OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (Sam Raimi, 2013)

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Incredibly corny origin story.

James Franco was painfully miscast and looked so lost like he wasn’t even happy with what he was doing. Reminded me so much of his Oscar hosting stint.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 8, 2013.)

MISTERYO SA TUWA (Abbo dela Cruz, 1984)

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Kung may natutunan man ako sa Feng Shui ni Tita Krizzy at sa kwento ni Hurley sa Lost, ito ay laging may kapalit ang swerte (lalo na ang biglaang yaman). Isipin mo one moment nag-iinuman at nagsasayawan kayo sa isang pagdiriwang tapos dahil sa isang twist of fate ay biglang nabalot ng malas at kamatayan ang masaya n’yong barrio.

Ang daming gustong sabihin ng pelikula at ganito ang masarap himayin sa isang film class or movie club. Nakakatuwa din na nauna pa ito sa A Simple Plan ni Raimi (kasi sobrang pareho sila ng story) at Reservoir Dogs ni Tarantino (na may similar tenga-slicing scene).

Johnny Delgado, Tony Santos, Sr., Ronnie Lazaro, Alicia Alonzo, Ama Quiambao, Lito Anzures, Ray Ventura, Vangie Labalan, etc. Mapapamura ka na lang sa galing ng ensemble na ‘to.

May looting scene na nag-uunahan at nag-aagawan ang mga taong-bayan dun sa pinagbagsakan ng eroplano. May pact ang magkakaibigan na walang aamin sa secret nila. Tapos biglang may anti-rat campaign ang gobyerno hahaha ang talino!!

(Also, ang ganda ng restoration pero may mga parts talaga na hindi na na-salvage sayang.)

Rating: ★★★★★

THE GIFT (Sam Raimi, 2000)

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If there was one thing that Being John Malkovich taught me, it was never to get inside other people’s crazy heads. I wouldn’t wish to be a psychic even if it could guarantee a possible win at the lotto (besides, it was mentioned here that this gift didn’t work for personal gains). It’d just be too scary (and dangerous) to know everyone’s dirty little secrets.

Queen Cate Blanchett was magnificent as always. I also liked Giovanni Ribisi doing his usual cuckoo bit, but the biggest surprise in this psychological thriller was Keanu Reeves (finally) delivering a decent performance.

As the biggest fan of Dawson’s Creek, I remember watching this for the first time and being appalled when Katie Holmes (aka virginal Joey Potter) made buyangyang her boobies, while the rest of the guys thanked Raimi for the gratuitous nudity.

Also, the bimpo made me cry. I’m a hopeless emotional mess.

Rating: ★★★★☆

SA GABING NANAHIMIK ANG MGA KULIGLIG (Iar Lionel Arondaing, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig:

1. It was probably during the scene where Hector (Ricky Davao) was wailing over the corpse of his wife Dolores (Mercedes Cabral) that I realized I had watched something similar to this before. It looked very much like the same red herring thrown around in another murder-mystery set in a swampland.

My suspicion was further confirmed when self-confessed killer Magda (Angel Aquino) had that fantastical dream sequence where she ended up seeing a floating dead body that actually turned out to be her. Yes, I was definitely watching a version of Sam Raimi’s The Gift, except that the supernatural element was replaced by a religious theme. Nyek!

2. I shouldn’t even be complaining that the movie chose to head into that direction because I initially thought I was watching Senakulo: The Movie and it would really be Easter Sunday 2018 by the time it completed the twelve stations of the cross (thankfully, it abandoned that concept while I was close to nodding off right around the fourth station).

How could I forget these Bible stories when I would often volunteer to lead the prayer of the rosary done before and after breaks every October (rosary month!) in Zobel? My favorite part was the Sorrowful Mysteries because I got to play different characters and I always made sure that I gave each one a distinct voice. My rosary-praying career ended though when I read the line “Crucify him!” as “Cruci-fee him!” and one classmate laughed so loud and mocked me in front of the whole class that I felt very much like Mary Magdalene.

3. Those were some really odd framing choices. I wasn’t a big fan of seeing the characters occupying a quarter of the screen and talking in one corner. Nothing really wrong with that, it was just too AHRT(!!) for my basic sensibilities.

4. I really liked how this tackled the Seal of Confession and that priests were not allowed to disclose any information divulged to them vis a vis the separation of the Church and State. So basically a murderer could confess his crime to a priest and receive absolution for his sin, but the best that the priest could do was suggest that the killer turn himself over to the police. Did I understand that correctly? Why didn’t that sit well with my heart and brain?

5. How could Dolores be married to Hector for twenty years when Mercedes didn’t even look a day over thirty? Did she get pregnant at the ripe old age of ten?

6. Gorgeous (gorgeous!) cinematography. More reasons to visit Cuyo Island in Palawan.

7. I felt a bit disappointed when the focus shifted to Dolores’ son Lester (Jess Mendoza), who had to deliver cringe-worthy lines while giving the corpse of his mother a sponge bath (“Ang mukhang ito ang una kong nasilayan…”, “Ang mga brasong ito ang yumakap sa akin…”). I swore to myself that if he were to make punas every body part and deliver a Juan Miguel Severo-like poem for each, I would surely walk out (especially if he would reach the “Sa pepeng ito ako lumabas…”).

8. Sitting through this ordeal should serve as my penance for the entire year, yes?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆