MOVIE REVIEW: PAKI (Giancarlo Abrahan, 2017)

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Dexter Doria would always be one of my childhood nightmares. She’d usually play the maldita stepmother, aunt, or neighbor on TV who was always ready to smack the living daylights out of a poor child that would go against her will (or break her precious Divisoria china). Her mere presence made me pee in my salawal countless times.

It was refreshing to see her front and center (and playing against type) as a lonely matriarch putting up a facade to hold her dysfunctional family together. Such a subtle and controlled performance that was a far cry from her previous hysterical roles. Lovely, truly lovely.

I really enjoyed the family dynamics here and I could easily identify with most of them (even the most mundane thing like the great Shamaine Buencamino performing her beauty regimen just felt so relatable and authentic). There were moments that bordered on Pinoy soap opera, but hello, guilty pleasure!

I might be one of the very few people that wasn’t impressed with Dagitab. It was technically beautiful, but the characters felt cold and distant (like they were trapped in a European indie romance). On the other hand, this movie provided the warmth of Pinoy characters that I’d usually fall for. It made me want to hug my own family immediately after watching. Sigh.

Rating: ★★★★☆

MOVIE REVIEW: SNOOPY AND CHARLIE BROWN: THE PEANUTS MOVIE (Steve Martino, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie:

1. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Peanuts comic strip only because I was more of a Baltic & Co. person (age alert!!). I did enjoy their holiday specials and I learned a lot about the human body because of them. When I was around seven, my mom got me this book where the Peanuts gang discussed the difference between the femur and the tibia and the anvil and the stirrup. My favorite part was Snoopy cracking a joke about the funny bone. Good times!

2. Sometimes I still wonder if the phrase “go fly a kite” was because of Benjamin Franklin or actually from Charlie Brown (or neither?).

3. The thing that I really liked about the movie was that it easily captured the charm and sweetness of the cartoon. Although it had a cast of kids, there were so many funny insights (“A comic book? I thought classics need to have hardcovers?”) and grown-up stuff mixed in with the silly gags. Where else can you hear a kid ruminate on self-esteem (and basically life in general) with the line “I came down with a serious case of inadequacies”?

4. I immediately loved the new girl because she nibbled on her pencil. I chewed on mine a lot back in grade school and I could still remember the taste of wood up to now. I always capped it off with a bite on the rubber eraser as well.

5. Who could ever forget the feeling of having a first crush? Although I had always been Lucy (which I’ll explain in a bit), I was still rooting for Charlie Brown all the way. I had my first crush back in third (?) grade and she was a Sophomore that I sat next to in our school bus (more like a van, really). Since we were not in a European film, you know that our love story was doomed from the start.

6. Although the animation in the fantasy scenes with Snoopy and Fifi was really good, I saw it more as a distraction (and part filler) to the main story. I wasn’t surprised that the two Korean girls next to me were sleeping soundly during those bits.

7. As I stated earlier, I was definitely Lucy (not short for Lucifer, I hope). She was mean, crabby, and opinionated, but when needed the most, had a pure heart. Story of my life, the universe rather, right there.

8. Don’t we all have that one dugyot friend in a barkada? The inner OC in me wanted to give Pigpen a bath. And speaking of friends, we all need a Snoopy in our life. I really liked the scene where Charlie Brown accidentally triggered the sprinkler system and Snoopy opened an umbrella for him to which he sadly replied, “Thanks buddy!”. *sniff*

9. I still couldn’t believe that Charlie Brown was able to finish War and Peace (or Leo’s Toy Store by Warren Peace) in a day. I always fall asleep after a few pages. I really need to read that one again.

10. That wah wah wah garbled words when the adults talked was genius. Older people will always sound different to us.

11. Haters can hate but I loved all of Meghan Trainor’s songs in this movie.

12. “Do they like me for who I am or who they think I am?” Was this really a kids’ movie? Good grief!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 14, 2016.)