MOVIE REVIEW: UNTRUE (Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, 2019)

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At least iba sa usual Pinoy fare. Kaso mukhang mas bagay siya na short film. Kung tutuusin di rin naman bago ang story nya sa typical revenge thrillers. Ramdam mo pa na malakas ang influence dito ng Gone Girl.

Sobrang bano talaga umarte ni Xian Lim. Yung atake sa role eh parang day 1 pa lang niya sa Baliw-Baliwan 101 course ng Star Magic Workshop. Dami ko tawa sa kanya. Dun sa eksena na umiiyak siya na parang bata napa-“Huy ginagawa mo?” talaga ako sa screen.

Okay naman si Cristine Reyes. Ang standout for me here was Rhen Escaño. Malakas ang star quality niya kaya pala nakuha siya na scissor sister sa Adan.

Maayos naman ang techs overall. Pero ang nagustuhan ko talaga dito ay yung use nung mala-Greek chorus kasi naalala ko ang Mighty Aphrodite ni Woody Allen.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: TUMBOK (Topel Lee, 2011)

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A horror movie called Tumbok with Cristine Reyes and my confused dirty mind immediately thought that it was the story of a woman in dire need of a Brazilian wax.

Apparently, tumbok is the pamahiin (and feng shui belief) that any structure in a T-junction becomes the source of bad luck. I guess that explains all the kaguluhan in Gringott’s Bank along Diagon Alley.

And speaking of bad luck, Jao Mapa (with a head full of Johnson’s baby powder) actually played the father of Cristine while overacting to (literal) death. How unfortunate!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published May 2, 2017.)

MOVIE REVIEW: TROPHY WIFE (Andoy Ranay, 2014)

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Not even a guilty pleasure. It was so bad, it was really bad.

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Trophy Wife:

1. In the opening credits, the movie’s title was credited to Elwood Perez. How hard was it to come up with that one?

2. Speaking of Elwood Perez, there’s a certain guilty pleasure that you get from most of his movies. They usually ooze with sensuality and are filled with crazy people and situations, but you get them. I wonder how the movie would have turned out if he directed this one instead.

3. In one scene, G Toengi took a hit on the toilet bowl. Eww! I wonder what else she snorted with her crack.

4. Although the movie promised a lot of steamy sex, it was only rated R-13 so don’t expect too much. Most of the kissing and pretend licking didn’t involve any tongue (I know, right?!).

5. Cristine Reyes’ Kapampangan accent came straight out of Poveda.

6. One of my pet peeves in a local production is lack of crowd control. You would usually see the entire barangay in the background watching the shoot. I understand the challenge though given our Pinoy “uzi” mentality.

7. In one scene, Derek Ramsay’s character got reprimanded for being noisy in a club. To quote Donya Ina, “Paki-explain. Lab you!”

8. Whenever the characters appeared with bruises, they would usually look like they had too much blush-on. Sometimes the bruises looked like lipstick stains. And in one scene, Heart Evangelista actually had a lipstick stain on her cheek for no reason. What happened to the make-up department?

9. This movie defied time and logic. A character got knocked up the day after having sex. A restaurant was up and running a few hours after the business meeting. A crisp, white blouse gets stained with uling and was Tide-white in the next scene. Bruises and burns were healed minutes after Betadine was applied. Forget Belo, I want that Betadine.

10. And in another groan-worthy scene, a pregnant character was run over by an SUV and she sustained…scratches on her arm. Forget the Betadine, I need her vitamins.

11. For the US park scene, I think they filmed in Tagaytay and just asked some foreigner extras with backpacks to keep passing by. In the US restaurant scene, they filmed in a branch of Friday’s and asked Callum David to be a waiter. I guess that made it more realistic.

12. If you already have a low tolerance for Heart, let this serve as a stern warning.

13. The movie abruptly ended with a visa approval. Everyone just screamed “WTF?!”. We started trooping out of the cinema demanding a refund.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 1, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: ELEMENTO (Mark Meily, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Elemento:

1. As a kid, I would always heed my late grandmother’s warning and utter the words “Tabi, tabi po!” before peeing on a tree. Apparently, some dwarves or entities lived there and you would need to ask permission before showering urine on their precious homes. Even if I thought that that was a weird sign of respect, I still did it because I didn’t want my Dingdong Dantes to rot and fall off if the homeowners got mad. As an adult, I just avoided anything related to camping or hiking so there would never be a reason for me to do a number one with Mother Nature.

2. Do Pinoys really go to psychiatrists? I knew of some people that sought professional mental health, but I didn’t really know anyone with his own psychiatrist. I just couldn’t imagine us lying on a couch sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and fears to (professional) strangers like Dr. Ben Harmon of American Horror Story or Dr. Jennifer Melfi of The Sopranos. It just didn’t seem to be part of our culture where any sign of mental illness would have a relative immediately sent to the basement of Makati Medical Center (or made fun of in jokes like “Nakatira ka sa Mandaluyong? Loob o labas?”).

3. Albert Silos was the same boy in the MMFF New Wave movie Turo-Turo. He wasn’t particularly awful. He was just unfortunate enough to have already starred in two stinkers.

4. I also felt bad for Cristine Reyes who was last seen having loads of fun and giving a great comedic turn in Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin’s Asawa ni Marie. Here she played a negligent mother (read: she only served hotdogs and eggs every single breakfast) who had no clue that her child was already replaced by an elemento even if he displayed a complete change in behavior after a bizarre field trip. She only realized this after he responded differently to the nickname Pork Chop (and you knew it would play a very significant part in the story because it had to be repeated at least four times in prior scenes) and this happened days after he returned.

Her performance was so bad that she couldn’t even pretend to drive properly (seriously, why do local actors keep moving the steering wheel even if they’re driving a straight path?) or wake up with any emotion from a bad dream (as in tulaley level of acting).

5. Speaking of the said field trip, the kids were led by these hyperactive tour guides that probably also worked as Jollibee Kiddie Party hosts on the side (“MGA KIDS SINONG EXCITED MAKITA SI JOLLIBEEEEEE??”). One of them even gave this description of the trees around them, “These plants are mostly abundant in tropical…and non-tropical.” So basically everywhere, Ate? I would never let my child join this kind of activity (the elemento being the least of my concerns).

6. Besides, the teachers here were so incompetent. A bully boy (who wore a gold watch from his father’s Saudi collection) would shout and hit his classmates and they didn’t even bother to stop him. When the same kid was bludgeoned on the head, nobody really did anything after and Miss Teacher just kept inspecting the bloody gashes on his face. Ma’m, sa dami ng dugo baka gusto nyo siya itakbo sa ospital. Suggestion lang naman.

7. Here are a few things that were scarier than the actual movie:

* The awful special effects with the elementos looking like fake wooden marionettes

* The print on print on print outfits (with matching chunky costume jewelry and gold hoops) of Elizabeth Oropesa as the resident gypsy (kaya ba lagi siya naka-gypsy skirt?) who had the best line of the entire movie (“Halika ligtas ka sa bahay ko” and then moments later ended up dead in her bedroom)

* Jake Cuenca’s long disheveled hair that looked like it hadn’t been washed for days

* Characters that dumbed down its viewers by saying things that were already obvious (“Umuulan na!” as soon as it started to rain)

* The gay BFF stereotype that preyed on men in gyms, said lines like “Marami nang insektong humahada sa locker room kaya kelangan na i-fumigate ang gym”, owned a rainbow umbrella (kasi nga umuulan na!), and recited the Prayer Before Meals (“Bless us oh Lord and these Thy gifts…”) for protection before entering the forest (should we be laughing now?)

8. If your idea of a horror movie was seeing mud-covered extras with leaves glued on their denim shorts pretending to be elementos, then this one would be highly-recommended. Enjoy!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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

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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) – ★★★★☆