MOVIE REVIEW: SAAN DARATING ANG UMAGA? (Maryo J. Delos Reyes, 1983)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Saan Darating ang Umaga?:

1. Meron talagang mga pelikula na marinig mo pa lang ang theme song maiiyak ka na. Nung pinanood ko ulit ito recently, hindi pa kumakanta si Raymond Lauchengco (as in instrumental part pa lang sa initial scenes) pero parang sasabog na ang puso ko. Na-picture ko agad si Joel (‘80s child star Jaypee de Guzman) na ngumangawa habang humahabol sa kanyang Ate Shayne (FAMAS Best Supporting Actress winner Maricel Soriano) pagkasoli sa kanya sa ampunan (more on that later).

“Bakit pa pinagtagpo? Pala’y maglalayo tayo sa ating buhay…” Hala, naluluha na ako ulit!!

2. Melodramatic siya to a fault pero sobrang earned yung tears. Ang daling mahalin ng Pamilya Rodrigo kasi they functioned like any normal middle class family during that time. I’m sure maraming oldies like me na makaka-relate sa everyday situations nila. Yung panahon na considered breadwinner pa ang mga tatay habang butihing housewives naman ang mga nanay. Tapos yung tuwing maririnig ng mga bata ang kotse ni tatay eh sasalubungin nila sa gate ng bahay at maghahanap ng dalang pasalubong.

Ang conservative pa ng values noon kaya nakakaaliw ang pag-ku-kuwento ng nanay na si Lorrie (the magnificent Nida Blanca) kay Shayne ng trade secrets to maintain a healthy partnership. Natawa ako nung sinabi niya na kahit ang tagal na nila mag-asawa, hindi pa siya nakikita ni Ruben (Nestor de Villa) na nakahubad para hindi ito maghanap ng iba. Very 80’s maybahay talaga.

Also, nakakatawa ang kulitan scenes nilang mag-nanay. Nung lumabas si Shayne na todo make-up before going to school (kasi in love ang ate mo), ang unang hirit ni mudang eh “Do you have a party today?”. Ayun napikon, sabay walkout at galit na galit ginaya ang nanay niya sa harapan ng salamin. Ganyan na ganyan ako kapag asar-talo.

3. Malungkot ang major themes on adoption, loss, and grief. Ang sakit sa puso nung sinabi ni Lorrie na “Bakit naman kasi kung sino pa yung gustong-gusto magkaanak, siya pa ang laging nakukunan?”. Makikita rin dito na for the privileged ang legal adoption. Magastos ang overall process at kelangan talaga na malinaw ang financial support. Obvious naman na can afford sila kasi ang lawak ng garden in their gated subdivision home (big enough para mag-sunbathing si Shayne dahil feel lang niya haha!).

Ang medyo naguluhan lang ako ay yung pagbabalik kay Joel nung dulo. Allowed ba talaga yun dahil nabaliw si Lorrie at in danger na ang bata kapag kasama siya? Nakaka-sad kasi parang hiniram lang siya na laruan tapos nung hindi na nila kaya alagaan eh isosoli na lang ulit.

I really liked the strong connection nito dun sa isa pang pelikula ni Maricel na Ama, Ina, Anak. Daming similarities including yung sibling rivalry, although that one wasn’t as tragic.

4. Speaking of sibling rivalry, believable talaga yung pagmamaldita ni Shayne out of jealousy lalo na at na-divert sa new bunso lahat ng attention. Na kahit ang laki ng age gap nila, ultimo pasalubong na chocolates eh nakikipag-agawan pa siya sa bata (di naman ako nagulat kasi even nung pabitin scene eh parang gusto niya sumali).

Sobrang paawa din kasi yung mukha ni Joel kaya natawa ako sa pasimpleng sipa sa kanya ni Shayne nung aerobics scene. At kahit ako uminit ang ulo nung puro drawings na ang favorite niya na plastic-covered copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude (first, kasi I really love that book, and second, kasi nangyari rin ito sa akin at nung nasira ang magazine ko na collector’s item, ako pa ang napagalitan ng parentals at sinabihan na babayaran nila, as if meron pang copy nun at may katumbas na price ang sentimental value haha bitter pa rin).

(Side note: Huy Shayne, binigyan ka lang ng book ng stalker mo tapos date na agad? Anyare sa conservative values na sinasabi ko kanina?)

Pero syempre naawa pa rin ako kay Joel nung binalibag at pinagsasampal siya habang tinatawag na ampon kasi alam naman natin paano si Marya sa iconic sampalan scenes niya.

5. Maganda talaga yung increased awareness regarding depression. Dati hindi ko maintindihan masyado yung immediate change of emotions ni Lorrie kay Joel after mamatay ni Ruben. Iniisip ko kasi na nanay pa rin siya at sobrang minahal niya yung bata so bakit ang bilis niya magpa-Sophie’s Choice kay Shayne na mamili sa kanilang dalawa.

Pero ngayon alam ko na kung ano ang severe adverse effects ng grief sa mental state ng tao. Posible siyang mangyari kapag nakaka-experience ng ganung trauma from a tragedy. Yung umaabot talaga sa point na kukuha ng scissors at pagsasasaksakin ang portrait ng isang bata.

(Side note ulit: After repeat viewings, napansin ko na ang ganda ng foreshadowing nung beach race scene lalo na kung intentional siya. Eto yung hinablot ni Lorrie yung “flag” kay Joel tapos tuloy-tuloy siyang tumakbo na walang pakialam kahit nahulog na yung bunso niya sa kinatatayuang bato. At very apt na si Shayne talaga ang tumigil para saluhin ang bata.)

6. “Minsan isang umaga babalikan kita.” One of the saddest final lines ever written.

Kung marami kang pent-up emotions today, panoorin mo na siya. Wag kalimutan ang box ng tissue.

Rating: ★★★★☆

MOVIE REVIEW: THE LOVE AFFAIR (Nuel Naval, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Love Affair:

1. Let’s get this out of the way. If you’re a woman who feels a sense of redemption and triumph in seeing a mistress put in her proper place (refer to No Other Woman, The Mistress, The Legal Wife, and countless viral videos of wives confronting and ultimately bitchslapping their husbands’ kulasisi), then nothing should stop you from seeing this movie. Definitely no judgments here. Kabit movies have always been a good source of entertainment for us Pinoys.

2. Speaking of kabit movies, there were so many similarities between this and Maryo J. delos Reyes’ A Love Story. It involved a doctor meeting a future lover through an accident, multiple flashbacks, water sports, and confrontation scenes that all it needed was an out of the country location. But then again, all kabit movies usually follow the same formula so I shouldn’t have expected anything new.

3. I was completely distracted by the poor production values. All those out of focus shots, bad lighting, and horrendous dubbing were unusual for a Star Cinema glossy movie.

4. I know that people lose their bearings and cool when placed in stressful situations but I was still shocked by the words coming out of these professionals’ mouths. For a doctor and lawyer, their liberal use of the words suso, or libog, or Shit, or Fuck just sounded really off. Maybe the dialogue was indeed sprinkled with these vulgar words for shock value. Either that or I was just being a complete prude.

5. Bea Alonzo to ex-boyfriend Tom Rodriguez: “I know this is your house, but I need you to leave. Kelangan ko ng buong araw para makapag-impake ng gamit ko.”

Nasaan ang pride, girl?

6. I feared a lot for the characters’ health and wellness. Lagi na lang umuulan and almost all of them got soaked because they just loved making drama under the pouring rain. Have they never heard of pneumonia?

7. I had a great time watching Bea’s cuts and bruises appear, disappear and re-appear in several scenes. If you would look closely in one of the stairs scenes, Bea’s shirt was actually stained on the back with the same color as her arm bruises. No wonder they keep disappearing.

8. If you’re a lawyer applying for a job in a prestigious firm, won’t you even try to cover the cut on your forehead and try not to look like a walking liability? I can recommend a good concealer dear.

9. This movie gave a whole new meaning to serendipity. Bea and Richard Gomez just kept bumping into each other in the weirdest places and situations. The fact that they didn’t end up together only supported the theory of #WalangForever.

10. In one scene, Richard offered a ride to Bea:

“You wanna borrow my car?”
“No, I’ll just use Grab.”

And with that, GrabTaxi just one-upped Uber.

11. I loved the best friend/conscience played by Ina Feleo. She was judgmental with reason and that scene where she slapped Bea silly was justified. I could only wish for more friends just like her.

12. Whatever happened to Ana Capri? She played the stereotypical pokpok role here but she’s still one of the best pokpoks in Philippine Cinema. Please give her more projects that will put her great acting skills to good use (e.g. Pila Balde, Live Show, Sa Paraiso ni Efren).

13. Walang ibang kinakain ang pamilya nina Richard at Dawn kundi ice cream at kape? Like really. For real. In real life.

14. Can someone explain the following:

a. Why does Richard have a neck pimple in all past and present scenes? When will he pop that damn thing?

b. What happened to the lips of Evangeline Pascual? Call a doctor, stat!

c. Is there any effect if a defibrillator is used on top of tubes or an actual hospital gown?

d. Can anyone identify the man wearing a blue shirt in the elevator scene and explain why he suddenly disappeared in the next scene?

e. Why is every day Valentine’s Day in this movie?

15. I did not fancy that daddy swimwear of Richard. He went swimming with shades on his head, a white shirt and shorts, and a watch. Cringe.

16. And there was this sex sa batuhan scene that made me really uncomfortable just thinking of all the scratches that will get inflicted on Bea’s supple back. And don’t get me started on all the lumot.

17. Bea typed “Vincent Ramos neurosurgeon wife” in Google and all the pictures of Dawn suddenly showed up. Wow, how popular was Richard’s character?

18. As expected, there was a confrontation scene between Dawn and Bea wherein two intelligent, classy professionals forgot their breeding and good manners and tried to outwit and outbitch each other. These two great actresses deserved much better. Besides, nothing could ever beat the classic Maricel-Zsa Zsa scene in Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin:

“Wag mo kong ma-Terry Terry. Sagutin mo ang tanong ko ‘Are you FACKING my husband??!'”

19. “Pagod na pagod na ko ginagago ng mga taong mahal ko.” Naku, deserved mo yan girl.

20. Was I the only one wishing for John Lloyd Cruz or Zanjoe Marudo to suddenly show up in the end and deliver the typical Star Cinema (really) happy ending? Cue Alamid’s Your Love.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 13, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE UNMARRIED WIFE (Maryo J. Delos Reyes, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Unmarried Wife:

1. I had an overwhelming sense of deja vu while watching this newest kabit movie from Star Cinema. Hmm, a non-linear narrative written by Vanessa Valdez and directed by Maryo J. Delos Reyes where Angelica Panganiban played a scorned wife trying to win her husband back. Oh, it was 2007’s A Love Story! Only without a plot twist to support the chosen style.

Well, that movie was a box office hit so they probably wanted to employ the same technique and replicate the same commercial success. Or maybe the non-chronological events would distract the audience from the fact that this wasn’t any different from the normal kabitserye on Primetime Bida.

2. Angelica played Anne, a group director for the feminine hygiene division in an advertising agency. Her smart pitch for a sanitary napkin involved a recollection of the best days with her father with the slogan “I’m an Always Free girl because of my dad”. I wish this were an actual commercial because it would definitely crack me up and send me good vibes every time I would see it on TV.

As with any successful career woman in the Star Cinema universe, she was instantly cursed to have a troubled family life. Being accomplished at work apparently meant that she neglected her wife and mother duties at home. The lack of kitchen counter sex was reason enough for her husband Geoff (Dingdong Dantes) to cheat on her. Obviously, Geoff wasn’t an Always Free dad.

3. In one hilariously terrible scene, Anne was caught leaving early by her boss and the exact reason she gave was, “I’m the only wife of my husband. He is not just my husband, he is my life.” Her early out was approved.

4. When Paulo Avelino showed up as the third party Bryan, he was so white that I expected him to sparkle when he took his shirt off. I bet Anne could have made a killer slogan with that one (“Fresh Funda, para sa kutis Twilight”).

5. It was really hard to take the movie seriously when it was peppered with these lines that wanted to one-up the Quiapo dialogue in No Other Woman:

• “Mabuti pa ang mga isda hindi kelangan makipagkiskisan sa mga asawa.”

• “Ang itlog kapag hindi nalilimliman ay nabubulok. Ang pechay kapag hindi nadidiligan ay nalalanta.”

• “Ano ba ang sorry sa’yo? Isang lisensya para paulit-ulit mo akong lokohin at gaguhin?”

• “Wag mo akong gawing parausan kasi mawawalan ng silbi ang kabit mo!”

6. But wait, there’s more! As expected, there was a confrontation slash showdown with an equally-bitchy mistress played by Maricar Reyes. Women, you might want to write these down for future reference:

• “Akala ko naliligaw lang ako. Bakit andito ka sa Quezon City eh mas bagay ka sa Makati?”

• “Ayoko mahawa sa kadumihan mo. Wala akong dalang panglinis.”

• “Can you not fuck my husband?” (“Wag mo ‘kong ma-Terry-Terry!!”)

All of these lines were delivered with flared nostrils and in full nanlilisik ang mga mata mode. Madam Claudia Buenavista, isdatchu?

7. To be fair, there was a good story here somewhere. I have always wondered why women stay in abusive relationships for the sake of marriage or their kids (“When our men are weak, we have to be stronger”). Also, why do we always have this fantasy that cheaters will change their ways and that love will always lead them back to us? Why does our local justice system seem to heavily work in favor of men? Why does society still have this double standard in terms of cheating husbands vs cheating wives (not that they’re justifiable)?

If only the movie tried to explore these concepts further instead of reveling in the usual soap opera tropes.

8. Most of the performances here were okay so it was a welcome treat to see Mart Escudero (as the typical gay assistant) delivering the most crowd-pleasing line, “I don’t want your life Ma’m. Ayoko maging katulad n’yo na ginagawa kaming punching bag sa mga hanash n’yo sa buhay”, sabay walk-out. Also, Denise Laurel in Shakira extensions. Enough said.

9. At least the movie followed the general rule in ’90s melodrama: Lahat ng pwedeng mabasag, dapat mabasag. Goodbye kitchenware! So long wine bottle! You will be missed windshield!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆