THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

I missed the days when my only problem was how to fake an afternoon nap (the worst childhood punishment) and wonder whether my neighbors’ moms would allow my friends to come out and play Langit Lupa.

Loved the stark contrasts between the colorful pastels and poverty porn, the childhood fantasies and adult realities, the joyous Celebration opening and the bittersweet Magic Kingdom ending.

Brooklynn Prince’s tearful goodbye completely broke my heart (I sobbed like there was no tomorrow). What a fantastic child performance! The rest of the cast (especially Willem Dafoe and Bria Vinaite) were great as well.

“You know why this is my favorite tree? ‘Cause it’s tipped over and it’s still growing.” The meaning of life filtered through the magical eyes of a child.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published March 24, 2018.)

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION FROM LILIA CUNTAPAY (Antoinette Jadaone, 2011)

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Even with the “aswang lady” headlining this faux documentary, the only scary thing here was how vastly underutilized Ms. Lilia Cuntapay remained in our local industry. Sure, she got stereotyped as the ultimate kid’s nightmare but her acting skills (shown here in its full glory) deserved to be in more than just horror movies. Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, this was one of the best Pinoy films in 2011 and possibly of all-time. I’m surprised it didn’t reap a lot of awards from local award-giving bodies this year, including one for Nanay Lilia. It just made this movie even more powerful and real.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published November 18, 2012.)

FOREVER BRIDGELESS (Racquel Zaballero-Sanchez, Glenn Ternal, 2016)

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Exceptionally-told documentary on the political and economic concerns surrounding the lack of a proper bridge between Barangay Suba and the main land in Masbate. It doubled as an effective eye opener and a proper call to action. Ang linis! Ang ganda! Ang galing!! 👏👏👏

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published March 17, 2016.)

INANG YAYA (Pablo Biglang-awa, Veronica Velasco, 2006)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Siguro kung ililista ko lahat ng gusto kong sabihin tungkol sa pelikulang ito, aabutin ako ng 10,000 words no exag. Kasing-dami yan ng patak ng luha ko sa sobrang daming beses ko na din siya napanood.

Sino ba ang Maricelian sa Young Critics Circle? Wag ka aalis diyan ha dahil ikaw lang talaga ang may taste for recognizing her excellent performances (even in genre films like Vampira). As a huge fan of Maricel Soriano, ipaglalaban ko na ito ang kanyang best performance ever (close second yung critically-lauded Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal). Napaka-understated kasi ng pag-arte niya dito. Nawawala ang usual acting tics na hate ng Manunuris sa kanya kaya never siya nanalo ng Urian.

Kung tutuusin, very anti-Maricel ang atake niya sa role ni Mommy Yaya Norma. Nung bumili siya ng “Skeechers” para sa anak na si Ruby (a wonderful Tala Santos) tapos ibinato lang nito kasi fake at pagtatawanan daw siya ng mga kaklase, yung tahimik na pag-upo niya grabe gusto ko siya yakapin. Walang hagulgol, pigil ang pag-iyak habang hawak ang rejected na pinag-ipunang regalo. Ang sakit sakit.

Iisipin mo na typical Pinoy melodrama siya kaya nakakatuwa na medyo na-subvert yung genre. Lutang pa rin ang issue on class differences pero kaunti lang ang tropes na ginamit. Masyado nga ako nasanay sa mga teleserye kaya nung may eksena si Norma na nagpa-plantsa akala ko meron masusunog o nung pinagdala niya ng mainit na tsaa si Ruby, akala ko mabubuhos sa matapobreng lola (Liza Lorena). Buti walang ganun dito. Napakabait pa ng mga amo niya (Zoren Legaspi and Sunshine Cruz) na mapapaisip ka kung meron ba talagang tulad nila in real life or nakasanayan lang natin na maldita lagi si madam at mas mababa ang pagtrato niya sa mga yaya/maid. Hindi ito pelikula para sa mga cynical na tao.

Grabe, I can quote this film for days.

Louise (a charming Erika Oreta): “Eww, why are you eating the head of the shrimp?”

Ruby: “It’s mah-sah-rap kasi.”

HAHAHAHAHA!!

Ang galing talaga ng mga batang ‘to. Ang ganda pa ng chemistry nilang tatlo kaya durog na durog ang puso ko pagdating sa realistic ending. Such an underrated gem.

Rating: ★★★★★

THE SIXTH SENSE (M. Night Shyamalan, 1999)

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I’m never watching this in the shower again. I was too scared to even blink for a second (what if an old woman suddenly appeared in front of me?) that I ended up getting shampoo in my eyes. And then I didn’t want to open them again right away because what if an old woman was standing right in front of me huhu.

Also, justice for Haley Joel Osment and Toni Collette!! That car scene alone deserved Oscar wins.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published March 3, 2019.)