KIM JI-YOUNG, BORN 1982 (Kim Do-young, 2019)

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Further proof that: 1) it’s so difficult to be a woman in our current misogynistic and patriarchal society, 2) we need more open discussions regarding mental health, and 3) South Korean cinema is in full bloom.

Jung Yu-mi and Kim Mi-kyeong were so good here. Sinipon ako sa mag-nanay na ‘to.

Nung sinabi ni Gong Yoo na magbakasyon sila sa Busan, ang lakas talaga ng sigaw ko na “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”.

Rating: ★★★★☆

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (Sean Durkin, 2011)

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Let me just say that the less you know about this movie, the better it gets. It’s an engaging psychological thriller that’s buoyed by a superb performance from Elizabeth Olsen. With its seamless transitions from past to present, it grips you by the throat and messes up your brain. That bummer of an ending perfectly capped the movie. What a nice surprise!

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 12, 2012.)

THE HATE YOU GIVE (George Tillman, Jr., 2018)

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“It is impossible to be unarmed when our blackness is the weapon that they fear. And I refuse to let our blackness be seen as a weapon or as a weakness.”

Powerful stuff. Terrific cast, too (especially newcomer Amandla Stenberg and Russell Hornsby).

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 12, 2019.)

NIGHTCRAWLER (Dan Gilroy, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Nightcrawler:

1. No matter how gaunt and dirty Jake Gyllenhaal looked in this movie with those sunken cheeks and unwashed long hair, I was still fixated on those piercing blue eyes.

If this acting thing doesn’t work out, he can always be a hypnotist.

2. I loved the brutal attack on how the media usually covered accidents and capitalized on these tragedies instead of lending a helping hand to victims. In the same way, viewers were held liable for eating up this kind of schadenfreude.

Everyone’s so media-obsessed nowadays that we’ve crossed the line on what can be considered pure entertainment or even news.

As one character put it so eloquently, “Think of our newscast as a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut.”

3. One season of The Apprentice had two teams: Book Smart and Street Smart. Which one do you think would be more successful in life?

4. Lou Bloom was the real meaning of epal, shoving his camera in places that cameras should never be shoved. I guess the end justified the means.

5. I would always remember Rene Russo in that slinky, see-through Michael Kors gown in The Thomas Crown Affair. She was equally good in this film, playing a gritty and ballsy news director and the Mrs. Robinson to Gyllenhaal’s Bloom.

6. Lou spent his days alone ironing his clothes, laughing by himself while watching television, and watering his plants. I hope I just didn’t see my future.

7. If you think that the police arrives late only in our local movies, think again.

8. Why didn’t anybody notice the cameras during the restaurant raid? Aren’t the police supposed to scan the area first?

9. Much had been said about Gyllenhaal’s Oscar snub. Where do I sign the petition?

10. Conquer your False Evidence Appearing Reals.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 10, 2015.)

ON VODKA, BEERS, AND REGRETS (Irene Villamor, 2020)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Parang dito dapat nilagay ang subtitle na Not A Love Story. It felt deeply personal to me. Pakiramdam ko bff ko si starlet Jane (Bela Padilla) at sobrang helpless ko habang pinapanood siya battling her substance abuse issue.

Gusto ko din that Francis (JC Santos) was literally a supporting character. JC took a back seat this time around and helped Bela shine even more. It might be their nth pairing pero undeniable talaga ang chemistry nila. Very real-life couple ang kulitan at tinginan.

I wonder if nag-storyboard sina Direk Irene at cinematographer niya before shooting this film. Ramdam ko kasi na pinag-isipan ang framing ng bawat eksena na kahit yung abstract painting (Who’s the artist? Ang ganda!) sa room ni Jane may sinasabi when seen next to her (or maybe not at gusto ko lang lagyan ng meaning).

Ang only gripe ko lang is medyo rushed yung ending. Hindi ko nakita si Jane na nagdurusa sa rehab ala Sandra Bullock sa 28 Days. Gusto ko sana maging part ng kanyang recovery lalo na that “love isn’t always the answer”. Hindi naman talaga love lang ang sagot sa alcoholism problem, but it sure would be nice to have someone to love you and hold your hand during the entire healing process.

Rating: ★★★★☆

BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN) (Cathy Yan, 2020)

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This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or a girl.

If you’re still not yet a fan of the fantabulous Margot Robbie, this will definitely convert you into one. Harley seeking revenge for the murder of her bacon and egg sandwich is my kind of life coach.

I also found it oddly funny that Cassandra Cain was played by half-Pinoy Ella Jay Basco and her character was an expert snatcher. Hahahaha! #PinoyFried indeed.

Rating: ★★★★☆

AMERICAN HUSTLE (David O. Russell, 2013)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on American Hustle:

1. If you hate character-driven films filled with constant babbling and highstrung emotions, don’t watch American Hustle. You’ll get bored.

2. David O. Russell handled his actors really well here. They portrayed despicable beings but I wanted to hang out with them.

3. Amy Adams was the best thing in this movie. And it didn’t hurt that she looked really hot during the entire thing. Give her an Oscar please.

4. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence & Jeremy Renner were excellent. Made me forget the awful taste of Silver Linings Playbook.

5. Amy Adams’ cleavage should be in a Best Supporting (Unsupported?) category of its own.

6. I loved the songs used in the movie. The Delilah sing-along was great but J.Law’s Live and Let Die scene alone merited another Oscar nod.

7. You have to admire Bale and his method acting. That tummy made me want to hit the gym. I wonder if he shaved his head for the comb-over.

8. I’ve never been this entertained by a Russell movie since Three Kings.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 7, 2014.)