MOVIE REVIEW: A MOTHER’S STORY (John-D Lazatin, 2012)

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It was the usual OFW fare that seemed to fit more on the small screen. The material didn’t offer anything new from previous films of the same nature (the Anak reference was both a winning punchline and a curse). It only required a lot of crying from its competent cast (Pokwang was a delight to watch and I loved her scenes with the equally great Daria Ramirez).

The movie did have some good moments (dramatic situations infused with much-needed humor, the non-linear structure ala Forrest Gump, Nonie Buencamino stealing his scenes with ease) until it fully crumbled in the final act where the lead became unsympathetic and all loose ends were neatly tied-up.

Not bad overall, but it could have been much better.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 12, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: 24/7 IN LOVE (Mae Czarina Cruz, John-D Lazatin, Frasco Mortiz, Dado Lumibao, 2012)

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Definitely a mixed bag but the good ones greatly outweighed the stinkers. The weaker stories were saved by strong performances from Maja Salvador, Angelica Panganiban, and Kim Chiu while the interesting segments were further enhanced by the excellent turns of Bea Alonzo, Zanjoe Marudo, Xyriel Manabat, and Pokwang.

The Bea-Zanjoe segment was just so good it could have worked as an entire movie. I’d recommend this just for that wonderful bit alone.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published December 5, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: EDSA WOOLWORTH (John-D Lazatin, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Edsa Woolworth:

1. The poster spoke the truth when it mentioned that the movie was all about the family. It was basically a slice of life dramedy about an unconventional family based in San Francisco. Sadly, it was also as bland as its tagline.

2. Pokwang was able to flex her dramatic muscles a few years back with the TFC-produced A Mother’s Story, a fine enough film about an OFW that only turned silly during its last act. She seemed more relaxed here as Edsa, hitting every cue with her good comic timing (“Are you good in bed?”, “I love balls!”) or quick-flowing tears.

3. Surprisingly, Pokwang’s performance was overshadowed by Ricci Chan, a gifted theater actor who was just a delight to watch in a major role on the big screen. Sure he still had some noticeable tics especially during confrontation scenes but he just delivered his lines with aplomb, whether he was mentioning the 500-thread count of his Egyptian cotton sheets to his cheating boyfriend or verbalizing the hidden emotions of just about any gay person.

4. What kind of parent would name his/her child Epifania delos Santos Woolworth? Besides, wouldn’t this just be Eds Woolworth?

5. All Americans in the movie were just too nice. Edsa’s Caucasian father was a paradigm of kindness, a massage client allowed her to sprawl out on the master bed, and a store manager even let her finish her nap on a bed display (and even took her out to dinner after!).

6. I was surprised to see Lee Robin Salazar again. Wasn’t he part of the Manoeuvres and even played a bit role in that classic Viva movie, Do Re Mi? Tell me I’m not crazy.

7. It was weird to watch kissing scenes with mouths fully closed. Just me? Okay.

8. There was really nothing much to propel the story forward. The tender moments just couldn’t compensate for the tedium of the rest of the film. It even threw in a predictable twist in the last act after supposedly tying up all loose ends.

9. Happy ending! Sad ending! Happy ending!! Sad ending!! Happy ending!!!!!

10. I guess that marriage wouldn’t last long since it was sukob.

11. I actually cringed at that final scene where a dead major character was on a hill smiling at the happy living family members. Eek!

12. Overheard during the movie:
“Naka-try ka na ng jacuzzi?”
“Oo, sa Pansol.”

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published January 15, 2015.)