SARAH GERONIMO: THIS 15 ME (Paul Alexei Basinillo, 2018)

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Popstar Royalty Queen Sarah Geronimo is Popstar Royalty Queen Sarah Geronimo.

Sayang lang kasi hindi fully na-capture ng special ang collective energy ng sold-out crowd sa Araneta (considering na highest grossing local concert siya of all time).

May time pa na mas malakas ang sigawan for James Reid. Wait, ano na pala nangyari sa prods with Daniel Padilla and Xian Lim?

Impressive ng dancing niya sa Tala number kahit mas marami pa kanta ng mga back-up singers nya. Tapos sunod-sunod yung foreign covers eh ang daming magagandang OPM songs from her last four iconic albums.

15th anniversary and di isinama ang career-defining na To Love You More? Uhm.

Nagustuhan ko yung mga behind the scenes na lumabas ang genuine personality niya. Mas open na siya at spontaneous. Ang laking difference from her Expressions days. We needed more of that here.

The best part pa rin yung Leaving on a Jet Plane na nakasuot lang siya ng plain white tee and ripped jeans. Parang nagpapaalam na siya sa glamourous showbiz life kasi lalagay na siya sa tahimik (pero parang lang pala). Sigurado ako bumaha ng Popster tears sa Araneta that night.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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ANG BABAENG ALLERGIC SA WIFI (Jun Lana, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Cute at times, but the emotions felt too shallow and never went beyond mere puppy love. One star for each dimple of Jameson Blake. Definitely not a fan of that ending.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 16, 2018.)

THE DAY AFTER VALENTINE’S (Jason Paul Laxamana, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

I can come up with ten things that I didn’t like about this movie, but I’m sure you’ll still watch this Hawaii travelogue narrated by damaged souls because of Bela Padilla and JC Santos (both much better in 100 Tula Para Kay Stella).

If I learned anything from Bela’s bangs, it was that I did the right thing in not trusting those DIY haircut tutorials on YouTube.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 16, 2018.)

WE WILL NOT DIE TONIGHT (Richard Somes, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Like a nastier, low-budget version of Buy Bust. I probably would have liked the senseless bloodbath more if the action scenes were at least staged/shot much better and didn’t look like mere rehearsals.

The scene where Erich Gonzales singlehandedly eviscerated several goons closely resembled the stairwell sequence of Atomic Blonde. Another one where she grabbed a young girl reminded me so much of The Lookout. Definitely not a good sign.

So after getting beaten close to death, her stuntwoman character still showed up on the film set despite everything that happened? Now that’s dedication! (And a brutal reality for our stuntpeople.)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 16, 2018.)

BAKWIT BOYS (Jason Paul Laxamana, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Completely smitten by this charmer. One character pleaded a radio station manager to give a chance to unknown but exceptionally talented artists and it couldn’t have been more apt here. The cast (led by Vance Larena and the wonderful Devon Seron) was a delight to watch.

It may not have been a musical in the strictest sense but the original songs here were really good and served their purpose. Several reaction shots especially the one with a terrific Nanding Josef (as the boys’ grandfather) beaming with pride had me crying in my seat. Good stuff!

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 16, 2018.)

PINAY BEAUTY (SHE’S NO WHITE) (Jay Abello, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

More corny than funny. Sample joke: a burglar broke into a home and accidentally smashed a vase. Old man to burglar: “300 years old na yang vase na yan ah!!”. Burglar to old man: “Hay salamat! Akala ko bago.” Wenk, wenk, wenk!

Although we’re admittedly racist in nature, I still cringed a bit when characters found humor in lines like “Anong akala mo sa Pilipina? Lahat itsurang ita?” or “Majitim, majitim. Black parang si Barack!”. Or was the movie actually telling us not to laugh? I was confused.

It was great to see the uber talented Chai Fonacier lead a movie (especially one that championed morena beauty), but she deserved so much better. Her faux Pak’s Brownening Soap ad said so much more about our mestisa obsession in 30 seconds than this one did in 1.5 hours.

At least it was hilarious to watch Maxine Medina play a beautiful-looking but terrible actress. I’m almost sure that wasn’t much of a stretch.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 15, 2018.)

SIGNAL ROCK (Chito Roño, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Where the little details of small town life mattered a lot (effects of people coming and going, pros and cons of the bayanihan concept, limited supply of electricity and lack of network signal, barrio problems that consisted of petty brawls in a pasayaw, etc.).

The strong ensemble cast made me feel that I had known these characters my entire life. My favorites were the dependable Nanding Josef (who had a heartbreaking carabao English scene) and Joel Saracho (one of the hardest working character actors in these last two local festivals).

I had concerns with the pacing that might have intentionally mirrored the slow town life. One storm scene that involved a bangka also had awful special effects. At least the scenes with waves crashing on those rock formations looked really gorgeous.

Side note: Did we not learn anything from that Bagani brownface brouhaha?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 15, 2018.)

 

MADILIM ANG GABI (Adolf Alix, Jr., 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Poverty porn? War on drugs? Shaky cam? The only reason why this wasn’t a Brillante Mendoza film was because of its anti-DDS view. In lieu of the infamous fishball scene of Ma’ Rosa, this had Gina Alajar (great as always) eating a bowl of kwek kwek.

I spent majority of the time shouting the name of every celebrity that showed up every few minutes for their 30-second cameo. Zanjoe Marudo! Laurice Guillen! Iza Calzado! Flora Gasser!! Divine Tetay!!!

If the message of the movie wasn’t obvious enough, a character had to state “Masama na ang panahon. Sana nakikinig sila. Hindi hayop ang pinatay nila: isang anak, kapatid, mahal sa buhay, kamag-anak!!” Wew.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 15, 2018.)

MAMANG (Denise O’Hara, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Oh, my ghost! Can our local writers/filmmakers please give this “I see dead people” trope a rest (especially if it was obvious from the very start)? There are so many ways to make the audience think that you made a smart movie without relying on a lazy twist.

The divine Celeste Legaspi (as a widow suffering from dementia) and the severely underrated Ketchup Eusebio (as her gay son seeking acceptance from everyone except his mother) had such a wonderfully natural chemistry that needed a better story.

Side note: In one scene, Alex Medina’s towel was about to fall off, but magically became secured again in the next shot. Why? (Asking for a friend.) Also, why was he wearing khaki shorts during that pumping scene? Asking for my sanity.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 8, 2018.)