MOVIE REVIEW: FENG SHUI 2 (Chito Roño, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Feng Shui 2:

1. Roño mentioned in a recent interview that he didn’t want to do a sequel since he didn’t want to make the same movie. He named this Feng Shui and it was supposed to be a continuation of the original story. The title was apt since it was basically a retread of the original.

2. The previously novel idea of people dying based on their animal signs proved to be stale this time around. Who could forget the well-thought out sequence in the original where Lotlot de Leon (born on the year of the horse) got hit by an ironing board and fell to her death on cases of Red Horse? None of the deaths here had the same impact.

3. Every death had to be explained and every animal connection had to be in full view just in case the audience didn’t get it. What happened to subtlety? We’re not idiots.

4. Rat killer, Red Bull, Doug wearing a dogtag, Playboy shirt and Red Rabbit fire extinguisher, Snake Island truck, chicharon, these were the best that they could think of?

5. Bad dubbing. Really bad dubbing.

6. A lot of the characters here had never seen a bagua. I guess they weren’t able to watch the original movie.

7. Am I the only one who found it funny that a movie about karma (or close to it) actually starred Carmi Martin? Carmi Martin was really just around the corner.

8. As expected, there were mini-commercials shilling products endorsed by the stars. And so we got all the reasons why we needed to buy Nxled lights by Akari. I suddenly missed that Chunkee dinner scene in the original.

9. One clunky scene had Coco being thrown around by an invisible being. The special effect was too funny. And too lame. What was that?

10. And yet another scene was ripped from The Grudge (the eye and hair shot, you’ll remember when you see it).

11. Kris Aquino had this perpetually constipated look like she was watching Darla consume a whole lechon.

12. I guess all the zumba did her good with all those running scenes.

13. I saw the movie with the noisiest crowd ever (both fun and annoying at the same time). They were screaming their heads off as soon as the lights dimmed. I think they had lots of fun shouting in every scare scene regardless if these weren’t really scary.

14. The ending hinted at another sequel (hey Direk Chito what happened to that no sequel thingie?) and the final scene tried to be social media relevant with the bagua being shared online. So the third movie will be The Ring? Digital na ang karma? Wait, you can’t see your reflection on a picture! How will that work? I give up.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published December 26, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: BORN TO LOVE YOU (Jerome Pobocan, 2012)

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I honestly sharpened my claws before I saw this movie since the trailer alone was a gold mine of clunky dialogue and bad diction (“Ay lab u por! Por eber!!). Between Coco and Angeline, the English language didn’t just get murdered, it ended up double dead.

With that said, the pair had such great chemistry that it was hard not to like their tandem. Her funny way of talking aside, Angeline actually had an undeniable screen presence and charm. Coco was Coco and he was the type of actor (similar to John Lloyd Cruz) that could make the most out of a weak material.

This was still a bad movie that didn’t steer away from the clichéd Star Cinema formula but it was elevated by the winning performances of its leads.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published May 31, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: DA POSSESSED (Joyce Bernal, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Da Possessed:

1. Where were the possessions to begin with? Did they come up with a supposedly funny title first before working on the story? They failed on both btw.

2. Vhong Navarro’s haircut made him appear like Jim Carrey and the film was indeed dumb, dumber, and dumbest.

3. I had been very patient with this movie up until that extended Bollywood dance sequence. What the flying fuck?! I demand a refund!!

4. “Nabugbog ako. Hindi niyo ba nabalitaan?” #groan

5. I should have seen this last Black Saturday. This would have been the perfect penance for Holy Week. Pure torture.

6. The only good thing here was the trailer of Sarah and Coco’s Maybe This Time shown before the movie.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published April 27, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: A MOMENT IN TIME (Emmanuel Palo, 2013)

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Blatantly ripped-off scenes from other Star Cinema romance movies while wasting its charming leads. It was a classic case of good actors trapped in a really, really bad movie. Why, Star, why?!

The scene where Julia rapped to prove that she was jologs had to be one of the most cringe-worthy scenes in Pinoy cinema this year.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published February 17, 2013.)

MOVIE REVIEW: 3POL TROBOL: HULI KA BALBON! (Rodel Nacianceno, 2019)

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Sorry, mahal kita Coco Martin, but you will never be Fernando Poe, Jr. Huwag mo sayangin ang husay mo sa pag-arte sa ganitong mga regressive at problematic na pelikula na dapat namatay na noong ‘90s.

Napaka-helpless ng character ni Jennylyn Mercado dito. Nung nagsusuntukan sina Coco at Sam Milby, wala siyang ginawa kundi sumigaw sa gilid ng batis ng “Tama na, tumigil ka na! Pol, mag-ingat ka Pol!” Ganito yung tipo ng mga babae na nagrereklamo sa social media na di sila pinapaupo ng mga lalaki sa MRT. Jusko itatakwil ka ng Gabriela ghorl!

Wasted opportunity na hindi kinuha si Maxine Medina pantapat sa tucked Paloma character ni Coco. Pero at least nalaman ko na fan siya ng White Chicks sa dami ng ginaya dito.

Lakas ng tawa ko nung yung isa sa mga goons hinawakan sa baba si Rowell Santiago para i-check kung buhay pa siya after ng ambush.

Lastly, natuwa ako kasi nagpunta sila sa probinsya namin na Balete, Batangas pero bakit walang punto yung mga nakatira dun. Ah ah naman paano baga nangyari iyun? Nakakaadwa naman aring si Coco baka masampiga ko ay lungangi iyan.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: TALK BACK AND YOU’RE DEAD (Andoy Ranay, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Talk Back and You’re Dead:

1. James Reid and Nadine Lustre have real chemistry. Why aren’t they given good material? Maybe they need to stay away from WattPad.

2. If you asked anyone who had seen this movie, they’d most likely say that the highlight was the kitchen scene with James cooking topless. Did he not have anything else to offer? Not that I’m suggesting he strip further.

3. Joseph Marco played a gangster with flaming red hair named Red (of course!). In most of his scenes, he matched it with a red (or a similar shade) article of clothing. Because he was a cool gangster (or maybe just tacky?).

4. Speaking of gangsters, don’t we have any other characters in teen movies? And the gangsters here all wear black leather jackets. Really? In this sweltering heat? I could actually hear their armpits gasping for air.

5. Still on the gangsters, their group was supposedly called the Lucky 13 gang. In some scenes, I only counted 8 or 9 of them. Either the others were busy or this movie couldn’t afford more extras.

6. James kept using the word “retarded” and it was supposed to funny or endearing. Really? Really?!

7. A lot of teenage girls got kidnapped in this school in broad daylight. Security might not be part of their private school tuition fees.

8. I hadn’t discussed anything about the movie’s story because it was pretty much non-existent.

9. If you’ve watched Coco Martin and Angeline Quinto’s Born to Love You (why??), you’d find the ending of this film a bit similar. Except that Nadine was married (or was she just engaged to be married? I was too bored to care by then), yet they still lived happily ever after.

10. Next time James could just do a two hour topless dance routine and people would be happier.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published September 9, 2014.)

 

ON THE JOB (Erik Matti, 2013)

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A near flawless movie marred only by the weak performance of Gerald Anderson. He was a pussy in a group of roaring lions.

This was a smart and stylish thriller (it reminded me so much of The Departed) that left me depressed with the current state of local politics.

Aside from the skillful direction of Erik Matti, its cinematography and score made the film a cut above the usual Pinoy film noir.

Joel Torre gave a magnificent, towering performance. I admired all the restraint in his acting. Joey Marquez and Leo Martinez were also great.

Really sad to see Gerald in the central role, though. His stilted and phony delivery almost ruined the movie for me. Coco Martin wasn’t available?

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published September 8, 2013.)

MOVIE REVIEW: PAMILYA ORDINARYO (Eduardo Roy, Jr., 2016)

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Gritty, filthy, and riveting. It needed a bit of trimming, but had solid performances from the entire ensemble.

Loved the deafening silence of the CCTV shots that always served as a witness to an ongoing crime.

Hasmine Killip was a revelation. Ang bigat sa dibdib (pun intended) ng eksena sa police station. Grabe lang.

Was the cardboard sex scene a nod to Kuya Coco Martin’s dirty copulation scene in Serbis?

“Hindi porket bakla mabuting tao.” Best line in the film. And probably in this year’s festival.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 7, 2016.)

MOVIE REVIEW: YOU’RE MY BOSS (Antoinette Jadaone, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on You’re My Boss:

1. My biggest problem with the entire movie was that the love story between Georgina (Toni Gonzaga) and her ex-boyfriend Gino (JM de Guzman) was much more interesting than her strained blooming relationship with Pong (Coco Martin). Whereas the latter relied heavily on the typical rom-com cliches and the requisite happy ending, the former easily hit home with its relatable (read: “hugot”) take on breaking up and moving on.

2. Toni played the bitch boss from hell who probably watches The Devil Wears Prada during her free time while Coco played her assistant who couldn’t even properly pronounce the words “global” and “social media” (actually, almost any English word). They might have been playing variations of themselves but they still nailed their respective roles. And I just have to say that Coco’s lisp was actually part of his charms.

3. A lot of people will compare this to The Proposal but it actually felt like a rip-off of every Jadaone movie (love song sing-off: check, plane scene: check, travelogue destination: check). Not that I’m complaining.

4. How slow was that elevator? It took several minutes just to reach the third floor. No wonder Georgina’s always mad.

5. Although there were a couple of scenes that made me laugh (“Huwag mo ko i-pressure iho. Load lang ‘to, di mo ‘to ikamamatay”), the rest of the jokes just fell flat. The elevator scene where Georgina mentioned “more chances of winning” was met with cricket sounds. Some scenes also stretched on forever without any major punchlines (Georgina teaching Poy how to properly pronounce words, for example). Even some will be completely dated a few months from now (“Ikaw yung nasa Binibining Pilipinas! Are you looking forward to your second time?”).

6. Georgina who was supposedly a fashion expert said, “Ang lalaki kapag bulaklak ibinibigay, hindi isinusuot.” I guess she missed last year’s Prada and Gucci Spring/Summer collection. Mayor Atienza is definitely way ahead of the times. (Was the stab at Coco’s fashion sense intentional? Kris and Kim were probably laughing somewhere.) Oh, and Toni’s clothes here were fabulous.

7. I found it funny that the van scenes were shot in a loop around Madrigal and Daang Hari. They were literally going in circles before ending up in Makati. Only a Southerner would know that.

8. For the role reversal to be completely believable, the movie’s asking us to check our brains at the door. How could an AVP make such stupid business decisions (to correct an already stupid viral scandal, to boot)? How could investors not know the VP of an international airline that they would like to have business with? How long will that charade continue before the Japanese investors find out that Pong wasn’t really the boss? They couldn’t keep that a secret forever, right? Was it done just to deliver the movie’s message of honesty? Please. Everything was a business fantasy where a slide show presentation made by a 12-year could win over an international investor.

9. I expected Pong to teach Georgina how to treat people well (like Manong Driver). So many missed opportunities.

10. Does the Seen functionality work on all phones? Georgina mocked the cellphone of Pong (“Walang magnanakaw niyan”) but it seemed to be working with its own iMessage.

11. Coco was able to shill most of his endorsements but the one that really worked for me was Argentina corned beef. I started craving for a hot bowl of rice topped with onion-covered corned beef. Yum!

12. Expect a lot of people flocking to Batanes after seeing this movie. The place just looked gorgeous. It was much better here than in Dementia. I would definitely want to visit that Honesty Store. And any place with zero crime rate is tops in my book.

13. Stay for the end credits. It was the funniest bit in the entire movie.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published April 5, 2015.)