SOSY PROBLEMS (Andoy Ranay, 2012)

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For supposedly super duper upper-class ladies, why do they act like class-A social climbers? Trashy!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published January 1, 2013.)

THE BEST OF PINOY CINEMA 2019

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1. RICKY DAVAO (F#*@bois)
2. SOLIMAN CRUZ (Iska)
3. VANCE LARENA (Dead Kids)
4. JC SANTOS (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
5. JOEM BASCON (Write About Love)
6. JOHN ARCILLA (Miracle in Cell No. 7)

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1. TUESDAY VARGAS (LSS)
2. ANNA LUNA (Tayo sa Huling Buwan ng Taon)
3. JACLYN JOSE (Circa)
4. IANA BERNARDEZ (Metamorphosis)
5. ELORA ESPAÑO (Kalel, 15)
6. MERYLL SORIANO (Culion)

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1. ELIJAH CANLAS (Kalel, 15)
2. LOUISE ABUEL (Edward)
3. JANSEN MAGPUSAO (John Denver Trending)
4. CARLO AQUINO (Isa Pa, With Feelings)
5. GIO GAHOL (Sila Sila)
6. ROCCO NACINO (Write About Love)

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1. RUBY RUIZ (Iska)
2. MERYLL SORIANO (John Denver Trending)
3. JUDY ANN SANTOS (Mindanao)
4. ANGIE FERRO (Lola Igna)
5. SARAH GERONIMO (Unforgettable)
6. LIZA SOBERANO (Alone/Together)

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1. HEIST SCHOOL (Julius Renomeron, Jr.)
2. ANG GASGAS NA PLAKA NI LOLO BERT (Janina Gacosta, Cheska Marfori)
3. SA AMONG AGWAT (Don Senoc)
4. THE SLUMS (Jan Andrei Cobey)

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Written by: JUN LANA, KEAVY EUNICE VICENTE, ASH MALANUM
Directed by: JUN LANA, PERCI INTALAN

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Written by: CRISANTO AQUINO, JANYX REGALO
Directed by: CRISANTO AQUINO

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Written by: JADE CASTRO, SIEGE LEDESMA
Directed by: JADE CASTRO

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Written by: WANGGO GALLAGA, KOOKAI LABAYEN, DWEIN BALTAZAR
Directed by: ANDOY RANAY

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Written and directed by: ADOLF ALIX, JR.

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Written by: JEN CHUAUNSU, KOOKAI LABAYEN
Directed by: PRIME CRUZ

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Written by: THOP NAZARENO, JOHN PAUL BEDIA
Directed by: THOP NAZARENO

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Written and directed by: JUN LANA

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Written and directed by: ARDEN ROD CONDEZ

MABUHAY ANG PELIKULANG PILIPINO!!

 

Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2019 Scorecard

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Best Feature Length Film

1. CIRCA (Adolf Alix, Jr.) – ★★★★☆
2. OPEN (Andoy Ranay) – ★★★★☆
3. LSS (Jade Castro) – ★★★★☆

4. LOLA IGNA (Eduardo Roy, Jr.) – ★★★☆☆

5. THE PANTI SISTERS (Jun Lana) – ★★☆☆☆
6. CUDDLE WEATHER (Rod Marmol) – ★★☆☆☆
7. WATCH ME KILL (Tyrone Acierto) – ★★☆☆☆
8. G! (Dondon Santos) – ★★☆☆☆
9. I’m Ellenya L. (Boy 2 Quizon) – ★☆☆☆☆

Not seen:
Pagbalik
Verdict

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. CHRISTIAN BABLES (The Panti Sisters)
2. JC SANTOS (Open)
3. PAOLO BALLESTEROS (The Panti Sisters)
4. KHALIL RAMOS (LSS)
5. MARTIN DEL ROSARIO (The Panti Sisters)
6. RK BAGATSING (Cuddle Weather)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. ANGIE FERRO (Lola Igna)
2. SUE RAMIREZ (Cuddle Weather)
3. ANITA LINDA (Circa)
4. ARCI MUÑOZ (Open)
5. JEAN GARCIA (Watch Me Kill)
6. GABBI GARCIA (LSS)
7. MARIS RACAL (I’m Ellenya L.)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. JOHN ARCILLA (The Panti Sisters)
2. ELIJAH CANLAS (LSS)
3. ENCHONG DEE (Circa)
4. VANCE LARENA (Open)
5. RICKY DAVAO (Circa)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. TUESDAY VARGAS (LSS)
2. JACLYN JOSE (Circa)
3. MA. ISABEL LOPEZ (Lola Igna)
4. MERYLL SORIANO (Lola Igna)
5. INA RAYMUNDO (Open)
6. IANA BERNARDEZ (LSS)
7. GINA ALAJAR (Circa)
8. ELIZABETH OROPESA (Circa)
9. VIA ANTONIO (The Panti Sisters)
10. ROXANNE BARCELO (The Panti Sisters)

Until next year!!

LSS (Jade Castro, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Huy, bakit parang Survivor: Redemption Island ang theme ng PPP this year? Similar to Andoy Ranay, wala akong maalala na nagustuhang film ni Jade Castro (even yung critically-acclaimed niya na Zombadings, which I found corny tbh). Tapos biglang bawing-bawi siya sa feels dito. Yung napa-wish ako na sana all-out musical siya kasi ang galing ng pagka-incorporate ng Ben&Ben songs sa critical moments ng film. (FYI, wala din akong alam na kanta nila except for Maybe the Night dahil sa Exes Baggage. Yup, kung single ako at may nakatabing cutie sa bus, mahihiya akong mag-discuss ng favorite songs kasi ang range ng taste ko ay The Search is Over at Sweet Soul Revue.)

Lakas ng star quality ni Gabbi Garcia. Granted mas magaling siya na singer kesa actress pero unang line pa lang ng pagkanta ni Sarah eh na-in love na ako agad. Naaalala ko sa kanya si Nikki Gil na very classy ang dating (although weirdly enough, may mga angles din siya na mala-Mocha Uson). Siguro yung conyo aura niya din ang reason bakit medyo off kapag inuulit niya yung “makapasok sa eksena” referring to the music scene. (Mapapansin yung difference kasi ganun magsalita yung character ni Iana Bernardez na sobrang natural dito.) Mental note here to watch more GMA shows.

Nakakaaliw ang relationship ni Zack (Khalil Ramos) at ng mega-supportive niyang nanay (an impressive Tuesday Vargas). Sobrang benta yung ride-sharing scene na may bugawan na naganap (“Di problema kung size queen ka!”) at yung eksena with the tissues (nakakatawa yung “Mabubulag ka sa ginagawa mo!”, although I also expected her to hand him a fresh box bilang very progressive ng character niya). Ang natural ng chemistry nila (Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin as mom’s film of choice was T A S T E) kaya dalang-dala din ako dun sa confrontation scene nila sa dulo (yung pagka-deliver pa lang ni Tuesday ng “Anak, wag dito” line already secured her much-deserved win).

I had some quibbles like yung dubbing nung Leaves sequence (bakit parang hindi sabay tapos iba yung words na sinasabi ni Gabbi sa audio at iba pa rin yun sa subtitles?). Natawa ako dun sa Kathang-Isip sequence (in a good way kasi masaya to see two broken people find comfort in each other) pero parang ang bilis naman nila mag-kiss agad (lalo na kung advocate si Zack ng three month rule ng One More Chance).

Nakulangan din ako sa acting ni Gabbi dun sa crucial scene (yung totoong highlight ng movie for me) na nagbigay siya ng surprise graduation gift sa brother niyang si Cedie (Elijah Canlas). Parang mata lang ni Lady Gaga sa A Star is Born. Yung lumuluha pero walang bakas ng totoong pain or hurt. Ang layo kay Elijah na napaiyak ako sa isang simpleng wince (halong guilt and realization that he was giving up on his dreams) bago sabihin na “Titigil na ako. Magbenta na lang tayo ng herbal products. Ate, sorry na”. Ang sakit sakit.

Ang ganda din siguro if na-explore fully yung art as passion vs sad practical reality theme. Napaisip ako kung ano kaya ang effect ng alternate ending kung naging full time sales agent siya habang todo successful ng kapatid niya. Siguro walang sappy ending montage to fulfill the demands of the genre.

As a cute and charming young romance flick though, it definitely hit the right notes. I’ll probably be humming these Ben&Ben tunes in the next few days.

Rating: ★★★★☆

OPEN (Andoy Ranay, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Sa totoo lang, up until today wala pa ako nagustuhang pelikula na directed by Andoy Ranay (although it spoke less about his skills and more about the assigned material). Mas impressed ako sa kanya dati as an actor kasi magaling siya dun sa Duda/Doubt. Backed here by a strong screenplay, I was really surprised sa kanyang assured storytelling. Madami siyang nadurog na puso sa sinehan kanina.

Nakakaaliw ang audience reactions lalo na ang mga nagwawalang babae (bakit feeling ko may ilang mag-jowa na mag-break pagkatapos nito?). Very controversial naman kasi talaga ang topic ng open relationship (described by one character here as “liberating, respectful, and loving”) lalo na in our mostly conservative culture. Nagustuhan ko sobra yung feeling na ang uncomfortable niya to watch.

Kahit ako hindi ko yan gets dati (bakit pa naging kayo kung pwede ding makipag-sex sa iba?) until I learned na I have a few friends in a similar situation. Although naiintindihan ko how it works for them, syempre di ko pa rin maiwasan na maging judgmental habang nanunuod.

Bwiset na bwiset ako kay Ethan (JC Santos in his napaka-walanghiya best) lalo na nung basically pinilit niya si Rome (Arci Muñoz) na maging open rel sila sabay threaten na maghiwalay na lang kung ayaw. Grabe ang emotional manipulation. Napaka-insensitive pa at ginawang joke yung fake proposal (“Aww nag-expect ka ba?”).

Tapos after matikman si hot momma Ina Raymundo (open rel na eh nag-cheat pa jusko mga lalaki!) at nung nakita niya na masaya na si Rome sa current setup eh biglang ayaw na open sila at nag-propose without an engagement ring. Anong klaseng selfish na balahurang toxic scum yan? Ok kalma kalma!!

“Ang tagal ko hinintay ‘to pero ngayon hindi ko na alam ang isasagot“. Tagos na tagos naman ang linya na ‘to.

Also, 2019 just might be the year of smart, strong, independent women in Philippine Cinema. Woohoo!!

Rating: ★★★★☆

TALK BACK AND YOU’RE DEAD (Andoy Ranay, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Talk Back and You’re Dead:

1. James Reid and Nadine Lustre have real chemistry. Why aren’t they given good material? Maybe they need to stay away from WattPad.

2. If you asked anyone who had seen this movie, they’d most likely say that the highlight was the kitchen scene with James cooking topless. Did he not have anything else to offer? Not that I’m suggesting he strip further.

3. Joseph Marco played a gangster with flaming red hair named Red (of course!). In most of his scenes, he matched it with a red (or a similar shade) article of clothing. Because he was a cool gangster (or maybe just tacky?).

4. Speaking of gangsters, don’t we have any other characters in teen movies? And the gangsters here all wear black leather jackets. Really? In this sweltering heat? I could actually hear their armpits gasping for air.

5. Still on the gangsters, their group was supposedly called the Lucky 13 gang. In some scenes, I only counted 8 or 9 of them. Either the others were busy or this movie couldn’t afford more extras.

6. James kept using the word “retarded” and it was supposed to funny or endearing. Really? Really?!

7. A lot of teenage girls got kidnapped in this school in broad daylight. Security might not be part of their private school tuition fees.

8. I hadn’t discussed anything about the movie’s story because it was pretty much non-existent.

9. If you’ve watched Coco Martin and Angeline Quinto’s Born to Love You (why??), you’d find the ending of this film a bit similar. Except that Nadine was married (or was she just engaged to be married? I was too bored to care by then), yet they still lived happily ever after.

10. Next time James could just do a two hour topless dance routine and people would be happier.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published September 9, 2014.)

 

TROPHY WIFE (Andoy Ranay, 2014)

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Not even a guilty pleasure. It was so bad, it was really bad.

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Trophy Wife:

1. In the opening credits, the movie’s title was credited to Elwood Perez. How hard was it to come up with that one?

2. Speaking of Elwood Perez, there’s a certain guilty pleasure that you get from most of his movies. They usually ooze with sensuality and are filled with crazy people and situations, but you get them. I wonder how the movie would have turned out if he directed this one instead.

3. In one scene, G Toengi took a hit on the toilet bowl. Eww! I wonder what else she snorted with her crack.

4. Although the movie promised a lot of steamy sex, it was only rated R-13 so don’t expect too much. Most of the kissing and pretend licking didn’t involve any tongue (I know, right?!).

5. Cristine Reyes’ Kapampangan accent came straight out of Poveda.

6. One of my pet peeves in a local production is lack of crowd control. You would usually see the entire barangay in the background watching the shoot. I understand the challenge though given our Pinoy “uzi” mentality.

7. In one scene, Derek Ramsay’s character got reprimanded for being noisy in a club. To quote Donya Ina, “Paki-explain. Lab you!”

8. Whenever the characters appeared with bruises, they would usually look like they had too much blush-on. Sometimes the bruises looked like lipstick stains. And in one scene, Heart Evangelista actually had a lipstick stain on her cheek for no reason. What happened to the make-up department?

9. This movie defied time and logic. A character got knocked up the day after having sex. A restaurant was up and running a few hours after the business meeting. A crisp, white blouse gets stained with uling and was Tide-white in the next scene. Bruises and burns were healed minutes after Betadine was applied. Forget Belo, I want that Betadine.

10. And in another groan-worthy scene, a pregnant character was run over by an SUV and she sustained…scratches on her arm. Forget the Betadine, I need her vitamins.

11. For the US park scene, I think they filmed in Tagaytay and just asked some foreigner extras with backpacks to keep passing by. In the US restaurant scene, they filmed in a branch of Friday’s and asked Callum David to be a waiter. I guess that made it more realistic.

12. If you already have a low tolerance for Heart, let this serve as a stern warning.

13. The movie abruptly ended with a visa approval. Everyone just screamed “WTF?!”. We started trooping out of the cinema demanding a refund.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 1, 2014.)

LUMAYO KA NGA SA AKIN (Mark Meily, Andoy Ranay, Chris Martinez, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin:

1. We usually see local parodies on gag shows like Bubble Gang or Banana Split, and in every Wenn Deramas movie so this one didn’t really have anything new to offer. It aimed to mock Philippine cinema tropes and the local moviegoing audience but didn’t tell us more than what we already knew.

2. My biggest problem with this movie was that it bordered on being mean-spirited. Several references were made on the Pinoy audience basically being stupid for loving the same old cliches in different genres (action, horror, and romance) and that anything outside of the norm would be an immediate flop. Sure, some of these observations may be factual but I still think that we’re much better than that. Was it really the audience’s fault if they enjoyed a good old formulaic movie? Weren’t the studios/producers to blame as well for churning out the same profit-driven product? Maybe this was an even bigger problem than the movie actually presented.

3. These were some of the lines that were supposed to be funny (wink, wink) but made me cringe a bit:

“Kelangan mo ikwento ang nangyayari sa audience kasi karamihan naman dyan…(wink)…” (I’m guessing they were going for tanga? Or in Cathy Garcia-Molina verse TANGA!!)

“Sabihan ang writer para di langawin. Ayaw ng audience ng bagong idea.”

“Hindi masyadong nakakaunawa ng English ang audience natin.”

Did the movie really think that it was smarter than its audience? And was this really specific to just the Pinoy audience?

4. On the flipside, did these observations hurt because they were true? Don’t we really love action films where people get killed in a wedding and it suddenly becomes a revenge flick? Don’t we enjoy the endless banter between the bida and kontrabida before the final shootout? Or the requisite sampalan scene during a tension-filled showdown between two women?

5. Very much like its poster, the movie was trying to be Scary Movie (1 to Sawa) except that it provided a broad look at Philippine Cinema instead of recreating scenes from specific movies. Funny enough, the episodic treatment was very similar to some of the movies it was trying to make fun of (Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang, Stupid Cupid, Tatlong Mukha ng Pag-ibig, please tell me you know them as well hehe).

6. The first episode by Mark Meily didn’t have a lot of new things to say about Pinoy action films. I did like the John Regala Kontrabida Instructional Video but everything else was just meh. To be fair, I laughed a bit when Candy Pangilinan said “Pwede bang Face of the Night na lang kasi walang kwenta na ang Best Actress ngayon?”

7. The second episode was a horror send-up of Shake, Rattle, and Roll (if you watched the three movies I mentioned above, all of them had their horror episodes as the middle one). Maricel Soriano’s love-it-or-hate-it performance was reminiscent of her acting in 90’s action-comedy movies with Cesar Montano, Bong Revilla, and Lito Lapid, among others, down to her usual adlib of “Pigilan mo ako naniningkit na ang mga mata ko!”. It was shrill and hyper and your enjoyment will depend on your tolerance for that brand of comedy (everyone knows how much I love her so you know where I stand). The rest of the jokes (the botched subtitles, night time exorcism, Bollywood production number, etc.) were okay at best.

8. I really liked Shy Carlos here. I wasn’t a fan of her performances in Para Sa Hopeless Romantic and Chain Mail but she really stood out here just for being the bitchy voice of the people (Maricel to Shy: “Minsan lang ‘to gumawa ng movie nagkaganyan na.” Haha!)

9. The best among the three episodes was definitely Chris Martinez’s Asawa ni Marie because it was just really funny. I rarely enjoy Cristine Reyes’ performances but she was so game here down to bobbing assorted items from the putikan (“Wala pong putikan saan nyo ako ilulublob?”). I instantly liked her as soon as she started prancing on the seashore (ala Marimar) along with her lifesize dog/mascot Yagit and let out a typical hagikgik.

10. The rest of the cast were good as well (Jayson Gainza as the dashing leading man, Jackie Lou Blanco as the matapobre haciendera, etc.) but it was Joey Paras who stood out as the submissive mother (yes, mother!) of Marie. From the moment he said “Senyorita, nagbalik po ba kayo para sabunutan ako ng walang dahilan?” up to the scene where he carried said senyorita back to the mansion, I was out of breath from laughing that I had to use my inhaler.

11. Did they use the same room that stood in as the US condo of Clark and Leah on On The Wings of Love?

12. Out of all the self-awareness present in the movie, the best line had to be in that scene where Cristine kept hawking faux products, “Pelikula na, patalastas pa? Tama, wala tayong delikadeza.” Now that’s one masigabong palakpakan na sampal sa industriya.

Ratings:

BALA SA BALA, KAMAO SA KAMAO, SATSAT SA SATSAT (Mark Meily) – ★★☆☆☆

SHAKE, SHAKER, SHAKEST (Andoy Ranay) – ★★☆☆☆

ASAWA NI MARIE (Chris Martinez) – ★★★★☆