ABNKKBSNPLAKO?! THE MOVIE (Mark Meily, 2014)

35310BD4-ECBA-46D7-9B67-EC7BBEA059E2

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on ABNKKBSNPLAko?! The Movie:

1. Most of the pop-culture references will alienate the Gen-Y crowd. If you’re part of this group, don’t even bother. (Sample test: Who is Robby Rosa?)

2. I never bought the whole idea of Jericho Rosales as a high school student even with all his exploding zits. I did consider buying Eskinol Master after the screening.

3. The book’s wit and humor obviously didn’t translate well on screen. Actually, the movie barely had a plot and was just satisfied with stitched-up vignettes about life in school.

4. I tried to remember if I have ever pooped or peed in my shorts during my elementary days. (Answer: No, I think.) Unfortunately, I also remembered everyone in my school who suffered that fate. (No, I will not name-drop.) I believe in karma so I guess they’re all rich now.

5. One scene had two kids enter the cinema to watch Bagets. Was that even possible? I remember one of my wishes as a kid was to grow up so I could watch R-18 movies because even PG movies required a guardian. I know this since I’ve spent all my life in theaters.

6. The movie did get the Orchestra, Balcony, and Loge sections right, though. I can’t believe I was already alive when ticket prices were only P20.

7. Andi Eigenmann wore too much make-up for a high schooler. Vandolph had a noticeable tattoo on his arm. These kids wouldn’t have survived in my school.

8. The movie completely ran out of material after 80 minutes. I should have re-read the book instead.

9. If the mere mention of Nutribun makes you feel nostalgic, then this one’s for you.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published February 22, 2014.)

 

 

YOUR PLACE OR MINE? (Joel Lamangan, 2015)

A0377D76-A3A3-4A1C-BF13-A621422AB04C

My notes on Your Place or Mine?:

1. I am done with Andi Eigenmann movies. I can’t recall anything she’s made that’s worth comparing even to the lamest film of brilliant mom Jaclyn Jose. This latest one should have been called Tragic Theater, Too.

2. Bret Jackson played a guy allergic to clothes and I guess those topless shots were supposed to console the female/gay viewers that shelled out money to watch this. His wooden performance was a notch worse than Aljur Abrenica and the only time he really came to life was in those scenes where he sucked Andi’s face off.

3. So Andi (I didn’t even bother remembering the characters’ names) was heartbroken and really drunk in a bar. A stranger approached her and asked that he take her home. Bret intervened, pretended to be her boyfriend, and took Andi to her car saying that it was a good thing he saved her from possible harm. Andi then threw up so Bret brought her to his apartment, changed her soiled clothes with a towel, and tucked her in bed. Drunk Andi was horny so she teased Bret with her tribal dance moves and they eventually had sex. So he still ended up taking advantage of a drunk girl. And that’s supposed to be a love story.

4. Andi’s family was apparently bankrupt and yet she wasn’t too concerned about the expensive car that she left at Bret’s condo after their one night stand. She even went straight to school after the incident. At least this girl knew her priorities.

5. Bret’s ex-girlfriend suddenly showed up to provide conflict but the only problem I saw was that her hair was chopped up by a hairstylist waiting for a lawsuit. It was short in front and long in the back with bangs everywhere. Even Billy Ray Cyrus would have laughed.

6. Why do these rich kids go to a club after school without even changing their clothes? That’s just eww.

7. Since this was a Joel Lamangan movie, there was a long sermon regarding love and fixed marriages spewed by a lawyer and/or doctor who also took a course in Matchmaking and Compatibility.

Dr. Matchmaker: “47% lang ang compatibility ng dalawang ito.”

Jackie Lou Blanco (Andi’s mom): “Eh ano ibig sabihin nun pag kinasal sila?”

Audience (muttering): “Tanga.”

8. After 30 years of watching Pinoy movies, I never thought that I’d still be hearing the line “May matinong babae ba na umuuwi ng alas-tres ng madaling araw?”

9. I guess I just didn’t get why Bret’s family would still want an arranged marriage with Andi when her family supposedly was 1 billion (for real!) in debt. How was this a marriage of convenience?

10. The tale of the disappearing hickeys.

11. Bret to Andi on his favorite dish: “Paborito ko talaga ang chicken pork adobo. Kelangan may chicken. Kelangan may pork.”

At kelangan inadobo?

Oh, and at one point Andi had to really learn how to cook the dish so the movie suddenly turned into a cooking show with Yaya Luring giving instructions. “O ilagay ang chicken. O ilagay ang pork. O ilagay ang suka. O ilagay ang toyo.”

Chef Rosebud would be so proud.

12. If there was one thing that was not so bad in the entire movie, it was Andre Paras. He was actually cute and charming and I could really see him flourishing in (better) romantic comedies.

13. In one scene, Andi was alternately using a fork and a soup spoon. How could the production not even notice this continuity error?

14. “Ma, hindi ako plano. Tao ako. Anak mo ako.”

And at that point, my brain just decided to shut down.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published May 3, 2015.)

TRAGIC THEATER (Tikoy Aguiluz, 2015)

29414D55-757B-4499-89E0-B8E467FDFA5D

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on the aptly-named Tragic Theater:

1. The urban legend surrounding the Manila Film Center accident in 1981 was the stuff of a great horror movie. Apparently, Imelda Marcos wanted the building completed as part of the beautification of Manila in time for the first Manila Film Festival. Rescuers weren’t allowed at the site until 9 hours after the accident. Since the construction had to be rushed, some bodies were buried alive and the rest were never retrieved. The ghosts of these men still haunted the said building. Spooky, right? All of these were never in the movie.

2. The screenplay was credited to Movpix Creatives. Was this a pseudonym or a group of geniuses that came up with the following choice lines:

Spirit Questor to ghosts: “Ang babaw ng mga dahilan nyo. Wala kayong pakialam sa aming mga buhay pa. Umalis na kayo!!”

Spirit Questors to the possessed Andi Eigenmann (Annie) floating 10 feet in the air: “Annie, bumaba ka diyan!!”

John Estrada (Fr. Nilo) gave a long sermon on why everyone should listen to him (all while Annie floated) and ended it with: “Wag na tayong magsisihan.”

Fr. Nilo: “Sino ang nasa katawan ni Annie?”

Possessed Questor: “Hindi namin siya kilala. Ang tawag namin sa kanya ay Diablo.”

Fr. Nilo: “Maari mo ba sabihin kung ano ang itsura ng Diablo na ito?”

The group asked for help from a Bishop (Christopher de Leon) and Fr. Nilo said: “Hindi ko po alam ang nangyari kay Annie pero nakasabit po sya sa ere.”

Annie during flashbacks: “Anong nangyayari? Bakit bumabalik ang mga nakaraan ko?”

3. I honestly couldn’t remember the rest of the atrocious dialogue from laughing too hard.

4. Did we really need that flying scarf?

5. I loved how the movie wanted to be a Public Service Announcement regarding the horrors of technology. There was a scene where Annie was checking her phone while driving and she almost rammed into another car. In another scene, everyone that was part of the seance was given the directive “Walang bibitaw” and when her phone rang, the first thing she did was check it. Twice.

6. To be fair, there were glimpses of the greatness of Tikoy Aguiluz who made Pinoy classics like Bagong Bayani and Segurista. But then again, three beautiful shots couldn’t compensate for an hour and a half of torture.

7. There was a gratuitous rape scene that merited the R-16 rating, a hint of a relationship between Annie and Fr. Nilo, and an overlong possession story with the Bishop. Too many stories being crammed when all it needed was focus on the actual theater plot.

8. Dear Andi, when your mother is considered one of Philippine Cinema’s Greats, you just can’t give that kind of performance.

9. It took the team a good forty minutes to realize that all they needed to bring Annie down was a stepladder. Really.

10. Hint of a sequel? I can’t wait!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published January 12, 2015.)

CAMP SAWI (Irene Villamor, 2016)

image

SPOILER ALERT!!

(Watch the movie before reading this and then let’s discuss. Enjoy it first. Go!)

My notes on Camp Sawi:

1. If I were to create a custom pain scale (you know, the one that doctors used to determine how unbearable your gastritis was even if you were already as pale as Edward Cullen), I would probably place having a broken heart in between a bony impacted wisdom tooth extraction and getting stuck in EDSA traffic on a Monday rush hour morning.

The physical, mental, and emotional anguish of a heartbreak really takes its toll especially on the abandoned party (read: tangang umaasa pa rin) and everyone knows that it usually takes forever to get through the real stages of grief: 1) Nasaktan, 2) Niloko, 3) Iniwan, 4) Umiyak, 5) Nagdusa, 6) Nag-Let Go, 7) Nag-Move On, 8) Nagbago, 9) Sumaya, 10) Gumanda.

2. In this light and lovely comedy that would probably end up as my favorite guilty pleasure this year, brokenhearted women could find solace and redemption in a fictional boot camp (shot in gorgeous Bantayan Island, Cebu City) where sodium-free meals were specially-prepared to avoid further depression, phones and Facebook were deemed useless due to lack of any signal (“only Mother Nature!”), nightly bonfires were held to destroy the remaining memories of your tormentor (“if you want to sunog anything”), and group activities (yoga sessions, morning jogs, film viewing of the classic Sharon-Robin starrer Maging Sino Ka Man, open forums) were conducted to assist in the moving on process.

With the popularity of hugot films of late, this type of resort would actually be a lucrative franchise. Investors, anyone?

3. Remember that brilliant opening in Up that followed the beginning and tragic end of Carl and Ellie’s love story? This movie came close to recreating that sequence, except that nobody died but Bridgette’s (Bela Padilla) poor heart. Those first ten minutes covered the entire gamut of a failed relationship and its tragic aftermath (stalking an ex on social media to check the new partner, baliwan mode while getting drunk, Google search of “how to heal a broken heart”). Bela was just so good in this role that it made me forget how much she struggled in the recent I America. She clearly had the best scenes in the movie:

• bargaining for ten more minutes on the phone (“kasi ten years kita tinawag na babe eh”)

• bitterly saying lines like “Sino bang brokenhearted ang maganda? Sasaksakin ko!”

• the pig-out scene with Camp Master Louie (Sam Milby) complete with loud munching and reminiscent of Meg Ryan’s orgasm sequence in When Harry Met Sally (“I’ll have what she’s having!”)

• endlessly ranting on getting dumped for not being Chinese (“Sampung taon kami nag-celebrate ng Chinese New Year. Hindi ba niya nakita ang mata ko?”)

4. I really liked the millennial character Jessica (Yassi Pressman) and how her life was always in relation to a pop culture event (on her breakup: “It actually hurt more when Zayn left One Direction”, on her gay boyfriend: “I didn’t know! Did you see Bruce Jenner?”). Instead of being annoying, she was just so charming throwing lines like, “He’s really old. Like ka-age mo old”.

As an old person myself, I did feel a bit happy seeing her receive her comeuppance when Bridgette retorted, “Bata ka pa. Marami ka pang makikilalang bakla.”

5. Parents, please do not bring your kids to this movie. The theme and content aren’t for them anyway. It just felt a bit uncomfortable that there were kids watching when they showed the implied shower fellatio scene. Bring your husbands instead since I’m sure they will at least enjoy ogling at the bikini bodies in full display. Or in my case, wondering how these beautiful women achieved their perennial rosy white cheeks.

6. At this point in her career, Arci Muñoz could do no wrong. As the rocker chick Gwen aka Lovejoy (self-proclaimed Kilabot ng Altura), she was endearing even while getting wasted and throwing up on fresh sheets. Her little girl voice was really funny given that it was coming out of this scorching hot woman’s body and everything she said regardless of sense connected with the audience (“Kelangan ko uminom kasi ang panget mo!”, “Kinukumutan mo ko, pang may boypren yun!”). Her character even asked the exact same question I had about Louie being seen everywhere (“Understaffed ba kayo?”).

That lovely singing voice and song, though. Wow.

Also, seeing Ramona Thornes wearing a Ramones shirt was pure genius.

7. The wild drunk scene with Bridgette and Gwen was already worth the price of admission. I had never laughed so hard hearing things that would only sound funny coming from two drunk women:

• “Kapag Chinese kuripot!” “Hindi! Kapag Chinese masipag, walang holiday!”

• “Hindi lahat ng nag-e-English taga-England, tanga! Minsan taga-Makati lang.”

8. I wonder if this would have worked better as a series instead, along the lines of Orange Is the New Black. There were just so many stories that needed enough time to breathe: the mistress Clarisse (Andi Eigenmann), Joan (Kim Molina) and the untimely death of her fiancé, the chubby girl left by her chubby boyfriend after he lost ten pounds (and resorted to baking to mend her broken heart, familiar no?), and the only gay guy in camp whose heart was full of regrets. Even Louie needed a bit more back story other than he wanted to help these people overcome their sadness. It was hard to feel for all of them and their sob stories when they were mere strangers.

9. New forms of catharsis in Pinoy cinema: jumping off a cliff as a leap of faith, the undying love of videoke (this time set to Regine Velasquez’s Dadalhin), and women stripping off (almost) everything to swim in the beach (ala Chris Martinez’s 100).

10. “Ang mga panget kapag nagkajowa sobrang blessing at kapag iniwan naman ay isang sumpa.” Aray ko beh!

11. Somebody asked me recently how one would know when a person’s already over (or close to moving on from) an ex and the last few moments of the movie perfectly encapsulated my response.

Some people would fear bumping into an ex in a public place (especially with a new partner), but that would be the ultimate test. Sure, it might still sting a bit but instead of digging up the past, if you’re able to ask “Kumusta ka? Ok ka lang ba? Masaya ka ba?” without any form of bitterness or resentment, then you wouldn’t need to book another summer in Camp Sawi.

Welcome back to the real world and get excited for your new “balang araw”.

12. Seriously, is there a place similar to Camp Sawi right now? I already have a list of names that I will recommend it to. 😊

Rating: ★★★★☆

MA’ ROSA (Brillante Mendoza, 2016)

image

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Ma’ Rosa:

1. The film opened with Rosa (Jaclyn Jose) hoarding what seemed to be packs of Ri-Chee and other chichirya for her small sari-sari store. Similar to that weird sweet milk snack, Brillante Mendoza’s oeuvre would definitely be an acquired taste. As always, expect your senses to be assaulted by the headache-inducing shaky cam and the palpable stench of Manila’s esteros emanating from the screen. As a sucker for poverty porn (that had been getting a bad rap in the local indie scene) and Mendoza’s cinema verite style of filmmaking, I absolutely loved the entire experience. Ri-Chee, not so much.

2. I have always wondered why vendors give candy in lieu of actual change ever since I was given a sukli of Juicy Fruit gum. Is this just a Pinoy thing? (Also, my OCD self really hates butal.)

3. Much had been said about Jaclyn’s brilliant final scene (seriously, that had to be the saddest fishball moment ever), but I really loved how un-Jaclyn she was here. Before she went crazy over-the-top in her recent kabit movies and loony teleseryes, I usually associated her performance with the one parodied in Jeffrey Jeturian’s Tuhog where she talked in this seemingly lazy monotone like a drugged diva who didn’t really care much about performing.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved her type of non-acting acting, but in this film, her performance just felt more…alive. Every dialogue and curse word that came out of her potty mouth sounded true and I felt the dread of being part of her doomed family.

4. Is there a President Duterte biopic in the works? Please consider this Cannes-winning treasure. (Speaking of, I loved how timely this film was considering the recent drug busts happening everywhere in the metro.)

5. Who was the kid that played one of Rosa’s sons and looked like a cross between JM de Guzman and Rainier Castillo? Where have I seen him before?

6. Considering the grim subject matter, I enjoyed the little bits of humor thrown in whether it was Rosa asking the policemen for load to call her supplier, or her husband Nestor (Julio Diaz, effectively understated as always) getting mocked for looking good in a lieutenant’s uniform, or Racquel’s (Andi Eigenmann) description of her mom as someone who looked like her but with humongous breasts, and even the intentional (?) Pare Ko videoke homage to Mark Anthony Fernandez (as one of the corrupt cops).

7. When Rosa uttered the line, “Sir, hindi kami puwedeng makulong kasi mahirap lang kami”, I felt like I was in the middle of a fender bender with a reckless jeepney driver sheepishly scratching his head while looking at the damage that he caused. (Not being elitist, but still…)

8. I was fascinated with the treatment of the gay characters here. One was a young boy wearing his Little Miss Trouble shirt constantly called fag (in a non-derogatory Pinoy way, if there ever was such a thing) and being one of the boys/cops as they celebrated their extortion bounty over lechon manok and San Mig Light (that he was tasked to buy naturally) and later on caught trying to steal a suspect’s cellphone. Another one was a pony-tailed server with heavy make-up and a masculine voice (maybe he wasn’t gay and I was just being judgmental?) who blatantly lied about his boss’ whereabouts. The last was Allan Paule as a benefactor easily fooled by the whims of his needy and manipulative beh. Should this be considered progressive cinema or a sad reality of our society? (Or both?)

And for the curious minds, this was a Mendoza film with Allan Paule playing another gay stereotype so of course, there was a gay sex scene. (Oh, the irony!)

9. Do you still remember Maria Isabel Lopez stealing the scene on the Cannes red carpet with an Albert Andrada emerald dress? She did the exact same thing here while wearing a daster (I think) and spewing profanities and she was nothing short of amazing. This woman was the epitome of the word eksenadora.

10. If you had completely lost faith in our corrupt criminal justice system and thought that policemen rank second on the list of most annoying reptiles in Malabon Zoo, this one definitely wouldn’t help change your mind. Reality sucks.

Rating: ★★★★★