CAKE (Daniel Barnz, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Cake:

1. Halle Berry did it for Monster’s Ball. Charlize Theron did the same for Monster. Both actresses went on to win Oscars. I guess the no make-up, de-glamorized (literally scars and all) look to win an Academy Award has its limits. Jennifer Aniston was really good here but I still preferred her performance in The Good Girl.

2. Maybe the lack of emotional depth of this movie hurt Aniston’s chances of a nomination. With its heavy themes of suicide, drug addiction, and depression, it should be hitting you right in the gut but it just failed to connect. Although still worth watching, I wasn’t moved by the major dramatic moments (and everyone knows I cry in everything).

3. I felt more sympathy for Silvana, played by the exquisite Adriana Barazza. Why isn’t this woman in more movies especially after her brilliant work in Babel? And why do her characters always have problems crossing the Mexico-US border?

4. Felicity Huffman, Anna Kendrick, Mamie Gummer, Chris Messina, William H. Macy… why are my favorite character actors all here?

5. I completely understand Claire’s addiction on prescription medicines. I just can’t live without using my inhaler every five minutes. I can only imagine how tougher it would be if someone had chronic pain and dependent on Percocet and OxyContin.

6. That scene where the Mexican pharmacist tried to store the pills inside a Mama Mary statue was funny scary. He ended up using a statue of St. Jude which didn’t make it any less sinful.

7. The nurse that took care of Claire was named Malaya. She was mistaken as Imelda and ended up referencing that she did love shoes. #PinoyFried right there.

8. Isn’t Claire Bennett also the name of Hayden Panettiere’s cheerleader in Heroes? Save herself, save the world.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published April 6, 2015.)

TULLY (Jason Reitman, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

For all the mothers who have sacrificed their physical, mental, and emotional states and have given up their hopes and dreams just to raise their usually unappreciative kids.

For all the husbands who think that being a good provider is sufficient enough to fulfill their role as fathers.

For all the kids who never understood the meaning of gratitude and maternal love except during Mother’s Day.

(Sad that a fully committed Charlize Theron’s not getting much Oscar buzz for her amazing work here.)

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 30, 2018.)

ATOMIC BLONDE (David Leitch, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Atomic Blonde:

1. I really didn’t have plans of watching this movie in a theater since a) the local version was heavily butchered to receive a more SM Cinema-friendly rating (lesbian sex was deemed offensive?), and b) inasmuch as I adored Imperator Furiosa, seeing Charlize Theron pull off a John Wick just wasn’t my thing, but there would always be stuff we do for love.

2. I probably would have appreciated this more if it didn’t even try to be a smart thriller ala The Bourne Identity and just stayed true to being a hot mess (like basically any Guy Ritchie film). But no, we were treated to an incomprehensible plot that started with the demolition of the Berlin Wall, involved twist after twist inherent in the espionage genre, and ended with…wait, what exactly happened? Sorry, but I do not have the time to check Wikipedia.

3. With our current weather, I’d do anything to have that kind of ice bath. Are there any places that offer this type of service? Better if they also serve Stolichnaya and Jack Daniels.

By the way, when Charlize stepped out of that tub, her to die for body was shown in its full glory, but when James McAvoy got up from bed, he had to be fully wrapped with a kumot from the waist down with just a tease of his V-lines. He even mentioned, “If you see my balls, you’ll be more impressed”. Now how would we know? Why the double standard?

4. Literal killer heels. Ilabas ang lisensya! Also, as a nod to anything ’80s, I loved how that dressing up montage resembled that of Vilma Santos’ in Tagos ng Dugo.

5. Some of the fight scenes didn’t feel authentic. It was supposed to be one violent brawl after another, but the punches seemed to be pulled.

At least it had that awesome stairwell sequence (it was supposed to be one long take if it weren’t chopped up for being too violent) that made me wonder which parts were actually done by Charlize (since it involved a lot of smashing on the walls and tumbling down the steps).

6. “David Hasselhoff is in town. Berlin is really doomed.” Hahaha! Forever a Baywatch fan, though.

7. If there was something that I really liked here, it was the killer soundtrack. If I were to get hit on the head with a skateboard, I would also want it to be scored with Nena’s 99 Luftballons.

Caveat: I was obviously a disgrace to my generation because when the first few notes of Queen’s Under Pressure was played, I squealed with delight from my seat and screamed ‘Ice Ice Baby’!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR (Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Huntsman: Winter’s War:

1. One of the best decisions made in this unnecessary prequel/sequel was the removal of Kristen Stewart, whose Snow White was already sleepwalking through the first movie even before she bit into the poisoned apple. If I were that bored, I would probably be sleeping with my married director, too.

The other good thing was bringing back the wonderful Charlize Theron, fully inhabiting the role of wicked Queen Ravenna, truly the most enchanting creature in that mythical land. I wasn’t even sure why she had to listen to her gong-like golden mirror lie that she wasn’t the fairest of them all. Seriously, in what world would she be less gorgeous than anyone (molting gold or otherwise)? Oh right, this was a fantasy.

2. Wait, what happened to the vanity story? Did Queen Ravenna have the King killed as well because he had fairer, more younger-looking skin than her? I expected her to be shallow, but I didn’t realize that she was this unexplainably treacherous.

3. It was obvious that Liam Neeson provided the voiceover here because every time I felt my eyelids drooping, I could actually hear him saying, “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. But if you fall asleep, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you” and I would be fully awake once again.

4. With the current weather, I think Ice Queen Freya (played by Emily Blunt) would be the perfect BFF. Forget airconditioning, her touch alone would send literal shivers down your spine. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to sing-along to Let It Go while she cast these icicles all around you? You could probably borrow her gorgeous outfits for Halloween, too. (First dibs on the one with the divine train.) And don’t get started on that polar bear fit for a grand entrance in any formal party.

5. Just so people wouldn’t forget that Chris Hemsworth was surrounded by talented actresses and was still part of the movie, he got his own topless tampisaw sa batis scene. Will those abs be front and center in Thor: Ragnarok as well? Asking for a friend.

6. Speaking of talented, I couldn’t believe that Jessica Chastain actually accepted the thankless role of female warrior Sara where she had to go full pabebe mode (refer to Anna Kendrick in Mr. Right) even if she was way too old for it. Besides, her weird accent sounded like a cross between Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn and Madonna after visiting England. Whatever happened to our Oscar dreams?

7. “Love ends in betrayal. Always.” Oh my, Sara was even more jaded than my friend Alfrenette (not her real name) and this was a girl whose heart got trampled on by the most evil queens on the planet. Sara, similar to what I always told my friend, all you really needed was some good *** (it was pie, just in case you were curious).

8. Great, we’re stuck with just two dwarves and they ended up to be Grumpy and Chubby (and their girlfriends). They were supposed to be the funny ones, but were just mildly entertaining. Wait, that makes me sound both grumpy and chubby! Argh!!

9. Similar to Mara Clara, I immediately knew that that eternity necklace would figure prominently in a key scene. (“She is not Cupid. I doubt that an arrow to the heart is an expression of her love.” Har har!) And that hanging bridge? Of course it would get cut off.

10. I hear Ravenna and I think Mulawin.

11. More questions about the movie:

* Why did they have to fight Ravenna if all they needed to do was destroy the mirror? Were they too scared to have seven years of bad luck?

* Why didn’t the Ice Queen use her freezing powers to stop the bleeding? Hadn’t she heard of a cold compress (or cryotherapy)?

* Why didn’t the frozen dwarves shatter into tiny ice pieces similar to what happened to Ice Queen’s boyfriend? (And don’t tell me it was because he fell down to the ground.)

12. Seriously, I had this really strange theory that the Ice Queen’s daughter wasn’t killed and that it was Snow White, thus her name (and Kojic soap complexion). No wonder I’m an unemployed writer.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆