SANTA SANTITA (Laurice Guillen, 2004)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Just imagine kung yung pinakamalandi mong bff nagising isang umaga with healing powers. At hindi lang siya basta pokpok version ni Elsa (Ate Guy, not Frozen) ha. More of Magdalena ikaw ay sawimpalad to Mama Mary real quick.

Ganun ang naging kapalaran ni Malen (Angelica Panganiban) dito. Nung una allergic siya sa simbahan at galit na galit sa nanay (Hilda Koronel) na nagdadasal kapalit ng donasyon. Tapos in a cruel twist of fate, naging instant prophet (ata kasi bigla siya nagsuot ng costume ng mga jakono) slash faith healer siya. Sa sobrang lakas niya humiling sa pagdadasal, inakala ng jowa-jowaan niya na si Mike (Jericho Rosales) na kaya niya buhayin ang namatay nitong anak na nabubulok na pero nakakunot pa rin ang noo.

Blatant ang influence ng Himala dito. Sayang lang kasi wala masyadong nasabi ang pelikula. May konting sundot about the hypocrisy of Catholics (tulad nung mga chismosang Titas of Quiapo na nagsabi na binababoy ni Malen ang simbahan for wearing her Freeway outfits with plunging necklines and short skirts pero more paninira naman sa isa’t isa to get prayer customers).

Easy target pa naman ang religion sa mga ganitong klaseng pelikula pero parang natakot siya mabansagang makasalanan. Bagay na bagay pa naman kay Angelica ang Madonna-whore role (she wasn’t Rubi for nothing). Sana mas na-explore pa yung confused feelings niya regarding that dichotomy. Para que pa na nagkaron siya (or at least visions) ng stigmata diba?

And speaking of, naalala ko tuloy bigla si Bianca Lapus na hinihimatay tuwing may interview dati tapos dumudugo bigla ang mga palad. Medyo bata pa ako nun (wew) pero I really didn’t fall for that publicity stunt. After her fifteen minutes of fame, ayun she went the way of the infamous Judiel Nieva. Tama si Ate Guy all along. Wala talagang himala.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

ABNKKBSNPLAKO?! THE MOVIE (Mark Meily, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on ABNKKBSNPLAko?! The Movie:

1. Most of the pop-culture references will alienate the Gen-Y crowd. If you’re part of this group, don’t even bother. (Sample test: Who is Robby Rosa?)

2. I never bought the whole idea of Jericho Rosales as a high school student even with all his exploding zits. I did consider buying Eskinol Master after the screening.

3. The book’s wit and humor obviously didn’t translate well on screen. Actually, the movie barely had a plot and was just satisfied with stitched-up vignettes about life in school.

4. I tried to remember if I have ever pooped or peed in my shorts during my elementary days. (Answer: No, I think.) Unfortunately, I also remembered everyone in my school who suffered that fate. (No, I will not name-drop.) I believe in karma so I guess they’re all rich now.

5. One scene had two kids enter the cinema to watch Bagets. Was that even possible? I remember one of my wishes as a kid was to grow up so I could watch R-18 movies because even PG movies required a guardian. I know this since I’ve spent all my life in theaters.

6. The movie did get the Orchestra, Balcony, and Loge sections right, though. I can’t believe I was already alive when ticket prices were only P20.

7. Andi Eigenmann wore too much make-up for a high schooler. Vandolph had a noticeable tattoo on his arm. These kids wouldn’t have survived in my school.

8. The movie completely ran out of material after 80 minutes. I should have re-read the book instead.

9. If the mere mention of Nutribun makes you feel nostalgic, then this one’s for you.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published February 22, 2014.)

 

 

Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 Scorecard

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After travelling to three cities and four cinemas in two days, I have officially completed the MMFF2016 marathon.

I’m happy to report that the festival achieved its goal and stayed true to its promise of change, of giving the Pinoy audience something new during the holiday season.

Even with a supposed indie selection, I still had a great time in cinemas. Some films made me laugh out loud, some made me cry like a baby, one scared me to my core, the rest I enjoyed watching with young ones (yes, even kids liked these indies!), but most importantly, they required me to think.

Napakasarap makatikim ng ibang klaseng putahe ngayong Kapaskuhan. Hinihintay na lang nila ang ating suporta.

With that said, here’s my festival scorecard:

Best Picture

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1. SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN (Baby Ruth Villarama, 2016) – ★★★★★

Napakagandang pelikula! Matututo kang magpasalamat sa bawat biyayang natanggap, pati na rin sa mga sakripisyong hindi mo ginagawa.

At bes, huwag mong sabihin na ayaw mong manood ng malungkot ngayong Pasko dahil sigurado akong pinanood at iniyakan mo lahat ng Christmas ads ng Uber, Selecta, at Coke. Magdala ng isang box ng tissues.

Dahil ang Pasko ay para sa mga bata, isama ang buong pamilya at manood na kayo. Now na. Tapos group hug kayo after. Merry Christmas!! 😊

 

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2. DIE BEAUTIFUL (Jun Lana, 2016) – ★★★★★

Nakakatuwang makatikim ng isang matalinong comedy sa MMFF. Yung nakakatawa ang mga linya at patok sa masa kahit wala ni isang karakter na nahuhulog galing sa bubungan.

Mas nakakatuwa na ang ganitong klaseng produkto ay tinatangkilik ngayon ng mga manonood (puno ang sinehan nung screening namin sa GB3). Pwede naman pala. Kaya naman pala.

Ang talento ni Paolo Ballesteros sa pelikulang ito ay directly proportional sa kanyang kagandahan bilang Trisha Echevarria. Ang husay! Hindi rin nagpakabog si Christian Bables na napakagaling bilang si BFF Barbs. #FriendshipGoals talaga sila. Sana masungkit nila ang Lead at Supporting Actor trophies.

Nuod na mga bes!! 😊

 

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3. SEKLUSYON (Erik Matti, 2016) – ★★★★☆

Sobrang nanghihinayang ako sa pelikulang ito dahil mas maganda pa sana siya kung marunong lamang umarte ang apat na deacons lalo na si Ronnie Alonte.

Ang husay ng technical aspects mula sa production hanggang sound design. Mahirap makalimutan ang lahat ng religious imagery na ginamit dito. Mahusay din ang direksyon para sa isang kakaibang Pinoy horror movie.

Ito talaga ang perfect anti-Christmas movie ngayong taon. Hahamunin kang mag-isip tungkol sa katatagan ng iyong pananampalataya.

 

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4. ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK 2: #FOREVERISNOTENOUGH (Marlon Rivera, 2016) – ★★★★☆

Para sa katulad kong napanood na ata lahat ng Pinoy rom-com at kabisado na ang Star Cinema formula, natawa ako sobra sa pagka-brutal ng pelikulang ito. Bugbog na bugbog ang mainstream filmmaking at escapism in cinema. Walang sinanto katulad ng ginawa nila sa indie filmmaking at poverty porn doon sa unang pelikula.

Awakening talaga ito ni Eugene Domingo. Amoy na amoy ko na naman ang deserving na panalo as Best Actress. Sa three levels of hugot pa lang niya, sulit na ang bayad.

Magaling din si Jericho Rosales bilang Jericho Rosales. May self-awareness ang pagka-plakado bilang rom-com leading man. Naalala ko tuloy si Jaclyn Jose dun sa film within a film ng Tuhog.

Medyo off lang yung abrupt shift in tone dahil sa love story ni Kean Cipriano (na isiningit to ground the film). Pero totoong hinika ako kakatawa hanggang sa pinakahuling sequence. Waging-wagi!!

 

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5. SAVING SALLY (Avid Liongoren, 2016) – ★★★☆☆

Gusto kong tumira sa makulay na mundo ni Marty kahit puno sya ng mga monsters dahil gusto ko makita ang Warner Barberos at Sandara Park. Naalala ko tuloy ang fantasy element ng Scott Pilgrim Vs The World dito.

Nakakakilig at bagay ang tambalang Enzo Marcos at Rhian Ramos. Sana lamang hindi sila Ingles magsalita kasi medyo off para sa akin. Ang hirap lubos na ma-feel ng story dahil sa coniotic speak (ironic ba?). Para lang akong napadaan ulit sa THE Ateneo conyo bench sa labas ng caf. Higad na lang ang kulang para makumpleto ang experience.

“You wanted mayhem, war, and chaos, but isn’t that what love is all about?” Tumpak!!

 

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6. ORO (Alvin Yapan, 2016) – ★★★☆☆

Nag-flashback sa akin ang mga naunang seasons ng American Horror Story sa mga tilted frames na parang see-saw sa pagpapalit-palit. Parang weighing scale na mahirap hanapan ng balanse.

Maganda ang mensahe ng pelikula bilang environmental drama. Malaman ang sinasabi at mabigat sa mga metaphors at symbolisms. May bonus pa na supernatural element (na hindi ko nagustuhan sa Ang Tulay ng San Sebastian pero pasok sa banga sa An Kubo Sa Kawayanan).

Palaban si Irma Adlawan (lagi naman eh). Tindig at upo pa lang naniniwala na akong siya talaga si Kapitana. Sana lang hindi reactionary ang halos lahat ng kanyang eksena kasi siya ang totoong ginto ng pelikula.

 

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7. VINCE & KATH & JAMES (Theodore Boborol, 2016) – ★★☆☆☆

Walang bago maliban sa mga artista. Pinagtagpi-tagping cliches na napanood na natin sa mga dating rom-coms. Hindi rin naman masyadong na-utilize ang textserye origins niya. Halos nakumpleto niya ang checklist ng Star Cinema formula na kinukutya sa Septic Tank 2. Sunset lang ang kulang.

May natural charm itong si Joshua Garcia. Magaling siya dun sa confrontation scene nila ni Ina Raymundo, parang early John Lloyd. Akala ko maiirita ako kay Julia Barretto dito kaya nagulat ako na maayos naman siya, parang early Ate Clau.

Kinilig ang mga teenagers na kasabay kong nanuod. Masyado na ata akong matanda para sa ganitong genre.

 

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8. KABISERA (Arturo San Agustin, Real Florido, 2016) – ★★☆☆☆

Maganda sana dahil napapanahon ang tema nito tungkol sa extrajudicial killings ngunit hindi maayos ang pagkakalahad ng kwento.

Parang binigyan ang bawat artista ng kanyang sariling dramatic highlight para magpakitang-gilas kaya lahat sila eh three notches higher ang akting. Maliban kay Nora Aunor, parang hindi na mabibigyan ng susunod na project ang supporting cast kaya bigay todo na sa pag-ngawa kahit hindi naman kelangan sa eksena.

Ang daming mga bagay na parang walang sense at pinahaba lamang para mapuno ang two hour requirement. Mas mabuti pa yata kung ginawa na lamang siyang episode ng MMK.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. PAOLO BALLESTEROS (Die Beautiful)

2. JOSHUA GARCIA (Vince & Kath & James)
3. JOEM BASCON (Oro)
4. ENZO MARCOS (Saving Sally)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. EUGENE DOMINGO (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough)
2. IRMA ADLAWAN (Oro)
3. NORA AUNOR (Kabisera)
4. RHIAN RAMOS (Saving Sally)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. CHRISTIAN BABLES (Die Beautiful)

2. LOU VELOSO (Seklusyon)
3. JERICHO ROSALES (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough)
4. NEIL RYAN SESE (Seklusyon)
5. LOU VELOSO (Die Beautiful)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. RHED BUSTAMANTE (Seklusyon)
2. PHOEBE WALKER (Seklusyon)
3. MERCEDES CABRAL (Oro)
4. MIMI JUAREZA (Die Beautiful)
5. GLADYS REYES (Die Beautiful)
6. SUE PRADO (Oro)
7. CAI CORTEZ (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough)

Until next year!!

#WALANGFOREVER (Dan Villegas, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on #WalangForever:

1. Remember how almost everything in One More Chance felt familiar because anybody in a current or previous relationship could relate to at least one of the things happening between Basha and Popoy? It was the exact same feeling I had while watching this film.

All of the scenes that involved Ethan (Jericho Rosales, doing his best work since Alagwa) and Mia (Jennylyn Mercado, consistently affecting) were deeply rooted in reality that one would end up thinking “Hey, I’m Ethan and you’re Mia!”, or “I’m the malambing one that would bite your shoulder while you’re playing PS4!”. No? Just me then?

2. I liked how Mia as a writer exploited her own lovelife to come up with her screenplays. The different stages (The Meet Cute, Going Steady, The Kilig, The Proposal, The Missed Event, The Break Up) not only covered an entire relationship cycle but also served as perfect cliches (the rain, the pillow fight, the mass proposal) for her rom-com movies. For the record, I was almost sent out of the theater for laughing really hard at Bb. Joyce Banal.

3. “You” is probably one of the most kilig songs ever written (“It’s your smile/Your face, your lips that I miss/Those sweet little eyes that stare at me and make me say/I’m with you through all the way/’Cause it’s you…). Bitin ba? Why? Were you singing?

Nothing can beat the cover of Roselle Nava, though (you can admit your age and your liking of the song, no judgments).

4. When the exes met at the group dinner scene, it was so well-executed that as a viewer, I felt awkward and restless in my seat. Why can’t exes be nice to each other? Wait, why are they drinking Tanduay on the rocks?

5. One scene that felt completely off was the extended coffee place bit. It just stretched on for several minutes and no amount of Jerald Napoles could save that one. I also wished the movie was paced much better especially considering the abrupt shift in tone on its second half.

6. Jericho recently won (the controversial) Festival Best Actor and I felt bad for him since he was really good in this movie. His natural smugness was put to good use and even if he was sometimes being a jerk to Jennylyn, I couldn’t bring myself to hate him because he was still charming.

He had two really good scenes that made me choke up a little (who am I kidding, I cried my eyes out as if KFC announced that they will no longer be serving chicken). The first one was when he said “Isama mo naman ako sa mga dreams mo. Kasi ikaw kasama ka lagi sa mga plano ko” and the other when his condition was revealed (didn’t you read the SPOILER ALERT?) and he sobbed “God knows how much I want to live…” and obviously I missed a chunk of the actual dialogue because I was already drowning in my own tears.

7. Although I loved the whole montage with the real life events interspersed with the rom-com movies, I wondered why Ethan never saw any of his girlfriend’s works. How was that even possible? He was never invited to any of the film premieres?

8. When asked which actress she would like to portray herself in a rom-com, Mia quickly answered Maja Salvador and I was like “What??!”. I guess she never saw the horrendous My Cactus Girl (“Peelipeens or wordwayd?”). Would it have been too meta if she actually answered Jennylyn Mercado? (FYI, the Maja thing was explained in the mid-credits sequence. Maybe she was the only major young actress available?).

9. A romantic movie will not be complete without a rush-to-the-airport scene. At least this one didn’t end with a kiss. Although I was still bothered that Mia was able to reach Immigration without a passport or plane ticket.

10. Even with the heartbreaking scenes that involved Ethan’s revelation to his best friend, the revelation to his mom, and the reverse proposal, I probably lost it the most during the Taiwan happy times montage. I guess it was because I knew that their happiness still wouldn’t last. Love just couldn’t save a doomed relationship.

In the last few scenes, Mia was still convincing the audience to believe in forever. But then the theater lights turned on and suddenly we’re back in reality confronting the truth: walang forever.

Rating: ★★★★☆