CAM (Daniel Goldhaber, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

I’d be seriously pissed if my online doppelganger would do a Facebook Live tapos padila-dila lang.

And what to make of that unsatisfying conclusion?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 13, 2019.)

TAYLOR SWIFT: REPUTATION STADIUM TOUR (Paul Dugdale, 2018)

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So I just used up my birthday free pass of drunk singing loudly in the neighborhood several months ahead of my actual birthday when I made a videoke session out of this awesome concert film. How could I not if I knew every word of every song in her Reputation album?

And when she said “I would even say it’s something even more than beautiful. It’s like a step above beautiful” and then asked, “What’s the word for that, Dallas?” I pointed at the TV set and screamed my heart out, “GORGEOUUSSSSS!!”

No shame in being a Swiftie.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published January 11, 2019.)

TULLY (Jason Reitman, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

For all the mothers who have sacrificed their physical, mental, and emotional states and have given up their hopes and dreams just to raise their usually unappreciative kids.

For all the husbands who think that being a good provider is sufficient enough to fulfill their role as fathers.

For all the kids who never understood the meaning of gratitude and maternal love except during Mother’s Day.

(Sad that a fully committed Charlize Theron’s not getting much Oscar buzz for her amazing work here.)

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 30, 2018.)

THE MEG (Jon Turteltaub, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

A heartbreaking tale of an endangered prehistoric fish living a peaceful existence with its aquatic neighbors in the Marianas Trench when a group of greedy, idiotic humans decided to violate its home and capture it for selfish reasons.

In one beautiful scene, a horde of swimmers in multi-colored salbabidas looked like floating Froot Loops waiting to be eaten by a very hungry shark. I was rooting for the predator, of course.

I wish the film went all out in its silliness (given the number of people that kept falling off boats) and portrayed the characters here as the cruel beings they really were instead of making them self-sacrificial heroes. It just wasn’t in their nature.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 19, 2018.)

TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE (Susan Johnson, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Considering that I’m two decades beyond its target market, I probably enjoyed this cute YA fantasy way more than I should have.

Lana Condor (who resembled Charice in her Sunshine Corazon days) was terrific as Lara Jean, a realistic introverted girl who would choose to spend her Saturday nights watching reruns of Golden Girls. Who could relate?

I was very invested in the characters here (even if I felt sad that Aidan Shaw was already playing a father of three) that I actually wish they turned this into a series instead (I want to know more about those other boys!!). Now I really need to read that novel by Jenny Han.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 18, 2018.)

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (Susanna Foggel, 2018)

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Good for a few laughs. Kate McKinnon could say or do anything and I’d be laughing my head off. Sadly, this was the kind of corny action-comedy that you’d watch on cable on a slow Sunday afternoon.

(An old man spent a good ten minutes talking on his cellphone giving directions to Cubao and I didn’t mind at all. It was that kind of movie.)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 5, 2018.)

PIHU (Vinod Kapri, 2018)

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Based on a true story which made it all the more disturbing.

Parents with toddlers can view this as a cautionary tale (time to start childproofing your home) or just skip it on Netflix to prevent any anxiety attack and unnecessary paranoia.

This thriller probably would have been more effective as a short film, but it still traumatized me for life.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

QUEZON’S GAME (Matthew Rosen, 2018)

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So I was today years old when I learned that Balintawak was renamed as Quezon City after our country’s second President. I obviously slept through my History classes, which was what I almost did while watching this oh-so-standard biopic.

This untold story of our local Schindler’s List was admirable enough, but probably would have worked better as a documentary. How many more times would historical films be set in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar?

Susan Africa trope: a person dying of tuberculosis always owned a white handerkerchief where he/she would conveniently cough up a gallon of blood.

During the end credits, one of the Jewish survivors’ descendants spoke about Filipinos being non-racist. Uh, to Jewish people probably because they never really interacted much with them. Try the blacks, or Indians, or Chinese.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

BUMBLEBEE (Travis Knight, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Bumblebee:

1. Never thought l’d see the day that I would actually like a Transformers movie from the Michael Bay Non-Biodegradable Universe. How could I not be that pessimistic when this was the most revered film series in Razzie history? Revenge of the Fallen as Worst Picture? Definitely! Bay as Worst Director for Age of Extinction? Well-deserved! I only watched most of them out of pure nostalgia (and a self-diagnosed masochism, of course!). Unsurprisingly, the best entry (so far) only needed a director not named Michael Bay.

2. Although it still contained a huge amount of robot on robot action (that reminded me so much of the 4D ride in Universal Studios Singapore), more time was spent on the blossoming friendship between Bumblebee and Charlie Watson (Academy Award nominee and certified #PinoyFried Hailee Steinfeld). Who knew that beneath all the metal exterior lay the heart of this awesome prequel? (More than meets the eye? Take that, Star Wars!!)

3. If you immediately fell in love with the terrific Steinfeld as soon as she started air drumming here (and you had only seen her in the Pitch Perfect sequels), now would be a good time to catch up on her much better films like True Grit and The Edge of Seventeen.

(And yes, I still think she would have made a better Belle in the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake.)

4. One of my favorite moments was when Bumblebee first transformed in the garage. He got himself all tangled up with a kite, stumbled over, and then cowered in fear while sitting in one corner. More than just looking really cute (in an aww shucks way you would feel towards a scared child), he had never looked and felt more human.

There was also a lot of effective (intentional) humor in this movie that included him stomping on a car or doing a radical impression of Judd Nelson’s fist pump in The Breakfast Club (which was just as funny as Kimmy’s in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). Cue the classic Don’t You Forget About Me.

And speaking of classic songs, I was happy that Bumblebee eventually learned to like The Smiths (although it was still unforgivable that he hated Kuya Dick’s Never Gonna Give You Up).

5. Happy to see Pamela Adlon on the big screen as Charlie’s mother. I wish they could find a way to incorporate this in Better Things with Sam getting her big break as a supporting actress in a huge Hollywood production.

6. Alf and Miami Vice references. A picture of then-President Ronald Reagan. Posters for The Thing and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yet the biggest giveaway for me that this took place in the 80’s was the noisy dot matrix printer.

(Also, did they suggest that the Decepticons actually invented the internet?)

7. So Charlie started the Bird Box Challenge? (Kids, do not try this on the road unless you own Bumblebee.)

8. Ahh, so that was the Camaro explanation. Goodbye pendong peace!!

Rating: ★★★☆☆