MOVIE REVIEW: LOVE THE WAY Ü LIE (RC delos Reyes, 2020)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Ganito talaga ang klase ng pelikula na dapat pinapanood sa panahon ng pandemic. Yung magpapa-realize sa iyo na napakaikli ng buhay para sayangin sa panonood ng pelikula ni Xian Lim na walang kalatoy-latoy umarte.

Muntik ko na nga hindi tapusin ang pelikula kasi nangangalahati pa lang sobrang naiirita na ako. Si Xian paulit-ulit ang bintang na stalker si Alex Gonzaga (na psychic kaya laging naka-gypsy-gyspsyhan outfit) pero more hatak naman lagi para magpatulong. Yung jowa niya na si Kylie Versoza “died of a car accident” daw pero nabangga ng jeep. Si Alex lang dapat nakakarinig sa multo na si Kylie pero more sigaw ang ibang mga tao tuwing nagsasalita siya.

May eksenang humakbang ang secretary ni Xian sa cable wire offscreen. Tapos normal naman magsalita si Alex pero tinanong sya ni Xian “how it works exactly” at kung sinasapian ba sya ni Kylie. Ha? Hindi naman siya nagboses Sto. Niño diba? Basta nakakairita lahat parang yung umlaut lang sa title. Hindi pa bagay sina Alex at Xian kaya ang apt lang nung Honey, Nasa Langit na Ba Ako? reference with the love team of Regine Velasquez and Janno Gibbs.

Ang daming quirky sound effects at animated doodles at bubbles na mapapaisip ka kung biglang lalabas ang paborito mong K-drama actor. Pero mukhang hindi lang yun ang obvious influence. Hindi ko nga alam kung may pinaglumaang DVD ng Ghost sa Viva office na pilit nilang pinapanood sa mga creatives nila kaya iba’t ibang variations lang nito ang ginagawa nila recently (perfect itong companion piece ng Hindi Tayo Puwede, lalo na sa basurahan). May isang scene pa na garapalang ginaya (ay, homage pala) sa Notting Hill na akala ko madudulas si Xian habang umaakyat ng gate at mapapasigaw ng Filipino equivalent ng “Whoopsie daisy” na “Ay kabayo!!”.

Kung naghahanap kayo ng nakakatawa, fast forward n’yo na lang sa end credits tapos pakinggan n’yo ang nakakarimarim na duet nila ng “Sasakyan Kita” kung saan parang na-impacho kumanta si Xian. Enjoy!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: CAPTAIN BARBELL (Mac Alejandre, 2003)

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Hindi ko talaga ma-take na naging Captain Barbell (Bong Revilla) si Enteng (Ogie Alcasid) dahil lang nagbuhat siya ng random barbell sa Gold’s Gym. Sobrang layo nito sa 80’s version ni Leroy Salvador na tungkol sa value of kindness.

Nakakatawa na dad bod na si Bong dito kaya obvious na hirap na hirap yung harness tuwing lilipad siya or bababa sa lupa. At bakit ba mas concerned ang pelikula sa lovelife niya?

Favorite part ko yung nalaglag sa bangin yung kotse ni Regine Velasquez tapos mga five seconds siya nahuhulog sa ere (in full horrible vfx) bago na-save ni Captain Barbell. Tapos sa halip na magpasalamat, pinabuhat din ng kapatid niya yung kotse nila kasi mahal nga naman ang downpayment diba.

In one dream sequence, lumabas din sina Darna at Lastikman. Bakit nga ba wala tayong Mars Ravelo Cinematic Universe? Mga tagapaghiganti magtipon!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: YOURS TRULY, SHIRLEY (Nigel Santos, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Sayang kasi maayos pa naman si Ate Reg lalo na dun sa subtle iyak moments niya habang nangungulila sa yumaong asawa (Romnick Sarmenta, na may hawak ng secret location ng Fountain of Youth). Winner yung pancit scene niya. Also, ganda ng make-up niya dito. Lakas maka-fresh at makabata ng 10 years.

Sana lang hindi masyadong trying hard magpatawa yung movie. Best moment for me nung nagmano ang friend nila dun sa matandang afam na jowa nung isa pa nilang friend. Worst yung lahat ng eksena ni Dennis Padilla (who also almost ruined Unforgettable), stuck in his corny 90’s comedy acting.

Other random thoughts:

• Ang apt lang nung American Beauty petals scene.
• Ang lakas ni Ate Reg at kayang mag-lift ng isang bayong ng kamias gamit lang ang isang braso.
• Nakaka-LSS yung single ni Jhameson Khervyn (pero nakakairita yung actor kung sino man siya).
• Sinong tao ang mag-iisip na merong isang piling ng talong? Yung totoo?
• Nakakatuwa yung cameo sa dulo at reference sa Heaven Resort.

Oh well, sabi ko nga ang sayang. In Regine-speak, kulang talaga siya ng “Woooooohhhh!”.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: CINEMA ONE ORIGINALS 2019 SCORECARD

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Best Feature-Length Film

1. Sila-Sila (Giancarlo Abrahan) – ★★★☆☆
2. Metamorphosis (J.E. Tiglao) – ★★☆☆☆
3. Tia Madre (Eve Baswel) – ★★☆☆☆
4. Lucid (Victor Villanueva) – ★★☆☆☆
5. Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo (Denise O’Hara) – ★★☆☆☆
6. Yours Truly, Shirley (Nigel Santos) – ★★☆☆☆
7. Utopia (Dustin Celestino) – ★☆☆☆☆
8. O (Kevin Dayrit) – ★☆☆☆☆

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

1. Gio Gahol (Sila-Sila)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

1. Alessandra de Rossi (Lucid)
2. Cherie Gil (Tia Madre)
3. Jana Agoncillo (Tia Madre)
4. Regine Velasquez (Yours Truly, Shirley)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1. Ricky Davao (Metamorphosis)
2. Topper Fabregas (Sila-Sila)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

1. Iana Bernardez (Metamorphosis)
2. Yayo Aguila (Metamorphosis)

Best Short Film

1. Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert (Janina Gacosta, Cheska Marfori) – ★★★★☆
2. Sa Among Agwat (Don Senoc) – ★★★★☆
3. The Slums (Jan Andrei Cobey) – ★★★★☆
4. Ang Lumunod sa Atin (Sonia Marie Regalario) – ★★★☆☆
5. Sa Gitna ng Lungsod (Ivan Cortez) – ★★☆☆☆
6. Last 2 3 4! (Genevieve Ofania) – ★★☆☆☆

Until next year!!

MOVIE REVIEW: WANTED: PERFECT MOTHER (Ike Jarlego, Jr., 1996)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Wanted: Perfect Mother:

1. A strict father slash widower in need of someone to discipline his brats, er, kids hires a singing tutor slash nanny that teaches them the power of love, kindness, and respect through various song and dance production numbers.

Yes, this was The Sound of Music with Regine Velasquez sporting a faux-hawk and heart choker instead of a nun’s habit.

2. So much had changed in terms of child-rearing within the last few decades. There were several scenes here where adults would use force to make the children follow their will (e.g. the yaya played by Tita Winnie Cordero would grab and pull a young girl who didn’t want to go to school). Today, these things would easily fall under child abuse (hello Bantay Bata!). Our elders were able to get away with a lot back then, no?

3. The dad (played by Christopher de Leon, naturally) felt the need to look for a mother to his kids because: a) he didn’t know what tie would match his suit, b) he always woke up to the sound of his kids screaming their lungs out, c) as one of his friends put it, “Kelangan mo maghanap ng matinong babae na mag-aalaga sa’yo”. Which all begged the question, did he really need a spouse or a maid?

(No wonder Tita Shawie threw a bitch fit in Madrasta: “You’re absolutely right. Yan lang ang tingin mo sa akin. Taga-handa ng isusuot mo, ng kakainin mo. Taga-ayos sa bahay mo. Taga-salo sa mga problema mo.” I guess some things never changed.)

4. One of the best things in watching these old movies was a look back at the fashion during that time. Some of my favorite looks here were the mosaic top and black leather pants (and the perennial heart choker, of course) worn by Regine in the audition scene, the black baby doll dress with zippered red lips on the breast area matched with tattered tights (her idea of sexy when the bar manager said that her show needed “konting landi”), the high-waisted pants worn by the guys (with the belt area way above the belly button), and Bobby Andrews’ head scarf which looked like a cross between Ms. Celia Rodriguez and Madam Auring. Noted for next year’s Halloween.

5. Bing Loyzaga (who else?) played the wicked third party signaled by the dark eye shadow that covered the entirety of her eyelids (as if her flaring nostrils weren’t a giveaway). She was supposedly the evil one because she was cultured (she took the kids to a museum and they found her entire explanation on national painters really boring), she had pit stains in one scene, and she got mad when the kids wanted her to peel the shrimp for them (also, when they requested for sukang may bawang as a substitute for lemon butter sauce). Apparently, the fondness for art and the idea of independence was too elitist and therefore not mother material.

6. There were so many unintentionally hilarious lines in the movie but these were my favorites:

• “Bakit ka bibili ng alarm clock eh sa gabi naman ang trabaho mo?” (Collective groan from BPO associates.)

• “Miss Barubal! Miss Barubal!!” (Regine calling her landlady because that was her actual name.)

• “Kilala mo ba si Mickey Mouse? Diba lagi siyang hinahabol ng pusa?” (Huh? Sino? Si Hello Kitty?)

• “Ang alam ko sa butter palaman lang yan sa tinapay eh.” (Another point against lemon butter sauce.)

• “Ang trabaho mo tutor lang meaning glorified alalay.” (That’s why it’s always important to check the job description before applying.)

7. Do you still remember Kim delos Santos? Raven Villanueva? Mumay Santiago? Graciaaa? Welcome to the oldies club!

8. There was one touching moment when the kids were talking about their fears of somebody replacing their real mom. The youngest one even cried, “Sana hindi na lang kinuha ni God si Mommy.” So many realistic issues here that could have been explored in a much better movie (see Madrasta).

9. I loved how Regine was like the Pied Piper who turned tantrum-throwing brats into obedient angels with just her magical voice, all the problems vanishing after every musical number. One rendition of You Are My Song (of course I sang along) resolved all the issues and they lived happily ever after.

10. Oh, and the movie’s last line was Christopher asking Regine to change her blue nail color. To match her pink maid’s uniform, perhaps?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: CAMP SAWI (Irene Villamor, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

(Watch the movie before reading this and then let’s discuss. Enjoy it first. Go!)

My notes on Camp Sawi:

1. If I were to create a custom pain scale (you know, the one that doctors used to determine how unbearable your gastritis was even if you were already as pale as Edward Cullen), I would probably place having a broken heart in between a bony impacted wisdom tooth extraction and getting stuck in EDSA traffic on a Monday rush hour morning.

The physical, mental, and emotional anguish of a heartbreak really takes its toll especially on the abandoned party (read: tangang umaasa pa rin) and everyone knows that it usually takes forever to get through the real stages of grief: 1) Nasaktan, 2) Niloko, 3) Iniwan, 4) Umiyak, 5) Nagdusa, 6) Nag-Let Go, 7) Nag-Move On, 8) Nagbago, 9) Sumaya, 10) Gumanda.

2. In this light and lovely comedy that would probably end up as my favorite guilty pleasure this year, brokenhearted women could find solace and redemption in a fictional boot camp (shot in gorgeous Bantayan Island, Cebu City) where sodium-free meals were specially-prepared to avoid further depression, phones and Facebook were deemed useless due to lack of any signal (“only Mother Nature!”), nightly bonfires were held to destroy the remaining memories of your tormentor (“if you want to sunog anything”), and group activities (yoga sessions, morning jogs, film viewing of the classic Sharon-Robin starrer Maging Sino Ka Man, open forums) were conducted to assist in the moving on process.

With the popularity of hugot films of late, this type of resort would actually be a lucrative franchise. Investors, anyone?

3. Remember that brilliant opening in Up that followed the beginning and tragic end of Carl and Ellie’s love story? This movie came close to recreating that sequence, except that nobody died but Bridgette’s (Bela Padilla) poor heart. Those first ten minutes covered the entire gamut of a failed relationship and its tragic aftermath (stalking an ex on social media to check the new partner, baliwan mode while getting drunk, Google search of “how to heal a broken heart”). Bela was just so good in this role that it made me forget how much she struggled in the recent I America. She clearly had the best scenes in the movie:

• bargaining for ten more minutes on the phone (“kasi ten years kita tinawag na babe eh”)

• bitterly saying lines like “Sino bang brokenhearted ang maganda? Sasaksakin ko!”

• the pig-out scene with Camp Master Louie (Sam Milby) complete with loud munching and reminiscent of Meg Ryan’s orgasm sequence in When Harry Met Sally (“I’ll have what she’s having!”)

• endlessly ranting on getting dumped for not being Chinese (“Sampung taon kami nag-celebrate ng Chinese New Year. Hindi ba niya nakita ang mata ko?”)

4. I really liked the millennial character Jessica (Yassi Pressman) and how her life was always in relation to a pop culture event (on her breakup: “It actually hurt more when Zayn left One Direction”, on her gay boyfriend: “I didn’t know! Did you see Bruce Jenner?”). Instead of being annoying, she was just so charming throwing lines like, “He’s really old. Like ka-age mo old”.

As an old person myself, I did feel a bit happy seeing her receive her comeuppance when Bridgette retorted, “Bata ka pa. Marami ka pang makikilalang bakla.”

5. Parents, please do not bring your kids to this movie. The theme and content aren’t for them anyway. It just felt a bit uncomfortable that there were kids watching when they showed the implied shower fellatio scene. Bring your husbands instead since I’m sure they will at least enjoy ogling at the bikini bodies in full display. Or in my case, wondering how these beautiful women achieved their perennial rosy white cheeks.

6. At this point in her career, Arci Muñoz could do no wrong. As the rocker chick Gwen aka Lovejoy (self-proclaimed Kilabot ng Altura), she was endearing even while getting wasted and throwing up on fresh sheets. Her little girl voice was really funny given that it was coming out of this scorching hot woman’s body and everything she said regardless of sense connected with the audience (“Kelangan ko uminom kasi ang panget mo!”, “Kinukumutan mo ko, pang may boypren yun!”). Her character even asked the exact same question I had about Louie being seen everywhere (“Understaffed ba kayo?”).

That lovely singing voice and song, though. Wow.

Also, seeing Ramona Thornes wearing a Ramones shirt was pure genius.

7. The wild drunk scene with Bridgette and Gwen was already worth the price of admission. I had never laughed so hard hearing things that would only sound funny coming from two drunk women:

• “Kapag Chinese kuripot!” “Hindi! Kapag Chinese masipag, walang holiday!”

• “Hindi lahat ng nag-e-English taga-England, tanga! Minsan taga-Makati lang.”

8. I wonder if this would have worked better as a series instead, along the lines of Orange Is the New Black. There were just so many stories that needed enough time to breathe: the mistress Clarisse (Andi Eigenmann), Joan (Kim Molina) and the untimely death of her fiancé, the chubby girl left by her chubby boyfriend after he lost ten pounds (and resorted to baking to mend her broken heart, familiar no?), and the only gay guy in camp whose heart was full of regrets. Even Louie needed a bit more back story other than he wanted to help these people overcome their sadness. It was hard to feel for all of them and their sob stories when they were mere strangers.

9. New forms of catharsis in Pinoy cinema: jumping off a cliff as a leap of faith, the undying love of videoke (this time set to Regine Velasquez’s Dadalhin), and women stripping off (almost) everything to swim in the beach (ala Chris Martinez’s 100).

10. “Ang mga panget kapag nagkajowa sobrang blessing at kapag iniwan naman ay isang sumpa.” Aray ko beh!

11. Somebody asked me recently how one would know when a person’s already over (or close to moving on from) an ex and the last few moments of the movie perfectly encapsulated my response.

Some people would fear bumping into an ex in a public place (especially with a new partner), but that would be the ultimate test. Sure, it might still sting a bit but instead of digging up the past, if you’re able to ask “Kumusta ka? Ok ka lang ba? Masaya ka ba?” without any form of bitterness or resentment, then you wouldn’t need to book another summer in Camp Sawi.

Welcome back to the real world and get excited for your new “balang araw”.

12. Seriously, is there a place similar to Camp Sawi right now? I already have a list of names that I will recommend it to. 😊

Rating: ★★★★☆