ANNIE (Will Gluck, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Annie:

1. The movie opened with a typical Annie, a tiny freckle-faced Caucasian redhead, reading a report on former US Presidents. The teacher then called the real Annie, played by Quvenzhane Wallis, a smart and spunky African-American. I loved this wink, wink opening because Wallis was just too adorable in the lead role. I was also happy with the color blind casting because the role of Annie had nothing to do with her skin color anyway.

2. When I heard the teacher call Annie B., I immediately thought Annie Batungbakal and I started humming the theme song and imagined Nora doing a song and dance number (“Sa umaga, dispatsadora. Sa gabi, siya’y bonggang-bongga…”).

3. For a musical, most of the production numbers felt lacking. The only one I truly enjoyed was It’s The Hard Knock Life. Everything else felt joyless. Even the classic Tomorrow wasn’t memorable since it just had her walking the streets of Harlem. Why bother with a remake?

4. Cameron Diaz can be funny whenever she goes bat-shit crazy in her movies. Here, her campiness only served as a distraction. She was just irritating all throughout. Even her musical number was horrible. Do you still remember her singing “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” in My Best Friend’s Wedding? She sang exactly like that in the most grating voice ever. Only here it wasn’t played for laughs.

5. Blatant Purell product placement. No better than a Kris Aquino movie. (“Product placement keeps the movie business afloat!”, said one character.)

6. The viral video of Jamie Foxx saving Annie was all wrong. How could it have different takes and taken from two different angles when it was supposedly shot by an onlooker?

7. I love Rose Byrne, I really do, but she should not be allowed to sing again. Hey, why was this musical populated by terrible singers given their own musical highlights? All it needed was Russell Crowe.

8. The updated version had Annie with a Twitter account and saved by Instagram. Groan.

9. I felt bad for Sia. I actually liked “Opportunity”.

10. The final act had a last minute twist, a villain that never really got his due, a final conflict, and a quick resolution that led to a song and dance number by way of Mother Lily. Ugh.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published January 28, 2015.)

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EDSA WOOLWORTH (John-D Lazatin, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Edsa Woolworth:

1. The poster spoke the truth when it mentioned that the movie was all about the family. It was basically a slice of life dramedy about an unconventional family based in San Francisco. Sadly, it was also as bland as its tagline.

2. Pokwang was able to flex her dramatic muscles a few years back with the TFC-produced A Mother’s Story, a fine enough film about an OFW that only turned silly during its last act. She seemed more relaxed here as Edsa, hitting every cue with her good comic timing (“Are you good in bed?”, “I love balls!”) or quick-flowing tears.

3. Surprisingly, Pokwang’s performance was overshadowed by Ricci Chan, a gifted theater actor who was just a delight to watch in a major role on the big screen. Sure he still had some noticeable tics especially during confrontation scenes but he just delivered his lines with aplomb, whether he was mentioning the 500-thread count of his Egyptian cotton sheets to his cheating boyfriend or verbalizing the hidden emotions of just about any gay person.

4. What kind of parent would name his/her child Epifania delos Santos Woolworth? Besides, wouldn’t this just be Eds Woolworth?

5. All Americans in the movie were just too nice. Edsa’s Caucasian father was a paradigm of kindness, a massage client allowed her to sprawl out on the master bed, and a store manager even let her finish her nap on a bed display (and even took her out to dinner after!).

6. I was surprised to see Lee Robin Salazar again. Wasn’t he part of the Manoeuvres and even played a bit role in that classic Viva movie, Do Re Mi? Tell me I’m not crazy.

7. It was weird to watch kissing scenes with mouths fully closed. Just me? Okay.

8. There was really nothing much to propel the story forward. The tender moments just couldn’t compensate for the tedium of the rest of the film. It even threw in a predictable twist in the last act after supposedly tying up all loose ends.

9. Happy ending! Sad ending! Happy ending!! Sad ending!! Happy ending!!!!!

10. I guess that marriage wouldn’t last long since it was sukob.

11. I actually cringed at that final scene where a dead major character was on a hill smiling at the happy living family members. Eek!

12. Overheard during the movie:
“Naka-try ka na ng jacuzzi?”
“Oo, sa Pansol.”

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published January 15, 2015.)