MOVIE REVIEW: MISSION UNSTAPABOL: THE DON IDENTITY (Michael Tuviera, 2019)

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Move over, Martin Scorsese! Kinabog ng visual effects team ni Bossing ang ginawang de-aging kay Robert de Niro sa The Irishman. Infer, may effort for authenticity ang pelikula. Sana lang nag-level up din siya from the usual Pinoy slapstick humor.

Nung una ko makita ang trailer nito sabi ko parang Ocean’s movie tapos ganun nga siya. Hirap na ako maniwala na very advanced ang technology abroad to pull off that kind of heist eh sa Pilipinas pa kaya? May pa-Mission Impossible reveal pa sa dulo that didn’t make any sense at all. To be fair, may apparent self-awareness siya about local action films na nakakaaliw.

Bakit halos lahat ng ginaya ng character ni Wally Bayola eh from Star Cinema/ABS? (Very Wenn Deramas ang comedy ha.) Napaisip tuloy ako kung wala ba talagang iconic characters ang GMA. Why not Victor Magtanggol or Kara Mia para mas self-deprecating? Konti lang makakuha ng reference?

Gusto ko yung unang eksena pa lang ni Jake Cuenca eh level 10 na agad ang acting niya. Yung parang hindi na ulit siya mabibigyan ng ibang pelikula ever kaya tinodo na niya lahat. Kahit pag-nguya lang niya ng gum talagang may nuance, may galit. Nagsusumigaw na “May Yahoo! OMG Award ako for Male Kontrabida of the Year mga amateurs!”

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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: HALIK SA HANGIN (Emmanuel Palo, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Halik sa Hangin:

1. The movie opened with a surprise party that must have been designed to give bit roles to lesser-known Star Magic talents and PBB teen stars. How these kids were able to rent/decorate/reach such place would be one of the movie’s biggest mysteries.

2. The LGBT community should thank Star Cinema for always supporting these gay actors playing straight roles. I suddenly remembered this network war joke that GMA actors were straight guys playing gay roles and ABS actors were the exact opposite. 

3. I was happy to see the return of Ina Raymundo. And then I felt bad for her for being part of this movie.

4. Speaking of gay actors playing straight roles, I think this was John Lapus’ best role to date. He was great as Julia Montes’ father and even played the guitar really well. Good for him!

5. Heard during a Full Moon party scene:

“Yeah party! Whoo ang saya!!”

Seriously, would self-respecting partygoer will say this?

6. Julia to Gerald Anderson: “Ang lamig mo.” His response: “Hindi mainit ka lang.”

Another reason why we should never have a Pinoy Twilight remake.

7. Gerald: “You’re MTB.”

Julia: “Meant to be?”

Gerald: “Meant to break…my heart.”

Koya, eh di MTBMH na yan!!

8. Julia looked really good onscreen. She reminded me a bit of MJ Lastimosa and I kept wondering if she had veneers. Her collaborations with director Emmanuel Palo had all been disastrous. It’s time for a new director. Or probably just better material?

9. In one scene, our heroine arrived using a Vespa. In the next scene, she was shown walking home. It’s The Case of the Disappearing Vespa.

10. Here’s the best line of the movie:

“You made me fall in love with you. You’re so unfair. Shit ka! Hindi ka buhay. Patay ka na! Patay ka na! Anong gusto mo gawin ko tumawid sa kabilang buhay para makasama ka?”

And that kids is why you shouldn’t do drugs.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published February 1, 2015.)