EERIE (Mikhail Red, 2019)

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As scary as an unflushed toilet.

It was nothing more than a mishmash of every horror movie that you’ve already seen. Except that this one starred The Sacred Riana.

I wish it focused more on the important issues (mental health/depression, death penalty, homosexuality vis a vis Catholicism), but its idea of being smart was naming a character Erica (nicknamed Eri like Eerie, of course!) Sayco (as in Norman Bates).

To be fair, I watched it in a packed theater and the audience lapped up every cheap scare thrown at them. Mga valak twoooooaaaahhhhh!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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STRANDED (Ice Idanan, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Sobrang contrived from start to end. It was the type of movie where characters completely forgot that they existed in the real world just because they were thrown in a (not so) dangerous situation.

Where an employee left a tupperware of macaroni salad (?) in the office fridge over the weekend. Or people tried to put out a fire by blowing on a burning curtain (para cute diba?). Or somebody got promoted in lieu of hazard pay.

Siguro it could have worked better as a short film. Wala rin naman masyadong nangyari. Sayang kasi this was by the same director of that lovely film Sakaling Hindi Makarating.

Arjo Atayde (and his sexy baritone) was so much better than this. Jessy Mendiola played another version of Jessy Mendiola who had never heard of leptospirosis. If anything, maganda yung no hulas make-up niya considering na nawalan sila ng aircon in a completely enclosed building.

Note to local filmmakers: hindi lahat nadadaan sa kanta ni Ebe Dancel. Kbye.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

LAST FOOL SHOW (Eduardo Roy, Jr., 2019)

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It was the Ang Babae sa Septic Tank of local rom-coms that needed a bit more smart humor. As a Star Cinema production, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t have the balls to completely bite the hands that financed it (most of the in-jokes focused on their posters).

Instead, it poked fun at recent non-SC love stories (albeit some were brutally spot-on, like that Ocean Deep montage ala Kita Kita or the awkward beach dancing ala Mr. and Mrs. Cruz). Seriously, they chose Arci Muñoz in the lead and not a single callback from Always Be My Maybe or Can We Still Be Friends? Wasted opportunity.

Muñoz was irritating in the kooky Issa character, but fared better as the serious Mayessa. JM de Guzman was just okay. Both performances lacked that “wink wink” factor that made Eugene Domingo in Septic Tank and Klaudia Koronel in Tuhog hilariously brilliant.

Plus half a star each for the use of (what I assumed were) the director’s real Balanghais and that Baby Arjan reference.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

TAYO SA HULING BUWAN NG TAON (Nestor Abrogena, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Hindi masamang makipagkaibigan sa ex. Pero may dahilan kung bakit hindi na kayo. Wag n’yo na ipilit pa na magbalikan. Lalo na’t masaya na kayo pareho sa mga jowa n’yo. Hindi yan love. Wag kayong selfish. Wag kayong tanga.

Ang impressive nung one long take na “couple-swapping” sa gitna ng movie. Kasinghusay ni Anna Luna sa kanyang bawat pagganap. Pa-fansign naman diyan idol haha!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

MAN AND WIFE (Laurice Guillen, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Para akong pumasok sa portal ni Dr. Strange tapos bumalik ako sa late ‘80s at nanood ng prehistoric na mala-teleseryeng pelikulang ito sa Alabang Twin Cinema. (FYI: It was loosely based on Gulong ng Palad.)

Ang main problem ni Jodi Sta. Maria dito eh sunud-sunuran siya sa mister niya. Seryoso? Itatakwil siya ng Gabriela for sure. Jusko very dated ng tema kaya pala si Gabby Concepcion ang kinuhang mister niya.

In one scene, Jodi was having a shouting match with her sister. Their mother (Amy Austria) intervened and broke a piggy bank in front of them (“Nag-aaway kayo dahil sa pera? Ayan ubusin n’yo!!”). It was supposed to be a dramatic moment but all I could think of was, “Ubusin alin? Yung mga barya??”.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

KUWARESMA (Erik Matti, 2019) – ★☆☆☆☆

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Aka Ang Pamilyang Hindi Natatakot.

This was the kind of messy horror flick where characters get terrorized in an Amityville-type house by all sorts of ghosts (including a demon with a papier-maché head) that were completely forgotten five seconds later.

Amidst all the laughable twist after twist and over-the-top performances, my favorite (campy) moments were with Guila Alvarez channeling an early Chanda Romero as Lin Shaye in Insidious.

Men are the real demons? How groundbreaking!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

THE PERFECTION (Richard Shepard, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite just won the Palme d’Or in the recent Cannes Film Festival which should provide fresh material to future Hollywood and/or Netflix productions.

Inasmuch as I liked the performances of Allison Williams and Logan Browning, I just couldn’t stop laughing at how much this was a trashy rip-off of The Handmaiden (with a few elements borrowed from other South Korean films as well). And why did it have to keep rewinding events just to explain the already obvious?

Completely insane, but devoid of delicious brilliance.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

FINDING YOU (Easy Ferrer, 2019)

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Even without hyperthymesia, it was easy enough to forget about this movie as soon as I stepped out of the theater.

The charismatic leads (Jerome Ponce and Jane Oineza) were fine enough, but I had issues with the problematic take on finding love related to mental health problems.

That and the CGI birds during one of the drone shots. Why??!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

BANAL (Peter Abanna, 2019)

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Dear bashers, hindi siya The Blair Witch Project, okay? Sobrang chaka kaya nito. Hiyang-hiya nga yung director na ilagay pangalan niya sa credits eh. Understandable naman.

Anong ginawa ninyo kay Marga? Humanda na kayo kay Dany Gurl.

Also, parang luluwa na mga mata ni Bianca Umali. She should have herself checked for goiter. (Huy, serious advice yan.)

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆