MOVIE REVIEW: AD ASTRA (James Gray, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Grabe ‘teh! Good call talaga na hindi natuloy ang plan ko manuod sa IMAX with Laser ng Evia. Dun lang ako sa Dolby Atmos cinema nila pero nahilo na ako at di nakahinga sa scene na nag-freefall si perpetually sad astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) from outer space to earth.

Akala ko aantukin lang ako sa film kasi medyo traumatized pa ako sa pretentiousness (ay sorry, profundity daw) ng Interstellar at Solaris (the Soderbergh remake), but I survived naman with my major buttered popcorn and large iced tea from Taters (very Krissy lang, sana i-sponsor na nila ako). I can’t say the same for the rest of the audience. Meron mga mahimbing ang tulog habang yung isa eh walang ginawa kundi mag-check ng cellphone (pasalamat siya at five rows ahead siya sa akin kaya di ako pumatol).

I guess tama yung mga nagsabi na this might not be for everyone. Puno kasi ng introspective voiceovers about the meaning of life and relationships (“In the end, the son suffers the sins of the father”) ang pelikula kaya medyo slow ang pacing. Halos bumagsak ako nung Philo classes ko back in college kaya hirap na hirap sumabay yung utak ko dito.

Meron naman mga major ganap every so often (yung mala-Mad Max: Fury Road lunar chase scene, yung baboon na puno ng angst, etc.). Masaya din mag-isip kung ano yung mga space-related films ng cast (every time nagsasalita sa recorded video si Liv Tyler, naaalala ko ang Armageddon at kung bakit mas gusto ko ang Deep Impact).

Natawa ako dun sa space shuttle na naghatid kay Roy sa moon kasi very Cebu Pacific at lahat may bayad. Kulang na lang sumigaw yung FA ng “Snacks for sale!”. Interesting din na ang daming mahahabang hallways sa lahat ng hubs dito, including yung sa Mars. Mayaman talaga ang Amerika. Tapos yung futuristic room na may moving images reminded me of Black Mirror’s Fifteen Million Merits. Nung blooming flowers yung background, sobrang ganda at pwede na ma-post sa One Perfect Shot (o alam na, strong contender na naman si Hoyte van Hoytema for Best Cinematography sa Oscars next year).

But the best thing about this was Brad. Ang expressive ng mga mata niya lalo na sa scene na nananawagan siya sa father niya (the always masungit Tommy Lee Jones) na matagal na di nagpaparamdam. Imagine mo na lang kung gaano kahirap maghanap ng missing tatay sa bawat sulok ng mundo. Eh paano pa kung sa Neptune diba? Walang-wala lahat ng daddy issues ninyo.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: ME BEFORE YOU (Thea Sharrock, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Me Before You:

1. It must have been Girls’ Night Out Tuesday here in Perth because ninety-five percent of the packed theater during the last screening were women of all ages. The remaining four percent were grumbling dates/boyfriends/husbands that were forced to see this chick flick. I think I was the one percent that actually wanted to watch this and even dragged my little sister along with me. I definitely regretted that decision. While the cinema got flooded with tears by the end of the movie, I was laughing from all of the awfulness.

2. The pre-accident Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) reminded me so much of Christian Grey: handsome, incredibly rich, bursting with abs (in high definition during that upward shower shot), but minus the kinkiness (handcuffs, I missed thee). He was the type of guy so oblivious (or was it too self-aware?) of his sexiness that he took a walk in the rain while on the phone, like he was in some kind of Calvin Klein commercial (that later turned into a Public Service Announcement on how to properly cross a street).

3. On the other hand, Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) was like a poor man’s Zooey Deschanel: literally poor, always on a sugar high, and dressed like Doris Bigornia with an insect fetish (or a “leprechaun drag queen”, as one character put it). When she initially appeared onscreen with her yellow-orange knee-high stockings, I actually thought she had jaundice and she and Will would really make a tragic couple.

4. Clarke’s eyebrows deserved second billing because they did all of the acting for her. I swear they were moving non-stop from start to finish and wiggled like crazy even if the scene only required her to glue pictures on an album. Shame, shame, shame Daenerys!

5. I got the Dying Young meets P.S. I Love You meets Everything About Her feel while watching this. Speaking of the latter, I was surprised this wasn’t a Star Cinema rom-com given all of the familiar elements: the manic pixie girl and the snotty guy, the meet cute (involving a torn skirt with a flat payoff), the doting family requiring financial assistance, the Dimples Romana BFF dishing words of wisdom, the token disposable boyfriend (Neville Longbottom in really tight tights, staying true to his last name), trips to exotic locales, etc. The only thing different was the sad ending, but Star Cinema did it first in Forever and a Day.

6. Neville chose a Will Ferrell movie over Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother. Bad guy alert! Dislike of subtitled films should be an automatic dealbreaker. (But then again Will loved Armageddon so I couldn’t trust his taste as well.)

7. Horse racing? Watching a Mozart concert? Flying to Mauritius? Why did I feel like she was able to take advantage of his wealth and used a quariplegic to fulfill her own bucket list and enjoy the luxuries of life? Pera pera na lang talaga?

8. It was hard to root for Louisa since she was annoying in the following scenes:

* When she was rude to a maitre d’ for not letting them in a high-end members only restaurant (since when was it funny to mock someone who was just doing her job?)

* When she barely elicited excitement after getting the pendant gift from her boyfriend but screamed with delight (in front of her boyfriend!!) after seeing the bumblebee stockings given by Will (how considerate of her)

9. I felt bad whenever a scene chose the basic disregard of Will’s health just to create something romantic. How could I feel kilig when Louisa sat on Will’s legs knowing how weak those were from non-use or when she removed the oxygen mask so that he could talk to her or when she agreed to leave the villa doors open during the rain after being told that he had weak lungs and just recovered from pneumonia? Also, how was he able to maintain those abs after years of non-movement? Did his therapy include crunches and Ab Roller sessions?

10. In the end, Will chose to terminate his life through assisted suicide. If a man would rather kill himself than reciprocate another person’s love, how was that even romantic? Saklap.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆