NEED FOR SPEED (Scott Waugh, 2014)

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My notes on Need for Speed:

1. The opening credits reminded me so much of Turbo. Not a good sign.

2. So it was the poor man’s The Fast & the Furious with a less-appealing cast. All that’s missing was the token Asian guy. Meh.

3. Aaron Paul kept sneering like he was channeling Walter White. Or probably Robin Padilla. Every moment had to be…INTENSE!!

He was just terrible in this movie. If it were your first time to see him, you’d be surprised to know that he’s an Emmy winner.

4. Men fondly calling each other bitches. How our action films have evolved.

5. The fun with videogames is that it’s ok to be morally ambiguous. You can crash cars or hit pedestrians and it’s fine. It just doesn’t work that way in movies. You cringe when people get run over or innocent motorists get hit. It’s not fun.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 21, 2014.)

CINCO (Frasco Mortiz, Enrico Santos, Ato Bautista, Nick Olanka, Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2010)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Anthology of five horror shorts kyemerut. Parang pa-bibong Shake, Rattle, Roll with its two additional stories pero hindi naman nakadagdag sa scare factor.

BRASO (Frasco Mortiz) – ★☆☆☆☆

Tungkol sa baklang braso na nag-break free sa pagiging closeta at dinakma ang yagbols ni AJ Perez (RIP).

PAA (Enrico Santos) – ★★★☆☆

Tungkol sa isang nanay (Jodi Sta. Maria in full batas ng isang api mode) na hindi marunong magpagpag kaya sinundan ng multo ng batang ninakawan niya ng sapatos.

MATA (Ato Bautista) – ★★☆☆☆

Tungkol sa isang babaeng (Maja Salvador) trapped in a Groundhog Day nightmare kung saan jowa niya lagi si Rayver Cruz. Saklap.

MUKHA (Nick Olanka) – ★★☆☆☆

Tungkol sa bitch from hell na boss (Mariel Rodriguez channeling Kimmy Go Dong Hae) na ginamit ang mukha ng kawawang office janitor to test their new photocopying machine. Naghiganti tuloy ang kaluluwa nito na galit sa mga DDS tulad ng asawa ni boss na si Robin Padilla.

PUSO (Cathy Garcia-Molina) – ★★☆☆☆

Tungkol sa isang chakang perya performer (Pokwang) na desperadong magka-lovelife at sa kasamaang-palad ay zombie ang nagayuma. Hindi na rin masama kasi mas mukha pang mabango ang naaagnas na si Zanjoe Marudo kesa sa mga People You May Know ng Facebook.

Saan banda ako dapat matakot?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

JAMES & PAT & DAVE (Theodore Boborol, 2020)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Sayang kasi namukadkad ang pechay, I mean comedic talent ni Loisa Andalio dito. Ganito nag-start si Kim Chiu dati eh. Ganda pa ng rehistro ng mukha niya sa big screen. I can’t wait to see more of her in future (non-Hospicio) projects.

Nasobrahan ang pelikula sa corny humor at mostly OA performances (lalo na si Awra Briguela as “Sasha Valur”). Bawal ang normal conversations dito. Kelangan level 999 ang delivery na maririnig ng mga aso sa kabilang kanto. Grabe nakakatulili!

Kung Got 2 Believe ang peg ng first movie, dito naman may brutal roast ng Dahil Mahal na Mahal Kita. Infer natawa ako nung sinabi na baka mabagok pa ang ulo ni Claudine nung nagpagulong-gulong sila ni Rico sa burol. Mapanood nga ulit ‘tong sina Mela.

Umayos ng 5% ang acting ni Ronnie Alonte. Kaso feel na feel niya na siya ang second coming ni Robin Padilla. At sana lang hindi siya nilagay sa mga kadiring situations na supposedly romantic like magka-hard on matapos masubsob ang talong niya sa pechay ni Loisa, no?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

SA NGALAN NG AMA, INA AT MGA ANAK (Jon Villarin, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Sa Ngalan ng Ama, Ina at Mga Anak:

1. Somebody needed to trim his armpit hair.

2. Since the cast included a big star like Daniel Padilla, he got his own love story arc. Unfortunately the girl was not Kathryn Bernardo.

3. I wonder if all the Padilla boys acted the same way. They talked like there was phlegm permanently stuck in their throats. All hammy, too.

4. Mariel Rodriguez got out of bed butt naked and people started giggling. Was it because of the gratuitous nudity?

5. Wait, was that Aljur Abrenica in a Star Cinema movie? Where was his gratuitous nudity?

6. Robin’s constant posturing and pouting in this movie would make him the perfect choice for a local version of Zoolander.

7. Remember those Fernando Poe, Jr. movies where he was invincible to all flying bullets? Here, the entire Padilla clan played Fernando Poe, Jr.

8. Kylie Padilla delivered her lines like she was in a third grade elocution contest where she kept pausing and forgetting her next words.

9. I’ve never seen this many time jumps since Quantum Leap.

10. With all the splattered blood onscreen, I wonder why this movie was not R-18 for excessive violence. It was like a Tarantino film, less the art.

11. I bet BB Gandanghari could have made this Padilla movie more interesting.

12. So a character jumped on a grenade but didn’t get blown to pieces and even got resurrected by an “agimat”. Ehrm.

I’d rather play Flappy Bird.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published February 4, 2014.)

THE EXPENDABLES 3 (Patrick Hughes, 2014)

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It’s the pinakbet of Hollywood action stars. With Frasier. Never been fond of pinakbet.

I’m still waiting for our local version starring Bong Revilla, Cesar Montano, Lito Lapid, Ronnie Ricketts, Ian Veneracion, Dante Varona, Jeric Raval, Baldo Marro, Chuck Perez, Jestoni Alarcon, Robin Padilla, and Eddie Garcia.

Paging Mother Lily!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 25, 2014.)

GOYO: ANG BATANG HENERAL (Jerrold Tarog, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral:

1. One of the first Tagalog poems I learned as a kid was taught to me by my grandfather (be forewarned, it wasn’t one of his shining moments) and it involved the bad boy of Philippine History (no, not Ace Vergel nor Robin Padilla). It went something like: “Andres Bonifacio, a-tapang a-tao. A-putok a-baril, hindi a-atakbo. A-putol a-utin, a-takbo a-tulin.” This humorous take on a national hero might sound disrespectful to some, but it was exactly how I felt with this ongoing Araling Panlipunan Trilogy of Jerrold Tarog that started with the puñeta-filled Heneral Luna.

Both films seemed to have been made as easily-digestible History nuggets because nobody really wanted to sit through a boring lecture. And so we got an abrasive, menacing portrayal of a general in the first film who would deliver some occasionally amusing Cesar Montano quips that the audience could laugh at while this second one had a subservient and confused young general who left a trail of broken hearts (and panties) like he was the first official fuccboi of the country.

2. I never knew that Gregorio del Pilar (Paulo Avelino, medyo malamya) was such a bland and uninteresting character whose life didn’t really merit a biopic. I’d always thought he was this glorious hero who took his last stand (and not a literal one) in the Battle of Tirad Pass. I’m sure there was more to him as the youngest general other than being a Don Juan.

Unfortunately, the fictional (right?) Joven Hernando (Arron Villaflor, who sounded like his testicles hadn’t descended yet) summed up the first hour best when he asked “Bakit puro romansa at panunuyo?”. It was obvious that Goyo (and in turn Avelino, with his gorgeous brown eyes that sparkled in the sunlight; wait, why wasn’t he moreno?) was so swoon-worthy that women would actually have a shade showdown while comparing themselves to mangoes (“Ako hinog, ikaw totoong bulok” or something equally icky to that effect). But shouldn’t there have been more to him than that?

I walked out of the theater with the takeaway that his only contribution in our rich history was a last minute realization that he had been Emilio Aguinaldo’s (Mon Confiado, great as always) lapdog. Yun na yun?

Seriously, Goyo the character couldn’t even serve as the crucial voiceover (read: voice of reason) in his own film.

3. I felt bad that the talented Carlo Aquino (who played Vicente Enriquez) couldn’t secure a lead role in this franchise (was it because he looked so cute and tiny like a keychain?). I did like the underlying homoerotic tension between him and Joven (because why else was he so protective of him?). And was I the only one that sensed this blooming “bromance” between Joven and Juan del Pilar (Carlo Cruz)? Ooh, a love triangle! (Or was that just some wishful thinking?)

Side note: That tampisaw sa batis scene. Not complaining at all.

4. I honestly couldn’t stand the acting of the kid that played Angelito so I wouldn’t even bother mentioning his name here. His lines consisted merely of cries of anguish/despair (“Kuyaaaaahhh!”, “Tamaaaah naaaahh!”) and he still couldn’t deliver them properly. Didn’t he learn anything from his Kuya Manuel Bernal (Art Acuña)? Awoooooo!!

5. Miss Granny reference: I was a bit disappointed that after all those pictures taken by the same photographer (Jojit Lorenzo) of the Forever Young Portrait Studio, Goyo didn’t turn into a Goyito (given his age though, if he turned fifty years younger, then he’d still be a sperm and this would have been a completely different kind of movie).

6. Bitterness 101 – Exhibit A:

Felicidad (Empress Schuck) to ex-jowa: “Kumusta?”

Goyo: “Mabuti! Ikaw?”

Felicidad: (deadma) (walk-out)

Move on, move on din pag may time. (Uso pa ba ‘to?)

7. Was the slang term “goyo” or “nagoyo” actually after the flirtatious general? I need the real etymology of this word please! My futile Google search led me to “weneklek” and “kukurikapu” instead.

8. Every peso of the movie’s reported Php160M budget was in full display here with its lush cinematography (that amazing shot of the troops marching on the mountainside during sunset, the magical Shape of Water-like underwater scene) and great production design.

9. I was excited to see the Battle of Tirad Pass especially with its dramatic twist of a local Igorot betraying the Philippine troops, but it didn’t really showcase anything interesting. It was just a lengthy sequence of some Pinoy mestiso actors pretending to be a bunch of American soldiers running around until they finally annihilated the locals. It was also odd that they continued to mine humor in such a serious situation (“Nakagat lang yan ng langgam sa bayag!”, “May bangin dyan!” and then a couple of Pinoy soldiers comically fell off a cliff, “Kam! Amerikan Welkam!”).

Even del Pilar’s death felt very anticlimactic (and un-heroic). Like a Superman film where Clark Kent never really wore his red trunks and cape because he was better off as a regular person. (But we paid to watch Superman, didn’t we?)

10. Burning questions:

• How long could one survive munching on just sugar cane? (Because you know, inflation.)

• The soldier named Daclan was actually Matt Daclan, right?

• Why couldn’t Apolinario Mabini (Epy Quizon) get his own movie? Echapwera na naman?

• During the mid-credits scene with a latex-faced, older Aguinaldo (still played by Confiado), why was the older Manuel Quezon on the poster played by a latex-faced TJ Trinidad? Were they not confident enough with the acting skills of Benjamin Alves?

• Wait, was the film trying to equate Emilio Aguinaldo with our current President? So did that make Goyo a misguided, egotistical, famewhore general who loved hogging the limelight (read: mahilig magpa-pogi)? Now I get my complete lack of interest.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

CRAZY BEAUTIFUL YOU (Mae Cruz-Alviar, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Crazy Beautiful You:

1. The movie opened with a car race straight out of The Fast and the Furious. Only Kathryn Bernardo was no Michelle Rodriguez because she would rather die than hit a stray dog. And at the rate that her car was going, how did she not even end up slamming the post?

2. Do we really allow cellphones in jail? I’m asking since I’ve never seen jail selfies. Or anyone tweeting how sad they are in solitary confinement.

3. Kathryn sounded like she had a constant cold. Every word had an additional H (“Ghive mhe bhack mhy phhone, pfowsz!”). She used to be one of my favorite local actresses but she hasn’t done anything substantial after her excellent stint in Magkaribal. She really needs to break free from this love team in the same way that the other Mara became a fully-realized actress after going solo.

4. Did the chase sequence really have to be in slow motion? Did we really need that shot of calamansi (or whatever produce) slowly fly in the air for cinematic effect? No. Just no.

5. Daniel Padilla fared much better in this movie even with his constant posturing reminiscent of uncle Robin Padilla circa ’90s. He was charming and sympathetic and yes, much cuter with his new clean-cut and borta look. More swooning expected. (He might need to bleach his teeth, though.)

6. Why do a lot of these young guys (especially the ones from ABS-CBN) shave their armpits? None of my business, but still curious.

7. The movie was so badly-lit that the actors’ faces either looked lahar-ridden or overexposed. What happened to the usual Star Cinema gloss?

8. Mini-commercials for ABS-CBN Mobile and KFC. They should have used the extra income on the movie’s photography.

9. Wait, I’ve seen this immersion movie before when it was still called Catch Me… I’m in Love with Sarah Geronimo and Gerald Anderson. And it was also directed by Mae Cruz. Have we really run out of ideas?

10. I bet Kathryn has a separate closet for all of her crop tops. Does she seriously wear anything else?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 1, 2015.)

UNEXPECTEDLY YOURS (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2017)

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I think I just had a Classic Pare Titos and Titas of Manila moment while watching this movie since I couldn’t help myself from twitterpating (kilig lang yan, inartehan ko) over such a cute couple. Nope, not talking about JoshLia (even if Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto were also really charming here). I was of course referring to the Sharon Cuneta-Robin Padilla love team that still showcased such palpable chemistry twenty five years after Maging Sino Ka Man.

I previously mentioned that I liked this combo much better than the Sharon-Gabby and Sharon-Richard pairing because the very Pinoy langit-lupa theme (and all the conflicts that stemmed from this social class gap) always made for great dramedy. It was even put to good use here because it was an older people romance straight out of the Nancy Meyers universe.

This should have been the comeback vehicle of Ate Shawie since her performance here just felt more relaxed and natural compared to the one in Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha. She displayed great comedic timing, especially while verbally sparring with Robin (mega kilig yung sagutan nila ng “Adik!” and “Sa’yo!” waaah!). Her controlled emotions during her dramatic moments were even reminiscent of her grand slam performance in Madrasta. I really liked the scene where she was crying out of self-pity (“Matanda na ako…”) because her realizations were genuinely painful to watch.

I wish the movie focused more on their romance since the JoshLia story actually served as a distraction. It would have worked still without their love angle since the young ones were so believable as their blood relatives (Julia as Sharon’s daughter and Joshua as Robin’s nephew). Also, all the millennial discussion including a cringey FGD just felt off. It had just as much insight about this generation as any episode of Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X.

Speaking of Julia, I was really surprised at how much she had continuously improved in terms of acting (even after her good work in Love You to the Stars and Back). She had this lovely scene with Sharon where she was telling her why she didn’t want to end up just like her mother and she definitely held her own against the Megastar. The Claudine comparisons would be inevitable, but with the right projects, she should be able to step out of her aunt’s shadow soon.

In one scene, Julia was wearing a shirt that had the word “MIST” on the right shoulder and “AKES” on the left side. I thought, “Wow, cool! A gay shirt saying that she’s a mist!”. It took me a full twenty seconds to realize that it actually spelled “mistakes”. Bwiset! Chalk that up to another Titos and Titas of Manila moment.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE (Mae Cruz-Alviar, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Can’t Help Falling in Love:

1. I think it was during the public bathroom scene where Dos (Daniel Padilla) was removing the heels of Gab (Kathryn Bernardo), which must have felt so good because she was having a wild orgasm, that I immediately knew I wouldn’t like this movie. It was clearly trying too hard to wring out laughs by placing its characters in the most absurd situations. That scene was capped off by strangers entering the room and looking disgusted even if it was completely obvious that nothing kinky was going on (hello, his head wasn’t even under her skirt!).

It was a shame really because Daniel and Kathryn were so game all throughout this movie even if the material failed to capitalize on their palpable onscreen chemistry.

2. I had been crowing about Daniel’s natural charms (reminiscent of his uncle Robin’s) in previous movies so the bigger surprise here for me was Kathryn. Not only did she look so fresh and lovely (a vision in yellow during her grand entrance! radiant in black during the wake!), but she also managed to drop most of her annoying acting tics.

Whatever decongestant she took worked because she didn’t sound as oddly nasal as before. She also managed to tone down her pabebe delivery and she was really effective in most of her dramatic scenes (my favorite was her quiet sumbat moment outside the police station; “Nagmahal ka na ba? Minahal ka na ba?”). The only thing left for her to work on would be controlling her eyes because she would resort to unintentionally widening them while speaking (nandidilat for no reason).

Anyway, I just made a mental note to buy Pond’s as soon as the stores open today.

3. As a rule, Star Cinema characters should avoid getting drunk in bars because they would always end up in sticky situations (literally and figuratively?) after. I didn’t buy the ridiculous premise of these two ending up married after a crazy night of partying (hey, this wasn’t Vegas and none of them were Britney; besides, were they carrying all the legal documents that night to get a marriage license issued on the spot?).

None of the succeeding events made a lot of sense as well. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to any of my lawyer friends because their eyes might end up rolling out of their sockets in the scenes where Gab interviewed Dos’ ex-girlfriends to prove his impotence or Gab pretended to make out with her girl friend in Sogo while Dos took pictures of them as proof of homosexuality (they ended up getting arrested after for supposedly creating a porno, wtf?!).

In one scene, Gab dressed up as a taong grasa because she was supposedly baliw sa pag-ibig and insanity was one of the major grounds for annulment. I guess they were to blame for hiring a lawyer from a firm called Hulog ng Langit. (Terrible, terrible screenplay, I tell you.)

4. Did we really need those cameos of Zanjoe Marudo, Ejay Falcon, and Piolo Pascual? Even a bald Daniel Radcliffe made a surprise appearance. Why create unnecessary distractions on an already messy story?

5. Since there was nothing original in this movie, I wasn’t surprised at all that Matteo Guidicelli played the third wheel yet again and that his character (unfortunately named Jason) was villified for being a controlling boyfriend. So basically he loved his girlfriend and supported her for six years even if she only loved him back for security and stability and yet he was the bad guy just for wanting what was best for her. Oh-kay!

Also, they called each other Bud so I guess it was meant to be a friendzone experience right from the start.

6. Of course there would be a reason to go out of town! Destination of choice? Argao, Cebu. A tour of the city’s old churches, cliff diving, coral reef diving, motorcycle rides along the cliffside roads, I was surprised they didn’t use these instead for the channel’s summer station ID.

7. I wish there were more of the small moments that genuinely made me smile (Dos offering a basahan to Gab while she was crying, or Dos distracting Gab with his love notes written on napkins). The scene where Dos was making his huling habilin to his extended family could have easily been milked for laughs and tears, but it just fell short of being great.

I have enjoyed a number of past rom-coms by Direk Mae (Bride for Rent, Everyday I Love You), but she was left with very little to work with here.

8. For every realistically heartfelt line like “Kapag natikman mo pala, nakaka-adik ang umasa”, there were even more empty platitudes like “Mas pipiliin ko ang isang bukas na nandun ka, kesa sa isang milyong bukas na wala ka.”

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough should be required viewing for Star Cinema’s writing team. Seriously.

9. I think I developed an acute case of tinnitus when Gab serenaded Dos with her own version of Panalangin. And that was minutes before his critical brain surgery. Pigain nyo na lang ang apdo ko, but take that portable Magic Sing away from her!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆