ON THE JOB (Erik Matti, 2013)

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A near flawless movie marred only by the weak performance of Gerald Anderson. He was a pussy in a group of roaring lions.

This was a smart and stylish thriller (it reminded me so much of The Departed) that left me depressed with the current state of local politics.

Aside from the skillful direction of Erik Matti, its cinematography and score made the film a cut above the usual Pinoy film noir.

Joel Torre gave a magnificent, towering performance. I admired all the restraint in his acting. Joey Marquez and Leo Martinez were also great.

Really sad to see Gerald in the central role, though. His stilted and phony delivery almost ruined the movie for me. Coco Martin wasn’t available?

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published September 8, 2013.)

ANG HULING HENYA (Marlon Rivera, 2013)

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Bland, boring, and unfunny. Rufa Mae Quinto deserved so much better. Who wanted to see her oh so serious?

I couldn’t believe that Ang Huling Henya was from the same guy that gave us Ang Babae sa Septic Tank. They were on opposite ends of the comedy spectrum.

Quinto’s one of our finest comediennes but she just wasn’t in her element here. Booba’s not funny when she’s smart.

Aside from a clever bit involving Shaira Luna, Jessica Zafra and “Sen. Miriam”, the movie was almost devoid of laughs.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 21, 2013.)

RAKETEROS (Randy Santiago, 2013)

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A comedy that felt old and made me feel old. It should have been turned into a sitcom instead.

Raketeros harkened back to the 90’s brand of Pinoy comedy with jokes that were incredibly corny and stale, and had the requisite beach scene.

With all the cameos, it was a test of your Pinoy showbiz knowledge. I was able to name all of them, except for one PBB starlet.

Sam Pinto continued her streak of starring in the worst Pinoy movies ever made. She really needs to reconsider her acting career.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 12, 2013.)

REKORDER (Mikhail Red, 2013)

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Style trumped substance in this promising filmmaker’s debut. It’s not always a bad thing, right?

Rekorder felt like a Lawrence Fajardo movie shot through the lens of Raymond Red. Gritty & experimental, yet fell short of being compelling.

It had keen observations on current technology and our society, but felt very showy, like a really good thesis for Film 101.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 7, 2013.)

NUWEBE (Joseph Israel Laban, 2013)

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Nuwebe touched on a delicate (and controversial) subject matter handled much better in recent MMK episodes. Several scenes had people laughing.

The interview parts were problematic. The kid was forcing herself to cry while uttering weird word choices that elicited giggles.

Jake Cuenca failed to bring anything to his role, except show his ass. Nadine Samonte fared better as the suffering, confused mom.

There were so many elements of Insiang apparent in this movie. I wonder if that classic served as an inspiration to the director.

And did we really need that blatant Eskinol Master product placement? Did it deserve a scene of its own even if it had no bearing at all?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 7, 2013.)

 

INSTANT MOMMY (Leo Abaya, 2013)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Instant Mommy was a confused mess. You know a movie didn’t have much of a plot when a chunk of it was a dream sequence.

The movie rested solely on Eugene Domingo’s broad shoulders (and right boob) saving it from becoming a complete disaster.

I know it was a last minute replacement but did it really have to look and feel this rushed?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 6, 2013.)

 

AMOR Y MUERTE (Cesar Evangelista, 2013)

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Alternate title: Sawa ni Apitong. Signalled the possible return of schlocky 90’s ST movies.

I’m still reeling from the amount of sex and nudity that Markki Stroemm displayed in Amor Y Muerte. Everything was just in full view. Gasp.

With all the graphic sex and nudity in this movie and it’s rated R-16, I wonder what falls under R-18. Soft core porn?

“Mahaba man ang espada ng mga Kastila, mas malakas ang sawa ng mga Pilipino.” The movie in a nutshell. I’m not kidding.

I checked my watch to see if I time travelled back to the 90’s and I was watching an ST flick. Wait, it’s our local The Piano! Eek!

A lot of people asking about Amor Y Muerte. Yes, it shows Markki’s Stroem. And yes, you might Markki over his Stroem. Ok, I ran out of puns.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 6, 2013.)

QUICK CHANGE (Eduardo Roy, Jr., 2013)

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Beauty comes with a price in this fascinating (and painful) look at the lives of transgenders and the lengths they go through to transform. It’s uneven but engaging.

Loved the brilliant use of Paru-parong Bukid, giving the song a whole new meaning in relation to the characters’ metamorphosis.

I loved how the movie was scored, with its gentle music breaking the long silences. Teresa Barrozo should be a Cinemalaya fixture.

Found it odd that I was the only one that laughed when the lead said she was Dorina Pineda looking for Lavina Arguelles.

Sometimes I felt the scenes just didn’t know when to end but the way the shots were lit just supported the length. Good stuff.

It’s not for all tastes (old couple beside me were terrorized by the nudity) & was uncomfortable to watch which was all good.

Wait, I just remembered that scene in Quick Change where “Kim Chiu” gave the exact same answer of “Kim Chiu” in Super Sireyna.

Was that shot after the show? Was the movie being prescient or was it just a standard answer in gay beauty pageants?

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 6, 2013.)

THE DIPLOMAT HOTEL (Christopher Ad. Castillo, 2013)

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Que horror indeed.

It’s hard to believe but The Diplomat Hotel just beat Amor Y Muerte as the worst movie I’ve seen in #Cinemalaya2013, and possibly this year.

It was like The Shining. Only with everyone playing Jack Nicholson. And without the scares. Or anything that makes sense.

The hotel and its rich history would have made a great horror movie but everything was wasted. It would have been better as a Magandang Gabi Bayan Halloween special.

Let’s get this out of the way. Gretchen Barretto was horrible here. Kris Aquino could have done better and that says a lot.

The production values were awful, several scenes were out of focus, there were a lot of missing dialogue, subtitles were not in sync, etc.

The only thing scary here was that La Greta’s lovely face was barely moving.

End of rant.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 6, 2013.)

LIARS (Gil Portes, 2013)

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By indie, did that mean they had no budget for a newspaper that didn’t look like a craft project?

With its bad direction, terrible performances, and pasted newspaper headlines, there was nothing worth recommending in Gil Portes’ Liars.

There was a scene where a kid was wailing to the raining high heavens before dropping to his knees that elicited hysterical laughter.

And I was wary of these “inspired by a true story” movies especially when some scenes were so detached from reality.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 5, 2013.)