MOVIE REVIEW: MATA TAPANG (Rod Marmol, 2018)

68657F81-FD9A-45D6-AC7A-7A7B72F7784B

Even with the numerous times that I silently cringed in my seat, it was just hard to completely dislike a movie that proudly wore its fragile heart on its camouflaged sleeve.

I wish the sluggish pacing was able to keep up with the Heart and Souls-ish brotherhood premise, especially since it had a competent cast to back it up.

Speaking of, who would have thought that Arron Villaflor could match Erich Gonzales as the most sensitive thespian to come out of Star Circle Quest Batch 2? Consider me a fan now.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published May 15, 2018.)

MOVIE REVIEW: CORAZON: ANG UNANG ASWANG (Richard Somes, 2012)

9C077934-2F96-4061-9F5A-791C1F9EDF5D

I think that I’m in the minority when it comes to Yanggaw, the other “aswang” movie of Richard Somes. Maybe all the hype raised my expectations. I anticipated a full-blown horror movie and got a melodramatic tale of familial love instead. Corazon felt like a retread on the same themes, although it’s more of an origin story and has a bigger budget (read: beautifully shot). Erich Gonzales was fine in the lead role but she definitely didn’t get any support from the consistently bland Derek Ramsay. Most of the scenes were unintentionally funny (why, Tetchie, why?) and some were just downright crazy (and not in a good way). Neither scary nor engaging, I’m guessing half of the audience fell asleep before the closing credits.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 23, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: BLOCK Z (Mikhail Red, 2020)

08ED4742-22D8-4FF6-821E-4B5F4347F5C1

SPOILER ALERT!!

Enjoyed a couple of thrilling sequences, but everything else just felt completely derivative. Wala ako pinalampas na zombie movie kaya sila agad yung naiisip kapag merong familiar na eksena. Tapos yung reveal na takot ang zombies sa tubig eh kakagamit lang sa Lola Nidora movie na Train to Ubusan. Di ba nila napanood yun?

People can hate on Julia Barretto all they want, but she’s a really sensitive actress and definitely one of the better ones of her generation. Sayang lang kasi yung female empowerment action scenes niya happened towards the end na. Also, nauna yun gawin ni Erich Gonzalez sa We Will Not Die Tonight so medyo less ang impact sa akin.

Ian Veneracion looked like a vampire amidst all the zombies. Bakit di siya tumatanda at all? At may time talaga siya mag-solo concert with his guitar knowing na easily triggered by noise ang mga nagkakagulong zombies sa labas ha. Nahiya naman sa kanya si Kumander Liway.

Ang apt lang that Ian and Julia’s characters supposedly won the genetic lottery in this movie (meaning immuned sila sa zombie virus). Pero hello, we don’t need anyone to tell us na nanalo talaga sila sa genetic lottery na yan kasi mukha akong aliping saguiguilid next to them.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: SIARGAO (Paul Soriano, 2017)

6142DA2A-0D08-4B85-9B94-C974E86706D0

Aka Drone Shot Pa More!! (or Metaphors Pa More!!)

So it’s the story of a girl who went soul-searching in Siargao because she didn’t know what flavor of popcorn she really wanted. Very millennial ang problema ni Ate Gurl.

Infer maganda ang waves.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published December 31, 2017.)

MOVIE REVIEW: WE WILL NOT DIE TONIGHT (Richard Somes, 2018)

EFA72E89-F5F3-4324-9653-D6A2C6F0E9E5

SPOILER ALERT!!

Like a nastier, low-budget version of Buy Bust. I probably would have liked the senseless bloodbath more if the action scenes were at least staged/shot much better and didn’t look like mere rehearsals.

The scene where Erich Gonzales singlehandedly eviscerated several goons closely resembled the stairwell sequence of Atomic Blonde. Another one where she grabbed a young girl reminded me so much of The Lookout. Definitely not a good sign.

So after getting beaten close to death, her stuntwoman character still showed up on the film set despite everything that happened? Now that’s dedication! (And a brutal reality for our stuntpeople.)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 16, 2018.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER (Joel Lamangan, 2018)

241C3C21-0F9B-450A-9590-3F839B0D4F2D

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Significant Other:

1. After a round of the most laughable sex that involved scenes of sweating backs, shaking thighs, and curling feet, Nicole (Erich Gonzales) asked Edward (Tom Rodriguez) about the status of their relationship. She wanted to put a label on it since she already said “I love you” to him on their first date, plus they had been making out for the longest time (the first being inside a car on an open field, next to a peeing kalabaw; how romantic!).

He could not give a straight answer since he was secretly married to supermodel Maxene (Lovi Poe) so with his signature constipated look, he assured her that she was his “significant other”. Not boyfriend-girlfriend, not boo, not sweetheart, not jowaers, not we’re-in-a-loving-relationship-since-we-had-sex-next-to-a-pissing-carabao, but just significant other.

Nicole, being the typical clueless kabit who had no self-respect and was devoid of any self-worth, lapped up his every word and reacted very much like the Sultan of Brunei just proposed to her. Gurl, since Edward was neither gay nor a millennial, being called a significant other was tantamount to being a kept woman. Yes, kerida, kabit, number two, mistress!! (Did I miss anything Terry?)

2. It was this kind of silliness that permeated throughout the entire movie:

• Where a candidate for a beauty pageant called Binibining Bacaycay fainted onstage and yet a talent agent was more concerned on recruiting her for a possible modelling career (shouldn’t someone be bringing her some Aceite de Manzanilla?).

• Where a high-profile dermatologist would use a flashlight for five seconds very much like a laser pointer to check a birthmark (fun fact: he called it a cafe au lait; do they also come in other fancy coffee names?) and immediately scheduled surgery to have it removed. One should also note that he was a complete pervert (he actually said the line, “Bibigyan kita ng gamot para mawala ang kati” and then promptly kissed the patient’s affected neck area after the laser treatment). Eww!!

• Where said high-profile dermatologist had an assistant nurse slash secretary whose main purpose was to sit at a desk armed with just a clipboard to welcome guests. No desktop computer, no laptop, not even a calendar or planner. Every appointment was on her magic clipboard. Where could I get one?

• Where a character said something like, “Wala nang mas gaganda pa sa bulaklak na niluto ng Diyos.” (Wait, bakit niluto ang bulaklak?)

• Where an extra delivered the line “Nicole, tinawagan ako ng nanay mo” then realized that she was a bit thirsty, asked for water while saying “Ako’y init na init na”, drank said glass of water, and without skipping a beat, repeated the exact same line “Nicole, tinawagan ako ng nanay mo”. Jusko!!

3. Speaking of lack of self-respect, there was a fashion show where Nicole and Maxene wore the latest Avel Bacudio wedding collection (sheer skirt over visible undergarments susmaryosep magagalit si Mother Butler!) and they took turns kissing Edward to stake their claim over him. It escalated into a slapping showdown and then a heated shouting match.

Nicole to Maxene: “I’m his significant other!!” (Like that actually meant shit.)

Edward: “Shhhhstop! Ssshhhhtop!!”

Maxene to Nicole: “Ginamit ka lang ng asawa ko bilang parausan!!” (The subtitles actually said: “You were just used by my husband as a pass time.”)

Avel Bacudio (played by Ricci Chan, the only actor here who was intentionally funny) then came out from backstage and started screaming (subtitles: “Are you finish? I, Avel Bacudio, is the star of this show!!”) and the two women had to regain their bearings and walked on the ramp again while the crowd cheered. Santissima santa!!

4. But wait, there’s more! When Maxene discovered that her husband was cheating, her first instinct was not to confront him, but instead to look at their happy family pictures and reminisce about the good ol’ times. More flashback while the theme song played. “I recall when you said that you would never leave me…” More hikbi. Dear Malabanan Services, please help because the amount of shit here is completely overflowing!!

5. Sample words of wisdom:

• “Yang kerida salot sa lipunan yan eh. Yan ang dapat tinotokhang!!”

• “Pag malaman ko lang sino ang babaeng yun, bubudburan ko ng asin para mawala ang kati!!”

• “Ikaw ang nagtulak sa kanya. Naghanap sya ng init sa puso.”

“Kahit anong sabihin mo kabit ka lang habang buhay!”

“At least ako ang pinili. Belat!” (I just added the belat part, but it wouldn’t feel out of place, right?)

6. After all the catfights and empty one-liners, the pervert, the negligent wife, and the kabit reconciled and became friends in the end. Because nothing screamed Pinoy soap opera more than a legal wife and a mistress winding up as mag-kumare for that requisite happy ending. “I’ll just keep on dreaming till my heartaches end…”

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆