

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

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(3/5)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Please tell me I wasn’t the only one totally shipping Kylo Ren and Rey. There was just so much sexual tension between them (good vs evil!) that their awesome lightsaber battle (set in scorching crimson red, of course!) felt very much like the kinkiest foreplay. They wouldn’t even need to bother with Skype because they could easily see and talk to each other via their minds (so Kylo just happened to be topless at one point, really?). My only concern was that even with the reveal that Rey’s parents were nobodies, they could totally switch this up a few films from now. Let’s not forget that the greatest love team in this series ended up in incest (still not as eww-worthy as parts I-III, though).

Daming ganap. Even with multiple storylines and a 2.5 hour running time, in the end nothing much really happened and they just basically rebooted the entire franchise. It reminded me of these RPG video games with several side quests that although entertaining only served as a distraction to the main story. I guess it was a bit understandable though since the main story simply revolved around a Resistance ship trying to get away from the First Order. How many ways could you make a ship running out of fuel exciting, right? On the other hand, did we really need that lengthy casino scene?

Also, why did they have to make Luke Skywalker such a bitter, grumpy old man? I could imagine the crushed hearts of fanboys that waited a long time only to see him nonchalantly toss away his lightsaber (was that meant to be funny?). In one scene, he was even supposed to kill a young boy (horrors!). Why the sudden change? Was it because he kept drinking that spoiled-looking green milk from a non-cow creature? (Sabagay, an upset stomach creates a monster out of me as well.)

So those shiny crystal animals just happened to lead the group out to safety? How convenient! And I wasn’t a fan of those critters that were obviously included for easy laughs. Besides, was there anything funnier than a seemingly dead Princess Leia suddenly regaining consciousness and flying ala Superman in outer space back to her ship?

I felt bad that Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro were underutilized in this movie to give way for the Finn and Rose love story. It was a fun and cute caper, but that kiss generated as much heat as winter in Siberia. I was also a bit distracted because Rose looked very much like Ate Kimmy Go Donghae. Every time she would abruptly show up on screen, I expected her to scream, “May sale sa Lazada!!”.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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AROUND THE WAY GIRL: A MEMOIR (Taraji P. Henson, Denene Millner, 2016)

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In the 2016 Golden Globes where she won Best Actress in a Drama Series, Taraji P. Henson went full Cookie Lyon mode upon the announcement of her name. She spontaneously grabbed a handful of complimentary cookies from her table and started handing them out to everyone including Lady Gaga and Leonardo DiCaprio. She feigned an attitude when an usher accidentally stepped on her gown (“Get off my train!”) and said a mouthful when asked to wrap up her speech (“I waited twenty years for this, you’re gonna wait!”).

In this squeaky-clean memoir, it was obvious that the real Taraji wasn’t too far off from her beloved onscreen persona (less the crack and jail time, of course). It actually gave us a glimpse of all the hardships that she faced as a black kid growing up in a troubled home and how it shaped her into becoming a strong and successful woman of color in Hollywood.

Although admirable for its honesty, this book didn’t really strive to be more than inspirational. The later chapters skimped on her interesting life in showbiz. Where were the juicy details? Why was the best part about Squad Goals only a few pages long? It was also odd that everything in her life seemed to be very much like the films she made (and did we really need a synopsis of Baby Boy and Hustle & Flow every time they were mentioned?).

Hopefully her next book would be more “You want Cookie’s nookie? Ditch the bitch!”. Bring it, Taraji!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

DADDY’S HOME 2 (Sean Anders, 2017)

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Whenever the trailer for this movie was shown, the biggest laughs would come from the sight of a giddy, kid-like Will Ferrell giving his sweet old father John Lithgow a welcoming kiss on the lips at the airport. I thought that it wouldn’t be as funny anymore after seeing it one too many times, but it still had the exact same effect on me during the actual movie. With every kiss (yes, there were more!), I just laughed my guts out.

The same kind of juvenile humor was recycled all throughout (gender neutral flash cards for sex education!) and your enjoyment would probably depend on whether you had actually forgiven Mel Gibson (weirdly enough, making an a-hole character completely charming) for his antisemitic and racist rants. That or your tolerance for a sappy Christmas singalong in a theater with employees miraculously giving out free food and candies to everyone.

I really liked Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge and I was in full holiday spirit during the screening. I lapped up every corny joke and got my money’s worth. Even John Cena’s singing wasn’t that bad after all! Now if only we could see him.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

THELMA (Joachim Trier, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

When a photosensitive seizure warning was shown before this film, I felt a bit scared because our family had a history of epilepsy and I read online that this could be a latent condition triggered by intensive flashing lights. I made sure that I had my eyes closed throughout that lengthy, agonizing CT scan scene even if I didn’t usually cover my eyes while watching horror movies.

The intriguing opening sequence properly set the tone for this Norwegian version of Carrie. It involved a father, a young girl, a hunting rifle, and a deer. My heart was completely racing when the rifle was pointed instead at something that I didn’t expect. I wonder if PETA would support that decision.

I didn’t completely buy the themes of coming out slash coming-of-age vis a vis religious repression, but I really liked the stunning imagery used here (except for that clumsy Wikipedia part). The most chilling scene involved a search for a missing baby and its subsequent discovery under a frozen lake. Definitely the stuff of (parental) nightmares.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

UNEXPECTEDLY YOURS (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2017)

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I think I just had a Classic Pare Titos and Titas of Manila moment while watching this movie since I couldn’t help myself from twitterpating (kilig lang yan, inartehan ko) over such a cute couple. Nope, not talking about JoshLia (even if Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto were also really charming here). I was of course referring to the Sharon Cuneta-Robin Padilla love team that still showcased such palpable chemistry twenty five years after Maging Sino Ka Man.

I previously mentioned that I liked this combo much better than the Sharon-Gabby and Sharon-Richard pairing because the very Pinoy langit-lupa theme (and all the conflicts that stemmed from this social class gap) always made for great dramedy. It was even put to good use here because it was an older people romance straight out of the Nancy Meyers universe.

This should have been the comeback vehicle of Ate Shawie since her performance here just felt more relaxed and natural compared to the one in Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha. She displayed great comedic timing, especially while verbally sparring with Robin (mega kilig yung sagutan nila ng “Adik!” and “Sa’yo!” waaah!). Her controlled emotions during her dramatic moments were even reminiscent of her grand slam performance in Madrasta. I really liked the scene where she was crying out of self-pity (“Matanda na ako…”) because her realizations were genuinely painful to watch.

I wish the movie focused more on their romance since the JoshLia story actually served as a distraction. It would have worked still without their love angle since the young ones were so believable as their blood relatives (Julia as Sharon’s daughter and Joshua as Robin’s nephew). Also, all the millennial discussion including a cringey FGD just felt off. It had just as much insight about this generation as any episode of Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X.

Speaking of Julia, I was really surprised at how much she had continuously improved in terms of acting (even after her good work in Love You to the Stars and Back). She had this lovely scene with Sharon where she was telling her why she didn’t want to end up just like her mother and she definitely held her own against the Megastar. The Claudine comparisons would be inevitable, but with the right projects, she should be able to step out of her aunt’s shadow soon.

In one scene, Julia was wearing a shirt that had the word “MIST” on the right shoulder and “AKES” on the left side. I thought, “Wow, cool! A gay shirt saying that she’s a mist!”. It took me a full twenty seconds to realize that it actually spelled “mistakes”. Bwiset! Chalk that up to another Titos and Titas of Manila moment.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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: ★★★☆☆

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)

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: ★★★☆☆

YUP, I AM THAT GIRL (Maine Mendoza, 2017)

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“Twenty years from now, people might not give a shit about me anymore. But still, I want to see if any of what I have written here came to life. I want to see if the things I wanted when I was 22 are still the things I want when I reach 42.”

Refreshingly honest and quirky, like listening to one of your close friends tell some of her funny life stories. I just wish there were more of the personal anecdotes (like the hilarious egg story with the fussy Mexican lady) and less of the Cosmo-like lists and love/life advice and platitudes.

There really wasn’t much here that I haven’t read yet from other magazines. The only difference was that this was written from her perspective so even rehashed information sounded interesting because of her innate humor.

I also liked that this had a lot more content compared to the other celebrity “books” that were mostly photo albums. It was also unfiltered as promised and surprisingly free of the usual gimmicks (not a single chapter was dedicated to Alden, whee!).

It ended on a sour note though with a closing chapter that had most of her sponsors comparing her to their products. Did we really need to know how she’s very much like Rejoice, Zonrox, and Funtastyk Pork Tocino? Eek!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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