MOVIE REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Marc Webb, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (and some trailers before the movie):

1. When they played Hooked on a Feeling in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, I suddenly remembered Ally McBeal’s Oogachaka Baby. It’s time for a re-watch.

2. Will Annie be the feel-good movie of the year? Hearing Tomorrow gave me goosies. It was great to see a more grown-up Quvenzhane Wallis.

3. How many more versions of origin stories are we going to see? Am I the only one getting confused with all of these flashbacks?

4. It was funny that Apple didn’t seem to exist in the Marvel universe. Every single gadget from laptops to phones were made by Sony. How many shots of Vaio did you see?

5. I loved all of those aerial swooping scenes. This would be the perfect ride in Enchanted Kingdom’s Rialto complete with the cool wind effects blowing on your face. I was just concerned that all of those swinging would cause a lot of road accidents. Wouldn’t you scream your head off if Spidey suddenly appeared on your windshield?

6. When I initially heard Spidey’s ringtone, my brain went “Spider-Pig”! The Simpsons Movie clearly messed with my head.

7. And yet another Stan Lee cameo. Wait, if he’s required to show up in each and every Marvel movie, is it still considered a cameo role?

8. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone will forever remain my favorite Hollywood couple. Such excellent actors and their chemistry onscreen is just undeniable. I would love to see them in a Marc Webb rom-com.

9. Was I the only one having a Starting Over Again flashback in that fountain scene?

10. Webb directed (500) Days of Summer, one of my favorite movies of all time. He really knows how to handle these relationship dramas (Peter-Gwen, Peter-May, Peter-Harry, Peter-Richard, etc.). And yet two and a half hours was still not enough to tell all of these stories. The movie just ended like a setup for future installments. Couldn’t they have split this into two movies instead and focused on specific storylines?

11. Fame always comes with a cost. Scary.

12. The special effects in that Times Square scene was really good. I could have done without that slow-mo stairs scene, though.

13. I’ve always thought that water conducted electricity so I was surprised when it was used to weaken Electro (who resembled that nude Watchman character). Can someone explain this further? (Yes, I was bad in all of my Science classes.)

14. What’s with all of those endless quips? Why were there too many scenes that strain for laughs? And what is up with that relentless musical score?

15. Dane DeHaan looked like a lanky Leonardo DiCaprio meets Chito Miranda.

16. Spidey’s voice didn’t sound all that different from Peter’s. How could Harry not have known? Was this a classic case of the Darna-Narda syndrome?

17. That falling scene. That ending. THAT ENDING! Argh!!

18. “The heavier the box gets, the lighter I feel.” Bravo Sally Field! You just broke my heart.

19. I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much (or even at all) in a Marvel movie. I’ll probably be depressed until tomorrow.

20. There’s no need to wait for the end of the end credits. There’s no additional scene after the X-Men preview. You’re welcome.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published May 5, 2014.)

JOBS (Joshua Michael Stern, 2013)

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Provided a superficial look at the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, depicted here as a genius a-hole. It’s no The Social Network.

Ashton Kutcher did a decent mimicry of Jobs, although there were scenes where he looked like a young Tom Cruise doing the impersonation.

You know that this film was simply glossing over its subject when the highlights were actually on Steve Wozniak, played by the funny Josh Gad.

You’re better off reading the Jobs biography.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published September 8, 2013.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE HOWS OF US (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Hows of Us:

1. If you’re an old soul (read: an oldie afraid to admit that he’s beyond his prime) like me, you probably have downloaded and played Homescapes (currently ranked #73 in the Apple App Store) where your goal was to build this dream house and decorate it with all types of furniture. The first five minutes of this movie reminded me so much of that game, with George (Kathryn Bernardo) and Primo (Daniel Padilla) providing the voiceover while they selected the perfect couch for their living room. That scene culminated in a huge shouting match that signalled the end of their relationship before transitioning to a split screen sequence that was completely lifted from Kalyeserye (I swear I could hear an instrumental version of Rey Valera’s Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko in the background, a song I have associated with AlDub ever since I died of kilig from their McDonald’s commercial heydays). And then it turned into a Mannequin Challenge with the camera moving around while the pair pretended to be serious contenders in a game of stop dance. Wait, were they aiming to do a recap of pop culture references for this decade?

2. I honestly expected this to be KathNiel’s response to the critical success of JaDine’s Never Not Love You, but it simply lacked the depth and maturity (in terms of characters and story) needed to display their growth as artists (insert that meme of Tyra Banks screaming “I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!!”).

Hearing Kathryn utter the word “Putangina!” repeatedly just wasn’t enough, especially if you would consider a Miss Granny like Sarah Geronimo saying vulgar words like “puke” and “hindot” in her most recent film. While their screen rivals tackled weighty themes like long distance relationships and adult responsibilities, the biggest conflict in this movie was whether George should continue with her jeepney ride to take her med school exam or scream “para!” to get down and help a drunk Primo who was slumped on the road. These were supposed to be real people problems? Seryoso?

Side note: I guess it spoke a lot about the maturity of these characters that the fans still shrieked their lungs out every time the lovebirds kissed.

3. Dear Star Cinema, wasn’t it too early to start recycling elements from your recent hits? There were so many things here that reminded me so much of Starting Over Again from George’s line of “In him, I saw a good man…” to that supposedly sensual flirtation reminiscent of Toni Gonzaga’s stepladder scene down to that drunk rant of George with her gay BFF (Juan Miguel Severo) that never reached the comedic heights of Beauty Gonzalez’s “Yang hope na yan, lason yan” moment. I’m sure you have a strong pool of writers. Wala na bang bago? (As in Susan Africa played a Tita Lola role and ended up dead after a few scenes.)

4. If anything, Kathryn looked so gorgeous here (with or without her EO Optical contacts) and I’d have to commend her for making the most out of her thinly-written character. She only had one off moment when she was required to overact like crazy in that “Pagod na pagod na pagod na ako!” scene. Otherwise, she was actually good in her dramatic scenes (even if she played a selfish girlfriend required to say lines like “Wala kang pambili kahit cupcake man lang para sa akin?”) and was even better during the (abruptly) comedic second half. She seemed headed back to her glorious Magkaribal/Mara Clara days. Really happy for her!!

And no amount of Daniel sporting a horrible mullet and looking like a deranged version of Lady Diane (“Sa-sa-Saddami ng problema natin!”) minimized the fact that this tandem could still deliver the requisite kiligs. My favorite moment had to be that cringey-sweet hugot of Primo: “Matagal na naman akong talo eh simula nung hinayaan kong mawala ka”. Awww!

(P.S. Ang galing na nila umarte pareho. Please give them the movie that they deserve!!)

5. I had seen the entire filmography of Maricel Soriano so I know that that entire splitting of the house with masking tape gag was already done with much better results in Kung Kaya Mo, Kaya Ko Rin! (and yes, it was also just copied from a much earlier film with Dolphy and Nida Blanca or some other Philippine Cinema legends that I was too lazy to Google). If I remembered it correctly, there was also a scene where Cesar Montano played his guitar and tried to win back Maricel through a harana. And when Maricel’s BFF Ruby Rodriguez decided to visit the house, she had to drag her over to her side because the rest of the space was off-limits. All of those exact same scenes were in this movie. Again, wala na bang bago?

6. In one clunky scene, George and Primo were selling their “conjugal” ancestral home to a potential buyer (Odette Khan) and after stating that it really didn’t have much value, Primo countered that it did have a lot of history and special memories, thus making it priceless. And I kept thinking, “Totoo ba? Ano naman paki ng buyer sa memories na yan?” so I was really surprised when she instead replied with “I like it! Eto na ang pera!” Huwaaaat?

7. Real jokes delivered while the lovebirds biked around Amsterdam:

• “Bakit ang daming nag-ba-bike dito?” “Eh bike-it naman hindi?”

• “Anong instrumento ang favorite sa Amsterdam?” “Eh di Amsterdrums!”

• “Ano ang favorite pet sa Amsterdam?” “Eh di Hamsterdam!”

• “Ano ang paboritong kainin sa Amsterdam?” “Eh di Hamsterdam and Cheese!”

Should I continue? AMSTERDAMMIT!!

8. “Sana samahan mo pa rin ako in finding out the answers to all the hows.” Hahahaha! Naipilit pa rin ang title.

But seriously, after My Ex and Whys and The Hows of Us, I wonder if Star Cinema still has plans of using the remaining 4W’s. Who Who Belles? What’s Upon a Time? Ready to Where? When Dramas? Oh, too punny!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆