THE JANITOR (Michael Tuviera, 2014)

163C5BC4-31D4-4F21-837D-1912C4A5745B

In Michael Tuviera’s The Janitor, Dennis Trillo had a workout montage done in the weirdest places. When he took a shower after, my brain kept screaming, “Pasma!”. It was all downhill from there.

This was just a badly-recycled Lawrence Fajardo movie.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 4, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: FELIX MANALO (Joel Lamangan, 2015)

9DC26BB1-ECED-44EC-A89C-17D5E9CC3D36

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Felix Manalo:

1. Let me start with a disclaimer. To all my INC friends, this is not an attack on your religious beliefs. All my opinions are about the movie and none on our differences of faith. Love and peace.

2. When I first saw the trailer of this film, I thought, what else was there to show? And I was right. Everything you needed to know was right there, down to all the stars and starlets that had cameo roles.

3. To be fair, there were some noteworthy things in this movie. The costumes and production design (except for the Xeroxed portraits of American Presidents) definitely showed that the movie had a huge budget and the attention to detail was commendable. Some roles (although predictable, Jaime Fabregas as a prayle? Groundbreaking!) were also well-acted.

4. I wasn’t sure why every location (down to street names) and year had to be flashed onscreen. I guess the movie wanted to clearly show the timeline (Birth to death! No wonder it was three hours long!!) of important events in Manalo’s life. But really, did we need to be reminded that they were in Paranaque when the shop clearly showed Sumbrereria de Paranaque? How about the word Maynila shown in the scene that was shot in front of the Manila City Hall?

5. For a movie with a budget though, the sound design was scratchy, the musical score was relentless, the editing was confusing (with abrupt transitions from scene to scene), and the visual effects (especially during the war scenes) were laughable. Also, in the latter part of the movie, Dennis Trillo and Bela Padilla (with perma-crimped hair) played older versions of themselves with full-on face latex but their hands didn’t even age one bit. That was a missed Vaseline endorsement right there.

6. I’m sure Manalo’s a very interesting person but this movie just didn’t give his life story any justice. The idea of a man constantly questioning his source of faith and transferring from one religion to another in search of the ultimate truth is a gold mine. Such a missed opportunity.

7. It was a typical Joel Lamangan (of late) movie. Some scenes were staged like a high school drama. Please bring back the director that created searing socio-political commentaries like Bulaklak ng Maynila and Ang Huling Birhen sa Lupa.

8. I really didn’t understand the whole Japanese War sequence. Was it to show that the INC were severely persecuted for staying true to their faith? The only thing I clearly understood was that we don’t have any other Japanese captain to cast in our movies except for Jacky Woo.

9. Speaking of great casting, Gabby Concepcion played the son of Dennis Trillo. I know, right?

10. One other thing that wasn’t clearly explained in the movie was the instant wealth of Manalo. The latter scenes showed him living in a mansion in Riverside, San Juan and another one showed him riding a Cadillac. Sure, it would have been a controversial topic that might spark a lot of debate but isn’t that what biopics are for?

11. If they got one thing right, it was to ask Sarah G. to sing the movie’s theme song. An additional star just for that (hey, this is my rating!).

12. The end credits listed the actors’ names in alphabetical order. By first name. I wanted to cry.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published October 19, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: YOU’RE STILL THE ONE (Chris Martinez, 2015)

BC252F9D-8744-4C32-85EC-198DF6A5C937

My notes on You’re Still the One:

1. The movie started with Maja Salvador and Dennis Trillo playing high school students engaged in a debate on the Y2K bug. It was in English so we all knew Maja had no chance of winning that one.

2. Dennis looked like his face was filtered twice using Camera 360. I swear it was glossier than the film.

3. Maja wore a wig presumably borrowed from Dora Go Dong Hae.

4. During a family dinner…

Son: (joking) “Bakit Ma, nagahasa ka din ba?”

This was supposed to be funny? I didn’t get it.

5. Dennis: “Sino bang nag-imbento ng kalibugan? Diba si Lord?”

All the old ladies in the cinema gasped in horror.

6. Dennis stopped his lovemaking with Ellen Adarna to place a fake mole on her batok (like Maja’s) using a pentel pen. Couldn’t he just use his imagination?

7. As a lawyer, Maja should have known better than to match an orange top with a white blazer and a purple bag. That outfit was a crime.

8. Why is it always winter in the US/Canada in these Skype calls?

9. Bakit laging pa-demure mag-kiss si Sir Chief?

10. Just in case you fell asleep, Maja recapped everything that happened in the movie during the final scene. Salamat!!

11. Nasa Baclaran ang forever. Pero wala talagang forever. #arayqbhe

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published May 28, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: LAKBAY2LOVE (Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, 2016)

12642808_10153875490403544_3966404949248712505_n

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Lakbay2Love:

1. I didn’t have a lot of good memories with bicycles. I learned how to bike after several scrapes and bruises because I didn’t have one with training wheels and my grandfather’s idea of teaching was letting go after five steps and pushing as hard as he could to propel me forward. When I was six, I had the unfortunate luck of biking on a street with rabid dogs that tried to chomp on my then skinny legs (friends, now you know why I’m also scared of dogs). As a teen, my mountain bike got stolen even if we had high walls and it was safely parked in our dirty kitchen. On that day (and with the loss of belief in the goodness of society), I swore off biking in my life forever.

2. Solenn Heussaff played Lianne, a girl that also swore off biking after her father abandoned them for good and left her crying on the gutter under the dramatic pouring rain. She then engaged herself in the world of biking towards a journey of love and self-discovery. Lianne’s tragic life story was boring (“I’m torn between Dennis Trillo and Kit Thompson! Oh, poor me!”). On the other hand, the introduction to the world of biking was awesome. Now why didn’t they make this one a documentary instead?

3. If the Yolanda reference, climate change discussion, and scenes of deforestation weren’t obvious enough, this was an environmental advocacy movie. Lianne was completely right when she mentioned that her problems were so petty compared to the themes being presented here. I wish there were less “Ang pagbibisekleta ay parang lovemaking. Pag nagawa mo na, di mo na makakalimutan” and more of “Kapag maraming alitaptap, ibig sabihin malinis ang hangin.”

4. I really believe that Solenn is one of our underrated actresses. Her performance here was so natural that it was like watching outtakes of the entire shoot. She was just being herself and she (and her flawless armpits) looked even lovelier amidst the gorgeous sunset and luscious rainforests. Who else could deliver a line like “Ang sakit sa pechay!” and still look classy and respectable?

5. If Victor Basa and Rami Malek had a child, it would be Kit Thompson.

6. In one scene (and as if she wasn’t unreachable already), Solenn spoke in fluent French. Dennis (playing Alamat, a cyclist so passionate that he even wore t-shirts with bicycles on them) then joked “Akala ko kasi di mo lang masabi ang mamon nung bata ka pa eh.” I told you we didn’t need this love story.

7. To further drive the point, here’s another groaner delivered by Dennis:

“Relak! Baka ka mag collap. Wag ka ten.”

8. Why are feminine hygiene products so versatile? I’ve seen tampons used as nose plugs and here they used a pantyliner as first aid to a face wound. How absorbent were those things? (Obviously, very.) Talk about a happy period.

9. I loved the scene where the chismosa relatives started spilling the childhood secrets of Alamat (“Naku nung bata yan, hindi yan naliligo!”) A family reunion wouldn’t be complete without any form of embarrassment.

10. It was my first time to hear a version of the Eraserheads’ Overdrive as a biking theme. “Magba-bike ako hanggang Bicol” made me reach out for my inhaler.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆