MOVIE REVIEW: LADYFISH (Jason Orfalas, 2017)

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Painfully unfunny, very much like its nth iteration of a local barangay gay beauty pageant. It didn’t feel like a complete movie at all, just some stitched-up random moments that tried really hard to create humor out of supposedly silly stuff.

I felt bad for Martin Escudero since he seemed to be forever typecast in the gay/trans role post-Zombadings. In one scene, he was required to act delighted while JC Santos peed on his face. Ick.

There was a hysterically wicked stab at Lav Diaz films and their endless nothingness. I wish there were more of that kind of smart humor here instead.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published March 14, 2017.)

MOVIE REVIEW: ON VODKA, BEERS, AND REGRETS (Irene Villamor, 2020)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Parang dito dapat nilagay ang subtitle na Not A Love Story. It felt deeply personal to me. Pakiramdam ko bff ko si starlet Jane (Bela Padilla) at sobrang helpless ko habang pinapanood siya battling her substance abuse issue.

Gusto ko din that Francis (JC Santos) was literally a supporting character. JC took a back seat this time around and helped Bela shine even more. It might be their nth pairing pero undeniable talaga ang chemistry nila. Very real-life couple ang kulitan at tinginan.

I wonder if nag-storyboard sina Direk Irene at cinematographer niya before shooting this film. Ramdam ko kasi na pinag-isipan ang framing ng bawat eksena na kahit yung abstract painting (Who’s the artist? Ang ganda!) sa room ni Jane may sinasabi when seen next to her (or maybe not at gusto ko lang lagyan ng meaning).

Ang only gripe ko lang is medyo rushed yung ending. Hindi ko nakita si Jane na nagdurusa sa rehab ala Sandra Bullock sa 28 Days. Gusto ko sana maging part ng kanyang recovery lalo na that “love isn’t always the answer”. Hindi naman talaga love lang ang sagot sa alcoholism problem, but it sure would be nice to have someone to love you and hold your hand during the entire healing process.

Rating: ★★★★☆

YEAR-END MOVIE REVIEW: THE BEST OF PINOY CINEMA 2019

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1. RICKY DAVAO (F#*@bois)
2. SOLIMAN CRUZ (Iska)
3. VANCE LARENA (Dead Kids)
4. JC SANTOS (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
5. JOEM BASCON (Write About Love)
6. JOHN ARCILLA (Miracle in Cell No. 7)

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1. TUESDAY VARGAS (LSS)
2. ANNA LUNA (Tayo sa Huling Buwan ng Taon)
3. JACLYN JOSE (Circa)
4. IANA BERNARDEZ (Metamorphosis)
5. ELORA ESPAÑO (Kalel, 15)
6. MERYLL SORIANO (Culion)

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1. ELIJAH CANLAS (Kalel, 15)
2. LOUISE ABUEL (Edward)
3. JANSEN MAGPUSAO (John Denver Trending)
4. CARLO AQUINO (Isa Pa, With Feelings)
5. GIO GAHOL (Sila Sila)
6. ROCCO NACINO (Write About Love)

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1. RUBY RUIZ (Iska)
2. MERYLL SORIANO (John Denver Trending)
3. JUDY ANN SANTOS (Mindanao)
4. ANGIE FERRO (Lola Igna)
5. SARAH GERONIMO (Unforgettable)
6. LIZA SOBERANO (Alone/Together)

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1. HEIST SCHOOL (Julius Renomeron, Jr.)
2. ANG GASGAS NA PLAKA NI LOLO BERT (Janina Gacosta, Cheska Marfori)
3. SA AMONG AGWAT (Don Senoc)
4. THE SLUMS (Jan Andrei Cobey)

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Written by: JUN LANA, KEAVY EUNICE VICENTE, ASH MALANUM
Directed by: JUN LANA, PERCI INTALAN

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Written by: CRISANTO AQUINO, JANYX REGALO
Directed by: CRISANTO AQUINO

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Written by: JADE CASTRO, SIEGE LEDESMA
Directed by: JADE CASTRO

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Written by: WANGGO GALLAGA, KOOKAI LABAYEN, DWEIN BALTAZAR
Directed by: ANDOY RANAY

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Written and directed by: ADOLF ALIX, JR.

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Written by: JEN CHUAUNSU, KOOKAI LABAYEN
Directed by: PRIME CRUZ

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Written by: THOP NAZARENO, JOHN PAUL BEDIA
Directed by: THOP NAZARENO

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Written and directed by: JUN LANA

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Written and directed by: ARDEN ROD CONDEZ

MABUHAY ANG PELIKULANG PILIPINO!!

 

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: MMFF 2019 SCORECARD

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Best Feature-Length Film

1. WRITE ABOUT LOVE (Crisanto Aquino) – ★★★★☆
2. MINDANAO (Brillante Mendoza) – ★★★☆☆
3. MIRACLE IN CELL NO. 7 (Nuel Naval) – ★★★☆☆
4. SUNOD (Carlo Ledesma) – ★★☆☆☆
5. CULION (Alvin Yapan) – ★★☆☆☆
6. MISSION UNSTAPABOL: THE DON IDENTITY (Michael Tuviera) – ★★☆☆☆
7. THE MALL, THE MERRIER (Barry Gonzalez) – ★☆☆☆☆
8. 3POL TROBOL: HULI KA BALBON! (Rodel Nacianceno) – ★☆☆☆☆

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. ROCCO NACINO (Write About Love)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. JUDY ANN SANTOS (Mindanao)
2. MILES OCAMPO (Write About Love)
3. CARMINA VILLARROEL (Sunod)
4. IZA CALZADO (Culion)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. JC SANTOS (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
2. JOEM BASCON (Write About Love)
3. JOHN ARCILLA (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
4. ALLEN DIZON (Mindanao)
5. JOJIT LORENZO (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
6. JOEL TORRE (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
7. MON CONFIADO (Miracle in Cell No. 7)
8. SOLIMAN CRUZ (Miracle in Cell No. 7)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. MERYLL SORIANO (Culion)
2. KRYSTAL BRIMNER (Sunod)
3. YUNA TANGOG (Mindanao)
4. JASMINE CURTIS-SMITH (Culion)

Until next year!!

MOVIE REVIEW: MIRACLE IN CELL NO. 7 (Nuel Naval, 2019)

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Umiyak ako ng isang baldeng luha dun sa Korean original kahit na problematic ang story, sobrang unbelievable, at emotionally manipulative. Wala masyadong binago dito sa Pinoy version kaya mga dalawang basong luha pa rin ang iniyak ko.

Dahil hindi talaga iniba ang kwento, lumabas na napakalinis at medyo cozy ng bilibid. Yung di mo iisipin na may annual pigsa festival ang mga preso natin. Baka hindi pinayagan ang changes kahit Pinoy na ang setting, similar dun sa recent Miss Granny remake.

Yung biggest concern ko dito ay inconsistent ang portrayal ni Aga Muhlach ng isang special character. Parang hindi isip bata minsan yung delivery ng lines niya kaya medyo bumibitaw ako lalo na kapag dramatic na ang eksena. Bumawi naman siya nung dulo at lumabas ang galing ni Miguelito.

Para sa akin, yung supporting cast ang nagdala talaga ng movie. Inisip ko nga na baka mas maganda kung si John Arcilla ang bida. Muntik ako maglupasay sa sinehan nung phone call scene ni Jojit Lorenzo. Tapos daming iyak-tawa moments din with Joel Torre, Mon Confiado, at Soliman Cruz. Ang huhusay!

Pero ang standout sa grupo ay si JC Santos. Kahit ang off pakinggan nung mga bakla jokes sa kanya, madadala ka sa kanyang acting kahit na nagsasayaw lang siya bilang Sailor Moon.

If you liked the original, magugustuhan niyo din ito. If nairita lang kayo dun, wag umasa na magbabago ang opinion nyo dito. Kung di nyo pa napanood ang Korean version, available siya sa mga suking tindahan.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: TAYO MUNA HABANG HINDI PA TAYO (Denise O’Hara, 2019)

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Like a bad Antoinette Jadaone romance flick. Yung dapat nasa iWant na lang siya.

Kulang na kulang ang authenticity ng situations at performances.

Halos nakasimangot lang ako the whole time kahit di naman ako bitter sa pag-ibig (well, except nung akting na akting yung ex ni JC Santos dito nakakaloka ka girl mygahd!).

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: PISTA NG PELIKULANG PILIPINO 2019 SCORECARD

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Best Feature Length Film

1. CIRCA (Adolf Alix, Jr.) – ★★★★☆
2. OPEN (Andoy Ranay) – ★★★★☆
3. LSS (Jade Castro) – ★★★★☆

4. LOLA IGNA (Eduardo Roy, Jr.) – ★★★☆☆

5. THE PANTI SISTERS (Jun Lana) – ★★☆☆☆
6. CUDDLE WEATHER (Rod Marmol) – ★★☆☆☆
7. WATCH ME KILL (Tyrone Acierto) – ★★☆☆☆
8. G! (Dondon Santos) – ★★☆☆☆
9. I’m Ellenya L. (Boy 2 Quizon) – ★☆☆☆☆

Not seen:
Pagbalik
Verdict

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. CHRISTIAN BABLES (The Panti Sisters)
2. JC SANTOS (Open)
3. PAOLO BALLESTEROS (The Panti Sisters)
4. KHALIL RAMOS (LSS)
5. MARTIN DEL ROSARIO (The Panti Sisters)
6. RK BAGATSING (Cuddle Weather)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. ANGIE FERRO (Lola Igna)
2. SUE RAMIREZ (Cuddle Weather)
3. ANITA LINDA (Circa)
4. ARCI MUÑOZ (Open)
5. JEAN GARCIA (Watch Me Kill)
6. GABBI GARCIA (LSS)
7. MARIS RACAL (I’m Ellenya L.)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. JOHN ARCILLA (The Panti Sisters)
2. ELIJAH CANLAS (LSS)
3. ENCHONG DEE (Circa)
4. VANCE LARENA (Open)
5. RICKY DAVAO (Circa)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. TUESDAY VARGAS (LSS)
2. JACLYN JOSE (Circa)
3. MA. ISABEL LOPEZ (Lola Igna)
4. MERYLL SORIANO (Lola Igna)
5. INA RAYMUNDO (Open)
6. IANA BERNARDEZ (LSS)
7. GINA ALAJAR (Circa)
8. ELIZABETH OROPESA (Circa)
9. VIA ANTONIO (The Panti Sisters)
10. ROXANNE BARCELO (The Panti Sisters)

Until next year!!

MOVIE REVIEW: OPEN (Andoy Ranay, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Sa totoo lang, up until today wala pa ako nagustuhang pelikula na directed by Andoy Ranay (although it spoke less about his skills and more about the assigned material). Mas impressed ako sa kanya dati as an actor kasi magaling siya dun sa Duda/Doubt. Backed here by a strong screenplay, I was really surprised sa kanyang assured storytelling. Madami siyang nadurog na puso sa sinehan kanina.

Nakakaaliw ang audience reactions lalo na ang mga nagwawalang babae (bakit feeling ko may ilang mag-jowa na mag-break pagkatapos nito?). Very controversial naman kasi talaga ang topic ng open relationship (described by one character here as “liberating, respectful, and loving”) lalo na in our mostly conservative culture. Nagustuhan ko sobra yung feeling na ang uncomfortable niya to watch.

Kahit ako hindi ko yan gets dati (bakit pa naging kayo kung pwede ding makipag-sex sa iba?) until I learned na I have a few friends in a similar situation. Although naiintindihan ko how it works for them, syempre di ko pa rin maiwasan na maging judgmental habang nanunuod.

Bwiset na bwiset ako kay Ethan (JC Santos in his napaka-walanghiya best) lalo na nung basically pinilit niya si Rome (Arci Muñoz) na maging open rel sila sabay threaten na maghiwalay na lang kung ayaw. Grabe ang emotional manipulation. Napaka-insensitive pa at ginawang joke yung fake proposal (“Aww nag-expect ka ba?”).

Tapos after matikman si hot momma Ina Raymundo (open rel na eh nag-cheat pa jusko mga lalaki!) at nung nakita niya na masaya na si Rome sa current setup eh biglang ayaw na open sila at nag-propose without an engagement ring. Anong klaseng selfish na balahurang toxic scum yan? Ok kalma kalma!!

“Ang tagal ko hinintay ‘to pero ngayon hindi ko na alam ang isasagot“. Tagos na tagos naman ang linya na ‘to.

Also, 2019 just might be the year of smart, strong, independent women in Philippine Cinema. Woohoo!!

Rating: ★★★★☆

MOVIE REVIEW: 100 TULA PARA KAY STELLA (Jason Paul Laxamana, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Sabi ko hindi ako iiyak eh pero masyadong ginalingan ni JC Santos. Nasabayan ko tuloy sya sa paghagulgol nung sinabi nya na “Ikaw ang naging mundo ko.”

The love story here reminded me so much of the one that Forrest Gump and Jenny had.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 21, 2017.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE DAY AFTER VALENTINE’S (Jason Paul Laxamana, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

I can come up with ten things that I didn’t like about this movie, but I’m sure you’ll still watch this Hawaii travelogue narrated by damaged souls because of Bela Padilla and JC Santos (both much better in 100 Tula Para Kay Stella).

If I learned anything from Bela’s bangs, it was that I did the right thing in not trusting those DIY haircut tutorials on YouTube.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 16, 2018.)