CONCERT REVIEW: THE HONEYMOON TOUR (Ariana Grande, 2015)

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My notes on The Honeymoon Tour:

1. The MoA Arena was packed with screaming teen girls that I felt a bit irresponsible for bringing a cup of whiskey inside. I, along with very supportive parents, also probably raised the median age of the audience to 19.

2. Ariane Grande looked great in her trademark ponytail and Louboutin boots. She kicked off the night with Bang Bang and the crowd just went wild.

3. I’m happy to report that they didn’t allow iPads inside the arena. I still felt sad though that some girls would rather record the whole thing rather than dance and enjoy the concert. I swear one girl barely moved to prevent her video from shaking while I was going crazy dancing (and I use this term very loosely) to Hands on Me.

4. The crowd was too young to actually appreciate the Chaka Khan/Whitney Houston and Madonna medley of I’m Every Woman and Vogue. The parents truly loved that bit.

5. Except for 3 huge screens and the band, the stage was really bare. It was definitely no Katy Perry production. But I guess Ariana didn’t really have to compensate for anything.

6. Not a lot of costume changes, too. I think she had three outfits all throughout with a multitude of animal ears headbands.

7. Kathryn Bernardo (and her posse) pulled a Doris Bigornia and rushed to the very front of the stage as soon as the concert started and she was allowed to stay there because well, she’s the Teen Queen Kathryn Bernardo. At least Kim Chiu and Liza Soberano had the decency to stay in their seats. (But why am I complaining when I had Lower Box seats? Good seats btw. Get the ones on the far left/right of the stage and they’re actually closer than the back end Patron seats.)

8. It really paid off that I memorized her My Everything album prior to the show. I missed her Yours, Truly songs so I took a pee break (it’s a huge cup!) while everyone lit their cellphones on Tattooed Heart. Since I was already outside, I bought another cup for good measure. I gained a friend that night with Ate bartender.

9. Ariana’s voice was flawless last night. She sang Whitney’s I Have Nothing (no David Foster on the piano, though) and she didn’t miss a single note. She was so good that even if the screen behind her projected a fan that didn’t know the lyrics singing her heart out, it still couldn’t ruin the moment.

10. Most of the teen girls cheered whenever Ariana gyrated on stage and suggestively rubbed herself on her male dancers. My brain was in full oldie mode (“Ang mga kabataan talaga ngayon…”). Oh, and Andrea Brillantes was there as well as part of Kathryn’s posse.

11. The tap dancing intermission guy should get a much deserved bonus for trying his darn best to keep the momentum going while Ariana prepped for her next number. It barely worked but at least he tried.

12. When she started belting out Break Free one notch higher, I immediately knew that her voice was much better than Mariah’s in her prime. (Dear Lambs, please don’t kill me.)

13. If I had one complaint about the concert, it was really short and definitely bitin. It lasted an hour and a half although she was able to cover around twenty songs that included Best Mistake, Be My Baby, One Last Time, Love Me Harder and the encore Problem. I could listen to her all night. Then again, with that kind of energy and consistent belting, she’ll probably pass out after two hours.

14. People were carrying boxes of Krispy Kreme. For real.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 24, 2015.)

 

MOVIE REVIEW: ME BEFORE YOU (Thea Sharrock, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Me Before You:

1. It must have been Girls’ Night Out Tuesday here in Perth because ninety-five percent of the packed theater during the last screening were women of all ages. The remaining four percent were grumbling dates/boyfriends/husbands that were forced to see this chick flick. I think I was the one percent that actually wanted to watch this and even dragged my little sister along with me. I definitely regretted that decision. While the cinema got flooded with tears by the end of the movie, I was laughing from all of the awfulness.

2. The pre-accident Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) reminded me so much of Christian Grey: handsome, incredibly rich, bursting with abs (in high definition during that upward shower shot), but minus the kinkiness (handcuffs, I missed thee). He was the type of guy so oblivious (or was it too self-aware?) of his sexiness that he took a walk in the rain while on the phone, like he was in some kind of Calvin Klein commercial (that later turned into a Public Service Announcement on how to properly cross a street).

3. On the other hand, Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) was like a poor man’s Zooey Deschanel: literally poor, always on a sugar high, and dressed like Doris Bigornia with an insect fetish (or a “leprechaun drag queen”, as one character put it). When she initially appeared onscreen with her yellow-orange knee-high stockings, I actually thought she had jaundice and she and Will would really make a tragic couple.

4. Clarke’s eyebrows deserved second billing because they did all of the acting for her. I swear they were moving non-stop from start to finish and wiggled like crazy even if the scene only required her to glue pictures on an album. Shame, shame, shame Daenerys!

5. I got the Dying Young meets P.S. I Love You meets Everything About Her feel while watching this. Speaking of the latter, I was surprised this wasn’t a Star Cinema rom-com given all of the familiar elements: the manic pixie girl and the snotty guy, the meet cute (involving a torn skirt with a flat payoff), the doting family requiring financial assistance, the Dimples Romana BFF dishing words of wisdom, the token disposable boyfriend (Neville Longbottom in really tight tights, staying true to his last name), trips to exotic locales, etc. The only thing different was the sad ending, but Star Cinema did it first in Forever and a Day.

6. Neville chose a Will Ferrell movie over Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother. Bad guy alert! Dislike of subtitled films should be an automatic dealbreaker. (But then again Will loved Armageddon so I couldn’t trust his taste as well.)

7. Horse racing? Watching a Mozart concert? Flying to Mauritius? Why did I feel like she was able to take advantage of his wealth and used a quariplegic to fulfill her own bucket list and enjoy the luxuries of life? Pera pera na lang talaga?

8. It was hard to root for Louisa since she was annoying in the following scenes:

* When she was rude to a maitre d’ for not letting them in a high-end members only restaurant (since when was it funny to mock someone who was just doing her job?)

* When she barely elicited excitement after getting the pendant gift from her boyfriend but screamed with delight (in front of her boyfriend!!) after seeing the bumblebee stockings given by Will (how considerate of her)

9. I felt bad whenever a scene chose the basic disregard of Will’s health just to create something romantic. How could I feel kilig when Louisa sat on Will’s legs knowing how weak those were from non-use or when she removed the oxygen mask so that he could talk to her or when she agreed to leave the villa doors open during the rain after being told that he had weak lungs and just recovered from pneumonia? Also, how was he able to maintain those abs after years of non-movement? Did his therapy include crunches and Ab Roller sessions?

10. In the end, Will chose to terminate his life through assisted suicide. If a man would rather kill himself than reciprocate another person’s love, how was that even romantic? Saklap.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆