G! (Dondon Santos, 2019)

D30ED4DD-D721-4A16-AF99-1953A14ECBFA

SPOILER ALERT!!

If you’ve ever wondered kung anong mangyayari if nag-combine ang The Fault in our Stars at American Pie, then here’s your answer. If mas iniisip mo naman kung alin ang mas cute between Jameson Blake’s dimples and his pwet, then this one’s for you.

Enjoyable naman siya as the usual barkada movie. Believable yung friendship ng apat na leads (that included a charming performance by McCoy de Leon). Sana lang hindi na naging pa-suspense/thriller yung dulo kasi maayos na ang bucket list plot. At napakasama naman ng ginawa nila sa character ni McCoy who already had stage 3 cancer to begin with.

Basta masaya ako that retro short shorts are back in style.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

ANG BABAENG ALLERGIC SA WIFI (Jun Lana, 2018)

2353562F-2940-42A9-8A63-D7D4014FE339

SPOILER ALERT!!

Cute at times, but the emotions felt too shallow and never went beyond mere puppy love. One star for each dimple of Jameson Blake. Definitely not a fan of that ending.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 16, 2018.)

HELLO, LOVE, GOODBYE (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2019)

9E60B1FC-5D01-48F0-8465-414BD9C20F36

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Hello, Love, Goodbye:

1. Naalala ko nung nagpunta ako ng Hong Kong around 2014, napadaan ako sa Central area isang Linggo at nagulat ako sa dami ng mga OFWs (mostly women) na nasa gilid-gilid mula sa overpass malapit sa train station hanggang sa mismong kalye na ang isang parte ay ipinasara para tayuan ng makeshift stage (“Beauty and the Best” ang theme ng show slash pageant noon).

Parang isang mahabang row ng mga nagpi-picnic ang itsura nila sa kani-kanilang mga puwesto habang nakaupo sa ibabaw ng mga karton ng balikbayan boxes. Maririnig mo ang malalakas na tawanan at maiingay na kuwentuhan/chismisan kasabay ng pagsasalu-salo nilang magkakaibigan sa baong pancit, adobo, at kung anu-ano pang ulam na niluto para sa araw na yun.

Pero mas nakakagulat na ang lahat ng ito ay nagaganap sa harapan mismo ng mga high-end designer stores tulad ng Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Cartier, atbp. Maganda siyang juxtaposition na sumasalamin din sa OFW experience na kung tutuusin ay nakakalungkot sa kabila ng nangingibabaw na kasiyahan.

2. Isa sa strongest aspects ng pelikulang ito ang realistic depiction ng buhay ng isang domestic helper sa Hong Kong.

May isang montage kung saan ipinakita ang lahat ng ginagawa ni Joy (Kathryn Bernardo) bilang kasambahay, kasama na ang pagbabantay sa isang atribidang lola (“Too cold! Too hot!”) at pag-aalaga sa isang special needs kid. Todo kayod siya kasi nakadepende sa kanya ang pamilya niya sa Pilipinas. Kabilang na dito ang bulag niyang ama at ang mga kapatid na more hingi ng sapatos habang siya naman ay more tiis kasi ang long-term plan niya ay maka-migrate sila ng Canada.

Kaya kahit Nursing ang natapos niya ay mega linis siya ng inidoro (“Ang choice ay para lang sa may pera”) at baka sakaling ma-flush na rin ang kinikimkim niyang sama ng loob.

(Side note: Natuwa ako na hindi blatantly masama ang ugali ng amo ni Joy. Kasi ang typical DH story along the lines of Flor Contemplacion or Delia Maga.)

3. Nagustuhan ko yung direct reference sa Anak kasi hindi ko pa rin makalimutan si Ate Vi bilang the ultimate selfless mother of all DH at kung gaano kadaming pagkain ang tiniis niyang hindi kainin makapagpadala lang ng malaking pera para sa pokpok (ay sorry, troubled) niyang dalaga na si Carla.

Gusto ko rin yung indirect reference sa Sunday Beauty Queen with Joy and her friends joining the pageant for extra income. Kahit sa day-off nila todo kayod pa rin para lang sa pamilya. Ang bigat sa puso.

4. Sobrang effective ni Kathryn dito. Gamit na gamit ang mata-mata acting. Yung level na pinapamukha niya sa mga bashers na deserving din siya ng Urian nomination. (Ang ganda pa ng natural make-up niya na super layo sa espasol look in Barcelona.)

Favorite ko yung scene na depressed siya na sumakay sa train tapos sobrang saklap ng araw niya nakasabay pa ang ex niya at bagong girlfriend nito. Nung tinanong siya kung saang hospital siya nagtatrabaho, ramdam mo talaga yung pait at hiya nung sumagot siya na “DH ako dito. Ending ko din katulad ng nanay ko.” Ouch!!

Pero magaling din siya sa kilig aspect ha. Kapag nakatitig siya kay Ethan (Alden Richards), di mo iisipin na may Daniel Padilla na siya in real life. (Pero siguro kasi ang gwapo din ni Alden dito with the scruffy, playboy look kaya di din siya masyado nahirapan magpanggap, ano?)

5. Speaking of Alden, nag-level up din ang acting niya dito. Nawala yung lalaking puro pabebe wave sa Kalyeserye at lumabas ang isang certified matinee idol. Nung sinabi niya na dapat “All or nothing kasi kung mag-hold back ka, bakit ka pa nagmahal?”, more tango lang ako na parang nabudol-budol. Atsaka yung reaction niya habang pinapanood si Joy na sintunado kumanta at mukhang tanga sa stage, maniniwala ka talaga na true love ang nararamdaman niya. At okay lang rin siguro kahit mang-asar siya at kulitin niya ako habang nagkikiskis ako ng kaldero.

Tapos sobrang puti pa ng legs niya parang mapapabili ako ng lifetime supply ng Snow Caps.

(Side note ulit: Believable na kapatid niya si Jameson Blake down to the dimples. Actually, pati yung bunso na akala ko si Timothee Chalamet papasa din na brother niya haha!)

6. Nung pinanood ko ang BTS ng Anak, na-kwento dun na nahirapan silang i-shoot yung final scene kung saan dadaan sa crowd si Ate Vi kasi lahat gusto siya yakapin, hawakan, at tingnan. Mukhang mas maayos ang crowd control dito considering na nag-shoot sila sa Central at Lan Kwai Fong (isa lang yung super obvious na nagvi-video sa eksena dito).

7. Happy to see Maricel Laxa again. Walang kupas pa rin sa pag-arte. Maganda yung storyline niya bilang nanay ni Joy. May kurot sa puso na alam ng pamilya niya na nagpakasal siya sa iba para maging citizen at ma-petition sila dun.

Joy, walang-wala ang paglilinis mo ng inidoro kumpara sa sakripisyo (at pambubugbog) na na-experience ng nanay mo. Teka, bakit ako naiiyak ulit?

8. Kinilig ako nang todo sa KathDen. Kahit hindi ko maintindihan bakit kelangan nilang ipagsiksikan ang mga sarili nila sa “stuck” room na yun. Puwede naman umusog diba?

Pero malakas talaga ang chemistry nila. Nagulantang nga yung mga KathNiel na nakaupo sa harapan ko dun sa (fake) kissing scene. Yung isa parang hinimatay dun sa “love scene”.

Napaka-possessive naman ng ibang fans. Let your idols grow as artists.

9. TANGA = TANYA. Natatawa pa rin ako dito. (At yung pasalubong na broccoli. Hahahaha!)

10. Kung tutuusin plakado sa Star Cinema template ang pelikulang ito. Nandiyan lahat ng tropes tulad ng chuwariwap friends (bet ko na Mary Dale ang pangalan ni Maymay Entrata at bumagay ang aligaga acting ni Kakai Bautista dito), tatay na maysakit (si Lito Pimental na itinuloy lang ang role niya sa Starting Over Again), sound bite-ready na linyahan na never mo maririnig in real-life conversations (“Kung mahal mo ako, bakit pinapapili mo ako?” “Kung mahal mo ako, bakit di ako ang piliin mo?”, “Don’t you trust me enough?” “Don’t you love me enough?”), etc.

Ang kulang na lang ay ang requisite happy ending na hindi nito ibinigay. Siguro mas malakas ang loob ng Star Cinema kasi hindi naman talaga love team ang KathDen pero it worked for the best.

Ang sakit ng farewell at ang ganda ng realistic ending (“Kung di rin tayo sa huli…”). Bravo!!

11. Yung Ulan daw tungkol sa self-love but for me, nagmukha lang si Maya (Nadine Lustre) na selfish. Etong si Joy na independent, may pangarap, may gustong patunayan, at tinalikuran ang pag-ibig to find her worth ang totoong definition nun.

“Mahal kita pero sa ngayon mas mahal ko ang sarili ko.” I do not love you, Joy. I do not love you.

Rating: ★★★★☆

HAUNTED FOREST (Ian Loreños, 2017)

94B94CC4-E810-47A4-A63D-9C072DA90633

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Haunted Forest:

1. This movie is shaping up to be one of the worst movies of 2017 so I will just provide a blow-by-blow so that you can all save your money. Obviously, spoilers ahead.

2. So the first twenty minutes consisted of a gagamba running after a taong grasa played by Jerald Napoles. As the resident baliw, he was blamed for the death of a woman hanging from a tree even if obvious naman na hindi niya kaya magpulupot ng thick branches ng puno (can anyone?).

3. Raymart Santiago and his bitchy daughter Jane Oineza went to the province for vacation (or prolly to do some soul-searching) after the death of his cancer-stricken wife. They stayed at the house of Maris Racal and Beverly Salviejo (and it’s a mystery how she’s related to them).

4. All the women in town are fond of wearing white kamison while strolling the haunted forest at night. Yes, this is a Mother Lily-produced movie.

5.

Maris: Di naman ako mahilig sa social media kaya ok lang kahit walang signal sa bahay.

Maris after looking at Jane’s iPhone: Uy, add mo naman ako diyan!!

6. Joey Marquez plays a cop with a habit of hitting suspects at will. I’d like to say that his character’s trapped in a Pinoy 90s sitcom, but he very much seems to fit right in the current police force.

7. Ok, mukhang gorilla yung killer.

8. Sample conflict…

Maris: Naku, naiwan ang bawang! Paano ako maggigisa nito?

9. Sumakay si Jane sa dimples ni Jameson Blake para balikan ang naiwang bawang. Kaso naabutan sila ng malakas na ulan. Walang silong kaya basang-basa sila. Sabay labas si Jameson ng panyo.

Jameson: Eto, punasan na lang kita.

Seryoso??!

10. Kanina umihi sina Joey at Raymart sa gilid ng kalsada. Ngayon naman umiihi si Jane sa damuhan. Eh kaya kayo minumulto kasi di kayo marunong magpasintabi sa mga nuno. Mga bastos!

11. One sequence looked like the director was just having fun with a Snapchat filter. Hihihi!

12. Hirap ng role ni Jane. Her character fainted for the fourth time already. On the other hand, it’s the third time I’m trying not to fall asleep.

13. I probably would have been more scared of Myrtle Sarrosa’s dead character if she didn’t look like she was wearing the wrong shade of foundation and just forgot to brush her hair.

14. So the sitsit was supposed to eat Jane, but changed his mind when he saw Raymart. May sensual wagging of the tongue involved pa. Should we consider this as a step forward for equal representation of the LGBTQ community in local cinema?

15. So ayun na nga dinukot na ng sitsit ang gusto niyang dukutin kay Raymart. Tegi.

16. Everyone knew the tree where the sitsit lived but the townspeople decided to do a prayover around it instead. Nobody bothered to burn or cut it down. Until today.

17.

Jane to sitsit: Hoy! Magpakita kita!

After magpakita…

Everyone: Takbooooooo!!

Tengene.

18. Ayan happy ending na for Jane. Masaya siya kasi kahit napatay ng sitsit ang tatay niya nagka-lovelife naman siya sa probinsiya. Hindi na nga naman masama.

The end. Leche.

19. Ay buti di ako agad umalis. May mid-credits sequence. Buhay pa ang sitsit at lumipat sa katawan ng bangkero. Ready for a sequel kaso mukhang flop. Paano na?

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published January 3, 2018.)

MAMA’S GIRL (Connie Macatuno, 2018)

1AF9B84F-1E16-4982-A9EB-95419AA0243D

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Mama’s Girl:

1. I think it was Maricel Soriano in T2 who held the record for the most number of times that a Pinoy character mentioned another character’s name in the entire duration of a movie. My ears were bleeding by the nth time she screamed “Angeli!”.

I thought that I would suffer the same fate while watching this one. Every time Mina (Sylvia Sanchez, transitioning from Nay to Mama) would mention “Abbypotpot”, I would cringe and just wanted to crawl in a fetal position. It wasn’t merely annoying, the unnecessary repetition rendered the inauthenticity of this term of endearment.

2. Should I feel like a monster for not appreciating a movie that showcased the undying love of a mother? One where Mama Mina actually pulled a Bea Alonzo as The Incredible Hulk in She’s The One and singlehandedly changed a flat tire in the rain?

I’d put the blame on Abbypotpot (Sofia Andres), a character devoid of empathy because she was just so stubborn, selfish, ungrateful, and acted like the biggest privileged B (I meant brat, by the way). And that was even before her mother’s death so there was just no excuse for her terrible attitude.

3. Or maybe it was because this one completely ripped off P.S. I Love You, one of my most-watched post-breakup comfort movies. I thought of it first when she started seeing her dead mother doing normal things while dispensing life lessons, but it was made more obvious when it was revealed that said mom also left a box of five letters with carefully written instructions that she needed to follow step-by-step. Pati voiceover kuhang-kuha at kulang na lang talaga si Gerard Butler. So much for originality.

4. Part of the box’s contents was a set of index cards that had the secret recipes of Mama Mina’s successful Pasta House. I wasn’t sure why she didn’t make habilin before her death, especially if said recipes could make or break her pasta empire. Wouldn’t it have been easier to teach in person the proper way to slice tomatoes or how big each meatball should be? If she had time to write each note, surely she could have found an hour for a quick kitchen tutorial.

5. I wasn’t surprised when the restaurant business crumbled after her death. None of her staff knew that they were serving items that were considered panis (“Maasim na daw po yung lasa”). Seriously, only Mama Mina would know if something was spoiled already? Not even the chef/cook tasted the food before it went out of the kitchen? And to make matters worse, the solution they came up with to pacify these complaints was to offer a complimentary cake. Sana hindi rin panis diba?

6. I think this would be the fifth film that starred Jameson Blake that I had seen in a span of one year, but definitely no complaints here. As Zak, a supposedly famous rock star slash cheating ex-boyfriend of Abbypotpot, his scenes were usually punctuated by drum sounds for added effect (“It’s over!” Drum sounds. “Slap!” Drum sounds.)

At least he could play a rock in his next film and I would pay to watch it without any reservations.

7. For a story about motherly love, there was too much time spent on the landian between Abbypotpot and best friend Nico (Diego Loyzaga). He kept calling her Budz and I really thought it was short for Budjoy because they were basically playing the reversed roles of Ned and Budjoy in Labs Kita Okay Ka Lang?. Unfortunately, I was rooting for Zak the entire time.

8. While other mothers would ask their kids not to cry upon their death, Mama Mina’s loving advice to Abbypotpot was “Hindi pa ako patay. Tipirin mo na lang ang mga luha mo sa libing ko.” Eek!

9. Sofia’s a lovely girl, but the abundance of her pink blush here gave new meaning to pumuputok. At least she looked very much like a #VavaengMarangal.

10. Upon reading the words “Ang pagluluto ay parang pagmamahal. Kelangan bantayan at kapag hindi ka marunong pumili ng mga sangkap, lahat mababalewala”, Abbypotpot magically turned into a chef that could save their restaurant business. Nahiya bigla ang lahat ng Culinary Arts students.

Kelangan lang pala mag-practice to the tune of With a Smile. Pasok Reese Lansangan. “Lurft yer herd, bheybee durn’t buhr scurred…”

Rating: ★★☆☆☆