MOVIE REVIEW: FENG SHUI 2 (Chito Roño, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Feng Shui 2:

1. Roño mentioned in a recent interview that he didn’t want to do a sequel since he didn’t want to make the same movie. He named this Feng Shui and it was supposed to be a continuation of the original story. The title was apt since it was basically a retread of the original.

2. The previously novel idea of people dying based on their animal signs proved to be stale this time around. Who could forget the well-thought out sequence in the original where Lotlot de Leon (born on the year of the horse) got hit by an ironing board and fell to her death on cases of Red Horse? None of the deaths here had the same impact.

3. Every death had to be explained and every animal connection had to be in full view just in case the audience didn’t get it. What happened to subtlety? We’re not idiots.

4. Rat killer, Red Bull, Doug wearing a dogtag, Playboy shirt and Red Rabbit fire extinguisher, Snake Island truck, chicharon, these were the best that they could think of?

5. Bad dubbing. Really bad dubbing.

6. A lot of the characters here had never seen a bagua. I guess they weren’t able to watch the original movie.

7. Am I the only one who found it funny that a movie about karma (or close to it) actually starred Carmi Martin? Carmi Martin was really just around the corner.

8. As expected, there were mini-commercials shilling products endorsed by the stars. And so we got all the reasons why we needed to buy Nxled lights by Akari. I suddenly missed that Chunkee dinner scene in the original.

9. One clunky scene had Coco being thrown around by an invisible being. The special effect was too funny. And too lame. What was that?

10. And yet another scene was ripped from The Grudge (the eye and hair shot, you’ll remember when you see it).

11. Kris Aquino had this perpetually constipated look like she was watching Darla consume a whole lechon.

12. I guess all the zumba did her good with all those running scenes.

13. I saw the movie with the noisiest crowd ever (both fun and annoying at the same time). They were screaming their heads off as soon as the lights dimmed. I think they had lots of fun shouting in every scare scene regardless if these weren’t really scary.

14. The ending hinted at another sequel (hey Direk Chito what happened to that no sequel thingie?) and the final scene tried to be social media relevant with the bagua being shared online. So the third movie will be The Ring? Digital na ang karma? Wait, you can’t see your reflection on a picture! How will that work? I give up.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published December 26, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: FENG SHUI (Chito Roño, 2004)

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Bakit ba tuwang-tuwa tayo na nakikitang pinahihirapan si Kris Aquino? Blockbuster halos lahat ng massacre movies at horror films niya kahit ang chaka niya talaga umarte at mas nakakatawa kesa nakakaawa siya kapag sumisigaw.

Kung si Ate Guy na-perfect ang pagluha sa isang mata lang, kabog siya dito ni Kris na mala-bidet ang tatlo-tatlong chunky na luhang pumapatak sa mga mata niya.

Speaking of chunky, sobrang underrated talaga nung batang kapitbahay nila dito. Tawang-tawa pa rin ako nung sarap na sarap siya sa Purefoods Chunkee Corned Beef (“Ang sarap! Iba ‘tong sa inyo no, buo buo pa!!”). Hahahaha! Tapos ang classic lang nung scene na nagtakbuhan na sila palabas ng bahay tapos yung mag-aama sumakay sa kotse at siya ay hirap na hirap mag-bisikleta palayo. Langhiyang tatay yun haha!

Memorable talaga yung death sequence dito ni Lotlot de Leon. Very Pinoy ng conceit kaya hindi makukuha ng foreign viewers kung gaano kagaling na hinataw siya ng kabayo (as in plantsahan) at nahulog sa mga bote ng Red Horse.

Sana malaki ang bonus nung nakaisip ng teaser nito. Yung may batang kumakanta ng “May uwi si nanay, si nanay sa bahay…”. Kinilabutan ka ba nung maalala mo?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: THE KINGMAKER (Lauren Greenfield, 2019)

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When Imelda Marcos mentioned that “Perception is real, and the truth is not”, it couldn’t have been more true in her case. If I didn’t know any better, I would have fallen for her allure as a wonderful First Lady of the Philippines. She was extremely charismatic here, beautiful (moreso in her prime), very well-spoken, and sounded smart with her empty platitudes on beauty and mothering.

But the cloud of disillusionment completely dissipated with the testimonies of the Martial Law victims, the unanswered questions on the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth, and their family’s connection to President Duterte’s ascent to power.

Although I felt that this documentary faltered a bit towards the end when it lost focus on its engrossing (emphasis on gross, per Dilawans) subject matter, I really liked the fact that it took a seemingly neutral stand on Imelda the person (or the icon, depending on one’s political views). Let the people (or audience) think and decide if we need to forget the atrocities of the past or say never again. In the end, people really get the government that they deserve.

Rating: ★★★★☆

MOVIE REVIEW: WHITE HOUSE DOWN (Roland Emmerich, 2013)

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Say something funny because people are dying! Cheese has never been this rotten.

This reeked of a typical Pinoy action movie. I can’t wait for the MMFF version with Jorge Estregan, Jr. and Cesar Montano.

Because there’s always time to be funny in emergency situations. Worst movie I’ve seen this year so far.

The audience seemed to enjoy it, though. There were a lot of cheers and applause in our screening. Don’t let me stop you.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published July 8, 2013.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE BREAKUP PLAYLIST (Dan Villegas, 2015)

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I really liked that the movie didn’t trivialize love. Gino and Trixie’s love story didn’t happen overnight. You actually know how and why they fell in love.

Not all love stories are the usual meet cute and full of romantic or kilig moments. As in real life, more often than not they’re uneventful and boring.

But you know their love is true and your heart breaks for this crazy couple fighting over trivial things like the car aircon.

And even with an ending that felt a tad forced, you know this isn’t your usual fairy tale romance. Pain is inevitable, but love remains.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published July 8, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: AN KUBO SA KAWAYANAN (Alvin Yapan, 2015)

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It’s the kind of crazy good filmmaking that makes you not want to give up entirely on Philippine Cinema, especially independent films.

Kitang-kita na pinag-isipan ang bawat metikulosong eksena at mahihiya ang mainstream movies na halatang minadali at produkto ng katamaran.

If there was one minor thing that I didn’t like, it would be the tiny yellow subtitles that you could barely read in some scenes.

Otherwise, it was a beautiful (BEAUTIFUL!) movie in every sense of the word.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published July 8, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: MAGIC MIKE XXL (Gregory Jacobs, 2015)

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You watch Channing Tatum doing a slick dance to Ginuwine’s Pony and you just know that life is not fair.

As a furniture maker, I wonder how many wooden chairs and tables he has broken from dry humping them. Talk about drilling.

Although there were several moments of cheeky fun (one of them set to the Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way), this road trip film felt a bit confused.

It glorified stripping like it was the most noble profession slash true art form slash the American dream slash easy money.

But who were we kidding? You just wanted to see those abs and dirty moves and the last ten minutes made it worth your one dollar bills.

Open ka ba sa stripping?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published July 8, 2015.)