MOVIE REVIEW: THIRD EYE (Aloy Adlawan, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Third Eye:

1. Where did Regal Films get these extras? The acting in the first five minutes was just horrendous! I hope that wasn’t the only scary thing here.

2. You know that somebody else dubbed for Ejay Falcon since he spoke fluent English.

3. The lead character with the third eye played an opthalmologist. With a cheap painted office signage.

4. Girl, you actually wore a lacy frock paired with a gypsy skirt. Don’t act surprised that your husband left you!!

5. Palmolive should give Carla Abellana a bonus. She was haggard from all the running, but her hair maintained that perfectly bagsak look.

6. It was broad daylight. Wasn’t it too early for the aswangs to be wearing Mena cream?

7. Carla decided to fight back and returned to the aswang village carrying a… golf club!! I hope that was a 9-iron.

8. The aswangs had proper dining etiquette. They placed the laman-loob first in a bowl before making papak. Emily Post would be proud.

9. An entire village had to use a battering ram to break open a puny wooden door. Even if the house had a lot of open windows. LOL!

10. Poor Alex Medina. He was so good in Babagwa and he was just wasted in this crapfest.

11. Wait, if this was an aswang movie, why was it called Third Eye?!

12. Blind.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published February 28, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: 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.)

BABAGWA (Jason Paul Laxamana, 2013)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Enjoyable yet a tad predictable with excellent turns from Alex Medina and Joey Paras.

Babagwa borrowed heavily from Catfish and you could smell the ending twenty minutes into the movie. It was a crowd-pleaser, though.

Medina had this raw presence that I found charming onscreen. My fave performance was Paras’ though, slowly becoming a Cinemalaya darling.

There was an abundance of mixed animal symbolisms. Aside from the spider references (tattoo, cobwebs), there was the monkey and the turtle? Hmm…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 5, 2013.)

 

MOVIE REVIEW: DUKOT (Paul Soriano, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Dukot:

1. We sadly live in a world of victim-blaming, where a grieving mother gets shamed as a negligent parent, an injured person is reprimanded for not being more careful, and a woman who cries rape gets bashed for being a tease with her plunging neckline and short skirt. It scares me that a lot of people have this knee-jerk reaction, especially since I see myself as one of them.

When the movie opened with Ellen Adarna in a skimpy outfit trying to withdraw from an ATM at such an odd hour, my brain just kept thinking that she would get robbed and she had no one to blame but herself. My worst fear happened and she was even shot and left for dead. I hated myself for having thought that way and it made me want to do another self-check. Unfortunately, that was all the deep thinking that this movie required me to do.

2. Although technically impressive, Dukot was marred by lapses in logic and believability, falling short of being an effective thriller. Sure, one could easily say everything that happened was based on true events, but another could argue that if that were the case, then this should just have been a documentary. No amount of awesome aerial shots or perfectly-framed scenes could compensate for the lack of an engrossing story (a dream sequence to generate tension, really?). I felt very much like one of the guests of Mr. Sandoval (Ricky Davao), watching him discuss a Powerpoint presentation about himself during his birthday party.

3. I think my lack of compassion for his family was because he was a corrupt Customs officer. I still had not forgotten the vultures in my city’s Customs office that charged an exorbitant amount for my non-taxable Amazon book orders. Also, he was the type of stingy father that would rather haggle with his son’s kidnappers rather than pull strings to come up with the ransom money.

When his daughter Cathy (Shaina Magdayao) called him up in the middle of the night crying that Carlo (Enrique Gil) was kidnapped, he didn’t even show any concern or bother asking if she was ok and just calmly said that everything was insured so she shouldn’t be crying. Father of the Year Awardee right there.

4. In a world (and country) where CCTV cameras had become necessities, I couldn’t understand why the kidnappers never bothered to cover up their faces. They also kidnapped Carlo instead of the beautiful Cathy just because the former begged that he take her place instead. In the safe house, they were almost always drunk and careless and even allowed Carlo to pee behind closed doors. They were such bumbling kidnappers that I was wondering why they didn’t just choose a different occupation (I swear they could have been more effective and probably richer selling Royale whitening soap).

5. Did you see that viral video where a policeman was using two miniature (Matchbox?) cars to simulate an accident? I laughed so hard when something similar was shown in this movie. In that scene, Mr. Sandoval received a call from one of the kidnappers which prompted an investigator to turn on her tape recorder. Yes, she recorded the conversation like she was conducting an interview. I really hoped it wasn’t our third world version of tracing a call.

6. Speaking of, I wasn’t sure if I missed something but did they do a phone to phone call using an old Nokia model without a speaker function? How??

7. In a cast of good actors (that also included Bing Pimentel, Christopher de Leon, Ping Medina, and Manang Biring), the real standout was Alex Medina. Seriously, you could never go wrong with someone whose roles ranged from Bonifacio’s brother to a man possessed by a gay ghost.

8. I really loved the juxtapositions used here, from the birthday celebrations to the one where the two ladies were smoking. They were as effective as the ones done by Carlos Siguion-Reyna in Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin.

9. It really felt like the material was modified in favor of the Star Magic talents. Kidnapping the son instead gave Enrique a lot of dramatic highlights (to be fair, he was able to acquit himself well) and at one point, Ricky’s character conveniently suffered a heart attack so that Shaina could have her shining crying moment while lugging around three duffel bags containing millions of pesos (still not sure why Mr. Sandoval agreed to endanger his daughter, though).

10. How would you know the kidnapper that grew a conscience? He was the one with the angel wings tattooed on his back, naturally.

Rating: ★★★☆☆