LIGAYA ANG ITAWAG MO SA AKIN (Carlos Siguion-Reyna, 1997)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Random farmer: “Ligaya, kumusta na?”

Ligaya: “Eto magang-maga.”

Me: HAHAHAHAHA!

Me (2 seconds later): HUHUHUHUHU!

This was Pretty Woman without the cute shopping montage and fairy-tale ending.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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LAST FOOL SHOW (Eduardo Roy, Jr., 2019)

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It was the Ang Babae sa Septic Tank of local rom-coms that needed a bit more smart humor. As a Star Cinema production, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t have the balls to completely bite the hands that financed it (most of the in-jokes focused on their posters).

Instead, it poked fun at recent non-SC love stories (albeit some were brutally spot-on, like that Ocean Deep montage ala Kita Kita or the awkward beach dancing ala Mr. and Mrs. Cruz). Seriously, they chose Arci Muñoz in the lead and not a single callback from Always Be My Maybe or Can We Still Be Friends? Wasted opportunity.

Muñoz was irritating in the kooky Issa character, but fared better as the serious Mayessa. JM de Guzman was just okay. Both performances lacked that “wink wink” factor that made Eugene Domingo in Septic Tank and Klaudia Koronel in Tuhog hilariously brilliant.

Plus half a star each for the use of (what I assumed were) the director’s real Balanghais and that Baby Arjan reference.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

TAYO SA HULING BUWAN NG TAON (Nestor Abrogena, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Hindi masamang makipagkaibigan sa ex. Pero may dahilan kung bakit hindi na kayo. Wag n’yo na ipilit pa na magbalikan. Lalo na’t masaya na kayo pareho sa mga jowa n’yo. Hindi yan love. Wag kayong selfish. Wag kayong tanga.

Ang impressive nung one long take na “couple-swapping” sa gitna ng movie. Kasinghusay ni Anna Luna sa kanyang bawat pagganap. Pa-fansign naman diyan idol haha!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

ALADDIN (Guy Ritchie, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Similar to Beauty and the Beast (2017), this was a decent live action remake of a beloved Disney classic.

Pros:

• Except for Will Smith (who although was no Robin Williams still gave a fine performance), we got fresh faces instead of commercial picks. And the leads could sing really well. (Acting-wise, they were okay.)

• The updated musical numbers captured the magic of the animated film. It was quite fun to watch the A Whole New World sequence in 4DX. Para akong malalaglag sa magic carpet any time.

• A more feminist Jasmine (albeit her new songs weren’t memorable). Naomi Scott was really charming and reminded me of a younger Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Cons:

• Terrible, terrible choice for Jafar. Did he have to be that serious? Completely drained one of the best Disney villains of any personality. (Ben Kingsley wasn’t available?)

• Several changes made this version too sanitized and oh-so-politically-correct. One of the funniest moments in the cartoon was when Aladdin said that Jasmine was his sister and that she was a little crazy. Her googly eyes bit was completely hilarious. Didn’t find it here. And why did they skip the first condition that one couldn’t wish for Genie to kill someone. Sensitive much?

• It was weird that Abu, Iago, and even Rajah were more alive and “human” in the cartoon version. Here they were just being animal sidekicks.

• Arabian Nights, right? Why the Bollywood production?

• “Genie, you’re free” was a highlight in the original. Where was that touching line here? And wasn’t it bad enough that Genie had abs? Did he really need to be human and have a lovelife?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

JO KOY: COMIN’ IN HOT (Shannon Hartman, 2019) – ★★★☆☆

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Asian and Latino stereotypes and accents, more Filipino childhood stories (including a hilarious bit on munggo), and the power of small dick energy make for an enjoyable hour of racist (but funny, “Hey, it’s just a joke!”) comedy.

Nerd alert: The Philippines wasn’t colonized by Spain for over 350 years (this one was actually easy for me to remember because it was 333). Also, unlike a quinceañera, a Filipina’s debut is celebrated on her 18th birthday.

Time to work on your credit, kabayans!!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

INTO THE WOODS (Rob Marshall, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Into the Woods:

1. A lot of the people in the theater complained that the characters did nothing but sing. It was a musical, for crying out loud! I heard the exact same thing about Les Miserables. No wonder 1dol flopped on local TV.

2. I had grown tired of these reimagining and modernization of classic fairy tales (Maleficent, Jack the Giant Slayer, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters; although I had to say I was excited to watch the new live-action Cinderella).

Happy to see the Babel-like take of the stories here. The movie was actually clever until it turned really serious in its final act. Why couldn’t it have ended with the requisite happily ever after?

3. I absolutely loved the prologue song but the rest were not so memorable. Sure, I enjoyed the diva showdown between the two Princes but I usually leave the theater humming a tune from the musical and it didn’t happen here.

4. Momma Meryl was fine as always but my favorites were the bratty Little Red Riding Hood and the wonderful singing of Emily Blunt. Miranda and Emily would be so proud.

5. Was I the only one bothered by the dark undertones of pedophilia whenever Little Red Riding Hood was surrounded by the grown-ups? First, she was stalked by the Big Bad Wolf, an obvious child predator, and then she was forced to remove her cape by the Baker. Was it just my perverted mind?

6. I knew that the real fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen were really dark to begin with, but I was still surprised this was rated General Patronage. Women got their toes sawed off, several characters were killed, a couple had an adulterous tryst. Uhh, why was this considered suitable for children?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published February 4, 2015.)

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES (Christopher Landon, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones:

1. I really liked the change of setting. After four movies, it was refreshing to see cameras outside the confines of a home. Seriously, how many times could they milk the same haunted house story anyway? (Oh, there’s a Part 5.)

2. Paranormal Activity (and to a lesser degree, all of its sequels) worked because our minds created the horror. We simply kept waiting for things to go bump in the night. This movie didn’t rely on that gimmick. There was action that actually went on in this one.

3. Was it scary? Not really. I found it really entertaining, though.

4. It might have been a stretch, but I liked how they tried to tie it up with all the previous films.

5. I therefore conclude that all Paranormal Activity endings would elicit a “That was it?” reaction.

6. Didn’t guarantee a strong recommendation, but it was fine for what it was worth. Watch at your own risk.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published February 3, 2014.)