ANG HENERASYONG SUMUKO SA LOVE (Jason Paul Laxamana, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Super concerned ako sa tropang ito kasi di pinag-usapan ang transpo nung nag-anniversary reunion sila sa kanilang out-of-town meeting place. Seryoso, hiwa-hiwalay ang pagdating? Close ba talaga sila?

Tapos yung movie was really less about their friendship and more on their individual lives. Yung parang US network show na mag-reminisce yung isang character tapos biglang flashback sa story niya. Meron sila kanya-kanyang segments that depicted their mostly petty problems (least of all yung love, kaya di ko rin nakuha ang title).

Si Ma-an (Jane Oineza) naunahan na ni Ellenya L. Desperate siya for online validation pero ang chaka ng content ng vlogs. Kelangan pa niya mag-drawing ng line graph before ma-realize na mas mataas na ang subscriber count niya kesa sa jowa ng ex niya (whut?).

Si Denzel (Jerome Ponce) naman ay bakla kasi siya yung loud, bitchesa, at tumitili kapag may pumuputok na lobo. Maayos pa naman umarte si Jerome in his previous films pero itinodo niya ang pagiging screaming queen dito. Yung every pilantik ng kamay eh di mo makakalimutan ang gender niya. Tapos nagmahal siya ng isang guy na ayaw siya i-kiss until official na sila pero gusto ng open relationship (huh? Mga vaklang twoooh!). Nasayang tuloy ang budget Magic Mike moves niya.

(Side note: Anim na seniors ang nag-walk out sa segment na ‘to kasi puro Grindr hook-ups. So plus one star agad kasi nabawasan ang ngumunguya ng chicharon sa sinehan.)

Ang mag-jowa na Hadj (Albie Casiño) at Junamae (Myrtle Sarrosa) mag-MU kaya sila pero hindi talaga sila (wait, anong term sa ganito ng current generation, pang-thunders na kasi ang MU). Nakakatawa si Hadj kasi siya yung infatuated sa Hollywood rom-coms kaya puro couples lang ang nakikita niya kahit saan tumingin. Pero feeling ko mahilig din siya sa Pinoy melodrama bilang nag-ala Gabby Concepcion acting via Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin siya nung lalayasan na ni Junamae (yan talaga pangalan niya baka tatay niya si Jun at nanay si Inamae jk).

Yung story ni Kurt (Tony Labrusca) ang pinaka-nagustuhan ko kasi nag-resonate sa akin yung situation niya na burnout sa work kaya affected ang physical and mental state niya. Nakakadala ang scene na umiiyak na lang siya habang tuloy-tuloy ang pagtanggap niya ng trabaho kasi kelangan (and also kasi nga di na sya nakakapag-isip ng maayos). Nung nag-describe siya na blank ang feeling kahit ano pa ang ma-achieve niya, ramdam ko yun sobra.

Sayang talaga kasi kulang sa bonding ang mga characters na ‘to. Di ko man lang alam paano sila naging magkakasundo given their different attitudes and personalities. Dinaan na lang sa isang montage sa dulo before hugging it out over a sensitive matter. I guess hanggang ganun na lang talaga siya. Wag na daw tayo magreklamo as long as naghuhubad lagi si Tony dito.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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YOU ARE THE ONE (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2006)

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“You Filipinos are so melodramatic. You’re not even my girlfriend and you, like, expect me to give you my soul or something.”

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

May truth behind it pero deserve pa rin ni Vernard (Sam Milby) masampal.

Salamat Sally Malasmas (Toni Gonzaga), ang naghiganti para sa lahat ng mga Pinoy na na-deny ang US visa.

(Seriously though, this film’s an underrated gem.)

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

THE PANTI SISTERS (Jun Lana, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Nung napanood ko pa lang yung teaser nito (with that wonderful Dalagang Pilipina remix), na-excite na ako sobra. Based kasi sa recent baklaan films ni Jun Lana (like my favorite Die Beautiful), usually smart ang humor at hindi basta dinadaan sa typical Pinoy slapstick or lowbrow comedy na naglalaitan ng itsura (insert your chosen MMFF entry here). Sad to say, napamura na lang ako na parang si Heneral Luna habang palala nang palala ang takbo ng pelikula.

Kahit nagamit na sa trailer, benta pa rin sa ’kin yung “Sa exit ka dumaan, hindi sa entrance” scene nina Gabriel (Paolo Ballesteros) at Kat (Roxanne Barcelo). Tapos nakakaaliw na faux brand fashionista slash film lover si Samuel (Christian Bables, bringing back that fabulous Barbs vibe) bilang nakasuot siya ng Supreeme at Mosohino habang nagde-deliver ng quotes from Himala, Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit, at It Takes a Man and a Woman. At ang cute ng datingan ni K-Pop Daniel (Martin del Rosario) lalo na nung iniiyakan niya ang kanyang Pepe.

Nakakatawa naman talaga ang ibang parts lalo na sa simula kasi maganda ang batuhan ng linya at eksenahan ng mga sizies. Yung magagaling na performances ng tatlo talaga ang nagdala ng buong movie (kasama na rin si John Arcilla as the coldhearted, homophobic father Don Emilio). Kung meron man talaga part 2 (as hinted during the end credits), sana magamit ng husto ang overflowing talents nila.

Sayang lang at mabilis naging repetitive ang jokes, from the breaking the fourth wall (na very local sitcom) to the nth Panti equals panty punchline (that also ruined a touching scene in the end). Yun ngang long table parang nagamit na sa exact same gag ng Kalyeserye (bakit sikat ang bahay ni Lola Nidora sa PPP? Ito rin ang bahay sa Circa).

Ang gulo ng transitions minsan lalo na yung sa kare-kareng kokak na napunta bigla sa abortion talk. Cute pa naman sana yung entire Moon Prism Power Make-up sequence (lalo na at ang genuine ng interactions ng magkakapatid) kaso sobrang haba ng fight scene na hindi naman nakakatawa. Buti bumawi ng slight sa hilarious “Ikaw ay Akin” mata-mata showdown.

Pero ang worst offense ng pelikula ay yung biglang naging drama sa dulo just to drive home its point. Yung feeling na parang isinasampal sa pagmumukha ng audience ang message na hindi salot ang mga bakla (kahit na may ongoing joke na nagnanasa ang Pantis sa kanilang cousins at hypocrite ang hindi aamin) at kelangan ng lahat ma-enlighten sa necessity ng SOGIE bill at gay marriage (para hindi mapilitang magpakasal ang mga bakla sa fag hags nila habang todo ang muk-up sa simbahan; pumayag si Father?). Yes, important ang topics, pero nagkulang talaga sa execution.

Anyare sa subtlety? Kulang na lang merong “Ang mga bakla na lumilipad ay mahal ng Diyos, di kumukupas…” remix.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

CUDDLE WEATHER (Rod Marmol, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Ang tapang ni Sue Ramirez bilang Adela/Stephanie/Marie/(your hooker alias is your first pet + street name). Ganitong klaseng marupokpok (sorry, sex worker) role ang di gagawin ng mga contemporaries niya sa takot na mawalan ng Modess endorsement deal. Pero siya deadma lang at todo emote habang pinapakain ang kanyang sushi sa mga DOM.

Hindi ko alam saang mundo nag-e-exist ang realidad daw na ito. Nagpuputa si Adela kasi wala siyang ibang skills para kumita ng pera pero wala lang sa kanya magbayad ng 1k para sa ilang oras ng cuddling. Girl, di mo man lang ba naisip kung ano ang isinubo mo para dyan? (At may scene pa na nagtapon siya ng 1000 peso bills sa balcony ng condo niya na parang siya si Old Rose sa Titanic na nagtapon ng Heart of the Ocean.)

Tapos ibinahay niya si Ram (RK Bagatsing) and acted as his mentor slash bugaw with the condition na hindi siya titigasan sa kanya (and syempre bawal ma-in love, although alam naman natin lahat saan ito mapupunta bilang kasama ang Migraine ng Moonstar 88 sa soundtrack).

Nung una akala ko magiging Pretty Woman ang story, except na call boy din si Richard Gere. Pero with Adela’s purple wig and statement na ang pokpok ay hindi nagsasabi ng totoong pangalan, na-realize ko na mas gusto niya ang Closer feels as a Pinoy romcom. Yung ultimo pagtatahi meron hugot (“Minsan kapag ayaw pumasok, sabihan mo lang ng I love you at papasok din yan.”). Nyek.

Ang unfortunate kasi may dalang lungkot ang love story ng dalawang mahirap na pokpok trying to salvage whatever’s left of their dignity. Kahit medyo na-bother ako na puro matrona ang clientele ni Ram para matuloy ang love story. Magandang layer sana na tanggap din ni Adela na pumapatol siya sa bakla, no?

Sayang din kasi malakas ang chemisty nina Sue at RK at may dalang kilig yung slow dance nila sa kalsada under the neon warmth of the red light district (bilang hindi nag-JS Prom si Ram). Kaso kulang talaga eh. Kung sila nga walang paki at tuloy ang landian kahit may nag-ra-raid na sa motmot nila eh mas lalo ako walang paki sa kanila. Go lang humayo kayo at magpaka-pokpok.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

ON THE JOB (Erik Matti, 2013)

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A near flawless movie marred only by the weak performance of Gerald Anderson. He was a pussy in a group of roaring lions.

This was a smart and stylish thriller (it reminded me so much of The Departed) that left me depressed with the current state of local politics.

Aside from the skillful direction of Erik Matti, its cinematography and score made the film a cut above the usual Pinoy film noir.

Joel Torre gave a magnificent, towering performance. I admired all the restraint in his acting. Joey Marquez and Leo Martinez were also great.

Really sad to see Gerald in the central role, though. His stilted and phony delivery almost ruined the movie for me. Coco Martin wasn’t available?

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published September 8, 2013.)

JUST ONE SUMMER (Mac Alejandre, 2012)

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This movie was pure torture to sit through, especially since it made a lot of our talented local actors come out hysterical and hammy (Joel Torre with eyes popping out of their sockets, Cherry Pie Picache acting subdued and lazy, Alice Dixson sounding shrill, and a worthless supporting turn from Ms. Gloria Romero).

I tried to think of something nice to say but with the poor direction and terrible performances, I just couldn’t.

Elmo Magalona delivered his lines like he was in a declamation contest (in time for Buwan ng Wika). Oh, and there was a “gulong-gulong down the burol” scene that will probably end up as the most cringeworthy moment in Pinoy cinema this year.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 24, 2012.)

MISS GRANNY (Hwang Dong-hyuk, 2014)

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Miss Granny nga diba? So tungkol sa lola? Na merong paboritong apo? Tapos pinanood mo pa rin Javier! Ano iyak ka? Iyak ka ngayon?

I completely get why this Korean feel-good fantasy already had multiple successful Asian reincarnations. I can already imagine how this will work in a Pinoy setting.

Now I’m even more eager to see if Bebe Idol Sarah Geronimo and Nova Villa can match (or even exceed) the wonderful performances of the two leads here. Can’t wait!!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 21, 2018.)

SALVAGE (Sherad Anthony Sanchez, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Although admirable for its unapologetic commitment to craziness and its interesting take on some Pinoy mythologies, the film as a whole just didn’t work for me.

Jessy Mendiola registered well onscreen, but the role needed an actress with a bit more depth (and an actual scream queen). I had more fun watching the Barbie character (now she was a real shrieker).

Also, this fell victim to the basic pitfalls of the found footage genre (characters running for their dear lives, yet continuously filming for documentation purposes). Seriously, if an aswang was running after me, posting a potential viral video would be the least of my priorities.

Pa-explain ng ending ples.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 19, 2017.)

RAKETEROS (Randy Santiago, 2013)

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A comedy that felt old and made me feel old. It should have been turned into a sitcom instead.

Raketeros harkened back to the 90’s brand of Pinoy comedy with jokes that were incredibly corny and stale, and had the requisite beach scene.

With all the cameos, it was a test of your Pinoy showbiz knowledge. I was able to name all of them, except for one PBB starlet.

Sam Pinto continued her streak of starring in the worst Pinoy movies ever made. She really needs to reconsider her acting career.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published August 12, 2013.)