MOVIE REVIEW: SO IT’S YOU (Jun Lana, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on So It’s You:

1. Was this movie shot in high-definition? The camera was so unforgiving to JC de Vera.

2. Since when was Fernbrook located in Ayala Alabang Village?

3. I think the lead character’s family was supposed to be nouveau riche with their gaudy clothes and furniture. One family’s expensive was another man’s tacky.

4. I wasn’t sure how Carla Abellana’s character ended up as product specialist (or as the character said, “med rep”). Shouldn’t she be running her family’s business and leave all the hard work to us middle class people? Besides, with those excessive accessories, bejeweled iPad, and leopard print clothes, who’d even take her seriously?

5. The movie tried too hard to be current with all of its technological and social media references. It was the first time for me to hear the phrase “Peksman walang delete” and it made me love the icky “Boom panes” more. (Although I think one character mentioned, “May nagtweet sa IG” and I wasn’t even sure how that worked.)

6. The family’s shoe business reminded me of my favorite sapatero, Ms. Laida Magtalas, of course.

7. How could a supposedly rich girl who loved branded items and drove a car covered with the Louis Vuitton logo not even know Manolo Blahnik? It was a good thing she was schooled by her gay BFF (of course!).

8. Kevin Santos and Paolo Ballesteros were the reasons to watch this mess. The former especially was so into his character that I wished he just had a movie of his own. Amparo Munoz would be proud of him.

9. Warning: Don’t use your cellphone while driving. Especially if it’s chunky and as big as a tablet. Wait, maybe it was an actual tablet.

10. I could do a mean impression of Tom Rodriguez. Seriously. With this and Bekimon, I think I’ve mastered his expressions.

11. To be fair, I really liked the scene where Carla imagined how her dream wedding would have been. It was funny but heartbreaking. Now if only the movie had more of that and less of the Instagram selfies.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published May 11, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: HIDDEN FIGURES (Theodore Melfi, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Hidden Figures:

1. Jimmy Kimmel in the recent Oscars telecast said it best when he introduced the amazing trio of actresses in this film as Algebra’s Angels.

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae portrayed Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson respectively, the real-life brains behind NASA’s space exploration program in the early ’60s. These women’s admirable display of courage and resiliency (and basically kicked ass!) amidst the blatant racial and gender discrimination in Virginia during that time was a story that needed to be told (“Every time we have a chance to move ahead, they move the finish line”).

As expected, I cried my heart out throughout the movie’s entirety. Surprisingly, none of it was because of the mathematical equations (elliptical vs parabolic!) written on the board.

2. Katherine was obviously a gifted child because at a young age she could identify all the various shapes (rhombus! tetrahedron!) on a window design even if I could only see pointed shapes and a swirling blob pattern. She reminded me so much of John Nash, another genius that saw symbols float from windows that led to his Nobel Prize.

As the adult Katherine, Taraji dialled her famous feisty persona several notches down and it effectively worked in her favor. Cookie Lyon would never run half a mile just to pee in a colored bathroom so it was a pleasant surprise when this plucky side showed up in that outburst scene where Katherine, fully drenched from the rain and probably 10 pounds lighter from all the running, stood up to her supervisor (Kevin Costner) who questioned her long bathroom breaks (“I have to run to Timbuktu just to relieve myself!”).

Still surprised she didn’t get an Oscar nomination for that brilliant scene which fully summarized the hurt and embarrassment caused by segregation (colored bathrooms, colored coffee pot, colored fountain, colored seats at the back of the bus, colored entrance in buildings, unbelievable!!). And yes, I cried even more when Costner took a sledgehammer and knocked down that bathroom sign (“Here at NASA, we all pee the same color”). Bring a box of tissues!

3. Given the heavy and serious themes, the movie still managed to wring out laughs from all of the tension. Most of the humor came from the scenes with Janelle (who actually channeled Cookie) and whose character Mary couldn’t care less what the others thought of her liberal ideals (“I have the right to see fine men regardless of color”).

Weirdly enough, I couldn’t hold back my tears even if some scenes were played for laughs (again, all the running done to the bathroom was just heartbreaking). This inspirational film couldn’t be accused of emotional manipulation if all of my pain was self-inflicted, right?

4. “No shoe is worth a life.” This obviously happened pre-Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo.

5. If there was one thing I wasn’t too fond of, it was the amount of time devoted to Katherine’s lovelife. I knew it was meant to humanize her considering that she was a walking computer, but we could have done without it. At 127 minutes, the movie obviously needed a bit of trimming.

6. I really loved the slice of pie reference made to Octavia. I probably held off on eating chocolate pie for a full year after seeing Minnie’s recipe on The Help.

7. Were those huge contraptions the first IBM computer models? They actually looked like the scariest dialysis machines. Kids these days are just way fortunate (read: entitled).

8. Kirsten Dunst played her bitchy supervisor role so well that I wanted to slap her Legal Wife-style when she made Dorothy look like a custodian and asked her to push those heavy files back using a steel cart. Oh, the nerdddddd!!

Speaking of, Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) naturally played the head engineer. Not surprised at all that the cast won the SAG for Best Ensemble.

9. So happy to live in a time when these women are hidden figures no more. Nothing can trump that feeling. Oh, wait…

Rating: ★★★★☆