MOVIE REVIEW: URBAN LEGEND (Jamie Blanks, 1998)

Eto na ba ang weirdest stories na kayang maisip ng mga Amerikano? Walang-wala yan sa imagination nating mga Pinoy.

Maliban sa ahas lover ni Alice Dixson sa Robinson’s Galleria (na take note, twin ni billionaire heiress Robina Gokongwei), aliw na aliw ako nung lumabas ang kuwento na gawa sa pusa ang siopao. Sinabi pa sa akin ng pinsan ko na tingnan ko daw yung mark sa siopao kasi yun ang magsasabi kung ano ang laman niya (kapag yellow dot asado, red dot for bola-bola, at pink dot for sio-meow). Matagal din ako hindi kumain sa Hen Lin nun.

Syempre natakot din ako sa sinabi ng lola ko na wag ako lalabas kapag tanghali (tirik ang araw) kasi meron manunupot (meaning taong naglalagay ng mga bata sa supot). Yung dugo daw ng mga bata ang ginagamit pampatibay ng mga tulay tapos pinupugot ang ulo nila at isinasama sa semento. Kaya kapag dumadaan kami nun sa tulay ng Tanauan sa Batangas, napapaisip ako ilang matitigas na ulong bata na ang nakahalo dun. Buti na lang lagi ako natutulog kapag tanghali.

Pero ang pinaka-orkot moment talaga eh yung tungkol sa White Lady ng Balete Drive. Yung bigla na lang sumasakay sa likuran ng kotse kapag napadaan ka dun ng hatinggabi. Tapos nagka-movie pa na si Zsa Zsa Padilla yung white lady na biglang naging naaagnas na bangkay habang nagsasayaw. Isang buwan ata akong hindi nag-banyo ng gabi dahil sa hinayupak na pelikulang yun. Dapat siningil ko ang Seiko Films para sa UTI bill ko. Huling balita napadpad sa Concha Cruz Drive sa Parañaque yung white lady. Hindi ko rin alam bakit naisipan pa niyang pumunta sa South. Baka gustong mag-malling sa Alabang Town Center.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: FENG SHUI (Chito Roño, 2004)

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Bakit ba tuwang-tuwa tayo na nakikitang pinahihirapan si Kris Aquino? Blockbuster halos lahat ng massacre movies at horror films niya kahit ang chaka niya talaga umarte at mas nakakatawa kesa nakakaawa siya kapag sumisigaw.

Kung si Ate Guy na-perfect ang pagluha sa isang mata lang, kabog siya dito ni Kris na mala-bidet ang tatlo-tatlong chunky na luhang pumapatak sa mga mata niya.

Speaking of chunky, sobrang underrated talaga nung batang kapitbahay nila dito. Tawang-tawa pa rin ako nung sarap na sarap siya sa Purefoods Chunkee Corned Beef (“Ang sarap! Iba ‘tong sa inyo no, buo buo pa!!”). Hahahaha! Tapos ang classic lang nung scene na nagtakbuhan na sila palabas ng bahay tapos yung mag-aama sumakay sa kotse at siya ay hirap na hirap mag-bisikleta palayo. Langhiyang tatay yun haha!

Memorable talaga yung death sequence dito ni Lotlot de Leon. Very Pinoy ng conceit kaya hindi makukuha ng foreign viewers kung gaano kagaling na hinataw siya ng kabayo (as in plantsahan) at nahulog sa mga bote ng Red Horse.

Sana malaki ang bonus nung nakaisip ng teaser nito. Yung may batang kumakanta ng “May uwi si nanay, si nanay sa bahay…”. Kinilabutan ka ba nung maalala mo?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: WHITE HOUSE DOWN (Roland Emmerich, 2013)

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Say something funny because people are dying! Cheese has never been this rotten.

This reeked of a typical Pinoy action movie. I can’t wait for the MMFF version with Jorge Estregan, Jr. and Cesar Montano.

Because there’s always time to be funny in emergency situations. Worst movie I’ve seen this year so far.

The audience seemed to enjoy it, though. There were a lot of cheers and applause in our screening. Don’t let me stop you.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published July 8, 2013.)

MOVIE REVIEW: WASHINGTON SQUARE (Agnieszka Holland, 1997)

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Even with a wonderfully talented cast that included Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney, and Dame Maggie Smith, it was still no match with the brilliant ensemble of Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal (Queen Maricel 4ever!).

I really liked the glaring differences with its Pinoy counterpart, though (the absolute lack of melodrama and camp, a less caricaturish and more caring Doctor, a restrained yet equally bittersweet ending).

Your adaptation’s next, Miss de Havilland.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published June 10, 2018.)

MOVIE REVIEW: I AM SAM (Jessie Nelson, 2001)

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In the hilarious and incredibly politically-incorrect Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey, Jr. in full blackface said, “Never go full retard. Ask Sean Penn in I Am Sam. He went full retard and went home empty handed” and this movie was never the same again.

On a related note, a young Dakota Fanning was spectacular here and her name would also never be the same again after entering the Pinoy gay lexicon.

Loved, loved, loved the mostly Beatles soundtrack.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published April 27, 2017.)

MOVIE REVIEW: ABANDONADA (Joel Lamangan, 2000)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Bakit nga ba naging masama ang connotation ng salitang “katulong”? Masasabihan ka agad na bastos at matapobre kapag yan ang ginamit mo sa halip na “kasambahay”. Malinaw naman na ang root word nito ay tulong kaya angkop na translation ng house help. Wala naman nakakahiya o nakakababa sa pagtulong. Kapag naririnig ko nga ang salitang kasambahay parang kasama lang sa bahay at walang ginagawa kahit sila talaga ang nagbabanat ng buto araw-araw.

Anyway, naalala ko lang yan kasi pre-woke era pa ang pelikulang ito. Masasabihan ngayon na hindi politically-correct bilang katulong pa ang gamit na salita. Very Pinoy ang drama kasi si Gemma (Maricel Soriano) na nakulong sa Canada at nahiwalay sa kanyang anak ay umuwi ng Pilipinas matapos makalaya at namasukan bilang maid sa mismong bahay ng kanyang asawang si Edwin (Edu Manzano) na kasal na sa ibang babaeng si Cindy (Angelu de Leon). (Nahilo ba kayo slight?)

Maayos naman ang paglalahad ng class distinctions. Sa sobrang laki ng bahay ay bihira magkita ang mga may-ari at mga kasambahay. Advantage ito para kay Gemma kasi hindi siya pwedeng mamukhaan ng demonyo niyang ex (na sa mga flashbacks ay ipinakitang lasenggero at abusive).

Pero dahil nga very Pinoy ang takbo ng kwento, naging conventional sa bandang gitna na umabot sa sampalan, kidnapan, at barilan sa loob ng isang sinehan (na di nalalayo sa ginamit sa Serbis). Nawala ang malinaw na motivations ng mga characters. Parang lahat sila biglang hindi na nag-iisip ng tama.

Sayang kasi ang daming themes na interesting kung natutukan lang. Yung family abandonment issue related sa OFWs, yung subplot ng euthanasia, at kahit yung battered wife syndrome. Very burgis pa ng character ni Cindy kasi after siya bugbugin ng asawa eh naisipan niyang… mag-horseback riding. Yes, basag ang mukha niya pero ang cute ng equestrian outfit niya.

Yan talaga ang hirap kapag hindi mo nakikita ang iyong mga kasama sa bahay. Walang magsasabi na kelangan mo pa dagdagan ang iyong concealer.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: MORON 5 AND THE CRYING LADY (Wenn Deramas, 2012)

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Deramas scraped the bottom of the barrel with this idiotic movie filled with corny dated jokes and groan-worthy punchlines. I thought Praybeyt Benjamin (currently the highest-grossing Pinoy movie of all time) was his most pitiful work with its strained humor but it just got dethroned. At least that movie had a genuine comedian in Vice Ganda; this one had five actors all doing their darndest to be funny. Failing to elicit laughs would be an understatement. My constant eye-rolling almost caused a seizure. There was only one good bit involving John Lapus brilliantly imitating the cast of Shaider. Everything else was the usual piece of crap expected from the director’s brand of comedy.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published April 10, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: HITMAN (Cesar Montano, 2012)

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If Montano was trying to bring back the glory days of Pinoy action movies, then he had ultimately failed with this piece of crap. Except for the opening credits (that didn’t feature the usual red fonts), everything in this movie was horrendous. The actors could barely act (Sam Pinto could have been replaced by a mannequin and nobody would have noticed), the screenplay was one big mess (did we really have to hear Montano comment on all the action that was happening onscreen?), and the direction was simply sloppy.

This was the kind of movie that you’d: 1) kick yourself in the head for wasting time and money on, and 2) wish would end after 30 minutes. Easily one of the worst movies of the year.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published March 23, 2012.)