MOVIE REVIEW: YOUNG ADULT (Jason Reitman, 2011)

AA9F7C3A-F8B1-4136-9FC7-7AC4D141D194

Diablo Cody’s scripts are either dead-on (Juno) or disastrous misses (Jennifer’s Body). This one seemed to fall right in between.

It was unfortunate since Charlize Theron delivered a fearless performance of a completely unlikable character. She received strong support from Patton Oswalt and the two of them made the most out of a confused black comedy.

The movie just couldn’t hit the right tone and I ended up wondering why I kept watching these characters be miserable when I have a life of my own.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published June 6, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (Bryan Singer, 2014)

49999ECB-59AF-476F-A74B-91B743C5427F

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on X-Men: Days of Future Past:

1. I am definitely not a comic book (or anything from the Marvel universe) fan so expect a lot of questions in a bit. But first, why did this feel like a 2-hour middle finger to Brett Ratner and the mess that he created?

2. I actually liked how the movie just didn’t care if you watched the previous films or knew the other characters. I had to create names for the ones that I didn’t know, though (Silver Surfer, Fireball, Sandara, etc.).

3. Wait, why was Patrick Stewart back? Wasn’t Professor Xavier killed in the last movie? Was he making a Gandalf comeback?

4. Ooh carnage! I would have cared more if I were a fanboy.

5. Ellen Page would always be Juno to me. If she were able to travel back in time, I wonder if she’d still give up her baby. And why did she have a lot of super powers here? She was able to pass through objects and make people time travel. Wow.

6. Gratuitous butt shot but who’s complaining?

7. As a huge American Horror Story fan, I squealed when Evan Peters showed up as a teen Flash (did anyone mention Quicksilver in the movie?). He surely had the best scenes and deserved a spin-off.

8. Halle Berry still had a thankless role. I hope she earned millions to roll her eyes. Who’s wishing for an X-Men Origins: Storm? Nobody.

9. Now that I thought about it, why did Professor Xavier have a British accent if he was living in the US ever since? Was there a back story I didn’t know of?

10. Product placement galore. I still prefer Coke products, though.

11. That Time in a Bottle scene was one of the best sequences I’ve seen all year. More reasons for a spin-off. Evan Peters is so ready for stardom.

12. You could never go wrong with Peter Dinklage. Or Michael Fassbender.

13. Did Mystique really have a substantial role in the comics or did they do this because Jennifer Lawrence is an Oscar-winning box-office draw now? (I have high hopes for Lupita Nyong’o as the young Storm. That’ll make me reconsider my Origins answer.)

14. So the movie in effect was basically one long dream sequence? So we wasted hours on the other movies that really didn’t happen as well?

15. Wait, why did the Sentinels have to reach the future before killing off the mutants when they were made back in the 70’s? Shouldn’t they have killed everyone before the other X-Men movies started happening?

16. When Quicksilver mentioned to Magneto that his mom also “knew a guy who could do that”, did that mean Magneto’s his (gasp!) father?!

17. JFK was a mutant. Coolness!

18. I’m all for redemption and second chances but I’m more into the time is immutable theory.

19. In the comics, who will remove the stadium and free up the White House again?

20. I know that J.Law and Nicholas Hoult are dating but why did Mystique flirt with Beast in the end? Or was I overanalyzing that scene as well?

I give up.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published May 26, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE DUFF (Ari Sandel, 2015)

2548436F-F5FC-4A9D-9ADF-E29D09FF1F6B

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The DUFF:

1. According to the movie, the DUFF is the Designated Ugly Fat Friend: the nice, approachable, unsightly one that people exploit to meet the pretty ones in the group and that if you don’t know the DUFF of the group, then it’s most probably you. I honestly can’t relate because all of my friends are gorgeous. Oh wait, does that make me the DUFF? But I’m not fat!

2. If you’re a fan of every teen movie from John Hughes to Olive Penderghast, you’ll find this very derivative and familiar. It doesn’t mean it’s not as funny, though.

3. Bianca (Mae Whitman) was so far from being ugly or fat. She was a classic case of a Rachel Leigh Cook ugly duckling character that only needed a wardrobe makeover. Besides, if she were really that horrible-looking, why would her attractive and popular friends want to be associated with her Juno Garofalo?

4. Ken Jeong was funny in some of the Hangover movies. He was just extremely annoying here.

5. Can we officially retire Boom Clap now please? The Fault in our Stars officially owns that song.

6. Was I the only one bothered when Robbie Amell (as the cute jock) proclaimed that he watches a lot of Project Runway and he was in charge of the makeover montage? And speaking of Amell, I suddenly missed his dimwit character in 1600 Penn.

7. Allison Janney was simply wonderful. Please watch Mom.

8. That short gag about Bianca playing Bosley when there were three Charlie’s Angels was a hoot.

9. I could easily relate to the scene where she stopped a make-out session to write her article. If you’re really not into it, why even bother? Let your creative juices flow instead.

10. This movie was the ultimate loser’s fantasy. Everybody would know this because there’s a loser in all of us.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published April 27, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig, 2017)

1BF60C61-2054-43DF-A8DC-AD88DBAE9F07

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Lady Bird:

1. Whenever my mom and I would have an argument, her go-to line of defense was “Pinapasok pa naman kita sa Catholic schools…”. Which might also be her disappointed way of saying that this early, my soul was already burning in hell. Sometimes I’d wonder what happened to me as well. Did I not learn anything from all the years of Christian Living classes from grade school to high school plus the twelve units of required Theology in college? Were these schools being oppressive in shoving religion down our young throats that some of us ended up being rebellious? Or was I just being pa-cool in thinking that these teachings were way beneath me? One thing was for sure, though. My mother would always be in Church every Sunday to pray for my burning soul.

2. I really loved the depiction of the mother-daughter relationship here. When the film opened with Christine aka “Lady Bird”(Saoirse Ronan) and her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) bonding over an audiobook of The Grapes of Wrath inside their car, it was a picture of love and happiness. In a matter of seconds, the harmonious atmosphere turned into a passive-aggressive verbal showdown with one of them jumping out of the moving vehicle. It was hilarious, frighteningly real, and completely relatable. Seriously, how many times have we considered flinging ourselves outside of a car just to avoid the nastiest sermons from our mothers? Getting run over on a highway would probably hurt less than hearing the worst sumbat coming from them.

3. The screenplay (also by Greta Gerwig) was infused with so much wit that I was reminded of Juno (the one where Ellen Page played a heavily opinionated pregnant teen) and peak Diablo Cody. Some of my favorite lines were:

• Lady Bird speaking the truth: “The only thing exciting about 2002 is that it’s a palindrome.”

• Marion on sticking to the shopping budget: “That’s what rich people do. We’re not rich people.”

• Brother Miguel when her date arrived to pick her up for prom: “Lady Bird wants to make an entrance. She’s mad we don’t have a spiral staircase.”

• Sister Sarah during the school dance: “Six inches for the Holy Spirit!” (Thank goodness I went to a co-ed school!)

• Post-sex Lady Bird after learning that her boyfriend (Timothée Chalamet) wasn’t a virgin: “I was on top! Who the fuck is on top their first time?”

• Boyfriend’s response as consolation: “You’re going to have so much unspecial sex in your life.” (Soooo true!!)

4. Hand in my Pocket, Crash Into Me, Cry Me a River, The Crossroads. The soundtrack of my life.

5. Ronan was terrific in the lead role (acne and all). Although she had some noticeable slips with her Irish accent, she fully captured the essence of Lady Bird that I was crying along with her when she received the school letter saying that she was waitlisted.

Metcalf was the perfect foil for her, with every line and movement capturing the mother we all loved and hated. Her airport car scene alone that didn’t require any dialogue, just her face showing a range of emotions, deserved an Oscar nod. She wasn’t even in the scene with the letters and I kept thinking about her and bawled my eyes out.

And what else to say about Chalamet exuding so much charisma that I just brushed off the fact that his character climaxed after just five seconds?

6. On her eighteenth birthday, Lady Bird excitedly purchased a pack of cigarettes and a copy of Playgirl. I could easily relate because I spent my entire teenage years wishing to be eighteen so I could finally watch an R-18 film in cinemas. (Wait, did you think that I wanted my own copy of Playgirl?)

7. Essential viewing if your mom’s also your best friend. Watch it with her and share a box of Kleenex.

Rating: ★★★★★