MOVIE REVIEW: JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Jake Kasdan, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle:

1. If this video game version of Jumanji were real, I’d most probably end up with the Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart) avatar since I’d usually choose the smartest (albeit the physically weakest) character. I never went for warriors or fighters in any role-playing game. I’d usually be a wizard or a mage with the highest intelligence and the strongest spells. Even in my fantasy world, I was the geek choosing brains over brawns.

(Also, cake would aptly be my weakness that would cause me to spontaneously combust.)

2. I had really low expectations going in this reboot because I wasn’t that fond of the original material so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this fun popcorn flick. Even if it didn’t make a lot of sense (both as an adventure and video game movie), it was able to capitalize on the individual strengths of its really talented cast.

3. Jack Black was hilarious as a vain teenage girl trapped in an older obese man’s body (his wicked performance reminded me of John Lapus’ in Here Comes the Bride). From his utter disgust upon seeing his reflection, to the way he swished his arms while running away from enemies, down to his inspired quips (“I look like a living garden gnome!”), he fully embraced his character and brought back the funnyman last seen in Nacho Libre.

My favorite moment with him was when he needed to take a leak and saw male genitalia for the first time (“Martha, come look at my penis!!”). I needed a puff of my inhaler after that one.

4. Kevin Hart, with his usual high-pitched delivery, elicited laughs aimed at his character’s height and lack of speed and strength (really laughed hard when he got smacked face first onto the side of a cliff).

The Rock took advantage of his signature eyebrows and smoldering intensity, while Karen Gillan (check out her now-defunct sitcom Selfie!) made awkwardness look really hot and sexy (“Did she twist her ankle?” LOL!). The scene where the two of them had their (sloppy) first kiss was a hoot.

5. When Spencer went to the so-called freak house wearing a yellow raincoat, was that a direct reference to the It movie?

6. How did the board game magically turn into what looked like an updated Atari console? Also, wasn’t it too advanced to have four controllers slash players during the late ‘90s gaming era? If anything, I definitely geeked out at specific references such as NPC (non-player characters) and the spot-on explanation of cut scenes.

When a character gave one of her lives to another, I was even reminded of the game Contra when my brother would steal my lives because he was a weak player (peace bro!). Another sequence where they had to step only on the white bricks or had to freeze not to get killed by booby traps was reminiscent of Resident Evil. Cool gaming stuff!!

7. Speaking of references, the Alex character (Nick Jonas) reminded me yet again of my age when he mentioned Cindy Crawford and used catchphrases like ‘so fly’. But seriously, the 90s supermodels were like royalty back then, no? Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and company were ‘the bomb’.

I even rented the VHS copy of box office flop Fair Game several times from ACA Video to pay my respect to the wonderful acting of Crawford and William Baldwin (train rides were never the same after watching that). Be kind, rewind? I sure did.

(Also, the women were obviously invested in this Jonas brother because there were audible gasps in the audience when he got bitten by a mosquito. Ok, I gasped as well. So what?)

8. Shelly Oberon (Black) screaming “Yassss kweeen!” to Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan) was the highlight of my week.

9. I wasn’t the only one that teared up a bit during that Alan Parrish scene, right? *sniff, sniff*

Rating: ★★★☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: ZOOLANDER 2 (Ben Stiller, 2016)

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My notes on Zoolander 2:

1. The original Zoolander was a clever comedy that tried to stretch its Blue Steel joke for an hour and succeeded. It was a brutal satire on the fashion industry that was really meant to be dumb and offensive.

This sequel was the movie equivalent of reheated leftover pizza. It was the exact same pizza with the exact same toppings, only not as good compared to when it was freshly-delivered. No amount of extra hot sauce cameos could make it any less stale.

2. Why do a lot of people still hate Justin Bieber? I always tried to separate his private life from his music so I ended up getting really addicted with his newest album Purpose (I listened to it once or twice a day, and by once or twice I meant maybe a couple of hundred times). People actually cheered when he got killed with a million bullets during the opening sequence and I didn’t find it funny. I mean seriously, that scene wasn’t even remotely funny (just like the remaining hour and thirty minutes of the movie). And where were his bodyguards anyway? Didn’t they usually end up on TMZ for treating him like a baby?

3. Sample juvenile joke:

“Jack Ryan and Jack Reacher. Tonight will be a total jack-off!”

The two horny teens in front of me laughed their asses off.

4. Aside from the Bieber cameo, there were tons of celebrities (Susan Sarandon, Billy Zane, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Sting, Susan Boyle, John Malkovich) and fashion luminaries (Alexander Wang, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss) that also showed up, proving that Ben Stiller was still an A-list star after the disastrous Night at the Museum sequel (hey, maybe he should avoid these sequels, especially a possible The Watch 2 ugh!). I may never be able to look at Kiefer Sutherland and think Jack Bauer ever again, except with a pet goat and a sumo wrestler.

The best cameo, though, was by Benedict Cumberbatch who played the androgynous supermodel All whose mantra “All is All” was directly lifted from the original Queen of Philippine Music Anna Dizon is Anna Dizon.

5. The movie was at its best taking potshots at the fashion industry and calling Anna Wintour the White Witch of Narnia, shaming Tommy Hilfiger as White Privilege, and mocking Marc by Marc Jacobs. Was it completely mean? Yes, but still hilarious (besides, these personalities were all game).

6. In one scene, Valentina (played by the eternally gorgeous Penelope Cruz) said, “Please accept my apologies”, and Zoolander replied with, “None taken”. It was the type of senseless humor that we should have gotten more of here. Anyway, apology accepted and no offense taken, but no more Zoolander 3, please!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆