MOVIE REVIEW: ANG PAMBANSANG THIRD WHEEL (Ivan Andrew Payawal, 2018)

720AD227-42A8-4D23-915A-4DDE68FB57B3

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Ang Pambansang Third Wheel:

1. The Play Girls and their sultry car wash routine on Pilipinas Got Talent received a lot of flak recently because they ended up scrubbing themselves instead of the dirty vehicle. I actually had no problem with that performance. I wouldn’t let their act go through to the next round, but if they wanted to pour a pail of sudsy water on themselves while twerking their asses off, why should I complain? I was all for equal opportunity exploitation considering that I also didn’t have any issue with a topless, dripping wet Sam Milby soaping his abs instead of his car in this movie. To quote his character Neo, “May ginagawa bang masama ang abs ko sa’yo?” None at all, Sam. None at all! Please continue working that hose. Again, why should I complain?

Side note: Why did his nipples look sad, though?

2. Trina (Yassi Pressman) had the unfortunate role of being everyone’s third wheel. All of her friends were couples that were curiously named after iconic TV and movie pairings – Will & Grace, Tom & Jerry, and Ally & Noah (from The Notebook?) and she was stuck with the name Trina who never had a fictional love team (at least none that I could recall). When she fell for Neo, I expected her to change her name to Trinity so that at least they would fit in with the rest of the group.

3. She worked in an ad agency that was modelled out of the Runway office of Miranda Priestly. Candy Pangilinan (usually hilarious, but strained for laughs here) played the boss from hell wearing the latest Genevieve Gozum fashion. Remember that scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Miranda arrived in the office and everyone was scrambling and fearing for their lives? It was recreated here with less comical results. People were literally in a panic with the boss inside the room that I was surprised she didn’t fire these people for incompetence… or for being majorly exag. I guess she didn’t have the capacity for that since she herself approved a pitch that felt straight out of a high school design competition (Meant 2 Be? Really??).

4. I think I wasn’t completely sold on the love story because Sam couldn’t match the charming performance of Yassi (reminiscent of her endearing work on Camp Sawi). Mas naiyak pa ako kasi hindi man lang siya makaiyak ng maayos. His character also had a huge collection of bomber jackets that would put Karamo of Queer Eye to shame. Seriously.

Side note: Trina was also scared of blood and needles so yes, she was just more relatable.

5. The fact that Neo already had a kid brought an interesting dynamic to the third wheel story, but the movie failed to explore this further. I was happy to see though that the son (Alonzo Muhlach) wasn’t being a brat to a would-be stepmom. It would have been an easy way to generate drama and the decision to steer clear from this cliche was admirable.

6. Trina’s father (Al Tantay) bought her a plane ticket to Canada so that she could win back Neo (uhh, not with that Basha haircut dear) but when she arrived there and saw that he was already happy with his family, she decided to call her father up long distance and lash out at him, “Bakit ba pinaasa mo lang ako? Dapat hindi na natin pinaglalaban ang mga taong minahal natin!”.

Huh? Gurl, you flew all the way to Canada before you realized that? How about some gratitude for that expensive airfare? And imagine your long distance charges omg!

7. “Ang mga third wheel ay naghihintay lamang ng tamang tao para sa kanila.” Totoo ba? Tell that to my single friend slash perennial third wheel (name withheld to keep the friendship). Her lovelife (or lack thereof) gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘Awts!’.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: THIS TIME (Nuel Naval, 2016)

13124990_10154131082108544_3622483802939501321_n

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on This Time:

1. I could easily relate to Ava’s (Nadine Lustre) hate for summer. It was bad enough that the six-pack abs that I wished for last Christmas did not magically show up this month in time for Laboracay (I hate you Santa!), this was also my dreaded season of extreme sunshine and salty sweating. Her reason was completely different from mine, of course: her assumed childhood boyfriend Coby only visited (and left her) every summer, but hey, if James Reid (How to be you po?) were to spend time with anyone even for just a day, that person would be eternally thankful. Show some gratitude girl! (You didn’t even wish that from Santa!)

2. With a coffin on display in their sala and with the family living in a funeral home (named Buhay Funeral Homes, naturally), I got a lot of the Six Feet Under vibe. Except that Frances Conroy never really danced like a loon around a corpse (although she should have).

The dining table was right next to the sala and the family had what looked like dinuguan and bopis for lunch. I could never imagine myself eating dinuguan and bopis inside a funeral home. Wait, I could never imagine myself eating dinuguan and bopis. Period.

3. The Buhay Family was supposed to be funny, but they were just annoying. Candy Pangilinan who was spectacular in Star Na Si Van Damme Stallone resorted back to her irritating tics as a comedian with the belief that the louder she said her line, the funnier it would be. (Uh, no.) Also, why did these supporting characters always say supposedly funny lines in unison? Are we forever stuck with this kind of comedy?

4. Nadine was really playing Marcelo Santos III with all her endless hugot lines and empty platitudes on love and long-distance relationships. These were some of her groan-worthy bon mots:

• “Ang love ay parang traffic. Susuot ka kung saan-saan pero mararating mo rin ang destinasyon mo.”

• “Sa pagiging loyal ko nga dapat may loyalty card na ako na may points eh.”

Of course her loud and shrill friends (Ultimate Kakaibabe Donnalyn Bartolome, etc.) had to contribute their own terrible lines that included this classic:

“Ang relationship na walang label, parang damit sa ukay. Ang labo!” (Huh? Malabo yung damit sa ukay? Labhan mo kasi teh!)

4. Why did Ava really hate summer? Cue flashback. Include a lengthy story about Ava and Coby as kids because we terribly need a filler to support such a simple love story. Flashbacks should have a comic book effect. The Marvel-er, the better. Throw in the Snapchat filters because they’re so cool nowadays! Wait, we need a beach scene. Ok, sa Japan naman! When does this flashback end? What? End na ng movie? Ano ‘to ukay? Bakit ang labo?

5. The only ice cream that ever existed in this universe was Selecta Cornetto. I was surprised that it didn’t have its own major billing in the credits. It had a more substantial role (and acted better) than Bret Jackson, to be honest.

6. The first young boy that played James didn’t look like him at all. The teenage Nadine, on the other hand, looked exactly like her because it was really Nadine, only in pigtails, dressed in overalls, and acting immature.

7. I couldn’t actually recall crying over the break-up of celebrities. Hmm, okay, I think I teared up a bit when Kris Aquino broke it off with Joey Marquez, but only because my ears could only handle all the STD talk.

In this movie, we knew the passage of time because Ava cried every time a celebrity couple called it quits (Jen & Brad, Zac & Vanessa). Oh, and also because of the local history on popular diseases (H1N1). Fortunately, there was no mention of STD.

8. Full disclosure: I had never really liked a JaDine movie. Diary ng Panget was icky and that Talk Back one made me wish I were dead. I became an instant fan because of On The Wings of Love, where their scorching chemistry was in full display. It was still here in this movie, only it wasn’t given enough to really shine. A great love team could only do so much to salvage terrible material. The first kiss didn’t elicit any kilig, the pottery scene was a bore, and the final painting scene (while they were wearing white, que horror said my OCD self!) was pure umay.

9. For the first time in Philippine cinema history, I saw the brilliant Ronnie Lazaro struggle in a role and it was for playing a gay guy who loved dogs. How sad. Speaking of, if you know a bachelor with dogs that they call babies and you’re wondering why he’s still single…

10. If there was one thing that I really liked here, it was that sweet little sub-plot involving Nova Villa and Freddie Webb (reminiscent of their romance in 1st Ko Si 3rd, or if you’re way older Chicks to Chicks). Their love story set amidst the cherry blossoms was everything that this movie wanted to be.

11. “Ayoko na kausap ang monitor, ayoko na kayakap ang iPad, ayoko na ka-kiss ang cellphone.” This line made me sad. Only because this girl was really cray. Eh di wag mo gawin, girl!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: CINEFILIPINO 2016 SCORECARD

1909816_10153984454658544_3905025237768880091_n

I’m finally done with this year’s CineFilipino Film Festival. I only missed one feature-length due to a permit issue and a documentary because of scheduling concerns. Not bad.

Here’s my festival scorecard:

Best Feature-Length Film
1. SAKALING HINDI MAKARATING – ★★★★★
2. STAR NA SI VAN DAMME STALLONE – ★★★★★

3. NED’S PROJECT – ★★★☆☆
4. ANG TABA KO KASI – ★★★☆☆
5. ANG TULAY NG SAN SEBASTIAN – ★★☆☆☆
6. 1ST SEM – ★★☆☆☆
7. BUHAY HABANGBUHAY – ★★☆☆☆
8. STRAIGHT TO THE HEART – ★☆☆☆☆

Not seen: A LOTTO LIKE LOVE

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. SANDINO MARTIN (Ang Tulay Ng San Sebastian)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. ANGELI BAYANI (Ned’s Project)
2. CANDY PANGILINAN (Star Na Si Van Damme Stallone)
3. ALESSANDRA DE ROSSI (Sakaling Hindi Makarating)
4. CAI CORTEZ (Ang Taba Ko Kasi)
5. LOTLOT DE LEON (1st Sem)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. PEPE HERRERA (Sakaling Hindi Makarating)
2. PAOLO PINGOL (Star Na Si Van Damme Stallone)
3. JC SANTOS (Sakaling Hindi Makarating)
4. ALLAN PAULE (1st Sem)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. THERESE MALVAR (Sakaling Hindi Makarating)
2. MAX EIGENMANN (Ned’s Project)

Best Documentary

1. FOREVER BRIDGELESS – ★★★★★
2. AN ORCHESTRA IN SEARCH OF A HOME – ★★★★☆

3. SINA DINO AT ANG KANILANG SIKRETO – ★★★☆☆

Not seen: MGA KULAY SA LABAS NG LINYA

Best Short Film
1. SAANMAN NGUNIT DITO – ★★★★★
2. XXX – ★★★★★
3. OKTOPUS – ★★★★★

4. KUNG ANG ULAN AY GAWA SA TSOKOLATE – ★★★★☆
5. KATOK – ★★★★☆
6. DIGPAN NING ALTI – ★★★★☆
7. CHICBOY – ★★★★☆

8. LUNA – ★★★☆☆
9. NOT APPLICABLE – ★★☆☆☆
10. PUNLA – ★★☆☆☆
11. AKI – ★☆☆☆☆

Until next year!!

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

6884_10153836687918544_7078553065879461569_n

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) – ★★★★☆