TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Jonathan Liebesman, 2014)

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Wait, how did they order all those pizzas from Pizza Hut?

So what childhood cartoon will you ruin next Michael Bay and Megan Fox? Thundercats?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published September 4, 2014.)

BUMBLEBEE (Travis Knight, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Bumblebee:

1. Never thought l’d see the day that I would actually like a Transformers movie from the Michael Bay Non-Biodegradable Universe. How could I not be that pessimistic when this was the most revered film series in Razzie history? Revenge of the Fallen as Worst Picture? Definitely! Bay as Worst Director for Age of Extinction? Well-deserved! I only watched most of them out of pure nostalgia (and a self-diagnosed masochism, of course!). Unsurprisingly, the best entry (so far) only needed a director not named Michael Bay.

2. Although it still contained a huge amount of robot on robot action (that reminded me so much of the 4D ride in Universal Studios Singapore), more time was spent on the blossoming friendship between Bumblebee and Charlie Watson (Academy Award nominee and certified #PinoyFried Hailee Steinfeld). Who knew that beneath all the metal exterior lay the heart of this awesome prequel? (More than meets the eye? Take that, Star Wars!!)

3. If you immediately fell in love with the terrific Steinfeld as soon as she started air drumming here (and you had only seen her in the Pitch Perfect sequels), now would be a good time to catch up on her much better films like True Grit and The Edge of Seventeen.

(And yes, I still think she would have made a better Belle in the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake.)

4. One of my favorite moments was when Bumblebee first transformed in the garage. He got himself all tangled up with a kite, stumbled over, and then cowered in fear while sitting in one corner. More than just looking really cute (in an aww shucks way you would feel towards a scared child), he had never looked and felt more human.

There was also a lot of effective (intentional) humor in this movie that included him stomping on a car or doing a radical impression of Judd Nelson’s fist pump in The Breakfast Club (which was just as funny as Kimmy’s in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). Cue the classic Don’t You Forget About Me.

And speaking of classic songs, I was happy that Bumblebee eventually learned to like The Smiths (although it was still unforgivable that he hated Kuya Dick’s Never Gonna Give You Up).

5. Happy to see Pamela Adlon on the big screen as Charlie’s mother. I wish they could find a way to incorporate this in Better Things with Sam getting her big break as a supporting actress in a huge Hollywood production.

6. Alf and Miami Vice references. A picture of then-President Ronald Reagan. Posters for The Thing and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yet the biggest giveaway for me that this took place in the 80’s was the noisy dot matrix printer.

(Also, did they suggest that the Decepticons actually invented the internet?)

7. So Charlie started the Bird Box Challenge? (Kids, do not try this on the road unless you own Bumblebee.)

8. Ahh, so that was the Camaro explanation. Goodbye pendong peace!!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (Roland Emmerich, 2016)

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My notes on Independence Day: Resurgence:

1. Similar to a Michael Bay classic, I would always watch a Roland Emmerich movie with below zero expectations and so I entered the theater armed with a tub of popcorn and a large Pepsi ready for some mindless alien action and global destruction. Hey, this was the director who was fond of destroying national landmarks and gave us disaster (literally and figuratively) flicks such as the first Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. How bad could this sequel be, right?

Well, Emmerich just took a dump in Hollywood, flung his excrements onscreen, and it resulted to this stinker that just cost me two hours of my precious life. Will Smith made the best decision of his career by not being involved with this dud.

2. One would think that twenty years after the original, the visual effects here would be mind-blowing. Unfortunately, they looked even worse than those used in the 1999 bomb Wing Commander (which reminded me, what ever happened to Freddie Prinze, Jr.?). Heck, even the ones in the original 1977 Star Wars were better. What was left to watch?

3. I first liked Bill Pullman back in his matinee idol days when he stole his brother-in-a-coma’s girlfriend Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping. Most of my female friends fell in love with him though as Christina Ricci’s father in Casper (and no, I wasn’t saying they had daddy issues). Seeing him now all wrinkled up with gray hair made me feel really old (although I think those female friends would now call him a DILF).

4. The lame attempts at humor were so bad that I was audibly groaning in my seat, although I (unintentionally) laughed out loud whenever the Asian commander gave the scientific names of different species. I could actually picture Kuya Kim saying things like, “At ang tawag sa alien na ito ay alienatus chararata hango sa salitang chararat na ang ibig sabihin ay panget na alien.”

5. I knew I was watching something terrible because:

• New characters were introduced an hour into the movie (more fillers, more fun!).

• My favorite scene was when Vivica A. Fox promised her son that she was not going to die and then plunged to her fiery death a few minutes later (what spoiler alert? I just saved you time and money).

• The end credits listed five screenwriters and they couldn’t even give one decent line to indie darling Charlotte Gainsbourg.

• I cared more about the dog’s safety over a bus full of human characters.

6. So wait, it took twenty years of planning on the aliens’ side and they still could not come up with a decent strategy to take over the world and prevent Liam Hemsworth from peeing before them? Well with that sneak peek, at least one of them died happy.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

THE CHOICE (Ross Katz, 2016)

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My notes on The Choice:

1. Nicholas Sparks movies should now be classified as cinematic junk food, alongside Michael Bay blockbusters and Adam Sandler comedies. They have low nutritional brain value, usually with excessive cheese or sugar, and should never be consumed in high doses unless you want severely clogged arteries. I guess that’s also why we only get one (or max two) of them every year to enjoy. Anything more than that would be lethal.

2. This one followed the same Sparks formula from beginning to end and your enjoyment will depend on your tolerance level for cornball entertainment and three-hankie weepie conflicts. Here’s a Sparks movie checklist for reference:

• Usually set in a Southern town, preferably a coastal village (increasing the chances of a sappy boat ride scene, fyi, Ikaw with Sharon Cuneta and Ariel Rivera did it much better)

• Two young lovers that are direct opposites will still fall in love with each other and undergo self-realization and acceptance (most likely with a love triangle or square, for them to fight for their love)

• Rain, lots and lots of rain, where our lovers will run in, make tampisaw, heavily kiss or fornicate under without any fear of getting pneumonia

• Love notes and love letters will still be used in this time of iMessage and emails because they are just so romantic

• The vehicle of choice would be a pick-up truck or a motorcycle because they are darn masculine and sexy

• Possible meet-up at a town fair and may include a ferris wheel ride as needed

• Empty platitudes that the viewers can quote and tweet about after

• Lastly, any form of tragedy that will be introduced in the third act to ensure a downpour of tears (death through leukemia, cancer, Alzheimer’s, a car accident, war, state of coma)

3. It was funny seeing a religious girl (with a boyfriend) talk about her faith and then flirt with another guy who’s also in a relationship. Since the movie was asking us to root for these destined lovers, we were asked to hate on the faithful boyfriend for being busy in his work as a doctor. Are you kidding? This was just hypocrisy at its finest.

4. The best part of the movie were the really cute dogs, whether they were the basket of puppies or the fully-grown pets. One thing I learned was that you should never name the fresh litter because it would be hard to give them up for adoption. This should be good news for my future puppies especially since I usually give them generic names like Bubbles or Spot regardless of gender or actual spots on their skin.

5. I sobbed my eyes out when the line “I wish I could breathe for you” was uttered. And then the puka shell chimes signaled a change of fate and I started cheering with the rest of audience. Pure cheese, I’m warning you.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆