MOVIE REVIEW: LSS (Jade Castro, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Huy, bakit parang Survivor: Redemption Island ang theme ng PPP this year? Similar to Andoy Ranay, wala akong maalala na nagustuhang film ni Jade Castro (even yung critically-acclaimed niya na Zombadings, which I found corny tbh). Tapos biglang bawing-bawi siya sa feels dito. Yung napa-wish ako na sana all-out musical siya kasi ang galing ng pagka-incorporate ng Ben&Ben songs sa critical moments ng film. (FYI, wala din akong alam na kanta nila except for Maybe the Night dahil sa Exes Baggage. Yup, kung single ako at may nakatabing cutie sa bus, mahihiya akong mag-discuss ng favorite songs kasi ang range ng taste ko ay The Search is Over at Sweet Soul Revue.)

Lakas ng star quality ni Gabbi Garcia. Granted mas magaling siya na singer kesa actress pero unang line pa lang ng pagkanta ni Sarah eh na-in love na ako agad. Naaalala ko sa kanya si Nikki Gil na very classy ang dating (although weirdly enough, may mga angles din siya na mala-Mocha Uson). Siguro yung conyo aura niya din ang reason bakit medyo off kapag inuulit niya yung “makapasok sa eksena” referring to the music scene. (Mapapansin yung difference kasi ganun magsalita yung character ni Iana Bernardez na sobrang natural dito.) Mental note here to watch more GMA shows.

Nakakaaliw ang relationship ni Zack (Khalil Ramos) at ng mega-supportive niyang nanay (an impressive Tuesday Vargas). Sobrang benta yung ride-sharing scene na may bugawan na naganap (“Di problema kung size queen ka!”) at yung eksena with the tissues (nakakatawa yung “Mabubulag ka sa ginagawa mo!”, although I also expected her to hand him a fresh box bilang very progressive ng character niya). Ang natural ng chemistry nila (Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin as mom’s film of choice was T A S T E) kaya dalang-dala din ako dun sa confrontation scene nila sa dulo (yung pagka-deliver pa lang ni Tuesday ng “Anak, wag dito” line already secured her much-deserved win).

I had some quibbles like yung dubbing nung Leaves sequence (bakit parang hindi sabay tapos iba yung words na sinasabi ni Gabbi sa audio at iba pa rin yun sa subtitles?). Natawa ako dun sa Kathang-Isip sequence (in a good way kasi masaya to see two broken people find comfort in each other) pero parang ang bilis naman nila mag-kiss agad (lalo na kung advocate si Zack ng three month rule ng One More Chance).

Nakulangan din ako sa acting ni Gabbi dun sa crucial scene (yung totoong highlight ng movie for me) na nagbigay siya ng surprise graduation gift sa brother niyang si Cedie (Elijah Canlas). Parang mata lang ni Lady Gaga sa A Star is Born. Yung lumuluha pero walang bakas ng totoong pain or hurt. Ang layo kay Elijah na napaiyak ako sa isang simpleng wince (halong guilt and realization that he was giving up on his dreams) bago sabihin na “Titigil na ako. Magbenta na lang tayo ng herbal products. Ate, sorry na”. Ang sakit sakit.

Ang ganda din siguro if na-explore fully yung art as passion vs sad practical reality theme. Napaisip ako kung ano kaya ang effect ng alternate ending kung naging full time sales agent siya habang todo successful ng kapatid niya. Siguro walang sappy ending montage to fulfill the demands of the genre.

As a cute and charming young romance flick though, it definitely hit the right notes. I’ll probably be humming these Ben&Ben tunes in the next few days.

Rating: ★★★★☆

MOVIE REVIEW: HINTAYAN NG LANGIT (Dan Villegas, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Hintayan ng Langit:

1. Imagine your poor, unfortunate soul in the hereafter rooming with your ex slash TOTGA (The One That Got Away, anubuzz tita!!) and dealing with your unresolved issues. Isn’t that the ultimate definition of purgatory? (Although, if you realized that you still loved your TOTGA long after your heart literally stopped beating, shouldn’t that be the equivalent of eternal hell?)

Manolo (Eddie Garcia) quickly learned this when he started sharing a room with ex-jowa Lisang (Gina Pareño) in said waiting area (also called The Middle) that looked like the final stop before reaching The Good Place (the actual one, not The Bad Place pretending to be The Good Place). Both of them obviously carried a lot of emotional baggage (I was surprised these got through customs in the arrivals area that had an actual x-ray machine). In some weird way, this film actually felt like a sequel of Exes Baggage set fifty years later in the afterlife. 

2. Sobrang daming hugot sa purgatoryo. Pero mas tagos talaga sa puso kapag oldies ang nagbabato ng hugot lines, no? Ramdam mo na walang halong kababawan. Kasi kung namatay ka na’t lahat kakahintay sa ex mo, di pa ba matatawag na true love yun?

3. It was heartbreaking to rewatch one of the final (great) performances of Manoy Eddie, especially since 2018 was another banner year for him with equally commendable turns in ML and Rainbow’s Sunset. I would always remember him as my favorite villain in Fernando Poe, Jr. films where they would play a game of verbal volleyball during that climactic (endless) final showdown. He had this annoyingly iconic way of delivering insults just by elongating most of his syllables that would rival Noli de Castro’s Teeeeveeee Patrol. (Lisang to Manolo: “Ulol! Hindi ka naman si FPJ ano?”)

In this film, he kept teasing her the Manoy way with lines like, “Hay nakooooohh! Ulyanin na si Lisaaaaaang. Pangalan ko lang hindi na matanda-aaaan! Ulyanin na ngaaaahh, malabo pa ang mataaaaaahhh!!” (Surely you read that in his voice. He was that effective, right?)

There was an overwhelming feeling of sadness listening to Manolo/Manoy sharing his regrets on not having the opportunity to properly bid farewell to his family. Nakakaiyak lalo hay. (It also made me wonder how many of our departed loved ones still carried that guilt over their unfinished business.)

4. I loved Gina’s performance here as well the moment she screamed “Mga pukengkay!!” to the noisy kids in the hallway (who morbidly died in a tragic field trip, fyi). It was reminiscent of her hilarious turn as Judy Ann Santos’ mother slash longganisa magnate in Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo. During that bar scene where she was discussing something about local politics, I half-expected her to say “politicians” the Belita way. It was also amusing to see her go toe-to-toe with Manoy and basically play cat and mouse in full juvenile mode (“Excuse me di kita type bleh!!” HAHAHA!). Kinilig din ako dun sa “Am I easy to forget?” ha.

She had two amazing scenes in this film. The first that brought me to tears was when she delivered the line “Dahil ayokong sabihin mo na hindi na naman kita hinintay”. (Waaah!) The other one was when she called her husband Nestor in heaven and said, “Alam mo ba kung bakit sigurado akong mahal kita? Dahil araw-araw kitang pinili”, which was actually bittersweet given the eventual ending.

Also, tawang-tawa ako sa pagkasabi niya ng Zest-O as Syes-to.

5. There were a lot of details in this interpretation of the afterlife that I really liked, from the support group that provided counselling for the recently departed that were in denial, the surge of souls arriving that were killed due to tokhang, that the vow of marriage might have its limits (‘Till death do us part, diba?), and the portal that could connect the living and the dead.

My favorite one from the admirable production design was that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sign in the elevator that stated the maximum capacity of 10 souls and weight of 210 grams. It reminded so much of Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s 21 Grams (the second film in his Death Trilogy) that included the line: “They say we all lose 21 grams at the exact moment of our death.” Yup, there was an actual scientific study done that determined the probable weight of one’s soul. (At least kahit sa kaluluwa man lang magaan ako.)

6. Politicians woman: “What really matters is the void we leave behind.” 

Lisang: “Pero hindi ba mas mahalaga na makita mong masaya yung mga naiwan mo?”

Points to ponder.

7. Nung nawala ang kalasingan ni Lisang sa pagtawag ni Esther na asawa ni Manolo, nasagot ang tanong sa kung ano ang best cure for a hangover. Obviously, jelly. As in jealousy.

8. If there was one thing that I learned when Manolo arrived late at the pier thus forever altering their lives, it was the importance of punctuality. I would never, ever be late to anything ever again. (Hopefully.)

9. That final shot. Goosebumps!! (Pero napaisip din ako gaano kadaming multo ang nakasakay sa eroplano. Goosebumps ulit.)

Rating: ★★★★☆