MOVIE REVIEW: BABY DRIVER (Edgar Wright, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Baby Driver:

1. That coffee shop scene early in the film where the barista smirked when Ansel Elgort said that his name was Baby reminded me of the time when I used to work as a manager for a customer service account in a call center. One of my basic tasks was to ensure that each associate got assigned an “appropriate”-sounding call name. The uniquely cool ones like Baby Juice or Shangri-La or Miracle Boy had to be changed into more “pleasant-sounding” generic nicknames. We also couldn’t use real names that sounded like terms of endearment such as Love, Sweetheart, Honey, and yes, just Baby (even if a quarter of our population probably used this as a name/nickname) lest callers began thinking that they actually dialled a phone sex hotline.

On a different note, I was so hooked on that B-A-B-Y song that I wanted to jump in my Subaru, put on my Wayfarer, and play that song on blast while driving around Commerce Ave. (okay, done with my social-climbing exercise for the day).

2. A lot of people would most likely look like an idiot doing that swaying dance routine with the windshield wipers, but Ansel had the right amount of charm to make it just the cutest thing ever. I could probably watch that one long continuous take of him singing and dancing during a coffee run on a loop for days. (Bonus na lang that he could also prepare a mean sandwich. Mukhang masarap sya.)

3. Aside from Monsters Inc. (“You and I are a team”), I was happy to see the references on my other faves here, like It’s Complicated, Fight Club, and The Little Rascals (although I still preferred the version of Alfalfa with his cowlick singing You Are So Beautiful to dear Darla).

4. Those impressive car stunts that could rival the ones in the Fast & Furious series! As if this movie wasn’t even cool and stylish enough already. More nganga lang ako. And that whole Tequila shoot-out. Worth the price of admission.

5. I knew that Jamie Foxx could not be trusted as soon as he showed up wearing that tacky King of Hearts sweater. I would rather trust that “puts the Asian in home invasion” guy even if he didn’t know the difference between Austin Powers’ Mike Meyers and Halloween’s Michael Meyers (or even Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees). Also, seeing those masks reminded me so much of the Betty Doll Bank Robbers from the underrated Sugar & Spice. Time for a rewatch.

6. Sorry Edgar Wright, but Prime Cruz beat you (twice!) on that colorful laundromat scene.

7. I had a bit of a problem with the last act when everything just went awry and people started growing a conscience. And inasmuch as I adored Debora (Lily Collins), I wasn’t completely sold on the romance and the idea that they fell in love even before their second date.

8. Baby cleverly used music to drown out the terrible memories of a traumatic event in his life. That definitely wouldn’t work with me since my playlist would mostly be weepies by Celine Dion and Sarah Geronimo huhuhu.

Rating: ★★★★☆

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (Burr Steers, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:

1. I’ve seen several versions of Pride and Prejudice and my favorite would have to be the one directed by Joe Wright and starred the quintessential Victorian beauty Keira Knightley. It must be said though that Colin Firth in the BBC miniseries is and will always be Mr. Darcy (even my literary twin Bridget Jones agrees). Look for any of these versions and watch them instead.

2. I still haven’t recovered from the awfulness of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and this other genre mashup wasn’t any better. The zombies could have been replaced by vampires or werewolves and it wouldn’t have made any difference since the zombie plague was just a mere backdrop to the story. If anything, it actually felt like a crime to ruin the Jane Austen classic. Why not turn Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) into a manananggal instead? That would have been more interesting. I hope they also make a Crime and Punishment and Tikbalangs or William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Undin Juliet.

3. James was really lovely so I was confused when she wasn’t deemed the prettiest one among the brood. At least in the Knightley version, Jane Bennet was played by Rosamund Pike so it was a bit more acceptable. (FYI, James must really love wearing a corset because she’s also in Downton Abbey and the lead in the current BBC miniseries War & Peace.)

4. The supposed novelty here was that the Bennet sisters were actually trained in martial arts and swordfighting so they always entered a scene in a Sucker Punch formation (slow motion, of course) ready for battle. Most of the fight scenes involved mere poking (simple tusok-tusok) and some scenes were even too dark to actually see all the action happening onscreen.

5. One of the few sources of enjoyment here was Doctor Who’s Matt Smith playing the bumbling Mr. Collins. He seemed to be aware that he was trapped in a dud so he fully embodied all the silliness required by the role.

6. “If they don’t eat brains, they don’t turn into full zombies.” Ahh, that explains Plants vs. Zombies.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆