MOVIE REVIEW: THE MOMMY RETURNS (Joel Lamangan, 2012)

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Abysmal wouldn’t even begin to describe this which seemed to be a hodgepodge of ham actors, lame dialogue, unlikable characters, senseless plot, bad editing, corny jokes, and low-class special effects.

Not even the usually reliable Pokwang and John Lapus could save this terrible material. This was the kind of movie that was so bad you wouldn’t even wait for it on free TV.

I hope Joel Lamangan would stay away from this genre. Eternally.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published May 19, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE BRIDE AND THE LOVER (Joel Lamangan, 2013)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on the latest Joel Lamangan opus, The Bride and the Lover:

1. “I should have strangled her with my Hermes scarf. Mahal ang Hermes ha!” Oh, this is that kind of movie. Cringe.

2. Paulo Avelino’s a sensitive actor and I can just imagine him cringe-ing & thinking how badly he needed this paycheck.

3. “Furnitures”. I never thought I’d hear it in a movie.

4. Hayden Kho played a bodyguard role that didn’t require acting and he was still bad. He was better in his online movies.

5. Unintentionally funny sex scenes with “Even If” playing in the background. I can’t even.

6. Did the invitation just read “Las Pinas, Paranaque City”? They do know those are two different cities, right?

7. As expected in kabit movies, there’s a requisite catfight. This one had the women spewing “puke” and “burikak”. Eww.

8. Jennylyn Mercado to Lovi Poe: “Maitim ang singit mo!!”

Should she feel offended? Expecting pink?

Something to ponder on.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published May 3, 2013.)

MOVIE REVIEW: ABANDONADA (Joel Lamangan, 2000)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Bakit nga ba naging masama ang connotation ng salitang “katulong”? Masasabihan ka agad na bastos at matapobre kapag yan ang ginamit mo sa halip na “kasambahay”. Malinaw naman na ang root word nito ay tulong kaya angkop na translation ng house help. Wala naman nakakahiya o nakakababa sa pagtulong. Kapag naririnig ko nga ang salitang kasambahay parang kasama lang sa bahay at walang ginagawa kahit sila talaga ang nagbabanat ng buto araw-araw.

Anyway, naalala ko lang yan kasi pre-woke era pa ang pelikulang ito. Masasabihan ngayon na hindi politically-correct bilang katulong pa ang gamit na salita. Very Pinoy ang drama kasi si Gemma (Maricel Soriano) na nakulong sa Canada at nahiwalay sa kanyang anak ay umuwi ng Pilipinas matapos makalaya at namasukan bilang maid sa mismong bahay ng kanyang asawang si Edwin (Edu Manzano) na kasal na sa ibang babaeng si Cindy (Angelu de Leon). (Nahilo ba kayo slight?)

Maayos naman ang paglalahad ng class distinctions. Sa sobrang laki ng bahay ay bihira magkita ang mga may-ari at mga kasambahay. Advantage ito para kay Gemma kasi hindi siya pwedeng mamukhaan ng demonyo niyang ex (na sa mga flashbacks ay ipinakitang lasenggero at abusive).

Pero dahil nga very Pinoy ang takbo ng kwento, naging conventional sa bandang gitna na umabot sa sampalan, kidnapan, at barilan sa loob ng isang sinehan (na di nalalayo sa ginamit sa Serbis). Nawala ang malinaw na motivations ng mga characters. Parang lahat sila biglang hindi na nag-iisip ng tama.

Sayang kasi ang daming themes na interesting kung natutukan lang. Yung family abandonment issue related sa OFWs, yung subplot ng euthanasia, at kahit yung battered wife syndrome. Very burgis pa ng character ni Cindy kasi after siya bugbugin ng asawa eh naisipan niyang… mag-horseback riding. Yes, basag ang mukha niya pero ang cute ng equestrian outfit niya.

Yan talaga ang hirap kapag hindi mo nakikita ang iyong mga kasama sa bahay. Walang magsasabi na kelangan mo pa dagdagan ang iyong concealer.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: BHOY INTSIK (Joel Lamangan, 2017)

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It felt very much like Lamangan got really inspired after watching Pamilya Ordinaryo that he wanted to do an alternate reality set in Digong times. In this version though, Jane was killed because of Oplan Tokhang and Ertha decided to be the mother hen of Aries.

There were so many things to hate in this movie (terrible direction, messy and predictable plot, one glaring continuity error!), but there was enough of the wonderfully natural chemistry between Raymond Francisco (who in drag had an uncanny resemblance to Dra. Vicky Belo) and Ronwaldo Martin (still potty-mouthed and in full kagat-labi mode) that made it bearable.

One gay character had a gay ol’ time inside prison because “pinipilahan sya ng mga preso”. Another one said the line, “Bakla ako pero lalaki akong kausap.” How progressive!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 14, 2017.)

MOVIE REVIEW: HINDI TAYO PWEDE (Joel Lamangan, 2020)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Hindi Tayo Pwede:

1. Minsan napapaisip na lang ako kung seryoso ang Viva Films kapag sinasabi nito sa start ng mga pelikula niya na “Proudly Presents”. Kasi nung natapos ko panoorin ang kababalaghan na ‘to, considering na attached ang mga pangalan ng Philippine Cinema luminaries like Direk Joel Lamangan and Sir Ricky Lee sa project, nagtaka talaga ako kung saang part sila proud.

Napakalayo nito from being a future classic tulad ng City After Dark at Maynila Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag na nakapaskil ang posters sa kwarto ni Gabby (Lovi Poe). Apparently as a frustrated director slash writer, may taste siya sa local films kaya rin kasama ang mga larawan ng The Flor Contemplacion Story at Himala. Gusto ko yung lantarang pagbubuhat ng Lamangan/Lee tandem ng sariling bangko (check n’yo na lang ang credits ng dalawang pelikula sa IMDB).

2. First scene pa lang ni Lovi lumabas na agad siya na naka-(Bench Body?) underwear kasi alam ng filmmakers kung ano ang totoong selling point ng gawa nila (eh diba nga naka-topless yung tatlong bida sa movie poster with a promised threesome?). Hindi naman nagpatalo sina Tony Labrusca (as the boyfriend Gabriel, yes Gabby din oha destiny!) at Marco Gumabao (as the lovesick ”Besh” Dennis, as in Roldan). Paiksian ng swimming shorts at palakihan ng bukol ang labanan every time merong requisite pool scene (syempre!) at beach scene (syempre!).

Ang lakas ng tawa ko nung ni-top ni Lovi si Tony dun sa sex scene nila set to their theme song Never Ever Say Goodbye by Nonoy Zuñiga. Why that song choice ba? Hindi naman sila couple in their 60’s. At diba popular funeral song na ‘to?

3. Sabagay apt din pala ang kanta kasi patay na si Gabriel dito. Yup, hindi lang nasobrahan ng Mena cream si Tony sa poster.

(Side note: Grabe makasira ng mood ang direction dito. Pano yung sex scene na sinabi ko biglang naputol bago pa umabot sa chorus kaya ako na lang ang kumanta kahit ibang eksena na.)

4. Bago ang story kung hindi mo napanood ang early 90’s film na Ghost with Demi Moore and the late Patrick Swayze. Garapalan ang reference kaya meron din Oda Mae Brown dito in the form of a manghuhula named Madam Concha (played by the Vangie Labalan). Kabog si Ateng Whoopi Goldberg!!

Ang difference lang talaga ay directly nahahawakan at nakakausap ni Gabby si Gabriel na hindi na kelangan pa sumanib kay Madam Concha. I guess wise decision na rin siya kasi ayaw ko naman ata ng love scene between Lovi and Ms. Vangieeeeee.

5. Feeling ko naubusan ng budget for the visual effects (o nakalimutan na tuluyan ng director ang premise) kasi obviously gumagalaw naman ang mga bagay na nadidikitan ni Gabriel (like yung upuan at door tassels pag-walk out niya sa cubicle ni Madam Concha). Nasayang lang yung pag-emote nung isang extra na “Ooh ang lamig naman dito malakas ba ang aircon?”.

6. Favorite line ko yung kay Phoemela Barranda as an ad agency executive: “Bakit ang cheesy ng presentation mo? Cheese ba ang produkto?” (Gahd! Nasaan ang creativity boss? Bakit hindi na lang pizza or mac and cheese or sana ginawa mo man lang cheese platter diba?)

Second favorite ko yung exchange na ito…

Gabby to Dennis’ new jowa: “Nasungkit mo ang best friend ko!”

Dennis (feeling hurt): “Ginawa mo naman akong santol.”

(Yes Marco, we objectify you as a santol. At bakit ba laging nagmamakaawa ang characters niya na mahalin siya eh sure naman ako ang daming nakapila diyan?)

7. Bakit yung laging palabas sa sinehan nila eh mga lumang movies like Ate Shawie’s Ikaw? Naguluhan tuloy ako kung set ba sa 90’s ang pelikula. Kaya ba naka-tangga cut na bikini si Lovi nung umahon sa beach? Kaso modern naman ang surroundings like yung sa Citadines? Or may time jumps ba ako na na-miss kakatawa sa upuan ko?

And speaking of cinema, sana walang gumaya kay Gabriel who lacked basic theater etiquette at nag-propose talaga sa gitna ng isang screening. Kapag merong gumawa ng stunt na ito habang nanunuod ako ng A Quiet Place 2, sinasabi ko talaga merong bride na ikakasal with a missing ring finger.

8. “Dun lang namin na-realize na nakikita at nahahawakan ko lang si Gabriel dahil sa pagmamahal ko sa kanya. At ngayon na unti-unti nawawala ang pagmamahal na yun, unti-unti na din sya nawawala.”

Buti may explanation sa dulo kasi akala ko talaga nasobrahan lang ng Tide yung white shirt ni Gabriel.

9. Ipinakita sa ending na buntis si Gabby habang nakatayo sa puntod ni Gabriel. Kay Dennis ba yun or ghost baby nila ni Gabriel? I need answers pero ayoko na magbayad for a sequel huhu!

10. According to Sir Ricky (na uulitin ko, siya ang sumulat nito kaloka!), kalahati daw ng populasyon sa Pilipinas ay hindi pa nakaka-move on. Jusko kaya pala naghihirap ang bansa natin kasi puro lovelife ang inaatupag. Kaya din siguro hindi nauubos ang hugot films tulad nito.

Sabi nga ni Gabriel, “This is exactly why I hate Tagalog movies. Ang babaduy!”. Uhm… Let’s just say na nung nagtulak ng basurahan ang maintenance pagkatapos ng screening, akala ko kokolektahin din niya ang pelikulang ‘to.

P.S. Sorry walang threesome. Masakit talaga na pinagtagpo sina Tony at Marco pero di tinadhana.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: CULION (Alvin Yapan, 2019)

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Very disappointing, especially since I’m a lowkey fan of Yapan’s films. Yung kahit di ko masyado maintindihan ang poeticism/lyricism/symbolism (at lahat ng -ism) sa mga pelikula niya, lutang naman ang artistry at craftsmanship. Nawawala yun dito.

Maliban sa dalawang creative choices (yung dream sequences ni Jasmine Curtis-Smith at yung goosebumps-worthy kidlat scene sa dulo), iisipin mo na si Joel Lamangan ang nag-direct nito. Daming gustong sabihin pero walang pinatunguhan. Sobrang kalat.

Sayang kasi andito ang mga acting greats ng Pinoy cinema (Jasmine, Iza Calzado, and Meryll Streep-Soriano). Bonus pa yung much-hyped cameo ni John Lloyd Cruz. Nagtitigan lang sila ni Meryll pero dalang-dala ako sa eksena. (Please come out of retirement!!)

Ang pakiramdam nung over two hours na runtime ng pelikula ay para kang nagbabasa ng History book. Alam mo na may sinasabing importante pero sobrang bagot. Tatlo na nga lang kami na nanuod tapos ang sarap pa ng tulog nung magkayakap na mag-jowa sa harapan ko.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: THE ANNULMENT (Mac Alejandre, 2019)

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Hiyang-hiya si Britney Spears sa pagka-toxic ng mag-asawang ‘to.

Grabe for a drama sobrang dami ng tawa ko lalo na nung nagbuhusan sila ng isang jug ng water before mag-kitchen sex tapos slo-mo focus sa basang-basang (wink, wink) chest ni Joem Bascon hahaha! Tapos nung sex scene inutusan niya si Lovi Poe na “Kagatin mo!” habang pababa si ate mo sa nipples at pototoy niya hahaha!

Lovi to Myrtle Sarrosa (who should probably stick to cosplaying): “Sino ka? Anong tawag nila sa’yo maliban sa kabit?” (Hello gurl di mo ba kilala si Ate Marya? Eh di kerida, mistress, number 2 are you facking my husband anuba!!)

Meron pa parang marital rape na biglang naging angry sex na puro hampasan (sa braso??) na napaisip ako kung malamok lang sa kwarto nila.

Best yung totoong sinabon ni Lovi ang likod ni Joem sa shower sex scene. Very realistic. At syempre hagalpak ako nung sumbatan na ng infidelity at tinanong ni ate kung “Sinasabon mo rin ba ang likod niya?”. Hahahahaha!!

But wait, hindi pa ako umaabot dun sa OA court scene na straight out of Ipaglaban Mo. Mas naiyak ako at na-bother na pinayagan ng judge yung ganung shade ng purple lipstick sa lawyer ni Lovi. I object!!

Sigurado ba talaga na hindi ito directed by Joel Lamangan?

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: S6PARADOS (GB Sampedro, 2014)

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I started #CinemalayaX with a disappointment and it was only fitting to end it with a clunker.

GB Sampedro’s S6parados was like a bad compilation of Regal movies stitched together for no reason. Or an extended Erik Santos music video.

At least we know that Joel Lamangan just might be a better actor than director.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 7, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: HUSTISYA (Joel Lamangan, 2014)

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It was so unfortunate that I started my Cinemalaya experience this year with Joel Lamangan’s Hustisya. It was so painful to watch. Ugh!!

The movie reeked as much as the gutters that were shown onscreen. I just couldn’t find one redeeming value in it.

It was the typical socio-political commentary you expected from Lamangan that didn’t really say anything new.

Even the usually brilliant Nora Aunor got dragged down by all the awfulness. More than her off performance, it was sad to see her struggle.

Her voice was so scratchy and she was having difficulty saying her lines. I refuse to accept that she’s way past her prime.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 2, 2014.)